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ZANU PF, opposition to meet in SA over draft Bill


            by Own Correspondent Thursday 20 November 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition MDC will meet in
South Africa to discuss a draft constitutional amendment that seeks to give
legal effect to a power-sharing agreement between the political rivals, an
opposition official told the media on Thursday.

Edwin Mushoriwa, a spokesman of the smaller faction of the MDC led by
Arthur Mutambara told the press that representatives of the ruling ZANU PF
party and the two opposition formations will attend a meeting next week with
former South African President Thabo Mbeki to discuss the matter.

Mbeki brokered the September 15 power-sharing agreement on behalf of
the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Mushoriwa said: "We got our copy of the draft constitution from the
South African embassy yesterday. All the parties will meet in South Africa
next week for deliberations after studying the documents."

The state-owned Herald newspaper also reported in its Monday edition
that Mbeki had scheduled a meeting of the Zimbabwean political parties to
review the draft Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill.

But it was not clear whether the larger formation of the MDC led by
Morgan Tsvangirai would attend next week's meeting with Mbeki.

The Tsvangirai-led MDC told ZimOnline yesterday that Mugabe's
government had not consulted it when it drafted the Bill, which the
opposition party described as a ZANU PF party document that it would reject.

Sources in the Tsvangirai-led MDC said it would not attend the meeting
with Mbeki.

The amendment Bill that seeks to give legal effect to the
power-sharing accord creates the office and powers of the prime minister and
two deputy prime ministers.

Tsvangirai is set to become prime minister and his deputy in the MDC
Thokozani Khupe and the leader of the other formation of the opposition,
Arthur Mutambara, the two deputy prime ministers.

However, all three political parties - none of which commands absolute
majority in Parliament - need to cooperate and support the Bill in
Parliament for it to become law.

Tsvangirai, Mutambara and President Robert Mugabe agreed to form a
power-sharing government to tackle Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis
only after several weeks of intense negotiations under the mediation of

But the power-sharing accord has since run into problems over the
allocation of Cabinet portfolios, enactment of the constitutional amendment,
distribution of provincial governors' posts, the composition of a proposed
national security council and the appointment of permanent secretaries and

Zimbabweans - grappling with the world's highest inflation 231 million
percent, severe shortages of food and basic commodities - had hoped a
power-sharing government would be quickly established to allow the country
to focus on tackling an economic crisis once described by the World Bank as
the worst in the world outside a war zone.

Meanwhile the Herald, which often reflects official thinking, reported
on Monday that Mugabe's government has told former United Nations
secretary-general Kofi Annan to postpone a planned visit to Zimbabwe.

The paper quoted an unnamed senior government source as having told it
that Harare had told Annan and his group that it was too busy with
power-sharing talks and preparations for the new farming season and that the
former UN chief should postpone the visit to a later date.

Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela's wife,
Graca Machel, members of a group of prominent figures and former statesmen
called The Elders, planned to visit Zimbabwe on Friday to assess the
humanitarian situation. - ZimOnline

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Rogue banks face deregistration, says Gono

      by Wayne Mafaro Friday 21 November 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe central bank chief Gideon Gono on Thursday threatened to
withdraw licenses from banks that he said were engaged in rampant corruption
and indiscipline that was threatening to finish off the battered economy.

Gono, a close confidante of President Robert Mugabe with far wider powers
than the normal central bank chief, also threatened deregistration as
punishment for what he said was the banks' rogue and fraudulent activities
on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

Addressing bankers and journalists in Harare, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) governor accused banks of a variety of offences including honouring
fraudulent cheques worth trillions of dollars.

In future, banks that honoured such cheques would have their trading
licences withdrawn, said Gono who has over the past five years ordered the
closure of at least six banks he accused of irregular trading.

Gono said: "Any bank where bank cheques are fraudulently drawn with effect
from 20 November 2008 will automatically lose its trading licence and the
chief executive charged with criminality.

"In cases where a bank does not report suspicious transactions and the
transactions turn out to be fraudulent or money laundering proceeds, that
bank's entire management and boards of the directors will be deemed unfit
and improper to manage, oversee or preside over any banking institutions
board in Zimbabwe."

The RBZ chief also said the central bank would no longer give unsecured
accommodation to any bank, adding that he would let banks that fail to
secure their accommodation sink.

"The Reserve Bank shall not give unsecured accommodation to any bank coming
for assistance. Any bank that fails to secure its intended accommodation
will be allowed to go under," said Gono moving away from his usual norm of
placing such banks under curatorship.

He ejected FBC bank from the clearing house for failure to fund their
clearing obligations. The ruling ZANU PF party has a major stake in FBC,
including some senior party officials. Gono said that he was aware of the
shareholders of FBC but "this was not time for partisanship".

Gono said the ZSE - that has flourished despite nearly a decade of recession
in Zimbabwe - had become a conduit to transfer ill-gotten wealth and said
the bourse was operating without strict rules to monitor irregular trading

Zimbabwe's rich, many of who are supporters of allies of Mugabe's ZANU PF
party and with easy access to resources, prefer to keep US dollars or buy
shares on the ZSE in order to avoid keeping huge sums of the inflation-hit
Zimbabwe dollar, which loses value faster than any other currency on earth.

Gono accused the ZSE of operating with "no strict rules and regulations that
prohibit rogue behaviour" and said some stockbrokers had, for example, of
failed to settle obligations.

"In line with the stipulations on the ZSE, any stock broking company that
fails to settle its obligations on the stock exchange will be struck off the
ZSE register and will also not be allowed to operate any bank account in
Zimbabwe," he said.

With a huge chunk of Zimbabwe's economy now informalised, keeping rules and
regulations has become a tall order.

Most informal traders simply write their own rules as they sell whatever
they happen to have in stock, ranging from scarce foreign currency to the
latest Mercedes Benz model or birth control pills. - ZimOnline

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'Zimbabweans reluctant to put money in banks'

      by Nokuthula Sibanda Friday 21 November 2008

HARARE - The government's Depositor Protection Board (DPA) on Thursday said
Zimbabweans were fast losing faith in banks with many reluctant to deposit
money for fear they may not be able to withdraw it, as the country's cash
crisis deepens.

Zimbabwe, which has the highest inflation rate in the world at 231 million
percent, has been beset by long queues at banks as consumers seek
banknotes - which are in short supply - to stock up on basic goods.

Hyperinflation and the shortage of banknotes are the most visible signs of a
severe economic crisis blamed on President Robert Mugabe's policies and seen
in shortages food and basic commodities.

DPA chief executive John Chikura told a forum on good corporate governance
in Harare that it was imperative that a solution to the cash crisis was
found urgently and described the situation in the banking sector as

"The situation is now very abnormal and it has rendered banks irrelevant,"
Chikura said. "What is the purpose of having money in the bank that you
cannot access or spend?"

A daily minimum individual cash withdrawal of $500 000 had become grossly
inadequate for personal needs while most traders were demanding payment in
cash, fuel coupons or foreign currency.

Chikura said banks were supposed to bring convenience to the banking public
but what was happening now was the opposite. "People are spending most of
their time in bank queues instead of being productive," he said.

Zimbabweans need huge sums of money running into billions of dollars just to
carry out simple transactions such as buying household groceries. Banknote
shortages that have affected the country since last year are expected to
peak over the Christmas holiday when families traditionally spend more cash.

