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Tsvangirai holds talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

By Tichaona Sibanda
15 June 2009

The German government on Monday pledged close to 30 million euros to
Zimbabwe to be used to improve the education, health and farming sectors.
The pledge followed a meeting between the Chancellor and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai in Berlin, where the German government assured him of its
full support for his pro-democracy work in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai arrived in Berlin on Sunday from Washington and before Monday's
talks he was received with full military honours. He also inspected a guard
of honour.
James Maridadi, Tsvangirai's spokesman told us that the Prime Minister was
heartened by the fact that Chancellor Merkel was able to express support for
Merkel also described Tsvangirai as a 'symbol of democratisation' in
Zimbabwe, and added there were some encouraging signs following the
formation of the unity government four months ago.
Merkel said wherever possible Germany would give support, but this remains
conditional upon further democratic advances in the country. Later in the
day, Tsvangirai met the German Development Minister Heidemarie
Wieczorek-Zeul, who announced that Germany would give the World Bank 20
million euros to help Zimbabwe, along with five million euros to buy seed
and fertiliser for small-time Zimbabwean farmers.

The Prime Minister's visit to Berlin is part of a three-week tour of Europe
and the United States designed to rally political and financial support from
Western governments. He leaves Berlin for Stockholm, Sweden on Monday night.
During his European tour, Tsvangirai is also due to meet British Premier
Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as the leaders of
Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium, and senior European Union officials.
He has so far succeeded in gaining modest commitments from several countries
to increase humanitarian aid which will be channeled through
non-governmental organisations. Last Friday US President Barack Obama
pledged US$73 million.
Tsvangirai told journalists after his meeting with Merkel that the unity
government had made 'real progress in stabilising runaway inflation and in
trying to create the conditions for democracy.' He added that Zimbabwe is
changing and is changing for the better.
Reports say the Prime Minister also expressed the hope that international
donors would move from strictly humanitarian assistance to aid designed to
spur on economic recovery.
He added they were hoping to get not only humanitarian support, but also
transitional support to consolidate that process, and ensure that
'Zimbabweans don't go back to an atmosphere of fear.'
In Washington last week, President Obama indicated to Tsvangirai his country
was not yet prepared to substantially ease the nine-year-old sanctions
directed primarily against Robert Mugabe and his top military and political
"I have committed $73 million in assistance to Zimbabwe," he said, adding
that none of the money would be going to the government directly because of
their continued concerns over human rights and the rule of law, but it would
be going directly to the people of Zimbabwe.

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Reports of soldiers beating civilians in Hatcliffe, Harare

June 15th, 2009

This brief alert  just received by email - we're trying to verify and find
out more:

  Reports are coming in of people being beaten by soldiers of the 1st mech.
inf.  Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)  in the Hatcliffe ext. area of Harare and
the Domboshawa growth point.  Apparently they are just beating at random -
anyone who they come across gets severely assaulted.   One woman who was
pregnant and beaten by these Army thugs died last night.

Posted by Sokwanele

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Zanu-PF Senator invades fifth farm

June 15, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Senator Jamaya Muduvuri of Zanu-PF, who already owns four farms, is
wrestling with a French citizen for Twyford Farm in Chegutu which is
protected under bilateral agreements between the Zimbabwe and French

Muduvuri, who already owns Shiloh Farm near Kadoma, Mandalay Farm near
Chegutu, Hoffmarie Farm in Kadoma and Brunswick Farm in Chegutu in
contemptuous breach of President Mugabe's stated one-man-one-farm policy, is
frantically trying to evict French farmer Catherine Jouineau-Meredith from
yet another property, Twyford Farm.

This farm is protected by a bilateral investment protection agreement (BIPA)
between the Zimbabwe government and the French government.

It is one of the farms visited by deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara on
April 17 when he went on a tour to verify widespread reports of renewed farm
invasions. The deputy Prime Minister's delegation, which included the two
Home Affairs ministers Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi; Herbert Murerwa, the
minister of Lands and Land Resettlement, sternly warned Muduvuri to stop
forthwith harassing Jouineau-Meredith or attempting to take over her farm.

The delegation, which also included the French deputy ambassador Stephane
Toulet, also advised Muduvuri to stop interfering with her farming
activities, stop entering the farm or her house, using her farming equipment
or selling her farm produce.

Muduvuri assured the deputy Prime Minister that he would stop interfering
with Meredith's farming activities.

Jouineau-Meredith however told The Zimbabwe Times that hardly three hours
after the delegation departed, Muduvuri had already changed the locks and
locked the gate to the farm, forbidding even her tenant from getting back
into her house.

Since then, says Meredith, 2-ton trucks full to the brim with oranges,
potatoes and maize were being moved from her farm by Muduvuri daily.

"It is clear that Senator Jamaya Muduvuri is totally ignoring the moratorium
put in place by all the ministers present, and that he is determined to
carry out his illegal activities on the farm by primarily helping himself to
what is legally not his," said Jouineau-Meredith.

She says she has kept a diary since the visit by the ministerial delegation
and the diary makes sad and heart-wrenching reading. It lists instances when
Muduvuri took over the kiosk at the farm and started selling farm produce,
oranges and potatoes produced by Jouineau-Meredith. Muduvuri's men were said
to be picking oranges for trucking to the city day and night. It lists
instances of all-night worker harassment by the Senator.

Muduvuri and his men have allegedly waved shotguns at the workers in a bid
to intimidate them.

"Some of my workers have fled the farm for fear of their threats,"
Jouineau-Meredith said. "My workers have been severely beaten and when the
matter was reported to Chegutu Police to Sergeant Bepura and Inspector
Manyika, the Member-In-Charge, said that Twyford farm belonged to Muduvuri
and that he could do what ever he wanted there. The police refused to
intervene or come to the farm to make a statement."

Jouineau-Meredith says during one of the beating sessions, workers on the
farm were assaulted from 6am to 10 am with bars and sticks on their buttocks
and under the sole of their feet.

She said: "The majority of my sweet potato crop as well as my oranges are
now ready to be harvested and I am losing thousands of dollars in income
each passing day while Mr Muduvuri is selling them for his own interest."

Meredith said she had paid her workers for the third consecutive month last
month-end even though her workers have been forbidden from working by
Muduvuri. Meredith says she has a contract with Agriseeds to grow 15
hectares of seed maize and 50ha of seed sorghum but Muduvuri is stopping her
from reaping this crop, which has caused apprehension at Agriseeds.

Meredith said Muduvuri was brandishing a fake offer letter dated January 29,
2009 which was not approved by the district lands committee and which has no
approval from the provincial lands committee. She says the letter is not

While efforts to obtain comment from Muduvuri were futile, he told workers
at Twyford farm: "I am a Zanu-PF Senator and MDC will not tell me what to do
on this farm. It is my farm I will not allow this French woman, this
Catherine Meredith, to come back here and reap her crops. If she has to be
paid damages, the Prime Minister must pay her."

There has been shocking asset-stripping at Shiloh Farm, one of the
properties owned by Muduvuri. Irrigation pumps have been removed while the
electric game fence has been ripped off. A 3 horse-power submersible
borehole pump and driers at the grain silos have also been removed.

Muduvuri seized Shiloh farm from commercial farmer Peter Rouke.

He wrestled his other farm Mandalay from a commercial farmer only identified
as F Pistorious. He seized Hoffmarie Farm in Kadoma from one Mr Hoffman. He
has arranged for the ex-Mayor of Kadoma, Fanwell Phiri, to live in the main
house at the farm. Muduvuri also took over Brunswick Farm near Chegutu from
one P Sparks. And all these are A2 farms, which have been dramatically run
to the ground, with little or no production now taking place.

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Chinamasa slams SADC land ruling & condones farm attacks

By Alex Bell
15 June 2009

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has slammed a SADC Tribunal ruling, meant
to put a stop to the ongoing wave of farm invasions, saying orders by the
human rights court have no legal force in Zimbabwe.

In an interview with The Zimbabwe Times, Chinamasa warned the regional bloc's
human rights court against trying to 'lecture' Robert Mugabe on restoring
the rule of law to the continuing land attacks. He also condoned the attacks
that have left thousands of farm workers without jobs, saying they are a
'justified protest against unfair land ownership by the white descendants of
colonial-era settlers.'
The SADC Tribunal this month ruled that the Zimbabwe government had refused
to comply with the regional court's order to allow 78 commercial farmers to
keep their land. Last year the Tribunal ruled that the farmers could remain
on their land, which was targeted for resettlement under Robert Mugabe's
land reform scheme. The order was meant to offer legal protection against
future land invasions, and the government was also supposed to protect the
farmers from future land attacks.
But Mugabe unsurprisingly dismissed the November verdict and publicly
condoned the renewed offensive against the country's remaining commercial
farmers. The physical attacks and fast track prosecution of farmers
intensified in the weeks that followed the dictator's speech earlier this
year, and even Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai went as far as to downplay
the severity of the ongoing land invasions. The farmers were forced to
return to the SADC court early this month to seek further action to enforce
the court's original ruling, and walked away victorious with a new ruling in
their favour.
The court ruled that the government had not only breached the November
ruling, but was also in contempt of the regional court. The government was
also ordered to make financial compensation to the farmers affected by the
land attacks. But when asked if the government would now adhere to the new
SADC ruling, Chinamasa responded: "Of course not."
"The tribunal has no jurisdiction over Zimbabwe. We are not State party to
the (SADC Tribunal) protocol and it has no jurisdiction over Zimbabwe. The
judges are not SADC," Chinamasa said.
The Tribunal concluded its ruling by referring Zimbabwe's contempt to SADC
leaders for consideration of measures to be taken under the SADC Treaty
against the government. These measures could include sanctions or expulsion
of Zimbabwe from SADC. Justice for Agriculture's (JAG) John Worsley-Worswick
explained on Monday that it was now up to SADC countries to enforce SADC
law, adding that SADC is responsible, with Zimbabwe as a SADC member state,
for the safety and human rights of Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe, as a signatory to the SADC Treaty, is bound by law to respect the
regional bloc's rulings. The government has blatantly used this relationship
within the SADC bloc to garner financial support from fellow Southern
African nations. But with regards to the SADC rulings on land reform, the
government refuses to respect SADC law. SADC itself meanwhile has remained
deafeningly silent on the matter.
The JAG official meanwhile expressed grave concern for what Chinamasa's
comments will mean for Zimbabwe's beleaguered farming community saying it
will 'heighten their anxieties.' He continued that there is a 'very real
danger that the last of the farmers will be driven off their land,' in what
he fears will be 'a bloody campaign.'
"ZANU PF doesn't want any farmers left to bear witness to what they have
done, and they certainly don't want any unchecked food produced,"
Worsley-Worswick said.
He added "It is very worrying especially in a country that needs food as
badly as Zimbabwe does."

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The powerful connections of Chihombori

June 15, 2009

SAFRICA-POLITICS-INAUGURATION-ZUMADr Arikana Chihombori: “I know many of the heads of state.”

By Geoffrey Nyarota

Dr ARIKANA Chihombori, a Tennessee-based American citizen of Zimbabwean origin has been at the centre of raging controversy since her take-over bid of a commercial farm in the Chegutu District west of Harare.

The story circulated soon after Chihombori’s picture walking in the company of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai appeared in the media. She told me over the weekend that she does not plan to settle on the contested farm or in Zimbabwe in the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, she reiterated that not only is Tsvangirai her uncle, but that she was also separately related to his departed wife, Susan Tsvangirai, who died in a tragic road traffic accident on March 6. She further revealed that she is related to the First Lady Grace Mugabe and that she is a close friend of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

It is in that capacity, she says, that she was invited to his inauguration in Pretoria on May 9, the occasion on which the controversial photograph of her arriving in the company of Tsvangirai was taken.

Chihombori, who spoke to me for long periods over the phone on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, is a citizen of the United States of America, having been granted that status in 2007, after living in the country for 27 years.

“It’s easier to travel when you are a US citizen,” she says. “I travel a lot.”

Chihombori says she did not renounce her Zimbabwean citizenship.

Part IV of the Citizenship Act of Zimbabwe states in Clauses 9(1) that, “No citizen of Zimbabwe who is of full age and sound mind shall be entitled to be a citizen of a foreign country.”

Clause 9 (2) states: “A citizen of Zimbabwe of full age who, by voluntary act other than marriage, acquires the citizenship of a foreign country shall immediately cease to be a citizen of Zimbabwe.”

Chihombori is married to a Ghanaian, who is also a medical doctor.

