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Talks to resume in Pretoria on Tuesday

November 23, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - President Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa and his Botswana counterpart Seretse Ian Khama were meeting in Pretoria Sunday ahead of a fresh round of talks to be held between Zimbabwe’s main political rivals.

Official media in South Africa reported Sunday that Motlanthe and Khama were due to meet at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria in an effort to find a solution once and for all to Zimbabwe’s political and humanitarian crisis ahead of meetings with negotiators from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and representatives of the Movement for Democratic Change on a draft constitutional amendment that Zimbabwe’s opposition is demanding before it enters a unity government.

Negotiators Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma from the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC would meet Professor Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga from the Arthur Mutambara faction of the MDC and Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa from Zanu-PF on Tuesday in Pretoria for a fresh round of talks to jointly draft the constitutional amendment.

The Constitutional Amendment No 19 Bill is set to give legal and constitutional force to a unity government expected to emerge from a power-sharing deal that was signed on September 15 and which is currently is currently floundering over how to share cabinet posts equitably.

SABC reported that the two leaders will try to put pressure on Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF and the main opposition parties to agree on the allocation of cabinet posts. The issue remains one of the main obstacles to the implementation of the country’s power-sharing agreement.

This is the first official working visit to South Africa by Botswana’s leader, a vociferous critic of the Mugabe regime, ever since he came into office last year.

The meeting comes hard on the heels of a decision by the South African government to withhold agricultural aid to Zimbabwe until a representative unity government is in place. Even if South Africa were to disburse the funds now the current cropping season is too advance to benefit from the intended input of seed and fertilizers.

Zimbabwe’s outgoing Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu says the draft Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill has already been sent to the SADC-appointed mediator after scrutiny by the parties concerned.

But the mainstream MDC has distanced itself from the document stating that the draft does not have any input from the MDC and that the party was not privy to its contents.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa has said as far as the MDC was concerned, the draft that has been sent to Mbeki was a Zanu-PF document with Zanu PF perspectives.

“Our draft is also ready and it has also been sent to Mbeki for consideration,” Chamisa told The Zimbabwe Times Sunday.

The latest attempt by SADC-appointed broker Thabo Mbeki to reconvene another meeting with negotiators from the parties follows a failed full SADC summit on October 27 that failed to resolve the dispute over control of the Home Affairs ministry, although the MDC insists the dispute is much bigger than that.

The regional bloc met in Johannesburg and resolved that both Zimbabwean parties should share the Home Affairs ministry. However, Tsvangirai disputed the decision outright, saying he could not participate in an ‘illegal government’. He refused to join the unity government with President Mugabe unless several conditions were first met.

The MDC National Council, which met in Harare last week resolved that it would not get into an inclusive government with Zanu-PF unless Constitutional Amendment No. 19 had been passed by Parliament and all other outstanding issues had been resolved.

The MDC’s outstanding issues include the appointment of provincial governors, senior government officials such as permanent secretaries and ambassadors.

Other sticking issues include the equitable distribution of ministerial portfolios and the composition and constitution of the National Security Council.

The MDC has also vowed to resist any attempts by President Mugabe to form a unilateral government saying it would use its parliamentary majority to oppose the passage of legal instruments necessary to give legal force to the government.

Tsvangirai won a first round of presidential vote in March, but pulled out of a June run-off, saying the violence had left more than 100 of his supporters dead.

Mugabe’s victory in an uncontested runoff election in June drew international condemnation, and western nations have heaped pressure on his regime to make good on the power-sharing deal.

Mbeki, who brokered the deal signed two months ago, is expected on Tuesday to try to help the parties jointly draft the amendment at the same time trying to rescue the pact that has raised hopes of an end to months of deadly political unrest that might allow Zimbabwe to drag itself out of economic ruin.

Under the deal, Mugabe retains the presidency while Tsvangirai takes the new post of prime minister. But disputes over how to form a cabinet threaten to sink the entire arrangement.

Tsvangirai has said he would not control of economic ministries to ease the economic crisis and also demanded control of the ministry that controls the police force to counter-balance Mugabe’s control of the army.

The MDC has argued that it needs oversight of at least some security agencies to reassure the party’s supporters who were the targets of brutal violence during election campaigning earlier this year.

The European Union has threatened to impose new sanctions on the regime if the deal falls apart, while the United States accused Mugabe of violating the agreement.

But analysts say they see little prospect of renewed negotiations achieving the require level of success, given Mbeki’s reduced stature after his own party forced him to resign as South Africa’s president two months ago and amid opposition accusations that he was biased in favour of Mugabe from the very beginning.

The protracted political dispute has only deepened the misery of ordinary Zimbabweans, with more than five million people - nearly half the population - needing emergency food aid this year, according to the United Nations.

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Zimbabwe's MDC could boycott Mbeki meeting - source

Sun 23 Nov 2008, 17:20 GMT

(Adds meeting between South Africa's and Botswana's presidents in paragraph

HARARE, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) may boycott a meeting to discuss a constitutional bill that
would allow President Robert Mugabe to form a unity government, an
opposition official said on Sunday.

A power-sharing agreement signed by Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai on Sept. 15 has faltered as the two fight over control of key

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the deal, has
called for a meeting in South Africa this week where the parties would
review proposed constitutional changes giving effect to a power-sharing

But Tsvangirai's MDC, which has refused to accept the terms offered by
Mugabe and wants full control of the home affairs ministry overseeing the
police, has responded coolly.

A senior party source told Reuters some officials wanted the MDC to boycott
the meeting in protest against the Southern African Development Community's
(SADC) stance on the dispute between Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the MDC.

"There is a strong feeling that attending the meeting would legitimise a
SADC resolution rejected by the party. We cannot continue engaging in this
process when SADC and Mbeki refuse to take our legitimate concerns
seriously," the source said.

"Tsvangirai does not want a boycott of the meeting, but other officials, led
by secretary general Tendai Biti, don't want that meeting to go ahead until
SADC rescinds its decision."

SADC has recommended that Mugabe and Tsvangirai jointly control the home
affairs ministry and that a unity government be set up "forthwith". The MDC
accuses the bloc of siding with Mugabe.

Following a meeting with Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama on
Sunday, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said the two countries
would continue to push for the new law to be passed.

"We agreed that, with regards to Zimbabwe, the next step really is to ensure
that we unblock the impasse for them to take Amendment 19 through the senate
and the assembly," he told the SABC.

Khama has previously said a new election is the only solution to Zimbabwe's
crisis. MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Reuters the party's leadership
would meet in Harare on Monday to decide whether to attend the latest round
of negotiations.

"It is our view that our negotiating teams can meet here, without going to
Pretoria. We continue to insist that there are more issues remaining, apart
from the constitutional amendment."

The MDC has said it was not consulted when the constitutional bill was
drafted, dismissing it as a "ZANU-PF draft."

Tsvangirai, who was still in South Africa on Sunday, would not take part in
the MDC's meeting, his spokesman George Sibotshiwe said.

"He has meetings lined up throughout Monday, here in South Africa,"
Sibotshiwe said.

