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UK pledges £5m to Zimbabwe as Gordon Brown meets Morgan Tsvangirai


June 22, 2009

Judith Evans
Britain has pledged £5 million of additional British food and education aid
to Zimbabwe after a fundraising visit from Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime
Minister, Gordon Brown announced yesterday.

The small pledge reflects continuing scepticism among Western nations that
the country’s autocratic government has changed since Mr Tsvangirai, a
former opposition activist, took office in February in a controversial
power-sharing agreement with President Mugabe.

In a joint press conference with Mr Tsvangirai, the British Prime Minister
said: “We are prepared to respond when the Zimbabwean government takes
action which is in conformity with the long-term ambition . . . but we will
continue to speak out for those who are intimidated and threatened and
exploited and, indeed, against all censorship. We will continue to test the
progress that is being made.”

British aid to Zimbabwe will now total £60 million this year, channelled
through aid agencies rather than the Zimbabwean Government. Mr Brown warned
that more help would not be given until the country improves its human
rights record.

Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, a Tsvangirai ally, said that $8
billion (£5 billion) is needed to rebuild the country after it was ravaged
by decades of Mr Mugabe’s misrule. Mr Tsvangirai has raised a fraction of
that sum on a tour that included meetings with Barack Obama and the Angela
Merkel, the German Chancellor. The US President promised $73 million in
humanitarian aid and no development aid, while Germany offered €25 million
(£12 million).

The trip has been dogged by accusations that the former opposition leader,
who has been jailed, beaten and threatened with death by the Mugabe regime,
has now become its apologist. On Saturday, Mr Tsvangirai was heckled and
jeered when he urged an audience of more than 1,000 expatriate Zimbabweans
at Southwark Cathedral, in London, to return home.

An initially sympathetic crowd turned hostile when Mr Tsvangirai said that
“Zimbabweans must come home” to a country offering “peace and stability”.
They used the slogan of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), chinja
(change) to mock him, booed and shouted “Mugabe must go”. Mr Tsvangirai
appeared shaken and at one point left the pulpit for two minutes before
returning to face questions.

An estimated one million Zimbabweans live in Britain many of them with
refugee status. Another three million are living in South Africa after
fleeing political oppression, hyperinflation and rampant disease including
HIV/Aids and a cholera epidemic.

Mr Mugabe’s power-sharing agreement with the MDC came after months of
negotiations mediated by the Southern African Development Community after Mr
Tsvangirai pulled out of an election in June 2008.

A visit to Zimbabwe last week by Irene Khan, secretary-general of Amnesty
International, found that progress on human rights since the agreement took
effect has been “woefully slow”. “There seems to be no sense of real urgency
to bring about human rights changes on the part of some government leaders.
Words have not been followed by effective action,” she said, adding that
“socio-economic conditions are desperate for the vast majority of

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Brown hails "signs of progress" in Zimbabwe after talks


Africa News
Jun 22, 2009, 14:12 GMT

London - Prime Minister Gordon Brown Monday hailed what he called 'great
signs of progress' in Zimbabwe and said Britain would be prepared to step up
aid if the Harare government took 'further rapid steps forward.'

Brown, speaking after talks with Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister of
the power-sharing government in Harare, said Britain would give a further 5
million pounds (8 million dollars) in transitional aid to Zimbabwe, bringing
the total this year to 60 million pounds.

'We are prepared to go further, in offering more transitional support, if
the reform programme on the ground gains momentum,' said Brown.

In that context, he called for an 'immediate stop' to land seizures and the
drawing up of a new constitution within 18 months, followed by elections.

'As a result of the progress, we will increase our support to help Zimbabwe
move from mere survival to genuine recovery,' said Brown.

But for the time being, the money would be channelled through aid agencies
and not through the government, he stressed.

The latest aid would be used to secure food supplies and buy textbooks for
schools, said Brown.

Development aid secretary Douglas Alexander also said the new inclusive
government of Zimbabwe presented a 'real opportunity' to help the Zimbabwean
people by supporting economic, political and social reform.

'We stand ready to provide more support should we see further progress
towards reform,' he said.

Zimbabwe has said it needs 4.9 billion pounds to revive the economy. But
pledges have fallen far short of that goal as many donors fear that the
money could be funneled to President Robert Mugabe and his allies.

  Mugabe has become persona non grata in many Western capitals over
concerns that his regime violates human rights and economic mismanagement.

At a joint news conference with Brown, Tsvangirai insisted that
'irreversible change' was now taking Zimbabwe toward a 'transition to
democracy and elections.'

  He even held out the prospect of the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC) being able to resume reporting directly from Zimbabwe later this year.

However, Amnesty International said last week that the human rights
situation in Zimbabwe remained 'precarious' despite the power- sharing

  On Saturday, Tsvangirai was booed and heckled by Zimbabwean exiles in
London when he urged them to return to the country.

'It is unfortunate that those living in Britain, because they don't see
Mugabe disappearing and therefore conclude that nothing has changed,' said
Tsvangirai. 'I want to assure you that that is not the case.'

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Tsvangirai again downplays severity of land attacks

By Alex Bell
22 June 2009

In comments to the international media Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has
once again moved to downplay the severity of the farm invasions, creating a
ripple of anger across the commercial farming community.

In an interview on Sunday with the UK's BBC 'Andrew Marr Show', Tsvangirai
again referred to the current wave of farm invasions as isolated incidents,
saying: "The incidence of so-called farm invasions, I can count them." He
also moved to dismiss the critical fact that farm production had been halted
in Zimbabwe, saying the farm invasions are "not an explosion that it is
almost like we have started all over again to disrupt farm productions."
Tsvangirai then said during an interview on Monday with the BBC's Radio
Four, that the political parties had agreed to a land audit, as an answer to
the current land attacks, despite the fact that a comprehensive land audit
will take several years to complete.

In May, Tsvangirai shocked the embattled farming community by referring to
the ongoing farm attacks as 'isolated incidents' that had been 'blown out of
proportion'. Observers argued that Tsvangirai was merely fulfilling his role
as the country's money magnet, as the farm attacks have critically swayed
Western governments away from handing over developmental aid to the unity
government. But while the government has treated the often violent land
attacks and illegal prosecution of farmers as a mere embarrassment, the
offensive against the farmers has intensified.

Trevor Gifford, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU),
expressed great concern that the Prime Minister has again dismissed the
attacks, saying Tsvangirai is playing a 'game' in an attempt to secure
government funding. He explained that the attacks on farmers are likely to
intensify, saying the government "has always wanted the remaining
commercial, white farmers off farms." Gifford continued that farmers "are
being persecuted and abused," in farm attacks that have been "all but
legalised in terms of the law, because of offer letters."

Chegutu Farmer Ben Freeth at the same time expressed concern that the "truth
of the farm attacks has become the biggest casualty in this situation."
Freeth's Mount Carmel Farm has come under repeated attack this year by thugs
working for ZANU PF top official, Nathan Shamuyarira. Freeth, his family and
his staff have been repeatedly and violently threatened, while his farm has
been taken over by invaders. Freeth's farm stock, including thousands of US
dollars worth of maize and mangoes, have been sold off, and local police
have done nothing to prevent the attacks from taking place.

"When the truth becomes a casualty then everything starts to fall apart,"
Freeth said. "Our country is in dire need to locally produced food, and
simply anyone who eats is now the loser in this fight."

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Could 'land grab' by Tsvangirai's niece overshadow Zimbabwe progress?


Britain pledged $8.2 million in aid after Prime Minister Gordon Brown held a
landmark meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday, but an
attempt by Tsvangirai's niece to take over a white-owned farm is causing a
stir back home.
By Ian Evans | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
and a Contributor
from the June 22, 2009 edition

Cape Town, South Africa; and Harare, Zimbabwe - He's earning plaudits and
some funding abroad, but Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is
facing embarrassment at home, where his niece has tried to seize a
white-owned farm.

The Zimbabwean prime minister has not commented publicly on the apparent
land grab by his relative, but sources close to the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party leader said he was "not happy" about the events - and
that they risked overshadowing progress in the unity government.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who shares power in Zimbabwe with President Robert Mugabe,
is currently on a US and European diplomatic tour to raise money for his
beleaguered country. Britain pledged an extra £5 million ($8.2 million)
Monday, after Prime Minister Gordon Brown held a landmark meeting with
Tsvangirai. Mr. Brown pledged more help if reforms gained momentum,
expressing concern over whether the unity government was making progress.

