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Morgan Tsvangirai tells Britain's Zimbabwean exiles: It is time to come home
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s prime minister, has shown great dignity in working with Robert Mugabe, the man who spent years trying to eradicate him. Now, he tells Graham Boynton, it is time for the world to do the same.
Morgan Tsvangirai wants the world to work with Robert Mugabe
Morgan Tsvangirai Photo: AP

The foyer of the Renaissance Hotel in central Brussels is heaving with Zimbabweans and it has been like this all day.

There are delegates, diplomats, High Commission functionaries, wives, secretaries and, at the centre of it all, members of Morgan Tsvangirai’s globe-trotting entourage fresh in from Copenhagen.

It is now mid-afternoon and I have been sitting in the foyer waiting to meet the Zimbabwean prime minister since 10am. So the hand-slapping, gales of laughter and general African exuberance — which on a good day I thoroughly enjoy — are beginning to pall.

The problem is that Mr Tsvangirai’s press attaché has had to fly from Copenhagen to Brussels via Frankfurt for some reason and not only have I failed to establish the prime minister’s whereabouts but protocol insists that even if I do, I cannot approach him until the wayward attaché arrives.

Ominously, the secretary general of Tsvangirai’s party, Tendai Biti, proffers an African solution to my Western haste: “Some time today or tomorrow your interview will happen. Be patient.” Wait a minute, mister, I’ve come here from London with a Telegraph team and we had an appointment.

Then a group of police outriders, lights flashing, sirens blaring, lead several limousines to the front of the Renaissance and out of one steps the compact figure of Mr Tsvangirai. I abandon protocol and seize the moment. Fortunately, he recognises me, shakes my hand and greets me warmly. When I explain the problem he deals with it in the pragmatic manner that has served him so well over the past few turbulent years. “Let’s do it. Set up your cameras and call me in my room in five minutes…”

And so we find ourselves in a quiet corner of a Belgian hotel talking about Barack Obama, Robert Mugabe and how Mr Tsvangirai’s pillaged, abused, almost ruined, country is beginning to pick itself up off the floor after a decade of economic, social and political destruction visited on it by its first post-colonial leader and his inner circle of violent kleptocrats.

He is in the last week of a tour that has taken him to the White House to meet Obama and through Europe’s capitals attempting to convince the likes of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish prime minister, and, next week, Gordon Brown, to offer financial help to his bankrupt country.

His four-month-old coalition government has yet to meet the conditions laid down by foreign governments to resume aid. Human rights are being violated, farm invasions are still taking place, and the security services and media are still firmly in the grip of Mr Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, so it is a hard sell.

And the power-sharing deal, brokered by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), has been constantly flouted by Mr Mugabe and his ministers, who appear to regard Tsvangirai with the overt contempt they once reserved for their former colonial masters the British.

Mr Tsvangirai brushes these obstacles aside with a smile and a wave. He insists that now is precisely the time for the international community to show its support for the shaky coalition.

“We need support if we are to avoid sliding back to where we were. I am telling these leaders that I need to re-establish Zimbabwe’s relations with the outside world – we must be part of the community of nations again and not a pariah state.

“Look at what we have achieved in the four months of this coalition government. We have brought inflation down from 500 billion per cent to three per cent, we have started opening schools that had been closed for more than a year, and we have reopened hospitals.”

It should be mentioned that the staggering drop in inflation is due to he abandonment of the Zimbabwe dollar, which has been replaced by the US dollar and the South African rand. Today the only place you’ll find the famously inflated Zim-dollar is at Harare airport’s duty free shops, where 100 trillion Zim-dollar notes are given away as souvenirs with bottles of Scotch.

What is most surprising is Mr Tsvangirai’s almost Gandhi-like attitude towards Mr Mugabe. He says the president is an important part of the “transitional solution”.

“In fact, he is an indispensable, irreplaceable part of the transition.”

He says he and Mr Mugabe meet every Monday “and we sit down and discuss cabinet business, developments in the ministries — or lack of development. It is a workable relationship, surprisingly. Yes, I am actually surprised. Who would have thought that sworn opponents like us could sit down and talk about what’s good for Zimbabwe? It’s an extraordinary experience.”

This is far from the conventional picture of the two men’s relationship. For daring to challenge his rule, Mr Mugabe has over the past decade visited the most awful brutality on Mr Tsvangirai, subjecting him to imprisonment and beatings, and on three occasions charging him with treason. Over the past 10 years Mr Tsvangirai has survived three assassination attempts and after last year’s rigged elections went into hiding as a fourth had been planned.

The well-educated Mr Mugabe has also labelled his rival an “ignoramus”, a reference to Mr Tsvangirai’s humble background and lack of formal education. But Mr Tsvangirai has borne all this with a quiet dignity that even his opponents acknowledge, and if the future of his beloved Zimbabwe depends on his supping with the devil then he will do so with good manners.

He says he “understands the historical basis of the obsession with 'Mugabe the Tyrant’ and I’m obviously not going to defend his past, but we have created and crafted a new political dispensation in which he is a part”.

His forbearance is constantly being tested by the 85-year-old Mr Mugabe and his inner circle of Zanu PF extremists, who are clearly not going quietly into the good night. For example, Mr Mugabe has refused to allow Mr Tsvangirai to move into the official prime minister’s residence, an insult that Mr Tsvangirai deflects by saying that he has found perfectly acceptable alternative official accommodation that he will be moving into as soon as he returns to Harare.

Mr Mugabe has also refused to swear in Mr Tsvangirai’s deputy agriculture minister, Roy Bennett, a white farmer who has suffered imprisonment and beatings at the hands of the old regime. Again, Mr Tsvangirai puts his faith in the SADC-backed agreement: “Roy Bennett will be sworn in when I get back — that is in the agreement. Mugabe has no political reason to hinder the swearing in.”

