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Zimbabwe rivals in new talks to end deadlock


Mon 24 Nov 2008, 23:03 GMT

By Muchena Zigomo

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's political rivals meet in South
Africa on Tuesday for talks to end a political deadlock, amid mounting
pressure from regional leaders for a deal to prevent the humanitarian crisis
becoming still worse.

Negotiators from President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change and a breakaway MDC faction will
meet former South African President Thabo Mbeki to discuss a draft
constitutional amendment paving the way for a new government.

Mbeki has been reviewing the draft law, which many in the southern African
country hope will usher in a new government to end a crippling economic
crisis that has seen inflation soar to more than 230 million percent.

The MDC has refused to enter government, accusing ZANU-PF of trying to take
the most powerful ministries and freeze it out, violating a Sept. 15
power-sharing deal. Talks on forming a cabinet have been deadlocked for two

The power-sharing agreement may unravel if Mugabe names a cabinet without
MDC agreement, jeopardising what is seen as the best chance of reversing a
decade of gradual economic collapse.

The MDC had threatened to boycott Tuesday's meeting, but said on Monday it
would attend the talks and aim to address all the issues stalling an

"Our team, consistent with the duty and obligation to represent the people,
will attend tomorrow's meeting in South Africa," spokesman Nelson Chamisa
told Reuters.

"We will not accept any parochial and reductionist approach that seeks to
impose only one item, the constitutional amendment on us. We all know there
is a basket of issues that have to be tackled collectively."


Pressure has grown from regional leaders and international aid agencies for
an end to the political stalemate, which has created a huge humanitarian

Chronic food shortages and hyperinflation have led millions of Zimbabweans
to flee their country. A cholera epidemic has killed nearly 300 people and
sent hundreds into South Africa to seek treatment.

Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other prominent world figures
described Zimbabwe on Monday as close to a humanitarian disaster.

Annan urged Southern African Development Community leaders to put more
pressure on Mugabe and the MDC to break the impasse.

"SADC must bring its full weight to bear," Annan, flanked by former U.S.
President Jimmy Carter and human rights campaigner Graca Machel, wife of
Nelson Mandela, told a news conference.

The three, part of a group called the Elders, were barred from entering
Zimbabwe last weekend on a humanitarian visit. The government said the trip
was unnecessary and denied them visas.

Carter said the crisis was worse than he had imagined and he felt southern
African leaders did not fully understand the extent of the misery in the
once-prosperous nation.

He said the United Nations, African Union and SADC should send teams into
Zimbabwe to report on the crisis properly.

South African ruling ANC party leader Jacob Zuma and President Kgalema
Motlanthe have urged a quick end to the crisis.

"The situation has just gone beyond a situation where we could say 'wait and
see,'" Zuma told reporters on Monday, saying the Elders had told him
Zimbabwe could be months from collapse.

South Africa's cabinet said last week it would hold back 300 million rand
($28.3 million) earmarked for agricultural aid to Zimbabwe until a
representative government was in place.

Many critics accuse Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in
1980, of ruining the country through his controversial policies. Mugabe, 84,
says forces opposed to his nationalist stance have sabotaged the economy.
(Reporting by Muchena Zigomo; editing by Tim Pearce)

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Tsvangirai's MDC To Attend Pretoria Meeting

HARARE, November 24, 2008 - THE Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC -T) on Monday said its mediators will join ZANU PF
and the Aurthur Mutambara (MDC- M) negotiators in South Africa for a meeting
called by Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president mediating in the
Zimbabwe crisis.

  Nelson Chamisa, told Radio VOP that Tendai Biti, the chief negotiator
in the crisis, will lead the MDC T in the negotiations but would demand that
all the outstanding issues in the power-sharing agreement be addressed.
"Our team of negotiators is going to South African tomorrow (Tuesday)
to represent the MDC T," he said. "They are mandated to state our very
compelling case. The understanding is that the meeting should resolve all
outstanding issues which have deadlocked the power-sharing agreement. These
outstanding issues should be tackled before the issue of Amendment Number
19. There are well-known outstanding issues the mediator and SADC are privy
of and these need urgent attention and we hope this meeting will once and
for all deal with them," said Chamisa.

There were fears the MDC T could boycott the meeting after its
national executive council rejected the SADC resolution that Mugabe should
proceed and form a coalition government.
The Tuesday meeting is expected to deliberate on the draft
Constitutional Amendment Number 19.
Zimbabwe's talks, to form a coalition government, have remained
stalled due to disagreement in allocation of key ministries. MDC-T is
insisting in being given real power as opposed to being spectators while
Mugabe continues to wield power.

International observers have condenmed the current situation in
Zimbabwe as deplorable as hundreds continue to die from cholera and hunger
in the country, with the highest inflation in the world. Inflation is
estimated to be well above 230 million percent.

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Barred From Zimbabwe, but Not Silent
Jon Hrusa/European Pressphoto Agency

From left, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel on Monday in Johannesburg.

Published: November 24, 2008

JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, 84, managed to keep three members of the Elders, founded by Nelson Mandela to tackle intractable problems, out of Zimbabwe over the weekend. But the members gave Mr. Mugabe and leaders from across southern Africa an earful on Monday about Zimbabwe’s grave humanitarian crisis and their responsibility to act more assertively to resolve it.

Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, bluntly told the heads of state in the 15-nation regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community, which is often accused of coddling Mr. Mugabe, “It’s obvious that S.A.D.C. could have and should have done more.”

Graça Machel, a women’s rights advocate who is married to Mr. Mandela, said after three days of listening to stories of heartbreak from Zimbabwe in conversations here with refugees and others, “Either the leadership doesn’t have a clear picture of the suffering of their own people, or they don’t care.”

Former President Jimmy Carter suggested that heads of state in the region had no clue about the extreme hardships in Zimbabwe, while Zimbabwe’s leaders were callous. He said the African Union and the United Nations should send teams to document the situation inside the country. “We all have the feeling leaders of S.A.D.C. do not know what is going on in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Their remarks are likely to sting Mr. Mugabe, in power for 28 years. Ms. Machel’s and Mr. Carter’s connections to him go back decades.

Ms. Machel’s first marriage was to Samora Machel, the Mozambican leader who fought Portuguese rule and led his newly independent nation until he died in a plane crash in 1986. She said in an interview that she had been close with Mr. Mugabe and his wife, Sally, until Mrs. Mugabe died in 1992.

The relationship “became even more aloof” after Ms. Machel married Mr. Mandela, she said. “Mugabe was the star of this region before South Africa became free,” Ms. Machel said. “By the time South Africa became free, the whole attention of the world turns to South Africa. That was an issue.”

Mr. Carter, 84, said in an interview that as president, he supported the end of white minority rule in Zimbabwe, called Rhodesia at the time. He recalled a White House event celebrating Mr. Mugabe’s rise to power before Mr. Carter left office in 1981.

Mr. Mugabe “held my hand up in front of the whole crowd and said, ‘This is the only man that might beat me in an election in Zimbabwe,’ ” Mr. Carter recalled.

Mr. Mugabe is sensitive to criticism, and these comments are likely to gall him. The Herald, his state-owned mouthpiece, quoted an anonymous source last week as saying that Mr. Annan had been openly critical of Mr. Mugabe. A Herald editorial on Monday accused Mr. Annan, as it has other African leaders who differed with Mr. Mugabe, of “putting himself at the beck and call of the white West.”

The three in the Elders contingent on Zimbabwe sounded an alarm on Monday about the rapidly deteriorating living conditions there. They spent the past few days meeting with Zimbabwe’s opposition leaders and South Africa’s president, Kgalema Motlanthe, as well as aid workers, Western diplomats, United Nations representatives and Zimbabweans who had fled their homeland.

At the start of their visit on Saturday, the three leaders said they were on a humanitarian mission. They ended the trip on Monday by saying that Zimbabwe’s collapsing public services — health, education, sanitation, water — could not be fixed until a power-sharing deal between Mr. Mugabe and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, took effect and the country had a functioning government again.

Negotiators for Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai are expected to meet again on Tuesday as South Africa’s former president, Thabo Mbeki, the mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, seeks to persuade them to form a collaborative government more than two months after they signed an agreement to do so.

“S.A.D.C. must bring its full weight to bear to ensure the agreement is fully implemented,” Mr. Annan said.

Under the deal, Mr. Mugabe would remain president, while Mr. Tsvangirai would become prime minister. But they have been feuding over how to divide the most powerful ministries, and particularly over control of the police force, an engine of Mr. Mugabe’s repressive rule. The Southern African Development Community has directed them to share management of the ministry that oversees the police.

Mr. Tsvangirai won the March presidential election, but not by enough to avert a runoff, which he quit because of state-sponsored attacks on the opposition.

Mr. Mbeki has for years been criticized for his quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe. South Africa’s new leaders were somewhat noisier on Monday. Jacob Zuma, Mr. Mbeki’s archrival and successor as president of the African National Congress, was evenhanded in his comments on the power-sharing negotiations, but after meeting Mr. Annan, Mr. Carter and Ms. Machel, he said the decision by Zimbabwean authorities not to grant them visas “does give an unfortunate picture.”