Analysts say the historic power-sharing pact, signed on Sept.15, presents
the best hope of rescuing Zimbabwe's ruined economy. The agreement, however,
appears to be unravelling over unresolved differences between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai. (Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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Motlanthe, Khama to discuss Zimbabwe crisis

November 23 2008, 9:20:00

President Kgalema Motlanthe and his Botswana counterpart Ian Khama
will attempt to find a solution to Zimbabwe's political and humanitarian
crisis when they meet at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria today.

The crisis in Zimbabwe has been worsened by the outbreak of cholera,
which has already spread to South Africa, as well as by the influx of
refugees into South Africa and Botswana. The two leaders will try to put
pressure on Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the main opposition parties to
agree on the allocation of cabinet posts. The issue remains the main
obstacle to the implementation of the country's power-sharing agreement.

This is the first official working visit to the country by Botswana's
leader ever since he came into office last year. It is not clear at this
stage about the main focus of the talks between President Motlanthe and his
neighbouring counterpart.

However observers say the two leaders will try to put pressure on
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the main opposition parties to agree on the
allocation of cabinet portfolios.

The South African government announced last week that it was
withholding agricultural aid to Zimbabwe until a representative unity
government is in place.

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Carter, Annan push on with efforts to aid Zimbabwe

Originally published 10:54 a.m., November 23, 2008, updated 11:01 a.m.,
November 23, 2008
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (AP) - Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Graca Machel
met regional leaders and aid agencies over the weekend, continuing efforts
to ease Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis even though they were barred from
entering the country.

The former U.N. secretary-general, the former U.S. president and rights
advocate Machel, who is married to Nelson Mandela, said Saturday they were
denied visas for a mission to assess the needs of Zimbabweans, many of whom
are suffering from hunger and disease.

The three are members of The Elders, a group Mandela formed to foster peace.

They have insisted their visit was not related to regional attempts to get
President Robert Mugabe and his rival, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
to implement a power-sharing agreement.

On Sunday, Carter, Annan and Machel met with Botswanan President Ian Khama
and representatives of aid agencies and Zimbabwean social organizations.
They are scheduled to meet South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on

Khama has been one of the few African leaders to openly criticize Mugabe.

"Our biggest concern is that the focus is moving away from the plight of the
Zimbabwean people, who are currently suffering through starvation and
diseases," he said after an earlier meeting with Motlanthe in the capital,

Zimbabwe's neighbors, like Botswana, have felt the impact of the crisis,
with millions of Zimbabweans fleeing across borders in search of jobs and

Khama said he and Motlanthe agreed to "do anything in our power" to break
the impasse in Zimbabwe and ensure the parties form a unity government as
soon as possible.

Mugabe and his rivals signed a power-sharing agreement Sept. 15 but efforts
to form a new government have stalled over the allocation of Cabinet posts.

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Botswana President Meets With Elders After Mugabe Snub

JOHANNESBURG (AFP)--Botswana President Ian Khama is meeting with members of
the Elders group in Johannesburg after they were refused entry into Zimbabwe
on Saturday, a spokeswoman said Sunday.

"The leaders will be discussing a number of issues regarding the Zimbabwe
situation," said Elders spokeswoman Katy Cronin, who revealed no details of
the discussions.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and ex-U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan
were to embark on a humanitarian mission to the strife-torn country, but
were denied visas by Robert Mugabe's government.

Carter, Annan and Grace Machel, wife of former South African predisent
Nelson Mandela are meeting aid groups working in Zimbabwe including major
donors, heads of U.N. agencies and civil society groups.

Earlier on Sunday, Khama - who has been critical of the political situation
in Zimbabwe - held talks with South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Montlanthe appealed to Zimbabwe's political parties to begin constitutional
processes that will create a unity government, state media reported.

The Elders delegation is part of a group of 12 world respected statesmen
with experience in global conflict resolution, formed by Mandela on his 89th

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Elders meet with Zimbabwean refugees in Johannesburg

November 23 2008,

The Elders have experienced first-hand accounts of the harrowing
conditions in Zimbabwe from refugees at the Central Methodist Church in
downtown Johannesburg. They are on a mission to assess the needs of ordinary
Zimbabweans and free up the flow of aid to the cholera-ravaged country, even
if that means doing it from across the border.

The three Elders, Kofi Annan, Graca Machel and Jimmy Carter were
denied travel visas by Zimbabwe yesterday. Zanu-PF is now reportedly saying
it simply asked them to postpone their visit. Annan, Carter and Machel are
not letting politics interfere with their work.

They met major donors from Zimbabwe and various international aid
organisations today. Many of whom flew in especially to meet them.

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Officials contradict themselves over Elders

November 23, 2008

HARARE - The government of Zimbabwe has hurriedly moved to deny charges that
it barred a high-level delegation from the diplomatic group known as The
Global Elders from entering the country to assess its desperate humanitarian

Government and Zanu-PF officials, however, contradicted themselves sharply
over the reasons.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi hurriedly called a press
conference late Saturday in efforts to cool down international outrage at
the barring of the delegation which was expected in Harare Saturday on a
humanitarian mission.

The Group of Elders, which includes Kofi Annan, the former UN
secretary-general, Jimmy Carter, the former US president and Graca Machel,
an advocate of women’s and children’s rights and the wife of Nelson Mandela,
the former president of South Africa,  had attempted to use SADC’s point man
in the Zimbabwe crisis, Thabo Mbeki, to arrange travel documents.

They were rebuffed and denied visas.

As the delegation addressed reporters in South Africa mid-morning on
Saturday, authorities in Harare hurriedly moved to convene a press
conference aimed at damage limitation.

The effort was clumsy, however, with government officials issuing
conflicting statements on the reasons for the barring of the delegation’s

Christopher Mutsvangwa, a spokesperson for President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, told
Arab TV news channel Al Jazeera the delegation was denied several documents
because “one of the three - Kofi Annan - specifically was up to mischief.

“He is trying to ride on the back of a well-meaning lady (Graca Machel) who
is the first lady of two presidents of the region,” he said.

Graca Machel is not the First lady of any President in the region. Her first
husband Mozambique’s first  president Samora Machel died in 1986. She
married Nelson Mandela who was President of South Africa from 1999 to 1999.

Mutsvangwa said Carter has “an impeccable standing in Zimbabwe because he
helped Zimbabwe get independence, and was the first western leader to
recognise land as the key issue in the Zimbabwe conflict as far back as 1979
and 1980″.

Carter was president of the United States at the time of the Lancaster House
negotiations which helped Zimbabwe attain independence from white colonial
rule in 1980.

“Kofi Annan, as secretary-general of the UN, never did anything to help
Zimbabwe’s cause,” opined Mutsvangwa. “He was involved in a conspiracy which
legitimised sanctions on Zimbabwe which were patently illegal and imposed
unilaterally by western countries.”

But there were sharp contradictions with the Foreign Office. At his press
conference which was attended by a handful of reporters from the State
media, Mumbengegwi spoke at a tangent with Mutsvangwa.

