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Zimbabwe: UN cuts back food aid to millions amid serious funding crisis

11 November 2008 - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned
today that it is facing a serious funding crisis in providing life-saving
aid to over 4 million people in Zimbabwe suffering the effects of a
disastrous harvest, and it has already been forced to cut rations.
"WFP still requires $140 million to fund its operations in Zimbabwe until
the end of March 2009 - with a shortfall of approximately 145,000 tons of
food, including 110,000 metric tons of cereals and 35,000 metric tons of
other food commodities," the agency said in an update detailing its first
month of large-scale distributions in October.

"There is currently no food in the pipeline for distributions in January and
February - just when the crisis is reaching its peak and when WFP is aiming
to assist over 4 million people each month."

  Other families have no option but to beg for help or to resort to other
desperate measures to survive - selling their few remaining household
assets, migrating in search of work and food, pulling children out of school

In October WFP distributed 29,000 tons of food to around 2 million
vulnerable people across the southern African country and plans to double
the beneficiaries in November by scaling up its operations to reach almost 4
million hungry people in rural and urban areas. But it will have to cut back
on the individual rations so as to provide something for all beneficiaries.

"In the worst affected communities, people are surviving on one meal a day -
at most," WFP said. "There are widespread reports of people skipping meals
for an entire day or eating wild foods such as baobab seeds and amarula
fruit. Hungry families are being forced to exchange their precious livestock
for buckets of maize.

"Other families have no option but to beg for help or to resort to other
desperate measures to survive - selling their few remaining household
assets, migrating in search of work and food, pulling children out of
school, etc."

In November, WFP aims to distribute around 46,000 tons to more than 3.3
million people under the vulnerable group feeding (VGF) programme and around
600,000 under the safety net programmes but will not be able to provide
every beneficiary with a full food basket.

"WFP needs additional donations urgently since it takes between six and
eight weeks to transform a cash contribution into food on a beneficiary's
table," the agency said.

The November cereal ration has been cut from 12 kilograms to 10 kilograms
per person per month and the pulse ration from 1.8 kilograms to one kilogram
for all VGF beneficiaries and for people receiving take-home rations under
the safety net programmes.

"These cuts will allow WFP to stretch its available resources as far as
possible but they will leave greater numbers more malnourished and more
susceptible to disease," the agency said.

According to the latest UN figures, the number of people needing assistance
will rise to 5.1 million, or 45 per cent of the population, at the expected
peak of the crisis in early 2009, and WFP plans to provide aid some 4
million every month until the end of March - as long as there are sufficient

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Zimbabwe police crack down on protesters


Tue 11 Nov 2008, 17:44 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean police broke up an anti-government
protest with teargas and batons on Tuesday and detained the leader of the
group behind the demonstration, the group said.

The crackdown came as hopes fade in Zimbabwe that a power-sharing deal
agreed in September between veteran President Robert Mugabe and opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai will end the ruinous political and economic crisis.

Mugabe looked certain to press ahead with setting up a new government soon
after a regional summit called for the immediate installation of a new

He said on Tuesday a new government could be formed as early as this week.

"We will try to institute the decisions reached by the summit as quickly as
possible. Maybe this week, maybe next week, but as soon as possible," he was
quoted as saying by the state-run Herald newspaper.

State television said Mugabe would chair an extraordinary meeting of his
ZANU-PF party's decision-making politburo on Wednesday to discuss the SADC
resolution -- a firm step towards naming a new cabinet.

The police crackdown on protestors was the first such action in several

The National Constitutional Assembly pressure group said its chairman
Lovemore Madhuku had been detained ahead of the protests to demand political
reform from Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.

There was no immediate comment from police or government officials.

Riot police later fired teargas and used batons to break up a protest by
about 40 activists from Madhuku's group in Harare. Pursuing the protesters,
police dispersed queues of Zimbabweans waiting to withdraw money from banks,
witnesses said.


Zimbabweans had hoped the Sept. 15 power-sharing deal would ease political
tensions and create a united leadership that could rescue the ruined

Instead, Zimbabwe's parties are deadlocked over allocating cabinet

A regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit failed to
break the deadlock at the weekend when leaders asked Mugabe and Tsvangirai
to share the powerful home affairs ministry, a demand swiftly rejected by
the opposition leader.

The Zimbabwean parliament broke off for a month on Tuesday, delaying a
national budget and proposed constitutional changes which will allow the
formation of a power-sharing government.

MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese told Reuters the parliamentary break
highlighted a crisis brought about by the failure of both parties to form a
unity government.

"This almost certainly means there will not be any budget presentation this
year. It also means they (Mugabe's government) will not be able to bring the
Constitutional Amendment bill to parliament anytime soon," Gonese said.

But the government said Mugabe would proceed to form an "inclusive"
government, even before parliament amended the constitution.

"The (constitutional) amendment has not yet been drafted, but the (SADC)
summit enjoined us to move with haste to form a government," Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa told Reuters.

"We will abide by their resolution."

South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Tuesday it was
crucial for Zimbabweans to have a government.

"You cannot keep the suffering people of Zimbabwe at ransom at the altar of
the ministry of home affairs, it is important to begin the process that will
change the life of the people of Zimbabwe because they have been suffering
for a long time," Dlamini-Zuma told reporters in Brussels.

She said an imperfect government can be changed but stressed the importance
of setting up a new administration. (Additional reporting by Nelson Banya
and Ingrid Melander in Brussels; Writing by Marius Bosch; Editing by Dominic

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Police Raid Madhuku's Home Ahead of Protest

HARARE, November 11 2008 - Zimbabwe police on Tuesday morning raided
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku's home in
Harare in an attempt to arrest him ahead of planned anti-government

Madhuku's lawyer Alec Muchadehama told RadioVOP that police raided the
NCA chairman's home at dawn on Tuesday but failed to arrest him as he was
not at home.

The police later phoned Madhuku asking him why he had organized
Tuesday's demonstration to demand the formation of a transitional government
and widespread hunger.

Madhuku has since handed himself to the police at Harare Central
Police Station accompanied by his lawyer Alec Muchedehama.

» 1 Comment

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Zimbabwe schools close early because of food crisis

Tuesday, 11th November 2008. 12:49pm

By: Kumbirai Mafunda.

Harare: Zimbabwean school authorities at the weekend cut short their
school terms owing to a biting food crisis.

Irate parents told this reporter this week that they had to make
emergency plans to evacuate their children from boarding schools after
authorities cut short the school term after running out of food supplies.

Schools were scheduled to shut down for the festive season early
December but authorities at some troubled boarding schools last Friday
ordered all form one, two, three and five students out of schools owing to
the agonizing food crisis ravaging the country.

Only students writing their Ordinary Level and Advanced Level
examinations remained at boarding schools.

Parents whose students are enrolled at St Mary's Magadalene Secondary
School in Nyanga, Manicaland revealed that they had plucked their children
from the boarding school after authorities advised them of the early closure
citing a depletion of foodstuffs to see through the school term.

"We were left with no choice but to pluck my children out of the
school. They (students) were starving and I now have to engage a private
tutor to assist them with lectures," said Molly Mutaka, a Harare parent who
collected her two children from St Mary's Magadalene.

"I have been saved. It was terrible at school. We feel for those
students that remained writing examinations," said one student who asked not
to be named as he is not authorised to speak to journalists by school

Efforts to reach school authorities and officials at the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture were unsuccessful Monday.

The decision by boarding school authorities to end the school term
earlier underlines the collapse of Zimbabwe's once revered education system.

In September, upon the start of the current school term authorities
delayed the opening of schools because they did not have enough food stocks
to feed the children. Schools only opened after parents agreed to donate
their own food supplies to feed their children.

The schools' early shutdown coincided with the release of a circular
calling for a speedy establishment of a coalition government between
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the two factions of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).

Once the pride of Africa, Zimbabwe's education sector has crumbled in
step with the spectacular economic collapse, which is marked by out of
control inflation of 231 million per cent.

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Zimbabweans castigate SADC

November 11, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Ordinary Zimbabweans have accused the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) of lacking sincerity in their effort to resolve the current
political dispute between the country's two main political parties.

A delay of almost two months in resolving the dispute over how best to share
so-called key ministries between Zanu-PF and the MDC has delayed the
implementation of the September 15 power sharing agreement.

The unity pact was brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on
behalf of SADC after protracted negotiations.

An SADC extraordinary summit held in Johannesburg on Sunday rubberstamped a
resolution last month by its Organ on Politics, Defence and Security last
month that recommended that Zanu-PF and MDC should co-share the Ministry of
Home Affairs against the opposition's pleas that it be allowed sole control
of the crucial ministry.

The Home Affairs ministry controls the now much politicised police force and
runs the country's elections. It also controls the issue of passports, for
which there has been growing demand as Zimbabweans have sought to leave the
country for greener pastures abroad.

The deal now remains delicately poised in the balance after the feuding
parties refused to shift on their hard line positions.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told journalists in South Africa on Monday his
party would not accept the SADC resolution.

But most people interviewed Monday think this is an illogical resolution by
the SADC, more-so after Mugabe's Zanu PF was allowed to secure the Defence
ministry free of any contest.

They accuse SADC of lacking the sufficient spine to confront President
Mugabe, who at 84 is currently the world's oldest leader.

"I do not think SADC has confidence in its own decisions," said a middle
aged man in a bank queue in central Harare Monday.

