The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Breaking news.... Gono re-appointed

ZTV news has reported that the "Minister of Finance" has announced
that "the President" has appointed Gideon Gono as Governor of the
Reserve Bank for a further period of five years with effect form 1
December 2008.

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Talks resume

November 25, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwe 's rival political parties resumed talks in South Africa
Tuesday to draft Constitutional Amendment No.19 expected to give legal force
to the all-inclusive government.

The talks resumed amid allegations that President Mugabe remained unwilling
to compromise and meet his end of the bargain.

The fresh round of talks comes amid a growing global outcry over turmoil in
Zimbabwe that threatens to spill over to its neighbours, with attempts by
the Mugabe regime to draw an iron curtain around the crisis.

The Mugabe regime's barring of former United Nations secretary general Kofi
Annan, former United States president Jimmy  Carter and a rights activist
Graca Machel to assess the humanitarian crisis last weekend has drawn
international condemnation, despite spirited denials by government that it
had not barred the Elders.

The snub of the Elders by Zimbabwe has catapulted the country back into
international focus as the deepening humanitarian crisis has given new
urgency to an amicable political solution while the country's political
leaders still bicker over Cabinet and other government posts.

Tuesday's meeting to draft the constitutional amendment takes place as South
Africa , Zimbabwe 's largest trading partner in the sub region, loses
patience with Mugabe's contempt for international mediation aimed at
resolving the standoff.

South Africa's ruling ANC has announced it is dispatching a fact-finding
mission into Zimbabwe soon to assess the desperate situation in the country
following the snub of the Elders.

The decision follows a meeting between South Africa President Kgalema
Motlante and his Botswana counterpart Ian Khama with the group of Elders at
the President's offices in Pretoria on Sunday.

In a sign of growing impatience with the Mugabe administration, last week
South Africa withdrew a promised R300 million aid package to bankroll the
Zimbabwe agricultural season because there was no government to hand over
the donation to.

Motlanthe, who is also the SADC chair, said: "Unless the root cause of the
political absence of a legitimate government is solved, the situation will
get worse and may implode or collapse."

A report presented to the ANC and the South African government officials by
the Elders, detailing the desperate situation inside Zimbabwe has shocked
South Africa'r ruling party.

"The spread of cholera which has left scores of people dead has exacerbated
the situation," ANC president Jacob Zuma said.

The World Health Organisation has said over 300 people have succumbed to
cholera in the past three months. Zuma said the situation was not
"theoretical but rather one that is affecting the lives of people."
"The situation has now gone beyond a point where leaders can adopt a
wait-and-see approach," he said.
The Zimbabwe Times heard that after being barred from travelling to
Zimbabwe, the three Elders met in South Africa with Zimbabwe's opposition
leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations, Western
donors and UN agencies.

As negotiators from the two factions of the MDC and Zanu-PF started meeting
Tuesday to discuss the constitutional amendments set to usher in a unity
government, reports emerged of sharp differences over who exactly should
draft the amendment bill.

The power-sharing agreement does not specify who has the responsibility to
draft the Constitution Amendment No. 19 Bill.

There are likely to be serious obstacles to this combined drafting as the
parties still have to agree on the wording while the process itself is still
shrouded in secrecy.

Both parties have come up with their own drafts which have so far not been
made available to the public. But the MDC policy chief Eddie Cross said the
draft produced by Zanu-PF still reflects the changes that Mugabe's party
unilaterally inserted to the agreement that was finalised on September 11
and then foisted onto the MDC at the signing ceremony on September 15.

"It also differs in a number of respects from that agreement and is clearly
designed, once again, to protect Zanu-PF's hold on power and the position of
the President in the new dispensation," Cross said.

Suggestions by Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu that ministers and
Cabinet have to be appointed before the Bill is taken to Parliament is
likely to lead to another impasse.

The main MDC has stated categorically that it must have a mutually-agreed
Constitution Amendment No. 19 Bill passed into law first, before accepting
ministerial and cabinet posts in view of the delay and past disputes.

Legal experts say the constitutional procedural requirements make it
unlikely that Constitution Amendment No. 19 Bill will become law before the
middle of January next year, even if the parties reach agreement on the
wording of the Bill at this week's meeting.

The Bill has certain parliamentary procedures it must follow which will need
at least 30 days but it can be fast-tracked through both Houses of

If the parties agree this week, the amendment could go before Parliament as
early as next week, according to government sources. Among other things, it
will allow Tsvangirai to be sworn in as Prime Minister immediately, together
with Professor Arthur Mumbara and Thokozani Khupe into the dual Deputy Prime

While Western nations have sharply condemned Mugabe over attempts to dish
out key cabinet positions to members of his party, the mediator Thabo Mbeki
has been noticeably more muted in his response, sometimes taking sides with

Mbeki is expected this week to try to convince representatives from Zanu-PF
to draft an amendment bill that reflects equal sharing of power with the MDC
in a bid to dissolve mounting acrimony that threatens the stability of the
entire southern Africa .

The main MDC vice president Khupe said in Durban Saturday that Mbeki had
been ineffective and had misrepresented the problems stalling the
power-sharing negotiations.

She said there was need for someone to tell Mugabe that he was dragging
southern Africa down; that he must cede control of key ministries to the MDC
to save the country from further collapse and the feared regional contagion
from the crisis.

"We need somebody else to mediate," Khupe said. "The leaders are putting
pressure on the wrong person. They are putting pressure on Morgan
Tsvangirai. South Africa is supposed to put pressure on Mugabe.

"They must say right to his face: 'Mugabe, you lost this election.
Tsvangirai won the election. You must make sure that this deal is

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said there was no sincerity on the part of
Zanu-PF to implement the agreement, adding that Mugabe was an "experienced
and arrogant dictator."

Mugabe, in power since 1980, appeared optimistic that an agreement could be
reached but Tsvangirai warned of regional instability if Zanu-PF refused to
loosen what he called its illegitimate grip on power.
The parties have been deadlocked over allocation of important cabinet
positions since the September 15 deal, which Zimbabweans hoped would produce
a united leadership to revive the ruined economy in the country where
inflation is the world's highest and food and fuel shortages are widespread.