Tsvangirai's diplomatic entourage includes politicians from Mr. Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party, whose travel bans were lifted by the European Union ahead of
the first official EU-Zimbabwe meeting in seven years last week. Mugabe, who
has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, agreed last February to share power with
Tsvangarai in the wake of a disputed 2008 national election.

But his niece's land claim has highlighted deep divisions between the MDC
and ZANU-PF factions over one of the country's most controversial policies.

Tsvangirai opposes farm invasions, calling for the rule of law to be
respected. But he has angered farmers' leaders by describing some attacks as
"isolated incidents." They claim he has been powerless to prevent nearly 80
farm occupations since the unity government came into being in February.

While he plays down the farm violence, Mugabe and ZANU-PF have insisted
there was "no going back."

Who has gotten the land?

Mugabe began his policy of farm redistribution in 2000, claiming he wanted
landless peasants to benefit from farms owned by whites. But critics say
most have gone to political allies. Of the 4,000 farmers in Zimbabwe in
2000, only an estimated 400 are left, leaving the country desperately short
of food and leaving tens of thousands of workers unemployed as land lies

Since last December, around 150 white farmers have faced court action for
"illegal occupation" of their property while the government has ignored
rulings from Southern African Development Community tribunals that say its
policy was illegal.

But recently, attention has centered on Tsvangirai niece Arikana
Chihombori's attempted seizure of De Rus Farm in Chegutu, about 80
kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital, Harare.

According to farm owner John Cremer and Zimbabwean media accounts, Ms.
Chihombori, who has US citizenship and lives in the US, began the land
seizure in November with the help of her sister, who lives in Zimbabwe.
Since then, she has become embroiled in legal arguments about ownership of
the farm.

The seizure might have gone unnoticed had Chihombori not accompanied her
uncle to the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma last month.

After her link to Tsvangirai was established, Chihombori withdrew her land
claim. However, she has told the local Zimbabwe media it was only "for the
time being."

Zimbabwean media have suggested her uncle put an end to the land claim.

"Tsvangirai is not happy about the latest developments, especially
surrounding the issue of Dr. Chihombori," says a deputy minister in the
inclusive government who is a close confidante of the prime minister. "It
was not his intention to hog the limelight for the wrong reasons, because of
a relative. He thinks she is free to do what she wants, but without his name

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said his party did not condone land invasions.
"We are of the view that the current status quo must remain as we take stock
of the land reform in the unity government," he says. "As a party, we want
action to be taken against the new invaders so that our transitional
government can be credible."

A farmer's view

Mr. Cremer, the farm owner who has previously described the land seizure as
"greed," said things had calmed in recent days. "They [the invaders] have
left the farm and everything is back to normal," he says. "But I'm not at
liberty to further comment on this issue because it has become political."

Cremer was born on the farm, which was originally more than 700 hectares
before 650 were given away in 2002 under the government's land
redistribution laws. The Cremers now have about 60 hectares, including
buildings, on which they grow flowers and vegetables for export and local
markets. Much of the distributed land is lying idle.

Commenting on the Cremer seizure, a senior ZANU-PF spokesman said: "Those
who are occupying the farms were given offer letters long back. They are
simply taking their positions. It is the hostile media which is portraying
this as a new phenomenon.

"Our position as a party is that the land reform is irreversible and we
support those who are taking up their farms if they have offer letters from
the relevant authorities. The land reform is not just benefiting black
farmers but white farmers, too."

However, the Commercial Farmers Union says it is losing faith in the unity

"The same government that destroys the production goes begging for support
we don't really need," says Deon Theron, the union's vice president. "Put us
back on the farms, and we will start producing again."

. A reporter in Harare could not be named for security reasons.

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Concern expressed over PM's welfare


June 22, 2009

By Geoffrey Nyarota

SOURCES close to Arikana Chihombori, who recently hit the headlines after
she attempted to grab a Chegutu farm and separately claimed to be a relative
of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, have warned him over the alleged
machinations of a highly ambitious woman.

The sources include friends, relatives and business associates who have
known and observed her over the years. Most said in contacting The Zimbabwe
Times they were motivated by a desire to protect the Prime Minister.

They describe Chihombori, a US-based Zimbabwean doctor, as a "woman so
ambitious she does not care who gets hurt as she seeks to achieve her
personal ambitions". She is said to openly declare that her ultimate
ambition is to become the first female President of Zimbabwe. In the process
she has reportedly cultivated the friendship of many in the Zimbabwean
political establishment, especially top Zanu-PF politicians.

They point out that the Prime Minister is the latest in a long list which
includes President Robert Mugabe himself, Defence Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, former health Minister
David Parirenyatwa, former Education Minister Dzingai Mutumbuka, who
recently retired from the World Bank in Washington, and former business
magnate, Mutuma Mawere, who now lives in exile in South Africa.

"I sat together with Mugabe and Tsvangirai in Pretoria," she says, "It was
beautiful to see these two men sitting and chatting.  The Prime Minister
said to me later: 'We differ in very few areas. It is the people around us
who sometimes make things difficult.'"

Chihombori claims to personally know a number of heads of state on the
African continent. They include President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Jakaya
Kikwete of Tanzania and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

Chihombori, who raised many official eye-brows when she attended the
inauguration of President Zuma in the company of Tsvangirai, claimed
thereafter that she was a niece of the Zimbabwean Prime Minister. The
arrival of Tsvangirai at the function while escorting a strange woman two
months after his wife Susan Tsvangirai died in a road traffic accident was
enough to cause even heads of state to remark about the association.
Chihombori says a number of them, who include Kikwete, Gaddafi and African
Union secretary general, Dr Jean Ping, asked her to explain.

When details of an interview with the Tennessee-based family doctor were
published on the Zimbabwe Times website last week, people known to her
contacted the newspaper. They include acquaintances, former business
associates and a relative in Harare, who denied categorically that the
Chihombori family was in any way related to Tsvangirai.

The relative said he knew Chihombori had only become acquainted to
Tsvangirai early this year. The relationship could be traced back to a
funeral attended by the doctor in London in September, 2008. This was the
funeral of Chihombori's brother-in-law, Lovemore Chiremba. Chihombori had
been introduced on the occasion to a woman who disclosed that she was
related to then opposition leader, Tsvangirai. The woman, whose name was
disclosed to me but who cannot be identified because efforts to contact her
in London have not succeeded, then apparently struck a friendship with

It was this woman who apparently introduced Chihombori to the Zuma family in
South Africa. The sources say Chihombori, "seeing a new opportunity", had
immediately invited Zuma's daughter to visit her in Murfreesboro, Tennessee,
early this year. Chihombori confirmed on Thursday that she had, indeed,
invited the Zuma girl and spent time with her family early this year.

Apparently it was Zuma's daughter, and not her father, as alleged, who had
in turn invited Chihombori to the May 9 inauguration. Chihombori has
disclosed to me that at the time of her arrival in Johannesburg in May she
held no official invitation to the function.

Tsvangirai has not disputed or challenged initial reports that he denied he
was in any way related to Chihombori. He was reported to have denied to the
outgoing US ambassador, James McGee, that any such relationship existed.

I traced Tsvangirai to the Belgian capital, Brussels, last Friday in a bid
to get him to comment on warnings that any liaison with Chihombori posed a
threat to his personal welfare and to get him to explain in what
circumstances he attended Zuma's inauguration with her, if the two were not
related, as he had stated.

The Prime Minister said to me that he was, in fact, related to Chihombori,
after all.

"If a person walks with his niece what is wrong with that?" Tsvangirai
asked. "You know that our people have extended families. If you are
introduced to a new relative do you quiz them on the exact details of the
relationship? And if my niece gets involved in a farm is it my business?"

Part of the Chihombori controversy stemmed from her bid to take over De Rus
Farm in the Chegutu area of Mashonaland West. It has now emerged that from
the beginning Chihombori had made arrangements for her sister, Miriam
Kanjanda a Methodist pastor and her husband Cyprian, a former Harare City
Council employee, to move onto the farm after it was allocated to her. She
herself was not contemplating returning to Zimbabwe, at least not in the
foreseeable future. The couple had become lodgers after Miriam Kanjanda was
ordered to vacate a house provided by the Methodist Church in the suburb of

"The couple virtually became homeless following a misunderstanding between
the church and the pastor," said a source.  "Cyprian Kanjanda is moving from
being a tuck-shop owner to owning a farm."

