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Cholera sweeps through Zimbabwe as Robert Mugabe's regime tries to hide the crisis
November 23, 2008

(Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

A woman suspected of cholera is brought in a pushcart to a clinic in Harare

There is sewage flowing in the streets, endless mounds of rubbish, a broken water supply – and a cholera epidemic that has Zimbabwe’s Health Minister admitting that he is scared.

This is the grim picture that a team of international statesmen would have seen in this suburb of the capital, had they not been barred from Zimbabwe. It is a picture common all over the country, with the World Health Organisation saying that by late last week about 300 people had died from cholera and 6,000 had been infected. Médecins Sans Frontières, the international health charity, estimates that 1.4 million people are at risk.

According to a senior member of another international medical charity the numbers may be far higher. “The 300 deaths all occurred in hospitals,” the official said. “The number of deaths in the community must be up to 400 per cent higher.”

In six weeks the epidemic has spread to nine out of ten provinces, according to David Parirenyatwa, the Health Minister. “I am scared,” he said. “We cannot control cholera as long as there is no water.”

The situation had been made significantly worse by the heavy rains that had just started, he said. Cholera was being washed into the shallow back-yard wells that were the main source of drinking water.

In the border town of Beitbridge, 50 people have died in the tiny hospital. “The spatial distribution of outbreaks will most likely continue to expand as well as the number of people infected,” the UN predicted.

This weekend Jimmy Carter, the former US President, Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, and Graca Machel, the human rights advocate and wife of Nelson Mandela, pulled out of a visit to Zimbabwe after they were denied visas. The planned trip to Harare was described by the Mugabe Government as “a partisan mission by a group of people with partisan interests”.

“It seems obvious to me that the leaders of the Government are immune to reaching out for help for their own people,” Mr Carter said.

Opposition figures had hoped that such a high-profile visit would have focused international attention on the country’s plight. Zimbabwe’s refusal to let them in showed that the Mugabe regime had something to hide, an editorial in the independent weekly Standard newspaper said.

“The extent to which Zimbabwe’s leaders are prepared to sacrifice lives in order to safeguard their hold on power is unparalleled,” it added. The Government appears to be making attempts to mask the crisis. A polyclinic in Budiriro was surrounded by plastic sheets yesterday and youths in Zanu (PF) T-shirts kept journalists out.

The conditions in Budiriro are echoed in nearly all Zimbabwe’s urban townships, according to a senior health worker. “The country’s entire urban population living in unsanitary conditions is at risk,” he said.

The Health Minister appears to be out of step with the rest of the Government. Two weeks ago Gideon Gono, the Governor of the Central Bank, dismissed demands by health specialists for the cholera epidemic to be declared a national emergency. He told Cabinet ministers that the Government had enough resources to cope.

However, three weeks ago when the disease broke out in Harare, the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital turned into a big infection centre. Scores of patients lay on the floors of wards awash in faeces and vomit until aid agencies virtually forced their way in with medication, drips, buckets and mops, disinfectant, water decon-taminants and extra nurses.

Nearly all the drilling of boreholes for communal water pumps and provision of water tanks in the townships is by aid agencies. “The Government has no resources,” the aid agency official said. Committees made up of officials from the Health Ministry, the World Health Organisation and medical charities have been formed to fight against the epidemic. “But no one from the Health Ministry or Zinwa [the Zimbabwe National Water Authority] bothers to turn up,” the official said.

Mr Gono has promised the water authority several million US dollars to equip itself for a big overhaul of water supplies but so far the only sign of it is 28 pickup vehicles. Four of those had to be taken from senior managers who had taken them for their personal use.

Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, said that the epidemic would have been brought under control long ago if the finance had been provided. The Standard quoted an anonymous senior official in the water authority as saying: “We were never given any money, we just read about it in the newspapers.”

The Government has even turned the epidemic to its advantage, banning a rally planned in Harare by the Movement for Democratic Change “because of the cholera situation”.

Sick and tired

— Zimbabwe’s hospital system has virtually shut down after walkouts by staff over wages, working conditions and a lack of supplies

— Life expectancy has dropped from 60 years for both sexes to 37 years for men and 34 for women in the past decade

— In April the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said that the country’s health system was “crippled by dilapidated infrastructure, drug shortages, equipment breakdowns, brain drain and costs of healthcare skyrocketing beyond the reach of the majority of Zimbabweans”

— Last week Zimbabwe’s only medical school closed. It said that it could not function under the prevailing conditions

— Harare's two main state hospitals have shut down maternity services

Sources: agencies, ZADHR,

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Mugabe must be re-sworn-Motlanthe

Local News
November 24, 2008 | By Gerald Harper |
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe has said President Robert Mugabe
must re-sworn at the same day when Prime Minister Designate Morgan
Tsvangirai is sworn - in his boldest statement to date that indicates that
South Africa does not recognize Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe.

He told a press briefing after holding talks with his Botswana counterpart
Ian Khama, "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, so that Mr Tsvangirai could be sworn in as
prime minister andMutambara as the vice prime minister and Mugabe as the
president, so that once the three of them have been sworn in they can then
form an inclusive government."

President Ian Khama meets the Elders group
Botswana President Ian Khama met with members of the Elders group in
Johannesburg after they were refused entry into Zimbabwe on Saturday.

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

Carter, Annan and Grace Machel, wife of former South African predisent
Nelson Mandela 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.

The Elders Group have already held talks with the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also in Johannesburg .
The MDC is at loggerheads with the ZANU-PF party, led by Mugabe, over the
allocation of Cabinet Ministers and other positions in a proposed unity

The Elders Group will hold talks with President Motlanthe in Johannesburg on
Monday about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean Government has been reported as saying that they
have not refused Annan and his group entry but that the Elders Group had not
proper arrangements for their visit.

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Victims tell of vicious floggings in 'The Cage' as Mugabe henchmen carry out Operation No Return

Published Date: 24 November 2008
By Jane Fields
in Zimbabwe
A PACKET of throat lozenges saved his life, he believes.
The sweets were tucked into his top breast pocket when around six police and
plainclothes officials came to his home in Zimbabwe's eastern city of Mutare
this month.

They arrested the man, an elderly artisan, on charges of illegally dealing
in diamonds, an accusation he vehemently denies.

Late at night, he was driven along the bumpy road to the Chiadzwa diamond
fields and herded into a "cage", which measured 12 metres by 15, underneath
a tree stripped of all leaves.

A lone lightbulb illuminated the 70 or so other inmates of the cage, all
suspected diamond diggers and dealers. "This is where I saw the worst of
mankind," he said.

The Zimbabwe authorities are calling it Operation Hakudzokwi, or No Return.

Police and soldiers have launched a massive push to clear the diamond fields
of Chiadzwa, where thousands of Zimbabweans have found riches in an
uncontrolled two-year-long diamond rush.

Sources say that the head of the air force, Perence Shiri, was in Manicaland
province earlier this month to supervise the clampdown. Helicopters are
regularly seen travelling from an army barracks in Mutare in the direction
of Chiadzwa.

The Scotsman spoke to one man who was caught up in the clampdown. His
buttocks and the base of his back are purple from where he was beaten.