"They found this to be the easiest way out of this complex problem. They
lack the spine to confront Mugabe who obviously must have dug in saying 'I
am not moving an inch from my position'."

Hope Gumbo, a Harare- based political activists says SADC has shown it is
not sophisticated enough to deal with complex political crises in the

He cites the war in the DRC as one typical case of failed mediation by the
Southern African bloc.

"SADC is a toothless bull dog when it comes to dealing with dictatorships,"
he said.

"The continuation of the Zimbabwean crisis is a sign that SADC has failed.
Yet they agree in their communiqué that there is no government in Zimbabwe
and they do nothing except to pamper Mugabe and tour his line."

Trust Mapfumo, a Harare businessman had no kind words either for the
regional bloc.

"For all we know, SADC could be an emperor's club," he said, "They cover
each other's back. They are a joke. They are comical."

Mapfumo says it is strange that both SADC and AU leaders are always
clamouring for the democratization of the United Nations when their own
conduct suggests the opposite.

"They ought to occupy the higher moral ground by the way they address their
own issues," he said, "They do not have the honour of their own conviction.

"What is happening now is a mockery to the cliché about African solutions to
African problems. SADC has failed the people of Zimbabwe. I do not think
they acted rationally in this case."

Mapfumo continued, "They seem to be lacking enough background into the
Zimbabwean crisis at all or they simply do not care.

"They should have approached the matter from the clear fact that the MDC won
the elections in March and, in its magnanimity, leaned over backwards to
accepted the loser as President. Why do they think the MDC deserves less?"

Ray Nzou, a worker with a Harare public relations consultancy accused SADC
of being too conservative and being "trapped in the old nationalist politics
where dictators protect each other".

"What SADC has done is they have pushed democracy 30 to 50 years back," he
said. "They have shown that they have no latitude to solve the Zimbabwean

"This issue is not a matter of trying to help the MDC or Zanu-PF. There is a
lot they could have done to help the situation. The two parties by
themselves cannot resolve the situation.

"The parties are too set in their ways. They are like gladiators. They need
outside help in this situation and throwing them back in order to spar
against each other is not resolving the problem at all."

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Mugabe finds a new way of dividing MDC

Robert Mugabe has ordered his rival Morgan Tsvangirai to urgently submit a
list of ministers from his party so that he can scrutinize and scrap those
he deems unfit for the post.

Tuesday 11 November 2008, by Bruce Sibanda

Sources who attended the weekend SADC South Africa summit say when it was
clear that Tsvangirai would not give in to pressure Mugabe ordered him to
submit names for ministers from his party.

Mugabe took the move when it was clear that nothing would be achieved at the
meeting. No SADC leader objected to it. Whether he will respond positively
or not only time will tell," he said.

Sources say Mugabe already has his preferred list of the MDC. The plan is,
if Tsvangirai refuses to submit his list, he would go ahead and publish the
fake list. " The idea is to cause division within MDC. Those on Mugabe list
would be expected to rebel against Tsvangirai if he says he did not select
them. So its a divide and rule thing"

Zimbabwe's parliament is due to meet on Tuesday and a constitutional
amendment - which has yet to be formally put on the agenda - needs to be
rushed through to create the prime ministership that Tsvangirai has been
allocated under the deal.

The final communiqué said it was imperative that a new Government be put in
place pursuant to the September 15, 2008 agreement that paved the way for
the creation of an administration headed by President Mugabe with MDC-T and
MDC filling several Cabinet portfolios.

Bone of contention

The summit also endorsed the earlier position of the Sadc Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security calling for co-management of the contentious Ministry
of Home Affairs by Zanu-PF and MDC-T.

MDC-T had demanded sole control of the ministry with Zanu-PF insisting the
portfolio should be shared for national security reasons.

Insiders close to the proceedings in Sunday's meetings said Sadc leaders had
at the end of the day been left convinced that co-managing Home Affairs
"presented the best possible way for the agreement to move forward".

But MDC says it would not be bullied by Mugabe. "This issue of submitting
names is foolish. its a government of national unity, so he Mugabe must also
submit his party's names to us for vetting"

"Our position as of now is that a false settlement is riskier than no
settlement," said Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Party leaders plan to meet on Friday to consider the future of the
power-sharing deal signed nearly two months ago, after a summit failed to
broker a compromise.

"The purpose of the meeting is to deliberate on the SADC summit and the
future of the dialogue process following the outcome of the summit ... We
are getting the entire party leadership to reflect on this to sculpt a way
forward ... Zanu-PF is on the war path. Now we have rejected the carrot, the
next thing will be a very, very huge stick." He said.

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Region shocked by SADC ruling on Zimbabwe

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 November 2008

Politics analysts, activists and the media in the Southern African region
have reacted with shock and outrage to the SADC ruling that says the MDC
must co-share the Home Affairs Ministry with ZANU PF.

Isaac Dziya, a political analyst, said the SADC ruling was a travesty of
justice for Zimbabweans and makes the region a laughing stock of the world.
He said the notion that the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai should be satisfied
with 'sharing' the Home Affairs Ministry, while Mugabe controls the security
forces, is preposterous.

'You just wonder to yourself if these heads of state have access to
television, the internet or newspapers or they've missed the bloodshed,
which has been ongoing for the last eight years under Robert Mugabe,' Dziya

Eli Jikelele, writing a commentary in the South African Mail and Guardian,
said he hoped that Tsvangirai has the strength to call Kgalema Motlanthe's
bluff - he is the chair of SADC in his role of President of South Africa.

'Zimbabwe is already down the tubes and the MDC will have no card left to
play if they acquiesce to Motlanthe and the other 'heads' of the SADC to
share the Home Affairs portfolio. The MDC should simply put its foot down
and threaten to withdraw from the 'unity' government unless their demands
are met to be the sole controllers of this important ministry. If they fail
to do this, the MDC will continue to be hounded and arrested by the police
and corrupt security services of Mad Bob (Mugabe),' Jikelele said.

MDC MP for Makoni Central, John Nyamande, told us sharing the portfolio will
only mean that Mugabe will exercise full control of the ministry and when
things go wrong, he will apportion at least half of the blame on the MDC.

Nyamande described the SADC ruling as shocking and that it had left him
shattered to think that the regional bloc would allow Mugabe to continue to
dictate terms, when the MDC was the victor in the March elections.

Wellington Chibebe, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, accused the SADC leadership of adopting dictatorial tendencies by
ordering co-sharing of the Home Affairs ministry.

In a statement Chibebe said the regional leaders have shown they are an 'Old
Boys' association that stands by any leader in office and ignores the

'SADC has no authority in imposing its SADC cabinet on Zimbabwe as the whole
process, though flawed, was all about negotiations. It would seem the region
is failing to understand the problem of the people of Zimbabwe,' Chibebe

He added the bait being dangled by SADC, if swallowed, would be unfortunate
for the majority of Zimbabweans as this arrangement 'does not and will never
reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe.'

The Congress of South African Trade Unions issued a statement fully
supporting the ZCTU. They said that SADC leaders had failed to find a
settlement that reflected the democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe, as
reflected in the results of the 29 March elections. The COSATU statement
added that SADC was 'trying to maintain a defeated dictator in power in
defiance of the popular will'. They also said that they stand ready to act
in solidarity with Zimbabweans struggle for democracy and human rights.

Political commentator Liberty Mpakati added his anger to the growing
disillusionment against the SADC leaders, describing them as a 'bunch of
thugs.' He pointed out it was clear that nobody in region, with the
exception of Botswana, can be relied upon to stand by the MDC cause.

'Whatever decision the MDC makes now, its going to be fundamental. There is
hope they will dig in their heels and not cave in to SADC and Mugabe if they
want to save Zimbabwe,' Mpakati said.

Another analyst, Glen Mpani, said SADC's mandate on Sunday had been simple.
They needed to deal with the impasse between the parties regarding the
allocation of cabinet posts in a manner that would not only break the
deadlock but would achieve sufficient universal acceptance to restore
investment. Mpani said the leaders needed to be reminded that Tsvangirai and
the MDC won the election in the first place.

While Tsvangirai rejected the SADC ruling outright, Arthur Mutambara, leader
of the breakaway MDC faction said: "We went to SADC for a ruling. We didn't
want a situation where the ministry would be co-shared, but integrity says
we can't go against 15 heads of state. We must respect the decision taken by
the SADC as a matter of principle'.

He told journalists it would be 'unstrategic' to go to war with 15 heads of
state but dismissed speculation that he would join Mugabe in forming a
government that excluded Tsvangirai.
The state media reported on Tuesday that Mugabe looked set to push ahead
with forming a new government, now that 'SADC had given him the mandate.'
Mugabe told the Herald a new government would be put in place 'maybe this
week, maybe next week, but as soon as possible.' Meanwhile the mouthpiece of
the regime unleashed yet another round of attack on Tsvangirai, advising
Mugabe that it was time to stop 'indulging' the MDC leader.
The Herald also accused Tsvangirai of delaying the power-sharing agreement,
and called on Mugabe to say 'enough is enough'.

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Arrests and beatings during NCA protests

By Violet Gonda
11 November 2008

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) held a series of demonstrations
across the country on Tuesday. NCA chairperson Dr. Lovemore Madhuku, was
briefly detained for about four hours on Tuesday morning, preventing him
from leading a demonstration. Scores of protestors were also arrested as
police used force to break up demos that took place in Zimbabwe's five major

NCA spokesperson Madock Chiwasa said the protests in Masvingo were peaceful
but at least 25 people were arrested in Gweru, Bulawayo and Mutare. A
further 11 were arrested in Harare. Chivasa said 32 people were receiving
treatment at the Avenues Clinic in Harare, after being beaten.