President Motlanthe of South Africa, chairman of the regional development group, said his government had tried to speak to Mr. Mugabe about letting the three visit Zimbabwe, and was told that Mr. Mugabe was out of town and would get back to them on his return. “He didn’t come back to us,” Mr. Motlanthe said.

After meeting Mr. Annan, Mr. Carter and Ms. Machel, Mr. Motlanthe agreed that without a political settlement and the formation of a legitimate government, the situation in Zimbabwe “may implode or collapse altogether.”

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The Big Question: Who are the Elders, and can they do anything to resolve world crises?

By Archie Bland
Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Why are we asking this now?

The political and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has dropped off the news agenda in recent months, as events there have stagnated and reverted to the deeply depressing status quo. In an attempt to change that, a group of influential world leaders who have now left their public offices arranged a visit.

The group – known as the Global Elders – had intended to draw attention to food shortages and a cholera outbreak. But on Saturday, just when the visit was supposed to begin, the delegation issued a statement saying that it had been barred from Zimbabwe by the Mugabe regime, which refused to issue them visas. That snub has led to questions about the nature of their influence in world affairs – and what good, if any, they can do.

Who are the Elders?

The Elders are a kind of political dream team, a dozen of the most widely respected world leaders alive today, whose glittering CVs and unimpeachable commitment to human rights are supposed to open doors that would remain closed to less feted figures. Their figurehead is secular saint Nelson Mandela; the group also includes Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Irish president and UN Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and, in absentia, Burmese democracy activist Aung Sun Suu Kyi. The group may well have the highest concentration of Nobel prize-winners in the world, with five of its 12 members recipients of the honour.

What are they for?

The idea is that they can exert influence and bring attention to humanitarian crises that might otherwise go unnoticed or unsolved. Between the 12 of them, they command access to an unrivalled network of leaders that, in theory, means that they can make a difference in contexts where other means like governmental interventions might have failed.

The whole group meets twice a year, and smaller delegations travel to crisis-ridden areas in the hope of finding solutions. Jimmy Carter argues that the group can "fill an existing void in the world community." "Almost impervious to the consequences of outside criticism," he says, they have "opportunities for unrestrained analysis of important and complex issues, the evolution of suggestions, and for sharing our ideas with the general public and with others who might take action to resolve problems."

How did the Elders come together?

By the good offices of supreme entrepreneur Richard Branson and music pioneer Peter Gabriel. In 1999, the two men had a conversation about the potential benefit of an organisation that followed the "village elders" model of influence, whereby the wisdom of the most senior members of a community carries great weight.

Branson, who had got to know Mandela, broached the idea to him in 2001; and the group formally launched in April last year, with $18m in initial funding that Branson and Gabriel helped to raise. Since then they have worked in Cyprus, Sudan, Kenya, and the Middle East.

Can the model work?

The jury is still out: the group, unlike its members, is very young. It is hard to draw firm conclusions when the Elders' work is always bound to be most effective in the margins, in ways that may not always be obvious to the external observer. "I think their influence could be limited," says Josephine Osikena, Democracy and Development programme manager at the Foreign Policy Centre. "But because they're international elder statespeople, there is some kind of effect. Perhaps they can intervene and discuss in ways that the UK government, for example, can't, because it would be seen as antagonistic."

What evidence of their effectiveness is there?

The relative success of the group's mission to Kenya might be seen as an example of how they can function effectively. The arrival of Kofi Annan et al in January this year was by no means a panacea after violent clashes followed the last election there, and the group could not offer any incentives beyond the weight of their names and experience to the negotiating parties. But, says Sally Healy, Associate Fellow of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, their sheer presence had a calming effect. "They helped to 'freeze' the situation," she says, "and they created a sense that stuff was happening, and so you didn't have to go and fight today."

Their influence, adds Healy, can be particularly powerful in Africa, where government is much more reliant on personal relationships than the kind of systematic approach more prevalent in the West, and where the village elders model is culturally significant. "Someone we might regard as an old has-been might be seen in a different context in Kenya or Zimbabwe," she says. "It's partly to do with tradition, and it's partly weak institutions."

And can they have a negative impact?

Possibly. Many are sceptical of what one newspaper editorial said might be referred to as a "makework scheme for ex-leaders who cannot let go". In Israel, some saw their role as a distraction: "This is not a conflict where people lack heroic leadership," said Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "These are not issues that tend to lend themselves to whatever these otherwise distinguished stastesmen can contribute."

Earlier this year the Israeli government turned down an offer to mediate a ceasefire with Hamas, with the country's UN ambassador Dan Gillerman saying that "nothing good could come out of this initiative". And, according to Sally Healy, "it would be very foolish to put your eggs in the old boys' mediating network basket without the hard-edged government diplomacy as well."

What happened in Zimbabwe?

Zanu-PF seems to have made a calculation that the negative PR that will result from denying the Elders' access will be less damaging to the regime than letting them in to observe and condemn the government's failure to help people who are starving to death. Mugabe has attempted to cast the group as Western stooges lacking the moral authority to cast judgement in Zimbabwe. (The Zimbabwean government also says that they are only postponing the trip, and that it will take place at a later date, though few believe it.) The Elders' argument that they are not coming to Zimbabwe with a political purpose but a humanitarian one has fallen on stony ground – particularly in the light of previous condemnation of the Mugabe regime by Desmond Tutu, among others.

So can the Elders still have an influence there?

Paradoxically, it may be that Mugabe's decision will actually increase their long-term influence. It confers a sense that the group are capable of meaningful action – why ban anyone whose words would have no consequences? – and raises the profile of the situation in Zimbabwe in a way that might otherwise have been impossible.

The Elders are continuing to work in neighbouring South Africa, and their statements in the aftermath of their ban have emphasised the non-partisan, humanitarian good that they seek to do." "We need no red-carpet treatment from the government of Zimbabwe," said Mr Annan. "We seek no permission other than permission to help the poor and the desperate."

Can the Elders succeed in changing things for the better?


*Their connections are remarkable. They can probably get any politician in the world on the phone

*There's nothing like Nelson Mandela making his feelings known about an issue to turn the spotlight on it

*Their separation from governments allows them to pursue what they believe is right


*Past ties to institutions like the UN means they can be dismissed as agents of Western influence

*The temporary blast of publicity they can bring doesn't necessarily lead to tangible results

*The levers available to national governments – like trade sanctions – are far more influential in the end

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According to the ZANU PF mouthpiece....

News Tuesday, November 25, 2008

'Elders' plot exposed

Herald Reporter

THE group of "Elders" that wanted to visit Zimbabwe on a "humanitarian
mission" was, in fact, bent on rescuing MDC-T after Sadc resolved that the
inclusive Government should be formed as a matter of urgency, it has

The "Elders" mission was part of a grand plan by Britain and the United
States to get the United Nations to intervene in Zimbabwe and reverse the
Sadc resolution.

At its recent meeting in Sandton, South Africa, Sadc resolved that Zanu-PF
and the two MDC formations should form the inclusive Government with the
ruling party and the MDC-T co-managing the Home Affairs Ministry, which had
stalled the establishment of the inclusive Government.

The "Elders" - former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, former US president
Jimmy Carter and Graca Machel - were supposed to produce a damning report on
the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.

Such a report would have given the UN Security Council basis to invoke the
"responsibility to protect" clause paving the way for the aggression and
intervention in Zimbabwe by foreign countries.

The clause allows for foreign intervention or aggression supposedly to save
people whose government is deemed to have neglected its responsibility to
protect them.

"It is a clause for aggression or intervention using the cover of the UN.
The 'Elders' are legitimising instruments of the plot. The 'Elders' are a
Trojan horse for the politics of regime change. The whole plot was to
reverse the setback suffered by the MDC in Sandton and sideline the Sadc
resolution," a political observer said.

The plot to involve the UN is confirmed by last Thursday's briefing to the
Security Council by UN assistant secretary-general Haile Menkerios, two days
before the "Elders" visit to Harare.

In his damning briefing, Menkerios called for more involvement of the UN in
implementing the power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe.

"The Secretary-General is ready to accompany Zimbabwe in this process, and
calls on the parties, regional organisations and other stakeholders to start
consultations with the United Nations with a view to agreeing on a framework
for the UN's engagement in Zimbabwe in support of the proper implementation
of the September 15 agreement," said Menkerios.

He also called on the Zimbabwean Government to give full access to the
planned mission of the "Elders".

Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde George Charamba yesterday said
the "Elders" mission had nothing to do with the humanitarian situation in

"The so-called 'Elders' are a creature of pro-Labour British corporate
interests. There is nothing elderly about them. But what is more, it is a
very condescenting title. If they are 'Elders' what do Zimbabweans become,
infants?" he said.

Cde Charamba said the "Elders" should not pretend to have Zimbabweans at
heart when, in fact, they were fronting a regime change agenda being pushed
by Britain and the US.