There were 20 to 30 beatings a day inside the "cage", said the man, who
cannot be named for his own safety. "I saw at least two people beaten to the
stage where blood came through their trousers," he said.

One woman who was found in possession of a small scale used for weighing
diamonds and at least 200 (possibly fake) US dollars was beaten with a
switch more than one and a half metres long. After the beatings, an army
medical officer dispensed painkilling tablets, thought to be codeine.

Officials close to the clampdown told the local Manica Post newspaper this
week: "After this operation, no gweja (illegal dealer] will think of going
to Chiadzwa again."

Diamonds were first discovered in Chiadzwa in 2006. Until recently,
President Robert Mugabe's administration tolerated almost uncontrolled
mining: villagers were allowed to believe the stones were a gift from their
ancestors to help them through Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

School pupils, teachers and up to 10,000 foreigners joined the diamond
craze, turning the normally sleepy city of Mutare into a magnet for fortune
seekers, prostitutes and plasma-TV sellers.

But last month, the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono,
announced that the country was losing $1.3 billion a month from the illegal
diamond trade. That revelation appears to have prompted Operation No Return.

Police are now trawling Mutare's suburbs with a list of the people they
believe have recently come into wealth, and are thus suspected diamond

Out in dusty Chiadzwa, police patrol on horseback with dogs. The army has
set up a tented barracks. There are testimonies of terrified youths fleeing
in terror as plainclothes officers shoot at them.

Already, there have been a number of deaths: the Manica Post reported on
Friday that 20 bodies of illegal panners lay unclaimed in Mutare mortuaries,
some of them shot in clashes with the security forces.

Locals claim around seven bodies were brought in broad daylight to Mutare
central police station earlier this month.

The elderly man was released after two nights in custody. Though he had been
handed a plate of sadza and cabbage to share with three others at mealtimes,
he says the throat lozenges kept him going in the dust and the heat.

As he was crouching on the ground before his release, an army officer knelt
down next to him. "I'm sorry about what has happened to you," he said.

"Things will change soon."


THE Chiadzwa diamond field, also known as the Marange Fields, used to be
managed by De Beers.

Under Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF government, it was confiscated from
African Consolidated Resources (ACR) and handed to the state-owned Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation in December 2006. Strongly condemning violent
police raids on illegal diamond diggers, the company has since taken the
government to court.

ACR says it has no way of preventing the violence as staff are denied entry
by the police.

In the most recent raid by state security forces, 10,000 people were digging
for diamonds about 20 miles north-east of Mutare.

Police, some on horseback, floodlit the area and unleashed their dogs, then
began firing after people started attacking the dogs with iron bars. It is
thought about 14 to 16 people died. But Wayne Bvudzijena, an assistant
police commissioner, has denied having any knowledge about the raid.

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Send the troops into Zimbabwe, says Kenya's Raila Odinga

November 24, 2008

Foreign Staff
Raila Odinga, the Kenyan Prime Minister, broke ranks with African leaders
yesterday and called for international peacekeepers to be sent to Zimbabwe.

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

Mr Odinga was himself a victim of election-rigging, when President Kibaki
was declared the winner of disputed polls in Kenya last year. He has been
critical of the Mugabe regime, but also of other African leaders who turn a
blind eye to Zimbabwe's suffering. "To many African leaders the situation in
Zimbabwe has returned to normal," Mr Odinga said. "This is because these
leaders carry the same baggage like Mugabe."

He added: "Mugabe was a freedom fighter who spent many years in the jail,
but I don't believe that when you are a freedom fighter you acquire a title
deed to own the nation."

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Talks on draft Bill must address outstanding issues: MDC


            by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 24 November 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition said on Sunday it expected constitutional
talks with President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party this week to also
address all outstanding issues including equitable sharing of power in a
proposed unity government.

Zimbabwe's rival parties are expected to meet in South Africa on Tuesday to
discuss a draft constitutional Bill that would allow Mugabe to form a unity
government outlined under a September 15 power-sharing agreement.

The deal has stalled as the Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition MDC party and
ZANU PF fight over control of key ministries, distribution of gubernatorial
posts, ambassadorships and other top government posts.

There had been fears the MDC - which has refused to join the unity
government until all its demands are met - could boycott this week's meeting
called by mediator former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told ZimOnline: "To the extent that all
outstanding issues are going to be addressed the participation of the MDC
becomes inevitable and obvious."

Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga was not immediately available on Sunday
to shed light on whether the meeting will be limited to reviewing
Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill or it would discuss all issues
pertaining to the power-sharing agreement.

But the regional SADC grouping ruled two weeks ago that MDC and ZANU PF
jointly control the ministry of home affairs that had been in dispute and
ordered the rivals to immediately form a unity government - a ruling that
appeared to close debate on the other issues that the MDC still wants

The MDC rejected the ruling and accused SADC - which is the guarantor to the
power-sharing accord - of siding with Mugabe.

Meanwhile SADC chairman, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe has
appealed to Zimbabwe's political parties to begin constitutional processes
that will create a unity government, South African media reported on Sunday.

Motlanthe made the appeal after holding a meeting with Botswana President
Ian Khama.

He said: "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, so that Mr Morgan Tsvangirai could be sworn in as
prime minister and Arthur Mutambara as the vice prime minister and Robert
Mugabe as the president."

Khama has openly criticised Mugabe, 84, for continuing to cling to power and
called for new elections in Zimbabwe should the power-sharing agreement
collapse - a call rejected by Harare as unwarranted interference in Zimbabwe's

Zimbabweans hope a power-sharing government would help ease the political
situation and allow the country to focus on tackling an economic crisis
marked by the world's highest inflation rate of 231 million percent, severe
shortages of food and basic commodities. - ZimOnline

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Elders' statement on Zim's refusal to grant them entry


           Monday 24 November 2008

Elders refused entry in Zimbabwe

The Elders' delegation cancelled its trip to Zimbabwe this weekend after it
was refused entry into the country for a humanitarian mission, it announced
on Saturday.

The Elders' delegation has three members, former United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former United States president Jimmy Carter
and international advocate for women's and children's rights Graca Machel.

"We need no red carpet treatment from the government of Zimbabwe," said
Annan. "We seek no permission other than permission to help the poor and the

"However the refusal of the Zimbabwean government to facilitate our visit in
any way has made it impossible for us to travel at this time." Annan said
millions of people are in need of help in Zimbabwe.

"We want to use our influence to increase the flow of assistance,
immediately and in the longer term, to stop the terrible suffering. We are
here to show solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and to assure them that
they are not alone," he said.

Machel said she was "extremely" disappointed that they were unable to visit
the country.

"We want to talk to the people and hear their stories directly. We want
people to know that we care, and that we will do all we can to help them.
People are dying from hunger every day in Zimbabwe and hospitals are unable
to treat the sick."

"With schools struggling to stay open, children are missing out on an
education. One in four children has lost one or both parents. "The
government's attitude to our visit is deeply regrettable," she said.

President Jimmy Carter, who actively supported Zimbabwe's liberation
struggle while in office, said: "I am partisan. I make no apology for that.

"I supported Zimbabwe's liberation struggle and I oppose suffering and
misery. But I am very sorry that we are unable to visit Zimbabwe."