On Monday Dr. Madhuku told SW Radio Africa that the pressure group was
embarking on a series of demonstrations, starting Tuesday, as part of their
civic initiative to focus the nation on pushing for a transitional
government to address the hunger and calling for fresh elections under a new
constitution.  But as usual police used brutal force to break up the
peaceful protestors.

Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that in Bulawayo the protestors
were mainly youths, who had gathered at a local bank where people were
queuing for cash. Some of the youths then marched towards the government
building but were violently dispersed by riot police. Saungweme said, "Six
youths were arrested. Save for two youths, it has been difficult to
establish their identity because they are not being detained at Central, as
is normally the case. They are being kept at a secret place. They were
arrested at Mhlahlandlela government complex."

The two identified youths are Bulawayo Poly-Tech Secretary General Desire
Siyanata and NCA activist Dominick Shumba.

Meanwhile there were serious running battles between the police and the
protesters in Harare. Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said business ground
to a halt along Nelson Mandela Avenue during the half hour demonstration,
resulting in most Chinese and Nigerian shops closing temporarily. People
conducting their normal businesses in town, especially those stuck in queues
for cash, were caught in the middle as the protesters tried to hide in the
bank queues. Violence erupted when police descended on the NCA activists who
retaliated by throwing stones. Muchemwa said several cars, including a
police vehicle, were damaged. Our correspondent said he saw six protesters
bundled into a police car and beaten thoroughly.

The NCA said Mutare registered the biggest turnout as the activists managed
to convince people in bank queues to join in the protests.

The NCA spokesperson said: "Our strategy now is to mobilise people, because
we can't sit back and continue to pretend that the situation is normal when
people are dying."

The pressure group warns that it will be on the streets every Tuesday and is
calling on the people of Zimbabwe to join in the protest marches.

Chivasa said: "We want to have a new order where we actually have leaders
that are accountable and leaders who actually come from elections not from

The pressure group says if the interparty dialogue has failed and political
leaders have failed to agree, then they are demanding the facilitation of a
new constitution that will pave the way for proper elections.

The brutal action of the police comes as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights issued a report saying state sponsored violence is on the increase.
The rights body said more than 1,300 cases of political violence were
recorded in September alone, an increase of 39 percent from August.

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African Union under pressure after SADC intervention failure

By Alex Bell
11 November 2008

The African Union (AU) will now find itself under growing pressure after its
sister body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), this weekend
once again failed to break the impasse between Zimbabwe's political rivals.

SADC's attempt at resolving the deadlock on the allocation of cabinet
ministries in Zimbabwe was, unsurprisingly, biased in Robert Mugabe's
favour, and the bloc again proved it has little concern for the rights and
the will of the people of Zimbabwe. A mere handful of regional leaders
arrived for the weekend's crucial summit in South Africa, and instead of
pressuring Mugabe as was hoped, the group again made recommendations
blatantly in the dictator's favour.

With the deadlock still firmly imposed, and with millions of people facing
death as a result of starvation in Zimbabwe, it is the AU that will be
expected to do what SADC has proved incapable of doing - pressuring Mugabe
to concede power to the rightful winner of this year's presidential

The Forum for the Participation of NGOs in Zimbabwe, has resolved to
pressure the AU as the guarantor of the political agreement signed in
September, "to ensure the immediate and conclusive implementation of the
agreement."  The Forum also said, after a weekend meeting of the AU
Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, that the African Union needs to
press Zanu PF to stop all human rights abuses.

Human rights activist, Tabani Moyo explained on Tuesday that this kind of
pressure needs to build on the AU, because of the body's tendency to ignore
the human rights violations clearly evident in Zimbabwe. "It is their
responsibility to make amends for gross violations that have been committed
and are still committed, because they oversaw the signing of the agreement,"
Moyo said. But he questioned whether the AU will have any power to pressure
Mugabe, and argued that it was critical that a government chosen by the
people of Zimbabwe is formed as soon as possible.

"People need food and medical treatment," Moyo explained. "But until there
is a government, the mechanisms to make this happen cannot be put in place,
and this should be the AU's main concern."

But there is little faith that the AU will have the ability to succeed where
SADC has repeatedly failed. The Zimbabwe Youth Forum on Tuesday lashed out
at SADC, saying the weekend summit "simply endorsed Mugabe's proposal." The
Youth Forum said in a statement the summit proved it is still protecting
Mugabe and likened the AU to SADC, saying both groups "have always
maintained that the elections in Zimbabwe were free and fair." For this
reason, the Youth Forum said that "the AU does not have the capacity to
solve the impasse in this country, since it is just a mere extension of

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Lawyers condemn rising state violence in Zimbabwe

Associated Press

Nov 11, 9:40 AM EST

Associated Press Writer

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- State-sponsored violence is increasing in
Zimbabwe, human rights lawyers said Tuesday, joining other independent
groups in condemning a suggestion from regional African leaders that
President Robert Mugabe retain some control over his police force.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said pro-democracy organizations had
recorded more than 1,300 cases of political violence in September, up 39
percent from the previous month. The cases ranged from property destruction
to rapes and killings.

Zimbabwe's Mugabe and main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed a
power-sharing agreement Sept. 15, but that has yet to lead to a unity
government, partly because of a dispute over who should control the police

At a weekend summit, regional African leaders suggested that Mugabe and
Tsvangirai run the police ministry together. Tsvangirai rejected that
suggestion, raising the possibility that Mugabe could unilaterally name a

The lawyers and other independent Zimbabwean groups meeting Tuesday in
neighboring South Africa blame the police for the recent violence and say
Tsvangirai is right when he insists the opposition have complete control of
the police.

The government denies charges that its security forces and ruling party
militants have attacked the opposition, instead blaming the violence on
Tsvangirai's supporters. Yet independent human rights monitors say the
government is responsible for an overwhelming majority of attacks.

From January to July 2008, 17,600 people in Zimbabwe were affected by
political violence, Irene Petras from the lawyers' group told reporters
Tuesday. Violence peaked during Zimbabwe's disputed March presidential vote
to its discredited June presidential runoff, then eased and is now rising

Gorden Moyo of Bulawayo Agenda, a Zimbabwean civil rights group, called the
ministry-sharing suggestion "devastating," while another activist, Elinor
Sisulu, said it was a recipe "for conflict and paralysis."

Without a government - whether multiparty or unilateral - Zimbabweans are
without leadership as their economy collapses. Zimbabwe's inflation rate is
the highest in the world. Hospitals and schools have closed because there's
no money to pay doctors and teachers, and food and other essential goods are
desperately scarce.

The U.N. World Food Program said Tuesday that without extra donations, it
will run out of food in January - just when it says the number of
Zimbabweans needing food aid will rise to 5 million, or nearly half the

Already, the WFP has reduced rations for hungry Zimbabweans because of the
funding shortage - cutting the monthly amount of corn from 12 to 10
kilograms (26 to 22 pounds) and the amount of beans by nearly half to 1
kilogram (about 2 pounds).

WFP said it fed 2 million Zimbabweans in October and planned to reach around
4 million in November.

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Zimbabwe dollar crashes to all time low

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 November 2008

The country's currency plunged to a new record low on Monday, trading at an
average Z$28,4 quadrillion to the U.S. dollar and triggering massive price
Analysts said the latest rapid weakening of the currency was being driven by
SADC's ruling on the impasse between ZANU PF and the MDC. A huge demand for
hard currency has also contributed to this massive financial crash.
Prices of basic goods, most of which are now imported, have gone up sharply
since the disputed March 29 election in which Mugabe's ZANU-PF lost its
parliamentary majority for the first time in 28 years.
The hyperinflation is now estimated at over a quintillion percent, although
no one really knows.
Most Zimbabweans are switching to barter and the Zim dollar is virtually
useless. The South African rand and the US dollar are now the most common
forms of currency. For the many who are unable to access forex, this means
they will be unable to survive.
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us recently that purses and
wallets have become redundant; people are now using shopping bags,
suitcases, sacks and other large containers to carry cash. Bank tellers are
hidden from view by huge piles of the increasingly worthless currency.
Nearly all businesses have stopped accepting cheques for payment - creating
an absolute nightmare for everyone, because of the absurd cash withdrawal
limits at the banks.
And because of the SADC ruling, there seems to be no end in sight to the

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'Nobody Tells Me What to Do' - Mugabe

HARARE, November 11 2008 - President Robert Mugabe says SADC can not
tell him what to do but can only advise him, Radio VOP can reveal.

Mugabe who jetted back into Zimbabwe from South Africa Monday morning
said even SADC could not tell him what to do as he knew what to do. He was
speaking at the Harare International Airport soon after his arrival.

Mugabe said he is more senior than any SADC leader and, therefore,
could not be told what to do but that the SADC leaders could only listen to
the country's problems as told by him and his government officials.

He said the same thing when he left South Africa enroute to Zimbabwe
after talks with the two MDC formations and the SADC Troika.

A visibly angry and tired President Mugabe said he hoped the MDC
formations would accept joint responsibility of the Home Affairs Ministry as

Tsvangirai of the MDC-T had in fact asked for such an arrangement.

