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Zimbabwe slams U.S. envoy over Mugabe comments


Sun 24 Jun 2007, 15:32 GMT

HARARE, June 24 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government on Sunday described as
"malicious" comments by the U.S. ambassador to Harare who said that raging
inflation would force President Robert Mugabe from office before the end of
the year.

In an interview published by Britain's Guardian newspaper on Friday,
Christopher Dell said Mugabe's government -- blamed for an economic crisis
exemplified by an inflation rate above 3,700 percent -- was "committing
regime change on itself".

Dell, who will soon leave Zimbabwe to take up a diplomatic posting in
Afghanistan, predicted inflation would hit 1.5 million percent by the end of
2007, adding that "the Mugabe government is reaching end game".

In a statement carried by state media, Zimbabwe's Information Minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu accused Dell of celebrating the misery brought about by
economic sanctions imposed by Western nations, led by Washington.

"Discredited outgoing U.S ambassador Mr. Christopher Dell has repeated the
hateful utterances against the government of Zimbabwe to a British
newspaper, the Guardian, predicting the fall of the government within six
months on the basis of the British and American-sponsored sanctions and the
resultant inflation," Ndlovu said.

"The government wishes to dismiss ambassador Dell's malicious propaganda
story with the contempt it deserves ... the government of Zimbabwe is in a
much stronger position now politically and economically than ever. Events on
the ground speak for themselves," he added.

The southern African country is in the grips of a deep economic recession -- 
now in its eighth year -- and is struggling to feed itself, while four in
five Zimbabweans are out of work and foreign currency shortages persist.

Zimbabwe's currency crashed on the thriving black market last week, trading
between 170,000 and 200,000 Zimbabwe dollars to the U.S. greenback,
triggering a wave of sharp price increases.

The breakdown of the economy has heightened political tensions. Mugabe has
responded by cracking down on the opposition, drawing fresh international
attention to his controversial rule.

But the 83-year-old leader denies that his policies are at fault and instead
points the finger at Western sanctions.

Mugabe has also warned that some Western ambassadors, whom he accuses of
meddling in Zimbabwe's internal politics and using the opposition to try and
unseat him, risked being thrown out of the country.

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Mugabe offered chance to end Zimbabwe crisis

Sunday Express, UK

Sunday June 24,2007
By Obert Matahwa
AGEING Zim­babwe leader Robert Mugabe is being offered a dignified exit
before his country plunges into an economic abyss.

With inflation predicted to hit 1.5million per cent by the end of the year,
African leaders are trying to usher the 83-year-old president from office to
save his country from catastrophe.

South African president Thabo Mbeki is hoping to persuade Mugabe to give up
office by the end of the month with the promise of financial aid.

Mbeki's economic reform package for Zimbabwe will see South African capital
flowing into the cash-strapped neighbour - but Mugabe's desire to hold on to
power threatens the process.

Mugabe has been looking at introducing constitutional changes that would
allow him to remain president for life.
He is already expected to browbeat his party into endorsing him as Zanu-PF's
candidate in next year's presidential election, despite increasing domestic
opposition - some of it from within the ruling party.

Recent military arrests for an attempted plot to oust Mugabe show that his
grip on power is loosening.

But well-placed sources said he and his party are playing hardball with
Mbeki to undermine an initiative agreed by Southern African Develop­ment
Community leaders earlier this year to help cash-stricken Zimbabwe. Mugabe
is aware that President Mbeki cannot change anything in Zimbabwe without
addressing the question of leadership, but with the official opposition
discredited, his hold on power continues.

In a move that could be seen as currying favour with the people, Mugabe's
government yesterday published a bill designed to ensure that a majority
stake in all public-owned companies ends up in the hands of the indigenous
black population.

Some of the firms dually listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and London
Secur­ities Exchange include Old Mutual, NMB bank and Hwange.

Multi-national firms that may be affected by the new policy include Barclays
Bank, Bindura Nickel Corporation and mining giant Rio Zim.

The bill also states that no proposed investment shall be approved unless a
controlling interest is reserved for indigenous Zimbabweans.

All government departments and statutory bodies will also be asked to
procure 51 per cent of their goods and services from businesses in which
controlling interest is held by indigenous Zimbabweans.

Mugabe officials have criticised reports that a regime change may be

Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told state radio that Zimbabwe was in
a much stronger position now, politically and economically, and was ready to
defend itself against attempts to overthrow it.

And he repeated Harare's line that the hardships in Zimbabwe have been
caused by sanctions imposed by the US, Britain and other Western countries.

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Considering the alternatives, Mugabe should be begging Mbeki for a solution

From The Sunday Independent, 24 June

Patrick Laurence

The recent talks in Pretoria between the main political adversaries in
Zimbabwe mark the first public sign of progress in President Thabo Mbeki's
quest to facilitate a peaceful settlement of the potentially incandescent
political dispute in Zimbabwe. Mbeki, of course, is acting with the backing
of the Southern African Development Community which, at a summit of heads of
state in Tanzania in March, gave him a mandate to assume the role of
peacemaker. It is easy to scoff and observe that a preliminary meeting
between the main adversaries - President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and the
majority and minority factions of its main political opponent, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) - is not a significant achievement. But the task
of persuading the main political parties to meet at all almost certainly
required a finely matched combination of tact and persistence.

Nevertheless, a long and hard road still lies ahead. As the Chinese proverb
has it, even a 1 000-mile journey has to begin with a first step. But there
are many obstacles and one is undoubtedly Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's wily and
increasingly unpredictable octogenarian president. While he seems to have
given his blessing to participation in the Mbeki-orchestrated settlement
talks by sending a Zanu PF delegation powered by two cabinet ministers, his
actions in Zimbabwe raise doubts about his sincerity. These actions include
the seizure of the passport of Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the minority
faction of the MDC, on the eve of his departure to a Save Zimbabwe campaign
in Europe. Justifiably it is described as a display of heavy-handedness that
, does not augur well for a successful outcome of Mbeki's initiative.

Further actions calculated to harass and alienate opposition politicians
include, according to Mutambara, the abduction of two MDC activists who were
later found dead, and the continued detention by police of MDC stalwarts,
one of whom is a member of parliament, on trumped-up charges. Referring to
"detention, abduction, torture and murder" of MDC activists, Mutambara says:
"What is happening right now is an indication that Mugabe is not ready for
any serious talks with the opposition." While apparently seeking to disrupt
and intimidate the MDC, some of whose activists are still suffering from
injuries inflicted on them by Zimbabwean police and soldiers in March,
Mugabe is simultaneously involved in wooing the MDC. As a recent report on
Zimbabwe on the News24 website notes, Mugabe departed from the text of his
speech at a function marking the handing over of tractors to farmers when he
spotted MDC political opponents and welcomed them with these words: "We are
happy they are here. They are part of us in the [Zimbabwean] nation and
[political differences] can never make them alien. After all, we eat

Mugabe might be pursuing a two-track policy with the MDC, striving
simultaneously to intimidate and woo them, adopting a hard-cop, soft-cop
stratagem, to lure and drive them into his camp, a gambit which, if
successful, will enable him to tell Mbeki that Zimbabwe can and will solve
its problems without the South African president as an honest broker. As
long as Mugabe clings to power, as he seems intent on doing by standing for
re-election as president next year and thereby prolonging his presidential
tenure for another seven years, he risks being toppled in one of two ways:
either in a sudden and dramatic implosion or in a military or palace coup.
With inflation running at 4 530 percent, according to information leaked to
The Standard by an official in Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office, it
does not require the intelligence of an Einstein to realise that the
implications are extremely ominous.