Chikura said the banking sector and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe could not
on their own end the cash crisis. "It needs collective contribution from the
financial sector and all stakeholders," he said.

Zimbabweans had placed their hope on a power-sharing government between
Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and opposition MDC to help ease the political
situation and allow the country to focus on tackling an economic crisis once
described by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone.

But a September 15 power-sharing accord between the political rivals has
since hit a snag over a variety of reasons including the question of who
should control the most powerful ministerial posts in a unity government. -

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Angry reaction to barring of The Elders

November 20, 2008

“The Elders”, the group that includes Ms. Graca Machel (far left), former USA President Jimmy Carter (third from left) and former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan (third from right).

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE – Zimbabweans have reacted with shock and anger to reports that the government has barred a planned visit this weekend by a group of eminent international personalities led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The high profile visit by Annan and former United States president Jimmy Carter and Ms Graca Machel wife of South African President Nelson Mandela was intended to assess the ‘‘escalating humanitarian crisis’’ situation in the country.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) described government’s conduct as a tragedy while human rights organizations have lamented what they describe as a lost opportunity to help unlock much needed aid to suffering Zimbabweans.

The visit by Annan, Carter and Machel looked imminent Saturday until government advised the team to “postpone” it, according to Thursday’s Herald.

The three belong to a group of former statesmen and prominent personalities known as the Elders.

Government said it could not host the group as it was currently occupied with the ongoing inclusive Government talks and preparations for the summer cropping season.

But political analysts, human rights groups and ordinary Zimbabweans have accused government of trying to save face by preventing the Zimbabwean crisis from coming under the international spotlight.

The Zimbabwean crisis has been blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s populist but disastrous policies.

MDC secretary for foreign affairs Dr Elphas Mukonoweshuro condemned government’s unpopular decision.

“This is tragic,” he said. “ Zimbabwe is currently facing a crisis of catastrophic proportions and desperately needs all kinds of help. I do not see what government is trying to hide when our crisis is a matter of international public record.

“If government fears being exposed for its incompetence, it should know for a fact that it was always going to be difficult that any honest group of people coming to assess the situation in Zimbabwe would not come out with a rosy report.”

Xolani Zitha, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director described the move by government as a selfish and undiplomatic decision.

“This is a selfish and a party oriented move,” he said.

“Government seems to think that it and it alone is capable of relieving Zimbabweans from the economic burden that it has brought upon them.

“It is so unfortunate that at this moment in time, people of international repute who can leverage resources and assistance at an international level are being spanned.

“This will come at a great cost to the suffering masses.”

Jethro Mpofu, a Bulawayo-based political analyst also accused government of trying to hide a national crisis.

“It is so disgusting to find our leaders trying to hide a national crisis as if it’s a family secret,” he said.

“Ordinary Zimbabweans are desperately in need of assistance from the greater world. People are dying in their thousands due to a man made crisis but government chooses to play politics with their plight.”

National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) programmes director Bob Muchabaiwa concurred.

“Government is simply trying to hide its failures,” he said.

“The humanitarian situation in the country is very terrible. Never has there been a time in the history of our country when we have required the assistance of the international community more than now. We will rue this lost opportunity.”

Loveness Chatiza, a Harare resident said government feared exposure for its glaring acts of omission and commission.

“How else would you proffer such lame excuses to prevent such a group of eminent leaders from visiting a country in a crisis such as ours? It is apparent that government can no longer afford to dig us out of this economic hole.

“These are people who have access to donor funds, who can mobilize especially now with the global financial crisis that is being experienced, people are no longer so willing to donate.

“So you need to mobilize for funds in a greater way and you need the influence of eminent persons like Kofi Annan to try and project your calls.”

Primrose Matambanadzo, Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights co-coordinator said government feared being exposed.

“They don’t want to be exposed. They are afraid of the truth being told by people who are credible.

“Once they come here, they will see the crisis and when they go out there, they will say exactly what they found. When you start disputing it, you look foolish.

“Government realizes that the best thing to do is to prevent them from coming here from the onset through all sorts of excuses. This is why they have started to rubbish and discredit the Elders like Desmond Tutu. These people are very, very credible voices.”

“We can’t wait for help any more,” said Matambanadzo. “The situation is so serious that we need help now. It’s really tragic that government would bar such a group of eminent persons from coming to assist us.”

She also accused government of misrepresenting the situation on the ground to save face.

She said government has a history of barring certain people to prevent them from alerting the world on certain things.

She accused government of coming up with excuses such as the alleged breaching diplomatic protocol on the part of the intended visitors to prevent them from assessing the situation on the ground.

“They want people who would give them help but say nothing about what is on the ground or blame them for anything.”

“Government does not want that information to get out. They want to keep on giving the false image internationally that they are in control of the situation, the same way they have been preaching that they are in control of the cholera outbreak,” she said.

She was referring to the cholera outbreak that has his Zimbabwe over the past two months, killing dozens.

It is however not the first time that government has deterred a visit by Annan.

In 2005, President Mugabe blocked the former UN boss from coming to Harare fearing the continued focus on Zimbabwe would put the Zimbabwean crisis on the UN Security Council agenda.

This was after Annan’s special envoy and UN Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka had compiled a damning report about government’s culpability in the destitution of more than 700 000 people left homeless by its widely condemned Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order the same year.

“The humanitarian consequences of Operation Restore Order are enormous,” she wrote in her report. “It will take several years before the people and society as a whole can recover.”
In its 45 page response, government accused the Tanzanian diplomat of using “value-laden and judgemental language, which clearly demonstrated in-built bias” against it.
Government went on to bar international agencies from providing tents or similar forms of temporary shelter to the internally displaced, fearing, the erection of tent camps would expose the scale of humanitarian crisis precipitated by the evictions. People were living in the open.
Government in 2005 also turned away an AU envoy Tom Nyanduga who had visited Harare to assess the effects of Operation Murambatsvina.
In 2006, Zimbabwe also snubbed former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano, who was appointed by the then AU chairman and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, to facilitate a negotiated political settlement in Zimbabwe .

A few years ago the World Food Programme was thrown out after they had done some assessment and shown how serious the situation was.

Zimbabwe has fiercely resisted similar moves to have reports of its alleged human rights violations drafted on the agenda of the AU’s Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Government has repeatedly frustrated efforts by the international aid agencies from assisting rural communities with food saying they are indirectly campaigning for the opposition.

The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has been deteriorating rapidly.

Food has gone scarce on most supermarket shelves.

The only available sources of food are the black market and foreign currency shops.

Prices of almost everything have soared and some goods and services are now pegged in foreign currency.

Millions of Zimbabweans have left the country over the past ten years to live in other countries which have better economies.

An estimated quarter of the population has since left the country and is now living illegally in the Diaspora.

Schools have since shut down due to the shortage of food, teachers, basic sanitation like water.

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Zimbabwean Press Defender Receives CPJ Lifetime Achievement Award

By Jonga Kandemiiri
20 November 2008

The Committee to Protect Journalists is honoring human rights lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa for her work protecting Zimbabwean journalists.

Mtetwa is one of six winners of the New York-based group's 2008
International Press Freedom Award. She is also to receive the organization's
Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement for her work
protecting Zimbabwe's long-besieged press corps.

She will be presented the award next week in New York.

Mtetwa, who won the CPJ International Press Freedom Award in 2005, has
fought for and won acquittals for many journalists arrested under Zimbabwe's
oppressive media laws. She has also provided legal counsel for many victims
of general human rights abuses.