Another source said Chihombori was known for speaking heatedly against both
Tsvangirai and the MDC and openly professed her support for Zanu-PF.
Relatives had, therefore, been amazed to hear that not only had she attended
the Zuma inauguration in Tsvangirai's company but that she professed to be
related to him.

The source said: "She is known for saying in Shona, 'Tsvangirai anoda chii
pahuku yemweni', meaning Tsvangirai has no business trying to replace
President Mugabe. The doctor is Zanu-PF all the way.

"This issue has raised a stink in the Chihombori family. They are not
related to Tsvangirai; they were not related to the late Susan Tsvangirai
and they are not related to Grace Mugabe. All these stories are all fiction.

"She must have manipulated the Prime Minister to promote herself. Those who
know her are now genuinely concerned for the welfare of the Prime Minister."

It now turns out that Chihombori, who hit the headlines over her take-over
bid of De Rus Farm, a property belonging to one M.L. Cremer in the Chegutu
area of Mashonaland West was earlier allocated another farm in Mashonaland

Chihombori reportedly was allocated Cecil Farm near Marondera but abandoned
it after it was invaded by war veterans. She did not answer written
questions with regard to the farm when they were sent to her by e-mail last

A former business associate said what The Zimbabwe Times and other
publications had published was "a thread of lies that Chihombori, an
ambitious publicity seeker, spun".

While she has denied any links with Zanu-PF, former business associates have
painted the picture of an intricate network of links with several players in
the upper echelons of the party; this despite her assertions to the
contrary. Chihombori clearly has a deep rooted relationship with Zanu-PF.

A source said Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo was a regular
visitor in her home until he was slapped with travel sanctions by the US
Chihombori explained that she and Chombo attended the same college in

She confirmed that she was a director of First Banking Corporation, a
Zanu-PF-linked bank with operations in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic
of the Congo.

First Banking Corporation was part of the business conglomerate established
by business entrepreneur Mawere, who now lives in exile in South Africa,
from where he has been fighting over the years to recover his business
conglomerate after he was dispossessed of it by the government.

Africa Resources Limited ("ARL") had interests in mining, manufacturing and
the agro industries, as well as in the financial services, including banking
and insurance, publishing, investment holdings, transport and international
trading, among others. ARL became one of the most powerful and influential
corporations in Zimbabwe's history, amid allegations that it had received a
helping hand from Zanu-PF, with Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa being
fingered as Mawere's god-father in the party.

Chihombori describes Mawere as a close friend. Sources say she was a major
investor in ARL and that she brought in other investors from Tennessee.

Another source pointed out that despite Chihombori's racist rhetoric a white
manager from the United Kingdom presided over her business interests in
Zimbabwe. Chihombori said the manager in question, one Arnold Hall, had
previously worked for Mawere's ARL. When his contract expired he had been
recommended to her by Mawere.

"When his contract ended Arnold did not want to go back to the UK," she

Irrefutable evidence was presented to Chihombiro on Wednesday afternoon that
she had been economic with the truth in interviews with The Zimbabwe Times.
It was proved beyond her reasonable doubt during a telephone conversation
that the sources that were casting aspersions on her many assertions were,
indeed people known to her. She asked for an adjournment until later in the

When she phoned around 10 pm, she had undergone sudden transformation. She
had become hostile. She said she had accessed information that had potential
to destroy me.

"I had not realised that you are such a terrible person," she said. "I am
going to discuss with my husband what to do with this information."

While Chihombori has steadfastly refused to reveal the identity of her
Ghanaian husband, one of the sources identified him as one Nii Saban Quao.

After I pointed out to her on Friday that blackmail was a crime in the
United States she promptly wrote back.

"Never contact me again," she said.

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BBC Radio 4 interviews Tsvangirai


June 22, 2009

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today
Programme on Monday morning, June 22, 2009. The following is a transcript of
the interview released by Britain's Foreign Office:

Ed Stourton (ES):  Later today the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan
Tsvangirai, will meet Gordon Brown.  Britain is the latest leg of a tour
that Mr Tsvangirai is making to raise funds but so far the leaders he's met,
including President Obama, have been cautious about giving money to a regime
that still includes Robert Mugabe.  The two men have of course been part of
a power sharing administration since February.

Our correspondent, Mike Thompson, who recently returned from an undercover
assignment in Zimbabwe, met the MDC Leader yesterday and asked him what the
response to his appeal for funds had been.

Morgan Tsvangirai (MT) (Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and MDC Leader):  The
response has been mixed in some areas but I think generally people want to
support the progress towards democracy.  They ask (indistinct) that certain
benchmarks of the global political Government have not been fulfilled but to
a large extent I think they do see the progress.

Mike Thompson:  But it seems they haven't seen enough progress and if we
look for instance at, at farms, we're still seeing farms being repossessed
without any compensation and this is further crippling food production which
is almost non-existent anyway.

MT:  We are trying to rationalise the whole land reform and we have already
agreed as a Government.  Both the parties agree that we need to audit what
has taken place and once that audit is there we will put in an independent
commission that is then going to deal with all these grievances.

Mike Thompson:  Amnesty International, the human rights' organisation, has
just been to your country, finished a visit late last week.  They say there
are still big concerns about continuing human rights' abuses.  It wouldn't
cost you any money would it to stop people being intimidated, to allow media
freedom, to allow peaceful demonstrations?  That doesn't cost you money.

MT:  Well let me say this.  It's totally indefensible.  The reason why we
end up in this agreement was that we wanted to give Zimbabwe its freedoms
and it would be unusual for us to be supporting those kind of unlawful
actions.  But you know this is a transition and sometimes you have residual
resistance here and there and I, I'm not going to defend that, but in the
meantime reforms are taking place.

Mike Thompson:  When I last came I had to report undercover.  So you're
saying fairly soon I could, and other people, could come totally legally?

MT: I am sure by July you should be in a position coming openly, not as a
tourist, but as, as a reporter and the commission should be there by end of
this month and that commission should be able to register and license
radios, TVs and foreign correspondents.

Mike Thompson:  Just staying if I may with human rights' concerns, one of
your own Ministers told me that every day, or almost every day, MDC members,
supporters, even Ministers like her are receiving death threats.  She said,
and I quote, "No one is safe in Zimbabwe."

MT:  Well I know who we are talking.  We are talking of Sekai Holland is it?

Mike Thompson:  Indeed.

MT:  I, I'm afraid that the paranoial fear is an environment that used to
exist in the country before the inclusive Government and once the inclusive
Government was there the situation has dramatically improved for the better.

Mike Thompson:  But I talked to her only weeks ago, well into the unity
Government before .

MT: I can't judge how she came to that conclusion.  If there's anyone who is
supposed to be threatened, it's me, and I can confirm that there's never
been any threat of my life ever since the, the formation of the inclusive
Government.  There has been a substantial decrease in those kind of

Mike Thompson:  Quite a few other people I talked to, they, they said there
is a lull in the violence.  It's not like it was last year .

MT:  Yeah, oh yeah.

Mike Thompson:  . during the elections but they said what worries them is
that this violence could return at any moment because the people responsible
for it, for the, for the killings, for the thousands of people injured, for,
for torture, abductions, these people are still at large.  There's been no
action taken against anybody.

MT:  Well we all acknowledge that the country is coming out of a political
conflict not of the extent of Somalia and some of these African states where
violence has been an instrument but it is a post conflict situation with all
the characteristics of a post conflict situation.  The only thing is that
how do we manage this transition.

Mike Thompson:  Even Zimbabwean exiles here, when you were speaking to them
on Saturday night and you said, "Come home, we need you, things are now
stable", they jeered.  They just didn't believe it, did they?

MT:  Well they didn't and I think, I think it's, it's, it's a paranoid
obsession of what was happening before, and I will not be the one to force
them to accept what I am explaining.

Mike Thompson:  But there are seven MDC activists who were abducted late
last year, they're still missing aren't they?  Do you know what's happened
to them?  What's been done to them?