The departing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, has
left no one in doubt about the fragility of the situation: he said the
"economic madness" had made it impossible for Mugabe to remain in power much
longer. The other threat to Mugabe is a palace coup to replace him as Zanu
PF's leader and as Zimbabwe's president. The threat emanates - in theory if
not yet in practice - from two different camps led by rival contenders to
succeed him. The first is headed is by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former
Zimbabwean security generalissimo who, after reportedly carving out a
fortune for himself as a carpetbagger in the Democratic Republic of Congo in
the late 1990s, is now biding his time as minister of rural housing. The
public face of the second is Vice-President Joyce Mujuru, though many
observers believe she is a front for her husband Solomon Mujuru, the former
commander of the Zimbabwean African National Army and now an immensely
wealthy businessman.

Mugabe's decision to stand for re-election next year puts the chances of
Mnangagwa and the Mujurus succeeding him in jeopardy, as it could
precipitate an implosion that would bury all of them and impoverish the
entire nation, including Mujuru. The prospect of a palace coup by either
camp or even both camps acting in concert increases as the situation
deteriorates. The past fortnight has witnessed the leaking of information
about a pre-emptive strike by Mugabe loyalists against an attempted coup by
a former army officer and several serving officers, all of whom have
appeared on charges of treason in an in-camera court hearing. The alleged
conspiracy, which some observers have described as an attempt by Mnangagwa's
rivals to denigrate him in the eyes of Mugabe, is rightly seen as a sign of
the febrile atmosphere in Zimbabwe.

If Mugabe persists in pursuing his ambition to serve another seven years as
president, he risks more than displacement in a coup. A successful coup
could be the prelude to Mugabe's indictment for crimes against humanity. The
British minister responsible for Africa, David Triesman, warns that it is a
possibility. Perhaps he has in mind the ruthless crushing by the Mugabe
government of the "Matabele rebellion" in the 1980s. Triesman refers
pointedly to the indictment in the International Court of Justice in the
Hague of Charles Taylor, the ousted dictator of Liberia. If Mugabe wants to
avoid the possibility of an implosion, being the target of a coup or the
accused in a trial on charges of gross abuse of human rights, he would be
well advised to help Mbeki put together a settlement that offers him a
retirement package and indemnity from prosecution.

Independent political analyst Patrick Laurence is a contributing editor to
The Star

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Zimbabweans sit on fence while country burns

24 June 2007

By Isaac Dziya
(Edited by Makusha Mugabe)

On many journeys to Zimbabwe over the past six years I was saddened to note
that some of my Zimbabwean compatriots continue to sit on the fence on
matters of the state politics while Zimbabwe burns.

They chat away about their beliefs that things will change. Yes the
political situation will either change for the worst or the best, but in the
meantime it takes good people to do nothing for evil to triumph.

However, in this day and age, it takes courage not to be cowed into a corner
by the oppressive regime. Sitting on the fence on issues that affect us and
renders us vulnerable to more oppression from the ZANU (PF) government.

The current situation in our beloved motherland is shameful, hopeless, or as
the old saying goes, the country has gone to the dogs, but it is still
worsening - engendering anger, desperation and uncertainty at the hands of
the 27 year-old autocracy, sadly sustained by a brutal army, police force
and a moribund intelligence service.

Standards continued to elude most of the country's public systems, while
leadership is imprisoned in its own self-made dilemma and caring only about
their political positions or their own survival at the expense of one and

I therefore would like to add my voice to those against complacency about
the politics of Zimbabwe.  It still amazes me that the brutality of the ZANU
(PF) cows many of us; the fear of persecution hounding people into
obscurity, unable to conjure up enough resistance to boot out the current

How can we honestly sit back and do nothing when we see the current
hardships being faced by our people; walking to work on an empty stomach for
wages insufficient to pay rent - and just accept that the situation beyond

As the Zimbabwean dollar continues to tumble, should we all have to leave
our beloved country and stay in exile in neighbouring countries like South
Africa or countries as far as away UK, USA and Australia?

The current government overlooks its bad governance and attributes its woes
to sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe's ministers by the West, yet
what is required is increased productivity, more production oriented
employment creation and improved foreign currency, fuel and electricity

Professionals like doctors have gone back on strike where they were three
months ago to bring to the attention of the Harare authorities the untenable
situation on the ground.

The health sector itself is collapsing, yet doctors and nurses have come out
into the open to express their rights; that these highly qualified people
cannot afford to work anymore for salaries that are not commensurate with
their work and qualifications, and forced to work without essential drugs
and equipment.

Winter is the worst time of the year to be cold and hungry, and have no
prospects of what tomorrow brings; no wonder some of our people just give up
working and cross legally or illegally to the nearest bordering country in
search of greener pastures, frequently ending up in more destitution, crime,
and prostitution in an HIV-infected environment.

The conditions are disastrous with lives being lost needlessly, yet the
propensity of oppression of the black bourgeoisie government of Matibili aka
Mugabe continues increasingly, with no remorse at all as they go about in
their latest imported cars into houses built with imported marble.

The crisis in our country requires the involvement of everyone voicing
dissent in clear and unequivocal terms. What I am on about is the
restoration of rights, and not privileges. We need to vote without being
intimidated, without the ballots being rigged. We need also to ensure that
some of us in the Diaspora are granted our right to vote as enshrined in the
Constitution. Let us vote with all we have to ensure that we boot this
tyranny out of office.

Enos Nkala, Mugabe's minister of Home Affairs from 1985 to 1987, in an
interview with SW Radio two weeks ago, confirmed what some of us (as a
former Police Officer) knew, that the rigging of ballots was rife, and the
system that has been in place where the Police guard ballot boxes over night
gave them an opportunity to stuff them.

Nkala has done the right thing to come out in the open. There is nothing
further to lose. This evil must be exposed. As Nkala says, Matibili aka
Mugabe is running scared, which explains his wanting to double the Police
Force ahead of the next year's elections. Nkala can no longer be

We need more of that to give a push to a government whose "sell buy date"
has long passed; unable to provide basics like electricity and water, living
burst pipes running; sewage water mixing with drinking water; hospitals
without water and electricity for essential operations. Come on guys, this
cannot go on any longer.

Having been an Assistant Commissioner of Police in the same regime until
1986, I know how brutal the regime is and I take my hat off for the brave
men and women who are meeting its brunt head on,  on the political
battleground. Need we remind you  or need we say more about this brutal and
desperate regime?

Only in Zimbabwe can we have High Court Orders ignored, lawyers denied
access to their clients at Police stations, threatened and beaten.  A threat
to lawyers is a direct threat to the human rights of the person needing
their services. It is a systematic way of actually instilling fear in one
and all in Zimbabwe. Lawyers can no longer practice freely; the judicial
system has been compromised, and the legal profession is under a barbaric
and extraordinary siege!

Wherever you are reading this, the sense of duty to stand up to this
oppression against our own people, especially now when there is so much
suffering, must come naturally. We can restore Zimbabwe.

Let us stand up and be counted on the side of democracy and human rights in
Zimbabwe. The time for silence and sitting on the fence is now gone. Join
others in the fight for democracy and justice. You and I possess the
political power and all we need to do is exercise it. Pass on this message
to friends and colleagues.

Isaac Dziya, is a former assistant commissioner with the Zimbabwe Republic

Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.

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Beyond the Rhetoric of Freedom and Democracy

Here is the paper that outlines some of our views on Zimbabwe as expressed
at the WEF on Africa held in Cape Town, SA (13th-15th June) and widely
published in the SA media.


Arthur Mutambara


Our country, Zimbabwe, is going through an unprecedented crisis that has
both political and economic characteristics. At the root of the tragedy are
issues of political illegitimacy and bad country governance authored by the
regime of Robert Mugabe and his party ZANU(PF).

To end the suffering, we must bring democracy to Zimbabwe, but as we have
seen in Kenya, Zambia, and Malawi free and fair elections are not a
guarantee of prosperity. A democratic dispensation is a necessary but not
sufficient condition for economic development. We must have a national
economic vision and a corresponding strategy to achieve that destination

We have a duty and obligation to construct both technocratic solutions and
capacity to address specific national challenges. We must build institutions
and develop a value system that guarantee accountability and provide
democratic checks and balances, while ensuring economic delivery. There must
be measurement, monitoring and feedback mechanisms for all economic

Africans deserve - and demand - the same standard of living as people enjoy
in the USA and Europe. We want to see that level of social and economic
success in Zimbabwe and all of Africa. If Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius
can do it, why can't we?