Appearing at the National Press Club in Washington on Thursday, Mtetwa told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that repression of
the Zimbabwean media has continued despite the signing Sept. 15 of a
power-sharing agreement.

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PEN commemorates day of the imprisoned writer

Extract from:
------| IFEX COMMUNIQUÉ VOL 17 NO 45 | 19 NOVEMBER 2008 | ------

The "IFEX Communiqué" is the weekly newsletter of the International Freedom
of Expression eXchange (IFEX), a global network of 81 organisations working
to defend and promote the right to free expression. IFEX is managed by
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.


One afternoon in May, police officers stormed City Hall in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe, where rehearsals were taking place for a play. "The Crocodile of
Zambezi" is about an ageing leader of a fictional African country facing
political and personal crises. The police accused the play of ridiculing
President Robert Mugabe, and said they were sent to "censor or stop any
suspicious performances." And although the crew vowed to end the show after
only having delivered a single performance, the police gave crew members a
severe beating and banned the play altogether.

That Zimbabwean crew has been chosen as one of five stories to mark
International PEN's Day of the Imprisoned Writer on 15 November. PEN urges
you to send a letter on behalf of the actors and the thousands of writers
who have been jailed, harassed or persecuted this year alone because of
their work.

Each year PEN focuses on five cases - one from each world region, each
illustrating a different kind of repression. There is Eynulla Fatullayev, a
journalist from Azerbaijan who is serving an eight-year sentence for his
writings on politics and investigations into the murder of another
journalist in 2005. Tsering Woeser is a woman poet from Tibet whose work is
banned in China. Mohammed Sadiq Kabudvand, a Kurdish journalist based in
Iran, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for advocating Kurdish rights.
Melissa Rocío Patiño Hinostroza is a young poet on trial for charges of
terrorism based on her involvement with a left-wing political organisation
- although she has never used nor advocated violence.

Some PEN centres chose to focus on other cases closer to home to commemorate
the day. In Somalia, for example, PEN organised a day-long symposium in
Mogadishu on 15 November that brought together writers, journalists, human
rights activists, government representatives and others to debate free
expression violations amid the backdrop of a civil war.
Other readings and events were also held across Africa: in Sierra Leone,
Uganda, Malawi, Ghana and Guinea.

Swedish PEN awarded Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho with the Tucholsky Award,
granted to writers who have fought for the right to free expression, while
the Oxfam Novib PEN Freedom of Expression Award will be presented at the
Crossing Borders Festival on 22 November in The Hague to five writers and
journalists who have been jailed or threatened for their writing.

See what happened in your country or region here:

PEN is also commemorating the 39 writers and journalists murdered as a
result of their work since last year's Day of the Imprisoned Writer. In very
few cases have the perpetrators been brought to justice. Mexico, Iraq and
Pakistan remain the countries where to be a writer or journalist is a
dangerous profession.

PEN says it is not too late to send an appeal with copies to your embassy on
behalf of at least one of the highlighted cases. Advice and addresses are
given with each profile, which can be found here:

Christopher Mlalazi and Raisedon Baya, two of the cast members of
"Crocodile", hope that International PEN's efforts will make their case
heard around the world. "We hope that it will also inspire other production
houses and writers all over the world not to take things lying down, just as
we have been inspired by others who have come before us," they said.

'Tis the season - International PEN's Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) is
also asking that you send greetings cards to writers in prison or their
families. For more details of this initiative, email: wipc (@)

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Concerns about Zim maize seed imports

    November 20 2008 at 06:35PM

An agricultural watchdog organisation, Afri Compliance, on Thursday
expressed concern over large quantities of maize seed being imported from
Zimbabwe to South Africa.

Joe Hanekom, managing director of Afri Compliance, said a recent
routine investigation revealed that large quantities of maize seed were
being imported from Zimbabwe to South Africa through the Beitbridge border

"In reality this maize seed was imported into South Africa at
ridiculously low values of R2.70 per kilogram and this makes one wonder
about the legitimacy of these transactions."

Afri Compliance said the possibility that the imports could be maize
seed from a neighbouring country such as Zambia, being transported in
through Zimbabwe, was eliminated because it was determined that the country
of origin was Zimbabwe.

Hanekom said the situation was reported to the South African
authorities and the company would help the investigating team to solve the

The imports were taking place in the midst of one of the most serious
food shortages in decades in Zimbabwe.

As far as Hanekom said he knew there was also a moratorium on exports
of maize seed from Zimbabwe.

"At the same time the minister of agriculture of Zimbabwe, Rugare
Gumbo, recently said that the government was still battling to secure
sufficient maize seed for the 2008 planting season," Hanekom said. -Sapa

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Economic trauma baffles businessmen .. cling to your forex urges Imara, everything else is illusion

Thursday, 20 November 2008
 HARARE - The economic trauma to which those in Zimbabwe have been
subjected is so nerve-wrecking such that even the business community is
being swept by the tide  of money illusion, under the auspices of the
so-called "burning" of foreign currency or purchase of shares on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

According to respected analysts, Imara Asset Management, stock
analysts and economists are eulogising the performance of ZSE in nominal
terms - but without disclosing the performance of the same ZSE in real

"Zimbabweans should not to waste their foreign currency and energy by
pursuing surreal mirages that are packaged in the tantalising nominal
performance of the stock exchange or the huge nominal proceeds from selling
foreign currency using the so called cheque/transfer rate," says Imara

"Neither of these processes are suitable assets upon which those with
currency can hedge the politico-economic uncertainties currently
the country."

Imara advisors explain that the whole transmission mechanism of the
money illusory process begins at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, where one
company is given an order or contract to supply a given number of items,
e.g. ploughs or scotchcarts for the farm mechanisation programme.

That company requests a down payment to enable it to source the goods
or inputs - say Z$100 quadrillion (revalued). RBZ simply transfers the
amount into the company's bank account.

Money has now been created. The company then goes to the parallel
market to look for foreign currency needed to assemble the ordered
mechanisation equipment.

The sellers of foreign currency get a cheque as payment, and then rush
to the stock exchange or unit trusts, to presumably increase their riches
(which are non-existent in real terms).

The stockbrokers will be told to buy any share at any price. The stock
then records (nominal) gains, much to the marvel of the gullible
Now, the performance of any stock exchange (as measured by its index)
determined by the performance of shares trading on that stock

The price of shares of a company may rise if the profitability of that
company has or is expected to increase. (The reverse is also true).
increase in profits will increase the value of the share, and so the
of that share will increase as a reflection of increased value.

Imara says it should be clear to anyone purporting to have done
elementary Economics that what is happening on ZSE is tantamount to a
childish game of cooking sadza using mud by young girls, or moulding cattle
using mud by young boys.

"The so-called bullish trend is simply the upward rationing exercise
meaningless figures, pressurised into the economy. And yet those
will never yield anything tangible let alone being converted to money
anything of value (unless one has tricky ways of accessing cash).

"Money in Zimbabwe has now been reduced to only notes and coins
as evidenced by the refusal by many sellers to accept cheque payments.
in real terms one can burn US dollars or sell shares/unit trusts and
the huge cheque, but all those proceeds are not money  - they are
simply bubbles of thin air, or a tantalising mirage that will never realise
any tangible value."

The experts' advice to those with access to foreign currency is to
cling to
their money and not convert it to Zimbabwe dollars at whatever amount
cheque rate they are offered.