"Annan has been in South Africa several times, Graca lives in South Africa
and are beginning now to find a Methodist church where Zimbabwean refugees
live. People should not seek to make big names for themselves using

"Annan has on no occasion denounced the illegal Western sanctions against
Zimbabwe despite repeated appeals by the Zimbabwean President. Annan refused
to his last day in office (as UN secretary-general) to denounce the
sanctions, but now pretends to be concerned about a humanitarian crisis he
knows can be traced to sanctions he condoned as UN secretary-general. These
(Elders) are glory seekers and we treat them as such," he said.

Cde Charamba also dismissed the notion that former US leader Carter
supported Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, an argument being pushed to give
credence to his involvement with the "Elders" group in Zimbabwe.

"Carter never supported the Patriotic Front, no American president could
ever do that. What Carter did - and we commend him for that - was to realise
that the white settler community which the United States supported was about
to be overrun by the Patriotic Front forces and what was needed was a rescue
package for the embattled white community. That is why the US stepped in to
save the Lancaster House deal by offering funds to support land reform in
Zimbabwe," he said.

The US never supported the sanctions against the Rhodesian settler regime
and the Carter administration defended Rhodesia by ensuring the exclusion of
chrome from the sanctions so the US could continue accessing the chrome.

Recent statements by US President George Bush, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila
Odinga and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai dovetailed into the planned
"Elders" mission and the predicted collapse of the Zanu-PF Government in two

Bush, while on a visit to Peru at the weekend to deal with the global
financial crisis, spared a moment to issue a statement on Zimbabwe about the
stalled power-sharing deal.

Odinga called for the sending of an African Union force to Zimbabwe while
Tsvangirai eyed an inclusive Government would be in place in Zimbabwe in
"two months' time".

"The government envisaged by Tsvangirai was not an inclusive Government, but
his government following the

expected collapse of the Zanu-PF government," a political analyst said.

The whole plot, according to observers, was to sideline the Sadc resolution
made in Sandton, South Africa.

But Sadc is pushing ahead with its mediator Cde Thabo Mbeki expected to meet
Zanu-PF and the MDC today to discuss Constitutional Amendment Number 19 to
give legal effect to the power-sharing agreement while a Sadc investigating
team is already in Zimbabwe to probe Harare's claims that the MDC-T was
training bandits to destabilise the country.

The idea of an "Elders" group was mooted by British singer Peter Gabriel and
British businessman Richard Branson to "offer collective experience, and
above all their independent voices to support the resolution of conflict, to
seek new approaches to easing human suffering and to give voice to those who
struggle to be heard".

But analysts say the idea is basically a British plan to use corporates to
push their agendas where they have failed diplomatically and politically.

The "Elders" are former SA president Nelson Mandela, Annan, Graca Machel,
Jimmy Carter, Ela Bhatt (the founder and general secretary of a women trade
union, the Self-Employed Women's Association), Lakhdar Brahimi (former UN
envoy and advisor), Gro Harlem Brundtland (former Norwegian prime minister),
Fernando Henrique Cardoso (former Brazilian president), Mary Robinson
(former Ireland president and UN Human Rights Commissioner), Desmond Tutu
(activist) and Muhammad Yunus (Bangladeshi banker). Aung San Suu Kyi - a
human rights leader in Burma - is an honorary elder.

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Rebuffed By Harare, Annan & Elders Pursue Zimbabwe Rescue Mission

By Blessing Zulu
24 November 2008

The delegation of Elders led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi
Annan that was rebuffed this weekend by the Zimbabwean government will
pursue its proposed mission in the country aiming to promote and coordinate
international aid to mitigate an "intolerable" and deepening humanitarian
crisis, Annan told VOA in an interview.

Annan's delegation of so-called Elders, which includes former U.S. President
Jimmy Carter and human rights advocate Graça Machel, had proposed to visit
Zimbabwe on Saturday and Sunday to assess the burgeoning humanitarian
crisis, but was fended off by the government of President Robert Mugabe
which refused to grant entry visas to the three.
Since then Annan and his fellow Elders have resolved to pursue their mission
from outside Zimbabwe's borders. They met Monday with South African
President Kgalema Motlanthe, who warned that unless Zimbabwean political
leaders overcame their differences and form a unity government quickly, "the
situation will get worse and may implode and collapse."

In an interview, Annan told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the humanitarian crisis "is something the government has not
been able to deal with alone," therefore the Elders propose to provide a
catalyst or spur to international action.

The Harare government "has not come out plainly to say that they cannot
handle it and they need assistance, but the fact is the U.N. agencies and
the international community have been supporting the Zimbabwean people over
the past couple of years, and this of course is bound to continue and we
expect it will get much worse by January-February."

He noted the U.N. food agencies have predicted that by the first quarter of
2009 some 5.1 million Zimbabweans - half the population - will need food aid
to fend off starvation.

"So regardless of what the government says it has done, it does need help
from the outside and the U.N. agencies do need help from donors, and this is
the contribution we are here to make, to make sure people understand what is
going on, that the donor community is energized, and we sustain the effort,"
Annan told VOA.

"Our concern is the people," Annan said. "It is intolerable that the people
of Zimbabwe should find themselves in this situation."

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Jimmy Carter says Zimbabwe crisis is 'much worse' than imagined

Carter, part of a delegation including former U.N. chief Kofi Annan that was
denied access to Zimbabwe, says Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe continues to
deny his nation food, other aid.
By Robyn Dixon
November 25, 2008
Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa -- Former U.S. President Jimmy
Carter on Monday said Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis was far worse than he
could have imagined and expressed dismay that Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe and his government refused to acknowledge the problem even existed.

"The entire basic structure in education, healthcare, feeding people, social
services and sanitation has broken down," Carter told a news conference in
Johannesburg, South Africa. "These are all indications that the crisis in
Zimbabwe is much greater, much worse than we had ever imagined."

Carter was part of a delegation denied entry into Zimbabwe last week to
assess the crisis. The delegation members also included U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Graça Machel, the wife of former South
African President Nelson Mandela.

An estimated 4.9 million people in Zimbabwe are desperately in need of food
aid and 300 have died in a cholera epidemic.

The delegates are from a group of prominent public figures known as The
Elders, set up by Mandela to address serious crises around the world.
Instead of traveling to Mugabe's nation, they held meetings in neighboring
South Africa with Zimbabwean refugees and opposition leaders, South African
government officials, diplomats, humanitarian agencies and nongovernmental

Citing those briefings, Carter said Mugabe and his government had refused to
meet with the United Nations and charitable organizations as well as
ambassadors from the major donor countries for the last year. "I think it's
the established policy of the Mugabe government that there's no crisis in
Zimbabwe," he said.

He said this year's planting season had been squandered because there was no
seed available. The earliest possible harvest now is April 2010; farmers
would need to be planting now to catch the rains for next spring's harvest.
"Meanwhile people are suffering from lack of food, which is the most
critical need at this time."

He said none of the four main hospitals in Zimbabwe was working and only 20%
of children were attending school, compared with 80% last year. The main
reason was that teachers stopped showing up for work because salaries, about
$1 a month, did not even cover their transportation costs.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said the crisis was so serious
that Zimbabwe could implode and collapse. He said the root cause was the
lack of a legitimate government.

Mugabe, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the leader of a small
opposition group, Arthur Mutambara, agreed in September to share power
following disputed elections, but soon after, Mugabe allocated the most
powerful Cabinet jobs to his party, ZANU-PF. South African leaders have been
putting intense pressure on Tsvangirai's party to accept those appointments,
which would leave the Zimbabwean leader in control of the military and
intelligence services while sharing police with the opposition.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, argues that it would
not be able to solve the humanitarian crisis with Mugabe and his security
forces still dominating the nation.

Annan said regional leaders, who belong to the Southern African Development
Community, had been slow to act as the crisis unfolded, particularly after
African observers condemned elections in June.

But he also ratcheted up the pressure on Tsvangirai, saying that if
Zimbabwe's leaders put the interests of the people first, they'd draw the
right conclusions on what was most important.

"We have indicated to [the opposition leaders] that the most important issue
is the lives and suffering of the people and that must be paramount," Annan
said. "I'm sure we would have given the same message to President Mugabe if
we'd met him."

Tsvangirai's spokesman, George Sibotshiwe, said it was wrong to blame the
MDC for Zimbabwe's crisis.

"The person who's responsible for the mess is Robert Mugabe," he said. "He's
been in power for 28 years."

"We have to approach the problem in a sober and realistic way with due
consideration of the long term," he added. "If the MDC rushes into
government and they're unable to provide solutions, the humanitarian
situation will get worse."

Dixon is a Times staff writer.

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Zimbabwe Health Crisis "A Disaster of Unimaginable Proportions"

Jirair Ratevosian
Posted November 24, 2008
Imagine for just a moment hospitals shutting down in downtown Los Angeles,
dead bodies sprinkled over Sunset Boulevard, free-flowing water and
electricity a figment of the imagination and Governor Schwarzenegger
intentionally blocking humanitarian relief and food aid into the crumbling
state. Something so unimaginable can never happen in this day and age,
right? Wrong.