I had the opportunity of studying at Oxford University in the UK and working
in the USA. I witnessed the industrial drive, innovativeness, cohesiveness,
work ethic, competitiveness, thrive for excellence, technology leverage, and
ingenuity that have been central to the successes of the economies of the
USA, Europe and the Asian Tigers. We know these same values will work in our

To that end, we ask the international political and business communities to
assist the democratic forces in Zimbabwe develop, test and refine economic
strategies for the future, beyond the rhetoric of freedom democracy.

A liberated Zimbabwe must be the leading democracy in Africa, characterized
by people-centred development and economic growth. We must seek to build a
nation characterized by inclusive and sustainable development rooted in
substantive participatory democracy.

Our GDP and per capita income should be among the top three in Africa, but
to get there, we need a country of small government that encourages direct
investment, respects free market principles, property rights and the rule of
law, fosters export-based investment and manufacturing, and has an effective
independent central bank. We must seek to promote fair, secure and effective
use of land, leverage new technologies and harness the services industry.

On top of this, we must aim to supply the world market with processed
products because just selling raw materials will limit both job creation and
economic growth. In some sectors, a small country's economy of scale will
work against this, but wherever possible we must process our minerals
internally, and drive value-added manufacturing.

Can we do it? Go and look at a country like Singapore and tell us why not.

In 1957 Singapore had the same GDP as Ghana, but today the island state -
with a land area smaller than New York City - enjoys per capita income
greater than Germany, France or Britain.

A new generation of leaders is required to take Zimbabwe to that level, and
build a globally competitive economy such as that of Singapore, South
Africa, Mauritius, Brazil or the USA. We need creative dreamers who do not
fear globalization, but thrive on chaos and uncertainty.

However, effective execution of that vision can only begin after the country
has gained its freedom. For now, we need to draw up and debate economic
policy blueprints. We need to engage visionaries and state crafters such as
Lee Quan Yew of Singapore and Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia; industrial
leaders from Japan and Korea; and the brilliant minds behind India's new
economy. Let's invite business leaders from General Motors, McKinsey,
Microsoft, GE, and Boeing to bring modern corporate wisdom and insights to
the task of retooling a nation.

The next major election in Zimbabwe is due in March 2008 and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is working on establishing a united
front inspired by a single candidate principle for every electoral contest
(President, Parliament, Senate, and Council). The objective is to ensure
that every opposition vote counts against Mugabe and his ZANU(PF) party. Yes
there are two wings to the MDC, but we are busy building a coalition with
the sole and unequivocal mandate of liberation. Of course this has been a
difficult exercise, but we cannot afford to fail. Granted time is not on our
side. However, we will shame our detractors, and succeed.

After electoral victory, that's when the hard work will start, transforming
Mugabe's nightmare into a dream whose time has come: a peaceful, democratic
and prosperous Zimbabwe.

To outsiders, we say help us help ourselves. We seek to lay a good economic
foundation for our country ahead of change. Zimbabweans themselves shall be
the key creators of the technocratic revolution that will make their country
a globally competitive economy. African countries must break the cycle of
meaningless democratic change by achieving transformation that has both form
and substance.

We shall overcome.

Arthur G.O. Mutambara

Prof. Arthur G.O. Mutambara heads one of two formations that make up the
Zimbabwe opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

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Zimbabwe - Mugabe's coup plots

Mens News Daily

June 23, 2007 at 6:00 am · Filed under Africa, Vox Populi

There is a lot of speculation in the media these days about coup attempts and other ficticious plots to overthow the thug regime of Robert Mugabe. The truth is that these so-called coup attempts are all to do with deep paranioa within the ruling zanupf regime. Mugabe is attempting to achieve two objectives. Firstly, by stage managing coup plots, he is able to keep his own party's waring factions in line. Secondly, he can use "coup plots" to stage manage further attacks on his perceived enemies, Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic change.

Mugabe has changed his tactics from last March when he boastfully carried out his head bashing exercise on the opposition and other civic movements. Readers may recall seeing pictures of opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, with a deep laceration to his head after the severe assault on him by Mugabe's police. I met with Tsvangirai recently and am pleased to report that he has recovered, bar a few headaches. In fact, despite what has happened, it has made him more determined to free Zimbabwe from Mugabe's dictatorship.

The assault on the opposition continues but there is now a slight variation. Mugabe's state orchestrated new tactics are to beat admissions of guilt out of their victims.

Here is a verbatum report from ground zero just in:

The following is a victim's statement taken in Marondera yesterday. Please note that the trend is now to torture MDC victims into extricating statements admitting that they had:

1) petrol bombed
2) gone to South Africa for training
3) received training in sabotage

so it fits in with "coup plot" in line with allegations being made against certain military officers!

Torture - marks left from electrocuting Torture - marks left from electrocuting

"I, GT, reside in Marondera was abducted on the 29th May, 2007 and released on the 4th June, 2007.

As an MDC activist, my house was burnt down and property worth millions of dollars was destroyed, by unknown assailants whom I suspect as Zanu PF or CIO. It was on the 23rd May, 2007 when nobody was at home, around 10 am, when somebody phoned me that the house was on fire. Everything was burnt to ashes. I reported the case to the Police.

On the 29th May, 2007 I went to Harare seeking some assistance from any organisation that can assist, since my property was destroyed, because I had nothing to eat and no blankets. That is when I met some MDC activists namely AC, and GM, who told me that there was somebody who can help me. We went together to Winston Court where the person was. Whilst some introductions were proceeding a group of CIO's came and opened the door. They had some video cameras. They ordered everyone to stand up and surrender everything that we had in our pockets including our cell phones. It was around 2pm. We were told that we were dealing in foreign currency and then they proceeded to blindfold us with masking tape. They tied our hands and took us into a van downstairs. We could not tell exactly where they were driving us to. We were taken into a basement where the suspected CIO handed us to MIU. We were beaten and tortured and accused to toppling the government by midnight on the 2nd June. They used electric rods to turture us while recording us some statements of which we were made to admit that we were planning to stage a Coup. We were told that we were sabotaging the government and that we were influencing civil servants to rise up against the government.

We were blindfolded from Tuesday 29th May to Wednesday 30th May at 10pm. The CIO took us to different Police Stations ie Matapi, Rhodesville, Highlands, Mbare, Stoddart, Harare Central and Waterfalls.

We were denied food and water. On Thursday we were taken to Harare Central Law and Order Section. Statements were recorded again, and also our photographs were taken. The cells were dirty and again we were denied food, water, blankets and access to lawyers. Relatives were not allowed to visit.

We were released on Monday 4th June, 2007 "no charge". The CIO's stole my cell phone, jacket and money."

This week saw Zimbabwe's weak currency crash to new lows. Despite what some analysts may say, Mugabe still has a few choices and he is now more dangerous than he ever was. His next move to retain power and control loyalty will be his give-away of 51% of all public companies to his cronies. This undoubtedly be his last card prior to all out military control.

In the meantime, there is little confidence that Thabo Mbeki will solve this one with quiet diplomacy. For most Zimbabweans, the dream is to see Mugabe alongside Taylor of Liberia at the Hague answering charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.


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Some Questions

By Gerald Cubitt

One seriously has to question where President Mbeki, or anyone else who
believes it is remotely possible to hold a free and fair election in
Zimbabwe within a year, or even two, is coming from.

That Mbeki, and the other leaders of the SADC countries would back such an
initiative is no surprise.

By now it has become clear their support for Mugabe and his land grab has
turned around to bite them.  It is also quite obvious that they cannot pull
the plug on him without a massive loss of face.  The upshot is they will
support any initiative that buys time in the hope that his own party will
scrape together the courage to show him the door, or that time itself will
do the job for them.