MT:  No I, unless, unless we are able to, to get the facts it is just become
a speculative story.  We don't know what the circumstance is.  You know
because we have read so many people who have run away from Zimbabwe, ended
up in Botswana and South Africa, so you can not say they have disappeared.
So you have to take those facts very, very with a pinch of salt.

Mike Thompson:  Now later today Zimbabwe's High Court is going to rule on an
application from the MDC for party activists facing trial for allegedly
plotting to topple President Mugabe.  They want the case referred to the
Supreme Court.  What do you think is going to happen here and how
important .

MT:  Nothing.

Mike Thompson:  . is this decision?

MT:  They have not committed those crimes.  I believe so myself.  It's just
a following up of due process and I am sure that there is no basis for the
state to prove anything because they have not committed them.

Mike Thompson: Another one of the concerns that many people I spoke to in
Zimbabwe had was that your party, in order to be able to form a unity
Government, in order to get power and have some influence over what's
happening in the country, have had to give away a little bit too much to
Zanu PF and, and President Mugabe and have now started in some ways wearing
their clothes, being co-opted.

MT: There is a mistaken view that the MDC has been co-opted and let me say
that we have the majority in Parliament.  How can the majority be co-opted
by a minority?  I think, I think that people have to make an assessment.
People wanted overthrow of Mugabe.  If they wanted that then they should
have embarked on a revolution.  If in our view it's not a revolution, it's
an evolution, then we should actually say that the compromise was the best
option available, no matter whether you like Mugabe or not.

Evan Davis:  Mike Thompson there talking to Morgan Tsvangirai.

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Zimbabwe State Media Accuses Tsvangirai of Defying Cabinet Rules

voa news


     By Peta Thornycroft
     22 June 2009

Zimbabwe's state media is accusing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of
flouting cabinet rules because he published a pamphlet about his ongoing
visit to western countries without cabinet permission. President Robert
Mugabe's office says the legality of the publication is being investigated.

George Charamba, spokesman for President Robert Mugabe, says he is
investigating whether publication of the pamphlet broke any laws. Reports in
the state media have suggested Mr. Tsvangirai was breaking cabinet rules by
reporting publicly on his trip to western countries before he reported to
the cabinet.

The pamphlet was published by Mr. Tsvangirai, apparently to present a
positive interpretation of his meetings with western leaders. Most of its
content has already been published by news agencies.

The media in Zimbabwe is dominated by state-owned enterprises all of which
remain loyal to Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. They have barely reported
on Mr. Tsvangirai's meetings, except for his failure to raise the
approximately $7 billion finance minister Tendai Biti says is needed to
reconstruct Zimbabwe's economy.

Mr. Tsvangirai said he was going overseas for three weeks to end Zimbabwe's
isolation with western nations. However, while he was welcomed by the United
States, Britain and European countries, all expressed concern that there are
still too many violations of last September's global political agreement
which led to the formation of the inclusive government in February.

Mr. Tsvangirai raised approximately $115 million dollars during his
three-week trip, largely for humanitarian and good governance projects. The
money will be administered by the United Nations and non-governmental

The state media has, in turn, been criticized by the Zimbabwe Media
Monitoring Project, which in its latest report says the state media
continues to ignore the political agreement's demand for non partisan
journalism. Media lawyers in Harare say that there is nothing illegal about
the pamphlet in terms of existing legislation.

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Zim Vigil deny plotting disruption of Tsvangirai London meeting


By Violet Gonda
22 June 2009

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai came face to face with disgruntled elements
of the Zimbabwean society in the UK when he urged the Diaspora community to
go back home, where there was now "peace and stability." Hecklers drowned
out the Tsvangirai's speech and blocked attempts by Finance Minister Tendai
Biti to rescue the disastrous situation that unfolded at Southwark Anglican
Cathedral in London on Saturday. This resulted in the Prime Minister
aborting his speech prematurely.

Some in the MDC-UK leadership blamed former Chairperson of MDC UK, Ephraim
Tapa's pressure group Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR), and Rose Benton's
Zimbabwe Vigil, of sabotaging the Prime Minister's address.

Another group, the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Interface, said it welcomed
Tsvangirai's call for Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom to consider going
back home and deeply regretted "the appalling disruptive behaviour by a
special interest group who disrupted the Prime Minister's meeting with the

However, Benton denied orchestrating the protests and said what happened was
a spontaneous response by the Zimbabweans present, who felt really strongly
about being asked to go back home when it is obvious that it is still not
safe and human rights abuses are continuing.

She told SW Radio Africa: "I don't think we are that powerful. I think it
was a spontaneous response from the Diaspora."

"There were ROHR members, there were Vigil members, there were MDC members
and when you look at the pictures of the people protesting there were a wide
variety of Zimbabweans."

Benton said the fear is that the Prime Minister's comments could be picked
up by the British government as a signal that the situation had changed,
when it really has not changed at all. She said there are many Zimbabweans
applying for asylum and they are aware that if they are sent back home they
will be returning to a very uncertain and impossible future in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the MDC continues to send mixed messages about the political
climate in Zimbabwe.  Prime Minister Tsvangirai is on a tour of western
countries where he is telling world leaders that the situation in Zimbabwe
has changed and that there is peace and stability. But while the Prime
Minister is singing this tune in the west, the MDC back in Zimbabwe is
telling a different story. The party issued a strongly worded statement on
Monday that was in sharp contrast to the message their own leader is
spreading to the outside word.

The MDC said it was going to hold an extra-ordinary national executive
meeting in Harare on Tuesday to deliberate on critical issues affecting the
party and the inclusive government. Matters to discuss include "the
continued crack-down on MDC members, characterized by the unwarranted
detention of the party's Director-General, Tondepi Shonhe, who is
languishing in prison on an innocuous trumped-up charge."

"On Saturday, Mutare West MP, Hon Shuah Mudiwa, was "convicted" on a
trumped-up charge of kidnapping as efforts intensify to whittle down the MDC
majority in Parliament," the statement added.

Despite the Prime Minister saying everything is well - his own party
contradicted him saying "the crackdown has not spared civic society
activists, journalists and lawyers."

One commentator said: "The MDC keeps shooting itself in the foot. They
should decide which is which."

While Zimbabwe has seen some significant changes since the formation of the
unity government, western countries have refused to give the coalition
substantial developmental aid until there are significant and visible
democratic reforms.

US ambassador James McGee said recently that issues that need to be changed
in Zimbabwe, like media reforms, don't need money but political will.

Zimbabweans speaking after the disastrous London meeting on Saturday say
Tsvangirai risks losing his traditional supporters, such as those in the
Diaspora, the farming community and civic groups, if he continues to try to
sweep obvious truths under the carpet. They expressed much concern that he
is trying too hard to sanitise the Mugabe regime, at the expense of the

On Monday Tsvangirai met British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who followed
the line of the other leaders in the west who have said more reforms were
needed in Zimbabwe before aid can be channelled to the country.

 Brown told Tsvangirai that there were 'great signs of progress' in
Zimbabwe, but the power-sharing government still had to meet a number of
tests on the road to democracy.

The UK government announced an additional £4 million of food aid and £1
million for school textbooks, bringing total British transitional support
for the inclusive government this year to £60 million. But this extra £5
million falls far short of the £5 billion required to rebuild Zimbabwe.

Brown told Tsvangirai that the UK was prepared to go further in offering
more transitional support, but only if the reform programme on the ground
gained momentum.

This was the first meeting of British and Zimbabwean leaders at 10 Downing
Street in more than two decades.

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Zimbabwe Prime Minister Tells Amnesty International: Unity Government Committed to Human Rights


Amnesty International Press Release
For Immediate Release
Monday, June 22, 2009

Morgan Tsvangirai Holds Discussion in London with Irene Khan, Secretary
General of Human Rights Organization
Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150,

(London) -- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe told Amnesty
International's chief Irene Khan on Monday that he was committed to ensuring
the implementation of the human rights provisions included in the Global
Political Agreement, the document that paved the way for setting up
Zimbabwe's inclusive government.

Khan met Tsvangirai in London just days after she returned from a six-day
mission to Zimbabwe during which she met senior government officials, human
rights defenders and victims of human rights abuses. After meeting with
Tsvangirai, she said that Amnesty International would be closely monitoring
the situation in Zimbabwe for the next 100 days and hoped to see the prime
minister's words translated into action.