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MDC attends SA talks, armed with 'three' demands

By Tichaona Sibanda
25 November 2008

MDC negotiators left Harare on Tuesday to attend the latest round of talks
in South Africa, armed with a set of demands they said should be dealt with,
before they join a unity government.
Top of that agenda is an issue the negotiators want clarified by the
facilitator Thabo Mbeki. The former South African Head of State is reported
to have written a letter to Morgan Tsvangirai sometime last week, at which
he allegedly used undiplomatic language towards the MDC leader.

The deeply offensive letter caused so much anger within the MDC top brass
that lead negotiator Tendai Biti vowed last week he would not travel to
South Africa for any talks as a result of Mbeki's disrespect for Tsvangirai.
Biti was quoted by the weekly Financial Gazette last week saying he was not
going anywhere and he would instead be in Dotito, while they (Mbeki and
other negotiators) meet in South Africa.

'The truth of the matter is that we are not going to that meeting. We have
stated our position and we are not going anywhere and are not meeting
anyone,' Biti said in the Fingaz interview.
After a flurry of diplomatic maneuvers between the South African government,
Mbeki and SADC, the MDC were finally persuaded to attend the talks. The
party only decided on Monday to send their team.
'They grudgingly left Harare this morning. So they have demands that they
are taking with them to the talks,' our source said.

The other two issues that the MDC will raise are the fraudulent alteration
of the Global Political Agreement of the 15th September 2008 by ZANU PF, and
the enactment of Constitutional Amendment Number 19.
This last issue includes the equitable distribution of ministerial
portfolios, the composition and powers of the National Security Council, the
unresolved issue of the provincial governors and the appointment of
Permanent Secretaries and ambassadors.

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MDC says won't be forced into Zimbabwe compromise

Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:20pm EST

By Rebecca Harrison

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition vowed to resist any
compromise that would leave it sidelined in a unity government with
President Robert Mugabe's party at new talks on Tuesday.

Negotiators from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and a breakaway MDC faction were hoping to reach a
breakthrough in talks with mediator Thabo Mbeki in South Africa to discuss a
draft constitutional amendment.

The amendment would allow a new government to be formed under a September 15
power-sharing deal with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister, but
the parties are still arguing over the wording and about who should control
which ministries.

South Africa's SAPA news agency said discussions had started at an
undisclosed location. Officials from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF and the MDC
were not immediately available for comment.

Pressure is growing on the rival parties to strike a deal as a humanitarian
crisis deepens and regional leaders worry about a cholera outbreak that has
killed more than 300 people and sent hundreds streaming into South Africa to
seek treatment.

But the MDC said it would resist any attempt to force it to accept a
compromise and wants the talks to address its demands for control of key
government posts.

"For us, it is better that we take time to reach an agreement than to have
an agreement that will not work or last," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.
"For us, it is better to have a longer gestation period and a healthy baby
than an inducement than ends in abortion."

Many in the southern African country hope a deal will usher in a new
government to end a crippling economic crisis that has seen official
inflation soar to 231 million percent. The real level is thought to be even
higher, with some estimating that prices of basic goods are doubling every
24 hours.

The MDC has refused to enter government, accusing ZANU-PF of trying to take
the most powerful ministries and freeze it out, in violation of the
power-sharing deal.

The agreement may unravel completely if Mugabe names a cabinet without MDC
approval, jeopardizing what is seen as the best chance of reversing a decade
of economic collapse.

The opposition also said on Tuesday the talks were being threatened by the
Mugabe government's failure to respect citizen's rights under the terms of
the power-sharing agreement.

The MDC said its lawyers had appealed to the attorney-general for the urgent
release of 15 party activists it said were arrested in pre-dawn raids in a
small farming town about a month ago.

The party said the state's failure to produce the activists in court was a
"patent violation" of the deal.


Food shortages and hyperinflation have led millions of Zimbabweans to flee
their country. A new outbreak of anthrax in southwestern Zimbabwe has killed
two people and 150 animals in the last two weeks, a senior government
official said.

The United Nations said on Tuesday the death toll from the cholera outbreak
had risen to 366 out of 8,887 known cases since August.

International aid agency Oxfam urged Zimbabwe's government to declare a
national health emergency over the cholera problem.

"Delay is not an option as this crisis could rapidly spread with the rainy
season looming," the group said in a statement.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other prominent world figures
said on Monday Zimbabwe was close to a humanitarian disaster and urged
leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a grouping of
regional states, to put more pressure on Mugabe and the MDC to break the

Annan, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and human rights campaigner Graca
Machel, wife of Nelson Mandela, 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.

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Robert Mugabe demands right to cancel Zimbabwe power-sharing deal

President Robert Mugabe is demanding the right to cancel Zimbabwe's
power-sharing agreement unilaterally, The Telegraph can reveal.

By Sebastien Berger and Peta Thornycroft
Last Updated: 6:51PM GMT 25 Nov 2008

The move is buried deep in his Zanu-PF party's draft of the constitutional
amendment needed before the unity government with the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change can be given legal force.

Talks on the amendment have begun in South Africa, mediated by Thabo Mbeki,
the country's former president. But the demand - and the MDC's own
alternatives - threaten to derail the entire process.

According to a copy obtained by The Telegraph, section 5 of clause 115 of
the new constitution, as proposed by Zanu-PF, states that any deal could be
cancelled if "the President is satisfied that the circumstances are such
that the continuance of the Interparty Political Agreement is no longer
possible for any reason."

Mr Mugabe would simply have to issue a proclamation and all the changes
brought in by power-sharing would be cancelled, including Morgan
Tsvangirai's prime ministership, with the country reverting to an executive

It appears to provide ample evidence for the Movement for Democratic
Change's allegations that Mr Mugabe is not taking part in the process in
good faith.

But the MDC, faced with the prospect of being pushed into a government in
which it will clearly be the junior partner, is also attempting to put its
own spin on the constitutional changes.

In its proposal it effectively seeks to re-open the power-sharing
negotiations by dramatically increasing the authority of the Council of
Ministers, which will be made up of all the cabinet members, the prime
minister and his deputies, but exclude the president: Mr Mugabe.