Tsvangirai has refused to share the ministry scuttling the talks held
in South Africa.

Mugabe said if the two MDC formations continued to frustrate his
efforts he would simply go ahead and form a Government by himself.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders on Sunday failed
to break the current impasse in Zimbabwe's political arena. The one-day
meeting was aimed at resolving the political stalemate in Zimbabwe and
finding a solution to the recent outbreak of violence in the DRC.

Regional leaders ruled that the Ministry of Home Affairs must be
co-managed by Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Morgan
Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai however, dismissed the decision as insufficient.

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MDC has very few options

Article By:
Tue, 11 Nov 2008 11:05
Southern African leaders' reluctance to push Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe into a compromise on a unity government has weakened the opposition
under a troubled power-sharing deal, analysts said.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) held more than 12 hours of
closed-door talks on Sunday, but failed to find common ground between Mugabe
and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The two rivals signed a power-sharing deal on 15 September, calling for
84-year-old Mugabe to remain as president, while Tsvangirai becomes prime

But they have failed to agree on key cabinet posts, especially the home
affairs ministry which runs the police.

The summit recommended that the rivals run home affairs jointly - a proposal
that Tsvangirai swiftly rejected, saying he was "shocked and saddened" by
the summit's failure to take a stronger stand.

He accused the 15-nation bloc of lacking "the courage and the decency to
look Mr Mugabe in the eyes and tell him that his position was wrong".

A tacit backing of Mugabe

Despite Tsvangirai's refusal to accept Sadc's proposal, the summit insisted
that the unity government should be formed immediately.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said that amounted to a tacit backing
of Mugabe.

"For Sadc to come up with such a position where they endorse what was
suggested by Zanu-PF... is disappointing," he said.

"What Sadc has done will make people question its capacity to deal with
regional crises."

Sydney Masamvu of the International Crisis Group said the summit had
highlighted the reluctance of African leaders to pressure Mugabe, who is
still considered a liberation hero.

"The bottom line (that the summit demonstrated) was to show the
powerlessness of Sadc in really leaning on Mugabe," he said.

"Mugabe got what he wanted from Sadc. His first prize was to get endorsement
from Sadc to go ahead to form a government and he got it," Masamvu added.

Tsvangirai calls on AU

Tsvangirai has called on the African Union (AU) to help break the impasse,
but analysts said the continental grouping was unlikely to have more
leverage with Mugabe than Sadc.

"The AU is not going to be more powerful and able to resolve something that
Sadc is not able to do," said Dirk Kotze of the University of South Africa.

Mugabe regularly accuses Tsvangirai of acting as a stooge for western
countries, making it politically difficult for him to appeal to the United
Nations to step in.

Some analysts said that Tsvangirai should simply accept the deal as the best
offer he was likely to receive.

"The MDC has very few options, if any. It really has no choice but to
participate under protest, in the larger interest of the nation," said
Eldred Masungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe.

Sadc is deeply divided over Zimbabwe, and only five of bloc's leaders -
including Mugabe - showed for the summit.

A rerun of Zimbabwe's elections

Neighbouring Botswana has called for a rerun of Zimbabwe's elections under
international supervision.

But other Sadc countries like Swaziland - Africa's last absolute monarchy -
don't practice democracy themselves, or have their own political troubles at

Mangongera said Sadc's failure to resolve the crisis would only worsen
Zimbabwe's economic crisis, with inflation last estimated at 231-million
percent and half the population needing emergency food aid.

"The majority of Zimbabweans would suffer because the politicians have
failed to reach an agreement on how to share power," he said.


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ZCTU not surprised by failure of SADC summit

11 November 2008

ZCTU Position on the Outcome of the Extra Ordinary Summit of the SADC Heads
of State and Government

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has not been surprised by the failure
of the SADC Summit to break the impasse between ZANU PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change. This was inevitable because the two will never mix, like
water and oil as the two parties have a totally different agenda.

The ZCTU has previously stated that these so-called talks were as a result
of a flawed process and that only a Transitional Authority needed to be put
in place as Zimbabwe moved towards fresh, free and fair elections. The ZCTU
has been vindicated as the outcome of the talks has not been what most
Zimbabweans had hoped for. We have always stated that it would be foolhardy
for anyone to trust ZANU PF as ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe are not to be

ZANU PF has totally failed the people of Zimbabwe . They have had the 'War
Cabinet' which dismally failed and then came the 'Development Cabinet' that
did nothing during its tenure. The current cabinet that was given a lifeline
by Mugabe through extension of its term has been described as the worst by
none other than Mugabe himself.

The SADC region leadership have shown their dictatorial tendencies by
ordering that the 'inclusive ' government be formed forthwith and that the
Ministry of Home Affairs be co-managed between ZANU PF and the MDC. The SADC
bloc leaders have shown to be an Old Boys association that stands by any
leader in office and ignore the opposition.

SADC has no authority in imposing its 'SADC Cabinet' on Zimbabwe , as the
whole process though flawed, was all about negotiations. It would seem the
region is failing to understand the problem of the people of Zimbabwe and
would try by all means to want to be seen to be doing something. The ZCTU
says no to this sham of an approach.

The bait being dangled by SADC, if swallowed, would be unfortunate for the
majority of Zimbabweans as this 'arrangement' does not and will never
reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe . The will of the people was
reflected by the March 29 2008 elections.

The darkest hour is before dawn but victory is certain.


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Youth Forum attacks SADC

11 November 2008

Youth Forum is greatly disturbed by the outcome of the extra-ordinary SADC
Summit held in South Africa last Sunday. Surely their approach to the
Zimbabwean political stalemate was very casual and poor in accordance with
the Zimbabwean peoples' expectations. The summit simply endorsed Mugabe's
proposal as forwarded by Thabo Mbeki, the dismal mediator.

Knowing very well the importance of the ministry of Home Affairs to this
country considering that it is the one which presides over elections, the
main cause of the political crisis facing the country and the police which
has been at the fore-front of perpetrating human rights abuses which has
further worsened the political crisis in the country.

Obviously such a ministry is not supposed to be in the hands of a vagrant
party which has abused it since assumption of power in 1980 to thwart its
opponents. As evidenced by the Gukurahundi attrocties, the killing and
brutalization of MDC supporters since 200 to mention a few.

Furthermore the regime is in control of defence which is even more powerful.
It boggles the mind as to why the defence ministry cannot as well be shared
if the idea of sharing control of the ministries is feasible.

The summit was openly biased towards Robert Mugabe.Instead of mediating
between the warring parties they simply gave a ruling against Morgan
Tsvangirai.The Summit even refused to address other sticking points such as
sharing provincial governers' posts.

We also feel that the summit was not treated with the seriousness which it
deserves, with only five heads of state present, proving that either they
felt it was not urgent to attend or they were afraid to take Robert Mugabe
head on.

This shows the highest levels of ineffectiveness on the part of SADC.This is
mainly as a result of the liberation war hero mentality held by most of the
African dictators who are members to the stated "paper tiger."

This also shows the consistence of SADC in protecting Mugabe in all his
tyranny since 1980, the body only started recently to accept that there is a
crisis in the country after thousands of people had perished at the hands of
Mugabe regime.

SADC and AU have always maintained that the elections in Zimbabwe were free
and fair whenever they supervised them since 1980.As Youth Forum we feel the
AU does not have the capacity to solve the impasse in this country since it
is just a mere extension of SADC.It considers the past more than the present
just like SADC.According to these bodies if one did not play an active role
in the liberation struggle he/she does not matter.

As a wayfoward the Youth Forum maintains that the solution is not in the
negotiators alone. It is indeed in the generality of the people of Zimbabwe,
particularly the youths. We take this advantage to hail NCA in their street
protests which prevailed today across the country. Youth Forum is also in
the advanced stages of making their voice heard again on the streets by the
beginning of next week.

The regime cannot be allowed to continue buying time at the pace they are
doing it. We insist that all democratic forces should stand up and abandon
the wait and see approach. We also urge MDC to consider coming back to the
trenches since the table has failed to materialize.

Youth Forum Information and Publicity Dept.

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Zanu (PF) media vilifies Tsvangirai, Khama

Tuesday, 11 November 2008 13:07

HARARE - There has been a proliferation of propaganda disinformation
and outright lies put out vilifying the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and President
Khama. It's not unusual although  analysts note a slight change in direction
in their linkages.

Below are 3 classic examples of what I am talking about. The Herald
and Chronicle are following  the same pattern but this morning, their
websites are down and  I presume they are busy loading their trash for the

No doubt the writers of the 3 articles below are not who they say they
are and the contact email on one is likely to be fictitious and certainly
not located in  Jamaica. I trust the media people receiving this mail will
see what is going on here and take them on. The Zimbabwe Guardian
consistently replicates The Herald content and my observation is that this
news site seems to form an integral part of zanupf's propaganda
disinformation network. At the very least, it is hoped that free media
continue hone in on the fact that zanupf have, since Sept 15, continued the
hate and personality assassination campaign against Morgan Tsvangirai. The
last article is a typical example of how they try to create linkages and
subliminal inferences that Morgan Tsvangirai is in the pay of his
Imperialist masters. The problem here is that there are some who are stupid
enough to believe this rubbish - SADC Presidents included.

Another observation - the fact that Mugabe was "allowed" to stay
inside that SADC meeting is quite outrageous. I just wish that the MDC
delegates had stuck to their chairs and stayed too. Who knows what would
have happened if they had.