"We will continue with our plans to learn as much as we can while we are
here in the region, where millions of Zimbabweans inside and outside the
country face a daily struggle for survival."

The Elders will remain in South Africa to brief themselves as fully as
possible about the situation in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries.

They will speak to humanitarian agency representatives, civil society
organisers, business people and officials from Zimbabwe, South Africa and
the region. -

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Khama in SA over Zimbabwe impasse

 24 November 2008

Ernest Mabuza

BOTSWANA's President Ian Khama flew into SA yesterday in an attempt to
persuade SA to press Zimbabwean politicians to resolve their long-standing
dispute on power-sharing.

Khama requested the meeting during the week because SA currently chairs the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) presidency, President Kgalema
Motlanthe's spokesman, Thabo Masebe, said yesterday.

Khama said he and Motlanthe agreed to "do anything in our power" to break
the impasse in Zimbabwe , where the parties have not implemented a
power-sharing deal brokered by former president Thabo Mbeki in September.

"Our biggest concern is that the focus is moving away from the plight of the
Zimbabwean people, who are suffering through starvation and disease," Khama

Zimbabwe's neighbours such as Botswana have felt the effect of the crisis,
with millions of Zimbabweans fleeing across borders in search of jobs and

Khama, one of the region's toughest critics on Zimbabwe, earlier this month
called for an internationally supervised rerun of the presidential poll. It
is, however, unclear how much influence Khama or Botswana can exert on the
15-member SADC, which has done little to bring an end to the problems in

Political analyst Steven Friedman said Botswana was not a major force in
SADC, nor was the country influential enough on its own to force change in

David Moore, professor of d evelopment s tudies at the University of
Johannesburg, said Khama was emblematic of a younger generation that did not
want to kowtow to the old guard.

Moore said, however, if Botswana persisted in being vociferous against
Mugabe, Mugabe might accuse Botswana of being a lackey of the US.

Mugabe had always waited until something went his way. "Waiting suits him,"
Moore said.

Khama yesterday also met the so-called Elders humanitarian delegation of
former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, former US president
Jimmy Carter and advocate for women and children's rights Graça Machel . The
three were denied entry to Zimbabwe at the weekend.

Motlanthe is scheduled to meet the Elders today. With AP

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Migrants throw financial lifeline to Zimbabwe

By Richard Lapper

Published: November 23 2008 21:19 | Last updated: November 23 2008 21:19

The boxes of cooking oil, soap and bleach and the sacks of white maize flour
look too awkward a cargo for the Harare-bound passenger coach that is parked
in a rundown corner of downtown Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial hub.

But the driver, Masondo Crispen, is confident the goods can be accommodated.
There will be plenty of room too for the envelopes of rand bank notes that
Mr Crispen will deliver to Zimbabwean families. To anyone who asks, he is
happy to quote commission rates too: R200 ($19, €15, £12) for every R1,000
transported and R100 per box, with discounts depending on quantity.

Mr Crispen is not alone. In the streets surrounding the city’s Park railway
station it is not hard to find taxi and bus drivers happy to supplement
their income by taking money and food into Zimbabwe at the request of
migrant workers.
The remittances trade from this corner of South Africa has become a lifeline
for Zimbabweans, whose economy is disintegrating amid a catastrophic decline
in food production and hyperinflation. Although the drivers’ services are
expensive – more than four times the rates that migrant workers typically
pay in other countries to send money home – Zimbabweans have little option
but to pay them.

Sending money electronically is cheaper but the remittance services are
hedged with official restrictions (designed to prevent capital flight and
money laundering) and can be complicated for migrants who tend to work in
the informal economy.

“If I didn’t send them back the money, they would starve,” says Livingstone
Sitole, 35, who scratches a living as a gardener and regularly cycles to
Park station to send his earnings home. “If you don’t have family outside
Zimbabwe, you are in a very bad situation.”

Bryson Mudonga, 25, who arrived in Johannesburg in February and makes model
elephants, giraffes and ostriches from wire and beads, which he sells to
tourists, says: “My family would suffer so much if I didn’t send food.” Most
of the money he makes is spent on provisions and making up a package to
despatch home to his wife and eight-year-old son in the town of Masvingo.

Their stories are typical among the estimated 1m Zimbabweans who have fled
to South Africa. Although official numbers are unavailable and the size of
flows difficult to track, the signs are that the support is becoming more
important by the day as Zimbabwe’s crisis deepens.

“We have seen a highly significant increase in business from Zimbabweans and
I suspect the informal sector is growing pretty fast as well,” says Nikki
Spottiswood, the Johannesburg-based regional director for Africa at
MoneyGram, a remittance company.

Zimbabwe’s economic outlook could not be more dire. With Robert Mugabe,
president, still refusing to concede control of key ministries to political
opponents following disputed elections this year, most foreign economic aid
has been suspended. Food aid – offered by the UN’s World Food Programme – is
increasing but may still not cover shortfalls. The collapse of utilities
such as water provision has been highlighted by an outbreak of cholera, from
which more than 290 people have died.

Not surprisingly it seems more and more of the remittance money is being
spent on food and basics such as soap, torch batteries and bleach, which is
used to cleanse water. Themba Ngwenya, a 32-year-old who makes about R3,000
a month as a gardener, still sends remittances regularly to help pay for
rent and school fees for his family in Bulawayo. But he also recently
started to dispatch an additional package containing rice, maize, soap and
salt. “I have started to buy everything for them.”

A few years ago Mr Sitole’s remittances used to go towards the purchase of a
cow or building materials for his family’s eight-hectare farm near Mutare.
But now all the money is spent on maize flour that his wife converts into a
stiff porridge. With seed quality deteriorating and fertilisers hard to
find, output at the family farm – which a decade ago produced up to 12 tons
of maize a year – has slumped to next to nothing. And local shops are more
likely to accept rands or dollars than local currency, rendered practically
worthless by an inflation rate that is running at about 100 per cent a day.

Steve Hanke, a Washington-based economics professor, who has studied
hyperinflation and is monitoring the country’s economy, forecasts that
Zimbabwe is on course to break the record for the highest rate – exceeding
the 195 per cent a day notched up by the Soviet-backed government of Hungary
shortly after the second world war. That looks likely to put further
pressure on migrants.

As Sibanengi Dube, of the Johannesburg-based Zimbabwe Refugee Forum, puts
it: “The economy is in free fall. Families only really survive if they have
a son or a daughter here or abroad.”

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Zanu-PF funds trapped in embattled bank

November 23, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Close to Z$200 quadrillion meant to bankroll the Zanu-PF conference
scheduled for December is locked up in an embattled financial institution
fingered by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as having been involved in
fraudulent drawing of bank cheques.

Top party sources said the party had invested the money in First Banking
Corporation, (FBC) ejected from the clearing house by the central bank for
failure to fund its clearing obligations last week.

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and some senior party officials have
a major stake in FBC.

The declared shaky financial standing of the bank due to graft dovetails
with a recent Zanu-PF Politburo audit report which stated that the party's
companies were in a state of shambles due to gross mismanagement.

