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Blind Observer Mission Cartoon

Zim Independent
Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:45

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Army Boosts Mugabe Campaign

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:25

STATE security forces reportedly deployed countrywide on a
military-style campaign to rescue beleaguered President Robert Mugabe ahead
of the critical presidential election run-off have taken an increasingly
active role in a bid to block opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai from
succeeding as the next president of Zimbabwe.

This has poisoned the campaign environment and dramatically tilted the
playing field ahead of the run-off in two weeks' time. There is now a
pervasive climate of fear surrounding the poll as the wave of terror
rippling through the rural areas rises.

Tsvangirai was yesterday arrested in Kwekwe - for the third time
inside a week - while campaigning. He was released but then arrested again
in Gweru.

Numerous senior party officials and supporters have also been arrested
of late including Tendai Biti yesterday. (See story below.)

Evidence soldiers are directly involved in Mugabe's campaign mounted
this week after two soldiers - assaulted by opposition supporters during
clashes in rival campaigns - admitted in court documents that they had been
rallying support for Mugabe in Mashonaland Central.

According to court records (137-8/05/2008), Zecks Kanhukamwe, a member
of the Zimbabwe National Army, and Petros Nyaguwa, an officer in the
Presidential Guard, were assaulted by 26 MDC activists after they tried to
force villagers in Mashonaland Central's Kodzwa village to attend a Zanu PF

The two are now key state witness in the trial of the 26 opposition
members who are accused of allegedly beating them. Documents say Kanhukamwe
was also part of the group that addressed a Zanu PF rally at Kodzwa village
on May 28.

Zanu PF's strategy is multi-pronged and involves use of propaganda,
blocking access to the state media, dishing out inducements like food,
especially maize, to villagers, banning non-governmental organisations
allegedly campaigning for Tsvangirai, and taking charge of the electoral
process using the police.

The abuse of postal ballots is also now part of the strategy to ensure
Mugabe wins by fair means or foul. Massive economic and security resources
have been mobilised to underpin the tactics.

The MDC and human rights groups blame the deployment of the army for
the prevailing political violence which has claimed at least 66 lives,
mainly those of opposition supporters. The army has however distanced itself
from violence, although human rights groups insist it is involved.

In a written response to the Independent yesterday, army deputy
director of public relations, Major Alphios Makotore said he could not
discuss soldiers' deployments in the media.

Last night Zanu PF media committee chairperson, Patrick Chinamasa
denied that the army is campaigning for Zanu PF.

Before the March 29 elections, Tsvangirai and his party were able to
campaign freely and access the countryside without barriers. They also had
access, albeit limited, to state media.

However, a strong security fire wall has been built to block
Tsvangirai from penetrating deep into rural areas to campaign. Mugabe
meanwhile has a free rein to campaign with extraordinary intensity. While
Mugabe has commandeered state resources - including the security machinery
to campaign for him - Tsvangirai's rallies are being blocked to limit his
access to the voters.

Tsvangirai was arrested last week on the campaign trail in Lupane and
only released nearly nine hours later. Sources said the opposition chief was
arrested by the police to stop him from getting to Lupane where a provincial
meeting of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) was taking place.
Brigadier-General Khumalo is said to have addressed the meeting. For the
purposes of the runoff, JOC is meeting at provincial levels to deal with
regional issues.

Prior to his arrest last week, Tsvangirai was forced to abort a rally
at Manama Mission outside Gwanda after he was warned by state security
agents along the way that he was heading for danger.

Tsvangirai later said the military has staged a de facto coup by
seizing control of vast swathes of the country and declaring them no-go
areas for him.

Tsvangirai's campaign advance party heading for Manama were told that
if they proceeded, the police could not guarantee their security given the
presence of potentially hostile military units.

"I don't mind soldiers having an opinion about who they want to vote
for, but certainly a coercive military strategy to force people to support a
particular candidate and to be active in the campaign has very dangerous
consequences," Tsvangirai said later. "That must be discouraged, they are
opening up the military to being involved in politics, which is dangerous
for our democracy. It's tantamount to a military coup."

The involvement of state agents in Mugabe's campaign became clearer
last week after CIO Deputy Director-General Mernard Muzariri warned
villagers at Nyamahobogo Primary School in Mt Darwin in Mashonaland Central
there would be an outbreak of war if Mugabe is defeated on June 27.

Khumalo is said to be part of a group of at least 200 senior army
officers deployed nationwide to campaign for Mugabe. The team is understood
to be divided into 10 provinces led by senior army commanders. It said the
military was deployed on April 8 after the key JOC and Zanu PF politburo
meetings on April 4.

The politburo resolved Zanu PF must use a "warlike/military-style"
campaign strategy to ensure Mugabe wins.

Reports claim Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander General
Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant -General
Phillip Sibanda, Major-General N Dube, Major-General Last Mugova and Colonel
S Mudambo are coordinating the military operation.

Chiwenga, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Prison
commissioner retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi, Army Chief of staff
Major-General Martin Chedondo and Brigadier-General D Sigauke have said they
would not accept Tsvangirai even if he wins.

By Dumisani Muleya/Shakeman Mugari/Constantine Chimakure


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MDC Seeks To Stop Postal Voting

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:17
THE MDC's lawyers are considering filing an urgent application with
the High Court seeking an order to stop postal voting and the removal of a
ban on their rallies while raising what they see as technical and
administrative errors associated with the June 27 presidential run-off.

The lawyers met the party leaders yesterday at the MDC headquarters
where they discussed a number of issues they considered problematic ahead of
the run-off between their leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert

"A number of issues were raised in the meeting by MDC leaders that
range from controversial postal voting by security forces, continuous ban of
MDC rallies by police despite a High Court order that overturned the ban,
and technical and administrative errors," one of the lawyers said.

MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, claimed this week that secret voter
registration was taking place in Murehwa, Mutoko, Wedza and Marondera and
some parts of Shamva, Mt Darwin, Rushinga and Chiweshe.

"We know that they are registering people by giving them back-dated
voter registration certificates so that they can vote in the coming
election," Chamisa alleged. "The MDC is going to challenge the government in

The opposition party also accused the government of conducting an
unclear postal voting process by security forces.

"We have received reports that police in Bulawayo are voting while in
other parts they are being given forms to fill for postal ballots. The MDC
is challenging this because we were not informed as to when the police will
be voting and the process so that our agents can be sent.

"The whole process is not transparent. The police are also not allowed
to exercise their right to vote for the leader they want as they are to vote
in the presence of their commissioners," he said.

However, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission deputy chief elections officer,
Utoile Silaigwana said he was not aware of the secret voter registration,
but emphasised that registration was an ongoing process.

He said: "People should seriously take note that those who are
registering to vote right now cannot vote in the 27 June run-off, but can
vote in the elections that come after, like next year."

By Wongai Zhangazha


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MDC Factions Seal Deal

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:15
THE two factions of the MDC this week sealed an agreement to work
together to defeat President Robert Mugabe in the presidential run-off set
for June 27.

Mugabe will square up against the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai in the

Officials from the two factions met in Bulawayo where the agreement
was hammered out.

The meeting followed earlier contact between the two sides held in the
same city on Sunday.

Sources who attended the meeting said Tsvangirai met with the other
faction's president Arthur Mutambara, his deputy Gibson Sibanda,
secretary-general Welshman Ncube, treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, and party
official Hilda Sibanda.

In Tsvangirai's entourage were his vice-president Thokozani Khuphe,
party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, and deputy secretary-general Tapiwa

"The meeting discussed several issues regarding the political
situation in the country and the run-off," one of the sources said. "Both
parties agreed on the need to work together in the run-off and the Mutambara
faction said it will vigorously campaign for Tsvangirai."

The two MDCs now have control of the House of Assembly as they
together won 109 seats against Zanu PF's 97. The factions in April agreed to
work together in parliament but couldn't agree on a pre-run-off pact.

According to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission results of the March 29
presidential election, Tsvangirai won 47,9% of the votes cast and Mugabe
43,2%. Independent presidential candidates Simba Makoni and Langton
Towungana shared the difference.

The MDC claims that Zanu PF has deployed state security forces - the
army, police and intelligence units - across the country to campaign for
Mugabe ahead of the run-off.

The army, has, however, denied pitching campaigns for Mugabe or
involving its officers in acts of violence, terror, and intimidation of
opposition supporters.

The deployments, the MDC claimed, has triggered a wave of violence
nationwide, which has claimed more than 60 lives, 200 missing, 3 000
hospitalised, and 25 000 internally displaced.

On the other hand, Zanu PF accuses the MDC of embarking on a violent
campaign trail that has seen houses of its officials being destroyed by MDC

By Nkululeko Sibanda

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Run-off Election Observers Arrive

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:12
OBSERVERS to the June 27 presidential run-off started arriving in the
country this week amid concerns by stakeholders that their arrival was too
late given the wave of political violence that swept through the country
since the March 29 elections.

The MDC has claimed that suspected Zanu PF activists and war veterans,
acting in cahoots with security forces, in a crackdown that has drawn wide
criticism from within Zimbabwe and beyond, have murdered 66 of its
officials, supporters and activists.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, while addressing a press conference
in Harare said it was apparent that Zanu PF was behind the violence.

"It is quite clear that the loser has embarked on a violent campaign
against the masses. It is obvious that it is the loser who has a score to
settle with the people because they did not vote for him, hence the violence
that has been witnessed," Tsvangirai said.

About 400 observers from Sadc will be dispatched to various parts of
the country to monitor the electoral environment as well as conduct.

Apart from the Sadc team of observers, the Zimbabwe Independent
witnessed a team from the Pan African Parliament (PAP) observer mission
doing the rounds in central Harare while other organisations friendly to the
Zimbabwe government are expected in the country next week.

The United Nations (UN) said it was willing to send an observer team,
but was yet to be invited by the government.

Sources within the Sadc observer body told the Independent yesterday
that their visit to Zimbabwe was more of a formality as nothing concrete or
binding would come out of the mission.

"We are here as always. Some of us come from countries where our
leaders would make statements that do not really mean anything to the people
of Zimbabwe," one of the observers said.

"You are bound to hear statements like this election was free and
fair. The usual stuff."

He added that what further exacerbated the situation was the divisions
within the bloc itself, with some member states rallying behind President
Robert Mugabe while others were in favour of a more critical approach.

South Africa has been the chief architect of the moves to provide
cover to Mugabe through its president, Thabo Mbeki.

Despite all the international pressure, Mbeki has stood firmly in
favour of Mugabe, leaving many local and international analysts wondering
about Mbeki's impartiality when mediating in the Zimbabwean crisis.

"The biggest challenge is to have Sadc having one voice on the issue
of the election," said the observer.

"That point where we have differing views on the same situation is
worrying to say the least. If there is violence, then let us all say so.
African leaders need to be united in condemning these acts of violence."

The observers said they had been given operational times in which they
would conduct their business of monitoring and observing the poll.

Sources revealed that they had been ordered, unofficially though, to
conduct their operations from morning until as late as 5pm. This, the
sources said, was unheard of, as they were conscious of the fact that
violence and intimidation was done under the cover of darkness.

"Some people have told us that we can not exceed 5pm hours when we are
doing our runs because it is pretty dangerous for us to do so," the observer

"This is impossible because for us, we are clear of the fact that
violence happens at night and if we are to be active enough, we will get to
come across these incidents of violence and intimidation," the observer

Dispatching the observers, the director of the Sadc Organ on Politics,
Defence, Peace, and Security, Tanki Mothae, said there was need for
observers to be "careful of our statements".

"We need to be very careful of the statements that we make when we are
out there. These should not be individual statements as they are bound to
put the organisation into disrepute. The main purpose of Sadc is to assist
the people of Zimbabwe to go through this (election) peacefully and
smoothly," Mothae said.

The arrival of the observer teams comes in the wake of a pledge by the
United States government that it would pour into the observation process of
the presidential run-off US$7 million.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters that the
US government would avail the money through its channels to enable the
observer teams to carry out their work as effectively as possible.

"We are going to contribute US$7 million to the election observer
effort. The money is not only to ensure that there are proper, sufficient
numbers from countries that are going to supply the observers, but that they
have the resources to do their job on the ground," McCormack told
journalists during a briefing on Wednesday.