Zimbabwe, a county of 13 million people in southern Africa has been on the
brink of collapse for some time now. However, just over the last two weeks,
a complete collapse of the health system and sanitation infrastructure has
given way to a major cholera epidemic spreading throughout the country, and
a breakdown in delivery of medications for HIV-AIDS, TB, malaria and chronic

The government's obstructionism is speeding up the massive loss of life.
Just this weekend, a group including former U.N. chief Kofi Annan and former
U.S. President Carter had to cancel a humanitarian assessment visit to
Zimbabwe when the Mugabe government refused them visas, making travel to the
country impossible. The New York Times reported that "Mr. Mugabe's decision
to forbid a visit by (the group), was a measure of the Zimbabwean leader's
disdain for international opinion at a time when deepening hunger, raging
hyperinflation and the collapse of health, sanitation and education services
have crippled Zimbabwe".

The situation is so out of hand that health workers from Harare Central and
Parirenyatwa Hospitals took the courageous step of publicly protesting this
week against the state of the public health system. They gathered in the
street, calling for an urgent response to the situation. However, riot
police forcefully dispersed the hundreds of doctors, nurses and other health
workers who had assembled to protest poor salaries and working conditions.
In fact, according to this BBC report, riot police sealed the exits of the
country's main referral hospital, Parirenyatwa, to prevent staff including
doctors, specialists, nurses and engineers from marching into the city
center. "Undeterred by such threats, we continued marching but we were
thoroughly beaten by the members of the police force which effectively ended
the demonstration, but we believe our voices were heard!" said one
Information Officer for the Zimbabwe Health Students' Network.

The health situation in Zimbabwe, which has been declining for years, is now
untenable. Public health workers in Harare report that due to lack of
medicine, equipment, services, and staff, public hospitals and clinics are
essentially closed, resulting in preventable deaths. There is no access to
care for those who cannot afford private clinics. The only maternity
hospital in the capital is also closed. Patients with fractures, meningitis
and other acute and dangerous conditions are being sent home, according to
another medical source.

According to the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, a
non-partisan and non-political professional association for doctors and
other health professionals in Zimbabwe, authorities closed indefinitely the
country's most prominent medical school and sent students away. Essential
medicines are unavailable to treat the very diseases that the government's
gross negligence has exacerbated. Anti-retroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS
patients and TB treatment for chronically ill patients has been severely

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer,
reproached the Harare government for failing to maintain the health
infrastructure. The deteriorating water and sanitation system has led to a
cholera epidemic spreading throughout the country and daily death tolls are
on the rise. Nearly 300 people have died in Zimbabwe in recent weeks in the
cholera outbreak which has hit about 6,000 people, the The World Health
Organization told the BBC last Friday.

Fresh water is no longer pumped into urban areas, which will only exacerbate
the spread of this infectious disease caused by contaminated water. One
doctor at Harare hospital described the situation as a "disaster of
unimaginable proportions."

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), in a press release issued on November 19
stated, "Given the continued gross negligence of the government of Zimbabwe
and the callous disregard for the safety and wellbeing of its citizens,
together with the dire signs of impending lethal epidemic disease, the
Zimbabwe government must admit its failure to manage the national health
system and seek assistance from the international community." The
organization is calling on governments of the world to act with the utmost
urgency. PHR is circulating a petition this week to urge Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice to take decisive action immediately.

Diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions against the Mugabe regime have
thus far failed to curtail widespread and systematic human rights violations
including willful denial of health care and obstruction of humanitarian aid
as well as mass killing, forced displacement, torture and arbitrary arrest.
The current government has acted with impunity and must be held to account.
"We have been left uncertain of our future which we have sweated for all
these years and hopes of emancipating ourselves have been shattered," stated
the Information Officer for Zimbabwe Health Students' Network.

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Zim city out of water chemicals as cholera spreads

by Nqobizitha Khumalo Tuesday 25 November 2008

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's second largest city said on Monday it had less than a
month's supply of water treatment chemicals, as cholera ravages the
crisis-ridden country while South Africa called for urgent action to prevent
the total collapse of its northern neighbour.

Bulawayo mayor Thabiso Moyo told ZimOnline that an acute shortage of foreign
currency has left the city of more than one million people unable to secure
enough water treatment chemicals.

"The water treatment chemicals will last less than a month and if we fail to
source foreign currency then we will run out of the chemicals by mid-next
month," said Moyo.

"In the face of the cholera outbreak, there is no way we can give residents
dirty and untreated water, the council will stop pumping water to residents
until chemicals have been sourced," he said.

Zimbabwean cities, attempting to juggle the needs of good services against
falling revenues after years of recession, have battled to provide water and
refuse collection while the country is subject to frequent power cuts, a
result of a severe foreign currency squeeze.

A cholera outbreak blamed on broken down sewers, uncollected garbage and a
shortage of clean drinking water in Zimbabwe's cities has claimed 294 lives
to date and has shown signs it could spill over to neighbouring countries
with at least three deaths reported in South Africa since last week.

Both South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and the leader of that
country's ruling ANC party, Jacob Zuma, said on Monday that the cholera
outbreak showed the need for Zimbabwe's political parties to resolve a
two-month impasse that has blocked the establishment of a unity government.

"Unless the root cause of the political absence of a legitimate government
is solved, the humanitarian situation will get worse and will implode or
collapse altogether," Motlanthe said after a meeting a delegation of
international statesmen led by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi

Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela's wife Graca
Machel - who are part of a group of international statesman known as the
Elders Group - had to cancel a visit to Zimbabwe at the weekend after they
were denied entry into the country.

But they have remained in the region, meeting key leaders to discuss
Zimbabwe's escalating humanitarian crisis.

Speaking after meeting Annan's group, Zuma urged Zimbabwe's rival political
leaders to reach agreement on a new government when they meet in South
Africa this week.

He said: "The situation has just gone beyond a situation where we could say
'wait and see'. We are pleading to the leadership for the sake of the people
to find a solution that would help them move forward."

Representatives of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and the two formations of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party are expected to
meet in South Africa this week to discuss a draft constitutional bill that
would allow Mugabe to form a unity government outlined under a September 15
power-sharing agreement.

The power-sharing accord has stalled as the main formation of the MDC led by
Morgan Tsvangirai and ZANU PF fight over control of key ministries,
distribution of gubernatorial posts, ambassadorships and other top
government posts.

Analysts say a power-sharing government could help ease the political
situation and allow Zimbabweans 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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Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has not given up on negotiations for a government of national unity

November 21, 2008

by Peta Thornycroft

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has not given up on
negotiations for a government of national unity.

Four major SADC member states originally backed its call for sole control of
the contested home affairs ministry until only one remained and then
conceded  grudgingly to "consensus"  at the Sandton SADC summit last

 Independent Newspapers has pieced together what happened at the meeting and
where the negotiations over the crisis-hit country will go next.

When SADC leaders met in Sandton at the MDC's request, Tanzania's foreign
minister, Bernard Membe, passionately called for Morgan Tsvanigirai's MDC to
be awarded sole control of home affairs .

He argued that Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF was getting the other security
ministry, defence, as well as control of the feared Central Intelligence
Organisation even though the MDC won a tiny parliamentary majority in March.

Tanzania was supported by Botswana, Lesotho and Zambia, according to sources
in the meeting. The smaller MDC party's leader, Arthur Mutambara, supported
Tsvangirai's claim.

Zanu PF argued that as the party of liberation it had to have all security
ministries and let it be known that it feared that if Tsvangirai controlled
the police, the MDC could use the force for revenge arrests, particularly
Zanu PF corruption and of course for violent attacks against the MDC over
eight years.

As Sunday faded into a long night, South Africa's acting foreign minister,
Charles Ngqakula (sp??) proposed the compromise, arguing that sharing home
affairs could become a super ministry and try and build trust between the
two parties and give rank and file policemen an alternative to misuse by one
party or the other.

Tsvangirai had originally raised the shared ministry compromise.

Ngakula's argument drew support from Lesotho prime minister Pakalitha
Mosili, but Zambia's foreign minister Kabinga Pande remained sceptical and
Botswana vice president Mompate Meraphe opposed  this option.

After further debate, the Zambians were persuaded. Botswana only conceded,
reluctantly, at the end of the summit, that it would be a signatory to a
"consensus" summit statement.

 In the debate surrounding the allocation of ministries, Lesotho raised the
point that while Mugabe had got the coercive ministries he insisted on,
Tsvangirai had won control of service delivery portfolios, which was argued
at one point, could be seen to be unfair to Zanu PF.

Within two years, if the transitional Government of National Unity is
established, and a new constitution agreed, then properly supervised
elections will provide a government based on the people's will.

Tsvangirai's MDC hope to use control of social services, supported by donor
funds to provide food, health and other desperately needed social services
to a suffering population.

With Zanu PF's gross misgovernance and corruption replaced in part by
service delivery, Tsvanigrai should easily deliver a decisive MDC
parliamentary majority rather than the present hung parliament in which he
depends on Mutambara's 10 MP's to defeat Zanu PF.