"The Cabinet, and every member thereof, shall comply with any directions or
recommendations given to it or him, as the case may be, by the Council of
Ministers," says the MDC's text, according to a copy obtained by The

If the measure were to pass it would explicitly make the Council of
Ministers superior to the cabinet, while the power-sharing agreement left
the two bodies' relative positions vague and unclear, raising fears among
critics that the way had been left open for Mr Mugabe to manipulate the
operations of government.

Analysts who have compared the two drafts say they are so far apart that
agreement is highly unlikely. "It will take a miracle," said one.

A prominent Zimbabwean lawyer, who has played no part in the negotiations,
said: "The government of Zimbabwe draft is cynical, has a narrow
perspective, and seeks to retain all Mugabe's powers.

"The MDC draft amendment is detailed and wonderful stuff - a democrat's wish
list - but it covers ground which is not included in the agreement. Everyone
knows that the agreement is far from perfect but it emerged from

The MDC signalled that, contrary to demands that the power-sharing
government be formed as soon as possible from the Elders, statesmen who
visited the region at the weekend, it was prepared for lengthy talks.

"For us, it is better to have a longer gestation period and a healthy baby
than an inducement than ends in abortion," said its spokesman Nelson

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Illegal detention of MDC Youths could kill talks - MDC

Local News
November 25, 2008 | By Staff
The detention of 15 Movement for Democratic Change youths is illegal and
poses a "major threat" to the party's negotiations with ZANU PF, the MDC

"The MDC believes that Zanu-PF's latest act of insincerity is a major threat
to the dialogue process," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said in an e-mailed
statement today.

The 15 MDC activists have been held for 27 days without access to their
lawyers or family, Chamisa said.

"The MDC, through its lawyers, have made it clear to the attorney general's
office that the continued illegal detention of the MDC activists is a clear
violation of the Global Political Agreement signed in Harare on Sept. 15 and
the party will call for the intervention of the Southern African Development
Community and the African Union, the guarantors of that agreement," said

Meanwhile, MDC negotiators, led by Secretary-General Tendai Biti, traveled
to South Africa today to restart talks with Zanu- PF. The talks will be
brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, whom the MDC would
like removed as facilitator.

The MDC has resolved that it will not join an inclusive government with
Zanu-PF "until all the sticking issues are resolved," Chamisa added.

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MDC petitions AG over 15 missing activists

November 25, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The MDC has petitioned the Attorney-General for the urgent release
of 15 activists whose whereabouts remain unknown, 27 days after they were
arrested in pre-dawn raids on their homes in Banket in Mashonaland West

The 15 who include a two-year-old child ave been detained despite a High
Court order issued on November 11 ordering their urgent release or their
appearance in court.

The MDC, through its lawyers, argues that the continued illegal detention of
the MDC activists is a violation of the power-sharing agreement signed in
Harare on September 15. The party said it would also call for the
intervention of SADC and the AU, the guarantors of that agreement.

Generally speaking, detention of citizens for 27 days without a court
appearance is illegal, with or without a power-sharing agreement.

Under the Security of Persons and Prevention of Violence section in the
agreement, all parties agreed to work together to ensure the security of
persons and property; to guarantee the safety of any displaced persons,
their safe return home and their full enjoyment of the full protection of
the law.

All parties to the agreement further agreed that it was the duty of all
political parties and individuals to respect and uphold the Constitution and
other laws of the land and to adhere to the principles of the rule of law.

"The State's failure to produce these persons in court or to release them is
a patent violation of these important undertakings and the MDC and its
lawyers have no option but to approach the guarantors of the , the African
Union and SADC," said the MDC in a statement.

The MDC listed the following as the missing:

Concillia Chinanzvavana, the MDC Mashonaland West provincial chairperson of
the Women's Assembly, a former parliamentary candidate for Zvimba South and
a member of the MDC National Council, her husband, Emmanuel Chinanzvana, who
is a councillor for Ward 25 in Zvimba South and  Fidelis Chiramba, Zvimba
South district chairperson for the party.

Chiramba stood as an MDC senatorial candidate for Zvimba in the March 29

Also missing are Ernest Mudimu, MDC parliamentary candidate for Zvimba North
in the same elections, Fanwell Tembo, MDC Zvimba South youth organiser Terry
Musona, MDC deputy provincial secretary and Violet Mupfuranhehwe, wife of
MDC Zvimba South youth chairperson - Collen Mutemagawo.

Mutemagawo and Mupfuranhwe's two-year-old child is believed to be with the

The others are Collen Mutemagawo, MDC Zvimba South youth chairperson and MDC
activists Lloyd Tarumbwa, Pieat Kaseke, Gwenzi Kahiya, Tawanda Bvumo, MDC
activist from Chitungwiza, Agrippa Kakonda and  Larry Gaka.

The MDC said: "The role of the State is to protect its citizens and not to
illegally detain them. The MDC believes that Zanu PF's latest act of
insincerity is a major threat to the dialogue process."

Negotiators from President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC
and a breakaway MDC faction will meet mediator Thabo Mbeki Tuesday to
discuss a draft constitutional amendment paving the way for a new

The MDC has refused to enter government, accusing Zanu-PF of trying to take
the most powerful ministries and freeze it out, in violation of the terms of
the power-sharing deal signed by the parties in September.

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Power-sharing talks might fail, warns MDC

    November 25 2008 at 01:40PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis has reached a "critical
level", the main opposition said on Tuesday, while warning that talks on
power-sharing in South Africa might not break its political deadlock.

Negotiators for President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are due to meet in South
Africa on Tuesday in an attempt to revive a stalled unity accord signed two
months ago.

"The situation on the ground in the country has reached a critical
level (meaning) that an agreement has to be reached," MDC spokesperson
Nelson Chamisa said.

"(But) it's difficult to be hopeful when you are dealing with an
insincere, deceitful and dishonest party like Zanu-PF," he said.

"There are also challenges around the issue of facilitation" by former
South African president and formal mediator Thabo Mbeki, Chamisa said
without giving details.

Mbeki brokered the accord signed on September 15, calling for Mugabe
to remain as president while Tsvangirai takes the new post of prime

But the deal has stalled over disputes about how to divide control of
key cabinet posts and which powers to grant the new premier.