What is more difficult to grasp is how the MDC, after the 2000, 2002 and
2005 elections can be so naive as to believe that they can take on and
defeat Mugabe at the ballot box.  A couple of months of ostensibly free and
fair electioneering hardly constitutes a level political playing field and
ignores a number of core issues which are fundamental to the exercise of

Democracy consists of a matrix of interlocking freedoms: speech, the written
word, movement, association, organisation and the right to recruit support
for political causes and ideals and, above all else, the absolute right to
exercise these freedoms without fear.  None of these freedoms are currency
in Zimbabwe under the Mugabe government.

 To believe that by suddenly paying lip service to these values a few months
before an election constitutes a return to democracy is blatant dishonesty.
Mugabe with the connivance of the SADC pulled a similar stunt in 2005 after
Mugabe signed the Mauritius protocols.  It was announced, amid great
fanfare, that adherence to the protocols would ensure a free and fair
election.  Mbeki was one of those who advanced this myth.

When push came to shove, the protocols were honoured more in the breach than
in practice.

The real problem was that by then the SADC governments had succeeded in
their goal of getting the MDC to commit itself to the election.
Participation was a done deal and the many complaints about breaches of the
protocols were simply swept under the rug.

The power struggle in Zimbabwe cannot be defined in terms of a normal
democratic contest.

Mugabe, who has boasted openly of having degrees in violence, has a power
lust which borders on the psychotic.  As far back as the mid-1970s, when he
was released from prison in Zimbabwe, he showed his ruthlessness by turning
against his colleagues whom he perceived to be competitors for control ZANU.

In the ensuing struggle he instigated the murder of Herbert Chitepo, a
founder member ZANU and the nominal head of the organisation. While
Chitepo's murder was high profile, it was by no means a singular act.
Mugabe dealt ruthlessly and murderously with those he perceived to be
political foes in the camps in Zambia and Mozambique. Scores of people were
beaten, horrifically tortured, incarcerated and executed.

Even when the war in Zimbabwe ended he did not turn his back on violence.
In the run-up to the 1980 election, Mugabe's cadres instituted a reign of
terror in Zimbabwe in which villages and communities that did not support
his canditure were subjected to violent reprisal.  The situation became so
bad that Nkomo requested Lord Soames, the British governor, to postpone the
election until the political intimidation could be brought under control.

It is worth noting that at that time Mugabe and Nkomo were ostensibly
political allies.

After the 1980 election Mugabe turned on Nkomo savagely when he unleashed
the Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland.  Between 10,000 and 20,000 villagers were
brutally murdered during the ensuing three years.

Anyone who believes that Mugabe has changed these spots is seriously naïve.
In fact, as soon as his political popularity started to decline during the
latter half of the 1990s, he reverted to type doing what he does best:
ratcheting up violence.

The election campaigns in 2000, 2002 and 2005 were characterised by massive
institutional brutality and fraud when Mugabe openly and blatantly used the
state machinery (and even the distribution of international food aid) to
bolster his waning political fortunes.

The opposition, including its press and other supporting organisations, were
hounded mercilessly, shut down, terrorised, brutalised and in cases people
were murdered by state agents, the military, the war veterans association
and the green bombers (ZANU-PF youth brigades).

After the 2002 election, it should have been clear to all, even the most
gullible optimists that the election results had been distorted by gross
political violence and even the threat of military intervention in the event
of the MDC winning the election.

At the time, the Southern African states, most notably South Africa, did not
have the stomach to become embroiled in a dispute over the election result.
Probably they believed or hoped that in victory Mugabe would be magnanimous
and reign in his goons and that in time the political situation would return
to normality.  In this they were mistaken.  If anything, Mugabe sensed their
weakness.  He viewed it as a license to freely subvert the rule of law and
due process, thereby tightening his hold on power.

At that point, after the 2002 election, the MDC would have been well advised
to have withdrawn from the parliamentary political process.  Such a step, as
drastic as it may sound, would clearly have undermined the legitimacy of the
election and also Mugabe's government both, nationally and internationally.
It would have forced South Africa and the SADC countries to take a closer
look at what was happening in Zimbabwe and to realign their policies towards
Zimbabwe with the realities of the situation.

What has been amazing post 2002 are the efforts the SADC countries, and most
notably South Africa, have made to convince the MDC to remain part of the
political process.

Their efforts can be likened to, and are as morally bankrupt, as the
argument that a battered woman should stay with her husband for appearance's
sake.  The argument is pure sleaze.  That it should emanate from the ANC in
South Africa which boasts about its highly principled morality, more
especially where human rights are concerned, is nothing short of

Having said that, what is just as worrying is that elements in the MDC
actually believe that there is sufficient time to level the political
playing field in Zimbabwe between now and May next year.  Also that Mugabe
and his henchmen will somehow undergo a change of heart between now and then
and actually participate in an open and honest manner in an election which
could cost Mugabe the presidency.

That members of the MDC are prepared to subscribe to such a belief is to an
extent understandable.  They have been bullied, beaten and battered to a
point where as human beings they have to be psychologically scarred. Once
again, this brings us to the analogy of the battered wife, where she knows
that nothing will change buts clings with pathetic desperation to the hope
that it will.

This is clearly demonstrated by the befuddled thinking of those in the MDC
who believe that Mugabe should be given a free pass in the event he loses
next year's election.

The questions they have not answered is what would happen to Mugabe's
henchmen in such a scenario.  Would they be allowed to walk away with him
taking with them their ill-gotten loot?

What about the military, the police and other agents of the state who have
been involved in crimes against humanity - episodes such as the Matabeleland
massacres, operation Murambatsvina [drive out the filth] which saw some
700,000 having their homes bulldozed, and the manipulation of food aid so
that those people who supported Mugabe received preferential treatment while
others starved?

They are a great many other examples of viciousness and torture and if the
MDC leadership, in the unlikely event of an election victory, would allow
them to walk, it would be tantamount to a betrayal of the thousands who have
been murdered and died as a result of Mugabe's brutality and misrule.

Speculating about what will become of Mugabe in the event of his losing an
election next year is nothing more than an exercise in wishful thinking.

The election is not only about the presidency.  It is also about who is
going to exercise power.  The people who have run the country into the
ground and who currently hold the reins of power are not going to give up
their places at the trough, surrender their privileges and stolen wealth if
they can humanly help it.  While they are the perpetrators of the
corruption, misrule and brutality that has brought the state to the verge of
collapse, they are also the recipients of its evil fruits.

As for the SADC efforts to resolve the Zimbabwean problem, one cannot help
wondering why they have taken so long to get involved and why they have left
it so late in the day.

To introduce basic democratic freedoms a few months before a critical
election is a hollow gesture.  There is simply not enough time for any
opposition to fully mobilise its resources to make use of these new-found
opportunities and for the effects of such freedoms to work their way through
to grassroots level where it has become essential to re-establish tolerance
and trust in the democratic process.

Arguing that by granting the opposition access to the existing state media
in effect translates into press freedom is simply so much straw.

The editorial staff of the state media is the product of a decade of blind
subservience to the ruling party and they have been well rewarded for
venomously denigrating the opposition.  To expect balanced, honest
journalism from them bespeaks a belief in the tooth fairy.

There are many other equally challenging changes that will have to be made
in the country before it can hold a legitimate election.

One thinks of things such as a return to the rule of law, and due process,
equal access to the services and functions of government fair and honest
registration of voters and auditing of voters rolls, etc.  In a normal
democratic state these may not sound like testing conditions.  However, in a
country where the edifices of power have been built on patronage and where
corruption and misrule are the norm this becomes a monumental task.