“It is most unfortunate that the former (UN) secretary-general has, for
reasons best known to himself, misrepresented the position of the Government
of Zimbabwe,” Mumbengegwi said. “The allegations he has made are not
supported by facts.”

Annan had told a press briefing in Johannesburg Saturday: “We had to cancel
our visit because the government made it very clear that it will not

But Mumbengegwi insisted: “We take strong exception to any suggestions that
there are those out there who care more about the welfare of our people than
we do. Mr Annan is a man of great experience.

“He knows the importance of prior consultations and preparation for
high-level visits such as the one he was proposing. We expect someone of his
level to observe the correct procedure and practice.”

Mumbengegwi claimed the Elders had informed government about their pending
visit only on Friday. But the government and the State media had denounced
the visit throughout the week. The Foreign Affairs minister said the Elders
were still welcome to visit the country “at a mutually agreed date”.

He insinuated that the Elders visit was useless because government had
already drafted a “Consolidated Appeal, “detailing the humanitarian needs of
the country. He claimed the Government and the UN agency World Food
Programme had last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the
supply and distribution of 350 000 tonnes of food assistance.

WFP officials were not immediately available to respond but the aid agency
issued a statement last week categorically stating that there was a massive
funding shortfall because of donor fatigue.

“The Government of Zimbabwe is fully aware of the humanitarian challenges
facing the country and is determined to address these challenges, which are
spelt out in detail in the Consolidated Appeal document,” Mumbengegwi said.

“The Government is ready and willing to engage all those of goodwill in an
effort to meet the goals and objectives of the Consolidated Appeal.”
Annan said food shortages, a lack of seed and fertiliser for planting and
the breakdown in health services were all having a serious effect on the

“We understand that the situation requires an urgent response and that
delays will only prolong the people’s suffering,” he said.

As government dithers, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced this
week that almost 300 people have died from a cholera outbreak over the past
three months.

Fadela Chaib, a WHO spokesperson, said 6 072 cases had been reported between
the start of August and November 18, with a rise in the number of reported
cases over the past two weeks.

Nelson Mandela, his wife Graça and Desmond Tutu convened The Global Elders
on 18 July, 2007 in Johannesburg. It is a group of world leaders who were
expected to contribute their wisdom, leadership and integrity to tackle some
of the world’s toughest problems.

Mandela announced the formation of the group in a speech on his 89th

Archbishop Tutu was to serve as its chairperson. Other founding members of
the group include Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy
Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus.

Ela Ramesh Bhatt, a lawyer by training, is the founder of India’s
Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Dr Bhatt is a respected leader of
the international labour, cooperative, women, and micro-finance movements.
She has won several national and international awards.

Gro Harlem Brundtland is a Norwegian politician, diplomat, and physician,
and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. A
former Prime Minister of Norway, she has served as the Director General of
the World Health Organization. She now serves as a Special Envoy on Climate
Change for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Li Zhaoxing was the foreign minister of the People’s Republic of China from
2003 to 2007. He is a professor at Peking University

Mary Robinson was the first female President of Ireland. She served from
1990 to 1997, and was the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
from 1997 to 2002.

Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker and economist. He previously was a
professor of economics and is famous for his successful application of
microcredit - the extension of small loans. Yunus serves on the board of
directors of the United Nations Foundation, a public charity created in 1998
to support United Nations causes. The UN Foundation builds and implements
public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems.

“This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind
the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken,” Mandela commented at its
launch. “Together we will work to support courage where there is fear,
foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is

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'Annan didn't plan properly'

    November 23 2008 at 03:19PM

Harare - Zimbabwe said it blocked Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and a South
African human rights advocate from visiting on a humanitarian mission
because they had not properly consulted with officials before the trip, a
state-run newspaper reported Sunday.

The former UN secretary-general, the ex-US president and rights advocate
Graca Machel, who is married to Nelson Mandela, said on Saturday they were
denied visas for a mission to assess the needs of Zimbabweans, many of whom
are suffering from hunger and disease.

Instead, they spent the weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa, meeting with
representatives of aid agencies, Zimbabwean civil society organisations and
political parties.

The three are members of The Elders, a group Mandela formed to foster peace
and tackle world conflicts.

Annan had said Saturday that Zimbabwe gave no official reason for refusing
them visas for the mission, which they insisted was entirely separate from
regional attempts to get President Robert Mugabe and his rivals to implement
a power-sharing agreement.

But the Sunday Mail, a mouthpiece for the Zimbabwean government, quoted
Foreign Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi as saying Annan had failed to consult
with the government beforehand on the "timing and programme" of the visit.

"Mr Annan is a man of great experience. He knows the importance of prior
consultations and preparation for a high-level visit," the paper quoted
Mumbengegwi as saying. "We expect someone of his level to observe the
correct procedure and practice."

The foreign minister accused Annan of "misrepresenting the facts" about the
aborted trip and criticised the group for launching the mission, according
to the newspaper.

"We take strong exception to any suggestions that there are those out there
who care more about the welfare of our people than we do," he was quoted as

Mumbengegwi also said the group would have had difficulty conducting a
meaningful assessment after the government had already completed its own
"humanitarian audit" in conjunction UN agencies based in the country, the
paper reported.

No details of that programme have been made available and Mumbengegwi did
not name any of the UN agencies in the newspaper report.

On Thursday, Zimbabwe's state Herald newspaper said the group had been asked
to "come at a later date" to accommodate the crop-planting season. The paper
quoted unidentified people as saying the three were seen as antagonistic
toward the government.

Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis is deepening, while political crisis over a
stalled power-sharing government occupies its politicians. A cholera
outbreak has killed nearly 300 people in Zimbabwe, the United Nations said.

Carter told a news conference in Johannesburg on Saturday that the three
were "very disappointed" that Zimbabwe's government "would not co-operate".

He said it was the first time the 2002 Nobel Peace laureate has been denied
permission to carry out a mission in any country.

The Elders - including 12 former world leaders and prominent rights
activists - have mediated in a number of other international crises, such as
Sudan and Kenya. - Sapa-AP

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Kenyan PM wants AU peacekeepers in Zimbabwe

Sun Nov 23, 9:46 am ET

NAIROBI (AFP) - Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday called for the
deployment of African Union peacekeepers to Zimbabwe to bring President
Robert Mugabe back into line.

"Because there is no legitimate government in Zimbabwe, the AU should
consider sending a peacekeeping force," he said. "This is what is going to
send a strong signal to one Mr Robert Mugabe."

Speaking to reporters in Nairobi, Odinga was reacting to Zimbabwe's refusal
to grant visas to senior peace campaigners, including former US president
Jimmy Carter and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

"As you all know, Mugabe was a freedom fighter who spent many years in the
jail of former prime minister Ian Smith, but I don't believe that when you
are a freedom fighter you acquire a title deed to own the nation," Odinga

Odinga owes his job largely to Annan, who mediated a power-sharing solution
to the chaos that broke out after Kenya President Mwai Kibaki was declared
the winner of disputed elections in December 2007.