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Chief wants to ban women from politics

By Tichaona Sibanda
20 November 2008

A traditional chief in Manicaland with strong ZANU PF links, has instituted
civil proceedings to ban women from holding political posts in his chiefdom.

So incensed is Chief John Rukweza about the emergence of an influential
female MDC councillor in his area that he wants to ban her and all other
women from political activities.

MDC councillor for ward 27 in Makoni South constituency, Loveness Makaure,
will appear before Chief Rukweza on Friday at his homestead. Apart from the
move to ban her from politics, Makaure also faces allegations of insulting
Robert Mugabe during an MDC rally and leaking names of perpetrators of
violence, during the presidential run-off election.

The MDC MP for the constituency, Pishai Muchauraya, told Newsreel that they
advised Makaure to attend the 'kangaroo court' and defend herself. She will
be accompanied by all other councillors from the district and by party

Commenting on the chief's charges, Muchauraya said; 'Either he's very old or
he's so addicted to ZANU PF principles that he cannot see sense.'

This is not the first time that the chief and the councillor have crossed
swords. In October last year Makaure was summoned to the traditional court
of the chief after being found putting up posters advertising an MDC rally
at a local business center in Makoni East.

Then, Makaure refused to appear before the chief. But this time she is
determined to face him and defend herself. Muchauraya explained why they
decided to let Makaure attend the court.

'Those charges are false and ridiculous. He cannot formulate his own laws to
ban her from holding political positions. The constitution in Zimbabwe
allows both males and females to participate in politics. We know his agenda
but we want to deal with this issue once and for all,' Muchauraya said.

He added; 'Apart from Makaure there are many other women councillors and MPs
from both ZANU PF and the MDC. So he cannot just wake up and decide to pick
on an MDC councillor who's obviously giving him sleepless nights because of
her popularity in the area.'

The influential Makaure has raised the ire of the chief with her work in the
communities in the five constituencies in Makoni district. Four of the five
constituencies are held by the MDC. She raises money for fees in all the
schools, as well as helping to stock clinics with medicines.

Her good work has of course been appreciated by both ZANU PF and MDC
supporters, but angered the chief and Didymus Mutasa, the only ZANU MP in
the district. The kangaroo court on Friday might turn out to be a futile
exercise as traditional chiefs in the country are only allowed to preside
over civil disputes.

Technically the chief has no power to ban Makaure or strip her of her title.
He also cannot preside over the other two allegations as they are considered
states cases.

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The River of Death

How hundreds are dying in the waters of the Limpopo

The English writer Kipling called it the great grey-green greasy Limpopo
River. It flows across Southern Africa, and forms the border between
Zimbabwe and South Africa. And for many sad and desperate Zimbabwean
refugees it has provided a bitter watery grave.

Last week I visited Beitbridge, the border post. I had heard that three
people, trying to cross illegally into the sanctuary of the Republic, had
drowned in the Limpopo. I was shocked to learn that this was not only
unusual, but, as the local police saw it, almost routine.

A Police Superintendent on the South African side of the river told me that
his department was recording 20 such tragedies reported to them a month -
but he believed the true number to be much higher.

"The chief cause appears to be accidental drowning while trying to swim
across," he told me. "Even crossing by vehicle is fraught with danger.
Earlier this year we discovered 18 bodies who had been passengers on a truck
that was swept away.

"We get such cases reported to us by local people who see it happen. But of
course they don't see every incident. Those who lose friends or family as
they all attempt to get across together don't report the deaths to us, for
fear of being arrested. They just press on, desperate to get away from life
in Zimbabwe.

He told me that drowning is not the only cause of death in the the Limpopo..
Crocodiles are another menace, rising out of the dark waters to grab the
unwary. Then there are the huamn crocodiles that have to be faced - by which
I mean those gangs who now specialise in "helping" refugees to cross the

"These criminal traffickers in humankind take large sums on the promise of
seeing people safe into South Africa," said the superintendent. "But sadly
they often rob, rape and beat them, and then throw them back into the river,
where either the crocs get them or they drown and we find them washed up on
the bank."

Horrified by these stories, I checked with an official of the Zimbabwe
Exiles Forum in Johannesburg.

He said: "The current death rate at the Limpopo is, according to the figures
we receive, around 30 people a month. We estimate that more than 200 people
have died while attempting the crossing so far this year."

And now the rains have arrived. Both the power and the depth of the river is
increasing by the day. The Limpopo will surely continue to devour its share
of the poor and desperate Zimbabwean people.

Posted on Thursday, 20 November 2008 at 16:09

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Vehicles withdrawn

GOVERNMENT has withdrawn four vehicles and diesel allocated to Zinwa and
reallocated them to the Civil Protection Unit and Harare City Council after
the water authority allegedly gave cars meant for operations to senior

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had given the cars to Zinwa to enable the water
authority to restore normal water supplies.
The cars were part of the central bank's interventions to assist Zinwa deal
with the cholera outbreak that has hit parts of Harare.
In addition to the cars, Zinwa got 90 000 litres of diesel.
The water authority has, however, been ordered to surrender to Harare City
Council a third of the fuel.
Council will use the diesel for refuse collection.
Uncollected refuse has been partly blamed for the cholera outbreak in
The withdrawal of the cars and fuel followed complaints by stakeholders that
the resources were being misused.
Impeccable sources within Zinwa said the vehicles that were meant for
operations had been allocated to senior management staff at the water
authority's head office instead of being given to engineers and officers in
charge of operations.
The sources also revealed that the authority was told to liaise with the CPU
if they required additional trucks to carry out their mandate.
"The trucks were given to us mainly to help in restoring water supplies to
suburbs that did not have water so as to combat the cholera outbreak, but
management decided to use the cars for their personal purposes," said one
Zinwa chief executive Engineer Albert Muyambo (pictured below) yesterday
confirmed that the vehicles had been withdrawn citing a "small
He did not elaborate saying he was in a meeting and advised this reporter to
call him later.
Several calls to him went unanswered.
The CPU is now co-ordinating the fight against cholera.
RBZ recently provided R8,7 million, $374 quadrillion and 28 single-cab
trucks to breathe life into Zinwa's water processing and distribution
Central bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono urged Zinwa to ensure that the
resources were allocated and deployed in the most productive manner.
He said the 28 single-cab trucks were for logistical support to Zinwa while
the diesel was meant to cushion the authority from fuel shortages.

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Morgan Tsvangirai visited France
PARIS, France, 20 novembre 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ - French
ministry of Foreign Affairs Daily Press Briefing

Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister designate and leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, winner of the legislative elections and the
first round of the presidential elections of March 29, visited France on
November 17-19.

After attending the European Development Days in Strasbourg, Mr.

Tsvangirai went to Paris in the company of Bernard Kouchner. In addition to
his conversations with the foreign minister, he was received by the
secretary-general of the President's office and testified before the Foreign
Affairs Committee of the National Assembly and the Foreign Affairs, Defense
and Armed Forces Committee of the Senate.

In receiving Mr. Tsvangirai, the minister hailed his personal courage, his
determination to see democracy and the rule of law prevail in Zimbabwe, and
his commitment to do everything possible to improve the daily life of
Zimbabweans, who have suffered harshly in the crisis that has affected their
country for years. The minister emphasized the desire of France and the EU
to continue providing humanitarian aid to the people of Zimbabwe.