On another matter, I read a letter posted on
which stated that the new interim South African President was part of the SA
delegation that gave the green light on Zimbabwe's 2002 Presidential
blatantly rigged elections. That says so much and what is totally
frustrating is that no media seem have latched on to this. I have no idea
whether this is a true or not but if it is, "the dishonest broker" syndrome
hasn't gone away and he is the current Chairman of SADC. So media PALEASE do
your homework and get to the bottom of this matter as people really need to
know about this.

With the transfer of power in USA with Obama only taking up his
mandate sometime in January, I believe the USA will be sitting on their
hands during this interim period. This is a great opportunity for Mugabe as
it clears the way to do whatever he wishes, with SADC's blessing. So he'll
waste no time in forming his new government. No doubt we will hear all kinds
of appropriate conciliatory tones emanating from his lips purely for SADC's
benefit. On the other hand I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see another
rapid surge of violence as they attempt to destroy the opposition. There are
clear signs of this already.

I will continue to watch Mutambara closely because, in my view, he and
Ncube are a serious weak link in the whole process. My gut feel is that
Mutambara is cringe-worthy enough to join Mugabe in his new cabinet. Time
will tell.

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MDC 'wasting everyone's time'

Article By:
Tue, 11 Nov 2008 16:15
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe looked set to push ahead with a new
government, as state media on Tuesday lashed opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai for rejecting a regional compromise to share power.

"We call on President Mugabe to say enough is enough, as there is a limit to
the indulgence Tsvangirai can be afforded," the government mouthpiece The
Herald newspaper said.

"The time to form that government is now."

Tsvangirai rejected a proposal by regional leaders at the weekend to
immediately form a government and share the disputed home affairs ministry
with Mugabe, saying the plan was unworkable.

But the 84-year-old president said Monday the proposal would be put in place
"maybe this week, maybe next week, but as soon as possible."

The Herald accused Tsvangirai of delaying the power-sharing agreement signed
in September which leaves Mugabe as president and himself as prime minister.

"Put simply, this man is wasting everyone's time," The Herald said, calling
the former trade union leader a Western stooge.

"Any attempts at an inclusive government will come unstuck as long as the
westerners feel they have not had their way," it said.

Mugabe, who unilaterally handed key ministries to his own ruling Zanu-PF
last month, said he hoped his rival's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
would come on board.

"Sadc has been very persuasive this time around," the Herald quoted the
84-year-old as saying.

"Of course they cannot force any decision on any country and at the end of
the day it is up to us as Zimbabweans to implement the recommendations. All
(Sadc) can do is make recommendations and I hope (the MDC) will come on

With inflation running at more than 231 million percent, half of the
population requires emergency food aid while a breakdown in basic services
has led to deadly outbreaks of cholera in Harare.


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Tears of agony as economic recession bites

 By Stephen Chadenga  Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gweru-Zimbabwe-Shoving, stampeding, yelling, crowding at door entrances and
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). This has become characteristic at banks in
Zimbabwe since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Gideon Gono
increased the daily cash withdrawal limit from 50,000 Zimbabwean dollars to
500,000 dollars for individuals and $1million up from $10,000 for companies
last Wednesday.

But the intervention by the central bank has not brought any relief to the
transacting public. Instead prices have skyrocketed and the new withdrawal
limit can only buy 2kgs of sugar. For 33-year-old Faith Chiseko, the
distress that she faces as she wakes up around 4 a.m. every day to attempt
to withdraw cash at a building society along seventh street, life has become
unbearable. A single parent of two, Faith bursts into tears as she is told
that today there is no cash at the bank.

"I have to take care of my two sons. How does anyone expect me to survive
without cash?" she quizzes as tears cloud her eyes.

Even if the amount cannot buy her much, Faith believes it's her money and
she has every right to get it.

"I know $500,000 is not enough but it's my money and I should not struggle
to get it," she says.

Hordes of other depositors continue to mill around the bank even as they are
told there is no cash. Some of them who spent the night here to beat the
queue just can't believe it. With ashen faces that tell of injured spirits
they ponder the next move for survival. They know the kids are waiting home
for something to eat.

"The pain of not knowing what you are going to eat or whether you will eat
at all is a haunting experience, my brother. Worse still if you have kids.
You can't expect them to understand the situation," says 30-year-old Daniel

Since the withdrawal increase, shortages of cash at banks have become the
order of the day. Despite the central bank's initiative to introduce higher
denomination notes of $100,000, $500,000 and $1 million, nothing positive
has been recorded. Instead the piecemeal measure has witnessed a surge in
the price of everything. Economic analysts contend that holistic macro and
micro economic policies coupled with political reforms are needed to address
Zimbabwe's problems. The central bank boss has, however continuously
insisted on numeral occasions that it will continue printing money until the
economic and political environment stabilises. This has however contributed
to the high inflation, as the move is not supported by production of goods
and growth in the output of services.

The hyperinflation figure as of July is officially pegged at 231 million
percent. The Central Statistical Office (CSO) is yet to release the
September, October and November figures. Independent economic analysts argue
that the CSO figure is unrealistic and that inflation could be running into
several billions if not trillions.

Opposite the building society at a commercial bank, depositors sit on
pavements. It is almost mid-day and they have been promised that cash is on
its way. The blank eyes tell of a people resilient under abnormal
conditions. One wonders why they struggle to withdraw such a meager amount
and even the need to put great effort in accessing one's own cash. But such
is the nature of Zimbabweans. They are soft and non-violent in their

One American Professor at a local university, Professor Buckett once put it
across: "When I first arrived in Zimbabwe and saw people queuing at banks
and at shops for bread, I was really surprised. I have never seen a people
so patient as to endure the queue to withdraw one's own money and buy

Around 4 p.m, a security company truck reverses to the entrance of the
commercial bank. People rush to the door. A security guard fights to control
the commotion. Only a few minutes later the bank manager announces, "As you
can see the money reached here late. We will start serving tomorrow."

The weary and hungry crowd can't have any of it. All sorts of shouts are
directed at the "poor" man. He has no choice but to direct his tellers to
work overtime. They serve up to around 9 p.m. There is temporary relief as
depositors leave for their homes with the $500,000 note. Tomorrow is another
struggle for a meaningless withdrawal limit that might not be available

Even those fortunate to have relatives working in foreign countries who
regularly send them hard currency also feel the pinch. Machines at most
western union agents are almost always down.

"Someone can surely starve to death when money can't be accessed like this.
My aunt in the United Kingdom sent money a week ago and I have been coming
here everyday without any luck," says Tichaona Banda. Old men and women sit
on the pavement. Their drained eyes however express hope that maybe today,
the machines will be working. They have grandchildren back home who are
waiting for food.

Those that are driven to tears like Faith can at least pour their emotions
out. For the majority who put on tough faces, the continuous crying inside
gradually damages their mental health.

Zimbabwe once considered the breadbasket of Africa is currently going
through the worst economic crisis since gaining political independence from
British colonial rule in 1980. Political leaders, 84-year-old Robert Mugabe
of Zanu PF, Morgan Tsvangirai of the main Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and Professor Arthur Mutambara of the Smaller MDC formation signed a
power sharing agreement on September, ostensibly to pave way for the
creation of Government of National Unity. The three protagonists are however
hopelessly deadlocked on how best to share cabinet posts. At press time,
they were meeting in South Africa Sunday, at a Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) summit to resolve the impasse, which many believe can lay
the ground for Zimbabwe's economic and political resuscitation.

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Ndlovu bans coverage of PF-Zapu revival

November 11, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The outgoing Minister of Information has ordered two newspapers in
Bulawayo to stop publishing articles on the conflict that has split the
national ex-combatants association or on the intensifying moves to revive
the now defunct PF-Zapu.

Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu, whose term of office was marred in controversy,
issued the order to the government-controlled Chronicle and Sunday News on
Monday, after almost a week of dogged coverage of what has been the city's
most dramatic story in recent weeks.

The publicity-hogging Ndlovu has personally been a target of castigation by
the former Zipra fighters who are spearheading both the revival of the late
Dr Joshua Nkomo's PF-Zapu and the breakaway from the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA).

"The minister called to tell us that we were giving these people coverage
that they do not deserve," said a journalist at one of the newspapers.

"He was not amused by the fact that the people who are working on the
revival of PF-Zapu and the breakaway of Zipra ex-combatants are, according
to him, working against Zanu-PF yet we are giving them fair, balanced and
significant coverage. So he told us to immediately stop giving them any
coverage. He said if anything they must be given negative coverage."

The former Zipra cadres have dismissed Ndlovu as a coward, who did not fight
in the liberation war, but concentrated his effort on teaching pupils in
refugee camps in Zambia.

Ndlovu enjoys very close links with President Robert Mugabe and is generally
seen as a loyalist.

Last week, during a rally called by former Zipra combatants at White City
Stadium in Bulawayo, Ndlovu was booed and heckled by the former fighters
after he chanted Zanu-PF slogans.

The former fighters had called the meeting and invited Vice-President,
Joseph Msika to hear their grievances first hand.

They accuse the ZNLWVA, their representative organisation, of failing to
champion their rights.  As a result, they say, most former Zipra cadres are
wallowing in abject poverty, while their counterparts who fought under Zanla
are much better off.