It is against this backdrop that members of the MDC are talking to ZANU-PF
on an agenda for next year's election.  What is dismaying is that even while
they are talking in the safety and comfort afforded by South Africa, their
supporters in Zimbabwe are being hounded by the security forces.  Many are
languishing in jail or being beaten and tortured without recourse to even
nominal justice.  There are also reports of members of the MDC who have been
murdered recently and while there is no actual proof that the murders were
committed by agents of the state, one cannot help suspecting strongly that
this was the case.

Finally, the big question the MDC leadership has to ask itself at the end of
the day, is how much more suffering is it prepared to forgive?

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Bob, the carpenter's son, was a star pupil

Comment from The Star (SA), 23 June

The reputed Jesuit saying, "give me a child until the age of 7, and I'll
give you a Catholic for life" may have had unintended consequences for those
influenced by the life and character of one-time Jesuit star pupil Robert
Gabriel Mugabe. Perhaps young Bob, the son of a lowly carpenter, born four
months after Southern Rhodesia became a British colony, was galvanised by
the Jesuit message at St Francis Xavier's Kutama College about a man of
similar origins who, by his sacrifice, sent out a message that eventually
became the official belief system of the former colonial power. Perhaps his
vision of a national liberation struggle for his people was forged only
later, in the intellectual fires of the University of Fort Hare, where he
rubbed shoulders in the late 1940s with the likes of PAC founder Robert
Sobukwe, whose pan-Africanism fell into step with that of the elder Robert.
Perhaps his teaching and studying in Northern Rhodesia, and especially newly
independent, Marxist Ghana, gave rein to that pan-Africanism and showed that
national liberation struggles could have happy results.

But perhaps the unhappiness of the struggle in Southern Rhodesia embittered
Mugabe when the National Democratic Party (NDP), of which he was the
publicity secretary, was outlawed in 1961 for opposing the limited franchise
offered by the white Rhodesian minority. The same fate was met the following
year by the NDP's successor organisation, the Zimbabwe African People's
Union (Zapu), and Mugabe was forced into exile in Dar es Salaam. Disputes
within Zapu fractured the party, leading to the formation of the rival, more
confrontational Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu). Mugabe, by then a
staunch advocate of full equality between white and black, joined the
tearaways. Perhaps it was the experience of turning his enemy's weapons
against themselves. He studied for his law and administration degrees from
the University of London, in the heart of the beast, while he languished for
a decade in a Rhodesian jail. The skills gained produced a talent for
deviousness that proved more than a match for Ian Smith's duplicity in
declaring unilateral independence so as to entrench white dominance.

Perhaps Mugabe learnt that white power bent only when met by force of arms:
by 1975, Zanu's Marxist Mozambique-based guerrilla war with Smith's regime
had developed such a capacity to alarm the whites that even that monolith of
apartheid, BJ Vorster, begged Smith to negotiate a compromise. The truth
probably lies in a combination of these factors, which produced a steely
character who became the bête noir of white nightmares with independence in
1980 and perhaps even more so today with his radical, quasi-Maoist attack on
white land-ownership. The fact that so many plots were fomented against his
life made him justifiably paranoid. And the loss of his respected activist
Ghanaian first wife Sally in 1991 made him retreat into splendid isolation
with his former secretary, the despised profligate Grace Mugabe. And yet
again, the long shadow of the man, who in a moment of irony-laden triumph
was granted the honorary title of Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
by Queen Elizabeth in 1994, Mugabe looks set to loom large over the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Kampala this November.

In the queen's message on Commonwealth Day in March this year, she spoke of
the former British Empire as being - despite its nearly 2-billion citizens -
"still at heart a collection of villages". This quietist view in no way
echoes the way in which the savage collapse of Zimbabwe has dominated Chogm.
"We do not expect Zimbabwe to attend and at the moment Zimbabwe is not a
member of the Commonwealth [walking out in 2003 following its suspension]
since Mugabe failed to live by the expectations of the Commonwealth,"
secretary-general Don McKinnon said of the Kampala summit. Speculation has
been rife, however, that Chogm host Yoweri Museveni will invite his old mate
Mugabe anyway. Previous Commonwealth and Chogm pow-wows have been dominated
by Mugabe, and the anti-Mugabe protesters they drew - not least of which
were the actions of former Zanu supporter Peter Tatchell, who turned on
Mugabe because of the president's homophobia and because of human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe, once advocating on British TV that Mugabe should be

Such grandstanding by both Mugabe and his opponents has, in the past,
diverted attention from the other serious work of the Commonwealth and
Chogm, especially relating to African development - as well as to serious
issues affecting the continent, such as child abuse and trafficking. Today,
the dissolution that has marked Zimbabwe's economy has also overtaken
Mugabe's alma mater: one old boy posted photographs of mouldy ceilings,
broken classroom furniture and potholed floors. The college's Latin motto is
Esse Quam Videri, meaning "to be, rather than to seem". Today, the official
Zimbabwe tries to trade on appearances of militancy, instead of reality, and
it is the Zimbabwean people and not their prophet who have been martyred on
its cross. We can only hope that for real progress to be made at Chogm,
Museveni will not invite Mugabe.

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Bishop Cautions State Against Ejected Zimbabwean Farmers

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

23 June 2007
Posted to the web 24 June 2007

Konigstein, Germany

A Catholic bishop has urged the government to be cautious in allocating land
to white farmers evicted from Zimbabwe to avoid conflicts with local people.

Bishop Francisco Silota of Chimoio Diocese expressed fears that white
farmers who lost their land in the chaotic reforms imposed by President
Robert Mugabe a few years ago were settling in Mozambique and might make
"Mozambicans feel like foreigners in their own country".

He told the German-based international Catholic pastoral charity, Aid to the
Church in Need, that "the farmers bring modern technology with them and have
a strong entrepreneurial spirit. We must take care that tensions do not

Chimoio Diocese borders Zimbabwe. Following the dizzying economic and
political crisis in Zimbabwe, numerous refugees are crossing the border and
this is creating social problems, Bishop Silota said.

The refugees are looking for work, but since many of them remain unemployed,
there is a resulting increase in crime in some places. Many Mozambicans fear
the influx might soon be a source of social instability, according to the

On the challenges facing the church in Mozambique, Bishop Silota said the
principal task was to implant the gospel in the local culture.

"Inculturation is the backbone of all our other pastoral and social
efforts", he said. Jesus must be presented to people as "one of their own".
The church must "translate the Good News into the language of the people",
since "in Africa, faith is not something isolated, but involves the entire
person, the whole of life".

The prevailing poverty, however, often causes people to become uprooted, and
to lose their traditional values, the bishop observed. In particular, the
exodus from the land is causing people to lose their roots in the "strange
and hostile environment" of the towns.

According to Bishop Silota, some 39 percent of Mozambicans live in towns,
and this is expected to increase to over 50 percent by 2010, according to
some estimates.

The bishop also expressed deep concern that already 19 percent of the
population in his country was HIV positive. He said it was a particular
scandal that many young girls, owing to their poverty, became easy prey for
men who abuse and infect them with HIV.

"If the church is the Body of Christ, then the spread of AIDS means that the
Body of Christ is physically sick", he said. "This problem affects us all!"

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Factory shutdowns loom in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Monday 25 June 2007

Own Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwe's crippled manufacturing sector faces a grim future with
several factories saying they are on the verge of shutting down because it
had become increasingly difficult to price products due to out of control

Some industrialists who spoke to ZimOnline at the weekend said they have had
to close shop for several days in the past fortnight in order to carry out
costing exercises to determine what prices to charge for goods.

"We told our guys to stop producing for several days last week while we
carried out a costing exercise to determine prices at which we should supply
the market," said a senior manager with one of the leading manufacturers of
basic commodities, who asked not to be named.

However, the manufacturing executive added that at the rate at which prices
of raw materials were changing, his company would soon have to do a fresh
costing exercise, warning they may be forced to shut down completely unless
trading conditions improved.

Bulawayo-based economic commentator Eric Bloch said most factories had
stopped trading because the unpredictable conditions made it unprofitable to
continue operating.