Mr. Kouchner also reminded him of France's support for negotiations to reach
a compromise reflecting the verdict of the ballot box, that is to say, the
desire for change clearly expressed by the Zimbabwean people on March 29.

SOURCE : France - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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CHRA condemns state harassment of medical staff; expresses solidarity with Doctors and Nurses

20 November 2008


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) expresses its utter disappointment over the insensitivity that was displayed by the state on the 18th of November 2008 when police cracked down on innocent nurses and doctors who were peacefully protesting against the collapse of the public health delivery system. Riot police, armed with teargas and button sticks descended on the disgruntled protesters and also barred some members of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights who were on their way to Beverley Court in the city centre to host a press conference.


The Zimbabwe public health delivery system has virtually collapsed. Most hospitals around the country have been operating below capacity due to the government’s failure to invest in medical staff and to put in place sustainable medical staff retention programs. This has resulted in a crippling brain drain as the medical staff has sought (and still seek) opportunities outside the country. The state hospitals and clinics do not have enough protective clothing and disinfectants which exposes the medical staff to infectious diseases like cholera and tuberculosis. CHRA has received reports that Parirenyatwa Hospital is turning away patients because they cannot be attended to due to staff and drug shortages. Glen Norah and Mabvuku poly clinics have also closed down for the same reasons.


This situation is unfortunate considering the fact that the cholera outbreak that has hit Budiriro and other Harare suburbs demands a sound health system to control it. The health centres that have been mandated to attend to cholera patients, Budiriro Poly Clinic and Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital have been depending mainly on nurse aides. On Sunday the 16th of November, Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital only had the City’s Director of Health, Stanley Mungofa as the only senior member of staff while the other nurse aides who were there had been imported from other health centres. The hospital is also said to be in short supply of disinfectants and protective clothing.


CHRA condemns state repression on medical staff as it only serves to aggravate an already bad situation.  The attitude that is being displayed by the State is reflective of a government that is not at ease with the tenets of democracy, freedom of expression and good governance let alone save the lives of the innocent residents. The Association stands in solidarity with all medical practitioners who have suffered under the brunt of state mismanagement and we appreciate the tremendous efforts being made by the few remaining medical staff that is attending to the cholera victims around the city.


Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

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


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Cholera Guidelines


Staff Health and Cholera


1.   Cholera is extremely contagious.

2.   Be obsessed about washing your hands with soap  and drinking clean water.

3.   Be aware of the symptoms – extremely watery, white diarrhoea.

4.   Curing cholera is very simple: REHYDRATION using Oral rehydration solution, sugar and salt solution immediately.

5.   Failure to observe the rule of rehydration immediately can result in severe dehydration and death. 



·   Cholera is caused by a bacteria.  Not a virus.  The bacteria is called Vibrio cholerae.

·   The main routes of faecal-oral transmission are through:

o  Not washing your hands with soap after the toilet or touching an infected person,

o  consuming contaminated water,

o  and eating contaminated food that is not cooked properly.


·   Once infected, a person can develop the symptoms within hours (but usually 2-3 days).  The symptoms are extremely watery diarrhoea that is white in colour, like the colour of water from cooking rice.

·   However, 80% of people who are infected with the bacteria either do not show any symptoms at all or only get mild normal diarrhoea.

·   Cholera diarrhoea is painless.  There are no cramps or other pain like other types of diarrhoea. 

·   Cholera does not cause blood in the faeces. 

·   There is no fever associated with cholera. 

·   Vomiting is common.

·   Severe cholera can cause you to lose massive volumes of fluids (severe dehydration) in hours, which means that if rehydration does not take place quick enough, severe illness and death can occur.  It is possible to lose from 10 to 20 litres per day.  All of that must be replaced of course.  Such severe dehydration will require medical rehydration using intravenous rehydration.

·   If you think you have the symptoms, go to your nearest health centre. Immediately.  Even if it is 4 o’clock in the morning.

·   Cholera does not cause death.  Severe dehydration causes death.


·   There is no reason at all that anyone should die of cholera, as it is a very easy disease to cure. 

·   Simply it requires consumption of lots of ORS/Sugar and Salt Solution. 

·   Once you think you have the symptoms mentioned above you should begin to consume a lot of ORS/Sugar and Salt Solution. 

·   Sugar and Salt Solution is made as follows 6 teaspoons of sugar, and half a teaspoon of salt in a 750ml container.

·   Go to your nearest health facility.



·   Be obsessed about washing your hands.  After BABY (defecating), after shaking hands with people, after visits to the hospital or Cholera Treatment Centers, etc.  This sounds obvious, but surprisingly we become very lazy at this.

·   Contaminated water is a major cause of getting cholera.  Treatment of water is effective with chlorine or boiling for a minimum of one minute.  If you’re not sure its clean…..DON’T DRINK IT.

·   For the duration of the outbreak do not consume market food that is uncooked or not cooked properly.  This includes foods that have water sprinkled on them.  Fruits that can be peeled such as bananas, oranges, etc are fine but remember to wash your hands with soap before peeling them.

·   Like most diarrhoeal bacterias, you can carry the bacteria for up to several weeks after being infected without being affected.  It is important to always be careful

·   Aquatabs can be used to disinfect water.

When using aquatabs:

  • Put one tablet into 20-25 litres of water and cover the container.
  • Wait for 30 minutes for the tablet to dissolve before drinking the water
  • Never swallow the tablet- it must dissolve in 20-25 litres of water
  • Note: Aquatabs are not for treating diarrhoea. They only disinfect water.


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Misery and stalemate

Nov 20th 2008 | JOHANNESBURG
From The Economist print edition

No good faith, no good future

IT HAS been more than two months since President Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) signed an
agreement to share power. The prospect of the long-standing foes governing
together briefly raised hopes that the lot of ordinary Zimbabweans might at
last become less wretched. But following weeks of bickering, the deal is all
but dead. Mr Mugabe says he will name a new cabinet regardless of the
continuing lack of agreement. The MDC says that it will not participate
unless it gets its fair share of seats.

The main issue is control of the interior ministry, which controls the
police. Mediators have proposed sharing the ministry between the MDC and Mr
Mugabe's ZANU-PF, but the MDC has rejected that. Having won most votes in
March's election the opposition controls a majority in the National Assembly
for the first time since independence. Under the power-sharing deal, Mr
Tsvangirai's party is supposed to control 13 ministries and a small MDC
splinter led by Arthur Mutambara was assigned three. ZANU-PF is allocated
15. Mr Tsvangirai's group insists on getting the interior ministry because
Mr Mugabe's party is to keep the army and intelligence services.

In addition, the composition of the new National Security Council remains
unresolved, and a constitutional amendment needed to create the new job of
prime minister, which is to go to Mr Tsvangirai, has not been approved. Mr
Tsvangirai questions Mr Mugabe's good faith. The opposition, for example,
was not informed when the text of the power-sharing deal was tampered with
between the end of negotiations and the signing ceremony.

South Africa helped the MDC on November 20th by saying that it will withhold
aid for Zimbabwe until a new representative government is in place. It is
the first punitive measure against Mr Mugabe's regime by a regional power to
enforce the power-sharing agreement.

The MDC says it remains committed to the agreement. It has little choice. If
it gives in without winning a fair share of power, it will be part of a
government firmly under the thumb of Mr Mugabe. If it stands its ground, the
deal could unravel completely, condemning Zimbabwe to further collapse. The
UN World Food Programme reckons that 5m people face starvation early next
year. With the public-health system in tatters, cholera is spreading. And
without a political breakthrough, there will be no foreign rescue.