Zanu-PF's report of the committee on party investments tabled at the
extra-ordinary congress last year revealed that Zanu-PF companies such as
FBC were riddled with managerial corruption and incompetent management which
could have prejudiced the ruling party of billions of dollars in cash and

The report said some of the companies had virtually collapsed, while others
had not been audited for years and their financial accounts were a complete

In ejecting the bank from the clearing house last week, Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono said that he was aware of the shareholders of FBC but
"this was not time for partisanship".

Gono said he had unearthed malpractices at FBC involving fraudulent drawing
of bank cheques.

Employees at FBC were conniving with members of the public to fraudulently
draw cheques and used them to purchase shares on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange, foreign exchange and other speculative assets.

Gono said Zanu-PF's bank was the chief culprit in the financial scandal
involving cheques valued at over $40 hexillion that have been intercepted
with some of them having already been deployed on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange, while others had found their way onto the parallel market.

There were plans to place FBC under curatorship by the central bank
governor, meaning the party would only be able to access its cash after six

The financial institution, among four that have been kicked out of the
clearing house, could be unable to honour its financial obligations to the
embattled Zanu-PF party.

According to the sources, the money Zanu-PF had raised through donations and
from other sources for the annual conference, was invested with the
embattled financial institution, where the party holds a bank account.

Ephraim Masawi, Zanu-PF's deputy spokesman has told the state media that
among donations to the party are 124 herd of cattle, 81 goats and 18 pigs
that the party plans to slaughter for the consumption of the 5 000 delegates
expected at the conference.

Zanu-PF secretary for finance David Karimanzira could not be reached for
comment. He was said to be out at his farm over the weekend. A top Politburo
member who could neither confirm nor deny that the party had deposited its
funds in the troubled financial institutions, insisted the December
conference, scheduled to run from December 10 to 14, would go ahead

"Look," he said, "our conference is proceeding as planned with or without
that money. What is in that bank is small change. We have a proven track
record of mobilizing financial resources."

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Hands off HIV/Aids funds, activists tell RBZ

23rd Nov 2008 22:33 GMT

By Ian Nhuka

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS (ZNPP+)
has called on the government to disburse donor money directly to AIDS
service organisations to curb State misappropriation of funds.

ZNPP+ chairman, Benjamin Mazhindu said his organisation strongly condemns
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for diverting donor money meant to
provide life-saving anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) and food assistance to
members of his organisation.

To ensure that the misappropriation does not recur, he said the central bank
must give the money immediately non-governmental organisations and then
institute measures to audit the funds to determine how the NGOs use it.

"It is ridiculous that at a time when people are dying of AIDS-related
complications, the central bank is diverting money meant to save those
lives," he said.

"Zvavakaita hazvina kusiyana nekudya mari yechema. Unoita munyama. (What the
RBZ did is like squandering money meant to mourn the dead, it should never
happen or bad luck will follow you)."

Mazhindu's angry remarks come after recent revelations that the central bank
diverted US$7, 2 million that had been provided by the UN Global Fund to
Fight HIV and AIDS, TB and Malaria.

The revelations created an international furore with the donor community and
NGOs expressing shock at the insensitivity with which the government
misspent the money at a time the AIDS pandemic is killing thousands of
people because of lack of drugs, food, and equipment.

The diversion almost led to the withholding of US$500 million more in
assistance from the Global Fund, one of the world's biggest financiers of
HIV and AIDS programmes.

However, the RBZ, which had diverted the US$7, 2 million to purchase
tractors and other farm equipment, managed to raise the amount and paid it
back to the donor agency.

This paved the way for the expected disbursement of the US$500 million.

Mazhindu said what worries members of his organisation more is that none of
them were allocated any machinery, yet the money spent on importing the farm
equipment was originally meant to provide for them.

"We are calling on the central bank not to hold the money for too long, once
the donor community sends it here," he added.

"That money must be sent directly to organisations that represent the
intended beneficiaries. This, we feel, will eliminate the possibility of the
money being misappropriated again. They can then send their auditors from
time to time to get an appreciation of how the money is being used."

Zimbabwe's application to the Global Fund for assistance was approved a few
weeks ago. This is only the third time that her application has succeeded
after five previous ones were rejected because of technical shortcomings.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries facing a huge HIV and AIDS crisis, worsened
by the economic down turn that has deepened poverty, resulted in severe
brain drain, widespread shortage of drugs and equipment.

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Has South Africa Figured It Out?


Published: November 23, 2008
After months of enabling Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, South Africa has decided
to withhold $30 million in farm aid until there is a representative
government in Harare. That is only a fraction of South Africa's assistance,
but we hope that it means that Pretoria has finally lost patience with the
dictator. Without strong and sustained outside pressure, Mr. Mugabe will
never loosen his death grip on power.

Mr. Mugabe is refusing to honor a power-sharing deal negotiated with his
rival Morgan Tsvangirai - the man who should be Zimbabwe's president. Mr.
Tsvangirai won the first round of voting but was forced to withdraw from the
runoff by Mr. Mugabe's army-backed thugs. Mr. Mugabe is now insisting on
keeping control of both the police and the army.

The Southern African Development Community, the 15-nation regional bloc, is
pushing Mr. Tsvangirai to accept a compromise in which Mr. Mugabe retains
control of the army and intelligence services, while the two men share
control of the police. It is a bad deal and Mr. Tsvangirai is right to
resist. The S.A.D.C. must not recognize Mr. Mugabe as Zimbabwe's president
unless the power-sharing agreement is put into effect. While the region's
leaders temporize, life in Zimbabwe grows more desperate each day. According
to the United States ambassador in Harare, more than 1.5 million Zimbabweans
now face starvation, the health system has collapsed and cholera is
spreading due to poor sanitation. Mr. Mugabe, who has driven his country to
ruin, cares only about himself and his cronies.

On the face of it, South Africa's decision to withhold farm aid from a
population in distress might seem cruel. But the affected assistance
includes fertilizer, farm equipment and fuel - which are not needed until
next year's planting season. American officials and experts say any aid
given directly to the government would only benefit Mr. Mugabe, not ordinary

What Zimbabwe urgently needs is food. Over two months ago, the United
Nations World Food Program appealed for $140 million more to directly feed
Zimbabweans in need. So far, it has not received firm commitments.
(Washington, the biggest donor, gave $186 million in humanitarian assistance
in 2008.) Zimbabwe's neighbors and others must contribute.

Unfortunately, South Africa's show of pique is unlikely to be enough to
alter Mr. Mugabe's behavior. His recent decision not to let former President
Jimmy Carter and former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan into Zimbabwe was
another sign of his contempt for international opinion. Pretoria must
quickly rally African and world leaders to bring serious pressure on the
aging dictator: denying visas to his cronies; freezing bank accounts and
other assets; seeking other ways to show that the terrorizing of Zimbabwe
will no longer be tolerated.

There can be no defense of Mr. Mugabe and the devastation he has brought to
his country.

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Mugabe's arrogance is hurting his people


Gulf News
Published: November 24, 2008, 00:04

The enduring arrogance of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe continues to
shock the world. He has just refused to allow entry into Zimbabwe to former
UN chief Kofi Annan, former US president Jimmy Carter and Grace Machel, wife
of Nelson Mandela, when they were on a mission to assess the humanitarian
needs of the country.