Amid the bickering, ordinary Zimbabweans face a mounting humanitarian
crisis with a cholera epidemic killing nearly 300 people across the country
and spilling across the border into South Africa.

Nearly half the population is expected to need emergency food aid in
January, while the economy has been shattered by the world's highest rate of
inflation, last estimated at 231-million percent in July.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe warned on Monday that unless
a political deal is reached, "the situation will get worse and will implode
or collapse altogether." - Sapa-AFP

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SCENARIOS-Possible outcomes to Zimbabwe's crisis
Tue 25 Nov 2008, 10:17 GMT

HARARE, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's political rivals are due to meet in South Africa on Tuesday in the latest effort to end the country's political stalemate.

Here are some possible scenarios:.


* President Robert Mugabe is waving a resolution from the southern African SADC bloc urging the immediate establishment of a unity government to demand the right to appoint a cabinet himself and looks set to proceed in that direction.

* He could name a government alone while still keeping spaces for the opposition, but it is highly unlikely that main rival Morgan Tsvangirai would take up such posts.

* It could also face a hurdle in parliament, where Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change and a breakaway MDC wing now have more seats than Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

* Western powers, including the United States and former colonial ruler Britain, which have imposed sanctions over charges of vote rigging and rights abuses, will not accept as legitimate any government without Tsvangirai's MDC. They could increase sanctions if Mugabe presses ahead without Tsvangirai.

* The economy could be pushed closer to collapse as any foreign development aid can only be unlocked by Tsvangirai. Inflation officially stands at 231 million percent but is estimated to be much higher.


* If Mugabe and Tsvangirai reach a deal on a power-sharing cabinet, they could then face a new struggle -- reaching a compromise on economic policy to ease daily hardships and persuade Western donors that reforms are in store so that they pump money into the country.

* Mugabe has warned that he will stick to what critics say are reckless policies that have ruined the once promising economy, such as seizures of white-owned farms for blacks that decimated the agriculture sector.

* The veteran leader plans to hand over control of foreign-owned firms, including banks and mines -- to locals, a move that worries investors. Nationalisation is the last thing investors want.

* Tsvangirai is promising the world that he will usher in a "New Zimbabwe" with free-market policies to end massive hunger and jobs for a country with an 80 percent jobless rate.

* Control of security forces would also be a sensitive matter and has been at the heart of the disagreement holding up implementation of the power-sharing agreement. Tsvangirai has sought control at least over the police.


* Zimbabwe's economy has nosedived, but the situation could worsen still further for ordinary Zimbabweans and lead to a total meltdown. A cholera epidemic that has killed around 300 Zimbabweans without medical care could be the sign of worse to come.

* Western powers could increase sanctions against Mugabe and those close to him. The U.S. and the European Union last month threatened to impose new sanctions against Mugabe if he reneged on the power-sharing deal.

* The U.S. and European Union already have sanctions in place against Mugabe, his ministers and several Zimbabwean companies with links to the government.

* Regional powerhouse South Africa said last week in its strongest action against Zimbabwe yet that it would hold back 300 million rand ($28.53 million) earmarked for agricultural aid to Zimbabwe until a representative government was in place.

* The longer the deadlock continues, the higher the chances of fresh violence in Zimbabwe.

* Human Rights Watch said last month that Mugabe's police and army, accused of rights abuses, remain intact with no change in their conduct. The MDC also accused Mugabe's government earlier this month of continuing violence against its supporters.

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Only a "miracle" will deliver a unity government for Zimbabwe

The Star

by Peta Thornycroft

Only a "miracle" will deliver a unity government for Zimbabwe as negotiators
from rival political parties, Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change
begin last chance negotiations in South Africa Tuesday.

Two vastly different drafts of a constitutional amendment which would enable
formation of a unity government are on the table at negotiations mediated by
Thabo Mbeki.

One is written by the deputy Attorney-General's office within the justice
ministry  and the second by seasoned lawyers working for the MDC.

The amendment, the 19th since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, became
necessary to provide a legal foundation for the Global Political Agreement
signed on September 11 by leaders of the three  political parties in
parliament,  Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF, Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC and the much
smaller party, also called MDC led by Arthur Mutambara.

Several analysts who have read both constitutional drafts  say agreement on
the amendment is "highly unlikely. It will take a miracle," another said.

Without agreement on the amendment there will be no legal basis for
establishment of a transitional government of national unity ahead of new
elections and a new constitution within two years.

The 14 page version from the deputy Attorney-General's office -   authorised
by the Global Political Agreement to write the amendment -  is, several
lawyers say, closer to the original political agreement than the document
submitted by the MDC.

Nevertheless the draft from the AG's office retains a clause which Zanu PF
chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa,  admitted he had altered during the
three days after the political agreement was signed and the public ceremony
on September 15.

This clause never agreed by either Tsvangirai or Mutambara,  allows Mugabe
to appoint nine more senators to the upper house, where Zanu PF already has
a majority.

The second most obvious distortion in the official draft allows Mugabe to
unilaterally withdraw from the unity government should it be formed,  when
the Global  Political Agreement extends that option to Tsvangirai and
Mutambara as well.

"The government of Zimbabwe draft is cynical, has a narrow perspective, and
seeks to retain all Mugabe's powers," said a prominent Zimbabwe lawyer who
has played no role in the three months of power sharing negotiations.

"The MDC draft amendment is detailed, and wonderful stuff, a  democrat's
wish list,  but it covers ground which is not included in the (power
sharing) agreement. Everyone knows that the agreement is far from perfect
but it emerged from (multi party) negotiations."

He said some of the clauses within the MDC's 37-page document  however
admirable,  could kill off any chance of a unity government, the lawyer

There are at least five major points in the MDC suggested amendment which
Mugabe rejected during negotiations for the Global Political Agreement, in
particular freedom of speech and assembly. (462 words)

The MDC document does not allow the Mutambara MDC, which holds the balance
of power in parliament, a whip while the official draft amendment allows all
three parliamentary parties a whip.

Negotiations for the 19th constitutional amendment take place two weeks
after SADC resolved that the three political leaders should secure the
constitutional amendment and establish a government of national unity

The MDC rejected the SADC resolution which decided that MDC and Zanu PF
would  would co chair a 'super ' ministry, home affairs,  which controls the
police, immigration, and the contentious voters' roll.