By Nkululeko Sibanda


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Political Violence Breaks Out In Urban Areas

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:09
POLITICAL violence last week erupted in urban areas with both Zanu PF
and MDC supporters involved in skirmishes in Mbare, Epworth and Chitungwiza.

The post-election violence was until last week mostly confined to the

Residents in Mbare who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said since
last week Zanu PF youths have been terrorising people perceived to be MDC

"People are being interrogated, beaten and tortured for simply being
MDC members while men above the age of 18 are being forced to participate in
all-night vigils," one of the residents said.

The residents said the Zanu PF Mbare district office was issuing
passes to non-residents who wanted to conduct their business in the high
density suburb.

The Independent is in possession of one such pass that has a Zanu PF
Mbare district stamp.

A resident's organisation in the area this week issued a statement
condemning the assault of residents by Zanu PF youths.

"The Mbare Residents' Trust has no problem with activists mobilising
for their party's support, but we are concerned when some unruly elements
within the political establishment take advantage of peoples' freedoms to
invade peoples' homes, ransack their houses, beat them up and render them
powerless," said the trust.

The Trust said its investigations have established that some losing
Zanu PF council candidates in Mbare were involved in the orgy of violence.

Last week, vendors at the Mbare retail market were on Thursday, Friday
and Sartuday forced to assemble at Mai Musodzi Hall for "re-orientation"
meetings at which they were told to vote for President Robert Mugabe.

In Epworth, a semi-urban area on the outskirts of Harare, Zanu PF
supporters on Sunday night allegedly burnt six houses belonging to MDC

"The skirmishes occurred between 9pm and 11pm when Zanu ZF members
burnt and destroyed properties belonging to MDC supporters," an Epworth
resident said.

He said this irked the MDC supporters who later the same night decided
to retaliate by burning houses belonging to Zanu PF supporters.

"Around 1am, MDC supporters attacked and burnt four houses belonging
to Zanu PF supporters," he said.

In Chitungwiza violence broke out when alleged war veterans ordered
known MDC members
from conducting their business at Chikwanha Market.

According to Chitungwiza residents, a group of about 50 war veterans
closed the main entrance of the market on Saturday around 5am and only
allowed people with Zanu PF membership cards into the market and this
angered MDC supporters who beat them up.

One resident said: "The war veterans had to run for dear life after
they had been overpowered by the MDC youths."

At the time of going to press yesterday, police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena had not responded to questions from the Zimbabwe Independent. The
questions were sent to him on Wednesday.


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Zanu PF Bid To Control Parliament Crumbles

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 22:06
ZANU PF's attempts to regain control of parliament through challenging
the results of the House of Assembly elections in the Electoral Court
started crumbling this week after the court dismissed two petitions.

The MDC-T's hopes of gaining more seats were also dashed by the court's

The court dismissed the petitions from both sides on the grounds that
they were filed out of time, cited wrongly the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) as a respondent and service of the petitions was done at the party
headquarters instead of respondent's residential or business address.

Both Zanu PF and MDC filed 105 petitions and this week's rulings by
the court indicated that all the challenges from the two parties would be
thrown out.

Judge President Justice Rita Makarau on Wednesday dismissed a petition
lodged by the MDC challenging the House of Assembly poll results for Mutoko,
Mutoko South, Mutoko East and Mutoko North.

Makarau dismissed the application on the grounds that they were filed
outside the set deadline and at the wrong addresses.

"It is common cause that the petition before me was not served within
the 10 days stipulated in Section 169 (of the Electoral Act)," Makarau
ruled. "It ought to have been served on or before 24 April, having been
presented to court on April 14 2008. The petition was only served on May 12,
28 days after presentation."

Another electoral court judge, Justice Samuel Kudya, had earlier this
week dismissed a petition by independent candidate Hilary Simbarashe who had
challenged Zanu PF candidate Mabel Chinomona's victory in Mutoko South
alleging that there were irregularities in the voting process.

Kudya dismissed Simbarashe's petition on Monday on the basis of the
petitioner's failure to provide security for the costs of witnesses and
himself as the petitioner.

Simbarashe had in his petition cited ZEC, which according to the
electoral law cannot be sued.

However, alternately he could have cited the ZEC chairman George

The petitioners in the two dismissed cases have 15 working days to
appeal and if they fail to do so this could see the other remaining cases
falling away.

After these petition dismissals, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC's
chances of gaining control of parliament on its own have been thwarted
and they will need to unite with the Mutambara-led MDC to take charge of the
House. -- Staff Writer


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Mugabe Set To Meet With Youths

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:58
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is today expected to meet Zanu PF youths in
the capital to drum up support ahead of the June 27 presidential election
run-off against the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.

Since the launch of his run-off campaign on May 25, Mugabe and Zanu PF
have been targeting the youths to vote for the ageing leader who has been in
power since Independence in 1980.

Zanu PF's run-off information and publicity committee chairperson
Patrick Chinamasa confirmed yesterday that Mugabe would have an "interactive
meeting" with the youths who are drawn from throughout the country.

Chinamasa said the meeting was part of Zanu PF's campaign where Mugabe
would meet the electorate.

"This interactive meeting is part of our meet the people campaign
where our candidate President Mugabe will meet youths who will be drawn from
all parts of the country with the aim to understand their visions,"
Chinamasa said. "Cde Mugabe will have a one on one with the youths and get
to know where they are coming from and where they are going."

He said Mugabe would lecture the youths on the causes of the current
economic hardships in the country.

"We want them to be empowered and reassure them that even if they
might not have jobs they have education, which is the basis of all
empowerment, and guide them to be future employers," said the Justice

The interactive meeting was yesterday given immense mileage by the
public broadcaster, Power FM.

A recorded voice of MP elect for Mberengwa East Makhosini Hlongwane
was re-played several times describing the meeting as a "celebration of the
achievements that the youths have made and an appreciation of the work of
President Mugabe of deregulating and liberating the market".

However, the meeting has been described by director of Youth
Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe (Yidez), Sidney Chisi, as a desperate
measure by Zanu PF to hoodwink the youths with the aim of getting votes.

"It is very clear that this is just a desperate measure by Zanu PF to
deceive youths so that they get their votes in the upcoming elections,"
Chisi said. "While the government might have empowered us through education,
right now if you go around schools and colleges the education system has

He charged that the youths were being used by political parties to
beat up voters.

"Youths cannot talk about empowerment when the economy is sinking," he
added. "You can't give young people land and expect them to be empowered
with no resources. Zanu PF should start empowerment by genuinely listening
and responding to the needs of the youths. I urge youths to take the
interactive meeting with a pinch of salt."

Zanu PF, in one of its run-off advertisements, has resorted to hip-hop
lyrics in a bid to woo younger voters to vote for the 84-year-old Mugabe.

The advertisement features lyrics from the late American rap star
Tupac Shakur's early hit song Keep Ya Head Up from his album Strictly for my

By Wongai Zhangazha

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EU Revokes Contract With Chimedza

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:54
THE European Union (EU) has terminated Zimbabwe Medical Association
(ZIMA) president and Zanu PF's Masvingo province secretary for health, Paul
Chimedza's consultancy contract on allegations that he is linked to
political violence in Masvingo.

Chimedza was working for the EU as a consultant providing technical
assistance related to HIV and Aids and other chronic diseases.

In a circular to medical organisations and non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) dated May 19, the EU head in Zimbabwe, Xavier Marchal,
said Chimedza's contract was terminated because of his alleged role in
post-election violence against MDC supporters.

"I would like to inform you that due to allegations concerning
Chimedza's involvement in political violence in Masvingo area that raise
serious doubt about his professional integrity, we have decided to terminate
his contract with immediate effect," Marchal said. Chimedza was accused of
unleashing violence in Gutu South, a seat he was eyeing before Zanu PF
reserved it for a woman candidate, Shuvai Mahofa, in the March 29
parliamentary elections. Mahofa lost the election to the MDC's Elphas

Chimedza this week said he was shocked by the EU decision and
suspected that he had been targeted because of his Zanu PF membership.

"I was in France attending the World Medical Association council
meeting when the letter was circulated to several NGOs and organisations
that deal with the EU, informing them about the termination of my contract
based on political violence in Masvingo," Chimedza told the Zimbabwe

"These are serious allegations that need proof. It is very sad that
they had to terminate the contract on hearsay. The least they could have
done as professionals was to provide evidence. I expected them to make
decisions based on facts. We are living in a politically -- charged
environment and anyone can just say anything about me because I am a Zanu PF

Chimedza accused a member of Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human
Rights (ZADHR) of sending an e-mail to the British Medical Association
accusing senior members of ZIMA of being involved in political violence.

However, ZADHR chairman Douglas Gwatidzo denied the accusations saying
his organisation had nothing to do with the termination of Chimedza's

"We were not in any way involved in the termination of Chimedza's
contract with EU," Gwatidzo said. "That was a process that happened between
an individual and the organisation he was consulting for. We have heard
rumours accusing Chimedza of being involved in political violence in Gutu
South, but we have not received any evidence."

Specialist doctors' organisations in Zimbabwe, among them the Surgical
Society in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Anaesthetic Association, National Physicians
Association and Pediatric Association of Zimbabwe, last week distanced
themselves from the politically- motivated violence.

"There have been reports of some member(s) of the profession being
involved. We would like to disassociate ourselves from any member(s) who may
be directly or indirectly involved in violence," they said in a joint

ZIMA this week condemned acts of violence that has stretched
nationwide and urged political leadership and protagonists from any
political party or organization to stop instead exercise restraint and
uphold peace

Last week two MDC activists were killed while four were reported
missing and several others were seriously injured at Jerera Growth point in
Zaka, Masvingo after they were allegedly attacked by Zanu PF militia
popularly known as the hit squad boys.

By Wongai Zhangazha


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NGO Ban Worsens Plight Of The Poor

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:51
SIXTY-five-year-old Michael Sithole (not his real name) sits outside
his mud hut in the heart of Kezi district, Matabeleland South, deep in

Permutations on the next course of action are haunting him. His
agricultural harvests have been poor in the last four years. He has survived
on food handouts from donor agencies such as the World Food Programme and
Care International, among others.

The biggest challenge he faces is his inability to feed his four
children, wife, and his ailing sister who has been living with HIV and Aids
for the last three years.

"I am not able to feed these children you are seeing here and looking
after my sick sister. I am now old and have become dependent on support from
these people (donors). I wonder what the future holds for us now," he says
as he brushes his grey beard.

"That (donor assistance) was the only hope we had and we have been
told that these people are going back to Bulawayo because the government
does not want them here anymore.

"They are accused of telling us who to vote for. I think someone
failed to read politics because this is going to anger the people more as
the government has taken the people's livelihood away. Who can vote for
someone who pushes them further into abject poverty?" Sithole says, before
taking a swig of his favourite mahewu brew.

Given his age, he cannot be employed by any company and has had to
rely on tilling the land to raise enough food stocks to cater for his
family. Now that the land, which had become his source of food, has failed
to produce the food he needs, he has had to rely on the donor community for

The 50kg bag of mealie-meal, one 750ml of cooking oil, one 500g packet
of salt and one 500g of sugar beans he has been receiving monthly from these
donors will no longer come his way because government has banned operations
of NGOs.

Like Sithole, hundreds of people around the district, and millions
across Zimbabwe have all been left to face the debilitating effects of a
poor harvest and lack of government support with food aid. The announcement
by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister, Nicholas Goche last
week that government had banned all humanitarian NGOs from operating in the
country left millions of poverty-stricken villagers exposed to serious food

Aid groups have said more than four million Zimbabweans have been
depending on food aid.

Prior to the introduction of food aid by the donor community, there
were concerns by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that President
Robert Mugabe's government had been abusing food aid for political gain.

The MDC accused the government of denying its supporters food as a
tool to force the victims into submission and to desist from voting for the
10-year-old party.

Last week, it was the government's turn to accuse the food aid-related
NGO community of using food to lure votes for the MDC.