She said she had been advised by Prime Minister Tsvangirai in May that the Citizen Act was about to be modified to legalise dual citizenship.

She explained that in the meantime, she had no immediate plan to return to Zimbabwe.

“I don’t have plans to move to Zimbabwe until my kids are out of college,” she said. “My youngest is still in high school.”

Chihombori is the mother of five children, two boys and three girls aged between 15 and 30.

“My husband is ready to go but he cannot go without me,” she says ruefully. “He is from Ghana but he loves Zimbabwe. But he cannot go without me. That is his problem.”

She says there are, therefore, no plans on her part to take over De Rus Farm from a commercial farmer identified as M. L. Cremer, despite the dramatic events reported in the media last week, culminating in the farmer allegedly setting two dogs on Chihombori’s sister and a lands officer when they visited the farm. Chihombori says Cremer called the two visitors kaffirs.

Cremer promptly denied this allegation.

“Well, what did you expect him to say?” Chihombori says. “But there are no plans to take over that farm now.”

Chihombori speaks passionately about the need for Zimbabwe’s black to take the land back from the white commercial farmers.

“My people were originally displaced from the Wiltshire farming area of Chivhu,” she explains. “The whites arrived one day and asked the villagers to leave. They then set the whole village on fire.

“Each time we travelled past Wiltshire my father always pointed out to the farms and said this was our land. He died before we got a farm but this is what he would have wanted.”

The Wiltshire area was occupied by small-scale black farmers even before independence.

Chihombori says she and her sister originally submitted applications for land in 2002. Her original offer had arrived in 2004. While Chihombori refused to identify the sister her name has already been published in the press. A Mrs Kanyanda was identified by the Cremers as the woman who arrived at De Rus Farm armed with an offer letter for the remaining 60 of the original 700 hectares of the farm.

“The farm was 900 hectares and it had been long abandoned by the original owners,” she explains with regard to the farm she says she was originally offered. “The land was too large for our needs. I didn’t think my sister and her husband would be able to work that much land. The farm had been long abandoned and was overgrown. This was also a case of double allocation as the farm had been offered to another applicant.”

She said the arrangement between her and her sister was that Kanyanda would settle on De Rus since her own application had not succeeded. Chihombori would remain in the United States and finance operations on the farm.

She did not deny that she had fixed a farm for her sister and laughed when I asked if she could fix one for me.

“I am one of those who were lucky enough to get a farm,” she said. “I had never seen the farm until I visited Zimbabwe after the Zuma inauguration in Pretoria.

“I drove past the farm on my way to Kwekwe. It’s just two minutes down the road from the highway. I stopped by the District Administrator’s office in Chegutu. He gave me a lot of background about the land issue. He said many people with offer letters were failing to move onto the land because the farmers would not allow them.

“I became aware that there were problems. I felt this was ridiculous. I can handle abuse but not my sister. Before I left I asked the Ministry of Lands for another piece of land.”

Despite Cremer’s denial, Chihombori insisted the farmer had called her sister a kaffir. She said, however, the matter had never been reported anywhere.

“What purpose would it serve?” she asked. “Why would my sister create such a story. She was very disturbed; she is 63 years old and she is a pastor of the church”

Chihombori merely laughed in response to a suggestion that her sister could easily create a story such as that in order to get Cremer into trouble with the authorities and hasten his eviction from the farm.

“Who sent you to ask me these questions?” she asked as an afterthought. “The Commercial Farmers’ Union is trying to discredit the Prime Minister during his visit abroad.”

Chihombori received my assurance that my interest in issues that were of such obvious public interest was purely professional and that I had no link whatsoever with the CFU.

Turning to her visit to South Africa and the circumstances of her arrival at the Zuma inauguration in the company of the Prime Minister, Chihombori said she is a long standing friend of the new South African president. She had been invited to Pretoria on May 9 purely in that capacity.

She had first met Zuma many years ago at the University of Kwazulu, Natal, where she had been invited by her friend, King Goodwill Zwelithini of KwaZulu-Natal.

“I sat with the King on one side and Mr Zuma on the other side and next to him (Inkhata Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Gatsha) Buthelezi,” Chihombori said.

She had communicated with Zuma, thereafter; hence her invitation to his inauguration.

Chihombori says she is related to Tsvangirai. Published accounts have quoted him as denying any such relationship. His advisor, Ian Makone, told me from Washington on Friday, however, that Chihombori was, in fact related to the late Susan Tsvangirai, the late wife of the Prime Minister. Various attempts to seek clarification from Tsvangirai himself were in vain.

Chihombori admitted she was related to the late Susan Tsvangirai.

When this matter was raised she said, “Oh, yes, there is that as well.”

She however could not explain the exact circumstances of her relationship with either the Prime Minister or with his late wife.

“To be honest with you, I have not been able to go home these past years,” she explained. “Everybody is now gone. The people who would have explained the exact details of these relationships are now gone. I cannot describe the exact nature of my relationship with Morgan Tsvangirai. But I am also related to Grace Mugabe. I will get my sister to explain the details, if you give me time.

“What I know is that Sekuru (Uncle) Tsvangirai and I are of the same totem, the Dziva totem.”

Asked how, in the circumstances of a relationship of such hazy detail she had become linked to the Prime Minister at the Zuma inauguration, Chihombori said: “These things have a way of happening. I feel bad about it now because when I go home I link up with very few people. Sometimes I actually avoid people.

“In this case Zuma was the link. He invited us both. He is the one who provided the link with the Prime Minister. I do not wish to discuss the details.”

Chihombori says many dignitaries at the inauguration had remarked at her arrival with the Zimbabwean Prime Minister.

“Dr (Jean) Ping, chairman of the African Union asked if I was the sister of the late Mrs Tsvangirai,” said Chihombori. “After I explained, he said, ‘Thank you for clarifying. We all thought you were the Prime Minister’s girlfriend.’ Even President Gaddafi (of Libya) commented. He sad, ‘If you are not his girlfriend then you are my girlfriend.’

“It was all so funny; it was beautiful. From the inauguration we went by bus to a luncheon. President Mugabe and Grace were on the same bus with us and they got off first. When I got into the room I chatted with Grace. She asked how I knew Morgan Tsvangirai. Grace and I are from the same area and she wanted to know. Even (Tanzanian President Jakaya) Kikwete also asked.”

Chihombori says she had approached Zuma and told him he had landed her in trouble.

“He thought it was so funny that he hugged me’” she says. “I then went to President Mugabe’s table and chatted with him. It was right next to ours. I know many of the heads of state and I also chatted with them.”

Born in the same Buhera District as Tsvangirai, Chihombori completed her O-Levels at Goromonzi High School in 1974. She left for the United States two years later. She received her medical degree and completed her residency from Meharry Medical College School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as at State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. She is a family practitioner at Bell Family Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She also has practices in Antioch and La Vergne in the same state.

In 1999 Chihombori’s company received US$750 000 from the World Bank to fund its involvement with the Torwood Hospital and Redcliff Medical Center in the town of Redcliff, in the Midlands Province near Kwekwe. Redcliff is the once thriving home of Zisco, the troubled steel producer.

She told me the Midlands centre was struggling to keep afloat and she was subsidizing its operations from Tennessee.

She says she owns a 200-acre farm in Tennessee. She points out she had already invested in equipment for De Rus Farm.

“I parked the equipment on the property of a cousin who bought a farm before the land invasions,” she says. “When my sister finally settles on a farm we will move the equipment there.”

In response to a question Chihombori said she had no links with Zanu-PF although she had met Mugabe several times.

“I sat with him at a breakfast in Johannesburg on one occasion when I received an award from him and President Mandela,” she says. “He asked if I thought David Parirenyatwa would make a good Minister of Health. I said I thought so. Six months later he was appointed minister. I later discovered that at the time of this discussion with him he had not even spoken to Parirenyatwa.

“On another occasion I met the President at a diplomatic function in New York. I said to him that for the hard work he had performed for Zanu-PF in the United States in the 1970s July Moyo had not been adequately rewarded after independence. A short while late Moyo was appointed to a big post.”

Moyo was, in fact, appointed Governor of the Midlands. He later became Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

Chihombori merely laughed when I asked if Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono was related to her as well, since he originates from the same general rural area. In fact, Gono is said to be related to the First Lady Grace Mugabe.

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Remarks by Pres. Obama & Prime Minister Tsvangirai



Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                                           June 12, 2009


Oval Office

4:04 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to welcome Prime Minister Tsvangirai to the Oval Office.  He and his delegation have been meeting with my team throughout the day.  I obviously have extraordinary admiration for the courage and the tenacity that the Prime Minister has shown in navigating through some very difficult political times in Zimbabwe.

 There was a time when Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa and continues to have enormous potential.  It has gone through a very dark and difficult period politically.  The President -- President Mugabe -- I think I've made my views clear, has not acted oftentimes in the best interest of the Zimbabwean people and has been resistant to the kinds of democratic changes that need to take place.

 We now have a power-sharing agreement that shows promise, and we want to do everything we can to encourage the kinds of improvement not only on human rights and rule of law, freedom of the press and democracy that is so necessary, but also on the economic front.  The people of Zimbabwe need very concrete things -- schools that are reopened, a health care delivery system that can deal with issues like cholera or HIV/AIDS, an agricultural system that is able

to feed its people.  And on all these fronts, I think the Prime Minister is committed to significant concrete improvement in the day-to-day lives of the people of Zimbabwe.

 I congratulate him -- they've been able to bring inflation under control after hyperinflation that was really tearing at the fabric of the economy.  We're starting to see slowly some improvements in capacity -- industrial capacity there.  So, overall, in a very difficult circumstance, we've seen progress from the Prime Minister.

 We are grateful to him.  We want to encourage him to continue to make progress.  The United States is a friend to the people of Zimbabwe.  I've committed $73 million in assistance to Zimbabwe.  It will not be going to the government directly because we continue to be concerned about consolidating democracy, human rights, and rule of law, but it will be going directly to the people in Zimbabwe and I think can be of assistance to the Prime Minister in his efforts.  He's going to continue to provide us with direction in ways that he thinks we can be helpful.  And I'm grateful to him for his leadership, for his courage, and I'm looking forward to being a partner with him in the years to come.

 Mr. Prime Minister.

 PRIME MINISTER TSVANGIRAI:  Thank you.  Thank you very much, Mr. President.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for receiving us.  I'm sure that -- I want to take the opportunity of congratulating you, although belatedly, for being elected the President.  And I think it's a profound experience for some of us who are committed to change, and hopefully that -- the Prime Minister, who is committed to change, and the President, who is committed to change, find common convergence in position.

 I've been explaining to the President that Zimbabwe is coming out of a political conflict and economic collapse or decay, and that the new political dispensation here drafted is an attempt to arrest this decay, but also mindful of the fact that it is a journey.  This is a transitional arrangement.  We want to institute those reforms that will ensure that in 18 months' time the people of Zimbabwe will be given an opportunity to live their own lives.

 Yes, there has been a lot of progress made by the transitional government, but there are also problems.  It is the problems of implementation, and I do recognize that even by the standard of our own benchmarks, there are gaps that still exist and that we will strive.  And I want to show my -- to express my commitment that we will strive to implement those benchmarks, not because they are for the international community but because for ourselves it gives people of Zimbabwe freedom and opportunity to grow.

 I want to say, lastly, I want to thank you for that demonstrable leadership in assisting the people of Zimbabwe and I want to take this opportunity to thank the humanitarian support that the West -- we have experienced over the years and the continued expression of support.  And of course we continue to engage in ensuring that that support consolidates the process towards democratic change, (inaudible) strengthens (inaudible) in defense of the status quo.

 Thank you very much, Mr. President.

 PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  Thank you, everybody.  Have a great weekend.


                                  END                          4:10 P.M. EDT


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Zimbabwe state media fumes over Tsvangirai's meeting with Obama

Africa News
Jun 15, 2009, 14:31 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe's state media, controlled by President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party, is fuming over US President Barack Obama's warm welcome to
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Washington at the weekend.

At the White House on Friday, Obama expressed his 'extraordinary admiration
for the courage and tenacity' of 57-year-old former opposition leader
Tsvangirai, who was assaulted, arrested and tried for treason by Mugabe's
authorities, before the two leaders formed a coalition government four
months ago.

Obama also praised Tsvangirai for making progress in leading the country out
of 'a very dark and difficult period politically,' while holding back on
committing more than 75 million dollars in humanitarian aid to the
beleaguered country.