If Tsvangirai gets his way the two MDC's would be reunited ahead of the next
election and would win an easy two thirds majority and Tsvangirai would
breeze through to presidential victory.

On Friday the MDC-T issued  an ambiguous statement that some analysts
interpret as a decision to accept the dual-minister compromise if a proposed
constitutional amendment is passed.

 Zimbabwe political commentator  Alex Magaisa says: "The MDC had a clear
choice of rejecting the option of joining the inclusive government but they
did not take it expressly."

"The MDC has been careful to say that they reject the two communiqués by the
SADC Troika (October 28) and the Summit (November 9.) But to what extent
have they actually 'rejected' them?"

Magaisa says that the key is in paragraph 3 of the MDC's Friday statement:

 "...the MDC shall participate in a new government once Constitutional
Amendment No. 19 has been passed and effected into law".
 The word "shall" rather than "may" indicates that providing the
constitutional amendment needed to ground a GNU in law is agreed, the MDC
will take part, he says, and others believe this will include sharing the
disputed super ministry, home affairs, which controls the police.

The six negotiatiors,  from MDC, Zanu PF and the smaller MDC  could meet
soon  to hammer out the constitutional amendment. . It has been drafted by
the Attorney-general's office in Harare and sent to the facilitator, former
President Thabo Mbeki.

The MDC has drafted its own version of the amendment so the two will have to
be negotiatied. Tsvangirai is likely to want some of the imperfections of
the September 15 agreement corrected, so may use this opportunity to ensure
that there is equitable appointment of top civil service jobs.

It may be in these negotiations that composition of the new National
Security Council takes place. As it stands it is not a statutory body but is
made up of service chiefs, now known as the Joint Operations Command.

The agreement does not spell out its composition,  and  Tsvangirai, who the
agreement says would be a member,  would be massively outnumbered by the pro
Zanu PF service chiefs.

If an amendment is then agreed and addresses some of the specific
imperfections of the Global Political Agreement of September15, such as a
fair methodology for allocation of top civil service jobs, then it  would
be gazetted and President Robert Mugabe would then swear in the two other
signatories to the September 15 political agreement:

Morgan Tsvangirai, as prime minister and Arthur Mutambara, leader of the
smaller MDC,  a deputy.

Then, a month later as the constitution demands, the amendment would have to
be passed by a two thirds parliamentary majority and the second deputy prime
minister, Thoko Khupe,  (Tsvangirai's vice president)  would be sworn in and
then the cabinet, agreed by consensus by SADC on November 9.

ADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao has accepted that the position of 10
powerful governors is still up for negotiations and told the post summit
press conference these posts will have to be handled after the government is
sworn in.

The MDC says they must be distributed based on March 29 election results.
SADC ought to endorse a fair allocation of governors'  since its observers
accepted the results of the March 29 election which Tsvangirai's MDC won
with a single seat majority.

However Mugabe will resist as he installed Zanu PF governors ahead of the
agreement to give his party a majority in the Senate which is unacceptable
to both MDC's

Repression of MDC leaders and ordinary supporters for eight years has taken
a toll on the MDC leadership, leading to personal and policy
disagreements.Tsvangirai, has from the beginning of negotiations, appeared
to instinctively  want to have a go at a GNU, according to those who watched
him during all the talks.

However, whenever he came close to signing a  deal during negotiations for
allocation of the  ministries, he withdrew to consult and was pulled back by
key supporters, and he then introduced new  bottom lines.

He is answerable to a group of party advisors including his volatile
secretary-general, Tendai Biti, a senior and respected partner of a top
Harare law firm.

Before the power sharing agreement was signed, Tsvangirai ensured that the
top structure of the GNU would be limited to two deputy prime ministers, one
for his party deputy,  Khupe, and the other to  the unelected Mutambara,
effectively, and some say, strategically,  leaving Biti out.

At that point, insiders say Biti influenced some key intellectuals against
participating in a GNU.

Against all this, negotiations' facilitator, Thabo Mbeki has long been
accused by the MDC of shielding Mugabe. But Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy,"
however irritating,  did allow him to become the mediator acceptable to
Mugabe, even if mistrusted by Tsvangirai.

In private, one on one, we do not know whether Mbeki exercised pressure on
Mugabe, but he must have put some heat on the old man, or there would have
been no negotiations at all.

Several sources close to Mbeki say his approach to Zimbabwe is dominated by
an obsession  with "imperialist" Britain and the United States and a
suspicion for some obscure reason that they are using the MDC as their
agents (witting or unwittingly).

Mbeki also seems to have little respect for Tsvangirai, possibly because of
the latter's  lack of tertiary education, perhaps forgetting that the MDC
leader is closer to the grass roots of Zimbabwe than Mbeki ever was in South

Mbeki has also been irritated by Tsvangirai's frequent change of mind during
negotiations and his failure to turn up for a meeting with Mugabe earlier in
the year, which he, Tsvangirai,  had repeatedly asked for.

MDC leaders find it hard to understand Mbeki's obsession with "imperialism,"
in the face of the much larger issue of the collapse of Zimbabwe and the
unimaginable human suffering throughout the country.

With increasing hunger, in some places on the point of starvation which will
be worse in the coming months, the self-interest and ideological obsessions
of politicians is beginning to look obscene.

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SA says over 1 000 cholera patients in Beitbridge, Musina

by By Norest Muzvaba Tuesday 25 November 2008

JOHANNESBURG - More than 1 000 cholera patients are in Beitbridge
hospital, while Musina hospital has received a total of 168 Zimbabwean
cholera patients since the outbreak of the disease, South African health
officials said on Monday.

"As at yesterday, our hospital in Musina had received a total of 168
cholera patients since the outbreak of the disease on November 15, three of
whom have died," Musina municipality health department spokesperson Phuti
Seloba told the media, adding that 27 patients were currently in the

Seloba said South African and Zimbabwean health officials met at the
weekend to map out a strategy to tackle a cholera outbreak that is wreaking
havoc in crisis-ravaged Zimbabwe and fast spreading into South Africa's
northernmost province.

"We had a meeting on Sunday with health officials from Zimbabwe. It
was a very fruitful meeting. We did an assessment of Zimbabwe's health needs
to enable us to tackle the problem," Seloba said.

"During the meeting, held in the Zimbabwean border town of Beitbridge,
we all realised that the problem is neither Zimbabwean nor South African.
This is our common problem and we need to solve it jointly. We need to look
at the health gaps and find a way to fill them by tackling the source of the

Zimbabwe - facing a serious humanitarian crisis with more than half of
the population facing starvation and a world record inflation of more than
231 million percent - has been battling to contain an outbreak of cholera
that started in September and, according to the World Health Organisation,
has since claimed 294 lives.

Compounding the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is the fact that the
country's once admired health system has totally collapsed while doctors and
nurses are grossly underpaid because the government does not have money. -

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Residents sue ZINWA over cholera deaths

November 24, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - More than 100 residents of Harare's Budiriro suburb and Chitungwiza
are filing a law suit and claiming damages of up to $2 hexilion against the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) over the cholera epidemic which
has claimed the lives of their relatives.

The lawsuit will be filed in the High Court in Harare this week by law firm
Mucheche and Matsikidze Legal Practioners, acting on behalf of the

The lawsuit seeks to have ZINWA relieved of its responsibilities for having
failed to provide safe and clean water in the urban centres of Zimbabwe,
leading to the outbreak of the deadly disease.

"We have been approached by twenty families from Budiriro in Harare who have
lost relatives in the current cholera outbreak. The chairman of Chitungwiza
Residents Association (CRA) has also approached us.

"We are now compiling the names of relatives of victims who intent to be
covered under this law suit," said Rogers Matsikidze of Mucheche and
Matsikidze. "We are looking at well over a hundred cases."

Matsikidze said ZINWA would have 21 days to admit or deny that it has failed
to deliver water to residents. It will be further argued that the
responsibility for water provision and administration be returned to the
local authorities.

ZINWA was launched soon after the controversial 2000 parliamentary
elections. Many observers now view it as a dangerous and costly political

Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has admitted that
281 people have succumbed to cholera from September to date. Independent
health analysts say the disease has killed at least 300.

Parirenyatwa said: "We are concerned about the unavailability of water and
as the minister responsible for health I am very scared, especially during
this rainy season."

The World Health Organization (WHO) says over 6 000 people have been
affected by  cholera since August.

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Australia provides $8 million emergency aid for the people of Zimbabwe

Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID); Government of

Date: 25 Nov 2008

AA 08 69

Australia will provide a further $8 million of urgent food and other
assistance to the people of Zimbabwe in response to the escalating
humanitarian crisis.

The situation in Zimbabwe has become extremely grave, with critical
shortages of food and clean water.

Currently in Zimbabwe, 28 per cent of children under five are chronically
malnourished and a cholera outbreak has spread to all of the nation's eight
provinces, killing around 300 people.

The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that over five million people -
nearly half Zimbabwe's population - will require food aid by early next

Australia will contribute:

- $6 million to the World Food Programme; and

- $2 million to NGOs in partnership with the UK's Department for
International Development (DFID).