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Zimbabwe: The Deal that Never Was

child picking among trash

A young girl scavenges for food in the town of Chitungwiza, east of Harare. Photo: EPA.

On September 15, 2008, the cellphone networks were so jammed, I couldn't reach any of my friends in Zimbabwe or abroad to share the news that I was covering first hand. What a day in the history of our country! After months of anticipation, the political deal was signed.

Almost everyone I spoke to was joyous and expectant. President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, in power since Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980, had at last agreed to share power with the opposition MDC and its leaders Morgan Tsvangirai.

By international observer accounts, Mugabe lost elections in March. But rather than go quietly into the night, he claimed enough votes through rigging to trigger a runoff. The ensuing campaign was so marred by Zanu-PF violence against the opposition that Tsvangirai pulled out of that race, leaving Mugabe the sole candidate.

The power-sharing deal brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki was signed at the Harare International Conference Centre at the Rainbow Towers Hotel. There was jubilation. Southern African leaders from Tanzania, Swaziland, Botswana, and Zambia gathered for the ceremony. It had taken months of secret negotiations to get the politicians to agree. Young barefoot girls in vibrant blue and orange nhembe (traditional dress) danced, and poets sang praises to the parties, drowning out our voices.


For a moment, along with the other journalists present, I lost myself. We briefly left cameras and notebooks to hug and celebrate. After all, we had suffered with the rest of the population since the economic and political decline began a decade ago.

As I boarded a bus home, I took in the excited chatter. I heard whispers that the following day we would see the return of bread on empty supermarket shelves. There was a level of optimism I have not experienced in 10 years.

People on the street spoke freely for the first time of Tsvangirai, referring to him as Prime Minister -- a position promised to him as part of the deal to be enforced by a constitutional amendment.

That evening, as I boarded a bus home, I took in the excited chatter. I heard whispers among passengers that the following day we would see the return of bread on empty supermarket shelves. There was a level of optimism I have not experienced in 10 years.

Two young women, probably in their 30s, chatted about their husbands, now illegal immigrants in neighboring Botswana, coming home to them now that the political problems were solved. I too had thought of emigrating several times but was glad I had hung on. It all seemed worth the hard wait we had endured, and I had stayed on to tell our story.

I watched with quiet glee as people jeered and told off a policeman on the bus. An elderly man shouted to him: "Zvekuonererwa na Mugabe zvapera. Matova mapurisa aTsvangirai." ("All that cruelty you performed in Mugabe's name is over for you. You are now Tsvangirai's forces.")

Another young man shouted that the policeman must now pay the bus fare, a break from the unwritten law in Zimbabwe that police and army members travel for free. Other passengers broke into laughter.

Only that morning, the police were feared and resented, accused of perpetrating violence against MDC supporters in the second round of presidential elections in June. But now there was change in the air. All this freedom to speak so freely had not been possible only the previous day.

boy holds up million dollar note.

In early November, independent sources put inflation in Zimbabwe at 2.7 quintillion percent, 18 zeros. Photo: EPA.

As the bus rumbled on, I thought to myself how it would be for us in the media to operate without arrests and government harassment. "A new era dawns," I thought and smiled.

But as the weeks turned into months, it's hard to believe I had been so optimistic. Nothing has changed for the better. Almost three months after the deal was signed, there is still no government in Zimbabwe. Mugabe remains with a stranglehold on power, refusing to share ministries with Tsvangirai as agreed in the deal.


Southern Africa leaders have met several times. Each meeting has resolved nothing. Mugabe violated the September 15 agreement by allocating himself and his Zanu-PF party key ministries of local government -- defense, agriculture, home affairs, and media and information, while offering the opposition less powerful ministries such as youth and small enterprises.

But the opposition wants home affairs. Home affairs controls the police, the electoral system and immigration. Mugabe refuses to budge. Tsvangirai argues that he wants to be given charge of the police so that they are not partisan or used to terrorize citizens. However, Mugabe says it's a key ministry that cannot be given away as the MDC may abuse it to commit banditry and destabilize the country.

Meanwhile, there is no respite for Zimbabweans. Last week, my uncle died of cholera -- a water borne disease that has broken out in Harare because of a lack of water. His home, in the Glen View township has been without water for more than six months, as have many areas of Harare. The government is broke and cannot afford chemicals to purify water or attend to burst sewerage pipes.

At my uncle's funeral, people refused kubata maoko (shaking hands), our traditional way of consoling each other at funerals. It made me angry that we could not hold a traditional wake. Usually a wake lasts four to seven days. But people are too afraid of the disease.

Last week, my uncle died of cholera -- a water borne disease that has broken out in Harare because of a lack of water. His township has been without water for more than six months.

Raw sewage flows freely forming rivulets in the streets. The government claims only 20 people have died from the disease. But this strains credulity. I passed by Harare's Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital this week; the grounds are littered with relatives accompanying sick loved ones.

They just camp on the hospital grounds with their sick waiting to die. They are not being treated because they cannot afford what the hospital now requires patients to bring for themselves -- gloves, syringes, drips, linen, and even their own water to bathe during hospitalization. An official on site from a local NGO talked of at least 250 deaths every week from cholera.

Everything seems to be in disarray and chaos. The government-controled power supplier, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, no longer has the means to generate electricity. Operating on skeleton staff, most of its engineers have fled to neighboring countries, as government cannot afford salaries. I spend at least four days each week in the dark without power, but I consider myself lucky. Most areas are going for three continuous weeks without electricity.


Sixy-five percent of the population lives in the countryside, many in impoverished conditions.

Inflation figures mean nothing to me now other than a ridiculous line of zeros. In early November, independent sources put inflation at 2.7 quintillion percent. That's with 18 zeros! It's meaningless and stressful. I picked up a packet of salt last week in the supermarket. By the time I walked to the cashier, the price was three times more. I survive by making trips to neighboring Botswana to buy food supplies. I feel as if I'm in a war zone -- just without the bullets.


I heard rumors of even more horror stories in the countryside, where the majority of the population resides (65 percent according to the last census). I managed to scrounge some rationed gasoline to see what I could observe.

Driving along the Harare-Beitbridge highway, my eyes welled with tears. Too many families -- children who should be in school -- on their hands and knees, crawling to pick up wheat grain by grain that blows off large trucks as they speed from South Africa to Zambia and Tanzania, carrying what these countries have bought to supplement their harvests. Very few of these trucks will stop in Zimbabwe. The government denies there is anyone in need of food aid.

In Chivi, an area usually known for little rain and poor harvests, people spoke in hushed tones about whole families dying of starvation. So severe is the fear of government. No one wants to be heard saying anything against it.

In many rural areas, people are surviving on wild fruits (matamba, mawuyu, hacha, chakata) and roots -- usually eaten by donkeys. Depleted national food stocks caused by the chaotic resettling of people on former commercial farms and a mismanaged economy means there is no maize.

Sekuru Mukuti in the village of Mandamabwe, who has a family of seven, told me they last ate a proper meal four days ago; and it was becoming the norm. To say my heart broke is an understatement.

A cleaner at Chivi Government School said not a single teacher remained. Children are too hungry to attend class, and parents don't think it's useful anymore to pay school fees.