None of Obama's praise was mentioned in state media, which did not bother to
publish any pictures or broadcast footage of the historic meeting. Obama's
remarks that Mugabe had been 'resistant' to democratic changes' were also

Mugabe and about 230 of his top cronies are banned from visiting the United
States and the European Union.

State media has been claiming in the run-up to Tsvangirai's trip that he had
been 'tasked' by Mugabe to secure the lifting of sanctions against the

The Herald daily on Saturday played up Tsvangirai's failure to secure direct
governmental aid, saying he had 'hit another brick wall' on his three-week
trip to Washington and eight European capitals.

On Sunday, the Sunday Mail continued to belittle Tsvangirai's trip by saying
that it appeared to be 'degenerating into a fund-raising campaign for civic
bodies affiliated to the MDC.'

On Monday, the Herald turned on Obama accusing him of 'overt bias' for
excluding the one Zanu-PF minister in Tsvangirai's delegation, tourism
minister Walter Mzembi, from the Oval Office meeting.

Mzembi was quoted as saying he expected that Mugabe would 'discuss President
Obama's behaviour' with Tsvangirai on his return.

Media freedom is one of the key aims of the agreement establishing the
coalition government, but Western diplomats say there is no sign that
Mugabe, whose information minister controls the radio, television and daily
newspapers, has any relish for change.

'The last thing they want people to know is that Tsvangirai is being treated
as a hero in the West,' said one diplomat.

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EU set for Zimbabwe aid talks

By Toby Vogel
15.06.2009 / 18:08 CET
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to visit Brussels in bid to secure
development funds.
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's prime minister, will be in Brussels on
Thursday (18 June) for talks with European Union officials to solicit
financial support for his government of national unity. He is scheduled to
meet either José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, or
Louis Michel, the European commissioner for development and humanitarian
aid. He will also meet Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief.

It is unlikely that any development funds will forthcoming, however, while
Western donors wait to see whether Tsvangirai will be able to impose his
authority on a government apparatus that still counts many loyalists of the
former regime in its ranks. Western sanctions - including EU travel bans and
asset freezes - are still in place against President Robert Mugabe and his
associates. Both the US and the EU continue to provide humanitarian
assistance, however. Around 70% of Zimbabwe's population require food aid to

Tsvangirai took office in February after a year-long stand-off with Mugabe,
who had lost a presidential election to Tsvangirai. The two agreed to share
power in a government of national unity in which Mugabe retained control
over the security services while ceding economic policy to Tsvangirai.
However, Tsvangirai's failure to sack the governor of the central bank
suggests that Mugabe continues to exert considerable influence.

Tsvangirai is on a three-week tour of Europe and America. On Friday (12
June), he met Barack Obama, the US president, at the White House. Obama
announced an allocation of $73 million (€56m) in humanitarian aid but made
it clear that it would not be disbursed through the government but “will be
going directly to the people of Zimbabwe”. “We continue to be concerned
about consolidating democracy, human rights and rule of law,” Obama said.

Tsvangirai met Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, in Berlin today (15
June) and will travel to Stockholm for talks tomorrow with Fredrik
Reinfeldt, Sweden's prime minister, who will take over the presidency of the
European Council from 1 July. The Zimbabwean delegation also includes
ministers from ZANU-PF, Mugabe's party, which has ruled Zimbabwe since the
first election after independence, in 1980.

The government estimates that around $10 billion - close to €8bn - in aid is
needed to rebuild Zimbabwe's shattered economy.

Tsvangirai's trip got off to a shaky start when Mugabe received Omar
al-Bashir, Sudan's president, for a regional summit in Victoria Falls,
Zimbabwe (7-8 June). Al-Bashir has been indicted by the International
Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity and
war crimes committed in the Darfur region. The assembled leaders called on
the ICC to suspend its arrest warrant against the Sudanese president.

A group of non-governmental organisations from Zimbabwe has supported the
cautious stance taken by Western governments over releasing funds to the
government. “The EU must not provide direct support to the government unless
there is firm evidence that the power-sharing agreement is providing more
democracy,” Fambai Ngirande, advocacy director of a civil society
association, told reporters in Brussels last Friday (12 June). The group
also called on the EU to keep its sanctions against Mugabe and his entourage
in place to encourage democratic reform.

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Tsvangirai Not on MDC Fundraising Tour : Party

HARARE, June 15 2009 - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on
Monday dismissed Herald reports that its leader and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai was on a fund-raising mission for his party in Europe.

"President Mugabe is the Head of State while the Prime Minister Hon
Morgan Tsvangirai is the Head of Government responsible for the government
business in Parliament as well as the formulation and implementation of
government policy, according to the Global Political Agreement.

"President Mugabe is not the sole repository of executive authority as
mischievously claimed by The Herald. Article 20 of the GPA is clear that
executive authority rests with Cabinet, the President and the Prime
Minister. We note with concern the abuse of state institutions, particularly
The Herald and the ZBC. We continue to hear the Zanu PF voice. We continue
to hear the voice of hatred, mendacity, falsehoods and unbridled malice.

The MDC was responding to a Herald report, which claimed that
Tsvangirai was fundraising for his party in Europe, dismissing the report as
'a mischievous and dishonest claim'.

"Zimbabweans are aware that the inclusive government is a combination
of different political parties. It cannot be an inclusive team of exclusive
players with one of them notoriously claiming executive player status. The
MDC President has since reiterated that his mission is to re-engage the
international community so that Zimbabwe once again rejoins the family of

"For the record, the MDC as a party has never ruptured relations with
the international community and we cannot be held responsible for the
negative perceptions the world has about those who thought sovereignty means
severing ties with everyone. All the MDC and its leadership have sought to
do is to engage the international community to assist and support the
inclusive government as a transitory mechanism which remains the most viable
route to a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning," said the MDC in a statement.

1"Well done Prime Minister" by Chinx at Monday, 15 June 2009 17:38
We were expecting such behaviour from Mugabe and the losing lot. The
Right Hon. PM well done. Do not loss focus. You are the only one with people
of Zimbabwe at heart. Keep it up. What does Mugabe mean when he tries to
stop Obama from paying us Teachers and the health staff. We will vote him
out because he is denying us a better Zimbabwe. Everyone is watching him. He
is interested in his arm an C.I.O. Keep looking for help to save Zimbabwean
people our loving PM.

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Passing around the hat

Photo: South African DFA
Morgan Tsvangirai - the government's salesman
JOHANNESBURG, 15 June 2009 (IRIN) - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has won US$73 million in aid from the United States on the first leg of an international tour aimed at drumming up financial support for his beleaguered government, and will try to persuade European donors to dig deeper into their pockets.

After a meeting with Tsvangirai on 12 June in the White House, US President Barrack Obama said Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government "shows promise, and we want to do everything we can to encourage the kinds of improvement, not only on human rights and rule of law, freedom of the press and democracy, that are so necessary, but also on the economic front."

However, while saluting Tsvangirai and the efforts of his four-month-old administration in controlling hyperinflation, Obama said US aid money would not be channelled through the government, "because we continue to be concerned about consolidating democracy, human rights, and rule of law".

Tsvangirai is due in London this week, where he is expected to similarly champion the need for Western assistance to shore up the economy and revive social services after close to a decade of crisis.

But with the influence of President Robert Mugabe seemingly undimmed within the all-party government, and elections due in 18 months' time, donors are likely to hold off committing to the estimated $10 billion required to rebuild the country, analysts predict.  


"There are two key problems," economist Tony Hawkins told IRIN. "The impression is that the power-sharing government is in office but not really in power, so there is the question of who really is in control and frustrating real change.

"The second issue is more technical: Tsvangirai is running around the world passing around the hat for money, but there is no real strategic programme and [development] package [to fund], which is what the donors need."

Zimbabwe's deep humanitarian crisis has been punctuated by elections won by Mugabe against Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which were marred by violence and widely condemned as unfair. A power-sharing government, urged by regional leaders to break the deadlock, was finally inaugurated in February 2009, but Mugabe is accused of failing to fully live up to the terms of the agreement.

On 1 June the humanitarian community increased its donor appeal for Zimbabwe by 30 percent to $719 million, to take into account the need to combat a cholera epidemic and a spike in food insecurity.

The appeal document noted that six million people – over half the population - had limited or no access to safe water and sanitation; 1.5 million children required support to access education; 800,000 people were in need of food aid, and 44,000 children younger than five years needed treatment for severe acute malnutrition.


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Minister Chombo’s sincerity in the appointment of special interests Councilors questionable

15 June 2009


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is deeply concerned with the controversy that surrounds the appointment of special interests Councilors in Harare. Minister of Local Government, Dr. Ignatius Chombo, was biased in his choice of special interests Councilors and he did not take into account the fact that these Councilors are supposed to enhance the work of the City Council and not just add to the number of Councilors at Town House.


Some elected councilors described most of the appointed and so called special interest councilors as the ‘eyes and ears’ of Minister Chombo. Reports obtained by CHRA indicate that the councilors were appointed on the basis of their relationship with the Minister of Local Government. Examples are Councilor Marufu who is a brother to the First Lady; Councilor Torongo (Minister Chombo’s former schoolmate); Nimrod Chiminya (Minister Chombo’s brother), Councilor Musah Alana (whose father is said to have sponsored the ZANU PF campaigns during the March 2008 elections). Some of the elected Councilors have also pointed out that most of the appointed Councilors have not done anything meaningful in their areas of operation and some are also conspicuous by their absence at most Council meetings.


Out of the 11 appointed special interest councilors; only 3 seems to possess technical qualifications that. These are Sasha Jorgi (a Town Planner by profession), Ushewokunze and Mr. Magwaliba (a Lawyer).


Minister Chombo’s sincerity in this issue is questionable especially taking into consideration the history of his continuous meddling with the operations of the City of Harare. Some residents have pointed out that the Minister wants to neutralize the MDC-led Council and also maintain his grip on the operations of Town House.


The Combined Harare Residents Association is against any tendencies of nepotism and corruption in the local governance system and will continue to expose and condemn such actions. The Association would also like to urge Councilors to be diligent in ensuring transparency in all decision making processes and also prioritize the interests of residents who elected them into power. CHRA will continue to advocate for a good, transparent and accountable local governance system and the delivery of quality and affordable municipal (and other) services on a non-partisan basis.


Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and


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Morgan Tsvangirai to urge Britain to increase support for MDC

Zimbabwe has slashed its inflation rate from 500 billion per cent to three
per cent in just three months, Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, said.

By Graham Boynton and Philip Sherwell
Published: 6:30AM BST 15 Jun 2009

Mr Tsvangirai has kicked-off a three-week international tour seeking
political and financial support for the stricken country.

He will tell Gordon Brown in London this week that his party, the Movement
for Democratic Change, needs to be seen to be delivering economic progress
for ordinary Zimbabweans to win the next elections.

Mr Tsvangirai is the prime minister in a fractious coalition government
headed by his bitter rival President Robert Mugabe, the country's long-time
autocratic leader.

Western governments are still extremely wary of dispatching more aid to a
country subjected to a reign of terror by Mr Mugabe's militias and reduced
to an economic basket-case by the disastrous policy of seizing the farms of
white landowners.

But The Telegraph has learned that Mr Tsvangirai will urge the US and
European donors to increase their support to boost the MDC's standing in

He will tell them that the credibility of the MDC depends on life improving
for Zimbabweans and request "targeted support", according to allies of the
prime minister.

He will also try to assure them that continued stability before the next
election will ensure a "landslide defeat" for Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF and that
international pressure will prevent the president's allies in the military
from intervening to overturn the result.

Mr Tsvangirai is already arguing that the country has made dramatic economic
progress since the MDC joined the coalition.

"The government has consolidated itself and on a number of benchmarks is has
performed extremely well," he told Sir David Frost in an interview with Al
Jazeera English.

"We have managed to arrest the hyperinflation conditions, from 500 billion
per cent to three per cent currently. We have reopened schools, we have
reopened hospitals.

"We have begun to give the people of Zimbabwe not only hope, but also
confidence, that the future is bright and that this process is

The runaway inflation was halted by abandoning the worthless Zimbabwean
dollar in favour of the US dollar and South African rand. Food is back on
long-empty shelves, petrol is available again for $1 per litre and some
exiles, black and white, are talking about returning home.

Mr Tsvangirai started his world tour in Washington with a meeting with
Barack Obama on Friday where he received praise from the US president.