In a circular to the NGOs, Goche said: "It has come to my attention
that a number of NGOs involved in humanitarian operations are breaching the
terms and conditions of their registration as enshrined in the Private
Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Act (Chapter 17:05), as well as the provisions
of the Code of procedures for the Registration and operations of
Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (General Notice 99 of 2007).

"As the regulatory authority, before proceeding with the provision of
Section (10) sub-Section (c) of the Private Voluntary Organisations Act
(Chapter 17:05), I hereby instruct all PVOs/ NGOs to suspend all field
operations until further notice."

Goche, sources in the NGO community say, accused them of involving
themselves in political activities and campaigning for the MDC.

The MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai garnered 99 seats in the lower house
of assembly while Zanu PF, for the first time in Zimbabwe's history, came
second, with 97 seats. Arthur Mutambara's MDC garnered 10 seats while
independent Tsholotsho legislator and former cabinet minister, Jonathan
Moyo, retained his seat. In the presidential race, Morgan Tsvangirai raked
in 47,9% of the votes while Robert Mugabe garnered 43,2%.

But all the NGOs deny the allegation. They say they have been dealing
with humanitarian issues far divorced from the politicking that government
is accusing them of being engaged in. A spokesperson for Care International,
one of the affected NGOs told the Zimbabwe Independent last week all
organisations had a code of conduct document that bars any of their
employees from engaging in political activities.

"We have codes of conduct that all the employees abide by. This code
bars anyone from engaging in political activities. In fact, NGO ethics bar
us from such activities and we are prepared to prove that we have not been
doing what the minister (Goche) accuses us of doing," said the spokesperson.

Care International, the spokesperson said, was only involved in
assisting villagers in Midlands and Masvingo to set up clean water sources
as well as access them through funding of projects in line with water

"We have not campaigned for any individual or party. We have assisted
communities such as Chivi, Mberengwa, Gutu, Zaka, and Bikita, among others
to access water while we have also funded micro-credit schemes, home-based
care projects, helped orphans and vulnerable children as well as the
chronically ill," the spokesman said.

"Nothing political has ever been done in our organisation and we have
records to prove that."

The NGO has, since the start of its operations in Zimbabwe in 1992,
provided aid worth US$100 million to Zimbabwe, with more than 920 000
underprivileged people benefiting from its programmes every month.

"We have, as a result of the banishing order, recalled 300 staff
members from these communities. Very soon, we are gong to be holding a
meeting to review the next step to take in the face of the order by the
minister. If government says go ahead and stop operations for good, then I
am afraid there will be disaster on the ground," the spokesman said.

Nango spokesperson, Fambai Ngirande said the move by the government
would leave millions of people facing serious humanitarian problems that the
poor and underprivileged members of society would not be able to extricate
themselves from.

"What the government is doing is in legal contravention of the PVO Act
that protects the rights of the NGOs. What they are really trying to do is
to put their aspirations at the forefront of their own pursuits and this has
made it difficult for NGOs to operate," said Ngirande.

He said the biggest problem they were facing was the procedure they
had to undergo to allow food, medicine and information to be distributed in
the rural areas.

"The biggest challenge is the presence of war veterans and the
extra-legal means of control by the local government against humanitarian
efforts that attempt to assist people. These areas have been concealed by
pro-Zanu PF forces that have made it difficult for aid organisations to have
access to the areas where there are people who are faced with starvation,"
Ngirande added.

By Nkululeko Sibanda/Wongai Zhangazha


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Mugabe Victory 'Too Ghastly To Contemplate'

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:48
VICTORY by President Robert Mugabe in the presidential election
run-off is something the majority of Zimbabweans find "too ghastly to

Not that Mugabe is without support. He has his own fair share of
support but judging from the last election the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai is
far ahead.

However, the situation on the ground shows that a Mugabe victory is
still possible despite his plummeting popularity.

Mugabe and Zanu PF are already doing everything in their power to win
the run-off. His security chiefs have already said they will not allow
Tsvangirai to rule Zimbabwe prompting speculation of a military coup in the
event of the MDC leader's victory.

The question that lingers on the minds of everyone is what Tsvangirai
and the MDC will be able to do about it and whether they have a strategy in
place to deal with this worst-case scenario.

It has now become clear that the octogenarian leader has never had any
intention of giving up power, whatever the electorate decide.

The alleged killing and assault of opposition members and recent
remarks by Zanu PF hawks have been ample testimony to this.

The MDC alleged this week that Zanu PF's warlike campaign has claimed
66 lives, 200 people unaccounted for, 3 000 in hospitals, and over 25 000
internally displaced.

The party said it had also witnessed a continuing trend of targeted
attacks on its candidates in the harmonised elections, party leadership, and
members. It further claimed that its structures were being decimated with
its polling agents remaining prime targets.

A Zimbabwean lawyer based in the UK, Alex Magaisa, said, given the
political tension in the country, the run-off may produce two worst-case
scenarios which the MDC should prepare for before the poll.

The first scenario, Magaisa argued, would see Tsvangirai being
declared the winner of the run-off, but the victory rejected by Zanu PF.

"There is a real possibility that elements in Zanu PF will carry out
their threat to thwart his bid even if he wins," he said. "The elaborate
machinations following the March 29 election are indicative of their
intentions. Zanu PF is unlikely to change this stance."

But since Mugabe wants to be portrayed as a law-abiding leader,
Magaisa argued, a coup against Tsvangirai would be embarrassing to him,
hence the veteran leader would not allow such a scenario to happen.

"The second and more likely scenario is that Mugabe will be swiftly
declared the winner of the June 27 election," Magaisa argued. "Delaying the
result is unlikely as it has been seen to be counter-productive. This time
it will be a short, sharp and very swift execution conferring the presidency
to Mugabe."

He averred that such an announcement would provide the cover of
legality for Mugabe's presidency and places Tsvangirai and the MDC on the
back foot, making them the challengers to the process.

"This scenario will shift the balance of advantage from Tsvangirai and
the MDC to Mugabe and Zanu PF. It will be the MDC and Tsvangirai operating
from a position of weakness, being the 'losing' party," Magaisa said. "It is
quite likely that in that situation, Zanu PF will be more open to the idea
of a government of national unity.They would rather do it as a senior
partner than the junior guest invited to the MDC banquet."

He said at this stage the MDC would be faced with very hard choices,
which could be eased by forward planning.

The MDC, Magaisa advised, should be planning and strategising on how
to deal with the run-off defeat.

The lack of forward planning by the MDC and the consequences thereof
have been evident from the June 2000 parliamentary elections, the March 2002
presidential elections, the March 2005 House of Assembly elections and the
November 2005 Senate elections.

The MDC has been caught in the unenviable position of being the losing
candidate even where there was reason to believe otherwise.

Soon after the June 2000 parliamentary elections, the MDC - beaten by
a very slim five-seat margin by Zanu PF - vigorously contested the results
of 17 constituencies in court.

A stalemate working in Zanu PF's favour ensued and persisted until
2005 when several judgments, most in favour of the MDC, were delivered.

They were of no consequence as parliament had already been dissolved
and the MDC was left the sore loser desperately seeking legitimacy, a
situation which could have been averted had there been forward planning.

In March 2002, Mugabe was a few days after the announcement of the
presidential election inaugurated as president.

This made it rather difficult for Tsvangirai to contest the outcome of
the poll and the electoral crisis and controversy that surrounded the

As the MDC sought talks to resolve the crisis, Mugabe placed a
condition that was contrary to the objective of the talks. He demanded the
MDC recognise him as the legitimate president before inter-party talks could

This week Tsvangirai said he would win the elections even without

With the current statistics of dead, displaced, injured and missing
people, part of Zanu PF's strategy is now clear - to prevent these people
from voting for Tsvangirai and do sizeable damage to his previously
unassailable lead.

Tsvangirai's lead over Mugabe in the March 29 elections was not as big
as he had hoped for. He led the 84-year-old crafty president by only 115 832
votes - hardly a margin big enough to warrant uncapped optimism in his
circumstances, analysts said.

The analysts pointed out that as a result of violence, voter apathy
was likely to increase on June 27.

By Constantine Chimakure


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Zim Economic Crisis: Can It Get Worse?

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:30
THERE is no shortage of superlatives to describe the state of the
Zimbabwean economy. If statistics were to be believed, the country has the
worst economy in the world.

But can it really get any worse when every economic indicator suggests
we have hit rock bottom. Without a bold change in policy direction, the
economic outlook remains bleak. The truth is, economic fundamentals can
deteriorate further and inflation can still get worse. Zimbabwe's inflation
is hardly history's worst - in Weimar Germany in 1923, prices quadrupled
each month.

During hyperinflation in Yugoslavia, shoppers would use wheelbarrows
to transport bank notes for a shopping expedition.

There is a certain surrealism associated with analysing the Zimbabwean
economy; good news is as scarce as the US dollar. The impact of the economic
collapse is felt on every street corner and by every business. The country
has been in a deep recession and is experiencing hyperinflation for the last
decade. The impact of both on ordinary Zimbabweans has been retrogression
back to the Stone Age.

Besides breaking records as the country with the highest inflation
rate in the world, it is the comparative difference with other top five
countries rated on the current high inflation list which highlights the
Zimbabwean problem like a sore thumb. The second highest inflation is in war
torn Iraq, with an inflation rate of 53,2%, followed by Guinea 30,9%, San
Tome and Principe 23,1% and Yemen at 20,8%. Economists say that it is a
miracle that the Zimbabwe's economy is still surviving with the
unprecedented rise in prices and an unemployment rate of 80%.

So why is it that there are few, if any positive economic forecasts on
Zimbabwe? Could this be part of the often-touted "neo-liberal plot by the
West to sabotage the country?" The truth is that there have been few reasons
to cheer. The Zimbabwean government itself is deeply torn and conflicted
between an interventionist, command control policy prescriptive approach and
a free market approach to economic policy.

This has been typified in contradictory policies such as the floating
of exchange rates and the price controls or the high level fight against
inflation but expanding quasi-fiscal activities thereby increasing money
supply growth. The result has been a blend of less than austere economic
experiments unsuccessful anywhere else in the world. Beyond the short-term
need for political survival, the country's economic model remains uncertain,
if not non-existent.

On a balance of probabilities, weak policy formulation and
implementation has been as responsible for the economic crisis as the
"declared and undeclared sanctions". It is possible to find sympathy with a
school of thought which suggests that Zimbabwe has more of a "governance"
problem than it has an economic crisis.

The recent rise in inflation has been entirely man made. Inflation
surged between February, March and April following the sudden rise in money
supply that flooded the economy to finance the 2008 election and the June 27
presidential run-off. Reflecting this increase, the money market is
currently in a huge surplus, peaking at $15 quadrillion last week.

Unconfirmed reports indicate an increase in annual inflation from 355
000% in March 2008 to 732 000% in April and 1 700 000% in May. This
translates to a monthly inflation of 224% in March, 314% in April and 261%
in May which matches fundamentals on the ground. The late great Milton
Friedman told us that inflation is always exclusively a monetary phenomenon.

The recent paralysing rise in money supply has been a major
contributory factor to rising inflation. The central bank has never denied
that it has been printing money to fund some of the country's critical
supplies. This indeterminate rise in Money of Zero Maturity is considered to
be a reasonable proxy for watching the movement of M3, which is the broadest
measure of money supply.

The huge rise in inflation has also in part been attributed to the
depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar on the inter-bank foreign exchange
markets. Since the floatation of exchange rates, the Zimbabwe dollar has
been depreciating by an average of 20% daily due to sustained pressure on an
unsupported market. The parallel market has been ferociously resurgent, with
the interbank market playing catch up. Although the reasons for the
dominance of the parallel market are varied, there could be other dynamics
at play.

Often neglected is the fact that with industry utilisation at less
than 10%, there have been little or no exports. Companies have also been
discouraged from investing on the local market due to the general
uncertainty about the future values of their currency holdings or investment
portfolio which in turn leads to low levels of employment and economic
growth. The market for "free funds" often from people in the diaspora
sending money to their relatives has become the major source of foreign
currency. Currently, exchange rate tends to be driven by money transfer
rates than by the semi-liberalised interbank market.