Mugabe's government not only denies there is anyone dying of starvation, but also hinders donor agencies willing to distribute food, accusing them of politicking as they distribute supplies. The United Nations estimates that about six million Zimbabweans will need food aid by January 2009; that's half the population.

Stopping in Bubi, to the south of Masvingo town, abandoned schools are a common sight, even though it's the middle of the academic term. A cleaner at Chivi Government School said the school has not a single teacher left. Children are too hungry to attend class, and parents don't think it's useful anymore to pay school fees.


Hope was again felt on Harare's crumbling streets on November 5th when news broke that a man with African roots was to become president of the United States. The dancing in the streets was so intense, my countrymen acted as if Barack Obama had been elected president of Zimbabwe.

But it wasn't hours before the grim reality set back in. We're now witnessing skirmishes of violence, and demonstrations are constantly breaking out around Harare. The police have returned to their "usual" bearing of crushing any dissenting voices. This month, supporters of Zanu-PF in Epworth stoned supporters of Tsvangirai shouting at them to go tell their leader to just agree to what Mugabe wants.

The state-run Herald reported that Botswana, a country critical of Mugabe's government, has called for fresh presidential elections. Mugabe's spokesman said this is nothing but an "act of extreme provocation."

For Zimbabweans, there seems no respite on the horizon. The longer the politicians bicker, the more lives are being sacrificed.

September 15 was just a mirage of peace and freedom. It's becoming harder to keep holding on when everything has fallen apart.

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Zimbabwe crisis is moral, says bishop

21 November, 2008

by Pat Ashworth

A DEEP moral and spiritual crisis in Zimbabwe explains why the nation has
become so corrupt, the Bishop of Harare, Dr Sebastian Bakare, told the Human
Rights Conference in Lulea, Sweden, last week.

The social, economic, and po­litical challenges were just the tip of the
iceberg, Dr Bakare said in a keynote address on the place of the Church. He
lamented Zimbabwe's reputation as "a nation that denies basic democratic
principles and human rights", and said that the majority of people were
denied a meaningful life, lacking "every-

thing except the air they breathe". Those benefiting from political
patronage had access to all that made life easier.

The voice of the Church in Zimbabwe had not been loud enough to condemn the
evil situa­tion, said the Bishop, who paid tribute to the courage of the
Roman Catholic Archbishop, the Rt Revd Pius Ncube, in speaking for the

"But you all know what sacrifices he had to make. And to make it worse, the
Church did not stand in solidarity with him when character assassination was
meted out against him."

The voice of the Church "appears to be submerged by other noises, which
include violence, intimida­tion, arrests, and other forms of harassment. . .
Some clergy who have tried to speak out against the unjust political system
have been seriously warned and often silenced."

The Church had "not listened to God enough to pass the message

on to his people", Dr Bakare

said. The prophetic ministry it offered - which he described as "a voice
that instils in all persons a desire to lead a truthful life marked by
integrity rather than corruption" - was not usually popular with those in

"Unless both the Church and individuals speak out with loud voices
condemning an inhuman poli­tical system that disregards the principles of
democracy, dictator­ship will be with us for a long time to come."

Six global ecumenical organisa­tions have called for affirmation of the
right to life and dignity for all Zimbabweans, and for a return of the rule
of law. Their joint statement, which was issued last week under the auspices
of the World Council of Churches, criticised the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) for letting down the people of Zimbabwe over
the power deal that is now deadlocked.

SADC and Zimbabwe's political leaders had "once again squandered the
opportunity to take decisive, credible and transformative action", the
statement said.

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Zimbabwe opposition group backers missing, officials say


November 20, 2008 -- Updated 2250 GMT (0650 HKT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- The whereabouts of a dozen opposition
supporters -- including a mother and her 2-year-old daughter -- remain
unknown, weeks after they were seized by Zimbabwean security forces, the
U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe and a human rights lawyers group said Thursday.

 "Zimbabwean security authorities seized 12 individuals, including the
mother and a 2-year-old child, affiliated with the Movement for Democratic
Change, the opposition party," James McGee said Thursday.

"The adults are reportedly being interrogated for their alleged involvement
in paramilitary camps in Botswana -- a charge that the Botswanan government
had roundly denied," McGee said.

Bright Matonga, Zimbabwe's deputy information minister, said in response:
"What is interesting is the involvement of America in the case. It would
help if the MDC and their masters would ... be specific instead of just
trying to create a bad image of Zimbabwe. There is nothing to comment [on]
unless we get something concrete, not this, cooked-up stories."

It was not immediately clear when the alleged arrests occurred. McGee said
they took place from October 27 through November 1, while the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said they occurred between October 30 and
November 1.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, who confirmed the detentions in a written
statement Wednesday, said only that the supporters' whereabouts where
unknown 21 days after their "abductions," which would make the arrest date
October 29.

He said they were "abducted in predawn raids" at their homes in Banket and
Chinhoyi, in Mashonaland West province.
The ZLHR said the police then "shuttled" them from police station to police
station in Harare.

"The MDC, its lawyers and relatives have been denied access to them,"
Chamisa said.

A high court ruled the detention of the 12 unlawful and issued an order
November 11 that they be brought to a magistrate court that day, the ZLHR
said. As of Thursday, the Zimbabwean authorities had not complied, the MDC
and the rights group said.

"To this time, the order remains contemptuously defied by the police, all of
whom are aware of the existence of the order and its contents," the ZLHR
said in a written statement.

The MDC identified two of the 12 as Concilia Chinanzvavana -- the Women's
Assembly provincial chairwoman for Mashonaland West -- and her husband,
Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, who is a councilor in the town of Banket.

The ZLHR said others included Fidelis Chiramba, Pieta Kaseke and her
2-year-old daughter.

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Collapse Of Zimbabwe's Infrastructure Behind Cholera Epidemic

By Patience Rusere
20 November 2008

Outbreaks of cholera in Zimbabwe against the backdrop of a collapsed health
care system are drawing expressions of alarm from within and beyond the
country's borders, the latest coming from the South African cabinet which
reproached Zimbabwe's political class for dickering over squabbling over
cabinet assignments while the people suffered and died.

On Wednesday, the U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights and the Zimbabwean
Association of Doctors for Human Rights warned of an expanding humanitarian
emergency which they blamed on the Harare government, calling for
international intervention and aid.

U.S. Ambassador James McGee in a news conference by video link with
reporters at the State Department in Washington said the death toll had
climbed to 294.

Medical sources say at least 1,000 people have come down with cholera,
though the number seemed to be rapidly rising with one clinic reporting
nearly 40 new cases a day, while hundreds of cases have been reported in the
southern border town of Beitbridge.

The Combined Harare Residents Association blames the outbreak in in the
capital on the Zimbabwe National Water Authority. In a statement Thursday,
CHRA said ZINWA has failed to provide clean drinking water or properly
maintain the city's sewage systems.

Greatly exacerbating the situation, the main state hospitals in Harare have
all but closed for lack of staff, who have mostly walked off the job over
abysmally low pay and horrendous working conditions, and a chronic lack of
essential drugs and medical materials.

To examine the causes and impact of the epidemic, reporter Patience Rusere
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with immunologist Davison Saungweme of
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of
the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, which has been
prominent in efforts to control the disease.

Saungweme said cholera can be controlled, but that clean water is absolutely

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Who does SADC represent?