 Zanu PF would also control defence and intelligence ministries while
Tsvangirai would control all service delivery portfolios.

 Tsvangirai would be prime minister in the GNU, but Mugabe would continue as
president, with ultimate control although Tsvangirai would have to be
consulted on all public service appointments.

SADC warned  that Mugabe's appointment of 10 provincial governors ahead of
the Global Political Agreement would have to be negotiated after a unity
government was sworn in.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa has called the constitutional amendment from
the Attorney-General's office a "Zanu PF" document and said there was "no
unanimity on interpretation of the global political agreement."

Zanu PF has accused Tsvangirai of "flip flopping" during negotiations for
allocation ministries, while Mutambara said home affairs was not worth a
deadlock given the suffering of most Zimbabweans.

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NCA to stage peaceful protest in Harare Wednesday

By Alex Bell
25 November 2008

Members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) will take to the
streets of Harare on Wednesday to stage a peaceful protest - two weeks since
police stopped a similar protest in the city and arrested more than 20

The protest earlier this month formed part of the NCA's campaign for the
implementation of its three-point plan to bring democracy to Zimbabwe. The
group launched what was set to be a series of demonstrations with city-wide
protests. But the protests were abruptly halted by police officials who
arrested and assaulted 23 members of the group, including a three months
pregnant woman, who suffered a miscarriage as a result of the beatings.

The members were held in Mutare prison for several days, and were joined by
another group of NCA members, arrested days after the protest ended. All
were eventually released after being charged with public violence or being
forced to pay a fine.

NCA officials last week said the series of protests would be delayed to give
other civil society groups a chance to be a part of the mass action. Despite
the arrests, beatings and continued detentions of its members, the NCA had
said it would return to the streets to carry out the demonstration.

The group will now return to the streets of Harare on Wednesday in what they
are hoping will be a mass, peaceful demonstration.

They are urging all Zimbabweans to join them at this time of crisis in the
country, saying it is only Zimbabweans themselves who, in the end, can push
for peaceful change and end the nightmare that the country is living under.

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Cholera kills 53 more in Zimbabwe

Tuesday, 25 November 2008
A child walks past rain water and sewage near Harare (25 November 2008)
Experts have warned of an escalating humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe

Fifty-three cholera deaths have been recorded in Zimbabwe in the past day, bringing the total from the outbreak to 366 since August, the UN has said.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said reported cases had reached 8,887, up by 1,604.

Most of the deaths were reported in Beitbridge, near South Africa's border.

Earlier, the UN secretary-general told Zimbabwe's politicians the humanitarian situation meant they could not afford to fail to agree a power-sharing deal.

Ban Ki-moon said President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), meeting in South Africa, should reach a workable agreement quickly, so they can "tackle the formidable challenges ahead".

He said he was deeply concerned that nearly half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people could require food assistance and that many people were cutting back on their daily meals.

Mr Ban added that he was also concerned by the "collapse of health, sanitation and education services, and the consequent rapidly escalating cholera outbreak".

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Calls grow for government to declare cholera a national disaster

By Alex Bell
25 November 2008

International aid organisation Oxfam has added it's voice to the growing
call for Zimbabwe's government to declare the devastating cholera outbreak a
national disaster.

Medical charities other aid groups and the MDC have all urged the government
to take this crucial step to spur more action to halt the spreading threat
of the water borne disease. At least 300 people are confirmed to have died
in hospitals across the country, but it's believed the figure is up to 400
percent higher in the communities, where people have been unable to access
medical care. The outbreak of the disease and the critical lack of medical
care across the country have seen scores of Zimbabweans crossing the border
into South Africa, searching for medicine and treatment - fuelling concerns
the disease will keep spreading in the neighbouring country.

South African health officials said on Monday that there are more than 1000
cholera patients at Zimbabwe's Beitbridge hospital, while on the other side
of the border in Musina, a further 168 Zimbabwean cholera patients have
received treatment. Four people, including a South Africa truck driver have
died from the disease in South Africa, this as the numbers keep rising in
Zimbabwe. Despite a report published last week by the state run Herald
newspaper that the situation was under control, the Combined Harare Resident's
Association (CHRA) said on Tuesday that there are more reports of the
disease spreading.

CHRA said residents in the suburb of Glen Norah have reported a 'disquieting
spread of cholera in the area this week', with more than 4 people dying in
Glen Norah B, as of last week. Glen Norah's neighbouring community,
Budiriro, has been one of the hardest hit by cholera, with an estimated 10
people dying each day from cholera. CHRA's Simbarashe Moyo explained on
Tuesday that "nothing has been done to combat this disease and people are
still dying." He argued that the death toll is far higher than is being
reported, saying "the figure is much closer to a thousand people that have

More than 100 residents of Budiriro suburb, as well as from the Chitungwiza
township where the outbreak is believed to have originated, are now filing a
law suit and claiming damages of up to Z$2 hexillion (twenty one zeroes)
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
residents. 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.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's second largest city said on Monday it had less than a
month's supply of water treatment chemicals, as cholera continues to ravage
the crisis-ridden country. Bulawayo Mayor Thabiso Moyo said in a press
report that an acute shortage of foreign currency has left the city of more
than one million people unable to secure enough water treatment chemicals.
It's believed two people have died from the disease in Bulawayo, which hit
the city last week.

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Alarmed by desperate humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, Secretary-General voices regret at decision not to cooperate with Elders' assistance initiative

United Nations Secretary-General

Date: 25 Nov 2008


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General is alarmed that the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe
is now desperate and will worsen in the coming months. He is deeply
concerned that nearly half of the total population of 12 million could
require food assistance, and by reports that many households are now cutting
back the number of meals eaten each day. He is distressed at the collapse of
health, sanitation and education services, and the consequent rapidly
escalating cholera outbreak. The Secretary-General urges all parties to
support and provide humanitarian assistance, leaving political
considerations aside.