The Kenyan prime minister has repeatedly chided Mugabe's regime since
Zimbabwe's own post-election crisis broke out earlier this year but saved
some criticism for the rest of the continent's leaders.

"Recently, he was in Kampala attending an African leaders' meeting and you
will see that no-one expressed a word about the situation in Zimbabwe,"
Odinga said.

"To many African leaders, the situation in Zimbabwe has returned back to
normalcy. But no wonder this is happening, it is because a number of these
leaders carry the same baggage like that of Mugabe."

Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai led Mugabe in round one of the March
29 presidential election but withdrew before the second round, citing a
campaign of intimidation by the veteran leader's camp.

The ensuing crisis appeared to have been solved with an accord on September
15 but the two rivals have since failed to form a unity government.

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Power sharing deal a complete waste of time

22 November 2008

By Bridget Tapuwa

The Zanu PF and MDC deal and the possibly soon to be Government of national
unity between these parties is nonsensical, to say the least. To eagerly
await the finalization of this phase is putting energies to waste.

The passing and effecting of Constitutional Amendment No. 19 into law, will
not rid of the loopholes of the deal nor will it curb the powers of the
other various government structures which are already in existence.

To delve into the various components of that which they have already signed
to is not even called for. Just a simple overall analysis of the deal in
relation to the operations of the already standing various government
structures says it all about how difficult and impossible it will be to
bring about real change under that environment.

At this juncture, questions that immediately come to mind are;

. What is the role of the Ministers vis-à-vis the role of the Ministry's
Permanent Secretaries?

Given that Mugabe is the one who appoints all the Ministries' Permanent
Secretaries, and it obviously follows that they serve his interests, there
is bound to be so much friction and mistrust between the MDC Ministers and
Mugabe's Permanent Secretaries, to an extend that service delivery and
efficiency will be compromised.

It has always been almost impossible to really define or draw a line of
demarcation between the duties of the Ministers and those of the Permanent
Secretaries. To bring some bit of lightness to the already stressed
Zimbabwean reader, (vagara vachitsikana konzi even when they were all coming
from one party).

To Mugabe, consulting the Prime Minister on the appointments of the
incumbents to these positions may not necessarily entail respecting the
views of the Prime Minister.

. Yet another pertinent issue is the role of Mariyawanda Nzuwah, the Public
Service Commission (PSC) Chairman in relation to all the Ministers. This
issue coming against the background that the PSC Chairman and all his
Commissioners are also appointed by Mugabe. In their monitoring and
supervision of the Ministries, are all the parties going to behave maturely
such that they will set aside their political differences?

Have the Zanu pf cadres all of a sudden become so politically mature? If the
PSC is empowered to monitor and supervise some of the functions of the
Ministries, what measures will the opposition parties put in place to ensure
that their decisions at the level of the Ministries in which they are in
charge are not overridden by the PSC for instance?

To cut the story short, the deal is a mockery and a slap in the face for
Zimbabweans who are genuinely fighting for democracy. Democracy is never
achieved through the backdoor, in this case through deals. And it is high
time Africans learn this.

If anything, it is only Zanu pf and Mugabe who will benefit from the deal,
through being rescued from sinking into political oblivion.

And the proposal which was approved by SADC about co-ministering the
Ministry of Home Affairs is but a joke of the century. Such a proposal
reflects a lack of sincerity to rescue Zimbabwe;
co-ministering a Ministry in a country already in economic tatters; a
country where financial resources are so scarce if not depleted.

Such a suggestion coming in the light that it has always been indisputable
that Zimbabwe has always had too many Ministries in relation to its
financial capabilities. Not only that, but also, how will the two Ministers
work and liaise without fighting or one undermining the other?

Zanu pf has other hidden agendas behind this deal. They are well aware that
they have many other instruments already in place to thwart any real changes
in the operations of all Ministries, even those Ministries that are going to
be given to MDC.

For sanity to return to Zimbabwe, then there has to be a complete overhaul
of the whole political landscape, which does not therefore leave any room
for deals. Mugabe deals are always cunningly crafted, designed and modeled
in such a way that democracy in Zimbabwe is thwarted.

The writer, Bridget Tapuwa is based in Belgium and she can be reached at

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Mugabe has tricked us once too often

Editorial, Sunday November 23 2008 00.01 GMT
The Observer, Sunday November 23 2008

There is no doubting that Robert Mugabe is a masterful, if vicious,

Throughout the bloody election process that ran from March to June, the
struggle for power in Zimbabwe was routinely described as an endgame for the
incumbent President. And yet, in November, Mr Mugabe has still avoided the
checkmate that would remove him from office and liberate his country from
decades of misrule.

He has outmanoeuvred internal opponents. Meanwhile every tool of
international diplomacy wielded against him has failed.

Mr Mugabe engaged in power-sharing talks with the Movement for Democratic
Change, offering its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, the post of Prime Minister.
By even participating in such talks, the MDC risked compromising its
principled opposition to Mr Mugabe. Mr Tsvangirai decided, however, that
negotiation was better than civil war.

But sowing divisions within the MDC was Mr Mugabe's main purpose in engaging
in talks. Another was creating the semblance of a democratic process while
under international scrutiny. Now he feels secure enough to drop that

A fact-finding visit to Zimbabwe by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan,
former US President Jimmy Carter and human rights activist Graça Machel -
wife of Nelson Mandela - was cancelled yesterday when authorities indicated
they would not grant visas.

Meanwhile, the President plans to amend the constitution, giving himself new
powers to reorganise the government. Since there is not yet agreement on
which ministries the opposition will run, the constitutional change is pure
chicanery. The longer Mr Mugabe can draw out an argument over government
departments, the more distant seems his theft of the presidency.

Mr Mugabe uses condemnation by non-Africans to smear the MDC as pawns of
imperialism. Mindful of that risk, the West accepted the approach, led by
former South African President Thabo Mbeki, of quiet diplomacy. Blocking the
visit by Mr Annan and Ms Machel proves Mr Mugabe holds the views of Africans
in as much contempt as he feels for Western opinion.

Meanwhile, the MDC was tricked into accepting a stolen presidency as a fait
accompli and Mr Mbeki was complicit.

South Africa has new leadership under President Kgalema Motlanthe and ANC
leader Jacob Zuma. They are not wedded to a failed strategy of making
friends with Mr Mugabe. For Zimbabwe's sake they must be prepared to make an
enemy of him.



Nov 23 08, 1:21am (about 4 hours ago)

Well some people might think that the title of this editorial is a bit much.

After all, we all knew what Mugabe was like back in 1979 when he had been
busy murdering nuns in the name of liberation.

Even if we did not know then, we soon learnt what he was like from how he
treated with Black Zimbabweans who dared to support some other political

What a lot of Western liberals did was dismiss such complaints as racism.
They tried to bully people into silence - people who knew both Zimbabwe and
Mugabe better than they did.

Those Western liberals have not paid a price for that support. The people of
Zimbabwe have.

Mugabe has not fooled us once too often. We have stopped fooling ourselves

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Zimbabwe gov't urged to declare cholera outbreak national disaster  2008-11-23 12:55:52

    HARARE, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's Medical Association has
urged the government to declare the cholera outbreak a national disaster, to
help mobilize more resources to fight the epidemic, state news agency New
Ziana reported Saturday.