"A number of factories stopped trading in the past week to enable them to
determine the replacement cost of their products and raw materials or to
re-cost their products," said Bloch.

The unstable trading conditions have been spawned by the sharp depreciation
of the Zimbabwe dollar against the United States greenback over the past

The local currency has depreciated by more than 125 percent in the past week
against the US dollar as the country battles to contain a seven-year slide
of the once stable economy.

The local currency traded weaker on Saturday at 180 000 against the US
dollar on the thriving but illegal parallel market under strong import
pressure. The local unit traded at 80 000 to the US greenback on 11 June on
the same market.

The bulk of the Zimbabwean foreign exchange trade takes place on the
parallel market from where most importers get their foreign currency.

Illegal foreign currency traders, who say the sharp depreciation of the
local dollar was because of the Reserve Bank off Zimbabwe (RBZ) buying most
of the hard cash on the parallel in the past four weeks, predicted the
parallel market exchange rate to slide to 300 000 Zimbabwean dollars for
every American greenback by mid-July.

"You can expect the dollar to slide further in the coming days unless of
course Gono (Gideon, the RBZ governor) changes the official rate to match
what we guys are offering," said a dealer at the Roadport bus terminus on
the east of Harare's central business district and a major hub of the
illegal foreign currency trade.

The RBZ has insisted that the official exchange rate remains at 250
Zimbabwean dollars for every American greenback. This has been the rate
since August 2006 despite pressure for the currency to depreciate.

Bloch was, however, of the view that the Zimbabwean economic crisis had
reached crunch point which called for a drastic and holistic policy shift by
President Robert Mugabe.

"The situation is very unsustainable and can only be solved through drastic
policy changes," said Bloch.

The closure of the factories comes against the backdrop of reports that
Zimbabwe's manufacturing sector shrunk by seven percent in 2006 compared
with a growth of 3.2 percent registered in 2005.

A survey by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries showed that capacity
utilisation in the sector averaged 33.8 percent, weighed down by various
constraints that include non-availability of foreign currency, high and
rising inflation and an overvalued exchange rate.

Other constraints include unreliability of water and power supplies as well
as corruption.

The depreciating exchange rate has triggered sharp increases in prices of
goods and services, with most basic commodities now more than double their
cost a week ago.

Economic experts are already predicting that the country's inflation could
hit 8 000 percent in July.

Zimbabwe currently has the highest rate of inflation in the world, which was
pegged at an estimated 4 530 percent in May. - ZimOnline

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Harare to implement indigenisation law before year-end

Zim Online

Monday 25 June 2007

By Thulani Munda and Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - Zimbabwe's Minister of Indigenisation and Empowerment, Paul
Mangwana, has said the government will force foreign-owned mining firms in
the country to cede controlling shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans
before the end of the year.

Addressing women in mining in the southern Masvingo city at the weekend,
Mangwana said the new Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill published
by the government on Friday would become law by August.

Mangwana said: "The government is concerned by the existing shareholding
structure in most mining companies hence we are going ahead with plans to
take some shares from those companies that are wholly foreign-owned.

"We would want all foreign-owned mining companies to shed off at least 51
percent of shares to locals. The Indigenisation Bill would be ready by
August and things will move before the end of the year."

The proposed law seeks to ensure that at least 51 percent of shares in every
public company or any other business are owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.

It describes an indigenous Zimbabwean as a person who was disadvantaged by
"unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race" before the country's
independence from Britain. The majority blacks were disadvantaged by
previous white-led governments until Zimbabwe's 1980 independence.

Although speculation had been rife that the planned indigenization law would
lead to wholesale nationalisation of foreign-owned firms, published Bill
only proposes the creation of an Empowerment Fund which will provide
financial assistance to indigenous Zimbabweans seeking to acquire
shareholding in companies.

Once it comes into law, the bill is set to affect mining giants firms such
Zimplats, Anglo Zimbabwe, Halogen (formerly Falgold) and other large
corporations operating in Zimbabwe that are entirely owned by foreigners.

Economic analysts have however warned that the law - which they likened to
the government's controversial seizure of white-owned farms to give to
blacks - would scare away investors and decimate the country's struggling
industrial sector as control of large and sophisticated businesses is
surrendered to blacks most of who do not have funds or skills to run them. -

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MDC vice-president's challenge of security law crumbles

Zim Online

Monday 25 June 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - A senior Zimbabwe opposition politician has lost a court bid to
have her case in which she is accused of violating a section of the tough
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) referred to the Supreme Court.

Thokozani Khupe, who is the vice-president of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party led by Morgan Tsvangirai, is challenging a section of
POSA which makes it an offence to meet in public without police clearance.

Bulawayo magistrate Loveness Chipateni on Friday afternoon threw out Khupe's
application to have the case moved from the Magistrate's Court to the
Supreme Court saying the application was "frivolous and vexatious".

Khupe's lawyer, Job Sibanda confirmed the development at the weekend but
added that they will soon make another application at the High Court.

"The magistrate threw out our application to have the case referred to the
Supreme Court. We will have to make a fresh application at the High Court,"
said Sibanda.

Khupe was charged with violating section 4 of POSA after she held an
unsanctioned meeting with about 40 MDC supporters at her restaurant in
Bulawayo about two years ago.

Khupe and her supporters were remanded out of custody on Z$100 000 bail

The case has however been dragging before the courts since 2005.

The MDC has in the past accused President Robert Mugabe's government of
applying the tough security law selectively against the opposition party in
a bid to cripple it from exercising its legitimate political rights, a
charge the government denies.

Zimbabwean police have arrested hundreds of MDC officials and supporters
over the past seven years for allegedly flouting the country's security
laws. Most of them have however been released without charge. - ZimOnline

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Too many cooks spoil the broth

24 June 2007

By Geoffrey Nyarota

AFTER a number of false starts over the past few years, the negotiations
between the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), currently underway with South African President Thabo Mbeki
acting as overseer, offer the brightest prospect yet of a possible solution
to Zimbabwe's worsening political and economic crisis.

Taking into consideration President Robert Mugabe's intransigency over the
years, the perceived partisanship of President Mbeki's so-called quiet
diplomacy and the devastating schism within the ranks of the opposition
movement, it is a remarkable achievement that all parties have finally taken
seats around a negotiating table. It is a step forward, furthermore, that
they have, without any acrimony being generated, agreed on an agenda to
guide the negotiations.

The MDC would be well advised, however, not to let their guard down, given
Mugabe's well documented reluctance to let go of power and his capacity to
divide the opposition. It should also be clear to them that Mugabe is now
much like an old log, ostensibly standing defiantly but liable to topple
over at the slightest push. He is finally on his knees and pressure on him
must be maintained relentlessly.

There cannot be too many Zimbabweans who are not pinning their last hopes on
the success of this latest initiative, given the likely consequences of
failure and given a situation where the economy has finally reached the
final stages of total collapse. While Mugabe has clearly reached the end of
his tether, the backs of the people have finally been driven against the
wall, with no room for further retreat or tightening of belts. All this is
happening against the backdrop of unprecedented and worrisome reports of
attempts by the military to unseat Mugabe.

In the absence of evidence of any other viable proposal for a solution to
our current catastrophe Zimbabweans have little option but to lend their
support to the current initiative, especially those that are either members
or supporters of the parties engaged in the current dialogue. This is the
time for Archbishop Pius Ncube, Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and other clergymen
to lead the nation in prayers for success and peace.

Over the weekend we published a rather disconcerting report about the
sentiments expressed by people purporting to be genuine representatives of
the people of Matabeleland. Speaking, presumably, on behalf of the allegedly
disgruntled leaders, Zanu-PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa, dismissed
the current talks uncharitably as a waste of time. He said Matabeleland was
allegedly not adequately represented. He said the talks were not
representative of the spirit of unity as achieved in 1987 between Zanu-PF
and the now defunct PF-Zapu of respected nationalist leader, Dr Joshua
Nkomo, now late.