The Secretary-General supports the humanitarian initiative on Zimbabwe
offered by The Elders and regrets the decision of the Government of Zimbabwe
not to cooperate with their timely, well-intended effort to assist the
people of Zimbabwe. The Secretary-General hopes that another mission can
take place in the near future, given the rapidly deteriorating situation in
the country.

The Secretary-General calls on the Zimbabwean parties meeting in South
Africa today to rapidly reach an agreement on the formation of a new
Government consistent with the letter and spirit of the 15 September
agreement. The people of Zimbabwe cannot afford another failure by their
political leadership to reach a fair and workable agreement that would allow
Zimbabwe to tackle the formidable challenges ahead.

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John Bredenkamp, Billy Rautenbach, added to US sanctions list

US Treasury
25 November 2008

Statement issued by the United States Department of the Treasury November 25

Treasury Designates Mugabe Regime Cronies

Washington, DC--The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign
Assets Control (OFAC) today designated four Mugabe regime cronies and a
number of entities owned or controlled by two of them.  The financial and
logistical support they have provided to the regime has enabled Robert
Mugabe to pursue policies that seriously undermine democratic processes and
institutions in Zimbabwe.

"The Mugabe regime continues to resist the call of the Zimbabwean people to
loosen its corrupt and violent hold on power," said OFAC Director Adam J.
Szubin.  "The United States supports the people of Zimbabwe in their
struggle to achieve a political and economic system built on fairness and
transparency rather than patronage and self-dealing."

Today's designations include John Bredenkamp, a well-known Mugabe insider
involved in various business activities, including tobacco trading,
gray-market arms trading and trafficking, equity investments, oil
distribution, tourism, sports management, and diamond extraction.  Through a
sophisticated web of companies, Bredenkamp has financially propped up the
regime and provided other support to a number of its high-ranking officials.
He also has financed and provided logistical support to a number of
Zimbabwean parastatal entities.

The following entities owned or controlled by John Bredenkamp also are
designated: Alpha International (Private) Ltd., Breco (Asia Pacific) Ltd.,
Breco (Eastern Europe) Ltd., Breco (South Africa) Ltd.,  Breco (U.K.) Ltd.,
Breco Group, Breco International, Breco Nominees Ltd., Breco Services Ltd.,
Corybantes Ltd., Echo Delta Holdings Ltd., Kababankola Mining Company,
Masters International Ltd., Masters International, Inc., Piedmont (UK)
Limited, Raceview Enterprises, Scottlee Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., Scottlee
Resorts, Timpani Ltd., and Tremalt Ltd.

Also designated today is Muller Conrad Rautenbach (a.k.a. Billy Rautenbach).
Billy Rautenbach is a Zimbabwean businessman who has maintained close
relations with the Mugabe regime.  He has provided support to senior regime
officials during Zimbabwe's intervention in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo and also provided logistical support for large-scale mining projects
in Zimbabwe that benefit a small number of corrupt senior officials there.
Today's designations include an entity owned and controlled by Billy
Rautenbach, Ridgepoint Overseas Developments Limited.

In addition, OFAC is designating Nalinee Joy Taveesin, a Thai businesswoman
who has facilitated a number of financial, real-estate, and gem-related
transactions on behalf of Grace Mugabe, Gideon Gono, and a number of other
Zimbabwean Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs).  Ironically, Nalinee
Taveesin has participated in a number of initiatives on corruption and
growth challenges in Africa and Southeast Asia while secretly supporting the
kleptocratic practices of one of Africa's most corrupt regimes.

Finally, OFAC is designating Mahmood Awang Kechik, a Malaysian urologist and
one of Robert Mugabe's physicians and business advisors. Kechik has used his
medical practice to conceal the ultimate destination of medical equipment
shipped to Zimbabwe, and he has transacted secretly with a number of SDNs,
including Gideon Gono and Constantine Chiwenga, to generate wealth for these
regime officials and the Government of Zimbabwe.

Today's action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13469, which targets,
among others, individuals and entities who provide financial and other
support to the Government of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean SDNs.  As a result of
Treasury's action, any assets of the individuals and entities designated
today that are within U.S. jurisdiction must be frozen. Additionally, U.S.
persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions
with these individuals or entities.

Statement issued by the United States Treasury November 25 2008

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Health system in crisis

Photo: IRIN
Healthcare workers are overworked and underpaid
HARARE, 25 November 2008 (PlusNews) - Stanley Takaona, deputy president of the Zimbabwe HIV/AIDS Activist Union, has spent the past month volunteering at two state hospitals in the capital, Harare, after health workers began a work stoppage that has virtually closed both facilities, leaving hundreds of people without medical assistance.

Takaona, who is HIV positive and a counsellor, told IRIN/PlusNews that thousands of HIV-positive Zimbabweans regularly sought treatment and collected their antiretroviral (ARV) drugs at the government-run clinics in the Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals, and he could not watch other HIV-positive people suffering.

The health workers maintain they cannot report for duty because the hospitals have become "death traps" for patients: there are no drugs or medicines, and essential and often life-saving equipment is badly in need of repair, or beyond repair or outdated. The HIV clinics have no drugs to treat opportunistic infections, no HIV test kits, and no blood sample kits.

They are also protesting against poor remuneration and demanding that their salaries be paid in foreign currency because of the unofficial dollarisation of the economy.

Takaona told IRIN/PlusNews: "As a person living with HIV myself, I know how important it is to have these ... clinics open - that's why I have had to volunteer my services and come out of retirement. I was particularly worried that if those on ARVs couldn't access them, then we would have a much bigger problem of drug resistance in the country."

Workers who have not joined the strike have been so overwhelmed that they have been unable to run the HIV treatment clinics, so Takaona and other members of the HIV/AIDS Activist Union who are healthcare workers have stepped in.

The volunteers are restricted to dispensing ARV drugs because of the shortages of other drugs to treat opportunistic infections. "HIV-positive people on ARVs, and those not on any therapy, need to be constantly monitored ... If someone develops a rash or any side effects to the ARVs we cannot treat them because there are no drugs," Takaona said.

"All we do is refer them to the private sector, but not many people can afford the medical care there because it is now very expensive - you are looking at nothing less than US$300 for each consultation, blood tests, and then buying whatever drugs are prescribed."