This assistance brings Australia's support for Zimbabweans to nearly $20
million in 2008-09.

Australia's contribution will assist those most vulnerable to hunger, in
particular orphans, those affected by HIV/AIDS and people displaced by
politically motivated violence or the policies of the Mugabe regime. It will
also assist with protecting livelihoods and improving access to clean water,
sanitation and hygiene.

The Australian Government remains gravely concerned by the ongoing political
crisis in Zimbabwe, where people continue to be denied a democratic and
representative government.

The Government is providing desperately needed humanitarian assistance to
the people of Zimbabwe but will maintain targeted sanctions against the
brutal Mugabe regime which has caused so much of the suffering.

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Shops turn away customers without forex

Business Reporter

SOME shops in Bulawayo are no longer accepting local currency, demanding
payment in foreign currency for all purchases, Business Chronicle has
A survey yesterday revealed that some shops licensed to sell in foreign
currency were turning away customers without the foreign currency.
Kwikspar supermarket along 4th Avenue and Fife Street and Green Acres have
abandoned selling commodities in local currency except for a few perishables
that include milk, fruit and vegetables.
A section of goods sold in foreign currency only is packed with commodities,
mostly imported, while another part that is supposed to have commodities
sold in local currency is almost empty as only a few commodities such as tea
leaves can be found.
"We are not taking any Zimbabwean dollars for most goods we have in this
shop except for products such as milk and other perishables. Otherwise all
products that we import are sold in foreign currency only," said an employee
at Kwikspar supermarket.
However, in shops that were still accepting local currency, they pegged
their prices abnormally high in a strategy to discourage consumers from
buying in local currency.
"Only a few people are buying in local currency because it is cheaper to buy
in hard currency. Besides, it is also difficult for us to calculate new
Zimbabwean dollar prices on a daily basis because the rate changes on a
daily if not hourly basis," said an official at another licensed retail
Most Foreign Currency Licensed Warehouses and Shops have since stopped the
dual pricing system citing the fluctuation of the Zimbabwean dollar against
major currencies.
Difficulties in accessing cash at the banks have forced most consumers to
mainly rely on hard currency in paying for goods and services leading to an
increase in the abuse of the facility as some businesses illegally charge in
hard currency.

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Mujuru allies ousted in Masvingo

November 24, 2008

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Sharp divisions have rocked Zanu-PF in Masvingo following
provincial elections which saw nearly all the old executive members believed
to be aligned to the former army commander general Solomon Mujuru's faction
being voted out of office.
Members of the old executive, all of them linked to the military, lost to
party newcomers linked to the Emmerson Mnangagwa camp as the party gears up
for its national conference next month.

The old executive led by retired major Alex Mudavanhu was defeated in the
elections on Sunday, while party newcomers, some of whom were suspended from
Zanu-PF for allegedly supporting the controversial Tsholotsho plot, were
voted into the provincial executive.

Mudavanhu and Masvingo South legislator Walter Muzembi lost to former Gutu
North legislator Lovemore Matuke, who is now the party's new provincial
chairman in Masvingo.

Matuke polled 864 votes against Mudavanhu's 100 votes while Muzembi polled
300 votes.

Little-known Nyasha Chitumo of Zaka is the new vice chairman after he
outpolled former vice- chairman Retired Major Clever Mumbengegwi

Tranos Huruva is the new political commissar while Clemence Makwarimba takes
over as provincial secretary.

Sylet Uyoyo was elected new chairperson of the provincial women's league.

Uyoyo and Makwarimba were once suspended from the party after they were
linked to the Tsholotsho meeting - alleged to have plotted against President
Robert Mugabe's ouster.

Six party provincial chairpersons for the party were subsequently fired as a
result of the meeting, alleged to have been spearheaded by former
information minister Jonathan Moyo, now an independent MP representing
Tsholotsho North constituency. Mnangagwa was linked to Moyo and his fortunes
fell in the aftermath of Tsholotsho.

Sunday's elections created sharp divisions within the former ruling party's
Masvingo province. Some members of the old executive refused outright to
leave office.

Sources within Zanu-PF said that members of the old executive had refused to
hand over property including vehicles to the newly elected members.

"We are not going to leave office because these elections were not free and
fair," said a member of the old executive who requested anonymity.

"The whole thing was stage-managed because there were some people in the
party who did not want us because we are linked to the Mujuru faction."

The old Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial executive was composed of mainly retired
soldiers allegedly linked to Mujuru, the retired army commander who is the
husband of Vice-President Joice Mujuru. Before the March elections the
retired army commander was widely regarded to be one of the Zanu-PF
heavy-weights who were expected to join former finance minister Simba Makoni
in his last-minute bid for the presidency.

His rival Mnangagwa's star has been on the rise ever since and the events in
Masvingo over the weekend would to seem to confirm that as of now Mnangagwa
has the upper hand ahead of the Zanu-PF December conference.

Among those who were in the old Masvingo executive are  former chairman
Mudavanhu, a retired army major, Mumbengegwi, Claudius Makova, a retired
colonel and retired brigadier general Callisto Gwanetsa.

Elliot Manyika Zanu-PF secretary for the commissariat on Monday dismissed
any talk of division in the party.

"Those who are crying foul are not our supporters," he said. "Whenever there
are elections in Masvingo there are always divisions and we are saying to
the losers they should work hand-in-glove with the new executive.

"We are not going to hesitate to fire from the party people who behave like
our enemies"

Zanu-PF has been restructuring its provincial executives throughout the
country ahead of the party national conference to be held next month in

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A case for dollarisation

Tuesday, 25 November 2008
It is not a secret that the Zimbabwean dollar has lost all its value.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has since had to remove thirteen zeros
from the embattled currency. A number of measures have been instituted in
order to try and stop this freefall. These measures include limiting cash
withdrawals and the BACOSSI family of interventions among others. They are
not working.
Inflation is increasing at an increasing rate and the hapless ordinary
populace continues to suffer.
It is high time Zimbabwe fully dollarises officially or

Dollarisation involves the inhabitants of a country using foreign
currency in parallel to or instead of their domestic currency. The term is
not only applied to usage of the United States dollar, but also generally to
the use of any foreign currency as the national currency. Semiofficial
dollarisation is when foreign currency is legal tender yet it plays second
fiddle to the domestic currency. When a country seizes to issue its own
money, this becomes official dollarisation. As it is, Zimbabwe has carried
out the first steps towards semiofficial dollarization, by introducing the
concept of FOLIWARS. This is hardly enough. More stable currencies such as
the Rand and the United States dollar need to be used to pay salaries and
for day to day transactions.

An argument put across by a number of people is that, dollarisation
should not take place because most people do not earn foreign currency, so
they would not be able to buy. The stark truth is that most products in
Zimbabwe are already being sold in foreign currency.
The Zimbabwe dollar price tag is only a front for the underlying
foreign currency price. If you walk into a spare parts shop and ask for a
quotation, the attended punches some numbers and then quotes you a Zimbabwe
dollar price. Two kilograms of sugar cost US$2 or 20 Rands.
A shop selling in Zimbabwe dollars will quote enough to be able to buy
this foreign currency during or at the end of each day. What this entails is
that one actually pays more using Zimbabwe dollars since shop owners put a
premium on prices in case rates move upwards. As such, people pay more if
they buy goods denominated in Zimbabwean dollars.

The current situation is only benefiting foreign currency dealers and
those who can access foreign currency at the ridiculously low official
exchange rate for resale. The fact that not all shops have licenses allowing
them to sell in foreign currency means people have to covert foreign
currency into local currency for day to day purchases. Dealers charge
commissions for their 'services'. This is so lucrative that places such as
Copa Cabana, Ximex mall and Roadport, are always crowded with
ever-increasing hordes of dealers with wads of high denomination notes.
Dollarisation will do away with the need to convert money, and as such
remove these middlemen.

Most people are now paying their employees in 'kind'. This involves
the use of fuel coupons and groceries which are a better store of value than
the Zimbabwean dollar as they are proxies for foreign currency. The usual
practice is to fix the number of coupons and quantities of groceries and not
the underlying US dollar value. A person who was entitled to ten twenty
litre coupons could sell them for three hundred United States dollars. With
the fall in world fuel prices, only one hundred and fifty dollars can be
realized from the same quantity. This translates to a fifty percent
reduction in earnings. Any reduction in the price of the commodity results
in the worker getting less. If these salaries were paid in foreign currency,
the worker would still be able to maintain his or her earnings. Of course
there is the likelihood of the prices of fuel going up. I would be more
comfortable with a situation whereby one gets remunerated in foreign
currency, then decides whether or not to buy fuel coupons in order to
speculate on the upward movement in prices. The idea is to do everything
possible to reduce or curb brain drain.

In the past week, there has been a lot of threats and 'measures'
coming from the Reserve Bank. The governor has gone on a witch-hunt.
Dr Gono is threatening to close down most of the banks still operating
in Zimbabwe. He is addressing symptoms and failing to ask himself why South
African or United States authorities are not complaining that "ugly heads of
indiscipline, corruption, fraudulent activities and underhand manipulation
of their money and capital markets have reached epic proportions that are
threatening to wipe the face of their economies," yet they have more
advanced fraudsters. The real reason is that the Zimbabwe dollar has lost
all its value. What is needed are clear, objective, apolitical policy
measures, and not stop-gap firefighting patches. One of these policy
measures involves dollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy.