Addressing the country's economic problems will not be easy but a
turn-around is possible. The central bank has introduced a couple of good
policies which have gone unsupported by business due to polarity or simply
contradicted by politicians in aid of political rhetoric. The liberalisation
of the foreign currency market is one such policy.

By Lance Mambondiani

Lance Mambondiani is an investment executive at Coronation Financial

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RBZ Adopts US$417m Zesa Debt

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:27
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has taken over Zesa Holdings'
staggering debt of US$417 million owed to Mozambique's power utility,
Hidro-electrica Cahorra Bassa (HCB), businessdigest can reveal.

Zesa Holdings chief executive Ben Rafemoyo said the RBZ had
ring-fenced the debt and has been financing debt repayments directly to HCB.

"The accumulated debt has been ring-fenced by the RBZ," Rafemoyo said
in an interview with businessdigest.

"They are now financing it. We are not aware how much they have paid
so far but we know that they took over the debt when it was around US$417

Zesa has been battling to pay the debt which had accumulated over a
number of years. This has seen regional power utilities cutting off power
supplies to Zimbabwe.

HCB together with DRC-based Snel have been Zimbabwe's most reliable
suppliers of electricity over the past two years.

South African's Eskom backed out of previous arrangements citing
growing electricity demand in South Africa.

Eskom's contract with Zesa is no longer firm and it now only provides
electricity when it has excess capacity. Zesa has a firm contract of 200
Megawatts (MW) with HCB.

This means Zesa will receive 200 MW of electricity daily from HCB
regardless of whatever challenges it is facing.

Businessdigest is also reliably informed that the RBZ grabbed US$14
million paid into Zesa's foreign currency account (FCA) by manufacturing and
mining companies that pay for electricity imported from HCB.

As of last week, the RBZ was reported to have only reimbursed US$5
million of the amount it is alleged to have diverted.

A number of mining and manufacturing companies pay for uninterrupted
power imports from regional power utilities in foreign currency following
the failure by Zesa to generate adequate electricity required by the

Rafemoyo would not confirm these claims saying: "My comments are
reserved." He however said challenges existed which had seen both the RBZ
and a number of banking institutions implicated.

Rafemoyo said in certain instances, banks had failed to make foreign
currency payments into Zesa's FCA account despite explicit instructions from
clients. He also said that the RBZ had been liable in other situations.

"There have been challenges," Rafemoyo said.

"Some of the fault lies with banks, some with the RBZ. In the process,
HCB has suffered. It is being worked out. But we are current with our
payments. There are no arrears."

However, central bank governor Gideon Gono vehemently disputed that
RBZ had ring-fenced Zesa's debt and that it had seized payments made by
manufacturers and miners. Gono said the claims were wild lies and false.

"Be careful to be misled in a defamatory and libellous way," Gono
said. "Banking is about confidence and we will not break that tradition but
rest assured, you are being led (down) the garden path."

Gono said the RBZ was repeatedly providing financial support through
foreign exchange allocations to Zesa. Zesa currently imports an average of
700 Mw a day and is at its lowest generating output in years.

By Kuda Chikwanda

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War Vets Launch Violent Price Control Blitz

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:25
A GROUP of suspected war veterans launched a violent price control
blitz targeting struggling food-manufacturing companies in Harare ahead of
the forthcoming presidential run-off.

They are forcing manufacturers to reduce their prices below those set
by the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC).

Their major targets are mostly bakeries and manufacturers of basic

Reports indicate that two groups of suspected war veterans moving in
two different trucks have since last Thursday been visiting various food
manufacturing companies forcing senior managers to slash prices.

So far the group has visited Natfoods, Blue Ribbon and a number of
bakeries in the country. The government has been accusing businesses of
raising their prices as part of a "regime change" agenda.

The war veterans clam that they have been asked to assist the NIPC in
monitoring the prices. A senior official in the Zimbabwe Bakers' Association
said a number of bakers have been forced to reduce their prices by war

"We have received reports of two groups of pseudo-NIPC officials
forcing companies to slash prices and accusing them of regime change," said
the official.

"What is worrisome is that these people are not only ordering
companies to reduce prices but they are also beating up workers who are
questioning their motive and identity."

The war veterans are telling business leaders that they have
instructions from the "top" to make sure that the prices are slashed. The
deputy chairman for the National Association of War Veterans, Joseph
Chinotimba denied that war veterans were part of the group.

"We are not violent," said Chinotimba.

"But I am warning these business people that we are planning to move
in if they don't reduce their prices now. I am not joking. I am angered
about these business people. We are coming for them. I am serious," said

NIPC chairman Godwills Masimirembwa said the commission had received
reports of war veterans threatening businesses.

"We have heard that. A number of companies have phoned to tell us
about that group," said Masimirembwa.

"I must mention that we have not asked for help from anyone. What
those people are doing is illegal and it must stop. Any company that is
approached by these people must report to the police. It's illegal."

By Bernard Mpofu


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Wheat Shortage Hits Zimbabwe

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:22
A SERIOUS wheat shortage has hit Zimbabwe with the country's stocks
literally wiped out and this has already started being felt by ordinary
consumers who this week experienced a huge hike in the price of bread and
bread-related products.

The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has no wheat stocks forcing the
country to rely on imports from Mozambique and South Africa.

Industry sources said wheat imports for this week amounting to 6 000
tonnes were far less than Zimbabwe's weekly consumption of 7 500 tonnes.

A total of 1 000 tonnes were in transit from Mozambique while 3 000
tonnes were expected from South Africa.

Harambe Holdings chief executive David Govere told businessdigest that
serious bread shortages would soon be experienced in the country.

Govere said the shortages would result in even higher inflation
induced by the ensuing food shortages.

"This means that the elections are going to be held in an environment
of serious food shortages which will result in even higher inflation induced
by shortages," Govere said. "Even if additional wheat were to be paid for
this week, it will take three to four weeks to finally result in bread sold
on the market," said Govere.

Govere said there was an estimated residual 20 000 tonnes of wheat
stuck on farms which could not be delivered because of the low prices
currently being offered by the GMB.

GMB is paying just $42 million for every tonne of wheat delivered by
farmers while farmers are demanding in excess of $1,5 trillion a tonne.
International wheat prices are in the region of US$630 a
tonne ($1,8 trillion at the interbank rate).

Govere said government needed to raise enough foreign currency to
secure the wheat and quickly move it to millers.

He said government had to move away from concentrating on the input
side to increasing producer prices and output incentives.

"The last five years has shown that supporting agriculture through
inputs leads to abuse, diversion, corruption and speculation with little or
no bearing at all on outputs," Govere said.

GMB managing director Albert Mandizha was said to be at a funeral
while acting MD, Zvidzai Makwenda would not take a call from businessdigest.

His secretary promised he would return the call but he had not done so
at the time of going to press.

Zimbabwe's wheat harvest has been a serious disaster.

The crisis has been compounded by unfulfilled promises of payment to
wheat farmers made by the Reserve Bank.

Several farmers started 2008 still waiting for their payments from the
2006-2007 winter wheat season with some pledging not to farm anything this

Farmers have only planted 8 963 hectares of wheat which was 13% of
government's target of 70 000 ha and 53% less than the total hectarage put
under wheat in the 2006/7 farming season.

Agricultural minister Rugare Gumbo confessed last month that farmers
had missed the target and according to him, this had been a result of
shortages of fertilisers, fuel and frequent breakdowns of tillage

Before Zanu PF members and allies invaded white-owned farms, Zimbabwe
used to produce close to 400 000 tonnes of wheat.

Bread shot up on Wednesday evening from between $750 million and $900
million a loaf to prices between $1,7 billion and $2 billion as the effects
of the wheat shortages and the hyperinflationary environment began to be

By Kuda Chikwanda

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New Tax Band Not Effective

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 21:18
GOVERNMENT'S new tax-free threshold announced this week will not help
the struggling workers because it has come too late analysts said.

Analysts said the new tax-free thresholds amounted to deception by
government because of inflation that is currently at 1 700 000%.

Government reviewed the tax-free threshold to $25 billion from $1
billion. The figure translates to less than a month's transport costs. In
real terms, it is less than the price of two litres of cooking oil, which
now costs $27 billion from about $15 billion at the beginning of last week.

According to the new bands, those earning over $300 billion will now
be taxed at 47,5%. But analysts are calling for the tax bands to be adjusted
in line with the inter-bank exchange rate.

Earlier this month the National Incomes and Pricing Commission
recommended minimum monthly salary level of $100 billion in line with the
inter-bank rates.

As at May 15 when the thresholds were set, the Zimbabwe dollar was
trading at $235 million against the US dollar. This rate has since shot up
to about $3 billion on the inter-bank market and there is speculation that
the figure could reach the $5 billion mark by June 27.

On paper the reviewed tax-free band represents a 25-fold jump but
analysts argue that the figure is still insufficient. Tendai Mavhima, a tax
expert said there was need to constantly adjust the tax-free thresholds in
line with the changing economic environment.

"These rates must be self adjusted and they will automatically change
on a daily basis due to the use of the inter-bank rates," said Mavhima.

"There are a number of other very important measures, which should
have been considered. Exempt
portion of bonus is still pegged at $75 million yet companies are now
paying monthly or quarterly bonuses.

Submissions have also been made to consider tax exemption on transport
and housing allowances.

In a related matter Kingdom Financial Holdings has taken a head-on
approach to inflationary pressures by introducing fortnightly salaries to

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last week was quick to disapprove
the indexing of salaries and wages in line with the inter-bank rates saying
the decision was "patently flawed".

"More precisely, what the NIPC is advocating, that is, indexing wages
and salaries to the exchange rate, is not compatible with policy paradigm
inclined towards price controls," Gono said.

Independent economist John Robertson said the new tax-free threshold
is "inadequate" adding that indexing salaries and wages was a "vicious
cycle" resulting from scarce foreign exchange and suppressed capacity
utilisation of industry.

"The new tax bands are a reflection of government's embarrassment on
failed policies," Robertson said.

"Indexing salaries and wages to the inter-bank rate is just a response
to the problem. Our inability to produce and policies deliberately chosen to
discourage investors are the cause of this vicious cycle."

By Bernard Mpofu

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The Political Cost Of The Missing Vote

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:23
ONE big question that pro-government opinion makers and supporters
have always been using in the debate about President Robert Mugabe's
popularity in the face of growing discontent is how his party still managed
to cling to nearly half of its seats in parliament, and how the presidential
poll was lost with a slight margin.

This, they argue, shows that the government is still popular as it
still managed significant support in a country said to be wholeheartedly in
favour of change.

But the biggest weakness in this argument is its ignorance of one
yawning factor on Zimbabwe's extremly uneven political playing field, that a
good third of its good working population of 12 million is out of the

I assume about a third of Zimbabwe's active population is politically
disenfranchised. The diaspora population is a missing vote in the political
struggle that would no doubt tip the scales much more sharply in favour of
the opposition party.

This missing vote is made up of mostly skilled, educated professionals
who have been forced to migrate to other countries including the United
Kingdom, United States, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Namibia.

They are teachers, technicians, business professionals and other
members of Zimbabwe's disappearing middle class that has virtually fled the

This voice has been missing in the country's development over the past
few years, politically and economically displaced by destructive economic
policies that have turned them into refugees. By repatriating foreign
currency to their familes back home, many of them have been economically
shielding their familes from hyper-inflation and food shortages.

But they have done that at the cost of sacrificing the right to vote
in Zimbabwe's elections, and apparently giving the reactionary government
breathing space in what is really a losing situation.

However, this time, even in the absence of the missing vote, worsening
economic conditions and rising reports of physical intimidation might just
tip the home vote for the MDC.

For so long the government has managed to take advantage of the
missing diaspora vote, but come June 27 all that may soon come to nought as
hardship reaches its peak, bringing more people to unite against a common

By Givemore Nyanhi

Nyanhi is a freelance journalist based in Maputo.

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The Paradox Of Foreign Aid

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:06
ALTHOUGH the stated intention is to assist the poor economies,
ostensibly most foreign aid benefits the donor countries. The modus operandi
has been that the rich West provides financial assistance or loans to poor
nations to engage Western consultants or institutions to carry out
unsustainable and useless projects on the continent.