Former government minister and ex-Zanu-PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa,
is reportedly the brains behind the two-pronged campaign to revive PF-Zapu
and the break away from the war veterans associations.

The Chronicle last week published two stories which gave the rebels
significant space to express themselves. One of the articles quoted Zanu-PF
provincial chairman for Bulawayo and Dabengwa loyalist, Macloud Tshawe, as
insisting that the White City Stadium, now the subject of a Zanu-PF party
probe, was not an illegal gathering.

The other story quoted a member of the newly formed Zipra Veterans'
Association as saying members of his organisation planned to form a
political party and that there was a "congruence of grievances" between his
body and certain elements in the party's provincial executive.

This week's Sunday News carried a caption story about a follow-up meeting of
former Zipra cadres, which was held at the Zanu-PF provincial headquarters
in Bulawayo on Saturday.  The story pointed out that although he was
expelled from Zanu-PF in February, Dabengwa attended the meeting at the
party offices.

Zanu-PF has responded to the furor by appointing a commission of inquiry to
investigate the circumstances surrounding the convening of the White City
Stadium meeting.

Ndlovu is a member of the probe team together with other Zanu-PF officials,
Eunice Sandi, former Trade and Commerce Minister, Callistus Ndlovu, and
Abednico Nyathi.

Callistus Ndlovu fell from grace in 1989 after he was implicated in the
Willowgate Scandal. He has maintained a low political profile since then.

But war veterans in the city have challenged the composition of the
commission. ZNLWVA chairman for Bulawayo, Themba Ncube is circulating a
statement to that effect.

"The composition of the commission of inquiry leaves a lot of questions.
The commission is composed of people who have a direct interest in the
current political set-ups," said Ncube in the signed statement.

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The Tragedy of Having HIV in Zimbabwe

S. Muchemwa

Having HIV in Zimbabwe, is like receiving a death sentence, as many people
continue to suffer as a result of the bureaucratic nature of the medical
services and administration of Anti- Retroviral drugs, thereby reducing the
life expectancy to lower than 30 years

Getting tested is free but having a T - Cell profile also known as CD4 count
conducted is an uphill task. Hospitals and the OIC (opportunist infectious
clinics) are overwhelmed with very sick people who intend to receive free
ARVs, however that can only be done after their CD4, count has been

With the huge backlog at Parirenyatwa Hospital, HIV / AIDS patients are
being asked to wait for nearly 18 months for their free CD4 count to be
done. On average it takes nearly 2 years for someone in Zimbabwe to get
tested and start receiving ARVs.

At the moment in Harare, there is only one medical laboratory called Medical
Chambers which is still conducting CD4 count at a cost US$ 95 or Z$ 35
million cash per individual. If the CD4 count is lower than 200, one is then
sent for another blood test to determine the toxicity vulnerability of the
liver before they are put on ARVs at a cost US$ 65 or Z$ 25 million cash.

Such charges are too expensive for ordinary Zimbabweans who cannot even
afford a meal per day forcing them to shy away from the testing centres and
rely on natural herbs and Godly intervention.

The sharp increase of TB patients is a cause for concern, such that VTCs
(voluntary testing and counseling centres) have been established at most
infectious hospitals such as Beatrice and Wilkins in Harare. According to
the Ministry of Health, 1 out of 2 TB patients is HIV positive giving rise
to the number of people getting tested on daily basis.

It is unfortunate that most people, who are tested HIV positive through this
exercise, will never get to receive free treatment. It is either they will
fall sick and die before they have even known their CD4 profile or they will
lose heart and rely on other remedies for their ailments.

I personally made a follow-up of an HIV case of a Harare man who was
diagnosed of TB in December 2007. He was put on TB medication mid December
until June 2008.

Jay Jay was asked to go for HIV testing at Wilkins and he as well as his
wife tested positive. His three year old daughter miraculously tested
negative putting her off the hook.

According to Jay Jay he was asked to wait until June 2009 so that he could
have his CD4 count done at one of the state referral hospitals, due to
backlog. However after completing his TB treatment in June this year he
remained sickly and he returned to Wilkins for a review, unfortunately he
was asked to wait for his turn in 2009.

Jay Jay was in and out of hospital from June as he could not start taking
ARVs in the absence of a CD4 count. From his outside appearance his CD4
count, could have gone down to 150 and below forcing him to start buying
Cotrimoxazole from the black market, prolonging his life with only fife

Jay Jay passed on in the early hours of the 11th of November at the age of
35 before he got to know his CD4 count. May Jay Jay's soul rest in peace.

Jay Jay's misery did not end on the day he died because the funeral home
with whom he had a funeral policy refused to conduct the burial because
according to his medical documents he was HIV positive and that he was sick
for a period exceeding six months.

A visit at Glenville Cemetery (Mbudzi) in Harare has shown that the
mortality rate has gone up of late but what is more worrying is that it is
the age group 20 years to 28years which is the most affected.

Jay Jay's scenario is just a tip of an iceberg as Zimbabweans continue to
succumb to the deadly epidemic that has since been tamed in poor neighboring
countries such as Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

Jay Jay might not have died if he had been taken for CD4 count early just to
let him start the ARV medication in time.

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Lewis reaches out to women raped for supporting Zimbabwe's opposition

From The Globe and Mail (Canada), 10 November

Stephanie Nolen

Gaborone - Former United Nations ambassador Stephen Lewis is spearheading an
effort to bring to justice perpetrators of politically motivated sexual
violence in Zimbabwe, a powerful addition to existing attempts to hold
Robert Mugabe's regime accountable for gross human-rights violations.
AIDS-Free World, an advocacy group founded last year by Mr. Lewis, is
quietly collecting the testimony of women who survived gang rapes by leaders
in Mr. Mugabe's Zanu PF party, after the Zimbabwean President lost the first
round of presidential elections in March. Over the past week, international
human-rights lawyers enlisted by Mr. Lewis collected sworn affidavits from
eight women, all of them supporters or organizers for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change who were raped and brutally beaten after
elections this past spring. Each of the women described how her attackers,
who openly identified themselves with Mr. Mugabe's Zanu PF party, made clear
that she was to be the victim of a systematic policy of punishment because
she dared to challenge Mr. Mugabe's rule.

The stories the women tell are harrowing. "When they were finished with me,
I could no longer stand," said Carol, 39, an MDC supporter from the
southwest of Zimbabwe. (The identities of the women have been confirmed by
The Globe and Mail but pseudonyms have been used here for their protection.)
The Zanu militia men who had detained her made her crawl on her belly to the
bored bureaucrat holding a list and sitting nearby, and tick off her name to
acknowledge that she had had her punishment. "Mine was the fourth name on
the list for that day." Her name crossed off, they moved on. This is not the
first effort to collect evidence of crimes against humanity committed by the
Mugabe regime: Several Zimbabwean human-rights organizations are also
working to gather and preserve evidence of state-sponsored human-rights
abuses, which have typified the recent years of Mr. Mugabe's rule but
exploded after the Zimbabwean leader lost the first round of the
presidential election to the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai, the first open
challenge to his authority in 28 years. But Mr. Lewis's organization has
some advantages. The AIDS-Free World team, which is US-based, can operate
much more freely than Zimbabwean lawyers and activists. Plus they have,
through Mr. Lewis's long years as a politician and diplomat, access to
resources and to influential people. The lawyers involved are experts in the
field, some of whom have prosecuted war crimes and are donating their time.

"We're in a position to collect durable sworn affidavits that would hold up
in any proceeding, so that if we end up somewhere like the International
Criminal Court, a defence lawyer will not be able to throw it out," Mr.
Lewis said in a telephone interview from Canada. "The affidavits bear out
that these attacks were directed at the political opposition in a very
methodical way - the women chosen were chosen because they were part of the
political opposition and the links made to Zanu PF are unassailable." Long
concerned about the implosion of Zimbabwe, Mr. Lewis, the former UN special
envoy for AIDS in Africa, was horrified to learn last summer from Betty
Makoni, a firebrand Zimbabwean human-rights activist with whom he has worked
on AIDS issues, about the systematic campaign of gang rape that accompanied
the first election and the runoff vote in late June. Mr. Lewis and his
co-director and long-time colleague Paula Donovan were soon making calls to
try to figure out what they could do - to help victims, but equally
important, to try to end the gross impunity with which Mr. Mugabe and Zanu
PF have operated.

Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal in September but
Mr. Mugabe has refused to relinquish any control of the state. A third of
Zimbabweans now face famine, and inflation has spiralled into the billions
per cent. The two leaders left another round of power-sharing talks in
Johannesburg this weekend without a workable agreement. AIDS-Free World
works with women's groups in Zimbabwe to identify rape survivors who would
take the risky step of giving testimony, and in some cases has helped get
them across borders to do so. The group finds doctors to provide them
medical care - many of the women still have unhealed wounds five months
later, since Zimbabwe's medical system has entirely ceased to function, and
all need HIV tests - and also brings the lawyers who record the testimonies.
A first group of nine women produced affidavits in September with the help
of pro bono lawyers from the Toronto firm Blakes; eight more gave their
testimony this week. Shonali Shome, an AIDS-Free World lawyer collecting the
evidence, said it is "chilling." "We're hearing the same thing over and
over, we're seeing the same patterns in different parts of Zimbabwe: the
women tell us about the same words coming out of the perpetrators mouths,"
she said. "The language that's used, the pattern of how they were abducted,
it speaks to a hierarchical level of command." It shows the rapes were both
systematic and widespread (Ms. Makoni said she knows of 700 cases), the two
criteria for crimes against humanity, Ms. Shome said. Carol, for example,
said she was told repeatedly by the Zanu PF leader who raped her: "You
deserve this, this is your punishment for daring to support the MDC. We have
a list and everyone on it like you will get a punishment."