"He's going to continue to provide us with direction in ways that he thinks
we can be helpful, and I'm grateful to him for his leadership, for his
courage, and I'm looking forward to being a partner with him in the years to
come," the US president said.

Ending a five day US visit Mr Tsvangirai told reporters that he had told Mr
Obama that the country "is coming out of a political conflict and economic
collapse... and that the new political dispensation we have crafted is an
attempt to arrest this decay" through a transitional arrangement.

Mr Tsvangirai will tour European capitals, including London, this week.

But while the prime minister is putting the best interpretation on recent
developments, there are ominous signs. Mr Mugabe has not even allowed Mr
Tsvangirai to move in to the official residence for his new office, land
invasions of the few remaining white-owned farms are continuing, as are
militia attacks on MDC supporters - and there is constant speculation about
a coup by military and political hardliners.

Even some of Mr Tsvangirai's supporters fear that he is being used by Mr
Mugabe simply to provide a veneer of respectability, and will be dumped when
the president sees fit. The prime minister, who has frequently been jailed
and beaten up, counters that it is better to for the MDC to be inside the
government than outside.

The government has said it needs £6.1 billion to rebuild the shattered
economy, which it has forecast will grow by 2.8 per cent in 2009.

Britain announced an extra £15 million in humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe for
health and food projects in April after the "unity government" was formed.

Asked whether Mr Brown would offer further aid after meeting Mr Tsvangirai,
a Foreign Office spokesperson said: "In principle, we stand ready to support
Zimbabwe's new administration to bring about much needed change.

"But the extent and nature of our support will be determined by the actions
the new administration takes on the ground to reverse the political,
economic and social decline.

"In particular we and the international community will be looking for: full
and equal access to humanitarian assistance; commitment to macroeconomic
stabilisation; restoration of the rule of law; commitment to the democratic
process and respect for internationally accepted standards of human rights."

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Hong Kong pressed to explain leniency for Mugabe bodyguards

Asia-Pacific News
Jun 15, 2009, 3:16 GMT

   Hong Kong - The Hong Kong government was being pressed Monday to explain
why bodyguards working for the daughter of Zimbabwean president Robert
Mugabe were not prosecuted for an alleged assault on two newspaper

   Senior legislator and barrister Margaret Ng wrote to the city's Secretary
for Justice, calling reports of the assault 'disturbing' and demanding a
detailed explanation of the decision.

   The two bodyguards - a man called Mapfumo Marks and a woman called
Manyaira Reliance Pepukai - allegedly assaulted Colin Galloway and Tim
O'Rourke on February 13 outside the house where Bona Mugabe is living while
studying at a Hong Kong university.

   But after a police investigation, the Department of Justice announced
last week that Marks and Pepukai would not be prosecuted because they acted
out of 'real concern' for the safety of Bona Mugabe, who was inside the
house at the time of the incident.

   The incident took place just one month after Bona's mother Grace
allegedly assaulted another photographer who took pictures of her shopping
in Tsim Sha Tsui. The Department of Justice later decided she was entitled
to diplomatic immunity as Robert Mugabe's wife

   In her letter to Secretary for Justice Wong Yan Lung, Ng said: 'The case
of (Grace) Mugabe's immunity had already aroused great public concern. The
department's decision not to prosecute the bodyguards will undoubtedly
increase the concern unless it is clearly justified.

   'On the basis of the (news) reports, the guards' assault outside Ms
Mugabe's home was unjustified. The complainants were identified as
journalists seeking to photograph Ms Mugabe. Any threat posed to her safety
would seem remote.'

   A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice defended the decision not to
prosecute. 'The decision was solely based on the strength of the case. Any
suggestion that there might be other considerations, political or otherwise,
affecting our decision is totally unfounded,' said.

   The bodyguards were about to take Bona Mugabe to university and felt
'real concern at the approach of the two men just as Miss Mugabe was about
to depart,' she said.

   'The bodyguards appeared to have had suspicions over the motives of the
men, whom they regarded as trespassers, in being at the scene at all.'

   Journalists and other legislators have already criticised the decision
not to prosecute the bodyguards as damaging to Hong Kong's press freedom.

   Bona Mugabe, 20, who is believed to be studying at Hong Kong's City
University, is expected to return to Zimbabwe with her bodyguards later this
month for her summer holiday.

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I've learnt to share power like Nelson Mandela, says Morgan Tsvangirai

June 15, 2009

Tim Reid in Washington
Morgan Tsvangirai compared himself to Nelson Mandela yesterday as he sought
to explain his decision to share power with Robert Mugabe.

Speaking to The Times before his visit to Europe this week, the Prime
Minister of Zimbabwe - who is facing growing criticism that he has become an
apologist for the regime - said that he now had a "functioning working
relationship" with President Mugabe, 85 - the man who in recent years had
him jailed, beaten and threatened with death, and whose 29-year rule has led
his country to near collapse.

"I can't stand up and defend his past," Mr Tsvangirai said in his Washington
hotel, minutes after an Oval Office meeting with President Obama. "But I
want to say here that the situation in Zimbabwe is no different from Poland,
where the Solidarity organisation was in cohabitation with the Communists in
the transition.

"Nelson Mandela went for two years with the former apartheid leaders in
order to create that transition [in South Africa]," he added. "So we are not
in a unique position. Transitions of this nature are important, because you
soft-land a crisis in order to create a better basis for democratic

Mr Tsvangirai is on a three-week world tour, during which he hopes to
persuade the West to increase aid to his shattered nation.

In recent days, and to a sceptical audience, he has argued that Zimbabwe is
now "on an irreversible transition to democracy" - a case he will make when
he arrives in London on Saturday.

Under the terms of his power-sharing agreement, Mr Mugabe has retained
control of the police, military, intelligence service, media and criminal
justice system.

Opposition leaders are still being arrested and white-owned farms are still
being illegally seized.

Sitting in on the interview was a US-based representative of The Herald, the
Mugabe-controlled state newspaper which has belittled Mr Tsvangirai's trip
each day since he left the country a week ago. The reporter insisted on
reciting long questions read verbatim from copious longhand notes, which
appeared to be an attempt to take up the time allocated for the interview.

Mr Tsvangirai insisted that Mr Mugabe now understood the dire problems
facing the people of Zimbabwe, where hyper-inflation has destroyed the
economy, Aids is rampant and the country's infrastructure is in ruins.

"He is not stupid. He's astute and he's clear about what he wants to do. We
both appreciate the fact that we have a national responsibility to define
the destiny of the country. Only through working together are we able to
respond to our people's needs."

Such a stance from Mr Tsvangirai, who for a decade was Mr Mugabe's
implacable foe, is threatening his credibility and drawing criticism from
reformists, who say that he should be speaking out more boldly against Mr
Mugabe's abuses. The Prime Minister, however, appears to believe that the
best way to achieve reform is from within. Just as Mr Mugabe realised that
"he needed to share power if he was going to make progress, we have shifted
the arena of our struggle in order to have full democracy in our country,"
he said.

Mr Tsvangirai appeared optimistic and did not talk about the death of his
wife in a car crash earlier this year, an accident that he survived.

He insisted that the country's inflation rate had dropped from 500 billion
per cent to 3 per cent - a claim that is not supported by economists.

He left his meeting with Mr Obama with a promise of $73 million in
humanitarian aid "and no development aid", a reflection of Washington's
decision to limit its assistance and keep sanctions in place until Mr Mugabe
is out of power.

"I must confess when I came [to Washington] I found the mood to be very
sceptical," Mr Tsvangirai said. "But as time went on, and we explained our
case, I think there has been an appreciation that Zimbabwe is in a
post-conflict situation."

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Journalist Violet Gonda interviews ZANU PF Minister Walter Mzembi

SW Radio Africa Transcript

HOT SEAT interview: Journalist Violet Gonda interviews ZANU PF Minister Walter Mzembi.

Broadcast: 12 June 2009

VIOLET GONDA : Walter Mzembi, the Zanu-PF Minister of Tourism is my guest on the programme Hot Seat. Welcome on the programme Mr. Mzembi.

WALTER MZEMBI: Thank you Violet.

GONDA Now you are part of the delegation travelling with the Prime Minister on re-engagement tour of western countries, what is your assessment of the trip so far?

MZEMBI: So far so good Violet, within the context of the parameters that have been set for us to re-engage the western bloc and the United States included. I think so far so good, it may not sound as good to other domains out there who have their own criteria on what we should achieve on this trip.

Walter Mzembi

I hear a lot of news around us moving around with a begging bowl to put $8.3 billion in a kitty and that’s how other people are measuring us out there but I think so far so good within the context of the criteria we have set for ourselves and that has been set for us by government and cabinet.

GONDA: The State media, the Herald in particular, actually said that the Prime Minister was ordered to go and call for the lifting of sanctions and beg for financial assistance. Is this true?

MZEMBI: We are all sent by the President. Ultimately we are all deployed by the President, whether it’s the Prime Minister or is Mzembi or any other cabinet minister. At the end of the day we are all deployed by the Republic President and that is his Excellency, President Mugabe. On this delegation that we are embarking on and which we are part of, we are obviously headed by the Prime Minister who is incidentally is also the head of the council of ministers, he is also deployed by virtue of that deployment by his Excellency.

GONDA: And so what did the President say? Did he say go to the western countries and ask for the removal of the sanctions?

MZEMBI: I was not privy to the debrief but what I know is that this trip that we embarked on was preceded by another engagement between his Excellency and Congressman Donald Payne of the United States Congress. And in that interaction, three hour interaction between our President and Congressman Payne, a copy of which I have in terms of minutes and what was discussed there, it is very clear what the President wants us to achieve on this mission – is to begin to initiate the re-engagement process. And the President is an intellectual and a diplomat par excellence, he is obviously aware that this re-engagement process is not going to be an event, it is going to be a process. The process of revoking sanctions is not going to be an event as it is marketed in other public media in the country it is actually going to be a process. The process of repealing Acts is lengthy and can take anything up to two years and I’m sure the President is obviously very conscious of what we are up against here. It is not a political event, it is not an economic event, it is a process.

GONDA: So what has been the reception, how have you been received?

MZEMBI: Depending on which stakeholder you are meeting, it has ranged from outright scepticism to full optimism about the developments in the country. So it depends which group you are meeting. Let me just run you through the Washington power matrix as I have observed it here – you have four pillars in the Washington power matrix – the Executive itself which is anchored by Whitehouse, President Obama, you have Capitol Hill, you have Congress and Senate and other players, the State. You have the influence peddlers, your opinion makers – in them you also include two very key institutes in the United States of America – the National Democrat Institute and the International Republic Institute. These are think tanks for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party respectively and obviously policy is evolved at party level and when you win elections you take it through into state craft, into the State itself, so these think tanks are very critical in our engagements and we’ve already engaged them.

You have elements of civic society, you have a whole range of civic society in this country who inform opinion, who inform influence on Capitol Hill and on the Executive. You’ve got the fourth estate itself, the media. You can’t imagine the whole matrix of media in this country, I think there maybe up to 500 radio stations in this country and an equal number of newspapers and in the first instance before any, and television media of course, before anyone does anything in the morning they watch news, they read newspapers and that is what informs opinion including that of the Executive in Capitol Hill.

So in deciding the strategy, you’ve got to take all these four blocks into account and say how do you start your game plan and obviously we have started with the influence peddlers, the opinion makers and that was our entry point and going forward beginning to create media hype around what we are doing here into Capitol Hill itself and right through to the Executive where we expect to meet President Barack Obama. So it is not as simplistic as it is put across to the nation by our public media and private media back home or in the dreaming capacity of our people to say that everything’s possible and can be done as an event. It is going to be a process and I want to psyche Zimbabweans to a fairly lengthy process in achieving our objectives.

GONDA: Now you are from Zanu-PF which has been under isolation for several years and so what is their perception of Zanu-PF, these groups that you have been meeting?

MZEMBI: In the first instance they are really, I can see an element of surprise each time I am introduced. Of course we have been quite open about how we should approach things, we are trying to showcase the inclusive government here, it’s not just Zanu-PF here, it is also Mutambara’s party as represented by Priscilla, sister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and you’ve got Elton Mangoma there also representing the MDC-T but the head of delegation is the Prime Minister who obviously is not visiting the United States of America as an opposition leader, he is visiting the United States on this mission as a Prime Minister of a government of inclusivity and this is what we have been trying to disabuse the American nation here and the various stakeholders that we are meeting - that Prime Minister Tsvangirai is not visiting the United States as an opposition leader, he is visiting the United States as the head of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister of the republic of Zimbabwe and therefore debate and what we discuss must take a particular path which reflects that there’s senior government employee who is visiting the United States of America.