Also in the agreement is the provision that within the next 18 months a new constitution will be drawn up — with limits on presidential power and strict rules for the conduct of elections — and elections will be held. Cynics believe that Mr Mugabe is using Mr Tsvangirai to go out into the world to drum up financial aid and to encourage the Americans and Europeans to lift travel restrictions imposed on the Zanu PF inner circle, after which he will call a snap election, rig it as he has all previous elections, and cling on to power. Again, Mr Tsvangirai dismisses this as nonsense: “Firstly, this trip was my initiative because after four months I wanted Western leaders to hear first hand what was happening in Zimbabwe. Secondly, the process is under way and after a constitutional referendum, the president and the prime minister will decide when the elections will take place.”

Throughout our conversation Mr Tsvangirai is animated, enthusiastic and passionate about what he sees as his country’s new era. Only when the subject of his wife’s death in a road accident in March is raised does he become subdued. He had been married to Susan for 31 years and they had six children, and although she was not politically active she provided support for her husband, bringing him food in prison after beatings and nursing him back to health after he was released. The antithesis of Mr Mugabe’s gaudy, brash wife Grace, Mrs Tsvangirai was much loved by ordinary Zimbabweans.

Mr Tsvangirai was in the car when it was hit head on by a US aid lorry only three weeks after he was sworn in as prime minister. There were immediate suspicions that it had been an assassination attempt. From his hospital bed, Mr Tsvangirai hastily dismissed the rumours.

“It was an accident,” he says evenly. “It was a terrible experience. Susan and I had gone through all the trials, the tribulations and the triumphs and she would have loved to have seen this new Zimbabwe. There was a great outpouring of grief from the people of Zimbabwe when she died and in many ways her death united Zimbabweans.

“It has been a great personal loss. But I continue and what motivates me to continue is that my family and my party cannot afford for me to retreat.”

He pauses for a moment and then returns to his main theme – the selling of the new Zimbabwe. This weekend he will hold a meeting in Southwark Cathedral for exiled Zimbabweans living in Britain, of which there are an estimated one million. He says he wants them to come home and help rebuild the country.

“The government needs these professionals,” he says, and then more pragmatically, “and we also need whatever savings they made to help economic development. It is time to come home.”

Name: Morgan Richard Tsvangirai

Born: March 10 1952 in Gutu, Masvingo

Education: Gokomere High School. Left school early to seek work

Family life: Married Susan Mhundwa in 1978 and the couple had six children. She was killed in road accident on March 6

Career: At Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 he joined Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF. In 1989 he became General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. In 1991 he founded the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to oppose Zanu PF

High point: Sworn in as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe on Feb 11

Best known for: Consistent opposition to excesses of Mugabe regime with little support from other African leaders. The exception is Ian Khama, the President of Botswana

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Zimbabwe PM jeered by UK exiles
Saturday, 20 June 2009 16:59 UK

Morgan Tsvangirai's address was repeatedly interrupted by jeering and chanting

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been forced to cut short an event where he was addressing Zimbabwean exiles due to jeering.

Mr Tsvangirai was addressing more than 1,000 exiles, whom he urged to return home to rebuild the country, during an event at London's Southwark Cathedral.

But his appeal was poorly received as questions were raised over assurances he made about the country's stability.

Mr Tsvangirai's UK visit is the final stage of a tour of Europe and the US.

He has been seeking funding for the unity government he formed with President Robert Mugabe in February.

Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change who became prime minister in the power-sharing deal, said the country needed the exiles' skills and money to help to rebuild Zimbabwe.

Our mission is to make sure that we give the people of Zimbabwe hope
Morgan Tsvangirai
Prime minister, Zimbabwe

During his speech, the prime minister said: "Zimbabweans must come home."

He told the audience that improvements had been made through the creation of a "transitional" government, and that no-one had been "fooled" or co-opted.

Referring to the power-sharing deal, he went on: "It represented the best solution to a crisis that has engulfed us as a people."

The Zimbabwean prime minister said inflation had been cut, schools had reopened and previous scarce commodities were now available, adding that the government had "made sure that there is peace and stability in the country".

That assertion provoked a noisy reaction from sections of the audience.

Poster calling removal of President Robert Mugabe
Mr Tsvangirai is expected to hold talks with Gordon Brown

He went on: "Our mission is to create the necessary space, the necessary freedoms for Zimbabweans. Our mission is to make sure that we give the people of Zimbabwe hope.

"Zimbabwe is changing for the better, and that change is for you and me to ensure that we can build a Zimbabwe together."

He acknowledged that no-one should forget the struggles and suffering of the Zimbabwean people, adding that he, as a victim of beatings and arrests, would be the last to forget the past.

However, Mr Tsvangirai told the gathering that the plan to work towards a new constitution and referendum over the next 18 months was the correct one.

The European Union still holds sanctions against Zimbabwe, and EU leaders have told the Zimbabwean prime minister they want to see improvements in the human-rights situation in the country before they consider lifting them.

The Foreign Office in London has sounded a similar note, with minister Lord Malloch Brown saying sanctions would not be lifted until Zimbabwe's transition to democracy has "reached a point of no return".

Mr Tsvangirai is expected to hold talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday.

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Come home, Tsvangirai tells expats

Prime Minister comes to London with a message for the Zimbabwean diaspora

By Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent

Saturday, 20 June 2009

On the eve of a major speech by the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan
Tsvangirai, in London today, a leading human rights activist has appealed to
Britain not to increase aid to the country's unity government.

Jenni Williams, whose Women of Zimbabwe Arise movement (Woza) has been at
the forefront of protests against Robert Mugabe's regime, denounced the
power-sharing coalition as a "failure" and warned expatriate Zimbabweans not
to return home.