Mugabe's refusal to let them in is horrifying and is yet another indicator
that it is time for him to go. He cannot take the international scrutiny
they would bring to the plight of Zimbabwe's people and which would expose
him brutally to the outside world.

Mugabe got Tsvangirai to form a joint government following the recent
parliamentary elections. Unsurprisingly this agreement has run into trouble
as Mugabe twists and turns. Tsvangirai should blow the whistle on the deal,
and seek to form a new government based on the people's will.

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A Bleak future for Zimbabwe

November 24, 2008 | By Douglas Mwonzora |
Mugabe's eighteen tactics of destructions

To the average Zimbabwean, 29th of March did not present an opportunity of
retribution or counter plunder but rather a perfect opportunity to do away a
with tyrannical, incompetent, inefficient, corrupt and pestilential regime.
It presented a hope to bring about a sensitive administration that would
redress and cure all the man made damage to our political economy. That is
why the aftermath of March 29 saw absolutely no acts of retribution or ill
treatment of the defeated by the victors. The light heartedness and love
with which Zanu (PF) members were treated bear testimony to this assertion.

The 29th of March therefore presented this nation with an incredible, rare
but golden opportunity for national healing and reconciliation.

Regrettably however as imperial evidence shows, Robert Mugabe, a bitter, old
and failed statesman has literally turned March 29 into a national tragedy.
His manipulation of the Zimbabwe Election Commission in its publication of
the Presidential results are a matter of common knowledge. His incitement of
the security forces, youth militia and outright criminals to turn against
the people like a monolithic vampire are a matter of historical record.

Having safely pocketed the presidential "booty", Mugabe then sought a
"negotiated settlement" to the Zimbabwean crisis. Suddenly he became "a
magnanimous victor reaching out to his enemies" for a government of national

The aim of this article is to show and hopefully prove that inspite of all
the public posturing Robert Mugabe is on the war path with the people of
Zimbabwe and any right thinking outsiders who dare oppose him. It is further
to explore and analyze the Eighteen tactics that are being employed in this
evil endeavour.

Historically Robert Mugabe is an isolationist. In his youth, in Zvimba after
altercations with his peers during cattle herding, which altercations were
usually started by him, he would take his mothers herd (rumoured to be only
9) isolate them from the rest, drive them away and herd them on his own.
During the liberation struggle he became more violent and brutal to his
opposition. It is a matter of public record that he peddled lies about
Ndabaningi Sithole who was in prison, leading to the his disposition as Zanu
leader. In Mozambique all those who opposed him werr "jailed" in the
Mozambiquean jungle for the entire duration of the war. Theses include the
late Henry Hamadziripi and Rugare Gumbo who ironically is now Minister for
Agriculture. Their crime has never been disclosed. One top official was tied
to a tree in a national park beset by lions in Mozambique and left at the
mercy of these preditors for a period of 3 days for opposing Mugabe.

One of Mugabe's victims after independence was Bishop Muzorewa who was
detained without trial on trumped up charges. He was never brought to trial.
Importantly faced with a potent fore PF Zapu, Mugabe resorted to peddling
false hoods about its intention to resort to banditry. The people in
Matebeleland were subjected to illegal detentions, torture harassment and
murder. The trials and tribulations of Late Joshua Nkomo, Lookout Masuku and
Dumiso Dabengwa are all matters of historical record.

The historical data clearly shows that Mugabe's treatment of his opponents
is pathological. In his mind his opponents have to be obliterated and
bloated from the face of the earth or forever be condemned to political
death. In spite of his hollow platitudes of unity and peace Mugabe is now
more dangerous to the people of Zimbabwe than ever before.



Mugabe has sought to drive a wedge between the two MDC formations. He has
done so by selectively vilifying the MDC -T and portraying it as less
rational than the MDC - M. He has sought to go to bed with tactless
Mutambara in a bid to show that he can accommodate opposition. In Parliament
he sought to support and sponsor MDC - M candidate for the position of
Speaker of the House of Assembly. Indeed in most public appearances
Professor Mutambara has began more and more to sound and behave like Mugabe's
alter ego. The main purpose of this fake unity was to use Mutambara to
provide "a balancing act" during power sharing negotiations and tilt the
negotiations in Mugabes favour. Regrettably for Mugabe and Mutambara, this
tactic does not appear to have much potency as Zimbabweans have now seen
through it.


Most leaders have been brutalized by security forces in a bid to break their
revolutionary spirit and resolve. Most of these are on trial on trumped
criminal charges army personnel and state security agents have been into the
rural areas to specifically harass the MDC-T leadership. The Police have
been instructed to turn a blind eye on the criminal acts perpetrated on the
MDC-T leadership by Zanu (PF) thugs and at the same time deal ruthlessly
with the MDC-T leadership who wish to retaliate. At the local level
therefore the Zanu (PF) leadership enjoys criminal immunity for harassing
the MDC- T leadership.


It is now a matter of common record that the Global Political Agreement that
was reached on the 11th of September 2005. The text agreed and initialed by
the three principals on 11th September 2008 is substantially different from
the bound text presented for official signature on 15th September 2008. That
variation in the agreement was meant to trick the opposition and well
meaning SADC leadership into signing the wrong agreement. The alteration of
the agreement to suit him (Mugabe) was done in the hope that the world would
not read the fine print. This tactic, which is trickery bordering on
criminality will be used at every opportunity by Mugabe and his government
to achieve their sordid objectives.


An analysis of Mugabe's behaviour during the power sharing talks clearly
shows that Mugabe is bidding for time. One of the clauses in the agreement
is that should one party pull out of the Global Political Agreement then
there should be a general election. Mugabe and Zanu (PF) know that they
would not win this election if it is conducted in a free and fair
environment. In fact the surest way of getting Mugabe out of power is
through a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. But Mugabe wants to prolong
that eventuality. With the economy out of control Mugabe's unpopularity is
also going out of control. This tactic of bidding for time is simply
prolonging the obvious.


Despite tempering with the document Mugabe still believes that the GPA was a
bad deal for him. To circumvent its clear spirit Mugabe has gone ahead and
made unilateral appointments of the Provincial Governors in all the country's
ten provinces. He has also made unilateral appointments to the Senate.
Although the G.P,A calls for a return to the rule of law, respect human
rights and an end to violence Mugabe has not respected any of these. All
this is meant to scuttle the G.P.A.


Some members of SADC like, DRC, Angola, Lesotho and Mozambique are
militarily depended in Zimbabwe one way or the other. These members dare not
criticize or chastise Mugabe because they badly need his generous military
hand. He has exploited these into supporting his evil endeavours. These
dependent and potentially dependent countries have never spoken against
Mugabe's policies. Mugabe has converted this into "regional support". The
dependency of these countries on Mugabe inevitably compromises their potency
and suitability in dealing with the Zimbabwean crises.


The murders that were perpetrated by the Zanu (PF) members of the MDC- T
membership was meant to decimate the latter. Right now most MDC - T
leadership and the legislators are on the Zanu (PF) state security, police
and army hit lists. The intimidation, harassment and torture of MDC - T
people was also meant to decimate MDC- T membership. Surprisingly this
tactic has not yielded the desired results because the MDC - T membership is
swelling by the day.