As a result, there is minimum benefit to the African country while the
money is recycled back via Western institutions.

This is partly why there is very little to show for the US$400 billion
in aid that has apparently been disbursed to the African continent since
1960. Economic growth and human development in Africa still lag behind the
rest of the world. To a large extent this is because past aid flows were
often spent to suit the geo-strategic interests of the givers.

Yes, there has been abuse, incompetence, and corruption by recipients,
but these constitute a second order challenge. Today, Africa represents less
than 2% of world trade.

While Asia and Latin America have advanced through integration into
the global economy, Africa has yet to make globalisation work for its

The foreign aid strategy has been to convince emerging African
economies to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development - loans
that are much larger than needed - and to guarantee that the development
projects were contracted to Western corporations like Halliburton and

Once these African countries are saddled with huge debts, the Western
governments and the international aid agencies allied with them are able to
control these economies and to ensure that oil, minerals and other natural
resources were channelled to serve the interests of Western economies.

The perverted task has been to encourage African leaders to become
part of a vast network that promotes Western commercial interests. In the
end, those leaders become ensnared in a web of debt that ensures their
loyalty. The rich countries can then draw on them whenever they desire - to
satisfy their political, economic, or military needs.

In turn, they bolster their political positions by bringing industrial
parks, power plants, and airports to their people through Western
contractors. The owners of these Western engineering and construction
companies become fabulously wealthy. The givers of aid benefit more than the

While fresh promises of doubling aid to Africa to US$50 billion a year
are to be welcomed, this financial assistance alone will not be sufficient
in transforming our continent. The consequences of aid dependence must be

Countries that have used aid as temporary support while driving
domestic and foreign investment have achieved lasting success. Aid should
strengthen the bonds between governments and their own citizens, including
business communities.

It should aim to build stronger domestic institutions and transfer
skills to local leaders, managers and entrepreneurs. There has to be close
alignment of aid with national priorities, working hand in glove with
African institutions. This approach stresses the effectiveness of aid as
transitory support, avoiding long-term dependence.

Aid and debt relief must be used as stimulants and catalysts for
economic development and growth. Please do not give us fish. We would rather
learn how to fish. This is how we can build sustainable African economies.
Furthermore, there is need to remove external conditionalities and replace
them with internal policy clarity.

This means that knowing ourselves what we need to do, and articulating
this clearly, is more important than doing what the donors prescribe to us.
There must be alignment and congruency between aid and domestic economic
development plans.

What is really critical for sustainable socio-economic transformation
is economic development through private capital. We need innovation-driven
investment from citizens and foreigners.

Africa receives less than 10% of the US$500 billion in annual private
capital flows to emerging markets. This global investment inflow is five
times the amount of official development assistance to all emerging

The challenge is how to increase the investment flows into our
continent, and not how to attract more aid. We need both political and
economic stability.

These are dependent on shared economic growth and political
inclusiveness. This has to be through a regional strategy to ensure
sustainability and also inspire confidence in those international investors
who have a regional or continental approach to Africa.

The constraints and challenges facing different African countries are
not necessarily universal to each economy, and they certainly do not affect
all our countries equally. This is why there will never be a successful
"one-size-fits-all" African economic solution to our continent's development
challenges. However, generic elements of the different country-specific
economic models can be identified and lessons extracted and extrapolated
from one country to the next.

The barriers that governments and the state bureaucracy put in the
path of entrepreneurs and corporations need to be urgently removed.
Individuals and companies create wealth, not governments. State actors
should see their role as enablers of business, and not gatekeepers that
control and hamper it. They should merely create the right policy

We need to move away from a paradigm where the government does things
for people or institutions. The objective should be to enable and facilitate
individuals and institutions, which then advance their interests and those
of the wider society.

Each African country must have a national economic vision and a
substantive strategy for growth and development in pursuit of that vision.
That national vision must be linked to both the regional and continental

In designing and executing all these innovation-driven economic
frameworks, there must be national, regional and continental inclusiveness
leading to shared economic growth and prosperity. This is the only way to
achieve sustainable economic prosperity on the African continent.

By Arthur Mutambara

Professor Arthur Mutambara is the leader of a faction of the MDC.


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Liberty Is A Right Not Privilege

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 19:44
THE shocking move by the Attorney General's (AG's) Office to ensure
that "those arrested are locked up right up to trial", marks another
shameful plunge of the domestic legal system back to the dark days of
dissipated repression.

Johannes Tomana, the Deputy Attorney General (Criminal Division) is
reported to have said, in relation to suspects arrested on allegations of
either committing or inciting political violence, that the AG's office would
"deny bail to all suspects" arrested on charges of either committing or
inciting political violence.

He is quoted as having said: "Bail is opposed as a matter of policy.
It (the "tough stance") is going to choke the prison population, but what do
we do? Do we allow them to continue burning down people's homes? Jail is not
nice. It is not meant to be nice."

Tough indeed! Zimbabwean jails do rank among the toughest in the
world, and that makes the policy really tough.

The Herald newspaper of Tuesday June 10 patted the AG's office on the
back through a Comment which claimed that the AG's decision was "timely". It
hails the AG's office "for the progressive decision to deny bail to all
perpetrators and instigators of politically motivated violence".

The newspaper does not even bother to refer to the potential victims
of the forthcoming blitz as accused persons. Outrageous remarks are made to
the effect that: "Bail is not a right, but a privilege that can be withdrawn
if the circumstances are deemed prejudicial to society and/ or justice."

It is this sort of distorted mentality that rulers of the day can, on
the basis of their whims and caprice, just strip citizens of fundamental
rights, and reclassify the rights as "privileges".

The cartoon in the same newspaper illustrates graphically the depth of
the pressmen and women's miscomprehension of remand and bail issues. The
cartoon shows a man from the AG's office throwing the key to remand prison
into what seems to be a sea. It implies that political violence suspects
must rot in jail.

The Herald could, maybe, be forgiven for being so naïve and
dangerously wrong as to believe that freedom and liberty are privileges, not
rights. The men and women running that media house are probably laymen and
laywomen without a clue about the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe
as far as it relates to fundamental freedoms and about human rights law.

But it is unforgivable for any law officer from the Attorney General's
office, who is supposed to be learned, to mislead the nation into believing
that bail is a privilege to be determined upon by a prosecutor. There is
nothing "progressive" about denying bail to "all perpetrators and

If anything, there is everything retrogressive about it.

The "tough jurisprudence" at the AG's office proceeds from the
assumption that the hapless suspects have in fact burnt down people's homes
and that they are guilty of political violence. Under the reasoning of the
"tough stance", "suspects" will now cease to be suspects; they will be
deemed to be convicts until acquittal, if they get it, at trial.

Now that line of thinking is abhorrent to contemporary legal thinking.

One of the most basic tenets of modern criminal law is that every
person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

This presumption of innocence also covers suspects in criminal cases;
it also covers suspects who are arrested on charges of either committing or
inciting political violence. Closely linked to the presumption of innocence
concept is the constitutional principle that each citizen in a democratic
society is entitled to his or her liberty.

Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that
"everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an
independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and
obligations and of any criminal charge against him".

Under the system that the AG's office now wants to bulldoze into our
justice system, with the support of The Herald, citizens who are accused of
political violence would obviously not be able to enjoy the right, not
privilege, to be heard as provided for at international law. Article 3 of
the same instrument provides that "everyone has a right to life, liberty and
security of person"

It must be noted that liberty is referred to as a "right", not a
privilege. Ruling politicians are notorious for saying principles to be
found in international legal instruments are foreign and inapplicable to
African citizens.

We must therefore refer to the Constitution of Zimbabwe which also
carries a bill of rights that is largely similar to the provisions of the
Universal Declaration of Rights. Citizens in other African States also enjoy
fundamental rights, including the right to be heard and the right to liberty
as read with the presumption of innocence, in accordance with their own

The rights and concepts outlined herein above were made part and
parcel of the domestic legal system way back in 1979 at the codification of
the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which we still use today. There have been no
constitutional amendments to do away with these fundamental rights.

Section 13 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the protection
of the right to personal liberty. Then Section 18 (3) (a) of the same
instrument states that "every person who is charged with a criminal offence
shall be presumed innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty".

It is for the reason that the law cherishes these sacred tenets:
liberty, fairness, and presumption of innocence that the bail procedure
provides for. It does not matter whether a citizen supports Zanu PF, the MDC
or any other political party. The sacredness of these principles is

Liberty is so sacred in normal and just societies to the extent that
bail may be granted even after conviction. If an accused citizen has been
convicted of any offence and she/he intends to appeal against the conviction
or the sentence or both, that person will be entitled to apply for the
restoration of his or her liberty. The domestic Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act provides that an accused person may at any time and in respect
of any offence, apply to a magistrate or a judge, to be admitted to bail

There is even a provision in the statute that empowers police officers
of or above the rank of assistant inspector or any police officer in charge
of a police station whatever his rank, to release into liberty, suspects "at
a police station and at such time as no judicial officer is available".

There is no provision in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, nor in other
statutes, which empowers the Attorney General's Office to preside over bail
applications. It is therefore baffling to hear that the AG's office has
decided to "deny bail to all perpetrators."

The policy threatens the authority of
the judiciary and the independence of prosecutors who must approach
each case on the basis of its unique facts, realities and considerations.

In determining whether or not a suspect qualifies for placement on
remand with bail, the judicial officer or the police officer must consider
well-established and considered factors.

If the prosecution does not share the respect that the Constitution
gives to liberty as a right, or if the Attorney General's office believes
that it has reasonable grounds to object to bail in any case, the most that
could be done would be for that objecting officer to communicate the
objection to the sitting magistrate or judge on a case by case basis.

The decision as to whether bail will be granted or not must be taken
by the judicial officer, having heard the submissions of both sides.

By Chris Mhike

Chris Mhike is a legal commentator.


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Election Observers Late

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 19:42
THE presence of regional and international observers as well as United
Nations (UN) peacekeepers in the country ahead of the presidential run-off
will be ineffective at this late stage, analysts have said.

The president of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, believes that the
presence of a Sadc observer mission and UN observers and peacekeepers will
help end the post-March election violence against opposition supporters
before the June 27 run-off.

Tsvangirai will square up against President Robert Mugabe, whom he
out-polled in the first round but failed to garner sufficient votes to
assume the presidency.

The MDC leader hoped that if the observers and peacekeepers were
dispatched in time, this would stop the wave of violence against the party's
supporters being perpetrated by alleged Zanu PF militia and state security

"It is quite clear to us that (President) Robert Mugabe is prepared to
do literally anything to secure victory," David Coltart, an MDC Senator, was
quoted as saying this week as he added his voice to calls for election
observers from the UN.

But analysts said Mugabe's government - hostile to the prospect of
international observers - would not only refuse to heed calls to accept
international observers but also continue with the violent campaign in which
the MDC claimed that 66 of its supporters have been killed, 200 are
unaccounted for and 25 000 people displaced.

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku said
it was pointless for regional and international observers to now come into
the country with the hope of establishing whether the election was free or

"We are now left with less than two weeks, there is absolutely no
point in having the observers around," Madhuku said.

"The so called run-off election will only yield a result in which Zanu
PF wins. As long as an election is flawed, you can be assured that no matter
how many international observers and even peacekeepers are around, nothing
will change."

Madhuku said a run-off was not viable for the country and that in any
case, Mugabe's government would not accept the presence of international
observers, monitors and peacekeepers.

"They will never permit their presence. If they do, it will be shortly
before the election," Madhuku said.

Madhuku said the peacekeepers and observers should have been deployed
well before the election.

"If you want peacekeepers and international observers, it has to be
before an election," Madhuku said. "There should be no run-off. It will
needlessly result in quite of a lot of deaths by the end of the election."

University of Zimbabwe (UZ) lecturer in Political Science, Professor
Eldred Masunungure, concurred with Madhuku's sentiments saying the only way
for observers to be effective was for them to be deployed in time, in
sufficient numbers and for them to cover the entire country.

"There has to be sufficient feasibility in terms of how they cover the
rural areas," Masunungure said. "They have to be here in time so that they
can make a difference. It is now too late for their presence to be of any

Masunungure said the observers had to observe politically-motivated
violence, the police and the media terrain as well.