Mr Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader, is expected to make an
emotional appeal at Southwark Cathedral to the Zimbabwean diaspora living in
Britain to return to the impoverished southern African nation. But Ms
Williams condemned the initiative.

"How can he ask Zimbabweans to come home when his own people are being
beaten for saying they are refugees in their own country?" she said in

Eleven members of Woza have been arrested and tortured since Thursday, she
said. Four in Harare were released needing hospital treatment and seven were
being refused bail in the western city of Bulawayo.

"These women were brutalised by Morgan Tsvangirai's police," she said.

Mr Tsvangirai's supporters argue that his faction does not control the
security forces, which are still run by President Mugabe's lieutenants, and
that he cannot be judged on their actions. Ms Williams said this excuse was
"not good enough" from a man supposed to be the Prime Minister.

While many of her contemporaries have left the shattered country,
56-year-old Ms Williams, of Irish-Ndebele extraction, has led a grass-roots
movement which has staged peaceful demonstrations throughout the worst of
the Mugabe years. She has been arrested more than 30 times and, along with
hundreds of Woza members, she has been regularly beaten. The movement, which
has 60,000 members, focuses on non-violent protest and does not contest
parliamentary elections.

Ms Williams dismissed as a "complete failure" the unity government formed by
Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and their former opponents, the Movement for
Democratic Change.

Many of the reforms called for in the unity deal brokered by South Africa to
end a post-election crisis have not been implemented, she said. "The
agreement is there. It doesn't need money - what it needs is political

Other groups echoed Ms Williams' warning that little has changed in
Zimbabwe. "I am very much afraid that Tsvangirai is being used by Mugabe as
a facade to attract EU donor money and that they will do away with him and
his party once they have got what they want," said Fambai Ngirande, from
Zimbabwe's national association of non-government organisations.

Western countries have stopped giving Zimbabwe development aid in the past
eight years as the Mugabe regime used increasingly violent tactics to stay
in power. Personal sanctions such as travel bans have also been placed
against many of those in Mr Mugabe's inner circle.

However, humanitarian assistance that bypasses the government has continued,
despite the government's attempts to portray itself as the victim of
punitive sanctions.

Mr Tsvangirai has been attempting to convey to the world that the unity
government is working.

But Abel Chikomo, the director of a human rights forum in Zimbabwe, said:
"There is no reason for the EU to lift their measures that ban the Zanu-PF
cadres, including Mugabe, from travelling to the EU and freeze their assets
until Mugabe, his party and the military abide by the rule of law and show
tangible commitments to the unity government."

The diaspora

*Jefta Madzingo lives in Birmingham, but feels firmly Zimbabwean - so much
so that he founded the Diaspora Vote Action Group, to campaign for the right
to vote for expatriots in the last election.

*The England cricket team's new coach, Andy Flower, is only the best-known
of an illustrious set of cricketers to have left the country. Also in their
number are Graeme Hick and Henry Olonga.

*The praised writer Brian Chikwava won the 2004 Caine Prize for African
Writing for his short story "Seventh Street Alchemy" - but lives in London.

Barbara Stocking: Country faces yet another famine year

The Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, arrives in the UK this
weekend, riding a wave of optimism about the Government of National Unity
(GNU). While US President Barack Obama has committed $73m to assist in
Zimbabwe's recovery he made it clear that this aid will be channelled
through NGOs instead of going directly to the GNU, because of concerns about
human rights and the rule of law.

It is aid Zimbabwe desperately needs. The cholera epidemic that killed more
than 4,000 people and infected more than 98,000 will re-emerge in the next
rainy season if that country's water and sanitation system is not fixed. The
UN warns that a fresh outbreak could kill as many as 125,000.

Last year's food crisis left five million people depending on food aid. This
year's harvest is predicted to be better but still not enough, and in the
"hungry season" before the harvest, starvation will soar again, particularly
among the most vulnerable members of the population.

An Oxfam staff member told me how, on a recent visit to Bulawayo, she had
met an 80-year-old woman who had borne the brunt of the food crisis. She
recounted how she had often not eaten anything for days. "Then I would just
boil water and drink it while it was warm to fill my stomach. My skin was
hanging off me."

She also told how the dollarisation of the economy - in which foreign
currencies replaced the hyperinflationary Zimbabwe dollar - has helped to
curb inflation and ensure shelves in shops are stocked. But for people who
have no access to currency, particularly orphans, the elderly and people
with disabilities, this has made life even harder than it was before.

The British Government must begin to look for ways to fund recovery, even if
they do not yet want to channel funds directly through the government. This
could be by providing technical support to particular ministries or
channelling funding through the United Nations and non- governmental

For its own part, Zimbabwe's government must uphold the rule of law, repeal
all repressive laws and give the space to civil society groups to engage on
all fronts.

Barbara Stocking is the chief executive of Oxfam

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Mugabe bodyguards in Hong Kong assault case face work visa probe

            Posted : Sat, 20 Jun 2009 02:41:37 GMT
            Author : DPA

Hong Kong - Police in Hong Kong investigate whether two bodyguards
protecting the Zimbabwean president daughter Bona Mugabe were working
illegally on tourist visas. Zimbabweans Mapfumo Marks and his female
colleague Manyaira Reliance Pepukai were spared prosecution for their allged
February 13 assault of two newspaper photographers outside a house where
Robert Mugabe's daughter lives while studying in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Director of Public Prosecutions Grenville Cross defended
the Department of Justice's decision not to prosecute, saying bodyguards
acted as they did because they were "genuinely apprehensive for the safety
of Miss Mugabe."

However, sources close the investigation say the bodyguards were both
on three-month visitor visas that made it illegal for them to work in Hong
Kong. Working on a tourist visa is punishable by up to two years' jail. An
investigation has been ordered.