In most rural areas MDC - T was a well structured party with, provincial
executive committees, District Executive Committees, Ward Executives
Committees and Village Executive Committees. It had cells in the villages.
All these structures have been targeted by the police, C.I.O and the army
for harassment. The aim is to destroy these structures and therefore
compromise the MDC-T's organizational ability.


A big number of MDC-T legislators are unemployed. After March 29 they were
denied a salary from Parliament for a period in excess of six months. Most
of them ran into debt. They were also denied traditional parliamentary
vehicles. Although on paper they are entitled to weekly fuel supplies this
fuel has not been forthcoming in the past weeks. This is meant to
economically squeeze the MDC- T legislator and make them less effective in
their respective constituencies. The legislators have also been denied the
fertilizer, seed and food allocation for their constituencies. Again the aim
is to bring feelings of revulsion and drive a wedge between the population
and the elected MDC-T officials.


Mugabe has maintained a tight grip and has retained monopoly on the state
electronic and print media. This media has spear headed a relentless attack
on the MDC leadership especially on Morgan Tsvangirayi. The reporting has
been embarrassingly one sided hysterical and rhetorical. In the sate media,
Morgan Tsvangirayi and MDC -T are portrayed as dull irrational and
unpatriotic. Their genuine positions are never published. Just like the
Pravda in communist Russia The Herald is being used by this regime as the
medium of launching vitriolic attacks on the opposition.


Zimbabwe is in a de facto state of emergency. Most MDC supporters are
detained without charge or trial. Their basic human rights including equal
treatment before the law, freedom of expression, opinion, association and
assembly are abrogated everyday by the state, C.I.O, the army and the
police. This suspension of human rights by the government is meant to stifle
democratic discourse in our country and tilt political power in favour of
Zanu (PF) and Mugabe.


The SADCC Tribunal recently issued an order to the Zimbabwean government to
stop any further farm acquisitions. However the government has continued
issuing offer letters in respect to ungazetted land. The land targeted is
that which belongs to known MDC activists and sympathizers. All farms that
employ MDC supporters as labourers are also targeted for illegal
acquisition. This land is then parceled out to the army, police and C.I.O


Zanu (PF) has instructed its Parliamentarians to be extremely irrational in
Parliament. They have refused to debate the important motion on political
violence. In fact they planned and threatened to disrupt parliamentary
business should this motion be debated. They are disruptive and
disrespectiful of the Speaker of Parliament. They trash such important
motions like the motion on the food crisis. This irrationalisation of
Parliament is a deliberate ploy to make sure that nothing of substance comes
out of Parliament. This Parliamentary failure is then going to be
attributed to MDC-T which has a majority in Parliament.


Mugabe is plotting a violent crack down on the MDC and its supporters. In
order to do this he needs to invent a reason. As the Nigerian saying goes
"when a hyena wants to devour its young ones, it starts by accusing them of
smelling like goats". In the run up to the June 2008 madness Mugabe accused
the MDC - T supporters of provoking Zanu (PF) supporters. The result was a
massive crackdown on innocent MDC members. This is not new and has been used
against P.F Zapu, the UANC and Zanu (Ndonga). Recently the state militia has
started peddling lies that MDC is training a militia in Botswana. Everybody
knows that this is a lie. The main aim however is to justify a crackdown on
the MDC-T supporters and officials. This violent crackdown is clearly
looming and may reach genocidal proportions if not checked or nipped in the


Mugabe has retained a government headed by a cabinet that he dissolved in
February 2008. All the Ministers including those that lost the election and
were not even brought back via the backdoor exercise their cabinet
functions. For Mugabe therefore it is business as usual. The scuttling of
the talks is therefore meant to prolong the life of that cabinet.


In Zimbabwe the army is everywhere. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is
headed by army personnel. The brigadiers and colonels are heading the food
distribution and procurement institutions like the Grain Marketing Board.
The institutions that deal with the procurement of farm implements and
inputs like seed and fertilizer are headed by the army. The critical reason
for this militarization is to ensure that the elected officials do not play
a part in the distribution and procurement of food and inputs. It is also
meant to intimidate the villagers. Importantly it brings about opaqueness
and unaccountability in these institutions.


The politiburo is Zanu (PF)'s supreme decision making organ which itself
is headed by Mugabe. This organ has been elevated to the highest
decision making organ in the country. After the signing of the M.O.U the
politiburo issued a statement to the effect that it would not allow
Mugabe's powers to be reduced similar statement were issued on the
spirit of the G.P.A. The Politiburo is now being used by Mugabe as a
means to backtrack on earlier positions during negotiations. Instead of
negotiating with Mugabe one might as well negotiate with politiburo.


The diamond fields in Marange, Manicaland have literally been turned
into death fields. The only companies allowed to Mine there are those
directed by Mugabe's cronnies. These have deployed militia to make
sure that local villagers do not have access to the diamonds. However
top army and police officials are busy illegally mining diamonds in
Marange. The booty from these diamond fields is being used to prop
up Mugabe's regime. It will also be used to sponsor terrorism against
the people and subdue the people.


A leopard, like Mugabe cannot change its spots. Despite his hollow words and
platitudes Mugabe and his henchmen do not have serious intentions of
political reform in Zimbabwe. They are on a warpath with the people. If the
international community does not intervene with responsible haste then
Zimbabwe will slide into mayhem and anarchy. It will in the fullness of time
even slide into debilitating civil war. The solution lies with all right
thinking members of the international community to avert this disaster.

Editor's Note: Douglas Mwonzora a lawyer is the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) Member of Parliament for Nyanga North.

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The death throes of a tyrant

Last Updated: November 23. 2008 8:30PM UAE / GMT
In refusing a visit from the Global Elders, Robert Mugabe risks breaking the
cardinal rule of tyranny: Nothing is so dangerous to a tyrant as to appear
ridiculous. One would have thought that Mr Mugabe needed an ironclad excuse
before refusing visas to such a respected trio of visitors as Kofi Annan,
the former UN Secretary-General, Jimmy Carter, the pro-Zimbabwe freedom
movement and former US President, and Graca Machel, the wife of Nelson
Mandela. But the best the government in Harare could manage was that the
visit conflicted with the crop-planting season.

Robert Mugabe has long propped up his Zanu-PF regime on the premise that he
is the sole bulwark against powers, led by the US and UK, seeking to undo
Zimbabwe's independence. But after 30 years of unabated rhetorical
finger-pointing, his credentials as a freedom fighter are wearing thin. Yet
he has continued to govern his country as if it were at war with the British
Empire. He now uses a group of "war veterans" - mostly born long after
independence - as a pro-government militia, and what was formerly a body of
freedom fighters is currently nothing more than a group of petty thugs.

Decades of economic mismanagement by his Marxist regime have brought
starvation and ruin to the country, and spawned opposition to his rule.
Since 2002, he has faced tough electoral challenges from Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change. Mr Tsvangirai's party won a majority in
parliament earlier this year, but though Mr Mugabe won the presidency, it
was only after widespread violence and intimidation that Mr Tsvangirai was
forced to pull out of the scheduled run-off vote.