Kumbirai Mafunda, communication officer at Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said the government was in denial. "Government needs to come clean about its failures and declare an emergency in the health sector, so that the donor community can come in and assist," he suggested.

"But as long as they continue to lie and tell people that these hospitals are open when in actual fact we all know they closed, that aid will not come and people will continue to die."

Last week hundreds of nurses, doctors and support staff attempted a protest march against poor salaries and deteriorating conditions in the health sector,
but were shocked to find riot police had cordoned off the whole hospital, preventing them from going out to march.

Dr Douglas Gwatidzo, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, said using the police would not solve the problem facing the health sector.

"Zimbabwe's public health system is in a state of collapse and in need of urgent action to rescue it. Measures should be taken to provide adequate medical supplies, drugs and equipment to Zimbabwe's hospitals and clinics," he urged.

"The government must also guarantee quality for health professionals, and ensure that conditions in which these skills can be retained are put in place, including adequate remuneration and safe working conditions."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Old Mutual Says Too Many Zeroes Delay Zimbabwe Payout

By Vernon Wessels and Brian Latham

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Old Mutual Plc, the largest insurer in Africa, said
it is delaying dividend payments to Zimbabweans because the country's
banking system cannot process the zeroes involved in the transaction.

"The banking system in general is having difficulties with the size of the
numbers involved," Matthew Gregorowski, a spokesman for London-based Old
Mutual, said by phone today. It was an "temporary processing issue" which
would be solved soon, he added.

The Old Mutual first-half dividend amounts to 453 trillion Zimbabwean
dollars, the company said in a statement to the Johannesburg stock exchange
today, which converts to $9.3 million at the government's official exchange
rate. The dividends were due Nov. 28 and will be paid once the banking
difficulties have been resolved, it said.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate, estimated at 231 million
percent, spawned by a decade of economic recession that caused shortages of
food, fuel and other basic commodities.

The Zimbabwe dollar traded at 48.484 per U.S. dollar on the interbank market
yesterday. On the black market, where most Zimbabweans buy their foreign
exchange, the rate is 230 trillion against the U.S. currency. The Old Mutual
Implied Rate, used as a guide by businesses in Zimbabwe, today valued the
currency at 13 quintillion to one U.S. dollar.

'Dividend Halved'

"It might have been better for Old Mutual to give investors extra shares
instead of cash payments as these may be worth something in future," said
John Robertson, an independent economist in Harare. "The value of the
dividend will halve each day" because of inflation, he added.

"Everything is difficult to do in Zimbabwe right now," Robertson said. The
economy, crippled by a shortage of goods, foreign currency and skills, has
come to a standstill because people cannot withdraw money from banks. "This
country needs investment flows, not aid, and this will only come once the
political situation has been resolved."

Last Updated: November 25, 2008 09:47 EST

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Zimbabwe's Hard-Pressed City Dwellers Cultivate Urban Agriculture

By Taurai Shava
Gweru, Zimbabwe
25 November 2008

In Zimbabwe, a likely reduction in food assistance by the World Food Program
has many consumers wondering how they have enough to eat. Reporter Taurai
Shava looks at efforts to grow more food in the town of Gweru.

Despite bylaws restricting urban agriculture because of its perceived
side-effects, more and more Gweru residents, like others in urban areas
across the country, are planting crops hoping to provide their families with
food amid severe shortages and ever-rising living costs.

Ignoring the mid-morning summer heat, housewife Winnie Munanzvi of Gweru's
Mkoba 2 high-density suburb digs with perseverance on a small patch of land
on the vast open space adjacent to the Mkoba 11 high density suburb.
Munanzvi is preparing her small field to plant a crop of maize. Her frenzied
effort reflects her awareness of the food crisis that the country is
facing - and the limits of aid.

She says urban agriculture used to be looked down upon as a practice limited
to urban poor, but with staple foods like maize meal hard to find or out of
reach of those on limited incomes, even those with jobs are turning to

"In the past," he said, "the growing of crops on the small pieces of land in
urban areas is something that was looked down upon. For one to be seen going
to work on those small fields was degrading. But now raising crops on these
small fields has become very important because of the hunger that is
stalking most people. Most working people never used to have anything to do
with growing crops on these small fields; It was for housewives like myself.
Nowadays, even those people in formal employment are also scrambling for the
small pieces of land to farm on. Some even engage other people to work on
their pieces of land for them. These small pieces of land have become
something very important. Often, there are wrangles over ownership of the
small pieces of land. I believe urban agriculture has become a very
important activity; virtually everyone now wants a small piece of land to
farm on."

Another person growing food here is Partson Mabika, an officer at the Gweru
branch of a state-controlled enterprise. He says he has been growing crops
on his small piece of land for several years now.

"I started practicing urban agriculture several years back," said Mabika.
"Most people used to think that growing crops on small pieces of land in
town was done by those people who did not like to go to their rural homes to
farm, but this is no longer the case. There are a lot of people who are
preparing their small pieces of land for planting because they have now
realized that this is helpful. When you have grown your own food crops, you
won't need to spend a lot on buying food. So, at the moment, most people are
busy preparing their small fields for planting, and they are also looking
for seed because they know this will benefit them in the end."

While acknowledging the growing importance of urban gardens, a lecturer
named Masaka of Midlands State University's natural resources department
says by-laws restricting gardens were intended to promote proper land use.

He says that despite food shortages and soaring costs, such laws must not be
flouted, as doing so could devastate common urban lands.

Masaka says research is needed into ways to balance people's needs with the
preservation of natural resources. However, in the face of economic crises
and widespread hunger, local authorities who used to strictly enforce such
bylaws are now tolerating urban crops.

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Food aid needed in Zimbabwe's urban areas

By Violet Gonda
25 November 2008

Tearfund is a UK based Christian organisation that works in relief and
development across the world, to end poverty. The aid agency has been
working through local NGOs in Zimbabwe for the past 20 years, providing
emergency food aid and access to water.

Karyn Beattie is the disaster management officer with Tearfund and was in
Zimbabwe recently to see how the agency could increase its aid program. She
said the food situation is extremely bad and ranges from a complete lack of
availability in many areas, while in others it's totally unaffordable.