Both bodyguards returned to Zimbabwe when their visas expired. They
have since been replaced by two different bodyguards who are understood to
also be on visitor visas while protecting 20-year-old Bona Mugabe.

The development reignites a controversy over the Mugabe family's
treatment in Hong Kong. Robert Mugabe's wife Grace was granted diplomatic
immunity over an alleged assault on another photographer who took pictures
of her shopping in January. Tim O'Rourke, one of the two photographers
allegedly assaulted by the bodyguards, said: "I find it absolutely
extraordinary that no one checked on their visa status. All they had to do
was look at their passports.

Lawyer Michael Vidler, who represents the photographers, said the case
was particularly disturbing after the case involving Grace Mugabe.

"The whole Mugabe saga is sending out a very negative message about
Hong Kong to the rest of the world," he said. "It is adversely affecting our
reputation as a place that is safe to live and where the law is applied
equally, irrespective of who you are or how powerful your connections."

A justice department spokeswoman confirmed the visa case had been
passed back to police to investigate but insisted their visa status would
not have affected the decision not to prosecute.

A police spokeswoman refused to say if police had checked the visa
status of the two bodyguards, saying: "The immigration status of the two
persons concerned was not the focus of the investigation."

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CIO causes magistrate to abandon case

June 20, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Nyanga magistrate, Clever Tsikwa has been forced to abandon a case
involving 108 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accused persons due to
persistent attempts to influence the outcome by the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO).

The MDC supporters, all of them villagers in Manicaland's Nyanga District,
are alleged to have gone around the area early this year to demand back
property, including livestock, that was seized by Zanu-PF supporters during
the violent period leading to the June 27, 2008 Presidential run-off

They appeared at the Nyanga magistrate's court on Monday this week to answer
to charges of extortion.

But Tsikwa, the presiding magistrate said he could no longer proceed with
the case due to "external interference". The magistrate, clearly frightened,
did not reveal the details of the interference. But he summarily remanded
the accused to September 30, 2009.

He said he had already requested to be recused from handling the case.

Nyanga North legislator, Douglas Mwonzora took the matter to Parliament
Wednesday. He demanded State protection for the magistrate.

Jessie Majome, the deputy Minister of Justice said she was not aware of the
matter. She asked witnesses to submit details of the matter to her office in
order for her ministry to launch an investigation.

Meanwhile, MDC lawyers say they are now taking the matter to the Supreme
Court to seek a determination on whether it was still possible for their
clients to receive a fair trial when it had become apparent the State had a
direct interest in the outcome of the matter.

"It has become clear to us that there are powerful forces bent on
influencing the outcome of this case," said Mutare-based human rights lawyer
Blessing Nyamaropa.

"It is on that premise that we are taking the matter to the Constitutional
Court to ask it to decide if it is still possible to get a fair trial in the

Fear of possible State persecution among court officials has been evidenced
by a pattern of what have been described as patently biased recent court
rulings passed against MDC activists.

Cases abound of some magistrates being subjected to death threats while
others have been assaulted by militant Zanu-PF supporters after they passed
rulings against the party.

It has emerged that the State is intent on suppressing cases relating to
last year's political violence, fearful of a backlash from thousands more
victims anxious for their tormentors to be brought to justice.

The MDC supporters are said to be concerned at the open bias by the State.

It is reported some of the victims of violence and theft have threatened to
spurn current national healing overtures by the new coalition government if
they are to live with the agony of seeing their erstwhile tormentors
flaunting property stolen form them which they are barred from repossessing.

Vindictive Zanu-PF supporters went around and seized livestock and other
property during the two-month orgy of political violence.

The violence, which resulted in the death of 200 people, most them MDC
supporters, was ignited by President Robert Mugabe's humiliating defeat by
long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC.

Zimbabwe is yet to witness any prosecution of Zanu-PF activists arising from
the violent acts. Instead, thousands of MDC supporters are languishing in
jails on charges of reacting to the violence.

Amnesty International Secretary General, Irene Khan warned Thursday that
Zimbabwe could plunge into an orgy of retributive violence if government
continues to ignore calls to prosecute perpetrators of political violence.

Junior police officers have reportedly been barred by partisan superiors
from investigating political violence reports filed by MDC supporters.

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1 000 villagers to make way for transfrontier park

by Lizwe Sebatha Saturday 20 June 2009

HARARE - Close to 1 000 villagers will next month be evicted from Zimbabwe's
Gonarezhou National Park to pave way for a multi-billion dollar
transfrontier park that spans over three countries.

Harare had dragged its feet on evicting the villagers - who moved into
Gonarezhou in 2000 at the height of government-backed land invasions - due
to financial constraints.

Sources told ZimOnline that government officials told families who settled
in the park that they would be removed starting next month apparently after
unnamed non-governmental organisations chipped in with funds to help
re-locate the settlers.

"The government has got funding from non-governmental organisations for the
resettlement exercise that is expected to start from next month," a tourism
source said, adding that indications are that "the villagers will be
resettled the nearby Masvingo area".

Gonarezhou is part of the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Park that links up
the Limpopo national park in Mozambique and South Africa's Kruger national

Environment and Natural Resources Minister, Francis Nhema confirmed the
government was planning to evict the villagers from the park but would not
say when exactly this would be done.

"The families will soon be moved and resettled elsewhere outside the
national park," Nhema said.

The Transfrontier Park project is expected to generate millions of dollars
in hard cash, when fully developed. But land invasions and poaching in
Zimbabwe has slowed down development of the giant park project for years.

According to conservative estimates, Zimbabwe has lost more than 50 percent
of wildlife to poaching since supporters of President Robert Mugabe and his
ruling ZANU PF party began invading private game conservancies and national
parks in what Mugabe said were demonstrations of hunger for land by blacks.