"ZBC has been atrocious since March 29," Masunungure said. "Monitoring
the police has been of little benefit to us. The performance of the police
has been very horrible, barring rallies and harassing members of the

The ZBC has blacked out Tsvangirai and the MDC from the screen save
for negative publicity and this has been in contravention of the Sadc
protocol governing elections that was adopted in August 2004.

At the same time, the police last week said they could not permit
Tsvangirai to hold rallies and used spurious claims that they feared there
would be assassins in the crowds that would possibly seek to kill him.

Time has been running out for the effective deployment of regional and
international observers and monitors. The MDC had hoped for their deployment
before June 1.

By June 11, only 50 Sadc observers from Botswana had been stationed in
the country. Three hundred and fifty from other Sadc countries were yet to
find their way into Zimbabwe.

At the same time, the UN was permitted to send a special envoy to the
country for the time being.

Both regional and international observers are now caught in a complex
situation - one in which they are damned if they do come with less than two
weeks before the polls and damned if they don't come at all.

"What difference will the presence make now?" Masunungure asked. "It
is already too late. It is a different matter for an advance team to stay in
five-star hotels in Harare or in other provinces and listen to briefings
given to them while they enjoy the plush surroundings of their hotels. They
have to observe what is on the ground."

Masunungure said the Zanu PF government would delay the arrival of UN
observers and peacekeepers and then permit them into the country with less
than a week left before the election.

"Mugabe's government is likely to put all sorts of obstacles,
bureaucratic and administrative, in the way," he said.

But Joseph Kurebwa, a UZ Political Science lecturer and pro-Zanu PF
analyst, said there was absolutely no need for a UN peacekeeping mission.
Kurebwa said the level of violence in the country was far from that which
would warrant UN peacekeepers.

"In terms of violence, it is a very low level of conflict between the
two parties," Kurebwa said. "It does not warrant a peacekeeper mission. It
would require the UN Security Council to decide the situation as critical
and alarming and we all know the violence is far from that."

Kurebwa also said there was no need for a UN observer mission as there
was already a country team in the country.

"There is a UN country team in Zimbabwe," Kurebwa said. "If the UN
wishes to observe, then it should do so through the country team resident in
Zimbabwe. The country team can register as observers."

A Human Rights Watch report released this week seems to give the
impression that Mugabe's government does not care about its regional or
international image any more.

The report discusses the violent campaign which it said was aimed at
decimating the opposition and ensuring that Mugabe was returned as president
in the runoff elections.

It names the violent campaign as having been codenamed Operation
Mavhoterapapi and says that if the current conditions are maintained, there
is absolutely no possibility of a credible free and fair election.

The report names senior army and police officers allegedly behind the
violence campaign buttressing arguments that image and reputation in the
coming runoff is the last thing on Zanu PF's mind.

Masunungure said Mugabe's government was simply prioritising matters
and its reputation was currently not topping the list.

"Any regime wants to protect or promote its reputation or repair a
damaged reputation," Masunungure said. "Zanu PF and government's reputation
is extremely soiled and government is obviously keen to spruce it up. But it
depends on whether they will jeopardise their chances of winning the runoff
if they do so."

Masunungure said Zanu PF would prioritise retaining power and shelve
the invitation of observers and peacekeepers.

"If other priorities clash with their winning the election, they will
have to be forced down the ladder," he said. "Zanu PF has a reputation to
protect but winning this election is far more important. They will do it all

In the past elections, the Zanu PF government has invited "friendly"
observer missions from the Sadc community. These have not observed the
entire period running up to the elections and in most cases coming into the
country just a month or less before the elections.

Political violence has risen from 2005 parliamentary election levels
and now resembles the levels of witnessed in the June 2000 parliamentary
elections and the March 2002 presidential elections.

By Kuda Chikwanda

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Comment: What About 'The Day After'?

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:20
WHOEVER wins the run-off on June 27 will inherit a divided and injured

Zanu PF may be in denial about the extent of the violence and indeed
about its own responsibility, but the facts are evident on the ground. This
far exceeds the excesses of 2000/2002 in that the violence has been
systematic and has conveyed to the outside world the firm impression that
President Mugabe will not allow a democratic verdict to unseat him.

That remains to be seen. But what is not in dispute is the
institutional disaster that Zimbabwe currently represents. Despite 28 years
of Independence, we seem unable to run an election transparently or
peacefully and levels of hate-speech in the public media are a testimony to
the deep divisions that exist within our society.

There is clearly an ideological divide. Zanu PF believes it is a
victim of an Anglo-American conspiracy, a view dismissed by the opposition
as puerile nonsense. Zimbabwe's problems, they argue, are the product of
populist posturing and gross mismanagement of the economy. The government
for instance is continuing to print money despite the heavy toll
hyper-inflation is taking on the economy and people's day-to-day struggle to
survive. Nobody admits responsibility as the situation deteriorates by the
day. This is misgovernance writ large.

Meanwhile, in clear violation of the Sadc Mauritius protocol, the
opposition is denied equal access to the public media. Instead, the only
voice heard across the land is President Mugabe's.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission seems unable to understand the
importance of its mandate which requires professional management of the
election, independent of government's blandishments. It continues to allow
government to arrogate to itself the function of inviting observers and
foreign media which means only those sympathetic to the regime will be

Perhaps most egregiously, the opposition has been denied the right to
campaign. Morgan Tsvangirai has been told he cannot hold rallies while Zanu
PF has a free rein everywhere. It remains to be seen whether a court order
allowing Tsvangirai's rallies to proceed will be obeyed.

What nobody has considered is "the day after". While the MDC are
committed to restoring relations with the international community, and
particularly the Bretton Woods twins, Zanu PF is engaged in a war of words
with North America, Europe and Australasia. Even Zambia, upon whom we depend
for maize imports, has been subjected to the vitriol hitherto reserved for
the West.

And aid agencies who were keeping many of our people fed have been
told to close shop because they are exposing the government's delinquency.

In the event of a victory for Mugabe, what can he offer apart from
more of the same? Are voters to be asked to endure more pain for a
"sovereignty" that doesn't feed them, for an empowerment that doesn't serve
them, and for an iron grip that doesn't liberate them?

Will Zimbabwe become an African Burma? Certainly our generals seem to
have taken their cue from those who locked up Aung San Suu Kyi who won an
election in 1990. And it is now an offence to predict the outcome of an
election on the basis of figures provided from polling stations!

Nobody doubts today that Tsvangirai would win a poll held in accord
with the Mauritius terms. But the institutional barriers and intimidatory
tactics of the ruling party may yet thwart those who saw in his candidacy a
new national dawn.

While those so viciously assaulted in recent weeks, or the families of
those killed, may feel alienated from a ruling party they once trusted, they
may be unable or unwilling to return to their homes and vote.

In so far as that is the case, Zanu PF will have fulfilled its
objective of making voting for change a pointless exercise. Mugabe said as
much prior to the March poll.

For the people of Matabeleland, only 35% of whom turned out in March,
there is every reason to vote in two weeks time. This will be a close-run
thing and every vote counts. Even in the cities where the MDC is paramount
it is vital that people understand that for the first time they can make a

For those who have their reservations about the MDC, the alternative
of doing nothing will surrender the country into the hands of a politically
bankrupt party which wants to retain power for its own sake. With inflation
at over 1 700 000% the cost of another term for Mugabe is too ghastly to

So let's forget about the GNU for the time being. What is needed now
is focus and resolve. The people spoke unambiguously on March 29. No effort
has been spared by Zanu PF in trying to reverse that verdict. They must not
be allowed to do so.

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Candid Comment: Mugabe's Phoney Revolution

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:17
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's campaign team is claiming he is fighting to
retain power because he wants to defend the revolution and empower the
people 100% - whatever that means.

The pretensions that Mugabe is a revolutionary are captured by quoting
serious revolutionaries like Ernesto Che Guevara and outrageously using
their symbols, memory and history to preserve tyranny.

Che's Guerrillero Heroico (heroic guerilla) picture - consisdered by
some to be the most famous photograph in the world - is also abused to
safeguard naked autocracy.

Even rap artists like the late famous American musician, actor and
social activist Tupac Amaru Shakur also have their legacy abused in defence
of the dictatorship.

This is barely surprising coming as it does from a repressive party
driven by deceptive propaganda and myths.

Using Tupac's messages is entirely inappropriate. Most of Shakur's
songs are about growing up amid violence, ghetto adversities, racism,
problems in society and conflicts with other rappers. Tupac's work advocates
political, economic, social and racial equality, as well as his raw
descriptions of violence, drug and alcohol abuse and conflicts with the law.

This is absolutely irrelevant to Mugabe's campaign. The quotes which
are used in Mugabe's adverts are clearly taken out of their original context
and opportunistically superimposed on his campaign.

Mugabe is not like Che and indeed the Argentine Marxist revolutionary
is wholly unlike Mugabe.

Che, a politician, author, physician, military theorist, and guerilla
leader, whose stylised image became an ubiquitous countercultural symbol
worldwide, was a revolutionary at heart, driven by experiences and
observations which led him to fight for a world revolution to end economic
inequalities and poverty through a radical ideology.

He fought in Latin America and Africa for his ideals moving from one
place to another as soon as his mission was accomplished. Although he has
been venerated and reviled in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, books,
essays, documentaries, songs, and films, he is not a phoney.

By contrast, Mugabe is clearly not a revolutionary. His history,
actions and policies past and present cannot support such a claim. Mugabe's
claim to a revolutionary mantle and mythical façade have been shattered by
history. Even his contempararies have clearly stated that he is anything but
a revolutionary. It has become clear that at the very least Mugabe
hijacked - after he was forced to reluctantly assume a leadership role - the
cause of a failed revolution to grab and monopolise power.

He was not driven by profound ideological beliefs in his quest but by
an opportunistic desire to lead and dominate as soon as he was thrust by a
combination of detention, coups and dangerous accidents of history to the

Zanu PF, which Mugabe leads, is also not a revolutionary organisation.
At the very least it is a mob party motivated by gaining power to access
state resources by all means necessary. It has no cohesive, coherent or
discernible ideology to talk about. It also does not believe the era of
ideology is gone and has been replaced by an age of pragmatism.

In other words, Mugabe and Zanu PF are ideologically nondescript.

Where in the world have you heard a revolutionary who complains that
his policies - in this case the land reform programme - did not succeed
because the imperialist power (Britain in this case) refused to provide the
money and resources to finance them?

Mugabe is claiming Britain reneged on its promise to fund land reform.
This can't be the thinking and language of a revolutionary. Imagine Che
complaining his programmes did not work because the US and Britain did not
give him the resources.

Even after taking over in 1980, Mugabe did not reform the settler
colonial state along the lines of a revolutionary programme. He was happy to
even assume instruments of coercion and legal relics of the colonial regime.
The new state did not at all reflect a society emerging out of a revolution.
Its fabric and pillars remained untouched, while some of its aspects were
preserved up to this day.

Mugabe and his sclerotic party's motives and objectives underlying
their current fading domination are clear: power, position, reshaping
society in their own image to consolidate their rule and primitive

One should remember that none of these interests would be served if
they relinquish power. That is why Mugabe and his party are fighting tooth
and nail to cling to power. They are also clinging on because of their fear
of prosecution for human rights abuses, but the primary motive is without a
doubt self-interest.

Zanu PF's story in many ways is a tale of violence and power conquest,
plunder, theft and robbery which destroyed the economy. Of course, there is
a lot of good things Mugabe and Zanu PF did, but they are currently
hopelessly overshadowed by their legacy of economic ruin, poverty and
violence. No doubt they will be remembered more for the tragedy - not
revolutionary change - they visited upon the country than the good work they
did in the past.


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Editor's Memo: A Culture Of Impunity

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:12
IT started off as two then it jumped to 10. Soon it was 32 before it
moved to 42. Just last week the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said
the number of its supporters killed in political violence perpetrated by
suspected Zanu-PF activists had reached 65.

As I write this it is 66. Still the body count continues.

Of course that does not include those missing and other bodies that
are probably buried in shallow graves across the country.