The AIDS-Free World team is also researching the best route for a
prosecution: Zimbabwe has crimes-against-humanity legislation, but its
judicial system has been entirely hijacked by the Mugabe regime. The next
choice, Ms. Shome said, is prosecution in a neighbouring state, all of which
are signatories to the Rome Statute that says crimes against humanity can be
prosecuted in another nation when a state cannot or will not take action
domestically. Mr. Lewis and his colleagues are also considering bodies such
as the African Court (the judicial wing of the African Union) or the AU's
human-rights commission (although this would not be a criminal prosecution).
A final option is the International Criminal Court, although this is
unlikely for political reasons. The women who gathered to give testimony
this past week are adamant that they want their individual attackers
prosecuted - most can name at least some of those who raped and beat them -
but also wish to see senior people in the Zanu PF leadership, starting with
Mr. Mugabe, held accountable. The challenge in such a prosecution, Ms.
Donovan acknowledged, is how to prove that the rapes and beatings were not
criminal acts, carried out by individuals or rogue Zanu PF members, but
rather part of an orchestrated campaign for which responsibility originated
with Mr. Mugabe and a handful of his close advisers.

Yet this may not be impossible to prove: many organizations such as Human
Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented the state-sponsored
nature of the electoral violence. Mr. Mugabe, in campaign speeches, spoke
bluntly about what punishment would await those who challenged his right to
rule. And most of the women who have given affidavits repeatedly reported
their attacks to the police, as have hundreds of others, but not a single
election-related rape has been investigated or prosecuted, which suggests
state sanction. Ms. Donovan said the affidavits will serve a function
besides prosecution. AIDS-Free World will use them to remind the world "that
Zimbabwe is on the verge of being a failed state and the world is not
intervening." "We are exposing the fact that this is a terrorist state and
the government is a terrorist regime and the entire country is either living
in a culture of complete impunity or a culture of complete terror. We are
not just going to take these affidavits and lock them up somewhere."

The collection of the evidence has also had a second, unintended
consequence: The women have found a great cathartic comfort in being
together, Ms. Makoni said. The first group began the week so traumatized
that they were terrified to leave the room to go to the toilet themselves;
none could speak more than a few words of her story without breaking down;
most had not slept for more than two hours at a time since the rape. Five
days later, she said, the women were talking freely, articulating great
anger at their attackers, and had banded together to form the Zimbabwe Rape
Survivors' Network. "I knew this was coming," said Rose, 51, whose was
gang-raped and then had to watch her young daughter suffer the same assault.
"I knew joining the MDC and working for the opposition could be my death
sentence." Rose furiously blinked back tears when she spoke - but like the
other women, she is also angry, ferociously, inspiringly angry. They
demanded, as a group, to know why the world stands by and lets Mr. Mugabe
continue his rule unchecked. "People have been tortured and maimed," said
Shirley, who was stripped in public and raped by eight Zanu PF militia
members. "You are beaten but the hospital can't help, they have nothing. So
what does the United Nations want to see? What do they need to see before
they intervene in the Zimbabwe situation?"

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SADC's Zimbabwe insanity

Michael Trapido

Is it any wonder that the Southern African Development Community
continuously fails to achieve closure on the issues that affect the region?
Zimbabwe is just the latest in their long line of failures to act with
anything like the courage, vision and resolve required to bring solutions to
problem areas.

Indeed if it were left up to me I would make the delegates to Sunday's
summit personally foot the bill for this conference and the damages that
their ineptitude will undoubtedly occasion.

On Sunday their mandate was simple - deal with the deadlock between the
parties regarding the allocation of cabinet posts in Zimbabwe in a manner
that would not only break the deadlock but would achieve sufficient
universal acceptance to restore investment. The impasse arising from a power
sharing deal most generously accepted by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC who
had won the election in the first place.

The power sharing deal had been accepted on the basis that Mugabe would
remain president and head the cabinet while Tsvangirai would head the
Council of Ministers as prime minister having de facto control of the
running of the country. In terms of the cabinet the MDC and the MDC splinter
party would control 16 ministries to the Zanu-PF 15.

Crucial to this and to avoid repeating the bloodshed we have witnessed for
many years now, is the portfolio for Home Affairs going to the MDC because
within that ministry is control over the police. In addition Finance also
had to fall to the MDC if the international community was to recognise the
potential of the arrangement and reinvest.

This is basic Zimbabwe Power-Sharing 101.

The SADC on Sunday thereupon resolved to try to force the MDC to accept
sharing Home Affairs with the Zanu-PF. This suggests that either the
delegates don't have access to television, the internet or newspapers or
they've missed the bloodshed, which has been ongoing for the last eight

Whose brilliant idea was it to give Mugabe and the Zanu-PF another crack at
their population? Worse yet, wasn't there even one delegation with the
courage or wisdom to work out that firstly it would not be acceptable to
Tsvangirai or the international community and secondly that the very thing
that power-sharing would achieve ie Mugabe and Zanu-PF's ability to
brutalise the population being removed, was being handed back to them by the
same geniuses in the SADC who have been forking out billions to look after
his exiles' desperate to escape this brutal regime?

The head of the South African delegation must go into Alexandra this
afternoon and address the citizens of the township with the truth of what
this SADC meeting achieved. Along the lines of:

"Citizens of Alexandra, we are acutely aware of the fact that you cannot get
housing because you are swamped with Zimbabwean exiles, your jobs are also
being taken by them because they are cheaper and don't belong to unions and
that our ability to deliver on services is going to be hugely retarded as a
result of the billions upon billions we are spending to care for Mugabe and
Zanu-PF's exiles in order that they continue to live an elite lifestyle.
However I'm sure that you are all happy that this be allowed to continue
because we know that you believe it is far more important not to upset
Mugabe than it is to look after our country, its people and restore our

If the speaker survives Russian Township Roulette then the next member of
our delegation goes to the next township and repeats the exercise. Don't
worry about being the second guy, the first genius will never make it out of
Alexandra and our geniuses will finally get the message.

Right there in our dealings with Zimbabwe is the primary cause of the
xenophobia that arose in this country. Not the conduct of our masses and the
Zimbabwean exiles but the whole policy on Zimbabwe adopted by the government
and exacerbated by an SADC that is more dangerous to the region than a
vacuum of regional leadership would be.

That is the truth; all I would like to know is when do our delegates begin
their "Tour de Confession".

Better still, I'd like to hear how the SADC proposes restoring Zimbabwe and
protecting the five million on the brink of starvation, while Zanu-PF
continues to steal everything of value in that country and every facet of
their society is being destroyed. Particularly now that the international
community has expressed its disappointment with the SADC's "solution".

South Africans need to know who is paying for that summit because I trust
that the delegates will have the decency to spare us and go Dutch on that

Better yet, let the idiots go live in Holland where they can do less damage
to the region!

This entry was posted on Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 11:02 am

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Arch Bishop of York, the strong critic of Mugabe to meet Zimbabweans

Zimbabweans are shocked and Saddened by the failure of Southern African leaders to resolve the Zimbabwean catastrophe, Zimbabweans world over search for hope in the strong voices of conscience that are prepared to identify with their pain and suffering.

As millions of people in Zimbabwe sink deeper into the callous, brutal and horrific man made death trap, they  mainly find hope and encouragement in the goodwill and determined voices of conscience from those who speak without fear.

In the Words of The Arch Bishop of York,  Dr Sentamu

“People from Britain have a proud record of making a difference in the lives of people around the world. Whether it be the anti-apartheid movement, the ending of Ian Smith's UDI, the Jubilee Debt Campaign or countless other campaigns...

This is not a party political venture. It is not pro-MDC or anti-Zanu PF. Rather it is for the people of Zimbabwe, black and white, being helped by those here in Britain, white and black. We need to remember there is only one race – the human race – and in joining together to restore Zimbabwe, we ease the sufferings of our brothers and sisters."

Encouraged by the hospitality of the people of Britain and their strong their strong determination to fight injustice, the Zimbabwe Community in Leeds working together with all Zimbabweans and Africans exiled in the UK are organising a public meeting this Thursday 13 November. The Public Meeting Will be at Little London Community Hall, Oatland Road at 3pm.

The invited Guest and Main Speaker will be The Arch Bishop of York , Dr John Sentamu

The Public Meeting has been organized with the realization that with the continuing deadlock in the power sharing talks, the brutality of Robert Mugabe will intensify, the threats to all freedoms will persist and the scale of killing will no doubt reach genocide levels. The world needs to Speak out and come together to save the people of Zimbabwe from genocide.

 Zimbabweans, fellow Africans, Friends of Zimbabwe and all those who believe in challenging all forms of oppression and injustice are invited.

Do not miss this momentous opportunity to meet the respected and renown critic of the brutal and oppressive regime of Robert Mugabe.

 Sakile Mtombeni

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SA farmer hearing gets bogged down

    November 11 2008 at 02:31PM

A South African's bid to get government protection for his investments in
Zimbabwe became bogged down in technical argument in the Constitutional
Court on Tuesday.

The State asked for a postponement to file additional papers.