Dozens of conservancies were also seized by the government under its
controversial land redistribution programme and given over to top officials
of ZANU PF and the government who have wiped out most of the game through
uncontrolled hunting. - ZimOnline

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Runway Glitch Grounds SAA Flight

Financial Gazette (Harare)

Munyaradzi Mugowo

18 June 2009

Harare — A SOUTH African Airways flight to Johannesburg, on which Finance Minister Tendai Biti and African Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka were passengers, could not take off from the Harare International Airport last Tuesday evening after the runway lighting system developed a fault.

The two, who were among business people connecting to Cape Town for the World Economic Forum, had to leave Harare the following day.

Runway lighting systems are some of the most critical aircraft control devices installed at airports to give an outline of the runway and must be seen from the air to facilitate take-offs and landings at night.

Passengers who had boarded the same flight told The Financial Gazette that the plane left the loading bay at 1745hrs, but returned a few minutes later due to poor visibility.

David Chawota, the chief executive officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), which manages and operates the country's airports, said the incident was caused by a fault in the runaway lighting system, currently under rehabilitation.

"The lighting system has over-lived its useful life," Chawota said.

"We have embarked on a project to rehabilitate the ground lighting system. So far we have completed two runways measuring one kilometre and 1,1 kilometres each and about three kilometres remains to be done. We don't have the money yet."

An estimated US$30 million is required to repair the three-kilometer strip, which must be completed before an audit team from the International Civil Aviation Organisation visits the country to assess the airport's compliance with international safety standards.

The team is expected before the end of the year.

Although the Harare International Airport was upgraded and expanded in 2001, CAAZ has struggled to maintain the airport's modern equipment and installations, including flight information monitors, due to poor cash flows linked to a harsh operating environment and a massive pull-out by international airlines.

Apart from Air Zimbabwe, currently only one international airline and 12 regional airlines use the country's largest international airport, which used to be a regional flight hub.

Despite these challenges and the absence of a taxiway to link runways with other ground facilities, the airport is still rated the fourth largest international airport in Africa after South Africa's Oliver Tambo; Ethiopia's Bole and South Africa's Cape Town.

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Zanu-PF Hawks Plot Mzembi Ouster

Financial Gazette (Harare)

Brian Mangwende

18 June 2009

Harare — HAWKS in ZANU-PF are sharpening their knives against Tourism and Hospitality Minister, Walter Mzembi, who they suspect could be switching allegiance to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) after accompanying Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on his maiden trip to Europe and the United States.

Mzembi is part of the Premier's high-powered delegation on a three-week mission to re-engage a skeptical international community that has been withholding aid and lines of credit from the country despite the consummation of a unity government between President Robert Mugabe and his long time rival and MDC-T leader, Tsvangirai.

But in what exposes the deepening mistrust in ZANU-PF and the residual resistance in the party against the coalition, daggers have been drawn for the Masvingo South legislator for embarking on the trip despite it being sanctioned by the President and Cabinet.

Mzembi is the only person from ZANU-PF in the mission after Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, another ZANU-PF appointee, was denied a visa to travel with the delegation.

Leading the onslaught against Mzembi are war veterans, a constituency that normally comes in handy for ZANU-PF when the party wants to quell dissent.

The boisterous war veterans, who led the chaotic land reform programme in 2000, were instrumental in securing ZANU-PF's previous election victories.

This time the war veterans, who are being backed by some senior members of ZANU-PF, said they were planning countrywide demonstrations, starting in Mzembi's hometown of Masvingo, to influence the party's leadership to oust the minister from office.

Joseph Chinotimba, the war veterans' deputy chairman, this week accused Mzembi of betraying the party and fighters of the country's liberation struggle.

The war veterans have been at loggerheads with Mzembi who is seen as one of the progressive forces in ZANU-PF ever since he was appointed Tourism Minister on February 13.

In April, Mzembi clashed with Chinotimba when he blasted the war veterans' leader for continuing to tarnish the country's image through renewed farm disturbances at a time Zimbabwe is trying to attract tourists ahead of the 2010 World Cup to be hosted by South Africa.

"War veterans are not happy with Mzembi. We have written to him about his conduct, but he has not yet responded. We are going to demand that the party (ZANU-PF) recalls him as a last resort. We had decided not to fight him in the papers anymore, but instead confront him directly and we think it was good for him that he was thrown out of the meetings with (United States) President Barack Obama," said Chinotimba.

"We can't work with him either as ZANU-PF or as war veterans. I don't think he is still ZANU-PF and he seems not to be interested in ZANU-PF anymore. We are going to take action against him over his new stance."

Mzembi was barred from White House because of his affiliation to ZANU-PF. This has drawn the ire of the party which is accusing Washington of double standards in its dealings with the inclusive government.

The Tourism Minister, who piggybacked his way into politics through his relative, the late nationalist Eddison Zvobgo, seemed unperturbed by the war veterans' manoeuvres.

In a recent interview with SW Radio Africa Mzembi said he will not be bothered by a few people who are against progress.

"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 percent or so of the people ... 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 for and pursuing negativities.

"I am here (on the trip) 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 (over why he was on the trip) is misplaced.

"It is the debate of shallow minds. I'm hearing that through various telephone calls that I get here from kumusha (back home) 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," said Mzembi.

Mzembi is seen as one of the reform-minded young turks in ZANU-PF. He has a strong power base in Masvingo where he once chaired the party's District Coordinating Committee before being suspended in 2004 for undermining the party's leadership.

He bounced back into the limelight leveraging his political fortunes on the pro-Zvobgo faction whose members included Dzikamai Mavhaire.

ZANU-PF insiders this week said heavyweights within the party were setting traps on Mzembi.