Zimbabwe is now stuck in a power struggle between the two men, but power
sharing talks have all but collapsed. The situation could not be more
desperate. The nation, once the bread basket of Africa, can no longer feed
itself thanks to Mugabe's short-sighted land seizures. Hyper inflation is
making even the most basic necessities - when available - unaffordable to
all but the richest. And now an outbreak of cholera threatens to devastate
the impoverished citizenry, but is being played down by the government.

Zimbabwe needs a global humanitarian effort to save it, but Mr Mugabe would
rather subject his nation to famine and disease than stomach a rescue from
the Western world. Unfortunately it will be Zimbabweans, not the West, that
suffers as a result of his stubborn clinging to power.

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Draw a line in the sand



THIS weekend Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe barred a humanitarian mission
comprising former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, former United
States president Jimmy Carter and human rights advocate and the wife of
Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, from entering Zimbabwe.

The three are members of The Elders, a group formed by Mandela to tackle
world conflicts. Their mission was to assess firsthand the needs of starving
Zimbabweans and establish what aid was necessary.

This comes as the country is buckling under yet another crisis - a cholera
epidemic that is propelling waves of desperately ill people through South
Africa's borders in search of medical help. According to the World Health
Organisation 294 people have died so far and 6072 cases have been reported
since August. At least three people have also died in South Africa.

Yesterday the state-run Zimbabwe newspaper, the Sunday Mail, claimed that
The Elders were blocked because they had failed to consult with the
Zimbabwean authorities. Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi said
Annan had not made proper arrangements for the planned visit. And why should

Annan said they had not sought any red carpet treatment from the government.
"We seek no permission other than permission to help the poor and the
desperate.... We want to use our influence to increase the flow of
assistance, immediately and in the longer term, to stop the terrible

Carter said it was Mugabe himself who had said no to their entry.

It was obvious, said the 84-year-old Nobel Peace prize winner, that "the
leaders of the government are immune to reaching out for help for their own

And indeed, he is right.

The world has long given up expecting decent behaviour from Mugabe, but in
the face of a humanitarian crisis that is threatening to destabilise the
region and kill thousands, his rejection of help from credible, respected
individuals is iniquitous and criminal.

After holding talks with Botswana president Ian Khama yesterday, President
Kgalema Motlanthe appealed to Zimbabwe's political parties to begin
constitutional processes to create a unity government.

But a power-sharing deal was signed between Mugabe and two opposition groups
led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, in September. Since then
Mugabe's modus operandi has not changed - he is still cocking a snoot at the
world and at democratic processes.

While Motlanthe has adopted a tougher stance in dealing with Mugabe than
that of former president Thabo Mbeki, what amounts to genocide across our
border and a deadly cholera outbreak filtering into our land surely warrants
drawing a line in the sand.

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Bill Watch 46 of 21st November 08 [Constitution Amendment No. 19: first move]

BILL WATCH 46/2008
[Friday 21st November 2008]
Both Houses of Parliament are adjourned until 16th December
Statutory Instruments - see end of bulletin
Constitution Amendment No. 19
ZANU-PF draft completed:  Early in the week ZANU-PF sent their draft of the Constitution Amendment No. 19 Bill to the office of Mr Mbeki as SADC Facilitator.  It was not given to the other parties and the reason given was that Mr Chinamasa considered that it should be distributed by the Facilitator.  
MDC-T independent draft completed:  In a statement on Wednesday MDC-T spokesman Mr Nelson Chamisa said his party had not seen the ZANU-PF draft Bill, but was aware that it had been sent to the Facilitator. "We have done our own draft which is now ready for scrutiny.  We have not seen that Zanu-PF draft, but we understand that it is in South Africa.  We hope that our document would be similar to the Zanu-PF document.  Our draft has tried to capture the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding."
The MDC-M and MDC-T have now received copies of the ZANU-PF draft through South Africa and Mr Mbeki has invited the negotiators from all three parties to a meeting in South Africa next week.
Comment: The Power-Sharing Agreement [the Global Political Agreement - GPA] did not specify who would draft Constitution Amendment No. 19.  What is happening now seems a time-wasting method of producing the Bill, with the country in dire extremity and without a "proper" government.  It is extraordinary that representatives from all three parties were not pulled in to draft the Bill together, as according to the GPA the substantive terms were already agreed upon by the party negotiators.  And this combined drafting should have started immediately after the signing ceremony on 15th September.  [There was no good reason to wait while Ministries and other issues were being finalised.]  Now the parties still have to agree on the wording and the process is still shrouded in secrecy [neither the ZANU-PF nor the MDC-T draft has been made available to the public].
Responsibility for getting the Bill through Parliament
Mr Ndlovu, still functioning as Minister of Information although no longer an MP, said "A Bill cannot go to Parliament if it is not approved by Cabinet" and that the Bill  would have to be presented and steered through Parliament by the new MDC-T Minister responsible for constitutional affairs.  If ZANU-PF stick to this line - that the Ministers and Cabinet have to be appointed before the Bill is taken to Parliament - it would lead to another impasse.  The MDC-T have stated categorically that they must have a mutually-agreed Constitution Amendment No. 19 passed into law first, before accepting Ministerial and Cabinet posts - i.e., in view of the delay and past disputes they must have legal authority before accountability.
In fact there is no constitutional or legal requirement for prior Cabinet approval of a Bill before it goes to Parliament.  [The ZANU-PF statement is incorrect.]  There has been a long-standing internal government administrative practice under which all government Bills were taken for approval to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and Cabinet itself before going to Parliament.  But this practice does not have the force of law, and cannot be regarded as requiring appointment of Ministers and formation of a new Cabinet before Constitution Amendment No. 19 can go to Parliament.  
Pending the formation of the inclusive government, according to the Constitution the Bill could be introduced into Parliament.  It could be done by either of the Vice-Presidents.  Alternatively it could be introduced by Mr Chinamasa who, in the absence of the inclusive government, has been filling the role of Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Another obvious choice would be Mr Tsvangirai who could be immediately appointed Prime Minister.  The GPA specifies only one Ministerial appointment before the introduction of Constitution Amendment No. 19.  Article 20.1.3 (j):  [The President] "shall pursuant to this agreement, appoint the Prime Minister pending the enactment of the Constitution of  Zimbabwe Amendment No 19."  Article 20.1.6 (3) specifies that the Prime Minister will be Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.  When the three parties agree on the wording of the Bill, they should also be able to agree on who will be responsible for handling the Bill in Parliament.  
In fact there is no constitutional or legal requirement for a Constitutional Amendment to be introduced into Parliament by a Minister.
According to the Constitution [Schedule 4, paragraph 1] "any member of Parliament may introduce any Bill" [subject to a further provision stating that only a Vice-President, Minister or Deputy Minister can introduce "a money Bill" into Parliament].  Nor is there any such requirement in Parliamentary Standing Orders.  So the Constitution Amendment Bill could be introduced and piloted through Parliament, by any member of Parliament, whether or not he or she is a Minister.  It would, of course, be unusual for such an important public Bill to be introduced by an ordinary member, but it would certainly be constitutionally and legally in order.
Timeframe for passing the Bill
Constitutional procedural requirements make it unlikely that Constitution Amendment No. 19 Bill will become law before the middle of January, even if the parties reach agreement on the wording of the Bill at next week's meeting. 
·                    The Bill must be printed and gazetted as required by section 52(2) of the Constitution, and this would take until the end of November or early December.
·                    Then 30 days has to elapse before the Bill can be introduced into Parliament [section 52(2) again] - so the Bill could not be introduced until the very end of December or the first week in January. 
·                    During the 30-day period the Bill must be referred for consideration to the relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committee [Parliamentary Standing Order 105].  Parliamentary Committees have still not been set up and this would have to be done when Parliament resumes.  [Note: constitutional bills do not have to go through the Parliamentary Legal Committee]
·                    Also during this time the Bill will be available for public scrutiny and the Portfolio Committee should call for written representations from the public and arrange stakeholder meetings and public hearings.  A report from the Portfolio Committee must be presented during the Second Reading of the Bill in Parliament. 
·                    Once it is before Parliament, the Bill should be debated in both Houses, which under normal rules of procedure would take at least two weeks [although if the parties are in agreement motions to fast-track it could be passed, and it could be it through both Houses in a few days].
·                    After being passed by Parliament, the Bill would then have to be assented to by the President and gazetted as an Act - processes that can also be fast-tracked.  
Early Recall of Parliament for Budget Bills?
Parliament should already be attending to urgent budgetary matters, without waiting for the formation of the inclusive Government or the enactment of Constitution Amendment No. 19.  [Any Vice-President or Minister can introduce budgetary measures.]  Also, the MDC-T National Council Resolutions of 14th November called for Parliament to be convened, as a matter of urgency, to carry out its normal business of overseeing the Executive.  Parliamentary Standing Orders permit the recall of Parliament before the 16th December, but only if Mr Mugabe so decides.  Whether he will do so is another matter, with the ZANU-PF party conference due soon.  
ZANU-PF Peoples' Conference [10th to 14th December]
Commentators have predicted fireworks at the conference.  Potential problems are:
·               the desperate state of the economy
·               reform minded Young Turks in the party
·               succession issues still being fought out by rival camps
·               the possible break-up of the 1987 Unity Accord [senior former ZAPU leaders recently decided to break away from ZANU-PF and revive ZAPU as a separate political party, declaring the Unity Accord "dead and buried"]
·               party restructuring [disagreements over the party's current restructuring exercise have escalated into clashes and skirmishes in Harare province]
·               divisions among war veterans [exemplified by the formation of a new veterans association in Matabeleland - see below]
Note on Proliferation of War Veterans Organisations: Following the formation of a new war veterans organisation in Matabeleland, we have had queries about claims by the existing war veterans' association that further associations are prohibited by the War Veterans Act.  This is not so, and such a prohibition would infringe the constitutional right to freedom of association.  The Act does, however, provide for the association considered by the Minister to represent the majority of war veterans to have seats on the War Veterans Board.  The War Veterans Reserve regulations made under the Defence Act do not make membership of an association a qualification for admission to the War Veterans Reserve.  
Police ban MDC rallies
Harare police have banned two MDC report-back rallies scheduled for Kuwadzana and Glen View this weekend, citing the cholera outbreak as the reason.  So far the Zanu PF conference in Bindura has not been banned.
ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
Senator Sekai Holland [MDC-T], and MPs Moses Ndlovu [MDC-M] and Walter Chidakwa [ZANU-PF] will attend the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the ACP-EU [the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations and the nations of the European Union] in New Guinea from 24th to 28th November.  The situation in Zimbabwe is an "urgent topic" on the Assembly's draft agenda.
Reserve Bank [RBZ] on Payments of Utility Bills by Cheque
On 20th November RBZ Governor Gono called on all public utilities, such as ZESA, Tel-One, ZINWA and local authorities, to accept cheques as legitimate forms of payment of bills, instead of insisting on cash.  He also called on members of the public to report public utilities that refuse to accept cheques to RBZ. 
Update on Statutory Instruments
SI 166/2008 - sets out income tax bands and thresholds for October 2008 and November/ December 2008, and upward adjustments of exemptions from income tax for employees' annual bonuses and retrenchment packages.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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Gono ignores Zimbabwe's financial turmoil