A question that would be asked is how to handle the issue of
individuals with substantial amounts of money in their bank accounts and
invested on the stock exchange. Most of this money came from the 'burning
process'. Salaries are in millions and billions, yet some people have
quintillions and sextillions in their accounts. If these people were to be
given access to that cash, its street value would be worth so many United
States dollars that the market would collapse instantly (that is if Gono's
30 year old presses can print such figures). This issue has to be looked at
before the dollarisation of the economy. The sheer volumes of proceeds from
'burning money' are such that it is very easy to differentiate between money
gotten through this means and that earned as salaries. An approach could be
to convert these volumes of money to their foreign currency equivalents,
using the transfer or cheque rates as at the dates when they got into the
These rates have been recorded by organizations such as Zfn. This can
be easily done using packages such as Microsoft Excel. On the stock
exchange, dually listed companies can be used to approximate the value of
all other counters.

Dollarisation is not all rosy. It has been shown to plunge economies
into debt and to stifle productive sectors. The government would have to
borrow in order to honour obligations such as paying the Civil Service.
However, the benefits which include reduction in inflation and restoration
of investor confidence outweigh the possible pitfalls.
Dollarisation coupled with Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) could
cancel out the effects of deficits. There are some legal and political
issues involved with using another nation's currency.  Whether Zimbabwe
decides to dollarise officially or semiofficially, there will be need to
engage parties both within and without Zimbabwe. The best chance for this is
after a solution to our current political problems.

by Ozias Farai Goredema

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The Role of the Church and its Voice in Zimbabwe Today

Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Bishop Sebastian Bakare :

 Address to Human Rights Conference in Lulea, Sweden Nov 2008

I stand before you as someone who was very much involved in the
liberation of our country of Zimbabwe from colonial rule, and we cherish the
Swedish people who supported us then and still hold us on the top of your
solidarity list. You have never given us up to this day although the
relationship between our two nations is n o longer what it was before and
immediately after independence. In 1980 when we became independent we were
convinced that the process to become a democratic state had already started
but we have since become known as a nation that denies basic democratic
principles and human rights.

For more than 20 years Zimbabwe's main challenges have been economic
and political, and especially the abuse of power by those in political
leadership positions. There is a school of thought which argues that such
challenges are technical and all that is needed are technical experts to fix
Zimbabwe's social and political systems. Indeed technical experts are needed
and can help find solutions to salvage our nation from this chronic
mismanagement of our national resources.

But a serious observer of the situation in Zimbabwe will soon find out
that the social, economic and political challenges we have today are only
the tip of the iceberg. We have a very deep spiritual and moral crisis in
Zimbabwe which explains why our nation has become so corrupt thriving on
political patronage. This has resulted in a society marred by all forms of
injustice without regard for human dignity,
.    a society whose political system promotes lawlessness, violence,
harassment, denial of food to the hungry to name but a few;
.    a nation with many displaced persons - now around 500,000 in
.    a political system that has total disregard for democratic
principles as became obvious in the recent elections;
.    in short: a system that has robbed its people of their human

Christians understand human rights as a God given gift. Every person
has a right to live a meaningful and purposeful life including the right to
food, shelter, healthcare, employment and education - all these rights are
being violated in Zimbabwe. Here lies the basis of our challenge - it is
both spiritual and moral.

Where the spiritual and moral  fibre of society are undermined, basic
human values have also ceased to exist. How else can it be explained that
some of our people have been mutilated during this year's election campaign,
others were left to die? People's homesteads and food storages were
destroyed resulting in an unbearable situation for the affected families.
There is indeed need to remind our people that there will be no peace in
Zimbabwe until we all come to a full realisation that no political solution
can be found unless it creates a system with a human face. That is why I
repeat that we are faced with a spiritual and moral crisis in Zimbabwe.

What is the mission of the church in such a context?
The mission of the church is to announce the good news in any given
situation -
good news that brings about freedom to the oppressed, food to the
starving, medication to the sick, shelter to the homeless, protection to the
vulnerable children and abused members of the community etc.

The human rights of the majority of people in Zimbabwe are violated
thereby denying them a meaningful life. This majority lacks everything
except the air they breathe while on the other hand the minority who benefit
from political patronage have easy access to all the resources and material
needs that make life easier.

In actual fact Zimbabwe today is a lawless state where the
perpetrators of violence and even murder are never arrested or brought to
book. The judicial system itself is manipulated and leaves a lot to be
desired. The police are feared by the public because of their ruthlessness
and brutality as we in the Anglican Diocese of Harare continue to experience
whereby we are driven out from our church buildings during services and are
thus denied freedom of worship as our human right. When police officers
abuse the law they are supposed to protect, then you know that there is no
law anymore to protect the public. This all happens with full backing from
the political leadership some of whom are Anglicans but put their allegiance
to their political party above their allegiance to their church and their
Christian faith.

The church has the responsibility to remind those in positions of
power of their duty to respect and uphold human rights of all its citizens
regardless of social status, gender, religion, ethnicity or political
affiliation, and where these are denied the church becomes the voice of the
voiceless. However the voice of the church in Zimbabwe has not been loud
enough to condemn the evil system that our people experience daily. Here I
salute Archbp Pius Ncube who had the courage to speak out on behalf of the
voiceless. But you all know what sacrifice he had to make. And to make it
worse the church did not stand up in solidarity with him when character
assassination was meted out against him.  The voice of the church appears to
be submerged by other noises which include violence, intimidation, arrests
and other forms of harassment. The voice of the church has not been loud
enough to condemn such behaviour. Some clergy who have tried to speak out
against the unjust political system have been seriously warned and often

The church runs 80% of the schools in the nation. But off late
children have not been going to school or teachers have refused to teach
them because of poor wages paid by the government, -  and again the church
has remained silent where it had the right to speak out as a partner in

Similarly the church has traditionally had a strong commitment to
health but has not condemned the total collapse of the health sector with
major hospitals being closed down.  Should we in the church turn a blind eye
on such an appalling state of affairs? Indeed many people begin to ask: What
is the role of the church? Is it to support the government regardless of bad
governance and economic mismanagement? Certainly not!

The church has a prophetic ministry to offer, and this is not usually
popular with those in power. The voice of the church should be heard -
.    Calling for justice in our dealings with one another so that all
members of society have equal opportunities and access to all national
.    Calling for freedom of speech and social harmony
.    Calling for genuine peace in the midst of political polarisation
.    Being a voice that instils in all persons a desire to lead a
truthful life marked by integrity rather than corruption
.    A voice that condemns Christians who apply double standards - one
for Sunday service in church and another for the rest of the week
accompanied by corrupt and unjust practises.

With these few examples we may conclude by saying that the church has
not listened to God enough to pass on the message to his people.

The story of Moses in the Old Testament at the site of the burning
bush is a case in point: Moses listened to God saying: I have indeed seen
the misery of my people in Egypt, I have heard them cry out because of the
slave drivers, and I am concerned: Go assemble the elders of Israel and say
to them that I have promised to bring you out of misery. We in the church
are reminded of a God who is not indifferent to the oppressed. He sees the
misery of his people who do not hear His voice. We do not seem to be sure
about our calling, and so we remain silent. In our silence we bury God's
voice because it is uncomfortable. We fear to face the Pharaoh in Egypt. We
have adopted survival skills. We even obey orders from a leadership we know
to be working against the will of God. But God wants us to love one another,
care for each other, and respect human life.

The gospel message which we are expected to proclaim with a loud voice
is about justice, peace, love and truth. These themes do not appear to be
heard loudly in our nation.

During the March and June elections some of our people in rural areas
suffered serious atrocities, such as torture including murder. Others were
made homeless and became displaced persons. The main reason for this torture
and harassment being that these people did not vote for the right party.
Here is a classic example of the denial of human freedom of choice. In this
instance the voice condemning such atrocities came from civic organisations
whose members suffered arrests, and closure of their offices - as happened
to the Lawyers for Human Rights.

What the people in Zimbabwe need today are individuals who stand up
and condemn what they see as unjust political system that limits people's
freedom. The 20th century history presents us with outstanding individuals
who stood up for human rights: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King  Jr., Per
Anger, Dietrich Boenhoeffer,  Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu - to name but a
few. These persons stood up as individuals to condemn evil as they saw it.
Today we need individuals with open eyes

.    to see the maimed persons in hospital with open wounds without
.    to see the child dying of hunger on the street
.    to see the displaced family sleeping by the road side without
.    to feel the pain inflicted on humanity by fellow humans.

Unless the both the church and individuals speak out with loud voices
condemning  an inhuman political system that disregards the  principles of
democracy, dictatorship will be with us for a long time to come. Elsewhere
on the continent of Africa dictatorships and evil ideologies have been
dismantled by churches taking a clear position. I am thinking here of the
churches of South Africa, Kenya and Malawi to mention but a few.