The real number might never be known.

Zanu PF has started its own body count. They say MDC members are
killing their supporters too. Five or seven is what their body count has
achieved so far.

We are now in body-counting mode. Suddenly these victims of brutality
are supporters of political parties first and then human beings second. Dead
bodies have become political commodities.

People are owned in this country dead or alive. It's as if political
leaders see the corpses as just statistics to be used to augment the damning
case against the other.

We are living in dangerous times.

Human lives have become dices with which to score political points.
The more bodies you pin on your opponent the more points you get, the logic
seems to say.

But if there is any really disgusting part of this "game" it's that
nobody is talking about finding a solution to the crisis.

Everyday we wake up to count more dead bodies which we immediately
brand MDC or Zanu PF supporters. It's as if we bury them and wait for more
to come.

Instead of finding a solution the Zanu PF government seems content
with dispatching a search team to look for another body to counter MDC

Every time you phone a government official about the murders the
answer is the same: "You are biased. Why are you not asking about Zanu PF
members that have been killed by MDC supporters?"

The police simply deny when all they have to do is investigate.

When this violence started, Zanu PF's new spin doctor, Patrick
Chinamasa, said the media was using old pictures of the violence that
happened in 2002.

He gloated with a straight face devoid of any iota of shame as if what
happened in 2002 was not bad enough.

The long and short of it is that he was in denial. It did not seem to
matter to him that we were talking about cold-blooded murders.

When will it occur to the authorities that we are not talking about
chickens but humans beings here?

We are not counting Zimbabwean dollars but dead bodies. People are

Every time I cover these murders the brutality sends shivers down my

But just where does this culture of impunity come from?

To me this culture started before the MDC was even thought of. It came
from this hostility to rejection. I mean this sense of entitlement to power.
Remember this statement in April 1983: "We eradicate them. We don't
differentiate when we fight because we can't tell who is a dissident and who
is not."

Read that statement carefully and you will see a clear instruction.
The impunity in that statement smells like rotten eggs.

About 20 000 people were killed in Matabeleland. Never mind what the
propaganda machinery said about victims being "dissidents" those killings
were about power.

Their crime was that they had attempted to reject this regime when it
was still a toddler.

Twenty years later when this regime had become an adult it lamely
described the Gukurahundi massacres as a "moment of madness". That was
supposed to be a sign of remorse.

If you think this is nit-picking then fast-forward to December 14,
2000. Your probably remember this one too: "Our party must continue to
strike fear into the heart of the white man, our real enemy."

Thereafter the killings intensified as more than 20 white commercial
farmers were murdered.

To those of little faith in the power and determination of this regime
the promise was clear: "The courts can do whatever they want, but no
judicial decision will stand in our own position is that we should
not even be defending our position in courts. This country is our country
and this land is our land."

Read that statement again and you will see a discreet assurance of

It did not stop there.

When the regime realised that it was on the verge of losing power in
the 2002 presidential election 39 opposition members were killed.

Recently there was the order for "a warlike campaign". It is a war on
those that dared reject the regime.

We have created this culture of impunity because we did not respect
justice from the onset. We had 20 000 people killed in Matabeleland but not
a single person was ever charged.

More than 20 people died during the land reform but no one faced trial
even in a sympathetic court. Those that murdered people in 2002 are still
amongst us. The authorities here have created an impression that there is
security in killing in the name of "defending the gains of Independence".

By Shakeman Mugari


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Erich Bloch: Planned Economic Apocalypse Now

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 19:36
 SCOOP! The master-plan for Zimbabwean economic destruction is
So pronounced and so prolonged has been the progressive demolition of
Zimbabwe's economy that it could not conceivably have been solely in
consequence of some ill-considered political or other decisions, or as a
result of the ravages of nature or other acts of God.

In fact, for some years the Zimbabwean government has vigorously
sought to reflect the decimation of the economy as being attributable to an
orchestrated campaign of former colonialist countries, wishing to unseat the
government and resume colonialistic control over Zimbabwe. In promoting such
contentions, which defy credulity, the hierarchy of Zimbabwe's political
rulers, reinforced by public service propagandists of the Goebbels model,
have endlessly claimed, without any believable foundation, that much of the
Zimbabwean business community, many of its former white farmers, most of
government's political opponents, and many, many others have been conjoined
in deliberate and determined conspiracy to overthrow the Zimbabwean
government and bring about regime change.

In propagating these specious contentions, wholly devoid of fact, the
Zimbabwean governmental authorities have never sought to explain why some
should have a wish to recolonise Zimbabwe, let alone if such wish did exist,
why it would be in their interests to destroy the economy as a precursor to
the recolonisation. How can it conceivably be in the interests of Western
powers, that have spent 60 years divesting themselves of colonial interests,
to re-engage in colonisation and, in strategising to do so, seek to precede
the recolonisation with the impoverishment of an entire population, the near
total destruction of all infrastructure, the demolition of all
wealth-creation resources, the pronounced loss of skills, and accumulation
of debt? There can be no benefit or merit in recolonising a country reduced
to such a distraught state.

In like manner, the exponents of the economic destruction and
conspiracy theories, fail to explain why a business community would possibly
enter into a conspiracy wherein their contribution would be not only to aid
the devastation and ruination of an economy, and the affliction of
starvation, hardships, suffering and ill-health upon a population, but would
do so in a manner which would destroy their own businesses, and would
thereby reduce them to the same sorry state as they allegedly wish to
inflict upon the population. Similarly, it defies imagination that a
political opposition would seek to gain power by bringing to near total
destruction that which they wish to rule.

But eventually, the sequence of events must demonstrate the
actualities, and after 11 years of progressive economic disorder, all
occasioned by a combination of machiavellian governmental actions, and an
array of governmental inactions, one can only conclude that for some as yet
undisclosed objectives, the government of Zimbabwe has intentionally,
deliberately and determinedly set about a master plan of economic

Phase One was in October 1997 when government readily succumbed to the
demands and threats of war veterans (some genuine, and the majority pseudo),
according them compensation packages far beyond national means. Whilst some
probably were deserving of some compensation, many could not conceivably
have been so, being under 19 years of age when the compensation was awarded,
which meant that some had fought the war at the age of two, and others
before conception! But even where justified, the cost vastly exceeded the
State's fiscal resources.

The result was Phase Two of the master plan, and that is that in
November 1997 the Zimbabwe dollar crashed, losing 75% of value in a few
hours, reactive to the national and international recognition of the
imminent insolvency of the Zimbabwean government, resulting from the war
veterans compensation commitment, and that that insolvency would undoubtedly
be addressed by recourse to pronounced printing of money. That would result
in intense inflation, firstly triggered by the devaluation of Zimbabwe's
currency, resulting in massively increased import costs, and then further
exacerbated by the printing of money.

Phase Three was implemented in 2000, when government saw it fit to
regard all well-intentioned and well-founded advice with contempt, and to
dismiss all collaborative proposals emanating from the then farming
community, and to be contemptuously oblivious of all bilateral investment
protection agreements. It embarked upon overdue, very necessary, land
reform, but did so in the most unjust, inequitable, destructive and
counterproductive manner possible. In so doing, it rendered 300 000
unemployed and, with their dependants, about two million poverty-stricken.
It destroyed the very foundation of the economy, with agricultural
production fast falling to less than a third of previous, positive levels.
And, as a by-product master plan benefit, it alienated the majority of the
international community (almost all other than some neighbouring states, and
those of like dictatorial authoritarian natures).

When this provoked the international community to voice concerns, and
to seek to motivate Zimbabwean reconsideration, this triggered Phase Four of
the master plan. The well-intentioned representations of the community were
responded to with very pronounced vitriolic and vituperative insults of such
magnitude that, inevitably, any residual goodwill of the world at large was
dissipated. With Zimbabwe's economy fast collapsing, and with unequivocal
rejection by government of all conciliatory and resolutionary
representations and actions of the international community, that community
had little or no alternative but to terminate support, other than
humanitarian aid, for Zimbabwe, its government and its people. This enabled
government to implement Phase Five of its master plan. In order to deflect
attention from its culpability in destruction of the economy, and in order
to further to destroy the economy, government embarked upon a programme,
with progressively increasing intensity, to berate the international
community for alleged imposition of economic sanctions, supposedly illegal.

That any country has a right to impose sanctions, and that therefore
any imposition would not have been illegal, was disregarded, and continues
to be so, as also in that no country has imposed economic sanctions upon
Zimbabwe, save and except for the USA's Zimbabwe Economic Democracy and
Recovery Act. However, because of the state of the Zimbabwean economy, and
the stance of the government, many are no longer disposed to gift or lend
monies to Zimbabwe, other than for humanitarian purposes.

Phase Six of the master plan was to convert the free economy into one
grossly over-regulated, with intense centralisation of economic controls in
the hands of government, horrendously adverse and ineffective price
controls, and the like. Concurrently, in order to worsen further the
Zimbabwean investment environment, government pursued the admirable
objective of economic indigenisation and empowerment, in the most
cataclysmically ruinous manner possible.

All these phases have been, and continue to be, supported by
innumerable sub-phases, including ongoing governmental profligacy. Surely no
one can be so stupid as to have pursued these economic policies in good
faith, so the conclusion must be that all such, and other actions, were and
are elements of a deliberate Master Plan to emaciate the Zimbabwean economy.

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Muckraker: A Classic Case Of Media Deception

Zim Independent

Thursday, 12 June 2008 19:21
IT is always good to start the week with a chuckle and the Herald on
Monday obliged.

"Rhodie group unearthed in Braeside," their triumphal heading ran.

The police had launched investigations into the activities of a
secretive group of former Rhodesian army officers who were holding
"clandestine meetings" at the MOTH social centre in Braeside, we were told.
These came "amid concerns that the group could be linked to military-style
attacks being perpetrated on Zanu PF supporters by suspected MDC activists

War veterans and Zanu PF youths "stormed" the centre following a
tip-off from members of the public, the Herald reported.

Is this the same MOTH centre that was "unearthed" over a week ago and
given extensive coverage on ZTV? If so, how come it is suddenly "news"
again? And why have the war veterans and Zanu PF youths not been prosecuted
for illegally "storming" a bona fide social centre?

A whole childish conspiracy was constructed by the Herald around an
organisation that has been operating in the public domain since 1945! It was
a duly licensed club whose only real offence was that of nostalgia.

The Herald's attempts, no doubt prodded by their political masters, to
link the MOTH club to "unsolved violence cases that have bewildered security
agents in the country" is reckless at best and defamatory at worst.

"Two Zanu PF supporters were recently murdered in cold blood by
suspected MDC-T gunmen while several cases of arson targeting long distance
buses, commuter omnibuses, and passenger trains have gone unsolved for
months," the Herald claimed.

Does the inability of law-enforcement agents to bring a viable case
against MDC members warrant the occupation of a lawful social club and WW2
museum by Zanu PF thugs? Is it illegal to have a Union Jack on the premises?
"Conspicuous by its absence was the Zimbabwean flag," the Herald lamented.
We don't recall the Zimbabwean flag being much in evidence during the Second
World War!

The writer of the story evidently knew nothing about the MOTH history
or membership. The article was a classic case of media deception in which a
gullible press is fed a story by officials pursuing their own desperate
agenda against the opposition.

What happened to all those charges about burnt-out buses the last time
they were fielded? Or the rest of that dubious dossier?

Is this the best they can do? The City Bowling Club was similarly
raided and occupied recently with nothing to show for it. Why does this
regime assume that everybody is their enemy? Unless of course that is the

It was interesting to note how the largely coloured membership of the
MOTH centre was airbrushed out of the Herald story so it could be portrayed
as a whites-only establishment.

The Chinamasa sub-committee should be warned that clumsy episodes like
this invite derision rather than the public concern they are designed to

On Saturday, following the episode at Mazowe involving US embassy
officials who were detained at a roadblock, we had state officials warning
the US embassy that "in future the police will not be encouraged to leave
their lawful duty to protect citizens of Zimbabwe in favour of these

So in other words Zimbabwe will not uphold the Vienna Convention
governing the role of diplomats to which it is a signatory? And then the
government complains when the country is portrayed as lawless.