Following her meetings in Zimbabwe, Khan said the human rights situation in
the country remained "fragile" and the economic and social picture was

She said Tsvangirai acknowledged in their discussion Monday the challenges
facing his country.

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UK £60 million support for Zimbabwe announced today

Source: United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)


Date: 22 Jun 2009

A £60 million package of UK support for the people of Zimbabwe will be crucial in helping the country get back on its feet, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said today.

The announcement was made by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, during a meeting with Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at Number 10 Downing Street this morning.

International Development Secretary Mr Alexander said:

"Our £60million package will provide support directly to Zimbabwe's poorest people.

"Our assistance has already helped one million people in Zimbabwe get access to clean water and has enabled two million to grow more food, as well as helping get the worst cholera outbreak in the country's history under control.

"The new inclusive Zimbabwean Government presents a real opportunity to help the Zimbabwean people and to support economic, political and social reform. We stand ready to provide more support should we see further progress towards reform."

The DFID money will not pass through the Government of Zimbabwe, or the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, rather it will be channelled through non-governmental organisations or the United Nations.

The £60 million pounds will include £4 million for local food production, including tools, seeds and fertilizer, and £1 million towards text books for Zimbabwean schoolchildren, to address the shortage of materials in the country's newly reopened schools.

The rest of the money will be spent on meeting humanitarian and other essential needs.

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Tsvangirai accused of spilling secrets


Moses Mudzwiti
Published:Jun 22, 2009

ZIMBABWE'S old guard has reacted angrily to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
newsletter, saying it is a breach of his oath of secrecy.

a.. Tsvangirai launched a free weekly newsletter last week to keep ordinary
Zimbabweans informed of the goings-on in the unity government.

"What has happened to the oath of secrecy?" an unnamed government official
was quoted in the state-owned Sunday Mail as saying. "Does the PM expect
President Mugabe to turn to the newsletter to know what is going on?"

The newspaper, loyal to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF ministers,
criticised the number of copies of the newsletter printed, reportedly

George Charamba, permanent secretary for the information ministry, said: "We
have seen the publication . noted its circulation figures and we are looking
at what the law says." Charamba, Mugabe's former spokesman, has been waging
a war against publicity favouring Tsvangirai.

Another former Mugabe propagandist, Jonathan Moyo, said: "What is shameful
is that while civil servants are going without salaries . while farmers
struggle to plant wheat and while peasants have been reduced to the life of
hunter-gatherers, Americans are showering Tsvangirai's office with precious
US dollars to print and distribute neo-colonial propaganda on glossy paper."

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Charamba threatens Tsvangirai newspaper


June 22, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE – The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and
Publicity, George Charamba, says he is investigating the legality of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s newsletter.

This is despite a High Court ruling early this month barring his ministry
from interfering with the affairs of the media.

The Prime Minister’s bulletin was launched Wednesday to counter continued
State media propaganda against Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

The newsprint has a print run of 40 000 copies to be distributed free of
charge every week.

Charamba, who faces contempt of court charges for refusal to abide by the
court ruling, told State controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that his ministry
was investigating the legality of the weekly publication.

“We have seen the publication, which purports to be from the Prime Minister’s
Office, noted its circulation figures and we are looking at what the law
says,” Charamba, also the official spokesperson for President Robert Mugabe.

Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
newsletters are not obliged to register with any media regulating authority.

The Sunday Mail also quoted an unnamed media studies lecturer at the
Midlands State University saying the newsletter’s circulation of “400 000″
copies “surpasses the print run of most newspapers in Africa”.

As such, “it was difficult to classify the publication as a newsletter”.

“A newsletter’s print run shows the approximate number of workers in an
organisation and so by printing 400 000 copies, are we saying the whole of
Zimbabwe’s workforce is in the Prime Minister’s Office? Given the number of
copies and the targeted consumers, it is clear that this is an organ of mass
communication,” the lecturer is quoted as saying.

Tsvangirai, who is on tour of Europe and America, has also been accused of
“undermining cabinet” and violating the “Oaths of Secrecy” by publishing in
the bulletin details of his official trip before briefing cabinet.

“What has happened to the Oath of Secrecy?” the Sunday Mail quotes unnamed
government sources as saying.

Government spin doctors have accused Tsvangirai of sourcing for money from
local Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

The government says NGOs have been harbouring an illegal regime change
agenda against the long serving Zimbabwean leader through being conduits for
Western donations to the MDC.

Said the government source, “If this was an NGO trip, why did he withdraw
Government money? And how much was involved in this glossy newsletter?

“So the little aid that the PM is getting is already being burnt by American
printers? Should we say the PM has lots of food for the mind and not food
for the stomach? There are so many unanswered questions?”

The newsletter, an innovative piece of gloss print, was launched during
attempts by the State media to portray Tsvangirai’s trip as a fund-raising
venture for local NGOs.

The bulletin leads with the story, “Obama supports PM”, which is accompanied
by an imposing picture of the Premier chatting with US President Barrack

Obama has scolded Mugabe for alleged violations of the unity agreement.

President Mugabe wants Tsvangirai to chorus his calls for the lifting of
Western imposed travel sanctions on 208 members of his old cabinet and

Mugabe (85) is frustrated at the apparent refusal by America’s first black
President to lift sanctions following his government’s stormy relationship
with the Bush administration.

Tsvangirai’s tour of the Western capitals has been a tale of mixed fortunes.

The MDC leader has received astounding accolades and acknowledgement by the
Western leaders for his relentless resolve to bring back democracy in

But they have refused to take his attempts to give the Mugabe-led unity
government the desired “benefit of doubt”.

The hardnosed leaders are insisting on broad-based economic and political
reforms before disbursing much needed financial assistance to Zimbabwe.

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VP Joice Mujuru in New York for UN Summit


Monday, June 22, 2009


VICE President Joice Mujuru left the country yesterday for New York where
she will attend the United Nations summit of world leaders on the global
financial and economic crisis and its impact on development.

The conference runs from Wednesday to Friday this week.She was accompanied
by senior officials from the Ministries of Economic Development and Finance.
President Mugabe delegated Vice President Mujuru to attend the summit.In an
interview at the Harare International Airport before she left,
Vice President Mujuru said the conference presented the right forum for
interaction between the first and third world countries on how to address
the global economic down turn.

"This is a meeting of Heads of State of Third and First World countries on
the economic crisis (the current world recession). It is an occasion where
the third and first world countries meet to discuss how to sort out economic
problems," she said.

Vice President Mujuru said Third World countries had not been afforded the
opportunity to meet and assess the effects of the global economic
recession under the auspices of the UN. She said Zimbabwe required world
support in accessing lines of credit to fund various sectors and ensure a
successful economic turn around programme.

Vice President Mujuru, however, noted that the summit was not on Zimbabwe.
The conference is expected to examine the roles of the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the current global economic environment
and the issue of conditional aid on developing countries.

Some powerful countries like the United States, Britain, Germany and France
recently vowed not give Zimbabwe any financial aid or lift the
economic sanctions they have imposed on Harare citing unfinished issues
under the Global Political Agreement.

But yesterday Vice President Mujuru said such issues were for heads of the
three political parties to resolve and not outsiders. Vice President Mujuru
is expected to return home on Monday next week.

The main aim of the conference is to identify emergency and long-term
responses to mitigate the effects of the recession especially on vulnerable
populations and to initiate dialogue on the transformation of the
international financial architecture considering the needs and concerns of
member states.

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MDC abductees granted referral to Supreme Court


By Violet Gonda
22 June 2009

Four MDC activists facing charges of terrorism are allowed to challenge
their prosecution in the Supreme Court after a ruling by High Court Justice
Tendai Uchena on Monday. Their defence team had filed an application when
the trial of the abductees started earlier this month. They wanted the High
Court to refer the case of their clients to the Constitutional Court, saying
their rights had been violated.

Fidelis Chiramba, the MDC's Zvimba South district chairperson, Mashonaland
West province Women Assembly chairperson Concilia Chinanzvavana, district
Women's Assembly secretary Violet Mupfuranhewe and district youth
chairperson Collen Mutemagau are arguing that they cannot be charged because
they were abducted from their homes and tortured by state security agents.