GONDA: But how do they perceive Zanu-PF?

MZEMBI: They perceive us obviously as anti-reformers I must be very, very honest. That’s how they see us and in various engagements that I have had with various state players here and influence makers, they perceive us as anti-reformers, as people who belong to the past, people who are being dragged screaming and kicking to implement certain outstanding issues of the GPA. I’m just putting it as I’ve heard it here and obviously my position here is to correct that assertion within the context of what I think is being done by the political players and by the government of Zimbabwe and by the cabinet of Zimbabwe which is the supreme policy making body. So I’ve been very upfront with you, that is how we are perceived…

GONDA: So don’t you think that perception is justified?

It is certainly not justified because if we are anti-reform, we wouldn’t have got this far. We are in an inclusive government because we are reformers; we are in an inclusive government because we have also embraced change. Change is no longer a partisan agenda and I have told right up to Secretary of State, Madam Clinton herself that change in Zimbabwe is not necessarily a partisan agenda any more as in the context of the MDC having actually come into the inclusive government on the back of the changed agenda. It is now a national agenda and to the extent that we embrace it and we begin to compete around making sure that we effect change in the various spheres. To that extent we become also relevant within the Zimbabwean political landscape. A battery of reforms that are coming into the country, including the constitutional review itself is a change programme…

GONDA: But Mr Mzembi, sorry to interrupt you there, you are trying to sell the inclusivity of the coalition government but the MDC is on record as saying that there are some unresolved issues…

MZEMBI: Absolutely…

GONDA: …like the issue of the governor of the Reserve Bank, the Attorney General Tomana, and governors, the swearing in of Roy Bennett – what is your position as Zanu-PF on this?

MZEMBI: Let me tell you what I have told the American society here. I have told them that we are on an irrevocable path to change, that the inclusive government itself is the only game in town. There’s no other alternative to what is taking place, to the process that is taking place in the country today. And going forward it is not going to be partisan change it is going to be generational transformation, it is going to be national change agenda items up to including the constitution itself which is our ultimate benchmark in terms of abstracting from the people of Zimbabwe how they want to be governed and going forward obviously leading to the holding of an election. These are benchmarks and beacons that we have set ourselves as all the three parties, as government and that is what we are communicating to the Americans.

They obviously are bringing up issues that are contained in old Acts, or irrelevant Acts like ZEDERA which speaks on conditions that must be fulfilled before legitimacy is restored to any government in the Republic of Zimbabwe and we are pre-empting it by citing the provisions of the GP agreement itself which is an agreement, a conclusive agreement between the three parties and it speaks on the same conditions, 90% of which have been agreed. I don’t deny that we have outstanding issues and I’ve not denied it here but I’ve also indicated that those issues are being dealt with, dealt with by the right people, the Principals to the GP agreement are the ones who should persist with the GPA issues…

GONDA: But why is it that government has done very little to meet these conditions even in areas where there is no need for international support like in areas like media reform. Why is that taking so long?

MZEMBI: Why did it take so long for example to confirm permanent secretaries - it’s because we have to bring everyone on board to understand how a permanent secretary for example is appointed. And it’s a matter of people understanding the processes and the qualifications that belie anybody who will be one day called a permanent secretary and when it was understood, you saw that it was endorsed with the amicable collusion of all parties so sometime it’s issues that are done ahead of the level of understanding of other parties on what issues are involved.

Going to the issue of the Reserve Bank and other people that you have referred to, we’ve been very clear here to the extent that we can allow debate in Zimbabwe to degenerate around personalities then we lose sight of institutional reform. So what we must target ahead of us is institutional reform and say to ourselves – a Reserve Bank of the future – how do we want to see it, how do we want to see the last bank, the bank of last resort in the future? What sort of responsibilities do we want to give it and quite clearly there’s no departure point between the Reserve Bank and finance ministry in Zimbabwe on the need to reform the Reserve Bank but if we degenerate to the extent where we begin to discuss personalities then we lose sight of institutional reforms. And they agreed with us here, that they have existed as a nation, as a democracy on the back of very solid foundations in terms of institutional frameworks and structures and in their history, in their road map to where they are today. They’ve had good leaders and bad leaders but they’ve always been crosschecked by a strong institutional framework and foundation so I’m not going to be sucked into a debate where we discuss personalities and I’ve put it up front here and in cabinet that we must focus on the institutional and scientific issues and this is institutional reform that I am alluding to.

GONDA: But on the issue of the Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, I actually understand that cabinet has approved the establishment of the multi-donor trust fund for Zimbabwe and this is going to be within the ministry of finance


GONDA: … and I understand that’s in an effort to remove concerns by western countries that financial aid to the country could be misused. But the question that I wanted to find out is going around the RBZ, like what is happening with this trust fund, doesn’t it mean creating parallel structures and doesn’t this have the potential of breeding corruption?

MZEMBI: No, no you can’t be saying reform an institution and at the same time not creating an instrument that insures business as usual approach. The country cannot stop ticking because we are reforming the Reserve Bank - so the multi-donor trust fund is certainly a parallel process which we don’t want to last for a period longer than necessary. It is a transitional framework to accept donor funds and aid into the country. It does not in any way substitute the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank ultimately will continue to be the treasury of the country, it will continue to exercise its function on monetary policy, the governor of the Reserve Bank in the future will continue to be the ultimate authority of that institution and that’s best practice everywhere. But don’t see the personality in the institution; just see institutional reforms and what needs to be done in terms of the reforms that we are pursuing.

GONDA: But isn’t that a bit difficult not to see the personalities because the MDC in particular has said that the reason why they are targeting someone like Gideon Gono is because of the issues of bad policies and corruption. So don’t you think that is important and isn’t this the reason why the international community has been saying we want to see a change especially in this matter?

MZEMBI: Well they have repeated that call here in every meeting I can tell you that but we are very careful to separate emotive issues from scientific and institutional issues - otherwise it would derail our discussions, if we are looking for funding and we begin to create conditions for ourselves that inhibit that funding then we will be shooting ourselves in the foot. I didn’t fly ten thousand miles all the way from Zimbabwe to come and discuss a personality here in another democracy. What we are pursuing here are models of financing, models of institutional governance and they’ve understood that, you can pursue it yes, but it’s not a prime debate here at the moment. What is prime debate here is institutional reform.

GONDA: You also mentioned that what’s needed in terms of the change agenda is generational transformation, what do you mean by that?

MZEMBI: Well there’s no doubt about that the fact that every generation speaks to its own brief. There was a generation of liberators who laid a very strong foundation for that country in terms of establishing the various freedoms, all the access of freedoms in the country and it would be impertinent to continue to judge that generation on the performance of the economy. Their brief was very clear, they were bringing universal franchise – the ability for you to vote freely every five years, to speak freely as much as we are doing, you and me today, the ability to universally enfranchise every Zimbabwean in the country. Their brief was to deliver land which has been done. Don’t interrogate me on the matters and processes, but the outcome has been achieved, so that is their brief. Going forward, what is Mzembi’s brief and his generation – is to create economic prosperity for Zimbabwe , is to begin to design scientific models that ride on the back of those our natural resources and other freedoms that we are trying to consolidate for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.

GONDA: But why can’t you be interrogated on the methods and processes because how do you… (interrupted)

MZEMBI: Because we agreed in the Global Political Agreement that the land reform is fait accompli, there’s collusion and convergence by all the three political parties, in fact I urge you to read the GPA document itself. It doesn’t dispute the need for land reform. What it further wants to integrate is the productivity aspect. I can engage you on that very easily to interrogate scientific methods of ensuring food security in the country - starting and commencing with the land audit, a land audit that will bare everything for everyone to see who is owning more than one farm, who is not being productive, what kind of modelling should be put in place to ensure the timeous provision of inputs, crop finance, marketing, transportation of produce and so forth. That is the stage that we are in now, the scientific stage and that is the stage that we are riding on here in the United States and where we are going to say that we are appealing for support for our capacity utilisation programmes in agriculture, for our own productivity programmes in agriculture. We can’t be sucked into the debate prior to September 15 because September 15 concludes the land aspect through a provision that alludes to the need by all Zimbabweans to recognise that this is an irrevocable process. But going forward, how do we unlock value out of that land.

GONDA: And right now though, not going back as you said to the situation prior to September 2008 but as tourism minister, how do you intend to address the things that have caused our tourism statistics to plummet, such as the violence on white commercial farms without protection from the State?

MZEMBI: I don’t condone violence, in fact I’m a, I don’t condone violence at all, I’ve zero tolerance myself to violence. And if you recall, if you go back into the past in my constituency there was no violence at all in any campaign in the past and I’ve stood publicly against violence. I don’t condone it. I don’t think it’s a means to an end. But notwithstanding that, if there’s been issues around violence in the country on farms and in the political landscape this is why we have proffered and put ahead of us a national healing organ to bring to the fore those issues and to see how they can be resolved. But we have not proscribed how the national healing organ should work – we have simply deployed three ministers whom we have said they must go and suss out from the people of Zimbabwe how we must handle this issue of national healing and restoration and forgiveness and that is a work in progress right now.

GONDA: But why is the violence continuing?

MZEMBI: I’m not aware of where the violence is continuing. The Prime Minister here who is my head of my delegation was asked by various publics here on continued violence which was quoting even one of his own Ministers, Minister Sekai Holland, and he said he wasn’t aware of any escalation in violence. He was aware that we have residue elements within our society who continuously pop up here and there to regress the process of consolidating our, what we have set ahead of us as the targets for democratisation and stabilisation. And you can’t carry everyone 100% along with you. You have here and there people clinging on to the past and if that past is violence, you have a few people but the general momentum that pertains in the country is that of peace and stability and that is what we are marketing here and everyone agrees including Congressmen who have been to the country just as recently as last week, affirming that Zimbabwe is very peaceful.

We have less crime rate in the country, in Zimbabwe than even in South Africa which is hosting 2010 just next year. But the South Africans have taken a position and a resolve to say because they have a big showcase in soccer next year there are statistics that they should begin not to play too much rhetoric on in the national interest and quite simply, even ourselves we don’t have the violence that compares to the violence that you see in Iraq or in Afghanistan. So to that extent we must begin to manage our own political rhetoric, social rhetoric, economic rhetoric for the national interest.

GONDA: Now Mr Mzembi, the Zimbabwe Independent this week has a commentary saying that while you are travelling with the Prime Minister, the Lowveld conservancies are once again facing invasions and disruptions by thugs aligned to Zanu-PF and the paper went on to say, ‘Mzembi is unable to address this crisis because he is busy helping Tsvangirai claim that Zimbabwe is on the path of recovery.’ How do you respond to that?

MZEMBI: In the first instance, my brief is very clear in the inclusive government. I am not the custodian of the environment and natural resources; it is under Minister Francis Nhema. I am responsible for the marketing of the product itself which is the wildlife on the conservancies and therefore those questions should be directed to the respectable Ministry and Minister to answer those issues because I’m away and I might not be aware of what is taking place. But I would not condone any type of disruption that will violate my product which I’m trying to market here and when I come back I will raise those issues with his Excellency and cabinet. I can’t be sweating my back here to market a product that other people are undermining and I’ve been very upfront in the past on that.

GONDA: And you know there are hardly any black rhinos in the world today, but Zimbabwe actually lost about 120 black rhinos in just one year and this was through poaching and wildlife activists have said that Zanu-PF officials and army guys are actually organising these illegal activities. Now you say you are going around marketing this product, but how do you intend to stop this greed and the poaching?

MZEMBI: The greed is not an acceptable vice in any society so if you are describing it as greed it is not a virtue, it is not a value that we embrace or that any normal Zimbabwean should embrace in the future and we don’t want greedy people amongst us. We want competitive business people who exploit natural resources on a sustainable basis irrespective of party affiliation, race or creed. If it’s happening from my side and everyone has proof that it’s happening they must report them to the police. If they cannot get joy from the police then they must seek recourse to us and ultimately the last court of appeal is cabinet and the President himself.

So these issues must be brought forward, we don’t want them to be cyber-space issues, which are not matched by concrete evidence as to the happenings down there. I’ve engaged in the past, let me be upfront with you, the European Union ambassador in Zimbabwe, Xavier Marchal, and his team who are very, very passionate about wildlife as much as all these Europeans up here, are very passionate about wildlife - and I’ve made my position very clear as tourism minister that it is my product and I don’t accept and I won’t accept anyone undermining it. So to the extent that you are actually reporting to me that there is disruption, I will be making the first effort after this telephone interview to engage my counterpart on the custodian side of our brief - Minister Nhema and team to say what is happening, if there is any substance to what you are saying.