"In the spirit of the Unity Accord, people here (in Matabeleland) expected
that to be reflected in the Zanu-PF delegation that is meeting the
opposition and the South African president," Dabengwa pronounced. The
Zanu-PF delegation to the talks comprises Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Nicholas Goche, the Minister
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Both are Shona. The MDC
delegation comprises the secretary generals of its two formerly feuding
factions, the mainstream party led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the breakaway
faction of Professor Welshman Ncube which is led by Professor Arthur

This faction is represented by Ncube himself, a Ndebele, while Tendai Biti,
secretary general of the mainstream MDC, is the fourth delegate. For those
with an interest in such petty issues, Dabengwa included, no doubt, the
ethnic split of the whole delegation is in the proportion of 75 to 25 in
favour of the Shona. While the ethnic composition of the Zanu-PF delegation
to the talks is a matter entirely for that party to determine or resolve, it
is to be hoped that the party will not create a genuine problem for itself
by replacing either Chinamasa or Goche with a Ndebele delegate to appease
Dabengwa. Such action would create a dangerous precedent, prompting Zanu-PF
in Masvingo to demand a representative of their own at the talks.

The Zanu-PF delegation would have to increase to a minimum of four to cater
for the tribal sensitivities or to satisfy the ethnic sentiment or
expectation of the Zazuru, the Manyika, the Karanga and the Ndebele.
Dabengwa said the political leaders as well as civic organizations in
Bulawayo were scheduled to meet this week to discuss their exclusion from
the talks. But Jabulani Sibanda, the former chairman of the Zimbabwe
National Liberation War Veterans' Associations, of which Dabengwa is now
deputy chairman , does raise an extremely valid point.

If Dabengwa and company were signatories to the Unity Agreement why do they
still want to maintain their old identity as Zapu to the extent where,
presumably, they now want to attend the talks as Zapu? Apart from that,
Dabengwa was openly rejected at the polls by the very people that he now
claims to represent.

In any case Zanu-PF is not particularly popular in Matabeleland as Dabengwa
himself will testify. Welshman Ncube is, perhaps, a more legitimate
representative of the people of Matabelend, even though it is partly through
his own nefarious plotting that the holding of the talks between Zanu-PF and
the MDC was delayed. His own participation in the talks now is, in fact, by
default; being the representative of a small faction of the MDC whose
leader, Mutambara, is openly campaigning for re-union with the mainstream

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town last week Mutambara said:
"The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is working on
establishing a united front inspired by a single candidate principle for
every electoral contest (President, Parliament, Senate, and Council). The
objective is to ensure that every opposition vote counts against Mugabe and
his Zanu-PF party. Yes there are two wings to the MDC, but we are busy
building a coalition with the sole and unequivocal mandate of liberation. Of
course this has been a difficult exercise, but we cannot afford to fail."

Speaking of civil society organizations, as Dabengwa did, similarly
disconcerting sentiments have emerged from that quarter with regard to their
own perceived non-participation in the ongoing talks between Zanu-PF and the
MDC. It has been reported in Harare that Zimbabwe's civil society community
is up in arms over its own exclusion from the political negotiations
currently taking place in Pretoria. The Save Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC), an
umbrella organisation representing more than 30 civil society organizations,
expressed dismay last week that its constituent organizations were not
participating in the talks.

Civil society leaders say Zimbabwe's crisis can only be resolved by
all-inclusive dialogue involving labour, as well as the non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), religious bodies, women's groups and student
organizations that it embraces. Organisations such as the Centre for Peace
Initiatives in Africa, the Ecumenical Peace Initiative, the Law Society of
Zimbabwe and the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
(NANGO) are said to be demanding a role in the talks.

The civic organisations have apparently set up a committee, chaired by the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), which has been delegated to secure
an urgent meeting with Mbeki to present their concerns. Elsewhere, it has
been suggested that Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) should be represented at
the talks. It would not be surprising if Mbeki were to suffer a new bout of
fatigue or frustration on account of the obvious confusion among

It is unlikely that the SZC leadership and those other persons of groups
campaigning for the participation of every civil society organization at the
talks have taken into serious consideration the practical, logistical, as
well as the financial implications of all-inclusive participation. The
scores of delegates would have to be flown to the venue and to be
accommodated. Above all, they would all have to be paid the all-important
PER DIEM for their sustenance. The more extended the period of negotiation,
as would be the case with such a large number of delegates, the greater the
cost of reaching any agreement.

Civil society comprises all the voluntary civic and social organizations and
institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as opposed to the
force-backed structures of a state and commercial institutions. Now if all
the organisations in Zimbabwe that have a legitimate claim to classification
as being part of civil society were to be represented at the ongoing talks,
there would be utter chaos or absolute pandemonium in Pretoria.

The SZC has so far clearly been associated with the opposition movement in
the current campaign against the dictatorship of our ruling elite. If they
have any specific sectarian or special interest concerns or causes that they
wish to be included in the agenda of the talks, surely they can bring these
to the attention of the MDC, assuming they have not already done so. If they
have no faith in the ability of the MDC to represent their interests then
that is an entirely different matter. They should, however, formally voice
their concerns.

Without sounding disparaging of the effort and contribution of all concerned
in seeking to bring Mugabe's dictatorship to its long overdue end, there are
some organizations which would be hard put to prove that they represent the
aspirations of the generality of the citizens of Zimbabwe. Civil society
organizations were not directly represented at Lancaster House in 1979, when
Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu negotiated with Ian Smith and Bishop Abel Muzorewa,
Ndabaningi Sithole and Jeremiah Chirau before signing the agreement that
heralded Zimbabwe's independence.

Neither were civil society organizations in sight when Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu
signed the Unity Agreement in 1987 that restored peace to Zimbabwe. That is
certainly not to say that civil society organizations do not have a
meaningful role to play behind the scenes. Mr Mugabe's enemies, the English
have a saying: "Too many cooks spoil the broth."- The Zimbabwe Times

Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.

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Zanu-PF rift sidelines talks

Mail and Guardian

      Mail and Guardian reporter

      24 June 2007 11:59

            Zimbabwe's opposition leaders returned to their supporters eager
to report some progress after their first direct talks with the ruling
Zanu-PF recently, but found fresh evidence of widespread concern that
infighting in the ruling party poses a threat to dialogue.

            The first round of formal talks between Zanu-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which took place in South
Africa, has been overshadowed by the story of how four travel agents, a
suspected visa scammer and a 20-year-old serviceman allegedly planned a
military coup to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

            The case grabbed headlines in the past week, but sceptics said
the alleged plot is probably linked to deepening rivalries within Mugabe's
party over his succession, which some also see as an obstacle to the
mediation efforts.

            Zanu-PF and the MDC have agreed not to make public comments on
the talks, but a senior official said this week that "they were talks about
the talks and they were held in a good spirit".

            It had been hoped that the parties would agree on an agenda for
more formal dialogue, including a historic meeting between Mugabe and
opposition leaders. However, officials involved in the talks said there was
no conclusive agreement on an agenda, with the Zanu-PF delegation of Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche asking for an
adjournment to consult their party.

            This came after a proposal had been made to return to the terms
of an earlier negotiation process that was aborted in 2004. Then, South
Africa and a representative of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo
had seen their push for formal talks collapse, but only after key sections
of a draft for a new constitution had been agreed between the ruling party
and the MDC.

            At the latest talks, the opposition, and reportedly also South
Africa, proposed a return to that draft as a possible basis for further
talks. Zanu-PF is said to have declined immediately to back the proposal. A
new round of talks is expected early in July.

            Officials said South African mediators were anxious for the
dialogue to be moved forward quickly so that significant progress would be
made by the time SADC heads of state meet at a summit in Zambia in August.

            President Thabo Mbeki has already pledged to report some
progress to SADC by the end of June.

            But the MDC fears that Zanu-PF, already unenthusiastic about
dialogue, is increasingly distracted by continuing internal feuding, as
played out in the courts this week.