They were kidnapped in October last year and spent several months
incommunicado, before being found in various police stations in Harare
towards the end of December. They were only released on bail after the
coalition government was formed. The four are part of a larger group of MDC
and civic members facing charges of plotting to overthrow the Mugabe regime.
The charges they face would be dropped if they won their case in the Supreme

They want the Supreme Court to deal with the issue of their abduction and
torture first, before their trial proceeds. Lawyers say Monday's ruling
opens the way for the other accused persons, who also say their prosecution
is illegal.

Meanwhile, the MDC welcomed Justice Uchena's ruling, saying it will give the
abductees an opportunity to give testimony on how they were abducted and
mistreated at the hands of the Zanu PF regime. The party said in a
statement: "The Supreme Court case will expose those residual elements in
Zanu PF and in the inclusive government, who are working everyday to
undermine the rule of law by continuing to abduct and torture innocent

In another matter, a ruling over the case of detained MDC Director-General,
Toendepi Shonhe, was postponed again to Tuesday. The MDC insists Shonhe, who
was arrested last Tuesday, is facing trumped up perjury charges.

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More food shortages in Zimbabwe



           by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 22 June 2009

HARARE - A total 1.4 million people in Zimbabwe's rural areas or about 16
percent of the total population in the countryside will this year require
food aid after poor harvests last season, according to a new report on food

The report, released at the weekend as a tour of America and Europe by
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has failed to win significant
direct financial support for Harare although Western leaders have promised
to keep humanitarian aid flowing, urged the government to import more
cereals to avert hunger in rural areas.

The report, prepared by Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee
(ZimVac), urged authorities to put in place measures to "encourage efficient
redistribution of domestic harvest from surplus areas to deficit areas" as a
way to lessen hunger.

The report said: "A cumulative total of 1,4 million rural people will not be
able to meet their minimum cereal needs during the 2009/10 season. This
represents about 16 percent of the total rural population."

It added: "The total amount of cereal required summed across all households
is estimated at 107 000 metric tones . . . more cereals (maize and small
grains) should be imported to make up for the harvest shortfalls.
Government, private and donor partnership seen in the latter half of the
previous consumption year are to be encouraged."

The report follows a survey conducted in the country's eight rural provinces
which saw 3 590 households being interviewed.

The ZimVac food assessment is carried out by the government, NGO's and
donors thrice a year and is meant to assess the food security situation in
rural throughout the country, identify areas and populations likely to face
food deficits and recommend action to avert starvation.

Once a net food exporter Zimbabwe has faced food shortages since President
Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform programme that he launched in 2000
and which has seen agricultural output plummet because the government failed
to provide blacks resettled on former white farms with inputs and skills
training to maintain production.

Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands of people have lost jobs
while the manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is
operating below 15 percent of capacity.

A unity government formed by Tsvangirai and Mugabe last February is pushing
to revive the economy although it has to date failed to ensure law and order
in the mainstay agricultural sector where mobs of supporters of Mugabe's
ZANU PF party continue harassing the few remaining white commercial farmers.

Tsvangirai is expected to meet British Premier Gordon Brown on Monday to
seek funding for the Harare administration.

But Brown is expected to follow the example of other Western leaders who
have told Tsvangirai Harare must implement more political and economic
reforms including end violence on farms before they can release financial
support. - ZimOnline

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Zambian villagers at war with elephants fleeing Zimbabwean poachers


June 22, 2009

Jonathan Clayton in Mukuni village
They came at night. Half a dozen huge, angry beasts trampled through the
village, devouring anything edible and destroying everything in their path.

In a matter of minutes, the small village's harvest was gone - and the
Zambian inhabitants had lost another round in the battle against the
elephants fleeing across the border from Zimbabwe.

"This year the problem has got worse. There is nothing we can do. The
elephants have become so dangerous, sometimes they even destroy our homes.
They eat all the mangoes - everything," said Edna Mwamubi, an elder who
organised the lighting of bonfires to try to frighten off the beasts. "They
know the smoke will not last and just go off a little distance and then come
back. Even firecrackers no longer scare them."

The village, on the Zambian side of the mighty Zambezi River, just a few
miles from the spectacular Victoria Falls, lies on the traditional migratory
route for elephants from game parks in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and
Zambia. The resident elephant population has doubled from 3,000 a few years
ago to more than 7,000 today - but it is the influx of animals from
Zimbabwe, where they are being poached in increasing numbers by unpaid
soldiers in Robert Mugabe's army, that is of particular concern.

These elephants are ill tempered and very dangerous, often scarred and cut
from the poachers' snares, and sometimes limping along with gunshot wounds
that do not heal unless the bullets are removed.

Elephants live in matriarchal societies and quickly become delinquent if the
hierarchical family units are destroyed. Young bulls forced out of a herd
too soon are particularly dangerous.

Since February many have plunged into the Zambezi and crossed over to
Zambia, even though the river is in spate.

"It is a sign of the danger they are facing that they are prepared to cross
even at places which are not traditional crossing points," said a Zambian
wildlife official, who asked not to be named. "It is not normal for these
sorts of numbers at this time of year.

"People on that side are starving - and they can make money out of both
elephant meat and ivory."

The Zambian Wildlife Authority confiscated a consignment of tusks recently
from Zimbabwe worth tens of thousands of pounds. Reports say Chinese
middlemen, who arrived at the same time that lucrative mining deals were
being struck with Beijing, are helping poachers to find buyers for the ivory
in the Far East.

Since February five people in the Mukuni area have been killed in elephant
attacks, compared with one death during the whole of last year. Some schools
in the area report a 20 per cent drop in attendance rates because children,
some of whom walk as far as five miles a day through the bush to get to
school, are too frightened to venture out.

Japhet Simoombe, a teacher whose school garden was destroyed by elephants a
few weeks ago, said: "You cannot go anywhere near them. They know you are
coming and charge at you straight away."

Zambian villagers are ill equipped to deal with the threat and are forbidden
by law from killing elephants but they receive no compensation when their
crops are destroyed - fuelling their anger against the beasts.

"People from Europe don't understand how frightening elephants can be for
local people," said Malvern Karidozo, a Zimbabwean environmentalist who is
studying ways of helping people and wildlife to co-exist. "The villagers
hate them. It is becoming a war."

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Africa needs Brain Trust



           by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 22 June 2009

OPINION: The term "Brain Trust" traces its origins to 1899 when it first
appeared in the Marion (Ohio) Daily Star as: "Since everything else is
tending to trusts, why not a brain trust?"

What is a brain trust? Does Africa have one? If so, how does it manifest
itself? Does Africa need a brain trust?

The brain is a critical part of the central nervous system that is located
within the cranium skull. It functions as the primary receiver, organiser
and distributor of information for the body and has two halves called

Africa can only be as good and great as its minds allow it. The level of
development of any country is linked to the ability of its citizens to
convert ideas into practical things that can be used by humanity.

The link between literacy and economic development has long been
acknowledged as a causal one. The literacy level in developed countries is
generally perceived to be higher than in developing nations like Africa.

Who should lead the charge for Africa's economic advance? The investment in
the education of black Africans paid dividends in form of the nature and
content of the anti-colonialist struggle.

The brains behind the strategies and tactics of the anti-colonialist
struggles in Africa were to be found in the intellectuals who were educated
on the expectation that such intellectuals were to be assimilated into the
colonial system and in doing so would be the custodians of the
transformation agenda.

Black intellectuals who although they had acquired Western education, were
never accepted as equals in the scheme of things generally led the
anti-colonial struggle.

The expectation was that the brains that led the anti-colonial struggle
could lead the charge to build an inclusive and non-racial post-colonial

After 53 years of independence, it is never too late to reflect on the
journey travelled so far in building the kind of Africa that works for all
who live in it.  Where are our superstars? Most of the African intellectuals
were educated at a great social and economic cost but regrettably for
private benefit.

Africa's brain trust is more at home in the countries they accuse for being
responsible for under-developing the continent.

The term "brain trust" is most associated with the group of advisors to
Franklin Roosevelt during his term in office as President of the United
States (US).

If Africa's future were to be entrusted to someone who should that person
be? Should it be the intellectuals? If so, what have they done to help
advance the African cause?