"You see, the Prime Minister is asked to draw a list of people he would like to travel with and then it is approved by Cabinet. But what Mzembi doesn't realise is that it is a way of identifying those in ZANU-PF close to the Prime Minister. Questions arose in our circles. Why him and why is he not on the sanctions list ever since he became deputy minister?"

The premier's delegation is on a tour to request the lifting of what western countries say are targeted sanctions against President Mugabe and his inner circle but which the Zimbabwean government contends are hurting the ordinary people.

So far, the delegation has been to the US, German, Sweden and Holland. The team is yet to visit Britain, France and Belgium.

While Zimbabwe needs US$8,3 billion to revamp the battered economy, the US has pledged US$73 million and Germany 20 million euros in support of the inclusive government's reconstruction initiatives.

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Harare Battles to Regain Sunshine Status

Financial Gazette (Harare)

18 June 2009


Harare — HARARE residents have been at loggerheads with the city fathers over poor service delivery in the capital. Issues raised include poor responses to burst sewer and water pipes, potholes, garbage collection, health service and dysfunctional traffic lights. The Financial Gazette's News Editor Brian Mangwende (BM) sought explanations from the council's public relations manager, Leslie Gwindi (LG) on these contentious issues.

BM: Why these issues? How did we get to where we are today? Where did the wheels come off?

LG: It is important to underpin our responses to the historical background and it is also essential to note that the City of Harare is not an isolated entity and that it operates in the global Zimbabwe economic environment.

Over the years, the city has not been able to re-invest in plant and equipment to enable it to execute its mandate and that is because of the erosion, at an increasing rate, of the Zimbabwe dollar. And because of that we found it literally impossible to source foreign currency, which is critical for the purchase of all our inputs. The city was also unable to access loans and grants as given by institutions such as the World Bank and related institutions.

BM: What about such areas as waste management and water?

LG: The city's last investment in refuse collection vehicles was nine years ago and it is a general rule that these vehicles be replaced after a maximum of three years of service.

Therefore of the nine trucks that were bought last, we have been operating with less than that number in the last five years due to breakdowns and during that period there has been an accumulation of refuse thus we are faced with illegal dumps.

Our (refuse) collection in the suburbs over the years has dropped as a result of lack of commercial vehicles. The city needs not less than 60 collection vehicles. With respect to water, there is a very serious gap between supply and demand. Demand has totally outstripped supply because the city has not developed alternative water sources whereas the population for the City of Harare has continued to grow. Our dependence on this singular water source (Lake Chivero) has led to the deterioration in water quality which has meant that the city needs a sizeable chemical regime to be able to treat water coming from Lake Chivero. The other important fact is that our water purification plant -- Morton Jaffray -- requires revamping and modernisation, maybe moving from that water purification system entirely. Finally, the water piping underground is so old that we lose not less than 40 percent of the purified water underground during delivery. We are also faced with major difficulties in delivering to some high ground suburbs to the extent that some go for long periods without water. It must be noted that currently we will always have a deficit in water supply due to the above reasons and also the fact that we deliver water to Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Norton.

BM: What is the impact on the non-availability of treated water and doesn't this pose a real danger to a new cholera outbreak?

LG: It is obvious that lack of clean, disease-free water causes very serious public health challenges. We have, as a city, emerged from one such challenge lately, but we need to keep the current pressure on managing it, thanks to a very large extent to donors and the government. The onset of the rains presents another new challenge to this epidemic.

BM: What strategies do you have in place to prevent a similar outbreak?

LG: We need to improve clean water supply and I am glad the city has embarked on a major refurbishment of aquifers and filters at Morton Jaffray. We also have education campaigns about the management and avoidance of this water-borne disease and making sure that we always provide clean water.

BM: How long is this going to take to complete this exercise?

LG: It's an ongoing process.

BM: Drivers are having a torrid time negotiating potholes on the city's roads and the results at times bear tragic consequences. What is council doing to address this and other problems such as malfunctioning traffic lights?

LG: There has been concerted effort to engage partners in the area of pothole filling, road reconstruction and traffic lights signal provision and I am glad to say this has realised fruitful results. We will be gladly providing street lights shortly and pothole filling is on going.

BM: And the health delivery system in council facilities?

LG: The area of health service has been a beneficiary of donor funding and while our structures have been stretched to the limit, they have matched some of the challenges that we face. The city has had successful programmes in the areas of TB treatment, HIV and Aids counseling and management, antenatal, dental as well as general health awareness among other programmes. A lot more can be done in this area and we will continue to share a very healthy relationship with our benefactors.

BM: How do you see service delivery in general in Harare?

LG: The outlook is bright, but is dependent on quite a number of issues; adherence to modern day urban planning procedures and enforcement of the statutory requirements that make such activities as vending, unsanctioned structures, operating without licenses as well as non payment of tariffs illegal. The city will exercise its fiduciary responsibility of enforcement and should be left to do so without interference.

BM: Council was actively involved in the clean-up exercise dubbed Operation Murambatsvi-na in 2005. What was your role and what was the real reason behind the clean-up exercise?

LG: It is the local authority's mandate to enforce and ensure that by-laws are adhered to and it was against that background that the clean-up exercise was carried out and I am glad to say that the exercise led to improved hygienic living standards in Harare and its suburbs and a better delivery then of such things as water and public health conditions and we are all agreed that there was a general improvement soon after the campaign.

BM: A lot of structures destroyed during the clean-up exercise are sprouting back and council seems indifferent to the latest development. What do you have up your sleeve?

LG: The city is soon going to embark on another clean-up exercise. We will issue warnings prior to requesting the illegal occupiers or businesses to desist from those illegal activities

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State's Unmarked Vehicles to be Impounded

HARARE, June 20 2009 - The government says it will soon start
impounding its notorious Nissan "CAM" double cab vehicles which have gone
for months without licence plates.