As we discuss issues related to human rights, let us focus on each
person as a child of God whose dignity is God given, a dignity not derived
from any human quality, not from a particular race, age, sex or social
status, let alone from the powers that be, but a human dignity that is God
given and belongs to God alone.

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Dear Professor Arthur Mutambara

November 24, 2008

By Jane Madembo

I READ with interest the transcript of your interview with Violet Gonda of
SW Radio  Africa.

"So while we back Mr. Tsvangirai in pursuit of the Home Affairs Ministry we
do not agree that not getting Home Affairs is sufficient a condition to
destroy the agreement, is sufficient a condition to ruin our country over
this matter."

I say it is sufficient reason to destroy the agreement. It's a deal breaker.
The MDC must have the Ministry of Home affairs.  The lives and safety of
Zimbabwean people depend on it.

Instead of maintaining law and order, the Ministry of Home Affairs has
become the base where unlawful acts are hatched and implemented. Instead of
protecting the lives of the people, the Ministry of Home Affairs has itself
participated in the killing of innocent Zimbabweans.

In your interview with Violet Gonda, you belittled the Ministry of Home
Affairs, as if it was something irrelevant.  "How can a nation be ruined
over a ministry?" you asked.

Let me tell you Professor, in case your intelligent mind has forgotten, the
function of the Ministry of Home Affairs is the maintenance of law and
order, and to protect the lives and the property of the people of Zimbabwe.

Maybe you are one of the lucky people who have not suffered violent beatings
at the hands of the Mugabe militia or the police.

Maybe none of your family, relatives, or friends has suffered a similar

If any of your relatives or friends had been found dead in the ditches of
Norton, or tossed by the roadside, burnt and tortured, then perhaps you
would be more firm about which side you are on.

The Zimbabwean Ministry of Home Affairs is not functional. It's a window
dressing. It is there for one purpose only, to serve Robert Mugabe and
suppress the people of Zimbabwe.

The police have repeatedly perpetuated brutal attacks on innocent people on
the orders of the ruling party. They have let killers roam free, and thieves
ran amok.

There has not been peace and order in Zimbabwe over the last ten years,
while Home Affairs has been under the control of President Mugabe. I
recommend that you read Gilbert Muponda's article "Reforming Home Affairs
critical for Zimbabwe's Economy."

Since the controversial land distribution programme, the police have allowed
war veterans and some impostors to run around the country unchallenged
invading white farms, looting, beating and killing the farmers who dared to
resist.  Some of the unfortunate victims were farmers who thought that they
could fight this in a court of law.

We have seen images of the police beating up and arresting members of the
opposition for no charge at all other than their political affiliation.
Members of the opposition have been detained by the police without charge.
The police instead have become the organ which the ruling party uses to
intimidate, suppress and harass the opposition.

I can't imagine such a thing happening in a democratic country. It would be
unheard of for George Bush to order the arrest of a Democratic rival or a

Victims of political violence found themselves defenceless, with nowhere to
go, or report to. The police refused to act against supporters of Mugabe.
Zimbabweans have become victims of the very same ministry which is supposed
to protect them.

The life and future of the people of Zimbabwe depend on the Ministry of Home
Affairs. Zimbabweans need to go to their beds and sleep well knowing that
they are protected. Zimbabweans need to sleep well knowing that no one will
come and knock on their door at midnight and take them away from their
families for not supporting Mugabe.

Many people have lost their lives over the last ten years. The brazen
killings and abductions were undertaken in full view of both the public and
the police and yet, the later did not do anything to stop it.

It is evident that Mugabe doesn't want to relinquish his instrument of
terror. Without the police on his side or under his control, who would go
out and arrest those MDC members on trumped-up charges.  Without the police
on his side, who would go out and beat up those WOZA women when they
demonstrate on the state of the economy.

It is evident, Professor, that although you hold a PHD, you suffer from
certain deficiencies as far as reasoning is concerned. Or is it that you are
just an opportunist as some people suggest you are.  Your rumblings which
always evoke rebuke, derision, disbelief and laughter from many people are a
sideline entertainment to the serious business of solving the Zimbabwean

As long as Mugabe has control of Home Affairs, no real change will ever come
to Zimbabwe. No investors will come. No tourists will come. Even Zimbabweans
will not come back.

Mutambara must decide which side he in on, some say.   Even though Mugabe is
vilified, at least people know where he stands.  What do you stand for

It's only in Zimbabwe that people like you and Mugabe have a platform.
Please stop talking about the people.  As far as I know, not many voted for
you. Your campaign is not about the people; it is about yourself.

If you were my husband, I would be ashamed of you.  In fact, I would put a
muzzle on you. Something tells me that you are a bully. I make this
judgement based on the transcript of your interview with Violet Gonda.  You
were disrespectful and intimidating.

You have become the Sarah Palin of Zimbabwe.

Responses to “Dear Professor Arthur Mutambara”

  1. Nada on November 24th, 2008 4:30 pm

    I keep on hearing how intelligent Mutambara is - mainly from the man himself who seems to have an obsessively high opinion of his intellectual capabilities. I am not so convinced. Nothing I have read or heard from this man suggests anything other average intelligence.

    Indeed in some cases he appears a little stupid or very naive at best. And on top of it when he is under pressure he seems very quick tempered, rude and abusive. Not qualities that seem ideal for Deputy PM. Has anyone checked into Mutambara’s background? He was away for a long time and is very vague about what he did over this period. This might be something for a journalist to look into.

  2. Munyaradzi Munochiveyi on November 24th, 2008 4:33 pm

    This is one of the most poignant and thorough analysis of the Mutambara phenomenon in our current politics in Zimbabwe. Yes, not only has Mutambara displayed amazing historical amnesia as to the role of the police in allowing lawlessness which is largely responsible for the situation we are in right now, but Mutambara also forgets that the basic; fundamental philosophy of power-sharing is FAIRNESS.

    In Mutambara’s rantings at our dear sister Violet he could not bring himself to decently answer Violet’s questions on how he expects the MDC to co-manage Home Affairs with Zanu-PF. He kept on harassing Violet, telling he that she wasn’t “quick” or “smart” enough instead of answering questions. I agree that such a politician who dodges difficult but important questions very much resembles the Sarah Palin of Wasila, Alaska!!

  3. Tawanda on November 24th, 2008 5:25 pm

    Mutambara is the balancing power in Zimbabwe, if you need his help you have to work with him and Tsvangirai should know that. Remember this guy was persuaded by the MDC to become their leader when he was a Director in S.A

    I wouldn’t mind if Mutambara takes over from President Mugabe than Morgan Tsvangirai. Mr Tsvangirayi is busy travelling around the world instead of agreeing with Mugabe to form GNU.

  4. mthwakazi on November 24th, 2008 5:52 pm

    Come on Jane, give Sarah Palin a break. She ran and energised a powerful campaign for the Republicans. Well, l agree with you about AGO but l disagree when you say he was bullying Violet. It was a fair interview. lf you think it was abusive please listen to the George Charamba interview. Overall l agree with your views that Mutambara is an opportunistic traitor. He can’t wait to be sworn as a deputy PM and he knows only this agreement will give him a lifeline. He does not have the interests of the people at heart as he claims.

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Obama and Zimbabwe

Obama brings hope to the oppressed in Zimbabwe

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

It must have been a great relief to many world leaders when Barack Obama
recently won the presidential race. The many congratulatory calls that he
received are testament to this. But from Zimbabwe, there was little more
than sullen silence.

For years, Robert Mugabe has maintained that "neo-colonial" powers, that is,
the "white" governments of the UK and US, have been plotting to usurp him.
But with Zimbabwe slowly sliding towards civil war, beset by cholera, with
five million at risk of starvation, and a black man now at the helm of the
US, how long can this fiction be maintained?

During the 1970s, my father, Jack Edward Jones, was among the many
mixed-race senators in the government of Rhodesia, as the country was then
known. He predicted with unerring precision what would happen if Mugabe and
his ilk came to power, the destruction of the country.

This was based on the knowledge that the narrow and primitive mentality of
tribal politics would slash at the roots of democracy being nourished by the
then prime minister Ian Smith and senators such as my father.

It's a year since Smith died, and that fine man must have been horrified to
see what was happening to his beloved country. He has been much maligned and
falsely accused of being racist by people who had little if any knowledge of
the country. Like many people who govern successfully, he was a hard-headed
pragmatist who took the long view, and proved all his critics wrong. He
hauled that country out of internecine tribal conflict to become the envy of
its corrupt, bankrupt neighbours. Mugabe has taken it back to the Dark Ages
by destroying what was once an advanced, all-round society and committing
genocide on his own people.

Barack Obama said last year: "For years, it has been increasingly apparent
that the Mugabe government is interested only in its own survival and
enrichment, not the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe."

How it must irritate Mugabe to see a black man in power in the US, who
recognises his regime for what it is, corrupt, greedy and criminal; and who
can't be accused of racism.

Cliff Jones


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