    Availability of more resources would help contain the outbreak,
which has so far claimed several lives, the association said in a press

     "This will galvanize all the resources necessary to get the
outbreak under control," it said.

    The association also urged the National Water Supply Authority to
ensure speedy restoration of the sewer management system and provision of
safe drinking water.

    There are fears that the onset of the rainy season and the strike
by health personnel would result in the outbreak getting out of control.

    The association warned that Zimbabwe's health care system is now
on the verge of collapse, as there was serious brain drain at all levels of
health professionals.

    Lack of trained medical workers had compromised operations at most
health institutions, it said.

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Cholera could hit 1,4 million

 23/11/2008 20:50:31


JOHANNESBURG - Over 1,4 million people in South Africa and Zimbabwe are at
risk of contracting cholera.

This number could escalate if the issue is not urgently addressed, warns
Doctors Without Borders.

Yesterday representatives of the SA and Zimbabwean Health Departments met to
discuss ways forward in the current cross-border cholera crisis.

Limpopo Health Department spokesman, Phuti Seloba told The Citizen late
yesterday afternoon: "The meeting is still under way but we are making
headway. We believe we are getting there."

Seloba said the outbreak has claimed the lives of 294 people in Zimbabwe and
another four in SA since the outbreak started in August.

One fatality has been confirmed as a South African.

In the latest cholera related death, a man who was admitted to Durban's
Addington Hospital and placed in an isolation ward has died.

The man is said to have been a truck driver who arrived in SA from Zimbabwe
last week.

On Friday Sapa had reported Kwa-Zulu Natal Health department spokesman, Leon
Mbangwa as saying the man was awake and "much improved".

Seloba says the meeting between the countries' Health Departments focused on
how to deal with the water-borne intestinal disease and how to deal with the
source, which is Zimbabwe.

Poorly maintained sewerage systems and a lack of clean drinking water have
been blamed for allowing the disease to thrive and spread.

The WHO says over 6 000 people have been infected with cholera since August
with many more expected due to Zimbabwe's deteriorating health system.

Since last Saturday, over 162 cholera cases have been reported in the border
town of Musina.

Seloba told The Citizen additional rehydration centres were up and running
in Musina and at the Beit Bridge border post to deal with the influx of
people coming from Zimbabwe for treatment.

He said there are currently 21 people in the Musina hospital in a stable

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"The blanket of death falls over Zimbabwe"

Michealene Cristini Risley
Posted November 22, 2008 | 07:17 PM (EST)

Behind the stench of flowing sewage and the smell of disease is a country
that is beyond collapse. Yet, nowhere are there more signs of bustling
activity than the countries graveyards. On a bright day, in Unit L graveyard
in Chitungwiza, the staff opens up 50 new graves for burials. Those
allocated graves will be used up far before Sunset. The increases in burials
in this cemetery are up 150 percent. Every few minutes families take turns
burying their loved ones. They dig; they grieve and then depart; perhaps
wondering if the will be able to afford the next funeral.

The rich soil of this previously prosperous country is once again at the
heart of its activities; at one time famous for its rich harvests and
abundant food the soil is now providing the country's blanket of death. The
blanket needs to expand.

When I stayed with a friend in a residential area of Bulawayo last August,
there was no water. Fifteen months later, there is still no water in
Bulawayo. In fact, there is no water anywhere in Zimbabwe. The government
utilities turned off water when it ran out of money for treatment chemicals.
Shovels have become as familiar an item as walking sticks as desperate
families search the ground until they find water. People fill pots and pans,
as they drink from this untreated sewage water.

In addition to the aids epidemic, the mass starvation and increase of rape
and abuse, Cholera has reared its' head. Still, nothing is done by the rest
of the world.

The situation in Zimbabwe is desperate. Most world news this weekend
discussed President Mugabe's refusal to let a humanitarian team in the
country. This team included former United States President, Jimmy Carter and
former head of the United Nations, Kofi Anon and human rights activist,
Graca Machel, who is also Nelson Mandela's wife. This was a diversion. So
much more needs to be done immediately. If I hear one more President or
Chancellor talk about the illegitimate regime or make a statement, I am
going to scream.

The United Nations and The Red Cross push into war torn countries like
Rwanda and the Congo, yet Zimbabwe is left on its own. True, there is not a
typical war in this country, but there is systematic genocide. Isn't that a
situation worth the world community's response?

The country has virtually shut down. Every school, store and government
office is closed. Last I read, inflation hovered somewhere near 230 million
percent. Zimbabwean currency has been abandoned and replaced by the American

Last week a group of men who supported the opposition party disappeared in
the dark of night from their homes. The locals know these men will never be
seen alive again. Families are separating out of desperation, traveling to
other parts of Africa or globally, so they can send money back to family
stranded in Zimbabwe. These people are the lucky ones. The families who have
never traveled outside of Zimbabwe are the ones dying. They have no

Rapes have doubled, if not tripled. The women who had been raped by the
youth militia are nowhere to be found.
There is no medical treatment available, so most of these women are
developing full blown aids. HIV/AIDS treatment medication is inaccessible;
there is not a single hospital or clinic with its doors open.

A woman pregnant in Zimbabwe right now, is anything but joyful; most are
certain to die. If a woman is unlucky enough to be in need of a caesarean
for birth, she has two choices. She must pay the $400 dollars to get this
procedure done, or her family creates a vigil as she dies. Death in these
cases is almost imminent.

In the LA times on Friday, Robyn Dixon interviewed a member of the Central
Intelligence office, the CIA of Zimbabwe.,0,4184119.story.

The CIO agent speaking anonymously and "Estimates that 60% to 70% of CIO
officers -- all but the hard-line ideologues -- no longer back Mugabe." Even
with Mugabe's support deteriorating it is not likely to change the outcome
in Zimbabwe. Conformity is a prerequisite to those in Mugabe's regime. No
matter what your personal feelings, conform or risk death. This is why
change cannot happen from inside Zimbabwe.

My friend recently pleaded with her husband to get their three children to a
neighboring country. All their friends beg for food as they watch their
children starve to death. Some of the Zimbabweans have had to bring food in
by bus to feed their families. They cannot bring in enough food to feed
everyone. She has struggled to help many to stay alive, but her life has
been threatened, so she is now in hiding. Her husband drove all night to
visit with her. She almost did not recognize him as he drove up; he had not
had a bath in months. His skin was very dry and much darker than she
remembered. He smelled as if he had "all the sewage of Gaborone on him", she

Nowhere do I hear a discussion of Mugabe's Syphilis. I often wonder if this
disease has ravaged this man's mind or do I use that as an excuse. It is
hard for me to imagine a man turned so rotten from the inside out. His
thirst for power and insatiable greed has destroyed this incredible country.
Perhaps we can learn from the destruction of Zimbabwe that the actions of
power and greed can destroy us all.