Bothaville farmer Crawford Von Abo has been trying since 2002 to get the
South African government to intervene when his farms in Zimbabwe were taken
away without compensation.

He was at some point arrested for being on one of the farms.

After unsuccessful attempts to take the matter to the Zimbabwean courts, he
approached the South African government for diplomatic assistance.

Earlier this year, the Pretoria High Court found Von Abo had a
constitutional right to protection.

It ordered that a report be produced showing what was being done to rectify
the matter.

The court criticised the State for stringing Von Abo along as he battled to
get his investments and an estimated at about R60-million protected.

On Tuesday, lawyer for the president Patric Mtshaulana said the State wanted
to enter the report into the court record and as it had not been done yet,
asked for a postponement.

Max Hodes, for Von Abo, argued against the postponement.

He said his client had merely come to the Constitutional Court to confirm a
Pretoria High Court order on whether the (former) president was guilty of
conduct inconsistent with the Constitution.

Hodes said the affidavit the president wanted to enter into the record, was
about events after the Pretoria High Court judgment and had nothing to do
with Tuesday's proceedings.

After taking instructions, he said that his client would not object to the
new document going into the record.

Mtshaulana argued that the matter had to be done procedurally and for that
he would need a postponement.

It would also give the judges and the applicant time to properly consider

The court adjourned for lunch, during which time the judges would decide how
to proceed. - Sapa

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AU urged to establish Protocol of Expression

10 November 2008

AU urged to establish Protocol on Freedom of Expression

The African Union (AU) should seriously consider establishing an additional
Protocol to foster greater effect and meaning to the African Charter on
Human and Peoples Rights' article on freedom of expression so as to
forestall the enactment of repressive media and freedom of expression laws
by member states.

In a resolution adopted at the end of the NGOs Forum Participation in the
44th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights in Abuja,
Nigeria on 9 November 2008, delegates noted the existence of repressive
legislation such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) and Broadcasting Service Act (BSA) in Zimbabwe.

In its report to the Forum before the adoption of the resolution, the
special interest group on freedom of expression recommended that the AU
should involve the Commission and civic society organisations in the
drafting of the envisaged protocol adding that a legally binding instrument
in the form of a protocol would instil greater respect for freedom of

The group said the AU should do everything it its power to ensure that the
Commission's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression is given all the
necessary support and means to fulfil her mandate especially where it
relates to receiving information and conducting investigations on violations
of freedom of expression; as well as in initiating dialogue with states to
sensitise them to implement relevant provisions of United Nations and
African Union.

Statutory regulation, restrictive media laws, lack of political will to
respect the rule of law and the existence of dictatorial governments were
cited as the major obstacles to the exercise and enjoyment of freedom of
expression rights in a number of African countries. In its report the group
noted with concern the deteriorating media and freedom of expression
situation in Gambia, Swaziland, Senegal, Niger and Nigeria.

It was noted that in Zimbabwe which did not have a constitutional provision
that explicitly guarantees media freedom, the authorities continued to use
legislation such as AIPPA which imposes statutory media regulation to
harass, arrest, detain and bar journalists from covering important national
events in violation of the Banjul Declaration on the Principles of Freedom
of Expression in Africa which states that self-regulation is the best system
of instilling professionalism in the media.

Below is the full text of the Resolution for the adoption of an Additional
Protocol to the African Charter of the Human and Peoples' Rights on Freedom
of Expression

- Considering that article 66 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Rights allows for the adoption of protocols or particular agreements to
complement the provisions of the charter where necessary;

- Considering that articles 60 and 61 of the African Charter on Human and
Peoples' Rights recognise regional and international instruments relating to
human rights and the African practices which conform to the standards of
international Human and Peoples' rights as important principles of reference
for the application and the interpretation of the African Charter;

- Considering that article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Rights guarantees the freedom of expression;

- Considering that the Declaration of the Principles on Freedom of
Expression in Africa proclaims that the freedom of expression is "a
fundamental right" which includes "the right to receive information and
express opinions";

- Considering the importance of freedom of expression and its direct link
with other fundamental freedoms;

- Considering numerous violations of freedom of expression in Africa;

- Concerned by the growing impunity whose authors benefit from the
violations of the freedom of expression in Africa;

- Considering the restrictive interpretation of Article 9 of the African
Charter on Human and Peoples' rights made by States;

- Convinced that only a legal and binding instrument is likely to guarantee
a better respect of the freedom of expression;

The Forum for the participation of the NGO to the 44th Session of the
African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights

- Ask State parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights to
ratify and adapt to their national laws the most important international and
regional instruments related to freedom of expression;

1. Ensure that Freedom of Expression is a permanent key point for the
examination of the periodic reports submitted by States to the Commission

2. Provide the Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and
Peoples' Rights on Freedom of Expression all the necessary means to
accomplish her mandate particularly to receive information, conduct studies
and investigations, initiate dialogue with states and sensitize them to
implement the United Nations and African Union's provisions as well as
submit reports and recommendations to the Commission

For more information please contact:

The Assistant Programmes Officer

Koliwe Nyoni

Media Institute of Southern Africa- Zimbabwe Chapter

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Africa Commission on Human Rights endorses defence of civil society

MISA-Zimbabwe Communiqué

10 November 2008

ACHPR endorses report on defending civil society

The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) together with
delegates to the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 44th Session of
the ACHPR on 8 November 2008 endorsed the Defending Civil Society report
that focuses on legal barriers facing civil society and the principles that
must be defended against violations by governments.

The 45-page report co-authored by the World Movement for Democracy at the
Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy and the International
Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) is based on extensive research and wide
consultation with NGOs around the world, particularly those working on the
advancement of democracy and human rights.

The launch ceremony in Abuja, Nigeria was co-sponsored by the African
Democracy Forum, World Movement for Democracy and African Centre for
Democracy and Human Rights Studies. Panel discussions on the report focused
on international principles protecting civil society such as:

The right for individuals to form and join civil society organisations
The right of such organisations to function without state interference
The right to free expression
Advocacy -to communicate freely with domestic and international parties
The rights also include the right to seek and secure resources across
borders and the state obligation to protect the rights of NGOs and civil

The report notes the serious threats against civil society through
intensified offensives against democracy. "This ongoing backlash against
democracy has been characterised by a pronounced shift from outright
repression of democracy, human rights and civil society activists and groups
to more subtle governmental efforts to restrict the space in which civil
society organisations - especially democracy assistance groups operate,"
says the report.

Barriers to free civil society work come in the form of imprisonment,
harassment, disappearances and executions of activists and legal and
quasi-legal obstacles. The Interception of Communications Act in Zimbabwe is
cited as among the legal barriers and criminal sanctions affecting free use
of the Internet and web-based communication that has seen human rights
defenders being arrested in countries such Syria, Angola and Russia. Laws
prohibiting or restricting certain categories of funding have similarly been
imposed in Eritrea, Algeria, Egypt, Moldova, Venzuela and Uzbekistan.

The report calls upon international organisations to endorse it and the
principles it identifies; civil society organisations to conduct national
and regional discussions to mobilise support for the reform of legal
frameworks governing them. It further urges democracy assistance
organisations to distribute and promote the report to its partners and

Proposed actions and strategies to increase global response to the
increasingly restrictive environments for civil society organisations
include among others:

Calls on democratic governments and international organisations including
the United Nations financial institutions and appropriate regional
organisations to endorse the report and principles it articulates and to
encourage national governments to adhere to them.
Urge established democracies and international organisations to reaffirm
their commitments to democratic governance, rule of law, respect for human
rights and develop consistent policies based on the principles
Urge established democracies and international organisations to reaffirm
that proposed restrictions on freedom of association are subjected to the
rigorous legal analytical test defined by in Article 22 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and energetically publicise
transgressions, particularly on the part of ICCPR signatories.
Organise discussions and hearings in parliaments, congresses and national
assemblies to raise lawmakers' awareness of the issues and principles.
Monitor the degree to which the principles in the report are being applied
in bilateral and multilateral relations.
The report is available in several languages online at

For more information please contact:

The Assistant Programmes Officer

Koliwe Nyoni

Media Institute of Southern Africa- Zimbabwe Chapter

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Hwange Elephant Population Destroying Ecosystem

HWANGE, November 11 2008 - An environmental catastrophe is unfolding
in the Hwange National Park owing to large elephant numbers.

The 14 000 square kilometre park which has a carrying capacity of 14
000 elephants currently carries more than 100 000 jumbos which are depriving
other smaller animals of food and water.

"Hwange national park is under siege. One can hardly move for a
kilometre without coming across a herd of more than 20 elephants yet ideally
the park is supposed to carry one elephant per square kilometre. The
situation in the park is really worrisome because the normal ecosystem is
failing to cope with the increasing number of elephants," said Milton
Ckever, a Hwange based wild life conservationist in an interview with

Ckever said the elephants have uprooted most of the big trees in the
park depriving other animals of food.

"Even at the few remaining water points in the park - the jumbos are
in control, chasing away the smaller animals," he said.

The situation has been worsened by the national parks authority's
inability to maintain water pumps and supply diesel for the pumps at the
artificial water points. This has driven some of the animals from Hwange
National Park to cross into neighbouring Botswana in search of water.

Botswana television has been showing footage of elephants believed to
be crossing from Zimbabwe dying as they struggle to get to the few water
points in Eastern Botswana, which is also experiencing a dry spell.

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