We have heard a lot, by the way, about the US embassy failing to
notify the Zimbabwean authorities of its travel arrangements. In fact the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs was duly notified of the proposed visit to

Diplomatic notes 165 & 166/08 providing the names of the embassy staff
who would be travelling to Mashonaland Central were delivered to the
ministry on June 4 and duly signed for.

The state media lied that the government was not informed. It also
lied that the ministry had not been informed of Ambassador James McGee's
visit to Mashonaland Central on May 13. The embassy informed the ministry in
diplomatic note 131/08 that it would be undertaking the visit.

In any case, diplomats are free to travel where they like in the
country without giving notice. A communication from the Zimbabwe authorities
of May 16 2006 clearly states that "notification is a
formality, not a request for permission".

This followed a complaint in which the US embassy pointed out that the
requirement to provide travel notification represented a direct
contravention of the obligation of the government to ensure free travel of
diplomats throughout its territory as provided for in the Vienna Convention.

Article 29 of the Vienna Convention states: "The person of a
diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of
arrest or detention. The receiving state shall treat him with due respect
and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person,
freedom or dignity."

Minister tells off US, UK officials", the Herald declared on Saturday
in relation to this episode.

Can you imagine any of the US or UK officials attending the FAO
conference in Rome being impressed with Simbarashe Mumbengegwi's posturing?
Here is a country in the throes of hunger, dependent upon the US and EU for
food supplies, whose Foreign minister, sounding very much like a Burmese
general, is trying to lay down the law on where diplomats can and can't go.

"I don't want to hear from you," Mumbengegwi reportedly told US and
British officials. "Instead you are going to hear from us."

Quaking in their boots? We don't think so. And by the way, how many of
these bold responses we read about in the Herald are more what the speaker
wishes he had said?

That difference to Harare has the Mahachi Commission made since its
appointment? Can it be said that the city has been renovated in any way?
Does it look any better or work any better?

Why did Mahachi take on responsibility for the city when he clearly is
unable to make a difference, especially considering that he is occupying
democratic space in violation of the rights of residents? He is there to do
Ignatious Chombo's bidding.

Muckraker's benchmark is a crater in the road outside Alexandra Sports
Club. It is a particularly dangerous obstacle that could cost lives in an
accident. But, we wonder, does Mahachi ever travel around making a note of
these things?

Which brings us to all those policemen on duty at intersections along
the route travelled by Mugabe on any given day. Exactly what is their
purpose? And couldn't they help out by directing traffic where robots are
not working? That way they could prevent accidents and keep traffic flowing

We were intrigued to hear that motor-mouth war vets leader Jabulani
Sibanda, who was quoted in The Voice this week attacking "imperialist
mouthpieces", is not a registered voter. His passport has expired and he
doesn't have a valid ID card, Muckraker has been told.

This could of course just be a rumour circulated by his enemies, so we
hope to see evidence that he voted on March 29. After all, there is not much
point being a Mugabe loyalist if you can't vote for him!

Meanwhile, other vociferous Mugabe adherents appear to be managing
very well despite their disability claims 10 years ago. Police commissioner
Augustine Chihuri claimed a 20% disability on the grounds of dermatitis in
his big toe, according to the findings of the Chidyausiku Commission.
Constantine Chiwenga claimed 66% for food poisoning, neck pains and
arthritis. He was awarded 59%. Perence Shiri claimed 50% for arthritis and
mental stress.

All three remain at their posts where their injuries have not
prevented them from fighting strongly from Mugabe's corner.

The same goes for Happison Muchechetere who also suffered from mental
stress. He claimed 86% for back and right leg pain and was awarded 85%.

Anybody seen him hobbling around recently? But it must be admitted,
since taking over as propaganda boss at ZTV he has become something of a
pain in the back....!

The prisons are being cleared to make room for people convicted of
political violence, we are told. And Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has
confirmed that prosecutors have been urged to deny bail to those suspected
of political violence.

Is there not a conflict of interest here? Chinamasa is in charge of
the media dimension to Mugabe's run-off campaign. He thus needs to
demonstrate firmness in dealing with the opposition.

But surely it is the role of magistrates to determine who gets bail?
The liberties of ordinary Zimbabweans need to be protected against ministers
on the campaign trail who want to lock up opponents. Especially when it's
their party that is accused of fomenting the violence in the first place.

Many times in the recent past the state's case against individuals
accused of political violence has come apart as soon as their trial opens or
even earlier because there is no evidence to support the state's
politically-driven claims. The most notorious example was the incarceration
of MDC officials after the killing of Cain Nkala. The judge in that case
said the state's case read like a work of fiction. That's because it was a
work of fiction. And today they still haven't found Nkala's killers.

We wonder why!

Magistrates need to uphold constitutional liberties, not ministerial
whims. The evidence of ministerial delinquency is evident across this
scarred nation.

And the AG's office needs to resist Chinamasa's blandishments and act
with professional competence. It should not be beholden to political needs.

As the police have been so quick to tell the Herald how many MDC-T
"thugs" they have arrested for political violence, perhaps they could tell
us how many Zanu PF "thugs" have been arrested since March 29. Why is this
statistic permanently missing?

That nationality is Stella Orakwue who wrote an opinion piece for New
African magazine which found its way into the Herald on Tuesday? It was full
of racist venom.

She sounds West African. Why are so many of the Herald's contributors

Very simply, foreign columnists see an opportunity in Zimbabwe to
fight a proxy war against George Bush and Gordon Brown. They don't give a
damn about the plight of Zimbabweans. Most of them have never been here. It
just provides a good platform to pursue their war against the West whose
comforts they enjoy.

A reader driving along Nelson Mandela Avenue noticed a large election
banner featuring Mugabe against a backdrop of the Victoria Falls and the
slogan "Our Land, Our Sovereignty".

It then struck him that the photograph of the Victoria Falls was taken
from the Zambian side. Mugabe is therefore depicted in Zambia with the
slogan "Our Land, our Sovereignty".

A case of Zimbabwean imperialism? Don't tell Levy Mwanawasa.

Joke of the week: In response to a BBC story that Zanu PF was forcing
people to attend reorientation programmes, Information minister Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu said it wasn't true.

"These are public workshops," he said, "being conducted by seasoned
politicians who are explaining to the people what the government has
achieved since Independence and what it is doing to address the economic

That should take all of five minutes!


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Zim Independent Letters

WAN Condemns Zim

Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:31
THE board of the World Association of Newspapers, meeting at the 61st
World Newspaper Congress in Göteborg, Sweden, from June 1-4, strongly
condemns widespread press freedom violations in Zimbabwe.

WAN calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to cease the intimidation of
media and to allow both domestic and foreign journalists to exercise their
right to inform the Zimbabwean and international public of events in the

Recent press freedom violations in Zimbabwe include:

New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak and British freelance
journalist Stephen Bevan were arrested on April 3 on charges of working
without accreditation and held until April 7 when they were released on
bail. The two journalists were held in detention despite an order to release
them from the Attorney General's office.

Freelance journalist Frank Chikowore was arrested on April 15 and
charged with "public violence" for allegedly participating in the burning of
a bus by opposition supporters. He was released on bail on May 2.

Reuters photographer Howard Burditt was arrested on May 5 and held in
custody for three days allegedly for using a satellite phone to send

Freelance journalist Stanley Karombo was arrested on April 19 while he
was taking notes during a speech given by President Mugabe at an
Independence Day event in a Harare suburb. Karombo was held incommunicado
until April 21, when he was released. Initially the police accused him of
violating the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa),
which was later turned into accusations of "disturbing the peace".

Prominent media lawyer Harrison Nkomo was arrested on May 7 and
charged on May 9 with "undermining the authority or insulting the authority
of the head of state" after he had allegedly told a state court officer that
President Mugabe should step down. Nkomo defended New York Times
correspondent Barry Bearak who was arrested in early April.

Davison Maruziva, editor of The Standard newspaper, was arrested on
May 8 and charged on May 9 with "publishing false statements prejudicial to
the state and contempt of court" after the publication of a column by
opposition leader Arthur Mutambara in The Standard, which criticised the
regime of President Mugabe.

The chief executive officer of the government-controlled Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation Henry Muradzikwa was fired on May 14, allegedly for
defying ministerial orders to deny the opposition political party, the
Movement for Democratic Change, favourable coverage in the run-up to the
presidential elections. He was also reportedly accused of denying President
Mugabe favourable coverage.

The government banned most foreign media from covering the general

WAN calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to put an end to arbitrary
arrests and detentions of journalists, to firmly commit to the rule of law
and to uphold international standards of freedom of expression and freedom
of the press in Zimbabwe.

WAN Board,


The Height Of Political Desperation

Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:29
THE following is a quote in this week's Herald.

"Chiefs and headmen should play a pivotal role of uniting people ahead
of the presidential run-off. They should decisively deal with the people's
differences and urge them to forge a united front against the
British-sponsored MDC led by Mr Tsvangirai," said Cephas Msipa.

Welcome back from the political grave Msipa. What a way to come back
to life after being dumped for so many years! Some of us were beginning to
think that you either quietly sneaked into the Diaspora (to join one of your
sons in the UK) or you died and were buried unceremoniously. All the same,
welcome back.

With due respect Msipa, you have really embarrassed me and many other
Zimbabweans. Are you aware that chiefs and headmen are not instruments of
Zanu PF? Are you aware that in a democracy, they are supposed to be
non-partisan leaders whose interest only lies in the well-being of their
subjects and the country? What a pity!

If this is political desperation, then it has reached dizzy heights.
How on earth can you literally incite chiefs and headmen to be at the
forefront of Zanu PF violence against innocent Zimbabweans? When will you
people ever learn?

Coming to that issue, Johannes Tomana, a known Zanu PF apologist, must
be reminded that it is not up to the AG's office to lock up people without
bail. Bail is an aspect that the courts decide on within the confines of the

It appears Tomana does not know the purpose of his office. The AG's
office has a duty to prosecute, not to pass a judgement. Even a first year
law student in one of the world's poorest universities will tell you this.
Which law school did you go to where this was not taught? Hauna kana nyadzi?
(Are you not ashamed?)

Wezhira Mafirakureva,


-------Mugabe Closing All The Doors
Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:28
I AM currently in South Africa receiving medical treatment.

President Robert Mugabe is closing all the exit doors that lead from
the dramatic confrontation that lies ahead of him on June 27.

He has now destroyed whatever remaining international reputation that
he once had, is deeply embarrassing to all his erstwhile admirers in Africa
itself and while he remains under the partial protection of Thabo Mbeki,
this is a tattered umbrella at best.

As in 2002 when he was facing defeat in the presidential election that
year, he is throwing caution to the wind and in the process sealing his
fate. In 2002 he lost his credibility as a democratic leader and was
stripped of his status as a political leader. In 2008 he will lose much
more - his right to lead this country, his remaining dignity and standing.
He will go down in history not as the man who brought freedom to Zimbabwe
but as the man who presided over failing country's economy.

His actions lately have simply been outrageous and the global outcry
has been not only universally hostile but also informed.

If Mugabe does not know it now he will never know the truth that in
the 21st century, it is just not possible to maintain a closed society.
Communications are swift and merciless.

Eddie Cross

Pretoria, South Africa.

Police Not Serving The People
Thursday, 12 June 2008 20:14
ON Tuesday last week revolutionaries from Bulawayo Polytechnical
College took to the streets to demonstrate against crimes against humanity.

Armed with placards and banners the students marched peacefully for a
cause they believed was just and legitimate. The students' grievances were
based on the water crisis, quality of education, and quality of food at the
college among other things. While waiting for the college principal to
address them the seated students were addressed by the armed riot police.
Students who needed an answer to all their concerns were instead brutally
assaulted and accused of pursuing a "regime change agenda".

About 12 students were treated for various injuries sustained from the
demonstration. The injuries ranged from severe fractures to lacerations on
their bodies.

It is painful to note that the brutality of the Zanu PF regime has
now been extended to innocent students. Clearly someone at the
helm of the police force is allowing this to happen. Let it be known
that the police force should be non-partisan. The mandate of the police is
to serve the nation not the Zanu PF elite.

Venancio Jachi,


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