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'It's almost a form of prison genocide'

      Basildon Peta
     November 23 2008 at 01:54PM

At least 20 prisoners are dying every day of hunger and disease in
Zimbabwe's over-crowded jails because President Robert Mugabe's embattled
government can no longer provide food to prisons.

While weary Zimbabweans have grown accustomed to a life of food shortages,
lack of water and electricity and ubiquitous outbreaks of disease, like the
current cholera epidemic which has claimed nearly 300 lives, officials said
the situation was "indescribable" for the tens of thousands confined in
Zimbabwe's notoriously inhumane prisons.

"An ordinary jail sentence in Zimbabwe today is as good as a death
sentence," said a senior prison official interviewed last week.

"We can no longer cope with the numbers of those dying and whose
bodies are not being collected by struggling relatives."

Two senior Zimbabwean prison officials, who agreed to be interviewed
on the state of Zimbabwean prisons last week on condition they were not be
named, described the dire situation in Zimbabwe's jails.

They said at least 20 prisoners die daily in the different prisons
across the country, due mainly to a lack of food and ubiquitous diseases.

On one day alone in September this year, 57 deaths were recorded from
different jails around the country.

The officers spoke as Zimbabwe's main state referral hospitals in
Bulawayo and Harare had virtually closed shop because of a shortage of
water, drugs, equipment and staff.

The Mugabe government has been underplaying the health crisis,
particularly the latest cholera outbreak, admitting to "only 90 deaths".

James McGee, the US ambassador to Harare, whose government helps fund
HIV/Aids-linked health initiatives in Zimbabwe, said 294 deaths had so far
been recorded.

The figure has since been confirmed to Zimbabwean media outlets by
health workers and non-governmental organisations, who have warned the
cholera death figures could be higher since most victims are dying at home.
The United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the 294 deaths
late on Friday and warned that the situation was worsening.

But while the cholera outbreak, which fleeing Zimbabweans have since
spread to South Africa, killing three in Musina last week, is in the public
domain, the most suffering away from public glare is unfolding in Zimbabwe's

The prison officers emphasised that they were being conservative in
their estimates of at least 20 deaths per day as national figures were not
always made available and, they were basing their estimates on the deaths
being reported at the big prisons they worked at in Harare and Bulawayo
Chikurubi and Khami maximum prisons respectively.

The number did not include figures at prisons in other remote areas
like Mutimurefu Prison in Masvingo, Hwahwa Prison in Gweru, Binga Prison in
Binga, Anju Prison in Nyamandlovu, among others.

The prison officials said food supplies to prisons had virtually
stopped with prisoners being fed on boiled cabbages once a day if they are
lucky. The boiled cabbages are not accompanied by any starch, particularly
the staple sadza (thick pap or porridge), because there is no maize meal in

On other days when there is no boiled cabbage the prisoners get man'ai
(boiled maize). The food is served in small portions once a day during "good
times" but mostly once in two or even four days.

"It's almost some form of prison genocide," said one official.

The situation was made worse by the total lack of medical care in
prison clinics.

"If the public hospitals are closing because of all the problems being
talked about, imagine the situation in prison clinics. It's not even worth
talking about," said the official.

"Diseases are so widespread in the prisons that it no longer matters
for us to determine which is the most rampant. We just gather dead bodies,"
said the other official based in Harare.

"Even those ill prisoners who might have survived if they got
medication end up dying because of lack of food."

Relatives struggling with the economic crisis no longer bothered to
answer appeals to collect dead bodies and prison mortuaries are overflowing.
Those prisoners with sympathetic relatives were not spared the ordeal as
hungry prison guards stole their food brought from home.

The situation was worsened by the lack of fuel, which has prevented
the prisons service from taking prisoners to court.

Efforts to get official comment from Paradzai Zimondi, the Zimbabwe
Prisons Service boss, failed. - Independent Foreign Service

This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Argus on
November 23, 2008

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 22nd November 2008

The prospect of yet more talks under the partisan chairmanship of the late
Mbeki failed to warm even the most optimistic of us at a wintry Vigil. We
phoned our friends at the Glasgow Vigil to see how they were faring closer
to the Arctic Circle.  We were cheered to hear they were even colder than

ROHR activists in Liverpool are continuing their Saturday protests.  Isaac
Ndoro (Interim Chair ROHR Liverpool Branch) reports that they were out in
the biting cold handing out leaflets and displaying placards telling the
miserable story of Zimbabwe and collecting signatures for petitions.  He
says many of their activists have problems getting to the protests because
they cannot afford the bus fare - rather like the problem back home!  ROHR
activists in Liverpool would like to thank the community of Liverpool for
the immense support they have shown since these demonstrations started.

With the refusal of Mugabe to allow a fact-finding visit to Harare by the
Elders - including Mandela's wife Graca Machel - we hope South Africa will
realise what a poisonous regime it has clasped to its bosom. The South
Africans must wake up and smell the cholera. Read Cathy Buckle's letter this
week 'No Welcome Mat' for an insight into why the Elders were denied visas -

We are afraid that Mbeki's garlic, beetroot and lemon potion will be no more
successful with Zimbabwe than it was with AIDS and we demand that his
mandate as facilitator be revoked. If he makes any more public appearances
they should be at the Hague.

Vigil supporters were puzzled by suggestions that Zimbabwe's problems are
being prolonged by the absence of the MDC in a Mugabe government. Speaking
for our part of the Diaspora we believe no donor country will put money into
the resurrection of Zimbabwe until Mugabe takes a back seat. The mere
inclusion of the MDC in the government will not change that.

We were joined at the Vigil by Megan Redmond from Cape Town who handed out a
leaflet about the demands of the South African Coalition against Xenophobia.
The Coalition is calling for an end to the South African government's
'racist and xenophobic immigration policy' and particularly for the closure
of the Lindela Repatriation Centre near Krugersdorp. We pointed out that the
influx of Zimbabweans is likely to increase given the cholera epidemic and
the widespread food shortage.

Vigil supporters all had stories to tell of the suffering back home. One
said that in his home area, Mbare, 13 people had died of cholera in one
week, including three from one family.  People are going out to the rural
areas to get water.  Standing outside a window advertising the attractions
of visiting Zimbabwe, we notice that the Zimbabwe Embassy is not warning
tourists against the dangers of contracting cholera.

We were joined by Michael Little, of the African HIV Policy Network.  He was
looking for young Zimbabweans who have been HIV-tested (not necessarily
positive) to take part in a Pan-African group discussion on HIV.  He managed
to find several people who were willing to take part.

Another visitor was Gally Kambeu, a Zimbabwean photographer who is doing a
project on memories of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. She asked us to dig up
photos of our memories to bring to the Vigil next week for her project.