There is no doubt that Africa has invested in its people in terms of
literacy. Africa's brain trust is found everywhere. However, it is
fragmented and self-centred. There is nothing that connects and unites this
trust. The continent as a brand has failed to give African intellectuals a
sense of belonging. Why is this the case?

America started as an idea and remains so. It has attracted brains from
other countries and all they share is a sense that they can scale the
heights without let or hindrance.

The 300 million people in America, for example, share one geographical
entity and wherever they originated from they have a sense of belonging to
their adopted home deeply founded in the values that inspired the founders
to craft a constitutional order that saw in every citizen the capacity to
rise up and be counted.

The face of America is the sum of its people and yet the face of Africa is
complicated by its past to the extent that it is difficult to chart an
African agenda without attempting to reach a consensus on issues of identity
and ideology.

Africa has produced its share of superstars who have distinguished
themselves as individuals. What Africa needs is for the people who have
reached the mountain top in their professions to reflect on what is required
to build a seamless ladder of opportunity that many can use to climb up.

Are African intellectuals and superstars worthy of being called "drivers of
change"? Many of the continent's superstars have excellent personal brand
equity but as a collective realise that the African brand has its own

It is not unusual, for instance, for Nigerian billionaires to build mansions
only to find themselves driving to them through pot-holed roads.

The need for Africa's superstars to galvanise together in search of
solutions that can make the continent an economic tiger that it should be
cannot be overstated.

In the final analysis, every citizen of Africa is a superstar whose choices
are critical in informing the direction of change and development. The
choices that Africa's brain trust have and continue to make have to form the
first part of any conversation about what kind of Africa we want to see.

Are they people we look up to worthy of the respect? Any person who steps up
on the opportunity ladder inspires others to want to do the same. The people
who rise have an obligation to lift the people in the valley and yet
Africans have failed to come up with institutional mechanisms to allow the
free movement of people on the opportunity conveyer belt.

We need the brains and we also need to trust the brains that lead us. We all
have work to do to create the Africa that we want to see.

Education does help but Africa's fate lies in the choices made by all of us.
If we believe in Africa, then we have no choice but to be the change that we
want to see.

Africa's superstars like the colonialists who found value in the continent
must realise that working together they can accomplish more things not only
at the personal but also at a collective level. - ZimOnline

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Countdown to a New Constitution - Eddie Cross


The decision was made in the past few weeks to proceed with the
implementation of the road map to a new constitution as laid down, in some
detail, in the Global Political Agreement. This has set us on a course that
is likely to transform our political landscape and bring an early end to the
dysfunctional arrangements that we are currently trying to make work with
only limited success.

The timetable for this process is clearly set out in the GPA. It provides
for the establishment of a Select Committee of Parliament within 2 months of
the inception of the new Government - this has been done. Then the holding
of a "All Stakeholders Conference" by the 13th July - this will now take
place between the 9th and the 12th July. This process then leads into a
4-month consultation period that will end in November.

The Select Committee must then complete its draft of the new constitution,
which has to be tabled in three months at a second "All Stakeholders
Conference" in February 2010. Following this, in one month (by mid March
2010) a draft must be presented to Parliament. Parliament is then given one
month to debate the draft and once this is concluded and a draft adopted (by
mid April). The resulting draft has to be Gazetted followed by a 3 month
national debate and the holding of a Referendum in July 2010.

If adopted by the country in the referendum then it has to be Gazetted
within a month and must be adopted by Parliament within 30 days of
publication. That takes us to September 2010.

At its recent National Conference, the MDC decided that it would then call
for an election within the 90 days as prescribed, Parliament will be
prorogued and new (and hopefully democratic) elections held. That takes us
right into the next wet season and this might present some difficulties.

The Select Committee has been very busy in the past few weeks - Zanu PF is
terrified of the process and is trying by all means, to delay the
inevitable - with little success so far. This coming week teams from the
Select Committee will visit all provinces in order to hold consultative
meetings. After this each Province will put together delegations to attend
the All Stakeholders Conference to be held in Harare. The purpose of this
initial meeting will be to receive reports from the Select Committee and to
then agree on the process that will be followed in determining what the
collective views of Zimbabweans are on the possible content of a new

This is the second time this has been attempted since our independence in
1980. In the first attempt - forced on the Zanu PF government of the day, by
a campaign launched by Civil Society and led by Morgan Tsvangirai in the
early stages. The State appointed a Commission that was sent out to hear the
views of the nation only to have those views distorted in the final draft in
a way that would have perpetuated the rule of the Zanu PF elite. In the
subsequent campaign, conducted by an arrogant and supremely confident Zanu
PF, they completely underestimated the strength of public opinion.

Despite heavy rigging (independent investigations showed that the result was
rigged by 15 per cent) the government lost the referendum. Then, in a
carefully rehearsed performance, President Mugabe stated that he would
accept the decision of the majority and continue to govern under the old
constitution. In fact far from accepting the decision, Zanu PF rightfully
recognised that they were in a real fight for power and began the desperate
struggle to retain power that has dominated the affairs of the country since

In the subsequent elections held just a few months after the referendum,
Zanu retained its control of Parliament by a tiny minority and resolved that
it could never again allow a free and fair contest. The elections in 2000
were rigged and accompanied by widespread violence and yet despite what they
thought had been a watertight programme of repression, they nearly lost
power. In the ensuing 8 year struggle with the MDC they have used every
trick in the book and a few they invented, to ensure that the MDC was not
successful in its democratic efforts to effect real change.

They identified the commercial farmers as holding the balance of power
between the urban and the rural areas and systematically drove them off
their farms destroying the highly successful enterprises they ran and
inflicting poverty and displacement on their workers and two million
dependents. The final cost - 70 per cent of all Zimbabweans on food aid and
a 60 per cent decline in Gross Domestic Product. In the short space of one
decade Zimbabwe was reduced to the status of a desperate "Least Developed

They identified the voter's roll as the key to manipulating elections and
reducing the vote for the MDC and they took control of this and simply
changed it to yield the results they wanted. They identified the growing
population of the urban centers and we had Murambatsvina - the forced
displacement of over one million people in three months. They recognised
that they could not win in urban areas - the MDC was just too well organised
and entrenched and urban voters more independent and well informed, so they
gerrymandered the constituencies leading to a 60:40 split - rural to urban
even though the real population split is the other way round.

They closed down the only truly independent papers and took over the
management of the content of all State controlled newspapers, the radio
stations and national television. Zimbabwe was left to rely on three small
radio stations broadcasting from abroad on shoestring budgets. They banned
all independent media from reporting from inside Zimbabwe.

As if that was not enough, they drove millions out of the country in a
deliberate attempt to reduce voting numbers with the result that nearly 5
million Zimbabweans now live outside the country. They then unleashed a
savage campaign of terror on MDC structures - using, as they are even today,
the legal system as a weapon of oppression rather than justice. Hundreds of
thousands were beaten and tortured, hundreds murdered. Police cells became
centers of collective punishment for those who dared to oppose the regime.

Then they resorted to ever increasing and blatant vote rigging - stuffed
ballot boxes, falsified counting schedules and sometimes simply announcing
false results and defying anyone to prove them otherwise. The civil service
was simply beaten into subjection and any officials who dared challenge the
system found themselves being severely dealt with or even killed.

Despite this, the MDC steadily gained on the regime, gradually forcing it
back against the ropes and securing key concessions that eventually gave it
electoral victory in March 2008. Aided by Mbeki, Zanu PF was able to extract
itself from that debacle, but severely weakened in all respects. Now they
find themselves facing fundamental reforms being debated and decided by a
system they no longer control and in which they cannot dictate the outcome.

This is the first time ordinary Zimbabweans have had the opportunity to
decide for themselves, what kind of government they want. It is this process
that will finally signal the demise of Zanu tyranny. Just one last word on
this issue - its time the Diaspora was included in these consultations - I
see no sign of that today. Next elections, the Diaspora must vote, that
would be the cherry on the cake.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 20th June 2009

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The Harare Syndrome


June 23, 2009

It is hard for Britain to give aid to Zimbabwe as long as Mugabe remains in
Morgan Tsvangirai's determination to reverse Zimbabwe's disastrous slide
into poverty, starvation and isolation is not in doubt. Even after a
manifestly fraudulent election, he agreed to share power with President
Mugabe because he realised that the ageing dictator would never surrender
power and would drive the country further into ruin rather than rein in his
thugs and respect a democratic vote.