The unmarked vehicles were allegedly used by state sponsored hit
squads to abduct Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists during the
violent period leading to the June 27, 2008 presidential run off election.

Home Affairs co-minister Giles Mutsekwa, told parliament Wednesday
that his ministry was equally concerned that the vehicles had gone for long
without licence plates.

"We are as a ministry trying to ensure that whenever they are found
they will be impounded," he said.

Mutsekwa was responding to a question by Mutasa Central legislator
Trevor Saruwaka who wanted to know what his ministry was planning on
"unmarked vehicles, which were used to commit heinous human rights abuses
and murder in the run up to the June presidential run off election".

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe distributed the cars to ministries early
last year.

Mutsekwa, an MDC official, said he did not know why the vehicles were
still without licence plates, saying the transport ministry was responsible
for vehicle licencing.

Police on their part have in the past few months, embarked on an
operation to impound ordinary vehicles without number plates.

Police say criminals who commit robberies are using such vehicles.

They have however, spared the Nissan CAM vehicles.

An estimated 200 people most of whom were MDC supporters, died in the
hands of vindictive ZANU PF supporters and the military for rejecting Mugabe
during the March 2008 elections.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe's only ruler since independence from Britain in 1980,
lost to the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai pulled out at the eleventh hour citing the impossibility of
holding a free and fair election after an increase in state sponsored
violence on his supporters.

Mutsekwa said politically motivated detentions or arrests would now be
a thing of the past.

"As an inclusive government, we hope and have instructed the police to
carry out their duties diligently without favour."

He was responding to a question by Zengeza East legislator Alexio
Musundire who wanted to know the government's position on continued arrests
of MDC officials by Zimbabwe's partisan police force.

Musundire cited this week's arrest of Toendepi Shonhe, the MDC
director general on perjury allegations.

Mutsekwa said he was "keen to investigate" and find out circumstances
behind Shonhe's arrest.

Shonhe was arrested on Tuesday after he allegedly swore under oath
that three MDC abductees from Banket area had been re-abducted by State
security agents.

It turned out however that the three had been taken to Harare where
they were subpoenaed to attend court to testify against their colleagues who
are being accused of seeking the overthrow of President Mugabe.

But Mutsekwa's claims that his ministry was in control of the police
was contradicted by Amnesty International Secretary General Khan, who at the
end of her six day humanitarian mission to Zimbabwe, revealed that
Zimbabwean politicians were not willing to end impunity in Zimbabwe.

"The culture of impunity remains deeply entrenched at every level of
the state," Khan told journalists on Thursday.

"No major investigation or prosecution has been brought against those
responsible for State sponsored political violence.

"Despite the pledge in the Global Political Agreement to bring all
perpetrators of political violence to justice, senior ministers from both
parties told Amnesty International that addressing impunity was not a
priority for the government.

"Police officers had been instructed by the superiors not to
investigate cases involving MDC supporters."

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Tsvangirai's office launches newspaper

June 20, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office has launched a weekly
newsletter which will be distributed freely to "update people on the
progress and problems" in the new government.

The first issue of the newsletter with a print-run of 40 000 copies, was
distributed this week.

"This is in line with the new governance culture of transparency and
accountability, which is one of the key commitments of the global political
agreement," the newsletter read.

The Prime Minister's office said the newsletter was an opportunity for
people to air their views and opinions about the new inclusive government.

Sources in Zanu-PF said there was an order not to give Tsvangirai to much
positive publicity as the expense of President Robert Mugabe.

The newsletter which will start with between four and eight pages will
increase in size as time goes by, it is said.

The development however highlights the inability of the state owned media to
embrace Zanu-PF's partners in the coalition government, and to report
objectively on their efforts. Tsvangirai's world tour, for example, has been
projected as an 'assignment from Mugabe' for the Prime Minister to go and
have targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe's ruling elite removed.

Even after the unity deal was sealed in February this year the MDC has
continued to receive negative coverage from the state media. Last week the
MDC was forced to issue a denial after the Herald newspaper falsely reported
that their ministers had snubbed the recent COMESA summit.

"The malicious fabrications betray the reality that there are some people in
certain political parties who continue to abuse the state media to mislead
the nation," a party statement read. The MDC added that this was coming from
people who wanted to derail the coalition.

This week MDC legislator for Mbizo, Settlement Chikwinya tabled a motion in
Parliament calling on the Executive to bring before Parliament a repeal or
amendment of any pieces of legislation that curtail media freedom. Chikwinya's
motion also raised concerns over the continued abuse of the state media. He
called on Parliament and the Information Ministry to immediately constitute
the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, and grant licences to other players
in the field.

Newsreel spoke to Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director Mcdonald Lewanika
who noted that it was a bit strange for the Prime Minister to have to use a
newsletter to counter media that was owned by the state.

He however said the plus side of the move was that it showed Tsvangirai was
pursuing a policy of being transparent in his work, something Lewanika felt
was commendable.

Asked why the state media continued to paint a negative image of the MDC, he
said it was all about the next election and Zanu-PF was not willing to build
up Tsvangirai's image.

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Can Tsvangirai really co-exist with Mugabe?

June 20, 2009

By Michael Gerson

WASHINGTON - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is attempting
something rare and difficult - sharing power with the man who tried to
murder him.

Every Monday morning, Tsvangirai conducts public business across the table
from Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, founder and oppressor. During a
recent interview in Washington, Tsvangirai observed to me that the
85-year-old Mugabe "is someone who can be charming when he wants. I am on
guard when he becomes charming. It is when I'm most suspicious of his

Mugabe has a long history of co-opting his political opponents - or
allegedly killing them.