Posted to the web on: 24 November 2008

Dianna Games

ZIMBABWEAN "government" officials like nothing better than to assume the
moral high ground when they need to make themselves feel better about the
havoc they are wreaking on the battered country.
Take Gideon Gono, the powerful Reserve Bank governor who runs economic
policy, such as it is, in Zimbabwe. This week he decided to crack down on
the financial sector, which, he said, without a trace of irony, was
indulging in "abnormal" practices and behaving in an "undisciplined" manner.
If there is anything that is undisciplined and abnormal in Zimbabwe, it is
the illegal government that has pushed the people to behave in ways they
would not dream of in "normal" circumstances.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) is the latest flank in Zanu (PF)'s
strategy to deflect blame for the collapse of the economy, which has assumed
a new momentum in the past few weeks.
Earlier this month, the "government" slammed insurance companies and pension
funds, which make up more than 80% of the ZSE's investors, for preferring to
invest in the stock exchange rather than the government. To punish them, it
introduced a statutory requirement that from the end of this month, they
would have to invest between 30% and 35% of their assets in prescribed
government assets.
Failure to comply would result in "very serious remedial measures".
Last week Gono thundered that the ZSE had become a "weapon of economic
genocide". Its crime was to allow stockbrokers to "wildly" bid up share
prices "even when they did not have the capacity to pay".
He accused them of a variety of fraudulent dealings, which he maintained
were designed to undermine the state by fuelling foreign exchange trading on
the black market.
The remedial measures he has implemented to combat this unpatriotic
behaviour - all trades must be supported by confirmed bank balances signed
by each bank's CE - have brought the bull run on the ZSE to a shuddering
Gono's attempt to "save" the economy is based on the same thinking that led
the government to convince the nation that the introduction of price
controls in the middle of last year would arrest inflation by defeating the
greed of business. Zimbabwe has never recovered from the damage that
emanated from that foolish posturing. But in any case, the days of trading
in a defunct currency looked to be numbered.
As one analyst wrote : "What's the point to trading now anyway? You are
exchanging the assets of one company operating at sub-optimal levels for
another company that is not doing very well either.
"You're not going to create any new value by trading, so you've just got to
sit with the position you took before the death of the Zimbabwe dollar as a
transacting currency."
There are suggestions that the ZSE should become dollar-denominated, along
with many other parts of this rapidly dollarising economy.
With the introduction of foreign currency shops and fuel stations, the move
towards doing business in hard currency is spreading like wildfire.
Employees are starting to ask for salaries to be paid in hard currency as
they are unable to easily access Zimbabwe dollars from the banking system
and most goods are available only in foreign currency shops and on the black
market, both of which require real money.
While the partial dollarisation has provided some breathing space for
Zimbabweans with access to foreign currency (remittances have enabled many
people at the lower end of the economic scale to access it), it also is
starting to provide a "cushion" for Zanu (PF) against total economic
collapse - in the nick of time.
But this may be too little too late for Gono. His official term as governor
ends this month and his job, unenviable as it is, is in the balance.
There are rumours that he already has a one-way ticket to Australia in a
safe. He should use it as soon as possible. His leaving would be a powerful
symbol that change is possible in Zimbabwe.
Games is CE of Africa@Work, a research and consulting company.

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