GONDA: How do you respond to people who say why should anyone go to Zimbabwe , when hotels are the most expensive in the region and they can have a nicer time in neighbouring countries like Zambia where there are no constant power cuts and they are not falling into potholes. How do you respond to that?

MZEMBI: Well we are in a transitional phase having come out of a battery of sanctions. By the way, there have been sanctions on Zimbabwe , I am just reading now the ZEDERA, the Zimbabwe democracy Act, just refreshing my memory on it before my meeting with the respective authorities here. There have been sanctions on Zimbabwe, they’ve admitted that there’s been sanctions imposed on the country, they’ve played a very negative part in terms of sprucing up our tourism product -because our hotel operators and players were not able to access funding from multi-lateral institutions, bi-lateral institutions because of the caveat which had been put on the ability of the American executives sitting on the IMF board and other institutions to exercise discretion on lending to Zimbabwe.

So sanctions are real here, I’m telling you. I would not be forecasting a two year period to reverse everything that has been done here if there were no sanctions. So we must accept that there have been sanctions and the Global Political Agreement accepts that there’s been a scourge of sanctions on Zimbabwe and going forward, how do we resolve this and this is why we are here on this lobby mission.

GONDA: But Mr Mzembi, western countries say that the restrictive measures are there as a result of human rights abuses, corruption and electoral fraud, so don’t you think that as Zanu-PF, you are partly to blame for this?

MZEMBI: I think we as Zimbabweans have been partly to blame for this. We have collectively been party to what we find ourselves in at the moment and this is why, to secure and seek a solution to the problem, it did not take one party to resolve this matter, it took the collective effort of the three parties to agree on what is wrong in the country which has been cited in the GPA and what is needed to be done in going forward, which has also been cited in the GPA and has been given by extension, legal effect in constitution amendment number 19. So I’m not going to accept any assertion that MDC was wrong, or Zanu-PF was wrong. We have all been collectively wrong, that’s why to seek a solution, we had to collectively sit round a table to resolve this problem.

GONDA: But how can you say all Zimbabweans have been collectively wrong, even the MDC, when the MDC has said it has been brutalised as a party for the last ten years by Zanu-PF which has stolen elections year after year?

MZEMBI: There’s nothing to respond to because what I am focussing my brief on is the future. The future which acknowledges that there have been past wrongs committed by Zimbabwean against Zimbabwean, by brother against brother, by sister against sister and that is acknowledged. It is acknowledged by the inclusive government actually setting up a national healing organ. It means there is acknowledgement that there have been past misgivings and wrongs against each other. Now resolving them, going forward, that’s why we have put three ministers of state from each party to come up with a framework and formulae on how we can nationally heal ourselves. So that debate, why don’t we wait for it until we get the framework for national healing by going forward.

At a political level, we have agreed that there is a need to go out and run through all the capitals of the world to market our GPA, to market the inclusive government and to begin to appeal for assistance in a more solid way not just humanitarian plus support but sustainable support which secures our food security, which sends our children back to school, which opens public health institutions, which begins to connect city to city, rural centre to rural centre through a viable transport network and road network in the country and that’s what I am faced with here in this country, in the United States and we have been very upfront, my sister, with all these issues with the respective officials and state craft people here in this country.

GONDA: Talking about the future, what is your perception of Morgan Tsvangirai as a person and as a leader?


MZEMBI: Well he is a wonderful person, as you can imagine we have been all together since we left home. I’ve not seen anything that suggests he’s a monster. He also acknowledges that President Mugabe is a wonderful person, full of niceties and good mannerisms. We, if you recall, we retreated to the Victoria Falls for three days under a World Bank sponsored bonding retreat, three days and those three days we relocated, located each other as a working government and we have been telling the Americans here that if you walked into our cabinet with President Mugabe chairing you would not be able to tell the difference between MDC and Zanu-PF. You simply can’t tell by walking in even if you were a fly, just flying in the cabinet room, you would not be able to tell who is Zanu-PF and MDC - because we are discussing issues.

We assist with issues on recovering the economy and giving promise and hope to the people of Zimbabwe . So there’s sufficient chemistry, there’s sufficient chemistry between Head of State and his Prime Minister. There’s sufficient chemistry between Prime Minister and his Minister on this trip, there’s sufficient chemistry to move us forward as a delegation. So as a person I’ve found him very well. As Prime Minister he has done an excellent job here, defending what we have done in the GPA, defending what we are doing as an inclusive government and projecting a future for the country.

GONDA: The reason I am asking that is there are some who believe that he is being used by Zanu-PF to go on a fund raising campaign, to bail Zanu-PF out and they use examples like what happened recently when the information minister Webster Shamu said that Mr Tsvangirai is not the President and has no authority to issue directives to ministers (regarding the case of the accreditation of journalists); and that Mr Tsvangirai had actually asked for a news crew to travel with him on his overseas trip and he was denied this…

MZEMBI: Violet, you’d be the last person to say that. Whether we have a news crew here or not, it does not undermine our work. In fact most of the meetings that we have gone into are very, very closed meetings which do not require news peddlers at all. They are sensitive, intimate meetings that are discussing the future of Zimbabwe and they are conducted primarily outside the glare of the press. The flamboyant and carnival atmosphere that people hope to capture around our visit here is not what we are seeking here. We are not seeking glory; we are seeking to recover the Zimbabwe economy. But not withstanding that, you’ll be the first one to agree that there’s a much more extensive media network here in the United States than in Zimbabwe and anyone who is seeking attention can get it here if he was seeking attention he would get it here, if I was seeking attention I would get it here because we have a plethora, an oversupply of global media here.

GONDA: But granted when the President is travelling, he travels with a news crew and I understand that the ZBC chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere actually said only the President is entitled to travel with a news crew and also on the issue of Mr Shamu actually saying that Mr Tsvangirai has no authority to issue directives to ministers, what do you say about that?

MZEMBI: I’m not going to comment on what other ministers are saying about their portfolios. It is their interpretation of what is policy in their own ministries but let me say to you that if we are seeking attention of the fourth state, we are actually in the haven of the fourth estate, the United States of America . And whatever we do here can be covered at the instant of a moment and projected and sold the whole world over within an instant, within seconds. So we are not seeking glory here, we are not seeking media in this country. We are working, we are on a working trip and when you are working you don’t work by standing on top of a mountain and say come and see me I am now working. That’s not what we are seeking here.

GONDA: You are the first Zanu-PF official to travel with the Prime Minister…


GONDA: … from a different party, especially on his inaugural trip. How were you selected to go and how did a Tourism Minister wind up on this trip and not another Zanu-PF person with a more substantial ministry?

MZEMBI: I am here with cabinet authority from the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe , his Excellency Comrade Mugabe. He’s the one who approves these trips, so he is the one who has deployed me here with the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Richard Morgan Tsvangirai as the head of delegation so that debate is misplaced. It is the debate of shallow minds. I’m hearing that - through various telephone calls that I get here from kumusha and online news - it is a debate that is in the minds of very, very shallow people in my country who seek to press self-destructive buttons all the time at the expense of the national interest.

Mzembi does not deploy himself on missions. Mzembi is tourism minister as you say and he is here because the value chain on investment starts with at his station. So the value chain is in this order – just listen carefully – you first visit, then you trade, then you invest – that is a value chain. And I am a public relations officer of that government. My job is to invite people, to entice them to come, I’m the catalytic effect of any economic turnaround programme and my functions are located quite adequately, elaborately and literally in the context of the short term emergency recovery programme, that Mzembi is one of the three pillars of the economic turnaround with his sector, with the tourism sector because it’s a low hanging fruit. But we have some very shallow minds in my country there across the party divide who think that Mzembi lobbies himself onto a trip like this. I was deployed by the President of that country, Comrade Mugabe.

GONDA: Some observers actually say that this trip could be politically damaging for you, in your party because you are being viewed as one of the few progressive elements in Zanu-PF. What do you say about that?

MZEMBI: If I’m progressive, that’s a very good brand. It’s a very good brand to be called progressive at a time like this in this country. I’m making history together with the other cabinet people in President Mugabe’s cabinet, we are making history and history will record us as men and women who lost a lot of nights trying to make sure that this economy recovers - who lost a lot of family time, three weeks of family time away from my family which I love very much to pursue and push agenda and agendas on behalf of the nation state, on behalf of the national interest.

So I’m not going to stop moving because there are a few people barking and who want to stop a goods train. This programme that we are embarking on is a programme that has detractors across the party divide but it has very little critical mass in the country, maybe five per cent or so of the people you are alluding to out of the entire nation do speak like that. But they do speak like that because they are not part of this trip. If they were part of this trip they would be busy working so I’m not going to pay attention to people who have nothing else to do than to walk the streets of Harare looking and pursuing negativities.

GONDA: What message are you going to take to your party, especially to the so-called hard-liners in your party?

MZEMBI: When I go to my party, and when I’m in my party I don’t see hard-liners. I hear about them, they are like a myth, like a spirit, a bad spirit. Anything that is hard is a bad spirit so I don’t see hardliners. I see a party that is trying to adjust itself to the inclusive government. I see a party trying to revive itself and its fortunes to fight the next elections and win elections. That’s what I see so when I get back, I’ll advise them on what they need to do to be a part of the future, not of the past.

GONDA: And of course, Zanu-PF has blamed the economic crisis on the sanctions but in your view is there anything that you think as a party you are to blame for?

MZEMBI: We are a party that should move with the times. We are a party that is now 46 years old. My age, and a 46 year old party must always adapt to changes within its environment if it doesn’t it obviously will be like a dinosaur, it will perish. So we must adapt to the environment, to the changes in the environment and continue to exist. I would regret very much this party if it were to disappear with the disappearance of the liberators. It must be a party that we must ride on as a generation of the future and leave it also to our own children. The Republican Party, the Democratic Party in this country is as old as the constitution of the United States of America . I want to see a Zanu-PF that outlives its leadership into the future and becomes an institution that other future generations can ride on, ride on its ideals and its founding principles which I think are very good and that’s why I belong there.

GONDA: You talked about generational transformation, does that include when it comes to the succession battle in Zanu-PF?

MZEMBI: Of course, we want to see renewal of leadership going forward and renewal is not removing Mugabe. Renewal is bottom up. If you are not able to renew yourself bottom up, then you are finished. This is what I am talking about. It is generational transformation at cell level, at branch, at district, at province and going forward. But we want also and I’m telling you this at the bottom of my heart, that the President of the republic who is the President of my party, part of his legacy obviously should be to leave an intact party that we can ride on, all of us in the future as leaders. So that’s why we keep on insisting that he has unfinished business in the party to make sure that it survives the current turbulence and turmoil in the country and leave us a stable party that can produce its own leaders going forward and I’ll be one of them in the future. There’ll be others to come after me and others to come after those that come after me as well so that’s the generational aspect that I’m talking about.

GONDA: Mr Walter Mzembi thank you very much for participating on the programme Hot Seat.

MZEMBI: Thank you Violet.

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Grain harvest increases three-fold

June 15, 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe could emerge from its perennial food shortage after
increasing three-fold its grain production this season, a United Nations
agency claims in a new report.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported
in a fresh report Friday that this year's grain production had nearly
tripled over the previous harvest, with an estimated 1.5 million metric tons
of grain having been produced, compared with about 564,000 metric tons
harvested in 2007-2008.

"The increased yield will, however, not meet the country's food
requirements," OCHA warned, noting that "a cereal shortfall of 670,000
metric tons will have to be imported".

The UN report dovetails with another report by the US-funded Famine Early
Warning System Network, (FEWSNet) which states that "food security in
Zimbabwe is improving".

"However, 2008/09 harvests are unlikely to completely cover national cereal
requirements," the FEWSNet report states.

While Agriculture Minister Joseph Made was not immediately available for
comment, the ministry's April second round crop and livestock assessment
estimated a national cereal deficit of 690 000 tons, about 20 000 tons more
than projections by the UN body.

President Mugabe's chaotic land grab that he says were necessary to correct
a colonial land ownership system that reserved that best land for whites and
banished blacks to poor soils, are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into food
shortages after he failed to support black villagers resettled on former
white farms with inputs to maintain production.