Africa has so many organizations most of which are useless, ineffective and
are a duplication of most others on the continent.
Many as they are, these organisations all have one thing in common and that
is their failure to be honest and to remain true to their own reasons for
Most African countries now find themselves caught in a whirlwind because
meeting the expectations of one of their own organizations violates or
duplicates the efforts of the other ineffective groupings to which they are

African organizations, because they are initiatives formed only with the
approval of African presidents, have a bias towards themselves and
protective of their heads of state.
This is why they cannot criticize any of their own members yet they exist at
the expense of the people they are supposed to be serving.

To that extent, therefore, hardly anyone appears able to believe or
understand what SADC decreed on Zimbabwe.
And I have certainly seen braver cowards than SADC.
SADC should not exist because it is milking the life out of the very same
people it is supposed to invigorate.
It is a useless organization that has still to benefit any country within
its membership.

Most repulsive and idiotic to many was SADC's order that a ministry be
shared and simultaneously run by two ministers from two opposing political
parties and the additional directive that the protagonists form "an all
inclusive government".
The ridiculous directives were the climax of SADC's deliberations over the
stalemate in Zimbabwe.

True to their lame and useless presence, SADC did not even bother to
consider and address how, under such fierce and deadly rivalry, such a feat
could be achieved.
Not surprisingly, the MDC announced on Friday that they rejected SADC's
But Arthur Mutambara, eager to short change the nation and to reap where he
did not sow, quickly responded by calling Tsvangirai "foolish" and
"un-strategic" for not accepting the SADC recommendations which even a
toddler would sneer at.
Desperate and impatient to be included in any settlement, Mutambara went on
to tell those critics who are calling him a spoiler 'to go hang.'
We won't go hang but maybe Mutambara himself should.
We are dealing with something much more serious than batteries for his
Let's not spend too much time on spoilers.

I offer that SADC should disband before it causes more embarrassment to both
itself and Africa.
One of these days, their ineptitude and misguided decisions are bound to
spark a civil war in a member state.
They have even contaminated one Arthur Mutambara and gave him more worth
than he deserves outside a laboratory.
SADC's lack of direction has made the organisation totally irrelevant to
current issues bedeviling the region.
The inept SADC "diplomats" are highly paid. As of 2004, the salary of SADC
Executive Secretary stood at US $82,000. He has a massive double story house
being built for him behind State House in Gaborone. Yet they do not appear
to be serving the interests of SADC citizens but those of some unknown
masters elsewhere.

Even SADC member states flout the organisation's regulations with impunity.
No one listens to SADC, not even SADC itself.
SADC lacks authority. It does not appear as if it was formed to tackle
problems in the region but to provide comic relief to dictators as they take
a rest from their constant abuse of citizens in the region.
That and SADC's reluctance to criticize its presidents and heads of state
have left the region with an organization that exists quite expensively but
one not providing any tangible service to the region that is so much
affected by so many ills.

We hardly heard about anything SADC did when Mozambique was devastated by
SADC did absolutely nothing when SADC citizens turned against each other in
South Africa in the infamous murderous spree that came to be referred to as
'xenophobia attacks'.
SADC has stood by and watched the mayhem in Swaziland as a so-called king
molested his own people and, by today's standards, abused school girls in
the name of an outdated tradition.
SADC played no role in the DR Congo war which, once again, has just returned
to haunt the region and Africa again.
Even in Botswana where the Botswana government was having an argument with
some of its minority citizens of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, SADC
shut its mouth and pretended not to hear or see.
If SADC cannot interfere and assist in the internal affairs of its member
states, what is their mandate and how do they execute it?

Angola, a member of SADC's own so-called troika responsible for regional
Politics, Defense and Security, has just marched into DR Congo again on the
side of their fellow head of state and it was not a SADC decision.
Even embattled Mugabe, thrown a 'lifeline' by SADC only last week, has also
marched back into the DRC without SADC's mandate.

And last Thursday, Botswana's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phandu Skelemani,
told parliament that although decisions are reached by consensus "after
which they reflect the collective position of the organization", Botswana
did not go along with decisions that SADC pronounced on Zimbabwe, saying,
"It would be remiss of us if we did not express our strong
reservations/disagreement, as we did during the Summit, regarding the
co-management of the Ministry of Home Affairs (Zimbabwe)."
Botswana publicly differed with SADC on such a cowardly pronouncement.
"The co-management of a ministry by two Ministers from different parties is
unrealistic, impracticable and unworkable," said minister Skelemani.

And also at the Summit, SADC Chairman, South African President Kgalema
Motlanthe, asked Mugabe to leave the room so that they could deliberate on
the Zimbabwean issue. Like everyone else in Africa, Mugabe simply refused to
listen to 'SADC' and stayed, forcing SADC to debate the issue in Mugabe's

Even SADC's own leaders did not find it worth their time to attend the
circus. Only five (plus the host president) out of SADC's 15 Heads of State
cared to attend this "summit".
Blunders, mindless and short-sighted decision making, partiality, fear of
criticising member states, appeasement and inability to formulate and adhere
to policy, continue to plague SADC.
The organisation is not helping the region and the millions of dollars spent
on it are better used were the monies channeled to development projects in
the region.
While Zimbabwe is SADC's most glaring failure, it is still difficult to see
any country in which SADC can claim they made a difference.

SADC has failed to justify its own existence.
The heart of the matter, therefore, is that donor organisations, the EU, the
US and other funders of SADC should withhold funds from SADC countries that
continue to retard good governance and that continue to support the murder,
abuse and the starving of innocent people in countries such as Zimbabwe;
they should just withhold their money.
Whoever is funding this moribund organisation should hold on to their wallet
and put their money to better use in this region that cries out for help and
SADC should just disband.

It is time to punish the supporters of evil leaders. And withholding of
funds is a language that screams louder than the crackling of lightning.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my compatriots, is the way it is
today, November 20, 2008.

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FEWS Southern Africa Food Security Outlook, Oct - Mar 2009


Current food security conditions are stable in most parts of the region that had favorable crop growing conditions in the 2007/08 season. Production was above the past five-year average in most countries (with the exception of Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) and at the regional level was above levels achieved last year. Where there were localized crop failures, households are already moderately food insecure.

In areas now facing moderate food insecurity, conditions are likely to decline through December but remain stable through from January through March. This scenario assumes that scaled up (and well resourced) food relief programs will ameliorate conditions in affected areas, thus reducing the rates of deterioration in food insecurity. This is particularly important in Zimbabwe, where humanitarian interventions are being scaled up following the lifting of the suspension on NGO operations. It is also assumed that food availability will improve in the latter part of the outlook period with the green harvests.

Favorable crop production prospects are based on the regional seasonal forecast, which indicates a normal to above normal rainfall season in most parts of the region under review, especially during the October â€" December period. Eastern Zimbabwe and central and southern Mozambique are likely to face normal to below normal rainfall in the latter part, thus delaying the green harvest and the gradual easing of food availability that normally occurs towards the end of the period.

In the worst case, assumptions underlying the most likely scenario do not hold, and instead, conditions deteriorate, leading to high levels of food insecurity, particularly in Zimbabwe, potentially high levels in Malawi, and moderate levels in southern and central Mozambique and southern and western Zambia, where populations face moderate food insecurity even in the most likely scenario. The situation would be further exacerbated if rainfall performance is poor, with a delayed start and/or lengthy dry spells, and if prices rise above expected levels.

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