            Charles Warara, a lawyer representing the alleged coup plotters,
said this week there had been more arrests and that his clients had been
tortured in custody. The alleged mastermind of the coup, Albert Matapo, a
travel agent who has previously been investigated in Britain on suspicion of
running a fake documents scam, had his lawyer announce that he was a "victim
of internal Zanu-PF politics".

            Matapo said he had "never met [Emmerson] Mnangagwa, never spoken
to him and had seen him only on TV". Mnangagwa, who has been implicated in
the alleged plot, described the affair as "stupid".

            Unlike the opposition, Zanu-PF has managed to avoid a complete
split despite bitter rivalries between groups vying for power. But a report
by the ruling party's own security department reveals the anxiety within
Zanu-PF over the long-term impact of the factional fighting.

            "The succession debate has worsened factional fighting, as the
various camps champion the aspirations of some senior members of the party
who aim to lead Zanu-PF in future. These aspirants have remained largely
inactive, but continue to instigate counterproductive activities, which are
motivated by their selfish and leadership ambitions," Zanu-PF's security
branch said in a report to the party's central committee.

            A report by South Africa's department of foreign affairs,
recently discussed in Parliament, said "the ongoing infighting within
Zanu-PF, if not contained, would pose challenges for mediation efforts .
Energy within the party would be consumed in efforts to come out on top in
the succession battle."

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Mugabe's thieves plundering Zimbabwe

24th Jun 2007 20:17 GMT

By Dennis Rekayi

MUTARE - An industry and commerce captain on Friday startled participants
attending a business forum at Africa University when he told a Cabinet
Minister that President Mugabe was surrounded by criminals who want to
perpetuate his rule so they can continue to plunder the country's resources.

Evans Mbambo, the second national vice president for the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), stunned Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of
Finance, who was in attendance, that thieves surrounded Mugabe and were
using their vantage positions to plunder Zimbabwe for their own benefit.

Mumbengegwi was the guest of honour at the CZI's national economic lecture
series held at the university, a stone throw away from the eastern border

"The President is surrounded by thieves," Mbambo said during a question and
answer session. "His Excellency needs a courageous man who can sit down with
him so that he can be rescued from the criminals around him."

An agitated Mumbengegwi responded by quickly defending himself saying he was
not a criminal and had a clean record.

"I wouldn't want to talk about criminals because I am not a criminal," a
visibly angry Mbengegwi said. "As a minister and as an individual my record
is clean."

But unshaken by the minister's anger Mbambo attempted to raise more issues
with the Mumbengegwi but was restrained by the moderator, Joseph Kanyekanye,
the chief executive officer of Forestry Company of Zimbabwe and a top CZI
official in Manicaland.

Civic society and the opposition have in the past spoken strongly against
rampant corruption and disregard of the rule of law by President Mugabe's

Many also blame Mugabe for the patronage system that exists in Zimbabwe. As
a President he has continuously failed to send to jail his top corrupt
cronnies in the government and Zanu PF party.

Mumbengegwi had spoken about his ministry's role in the turn around
programme of the country's economy when he raised Mbambo's ire.

The minister concentrated on problems besseting the economy such as
shortages of fuel, power, foreign currency and poor agricultural output on
the farms.

Mumbengegwi also spoke about inflation saying it was not based on cost of
producing goods and services.

"Inflation in this country is not based on the cost of production but upon
money chasing," he said. "It has become undesirable to produce. Zimbabweans
don't want to produce goods because they cant make quick money."

He added: "In a normal economy the longer an item stays on the shelves the
cheaper it becomes but nowadays it becomes more expensive. By tomorrow the
price trebles, people are making a year's profit by selling half of what
they have in the shops."

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing serious economic problems largely blamed
on corruption and President Mugabe's skewed economic policies.

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Hitschmann's weapons cache trial resumes

4th Jun 2007 20:21 GMT

By Dennis Rekayi

MUTARE - The trial of Peter Micheal Hitschmann, the former police
constabulary who is facing treason charges, will continue on Monday when the
High Court Circuit sits in this eatern Border City.

Hitschmann is facing charges of trying to assasinate President Mugabe and
some top Zanu PF officials from Manicaland. He also faces charges of stoking
weapons of war.

The State is alleging Hitschmann, 46, violated provisions of section 10 (1)
of the controversial Public Order and Security Act (POSA) by acquiring the
weapons with the intention of killing President Mugabe.

But Hitschmann is denying the charges.

He was denied bail last year in November after the High Court Circuit failed
to wind up the trial.

Trust Maanda, Hitschmann's lawyer said the matter is expected to be
finalised this time around.

"The matter will be put to rest this time around," Maanda told

Maanda said Justice Elfas Chitakunye will preside over the case.

Hitschmann is alleged to have plotted to assassinate Mugabe and two senior
Zanu PF members in Manicaland province after stocking the dangerous weapons
of war for purposes of carrying out an insurgent, banditry, sabotage or

If convicted he can be sentenced to life in prison.

Army instructor Israel Phiri, who is the State's star witness told Justice
Chitakunye las year that Hitschmann tried to recruit him into the
little-known Zimbabwe Freedom Movement, a UK-based group alleged to be
trying to unseat Mugabe.

The State is alleging that the group has links with the opposition MDC. The
MDC has since distanced itself from this alleged group.

The army officer claimed Hitschmann and his colleagues also planned to burn
the offices of the state-run Chronicle newspaper in Bulawayo and spill oil
on a major Mutare highway so that Mugabe's vehicle would slip and overturn.

Hitschmann has been in custody since March last year when police announced
they had found a weapons cache at his Mutare home.

The police said he was linked to the MDC and wanted to overthrow Mugabe with
the help of disaffected army officers.

Hitschmann denies the charges.
But his lawyers say he is a registered arms dealer and was thus entitled to
have weapons on his property.

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Zimbabweans Hit by Price Increases


Gov't taskforce to target retailers profiteering from the

Nelson G. Katsande

Published 2007-06-25 04:29 (KST)

      The prices of basic commodities in Zimbabwe are now beyond the reach
of the suffering majority. Retailers have continued to effect price
increases in retaliation to the increasing inflation rate, which now stands
at 3,500 percent.

      The prices of most basic commodities went up tenfold in two weeks.
Most retailers effected increases of more than 300 percent on basic
commodities. The beleaguered government of President Robert Mugabe has
failed to intervene and cushion the consumers from the increasing costs.

      A number of people who spoke to OhmyNews said toilet paper was now a
luxury. "We have resorted to the use of old newspapers instead of toilet
paper," said Tobias Maguta, a newspaper vendor from Mabvuku suburb. Jobless
Farai Mungati also echoed Maguta's sentiments.

      Mungati blamed the government for its carefree attitude and called
upon the incumbent government to step down. But while the majority of people
were suffering, the minority affiliated with the ruling ZANU-PF party was
living in luxury, driving the latest 4x4 vehicles and Mercedes-Benzes.

      As reports of an imminent mass action were announced, the government
also announced that a ministerial taskforce had been set up to address the
price increases and deal with unscrupulous retailers profiteering from the

      Transport costs have also risen sharply. Most workers are walking to
and from work, with others staying at work and only returning home on

      The government's National Incomes and Pricing Commission announced
that plans were underway to launch an operation targeting retailers and
wholesalers profiteering from the increases. It says it is an offence for
retailers not to display the prices of commodities on the shelves and also
sell commodities above stipulated margins.

      In Harare's high-density suburbs of Mufakose, Budiriro and Kuwadzana,
ZANU-PF youths were reported to be visiting shops and comparing their
prices. Some retailers blamed the government for inflicting fear in them by
dispatching the much-feared youths to check on their businesses.

      Zimbabwe has experienced a severe economic crisis since independence
from Britain in 1980. A Zimbabwe independent paper The Standard reported
that outgoing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Dell had predicted the collapse of
Mugabe's government before the end of the year.

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