In addition, critics say Mugabe's cronies - and not ordinary peasants -
benefitted the most from farm seizures with some of them ending up with as
many as six farms each against the government's stated one-man-one-farm

Government has watched in consternation as agricultural production has
plummeted, with humanitarian organisations literally taking over the role of
government of feeding starving population of the impoverished country, once
a net exporter of food.

Just last week, the UN revised its Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe which
remained under-funded with only 36 percent of the required US$718 million.
With requirements outstripping the funds previously sought, a revised appeal
was launched last week for an additional US$168 to help some 6 million
Zimbabweans in need.

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No single party can stop reforms: Speaker

by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 15 June 2009

HARARE - No one political party can stop the constitutional reform process,
Zimbabwe parliamentary Speaker Lovemore Moyo said at the weekend.

Moyo reacting to attempts by Members of Parliament (MPs) from President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party to stall the reform process said it would
require the leaders of the three political parties in the unity government
to order a stop to efforts to write a new governance charter for the

"No-one, no party can stop the process of the constitution except leaders of
the global political agreement (power-sharing agreement)," Moyo said.

Public hearings on the new constitution that were due to start at the
weekend had to be postponed to the end of the month after ZANU PF
legislators insisted the exercise be delayed, raising fears Mugabe's party
may want to scuttle the whole constitutional reform process.

But Moyo said Parliament had been tasked to lead the constitutional reforms
but had no powers to stop the process.

"Parliament is just part of the process of having the new constitution. They
(ZANU PF) have not communicated anything yet. I am not aware that they have
said the process must be stopped," he said.

The public hearings will be held between June 24 and 27 in all the country's
10 provinces and will culminate in an all stakeholders' conference to be
held between 9-12 July.

Moyo said the issue of resources that ZANU PF had cited in pushing for
postponement of the public hearings had been resolved, adding that the
parliamentary select committee that is spearheading the drafting process had
agreed on a budget for the exercise that he said was going to be made public
by the finance ministry.

The 25-member parliamentary committee comprises members from ZANU PF and the
two formations of the MDC.

Apart from lawmakers, more people drawn from business, students, rights
groups, churches, media, women's groups, labour and farmers among others
shall be tasked to assist the parliamentary select committee that will
however have final say in the drafting of the new constitution.

The draft constitution will be put before the electorate in a referendum
expected in July next year and if approved by Zimbabweans will then be
brought before Parliament for enactment.

Once a new constitution is in place, the power-sharing government is
expected to then call fresh parliamentary, presidential and local government

Zimbabwe is currently governed under the 1979 Constitution agreed at the
Lancaster House talks in London.

The constitution has been amended 19 times since the country's independence
in 1980 and critics say the changes have only helped to entrench Mugabe and
ZANU PF's stranglehold on power. - ZimOnline

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United States Seeks to Encourage Democracy, Growth in Zimbabwe

By Stephen Kaufman, Staff Writer

Washington - President Obama welcomed Zimbabwe's prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, to the White House, praising the progress made "in very difficult circumstance" since he joined a unity government with political rival President Robert Mugabe.

Speaking after their June 12 meeting, Obama said Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement "shows promise" and the United States is looking for ways to help Tsvangirai and the Zimbabwean people improve the country's democratic and economic future.

"We want to do everything we can to encourage the kinds of improvement not only on human rights and rule of law, freedom of the press and democracy that is so necessary, but also on the economic front," Obama said. "The people of Zimbabwe need very concrete things," such as having their schools reopened, getting improved health care, and creating an agricultural system that can feed its people.

"On all these fronts I think the prime minister is committed to significant concrete improvement in the day-to-day lives of the people of Zimbabwe," the president said.

Obama said he has committed $73 million in assistance to Zimbabwe, but said it would not go directly to the government, which is led by Mugabe, "because we continue to be concerned about consolidating democracy, human rights and the rule of law."

Referring to the political violence and intimidation that plagued Zimbabwe for much of 2008, Obama said Mugabe "has not acted oftentimes in the best interest of the Zimbabwean people and has been resistant to the kinds of democratic changes that need to take place."

The president praised Tsvangirai and the provisional government for bringing inflation under control, and said Zimbabwe's industrial capacity is slowly beginning to recover.  He added that the prime minister will continue to provide the United States with "direction in ways he thinks we can be helpful."

The prime minister told Obama that the power-sharing agreement is an effort to bring Zimbabwe out of its political and economic decay, but is still "a journey." "We want to institute those reforms that will ensure that in 18 months time, people of Zimbabwe are given an opportunity to elect their own government," he said.

He acknowledge that gaps still exist in implementing Zimbabwe's own benchmarks for reform, but said, "We will strive to implement those benchmarks, not because they are for the international community, but because for ourselves, it gives people of Zimbabwe freedom and opportunity to grow."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Tsvangirai at the State Department June 11 and praised him as "a longtime advocate" for Zimbabwe, particularly with regard to human rights and economic opportunity.  Tsvangirai's unity government is "attempting to move Zimbabwe forward into a better future," and the United States is looking for ways "we appropriately can be supportive," Clinton said.

The prime minister also met with more than 120 U.S. private-sector and government leaders at a June 11 luncheon hosted by the nonprofit Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), which seeks to encourage business partnerships and opportunities between the United States and Africa.

According to a CCA statement, the organization told Tsvangirai that "before investing in Zimbabwe, most American companies will need to see a combination of political and economic reforms to create a sustainable investment climate." CCA President Stephen Hayes told a separate audience of Zimbabwean business leaders in Harare that American companies are looking forward to when Zimbabwe will be a "beacon of investment and a leader in addressing Africa's economic development needs."

In his remarks at the luncheon, Prime Minister Tsvangirai called for U.S. private-sector support for Zimbabwe's reconstruction, saying "Zimbabwe cannot do it alone." He said that over the past three months his government has "reduced inflation rates from 500 million percent to minus 3 percent, increased government accountability and addressed corruption," according to the CCA statement.  He also said Zimbabwean authorities are working to establish the necessary stability and rule of law in the country that would protect private investments.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.  Web site:

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FULL TEXT: Washington Post editorial on Tsvangirai's US visit

Monday 15 June 2009

As Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai presses on with his tour of key Western
capitals to try to raise crucial aid for Zimbabwe, many in the West -
including US President Barack Obama who Tsvangirai met last Friday - insist
the power-sharing government of Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe must
do more before the world's rich nations can give financial support.

In an editorial we reproduce below the Washington Post, a major voice in the
US, says until Mugabe yields power, nothing should be done that would serve
to prop up the Harare administration:


A power-sharing deal aimed at restoring democracy has mostly shored up
strongman Robert Mugabe

Four months after African nations brokered the formation of Zimbabwe's
coalition government, strongman Robert Mugabe must be pleased with the

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whose victory in last year's
presidential election was nullified by violence and fraud, is now charged
with managing the economy; with help from foreign donors, he has managed to
bring it back from the dead.

World-record hyperinflation has been stopped; shops, schools and some
hospitals have reopened; and a cholera epidemic has eased. Zimbabweans are
finding it easier to obtain food and medical care and to send their children
to school.

At the same time, Mr Mugabe's control over the state remains unbroken. He
still commands the army and security forces and has violated or ignored most
of the political provisions in the coalition agreement.

Opposition leaders still face arrest and prosecution on trumped-up charges,
white-owned farms still are being illegally seized and restrictions on the
media have not been lifted.

The 85-year-old President and his coterie of thugs evidently have no
intention of complying with a plan to hold new elections under a revised
constitution two years from now.

Now Mr Tsvangirai is on a three-week tour of Western capitals - including
this week in Washington - to campaign for fresh economic aid that Mr Mugabe
could not dream of obtaining on his own.

Mr Tsvangirai should not get any. Though he has eased Zimbabwe's
humanitarian crisis, Mr Tsvangirai is not able to offer any tangible
evidence to back his assertion that his country has embarked "on an
irreversible transition to democracy".

On the contrary, most of his actions as prime minister have been defensive:
obtaining the release of his party members or journalists after they are
arrested by security forces.

He has appealed for intervention by the Southern African Development
Community, the sponsor of the power-sharing deal, because of Mr Mugabe's
refusal to honor a provision that would have replaced the attorney general
and central bank governor.

The Obama administration so far has correctly held off on aid to Zimbabwe
beyond the US$260 million in humanitarian assistance the United States is
providing through the United Nations and other nongovernmental channels.

The administration should be urging South Africa's new president, Jacob
Zuma, to enforce the agreement crafted by his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, and
to push Mr Mugabe toward retirement.

Until Mr Mugabe yields power, nothing should be done that would serve to
prop up the current government - even if it is headed by a more palatable
politician. - ZimOnline

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It's easier to do business in Africa - delegates

June 14, 2009

By Donwald Pressly

Africa is not a bad place to do business, but it has to take stock of its
weaknesses and get down to some hard slog to make the continent work in the
midst of a global economic downturn.

This was the consensus after three days of discussion - including a focus on
South Africa and Zimbabwe - at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in
Cape Town.

Maria Ramos, the Absa chief executive and former Treasury director-general,
put it brutally.

Asked at the end of the conference - at the last plenary session - by forum
chairman Klaus Schwab why Africa tended to lag in implementation of good
policies, Ramos said: "In part because we don't have enough visibility of
things not happening . we don't hold enough people accountable."

She believed that the tone had to be set by business and political leaders.

"When delivery does not happen we need to fire somebody. It is as simple as

There was a mixed picture for South Africa in the Africa competitiveness
report, with crime and corruption featuring high on the index as troubling
for business.

President Jacob Zuma was challenged to help make South Africa "a safe place
to do business" by an unidentified participant who said his business had
been robbed by eight gunman and one of his workers had been beaten.

Zuma responded to the remark initially by clapping, indicating that he
agreed with the sentiment. "Certainly one of the priorities of the new
administration is we are going to do everything we can to eradicate crime,"
he said.

To a delegate from Zambia who called for African states to create "a more
encouraging environment for business" through removing foreign exchange
controls, Zuma said African states needed to "talk about" that issue. "Let
us look at the opportunities," he said.

Paul Bannister, the chief executive of South Africa's international
marketing council, said Africa could become "a leapfrog continent" by
combining technology and the passion of the people.

On managing the downturn, Zuma said business, the government and workers had
to work together. In a veiled attack on trade unions, he warned that in an
abnormal situation "we need to apply extraordinary measures to meet the
challenge. We need more engagement and partnership."

He asked the trade unions - in a clear reference to recent strike threats -
whether they were not "exacerbating the issue" but yet there was a tendency
"to have more strikes".

His remarks reflected national Planning Commission Minister Trevor Manuel's
comments on Thursday that business needed to stop being cowardly and stand
up to what it believed in.

He argued that there was not sufficient "counter-balance" to trade

Soud Ba'alawy, the Dubai Group chairman and co-chairman of the World
Economic Forum, said Africa should focus on removing protectionist
tendencies within the continent and stimulate cross-border trading. Africa
needed to reach out to China and the Gulf oil states that "have surplus
capital" to foster investment plans, infrastructure spending.

He said he wanted to leave the forum with one message. "Africa needs to take
risk," he charged, noting that it was good on making plans but slow on

"To realise opportunity Africa has to move on with it."

Graham Mackay, another co-chairman and the SABMiller chief executive, said
from the point of view of business, Africa received a far worse rap than it

"It is easier to extract profits and growth in Africa than anywhere else in
the world.

"In developed markets it was far more difficult to do well in business,"
said Mackay.

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National Healing Begins

15 June 2009

Harare - A NATIONAL healing taskforce set up by the Government will soon
embark on outreach programmes with the primary objective of settling
political disputes between known offenders and their victims, Vice President
Joice Mujuru has said.

Addressing women and other stakeholders at belated International Women's Day
provincial commemorations in Chipadze, Bindura, on Friday, VP Mujuru said
the taskforce would go to the grassroots.

"This committee is going to ensure that all our grievances are addressed to
the satisfaction of the involved parties. The national healing programme is
coming down to the grassroots and will leave no stone unturned in handling
every grievance," she said.

VP Mujuru said the programme would incorporate various churches in their
efforts to address the people's grievances.

The commemorations also drew Minister of Women's Affairs, Gender and
Community Development Dr Olivia Muchena, her deputy Ms Evelyn Masaiti and
Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister Advocate Martin Dinha.

International Women's Day is commemorated on March 8 annually.

The Vice President said people should stop fighting each other as they waste
valuable time that could be used in national development.