Mr Tsvangirai's decision, after long negotiation, to accept the role of
Prime Minister, despite the crippling restrictions, was not easy. He was
brutally persecuted by Mr Mugabe. His supporters were murdered. His wife
died recently in a car crash. He took a brave step. But has he been
outmanoeuvred? Has he been used by Mr Mugabe to deflect the anger of
Zimbabweans and the outside world? Has he become a shield behind which the
President and his cronies can continue to evade justice and hang on to their
wealth and privileges? Has he, in short, fallen victim to the "Harare
syndrome" - identifying with his persecutors and turning a pragmatic blind
eye to their appalling crimes?

Mr Tsvangirai's visit to Britain this week is crucial. Other countries,
especially in Europe, will take their cue from Britain's response. He came
seeking help for his recovery programme, asking an estimated one million
Zimbabwean exiles to return home with their vital skills. He promised that
change was on the way, that the persecution of dissidents would stop, that
the BBC would be able to report freely from Zimbabwe and that the reform
programme was "irreversible".

His pleas have put the British Government in a difficult position. There is
a huge desire to see him succeed, to give Zimbabwe the emergency aid and
backing to bring it back from the brink. But there is little evidence that
the country's nightmare is ending. Four activists from Mr Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change were charged with terrorism only last month
and are still on trial. The police and militias supporting Mr Mugabe are
still intimidating his opponents and white farmers are still being evicted.

Mr Tsvangirai has met considerable scepticism in his contention that reform
is under way. He was booed when he spoke in Southwark Cathedral at the
weekend by exiles who accuse him of legitimising the Mugabe dictatorship.
His contention that inflation, running at more than one million per cent a
few months ago, is now down to 3 per cent is barely credible. His call for
£5 billion to rebuild the economy is not underpinned by any guarantee that
the money will not be squandered on luxuries for the President and his

Gordon Brown was right to grant an immediate £5 million in new aid for food
projects and textbooks. But he was also right to insist that more funding
would come only if Zimbabwe showed clear progress on reforms. Mr Tsvangirai
insisted that his partnership with Mr Mugabe was a "workable solution", and
compared it with the transitional arrangements when Nelson Mandela took over
from F.W. de Klerk. He is not convincing. The apartheid Government was ready
to surrender power; Mr Mugabe is not. As long as he remains in office,
Zimbabwe will not be free. Until Mr Tsvangirai assumes full control of the
army, ends repression and paves the way for the prosecution of the ruling
criminal clique, he must be seen as a pawn rather than a premier.

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‘Change’ is not enough: Zimbabweans want more

Zimbabweans are very good at voting: more Zimbabweans turn out to vote than citizens in  many other strong western democracies. Last elections, the message from the MDC-T over the last ten years has been very simple: Vote for change. The party’s rallying call is ‘Chinja!’ - Change!

Who could argue with this? The country’s despotic regime had driven us into extreme levels of unemployment and poverty and imposed hellish conditions on all of our lives where terror and fear  thrived. ‘Change’ - no matter what it was - was bound to be better than the misery we were all struggling to survive under.

So, as we all know, people turned out and voted overwhelmingly for change - year after year - until last year, when ‘change’ finally arrived. It perhaps wasn’t what we dreamed of or thought we’d get when we voted the Zanu PF party out of power, but the situation we have now in the form of the GNU is still different to what we had before: like it or not, it is a form of ‘change’.

But is it enough of a political promise fulfilled? Clearly not.

This weekend, news reports told us how Zimbabweans in London heckled Morgan Tsvangirai when he asked them to return home:

The response to his rallying cry was not what he would have hoped for. Instead of a wave of patriotic fervour, his words unleashed jeers from thousands of exiled Zimbabweans.

The Movement for Democratic Change president appealed for the best and brightest to return to help rebuild his nation. The plea was shouted down with chants of “Mugabe must go” and calls for politicians’ children to return first.

The MDC party slogan “chinja” (change), which Mr Tsvangirai used to get to power, was employed yesterday to mock his assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe, which, he said, was one of “peace and stability”.

The ferocity of the crowd was such that he left the pulpit for two minutes before returning and saying: “I did not say ‘pack your bags tomorrow’, I said you should be thinking about coming home.” (Via The Independent


The Zimbabwe Vigil

, based in London, later circulated more angry opinions from Zimbabweans in the audience:

Some comments from the many disappointed and angry Zimbabweans who came on from the Cathedral to the Vigil, many of them first-timers:

  • ‘When Morgan said “the schools have re-opened” everybody cheered. When Morgan said “the hospitals have re-opened” everybody was silent. When he said “there is peace in Zimbabwe” everyone heckled and booed and you could taste the anger in the air. One lady asked the question “if there are goods in the shops and the schools have re-opened where will everyone get money to buy food and send their children to school” – this was not answered.’
  • ‘He was speaking like Mugabe. He is saying everything is now ok.’
  • ‘The MDC expects everyone to agree or they are treated as an enemy’.
  • ‘We have been betrayed by Tsvangirai’.
  • ‘Today Tsvangirai was shot down in flames by Zimbabweans in the UK diaspora.’
  • ‘How can Tsvangirai encourage people to go home when all his children are in the diaspora,’

Last month Morgan Tsvangirai addressed people at Wits university in South Africa. The refugee blogger who occasionally writes for ‘This is Zimbabwe’ sent us an email revealing his own disenchantment with the Prime Minister after he heard him speak there:

The Tsvangirai I once knew does not exist at all. The Prime Minister of Zimbabwe put in by the GNU said,” “President Mugabe was the cause of the problems in Zimbabwe and now he plays a crucial roll in the building of the country.”

If Mugabe plays a crucial role, why didn’t the MDC involve him in the formation of the [MDC] party?  Why did they wait for the people of Zimbabwe to die before they come to their senses….?

Now I am in the diaspora, and they shake hands and forgive each other,  but I have not forgiven anyone who tortured and abused me. I do not like Mugabe and Zanu PF, and if the MDC fall in the hands of Zanu they will lose my trust, my vote and my activism.

Many refugees claimed to be disappointed about Tsvangirai’s words after he also emphasised that even those people from the MDC who committed crimes claiming they were protecting themselves will face the court of law.

I spoke to [name and role supplied] of the Movement for Democratic Change Veteran Activist association (MDC VAA) now living in diaspora. He is also angry and even said that maybe the Prime Minister has been bought by Zanu PF.

I am so angry disappointed and we have to call an emergency meeting to address this. The GNU is failing to arrest Zanu people who are still invading the commercial farms and they want to arrest us…? How can he do this and claim it is safe at home?

I do not think this GNU will be for two years as it was agreed, it will take long in Zimbabwe. This Tsvangirai that is now saying Mugabe is a good man … what will he say in two years? Will he say Mugabe must go as before? Never! He seems he has been bought so the international community will lift sanctions against Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The anger expressed in this email, and the anger shown by those in London, indicates a growing bitterness with the lack of significant progress on the issues that have caused the most anger and distress to Zimbabweans. The most basic condition, set even before the MDC-T joined the GNU  - namely releasing all political detainees - has still not been met. Human rights violations continue, and there are murmurings of  militia bases being set up.

Zimbabweans do not feel safe and they do not believe that if they are abused that their persecutors will ever be brought to justice. The rule of law has not returned and the culture of impunity for Zanu PF loyalists persists. Rather than acknowledging the reality and enormity of these issues, calls  to ‘go home’ gloss over profound worries and fears and provoke real anger.

The growing anger and mistrust being revealed is a cause for real concern and something I hope the MDC parties are taking very seriously indeed. The call to ‘vote for change’ may have worked for the MDC in previous elections, but I can’t help but ask, what happens when the next election rolls around and the people realise that ‘change‘ wasn’t enough, and what they really want is a firm promise of the return to the rule of law and democracy from  a party they can believe in? Worryingly, who will the people vote for next time if they believe the MDC is incapable of fulfilling its promises? I hope the MDC parties are listening to the people right now very closely indeed and I hope they are thinking ahead to future elections.

I also hope the Zimbabwean people keep speaking out: if  our politicians are failing to do what we asked them to do for us,  say so, and keep saying so again and again, until the politicians finally hear us and take action.

This entry was posted by Hope on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 2:01 pm

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