"He has not co-opted me," says Tsvangirai. The killing part is not for want
of trying. In 1997, regime thugs attempted to throw Tsvangirai out of a
10th-story window. In 2002, he was charged with treason and threatened with
a death sentence. In 2007, he was beaten bloody during a protest. And the
presidential election that Tsvangirai won last year was clearly stolen by

Yet Tsvangirai is now part of an unlikely power-sharing agreement with
Mugabe, becoming prime minister in a unity government. It is, he admits, a
"calculated risk".

Tsvangirai describes two calculations. First, he was concerned that
Zimbabweans were too weary to take to the streets to contest a stolen
election. "You don't want people to reach struggle fatigue. People wanted to
try this cohabitation, to ease their economic plight."

Second, Tsvangirai is making the extraordinary calculation that "Mugabe is
part of the solution." While most of the rest of the world insists that
Mugabe must go, Tsvangirai believes his presence is necessary "to create
stability and peace during the transition". The alternative, he fears, could
be a destructive militarization of the conflict. And he hopes that the aging
Mugabe is considering his own legacy - choosing to finish his career as the
founder of his country, not as the villain of his country.

Given Mugabe's history, this smacks of naivete. But Tsvangirai believes he
has a realistic political approach.

"You don't expect people who were violent yesterday to wake up one morning
and become peaceful." So his strategy is to "build institutions in the
course of time" - particularly through the process of writing a new
constitution, leading to new elections. Tsvangirai talks again and again of
"institutions" and "mechanisms" and "political architecture" as the methods
to make democracy irreversible. His intention is to fight arbitrary and
personal rule with the weapons of process - a Madisonian response to a
Neronian dictator.

Four months into the unity government, the results are mixed. The prime
minister deserves credit for beginning to stabilize the economy,
particularly controlling Zimbabwe's legendary inflation. In August 2008,
Zimbabwe's central bank revalued its currency by removing 10 zeroes from its
currency; five months later, it removed 12 more. Now the country has
essentially scrapped its currency and moved to an economy based on the
American dollar and the South African rand. While 70 percent of the
population still depends on food aid, goods are back in the stores.

But Mugabe's ruling party remains in charge of the secret police and key
ministries. It continues to harass opponents and confiscate farmland.
Tsvangirai optimistically calls these elements a "dwindling remnant" - but
it hard to imagine that they will dwindle without a fight. And Mugabe has
asserted his dominance with the appointment of political cronies in blatant
violation of the power-sharing agreement - so far with little consequence.

It was this point that Tsvangirai emphasized during his recent U.S. visit,
calling on Mugabe's brutal attorney general and corrupt reserve bank
governor to step down - and the world to insist upon these outcomes. This
represents a test for South Africa's new president, Jacob Zuma: Will he
abandon the "quiet diplomacy" of his predecessor, which often amounted to
permission for Mugabe's abuses, and insist that the power-sharing agreement
be enforced? It is a test for President Obama: Will he pressure Zuma to do
the right thing? And it is a test for the power- sharing agreement itself. A
stalemate on these appointments, Tsvangirai admits, would "undermine the
credibility of the new dispensation."

Tsvangirai's strategy - using a power-sharing arrangement with a tyrant to
gradually end a tyrant's power - has little precedent of success. If
Tsvangirai fails, he will be just another victim of Mugabe's charming
ruthlessness. But if the prime minister succeeds, he will be an exceptional
statesman, who set aside his own claims of justice for the peace and
progress of his country.

And he would become Zimbabwe's true founder.

(Michael Gerson is a Washington Post columnist.)

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A rhino called Tatenda

Dear Family and Friends,

Behind the scenes, out of the spotlight and against the most
overwhelming odds, some amazing things have been going on in Zimbabwe
these last nine years. This week we saw proof of one in the form of a
documentary about a black rhino called Tatenda. Hand reared from a
baby, Tatenda was orphaned when he was just a few weeks old. His
mother, together with another heavily pregnant female and a male
rhino were all shot and killed one night in November 2007 on a game
farm outside Marondera. The slaughter was for a small handful of horn
supposed to have medicinal properties. The tragedy came after years of
breeding and re-introducing black rhino to the wild.

Tatenda survived the massacre, was nurtured and protected by John and
Judy Travers and their family and staff and his early life is
immortalized in this enchanting Animal Planet film: "There's a rhino
in my house. "

Perhaps hand rearing one animal doesn't sound like such a spectacular
event, these sorts of things happen all the time in Africa, but the
fact that an endangered orphaned black rhino could be saved here, at
this time in our history, is astounding. Farms ravaged by ongoing
land seizures, rampant unchecked poaching, shops without food,
filling stations without fuel. Everything involved in keeping Tatenda
alive was surely a major undertaking. Game cubes, milk powder, even
rubber teats had to be sourced and imported from other countries.

This film isn't just about a baby rhino, it's about dedication,
devotion and a vision for the future. Throughout the film there is no
bitterness, blame or anger but only compassion and a determination to
save a species for the next generation. Enchanting images of the
children from Numwa School coming to a Rhino's birthday party,
squirming and giggling as they stroke his hard grey skin are the
picture of the real Zimbabwe that we all love so much

There are many stories within this story; many people who helped,
donated and were involved behind the scenes. One who must be
mentioned is Johnny Rodrigues and his family and their ZCTF (Zimbabwe
Conservation Task Force). Always on the move, fetching and delivering,

monitoring and recording, this family are determined to expose what's
been going on this last decade and to save Zimbabwe's wildlife. Like
many of Zimbabwe's little known heroes, their own life has been on
hold while they've sacrificed all for love of their country and its
flora and fauna.

As desperate as the plight of the people of Zimbabwe is right now,
the state of the environment and the animals is even more precarious.
For Tatenda and everyone involved in saving him, we are thankful.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.

Copyright cathy buckle 20th June 2009.

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