"Do not waste time fighting each other. We, your leaders, would be drinking
coffee together.

"President Mugabe mooted the idea of the inclusive Government after
realising the enemy was infiltrating us and taking advantage of our
political differences," she said.

The Vice President said people should understand that the nation was bigger
than any political party.

"Come and see us at Parliament, we will be drinking and eating together
across the political divide.

"It would be difficult for a visitor to notice that there are three
political parties yet you are fighting each other here," she said.

She expressed concern at some individuals who were using politics as a
scapegoat to settle personal scores.

"But what you forget is that when you kill someone on the pretext of
politics, there is an avenging spirit that would haunt your family and not
your political party.

"Even when you are arrested for murder or violence, you will be charged as
an individual and stand trial alone, and not your political party," she

VP Mujuru said Zimbabweans went to war so that they would enjoy various

She said people were free to join political parties of their choice just as
they chose the churches they wanted to go to.

"During the liberation war, we fought a repressive system. We were not
fighting a particular race.

"During the war, we were united as a single family because we were fighting
a common enemy. Why not today?" she asked.

"We used to be the bread basket of Africa, but now we are even failing to
produce enough for our own consumption because we were pulling down each
other because of inter-party differences," she said.

VP Mujuru said the inclusive Government would be dismantled after elections,
which are expected to be held once a new constitution is drafted.

"After the constitution, we will go for elections. We want peace throughout
this exercise. We want to give Government time to rehabilitate hospitals,
schools and see councils being able to offer their services without fear or
favour," she said.

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Zimbabwe's cyberspace wars

Eddie Cross
15 June 2009

Eddie Cross writes on the online battles between the MDC and Zanu-PF

If one was to characterise different periods of world history you could
decide to do it in several ways - the 19th Century was perhaps the century
of steam, the 20th perhaps the fossil fuels century, this century may well
be called the century of cyberspace. When I started this weekly letter it
was to keep a few friends informed of what was going on in the political
sphere. It now goes out to a base line circulation of several thousand
individuals and they in turn circulate it to thousands more.

Some friends offered to start a website (see here) - just titled Eddie and if you Google my name, you will find nearly two million
entries. It gets about 10 000 hits a month - mainly in the States but also
in many other countries, even the far-flung corners of Russia. All sorts of
people tell me they read my letters and they are published on a regular
basis by newspapers and other journals - mainly because they are free I

Then along came Obama. A friend in Harare made a donation to both the
Republican and the Democratic campaigns - each of US$500. The response from
Obama was immediate - a personal note from the man himself and then on a
regular basis, he got updates on the campaign, on policy and current
affairs. From the Republicans - a polite thank you from an official in
Washington DC. You know who raised more money, you know who won the
campaign - now you know partly why!

Even here the war in cyberspace is fierce. I had an attack on my website -
they penetrated the codes used to protect its contents and scrambled my
content and inserted some funnies - it took my friends a few days to sort it
out. Zanu PF took a long time to appreciate the importance of the web in
their affairs but are now at it full time with a number of websites - none
of which tell you they have anything to do with Zanu PF or with the Zimbabwe
regime, but are still vehicles for their brand of disinformation and

MDC has never been very good at this sort of thing to the despair of many.
At the start we had two volunteers who took up the cudgels and started a MDC
website. In 2001 they won a global award for the best political website in
the world. When they had done their service and retired to other things, we
slumped and the battle was left to a number of enthusiastic individuals who
took it upon themselves to fight the good fight. ZW News was one result -
Graham fighting a lone battle in London - a fight that he has continued to
maintain for 8 years now.

I know of others, who for a fee will scan the web every day and respond to
debates on virtually anything on an hourly basis - they never seem to sleep.
Zanu PF has employed such people in the past and continues to do so. MDC now
has several sites - none of which really set the world on fire but we are
better than we used to be. However we come nowhere near the efficiency and
intensity of the Obama campaign.

At lunch today, taken in glorious weather at the Hillside Dams in Bulawayo,
one of our lunch companions referred to a Zanu PF propagandist as an 'evil
genius'. I concurred. Just look at what these guys did to Morgan this past

It started at the Zuma inauguration in Pretoria a month ago. A woman arrived
at Morgan's doorstep claiming to be a relative (in Shona culture that is
used as an immediate establishment of a contact with obligation - at least
to be courteous). She had an invitation to the inauguration but needed a
ride - could MT oblige? Certainly. On arrival at the venue a photographer
appeared and he was captured with this woman - well dressed and attractive
and this photo got everybody talking.

Unbeknown to Morgan she had been involved in an attempt to grab a home and
small farm outside Chegutu. No sooner had she been identified as a
'relative' and linked to MT than she resumed the attempted theft of private
property in Chegutu. Just as MT left for the United States the case suddenly
is brought to the surface and presented as an example of his duplicity - how
can MT attack the farm invasions if his own relatives were involved?

As soon as he had landed in the States he instructed his staff to call this
women and to tell her to withdraw her claim and break off the illegal action
or he would issue a statement condemning the woman's actions. Immediately a
story appeared stating that she had said that it was her 'right' to claim
the property and that her claim was legal. She has been living in the United
States for 30 years and has no possible rights to act in the manner she has.
My own advice to the US government is to pull her green card and kick her
out and then allow the Chegutu family to sue her US estate for damages.

I spoke to a meeting yesterday in Ward 5 in Bulawayo - well attended and
found that they all knew about this case and wanted to know what the real
facts were, I was astounded when I found out how well informed even ordinary
people were of the facts in a case like this. Mainly because the
transmission of information today - even misinformation, is instantaneous
and is broadcast into remote corners of this country by one of the radio

I think the visit to the US and Europe is going very well, it gives the
leadership of the main players on the global stage a chance to get the
measure of MT and to appreciate his personal capacity and charm. It is
yielding the results we expected - the passing of a resolution by the US
Congress just prior to the Obama meeting basically to establish the
boundaries of reengagement by the US government and to specifically state
that there will be no lifting of sanctions or restrictions until more
progress towards democracy and justice is achieved.

The new funding announced by the US Government (another $73 million) comes
on top of an existing programme of $250 million for humanitarian assistance
and another $200 million under the global fund for health needs, raising the
total of the US governments commitments to Zimbabwe to over half a billion
dollars - all of it in the form of grant aid, extraordinary in any language.

Unless you are linked into the cyberspace war, you are unlikely to hear or
see anything like that in the media - especially here in Zimbabwe, but it
marks out the rules of the game for the next two years - major leaders like
Obama are firmly on our side in this fight and if we do our part, you can be
sure we will achieve what Morgan promised the US President - 18 months to an
election when the people of Zimbabwe, at last, can elect a government of
their own choice.

Eddie Cross is MP for Bulawayo South and the MDC's policy coordinator. This
article first appeared on his website

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End of candle wax regime soon?

15th Jun 2009 15:04 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

MOST people staying in high-density areas where there has been no power for
months on end have developed what some have called an unhealthy fascination
with the candle and its power.

I know some who have made research into the origin of the candle,
particularly the wax. Their erudite papers are yet to be published - I have
not read any so far.

There are others who have taken such a dislike to the candle they have
decided the present government, minus its MDC partners, will henceforth be
known as The Candle Wax regime.

A regime is different from an administration or a government. It's like
Adolf Hitler's administration being styled The Third Reich. Hardly any
historian writes with passion of The First or Second Reich.

The Rise and Fall of Third Reich was written with the same passion as The
Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Both books make fascinating reading,
mostly of the madness that possesses leaders when they are allowed too much

Instead of penning something called The Rise and Fall of the Mugabe Regime,
I know someone who already has a tentative title for The Rise and Fall of
the Candle Wax Regime - 1980-2008.

Earlier, I know people who were contemplating a history entitled The Rise
and Fall of The Bearer Cheque Regime. They dropped that after the worthless
paper became thoroughly decapitated.

Of course, a few had earlier than that decided on The Rise and Fall of the
Sewer Regime, the major thrust of this intended tome being the burst sewer
pipes with which most residents in the high-density had to deal with.

In its long and dreadful reign of Zimbabwe , Zanu PF has chalked up very
little political kudos. To be sure, it wasn't all terrible, but it might
take you the same time as looking for a needle in a haystack to come across
the good bits.

Zimbabwe still exists as a nation and as a viable independent country: for
that we can all be grateful. We are not in the same veritable mess as
Somalia or the DRC or Guinea-Bissau .

The vital point to remember is that all this occurred only after the African
Union and the Southern Africa Development Community, using bluff and double
bluff, convinced Zanu PF that its own survival as a political party
probably depended on its accommodation of the MDC.

This is not to accord that party more clout that it actually possesses. Yet
under what other circumstances would all this have come to pass, if the MDC
had not taken this huge gamble and engaged Zanu PF?

Most of the politically savvy leaders in the MDC appreciated why Zanu PF
would be tempted to "use"

them to achieve its cherished dream - a return to power as the top dog.

That fear permeated to the very ends of this prospect of an equitable
settlement which would be described by the optimists as a "win-win" solution
to the crisis.

This would be an end that would save the country from perdition and restore
it to the sort of equilibrium which was blown out of kilter in 2000.

There may be some politicians in Zanu PF who genuinely wish for this.
Unfortunately, there may be just as many who are determined to demonstrate
loudly and emphatically that Zanu PF is still alive, that "haisati yawora"
(it's not rotten), as one opposition slogan had it.

Morgan Tsvangirai's sortie into the West to convince the leaders to ease the
pain of their action against Zanu PF's designs was always going to have the
characteristics of a Mission: Impossible. Mugabe hoped, clearly, that the
leaders might find the temptation irresistible to sock one to his chin by
giving Tsvangirai a "victory" over him by giving him all he asked for.

Mugabe miscalculated, perhaps typically. He assumed the leaders were as
anxious as he was to end the suffering of the people through the so-called
sanctions. He was counting on their warm-heartedness towards the MDC and its
supporters to persuade them the agony had to be ended.

Unfortunately for him, Mugabe has built up such an odious reputation for
double-crossing people, most of the leaders refused to take the chance of
being duped once again by a master player of the political game of

There is now no doubt that things are better today than they were a few
months ago. There is a remarkable availability of most of the essential
consumer items that people missed at the  beginning of the crisis.

But the more things improve on the ground, the more Zanu PF "ups the ante",
as it were. On the media front, the flip-flops have become so regular, the
suggestion seems to be that the playing field will be as studded with
objects as it was after AIPPA was thrust by Jonathan Moyo into the path of
an attempt to liberalise the machinery of enabling the freedom  of
expression to once more be taken for granted in Zimbabwe.

The time may come when Zanu PF will accept that the country will never be a
one-party state again. But it is going to take a few hard knocks on the
heads of the party's hierarchy to convince them that the change that the
people voted for in 2008 is for a truly democratic dispensation, not a
halfway house, in which Zanu PF remains potentially capable of re-imposing
the one-party on the country once again.

The reaction of the party to the refusal by most of the Western leaders to
lift sanctions entirely, so far, suggests Zanu PF may use this as leverage
to stick to its guns: lift the sanctions in return for nothing from us.

That is most unlikely to happen. Not even Tsvangirai would countenance a
situation where Mugabe and Zanu PF would win international respectability in
return for little in the way of according the MDC formations most of the

Zanu PF is playing political hard ball, not really caring if this will harm
the economy even more grievously  than at the moment. The leadership's
attitude seems to be that they have little to lose: the MDC stands to lose
more, in terms of credibility and influence among the Western leaders.

There could be a forward glance at the next elections. What would Zanu PF
have in its bag to tempt the voters? That it, wisely, agreed to go to bed
with the MDC to save the nation from collapse? Wouldn't the voters turn
around and say: In that case, without the MDC, you might not have pulled it

It's probably a cliché for us to say: this is the time to separate the boys
from the men: or to separate the genuine patriots from the charlatans.
Zimbabwe is hurting very badly. It is going to take tremendous political
sacrifice on both sides to salvage what remains of the Zimbabwe we knew and
loved before 2000.

The misery and distress of the people who have had to put up with nightmare
of candles for a year or more, may not touch people who are concerned about
children going without treatment or food. But the truth is nobody brought
this upon themselves.

We all of us erred when we placed so much faith in the system created by a
party dedicated to the one-party political system, with its inevitable
consequences of violence, corruption and dictatorship.

Democracy, real democracy, gives us an opportunity not to repeat that
mistake - to go into an election with our eyes wide open. Even in
candlelight, we cannot fail to see the charlatans at work.

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