Last month we mentioned that a Zimbabwean journalist had been in contact
with us about sueing SADC if it recognised the Mugabe regime after elections
which SADC's own observers said were seriously flawed. He was back with us
today and the Vigil was able to refer him to an article this week by
Tanonoka Joseph Whande, a Zimbabwean journalist based in Botswana who
regularly broadcasts on SW Radio Africa.  His article
( strikes a chord with the
Vigil because of our campaign to get the EU to suspend government-to
government aid to SADC countries because of their failure to honour their
human rights commitments to Zimbabweans. There was agreement that
Zimbabweans would get no help from SADC, the African Union, the UN or anyone
else so we should pursue a campaign for refugee camps to be set up in the
bordering countries where Zimbabweans could get: 1) food, 2)medical
attention, 3) shelter, 4) education, no longer available at home. These
refugee camps would hopefully be paid for by Western governments with the
money saved by suspending government-to-government assistance.

There was much discussion of the outcome of the recent Zimbabwean
immigration case at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.  Many were hopeful
that it would make a difference to their asylum claims.

For latest Vigil pictures check:

FOR THE RECORD: 118 signed the register.

·   Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 24th November at 7.30 pm.
Nick Oakeshott, barrister and campaigner at Asylum Aid and James Deavin of
Howe and Co Solicitors will speak about the recent landmark decision (RN
case) by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. Venue: Downstairs at the Bell
and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross
Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
·   Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 6th December 2008, 2 - 6 pm. Venue:
Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990
724 137
·    Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays
10.30 am - 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton
Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury
Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355
(open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Paradise lost for children of Zimbabwe

Sunday, 23rd November 2008

Patrick Cooke

"Growing up in Zimbabwe was as near paradise as any boy could wish for,"
says Christopher Hingley, the rector of Petra Primary School and Petra High
School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city.

Even the most blinkered Zanu-PF spokesperson would be unable to say the same
about life for children in Zimbabwe today.

Mr Hingley, 59, was in Malta recently to raise awareness of the situation in
Zimbabwe in a personal context, and to explain how his two schools are
battling against the odds to offer children a high standard of education.

Born in Kenya to a father in the colonial service, Mr Hingley is white. He
realises that while his childhood in Zimbabwe may have been idyllic in the
1950s and 1960s, this wasn't the case for a lot children as the region
struggled to find a solution to the deep-rooted problems of racial and
political discrimination.

What really concerns Mr Hingley is that Zanu-PF - the political party of
Robert Mugabe which emerged from the victorious liberation struggle of the
1970s - perpetuates the injustice that it once fought against. It has turned
against not only the white population, but also the most vulnerable in
society to keep its hold on power.

"If people have nothing and depend entirely on the State, they will be no
threat to the regime at all," Mr Hingley tells The Sunday Times.

With talks about the make-up of a power-sharing government between Zanu-PF
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change seemingly deadlocked,
statistics point to Zimbabwe being on the verge of total failure.
Approximately 45 per cent of the population is expected to require food aid
by the begining of next year. The official level of inflation is 231 million
per cent, although Mr Hingley says that inflation stands at several trillion
per cent in reality. It has the highest orphan rate in the world in relation
to population (22 per cent).

The average life expectancy is 37 years for men and 34 for women. It is
estimated that three million Zimbabweans have fled the country. Against this
backdrop of chaos, the education system - once considered to be the best in
Africa - is close to collapse.

On October 9, Unicef issued a statement declaring that Zimbabwe's education
system is in a state of emergency. Following routine monitoring visits,
Unicef found that only an estimated 40 per cent of the country's teachers
were attending lessons, a third of pupils were reporting for classes and
district education officers were ill equipped to run national exams, which
were due to begin the following week.

Teaching unions say that state schools have had just 23 days of
uninterrupted schooling in 2008, and the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has called for the 2008 academic year to be cancelled
altogether. It has instructed its members to boycott the marking of exams,
saying they were written under unprofessional conditions.

In the mid-1990s, there was a national O-level pass rate of 72 per cent.
Last year it crashed to 11 per cent, with many schools recording zero
passes. This year is expected to be the worst ever.

Unicef is especially concerned that the collapsing education system will
have long-term repercussions for Zimbabwe's development: "Education remains
the engine to drive Zimbabwe's long-term prospects. It is critical that the
sector is not left to collapse... the situation in schools requires urgent

Only a handful of private schools like Petra are able to offer any semblance
of normality in education. Petra is a mixed-sex, ecumenical Christian
institution that includes pupils from all faiths and abilities. Its students
are approximately 75 per cent black and come from across the social
spectrum. Most parents and guardians are willing to pay fees, and Petra uses
innovative methods to raise funds and equipment to ensure that the schools
function effectively and disadvantaged pupils do not have to leave. They
have even accepted practical items, such as stationary and sports equipment,
as payment from parents unable to pay fees in Zimbabwean dollars. Unlike
most schools in the country where teachers can't afford to come to school,
Petra's capacity to pay its staff a living wage and provide an environment
conducive to education means that staff turnover is low, and well qualified
state school staff apply in droves for any vacancies.

"Our staff really believe in the school, believe in Zimbabwe, and want to
stay if we can enable them to do so," says Mr Hingley.

Private schools are hindered further by the government's requirements for
their students to pay fees approved by the state, which are "set at a
totally uneconomic level," according to Mr Hingley. School management staff
are threatened with imprisonment if they don't get government approval
before collecting the fees.

"We all want to address educational issues, but the frustrating thing is
that so much time is taken up sourcing money, sourcing supplies, paying for
things... it's very draining."

For information on how you can assist Petra schools, contact Frank Wilmot in
Malta on 7926 1646, e-mail, or e-mail Christopher
Hingley at

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ZSE shuts as Gono accuses bourse of 'economic genocide'

November 23, 2008

By Wiseman Khuzwayo

Johannesburg - Bull turned to bear at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) on Thursday when the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, unleashed measures aimed at curbing suspected fraudulent trading that was pushing up the country's already stratospheric inflation rate.

The sudden announcement took investors off guard. While markets around the world have plummeted, the ZSE has made record gains as citizens have turned to equities in a desperate attempt to protect their money from hyperinflation.

The ZSE shut down after the news on Thursday when it slumped for the third consecutive day. It did not open for trading on Friday.

On Wednesday, John Legat, the head of Imara Asset Management in Zimbabwe, noted that buying fever had continued to grip the ZSE long after global equities started to slide.

But the moves on the market were literally fantastic. The trading was out of control. The bubble had to burst.

According to a report by an analyst at Kingdom Financial, Gono warned last Friday about the madness taking place at the ZSE and the "fictitious, obnoxious and artificial wealth that is being created in an environment where fundamentals have actually not improved".

The report says investors did not heed the warning as the market continued to soar. The industrial index rose 221 percent that Friday, while the mining index shot up 712 percent.

"Investors apparently continued defiant as reflected in the continued market rally on Monday, with the industrial index closing higher by 94.54 percent … while the mining index rose 87.14 percent," says the report.

On Wednesday, Gono read the riot act to the bourse, which he had termed "a weapon of economic genocide".

On sight of Gono's drastic measures, the report says, traders panicked. They fled in all directions, turning the market into a sellers' one on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

"The industrial index fell by 38.6 percent on Tuesday, 59 percent on Wednesday and 24 percent on Thursday."

The bull market had taken place in spite of the fact that Zimbabwe has the fastest shrinking economy outside of a war zone, with unemployment and poverty at 80 percent, and the country suffering the world's highest inflation rate, which was last estimated at 231 million percent in July.

In light of this the ZSE, with 19 stock broking firms and 79 listed firms, five of which are suspended, has been the most incongruous success. This may be because it is seen as the only viable investment option.

Legat said daily moves of more than 200 percent on the ZSE index were now normal. On some days, individual stocks rose by 100 000 percent.

"Fundamentals on individual stocks have largely been ignored as individuals and institutions are investing in the stock market regardless of risk as it is one of the few places left where Zimbabwe dollars are accepted as currency," he said.
"Rather than have Zimbabwe dollar cash balances in a bank wasting away, investors are instructing their stock brokers to buy anything liquid."

After going after traders, Gono threatened on Thursday to withdraw licences from banks, saying they were engaged in rampant corruption and ill discipline that threatened to finish off the battered economy.

In his statement, the central bank governor accused the banks of underhanded manipulation of the money and capital markets, which were already worsening the dire economic situation the country was facing.

Gono said: "As monetary authorities, our hearts are heavy that contrary to the noble purpose for which the ZSE was created, which is that of acting as a progressive vehicle for mobilisation of productive capital, the ZSE has literally galloped astray, in the process creating obscene paper wealth that is causing havoc in the economy."

The analyst at Kingdom Financial said a number of fraudulent activities had been taking place on the ZSE, demonstrating how the bourse had, according to Gono, become the "epicentre of economic destruction". These included:

  • The ZSE allowed some stock brokers to falsely bid up share prices, when in fact the same stock brokers had absolutely no money to pay for the shares, resulting in some counters rising by more than 2 million percent in a single day.

  • As shares were rising at astronomical rates daily, an "investor" would start the day with nothing in his bank account and end the day with huge sums of "false wealth" that would culminate in disproportionate demand for cash in the economy.

  • The ZSE was deliberately indexing the entire stock exchange to Old Mutual's share price. The whole economy was being priced via the Old Mutual rate, the share price of which had no relationship with economic fundamentals.

  • Some stock brokers were buying shares cheaply in the morning call-overs and then driving up the prices before selling the same share at inflated prices later in the day.

  • The ZSE had been, and continued, to operate without any strict rules and regulations prohibiting ill discipline and rogue behaviour.

    The report says the Zimbabwean finance minister appointed five members to the securities commission on September 2.

    Their brief is to provide high levels of investor protection; reduce systemic risk; promote market integrity; prevent market manipulation, fraud and financial crime; ensure transparency in capital and financial markets; and promote investor education.

    But it says the commission has been blamed for the current mess and has been accused of "management-by-walking-around".

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    Why Slyvia had to die

    How a Zanu-PF plot led to the death of a young girl

    Slyvia Mudzingwa was a confident young woman from Zvishavane, a mining town
    in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe. She was an enthusiastic recruit to the
    police service in Harare, and - even given the stricken state of the
    country - she could be said to have a promising future. Now she is dead, and
    the story of what led to her death is both shocking and heart-breaking.

    The manner of her death was brutal. Two months into her training at the
    Morris Police Depot in Harare, she was beaten by her instructing officer,
    Inspector Maone, allegedly for laziness during a physical training session.
    Maone did a thorough job. Slyvia died on her way to hospital.  An internal
    memo reveals a pathetic attempt at a cover-up, her death being put down to
    an "awkward fall."

    But it is the real reason that lies behind this horrific incident which will
    tell the world of the reality of life in Zimbabwe today. Slyvia had a lover
    within the police service - the same man who beat her. Inspector Maone.

    Maone is also a member of  the feared Department 58, a police unit devoted
    to abductions, killings, and the like. Through her relationship with him,
    Slyvia knew of a crucial Zanu-PF plot - and she talked about it.

    Slyvia had to be silenced. A warning, even a beating, was not thought
    sufficient. But her fatal "awkward fall" was, and the plot proceeded.

    The plot went into action two weeks ago, when a 4x4 Nissan truck, carrying
    five men and 10 boxes of AK47 weapons, was apparently intercepted on the
    border with Mozambique by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
    Mugabe's secret police. It was announced that the men were all agents of
    Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and had
    all been trained in Britain and America in terrorism and subversion.

    Pictures were taken. Statements were made. And the men were all arrested,
    and incarcerated in Chikurubi Maximum Security prison, there to await trial
    and punishment.

    Co-incidentally, at this time the leaders of the Southern African States
    were gathering in Johannesburg to try and break the political impasse in
    Zimbabwe. "See!" declared Zanu-PF to those leaders - "See - these MDC people
    can't be trusted. They are attacking the state. Therefore they cannot be
    given control of the vital Ministry of Home Affairs in any government of
    national unity."

    The truth is, of course, the whole deal was cooked up by the CIO, who
    supplied truck, weapons and men. The five men are indeed at Chikurubi
    prison. They'll stay there until the heat dies down, other events occur, and
    they are forgotten. Then they will be quietly released, to carry on with
    their duties on behalf of Zanu-PF.

    We know all this for two reasons. Firstly, Slyvia talked enough, before she
    was killed. And second, we've been here before. Long-term observers may
    remember the case of 20 soldiers, said to be rogue supporters of MDC who
    allegedly beat up innocent Zanu-PF voters at election time. All 20 were
    paraded on TV in chains, and sent to Chikurubi. None were ever tried. All
    have now been released.

    Indeed, Mugabe's men pulled the same trick back in the Eighties at the start
    of the infamous Operation Gukurahundi. Arms were planted on a farm owned by
    the Ndebele-aligned party Zapu, and used as an excuse to start the killings
    of the Ndebele people. At least 20,000 people died as a result.

    Today, Slyvia alone has died. Her death is just as cruel, just as brutal as
    all the others.

    Posted on Sunday, 23 November 2008 at 12:59

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    Brazilian Coach Valinhos To Report Zimbabwe To FIFA

    23/11/2008 13:29

    Brazilian coach Jose Valinhos has threatened to drag Zimbabwe to the world
    soccer governing body regarding his unpaid salaries.

    The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has not paid Valinhos since May,
    and the Brazilian coach has offered to receive his salaries for six months
    and forgo those of November and December, in order to receive payment.

    He told journalists, "I've offered to them to do that since they have no
    money. But still they haven't honoured that. If they don't pay me before I
    return to Brazil, I will have to report to FIFA,"

    Valinhos, who took charge of the Zimbabwe national team in January of this
    year, warned his successor Sunday Chidzambwa he faces similar frustration
    with ZIFA.

    "They (ZIFA) have to change, otherwise the new coach will face the same
    problems as I faced. To Sunday I say good luck. I wish him all the best,"
    said the coach, whose contract was to expire next month.

    Chidzambwa, who helped Zimbabwe qualify for their first-ever Nations Cup
    final in Tunisia in 2004, admitted his new job will be a very difficult one.

    "People must not expect good results instantly. This is a very difficult job
    ahead of me and I will try my level best. I may succeed, I may not," said
    the former Dynamos coach.

    Samm Audu

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