Traditionally hunger hits rural areas, but the scale of this humanitarian
crisis has also seriously hit the urban areas.  In the two weeks that she
was in Zimbabwe the Tearfund officer said aid agencies such as the United
Nations are targeting very specific groups, and only feeding people in the
rural areas. The vulnerable groups that they target are mainly people living
with HIV/AIDS and child headed households. But this is a problem as the
majority of people in urban areas now also need help.

Although food aid is being sent to Zimbabwe Beattie said it is not enough,
as almost everyone needs food aid now. But the government is trying to make
the situation look less serious than it is, by asking for less food from
humanitarian groups than is actually needed.

She said the government agreed to provide large amounts of food itself, when
it knew full well it could not afford it. Beattie added that donors like the
UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the Red Cross are bringing in around 400
000 tonnes of food; "But that is supposed to be a complimentary effort. In
other words the government is supposed to bring in the majority of the food,
which is about 800 000 tonnes." To date the amount of food brought in by the
government has only been 150 000 tonnes.

"Unless we get a government who is going to be prepared to say we need help
and we need it very quickly, I can't see a way through the mess at the
moment," she warned.

There are groups like the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee
(ZIMVAC) who carry out assessments, usually after harvest around June and
July, to look at what was harvested and the vulnerability of the people. It
is out of their reports that donors such as the WFP came up with figures
estimating that around 5.1 million people face starvation.

Beattie said the authorities in Zimbabwe are aware of these disturbing
figures especially as the independent assessments are done in combination
with government officials and NGOs. However the government always officially
says it can handle the crisis and will source food from neighbouring
countries like South Africa and Zambia. But later on they quietly allow aid
agencies to bring in extra food.

The WFP announced last week it had signed a new, two year US$500 million aid
deal to 'allow' them to supply food to economically and politically ravaged
Zimbabwe. The WFP said the money will provide 350 000 tons of food to the
most vulnerable groups.

Tearfund also reports that even in the areas where food is being distributed
it is still being politicised in some rural communities. Aid groups rely on
a variety of stakeholders to identify vulnerable groups and in some cases
chiefs and local leaders are said to be choosing beneficiaries on the basis
of political affiliation.

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Desperate country looks for a political solution

Photo: IRIN
A dying country - cemetries have reached capacity
BULAWAYO, 25 November 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's feuding political parties are meeting in South Africa this week to again try salvaging a moribund political agreement that is stalling the release of much-needed humanitarian aid.

The inter-party talks, which began on 25 November, are aimed at resolving the dispute over the draft bill of Constitutional Amendment Number 19, which should pave the way to the formation of a government of national unity.

The amendment would create the positions of a Prime Minister and two deputies - posts intrinsic to the deal reached on 15 September between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of Morgan Tsvangirai, and an MDC splinter group led by Arthur Mutambara.

The government last week announced that its legal department had drafted the amendment bill, with input from all three parties, and had sent a copy to former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who has been mandated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate the talks.

Tsvangirai's MDC (MDC-T) immediately denied that it had been consulted, and instead sent its own version of the bill to Mbeki. But the party has said it was looking forward to the all-party talks in South Africa, to clear the way to a power-sharing government.

"We are hopeful ... that all the outstanding issues that have been stalling the talks will be ironed out, because we need to move on as a country and tackle [our] economic and social problems," said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

Donors - including South Africa, which had promised $30 million in agricultural aid - have linked humanitarian assistance to a working power-sharing government. That may be enough to end talk of an MDC-T walkout, or ZANU-PF's threat to form a government on its own.

Stumbling blocks

The stumbling blocks to the inception of a unity government include equitable distribution of the so-called "power ministries", and the sharing of ambassadorial posts and permanent secretary positions.

MDC-T also wants the position of provincial governors to be allocated according to the outcome of the March 2008 general election, in which it won a narrow majority of seats - the first time ZANU-PF has lost control of parliament since independence in 1980.

ZANU-PF's politburo, the party's decision-making body, has insisted that Mugabe will not reverse the appointment of the 12 governors he made almost two months ago.

Political analyst Max Mnkandla said he was not optimistic that all the outstanding issues related to the draft bill could be ironed out this week.

"The MDC-T has vowed it will not accept any deal that does not give it a share of the governorships, ambassadors' positions and permanent secretaries, and the Ministry of Home Affairs [which controls the police], and that should be included in the draft bill," he told IRIN.

"But ZANU-PF will not agree to give in to the MDC demands, and the issue of Constitutional Amendment Number 19 will be refereed to SADC for mediation, and this is a circle," Mnkandla said.

If the parties do reach a consensus on the bill, it would still be some time before a power-sharing government was inaugurated. Procedurally, the draft bill must be gazetted for 30 days before returning to parliament for debate and adoption.

The bill would need a two-thirds majority of the 210 seats in parliament for it to be passed, and would then require Mugabe's assent. The MDC-T has 100 seats, ZANU-PF 99 seats, Mutambara's MDC 10 seats and one independent. 

Blocked from travelling to Zimbabwe by the government, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, former US president Jimmy Carter and rights advocate Graça Machel - dubbed 'The Elders'- released a statement on 24 November urging a resolution to Zimbabwe's inter-related political and humanitarian crisis.

"What we have learned in the past few days is shocking. It is not just the extent of Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis, but the speed of deterioration in the past few weeks that is most worrying. The scale, depth and urgency of the situation are underreported," Annan said in South Africa, where the trio had met political leaders, businessmen, aid workers, donors and civil society representatives.



[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Zimbabwe opposition warns humanitarian crisis at 'critical' level

Yahoo News

HARARE, (AFP) - Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis has reached a "critical
level," the main opposition said Tuesday while warning that talks on
power-sharing in South Africa might not break its political deadlock.

Negotiators for President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are due to meet Tuesday in South Africa
in a bid to revive a stalled unity accord signed two months ago.

"The situation on the ground in the country has reached a critical level
(meaning) that an agreement has to be reached," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa
told AFP.

"(But) it's difficult to be hopeful when you are dealing with an insincere,
deceitful and dishonest party like ZANU-PF," he said.

"There are also challenges around the issue of facilitation" by former South
African president and formal mediator Thabo Mbeki, Chamisa said without
giving details.

Mbeki brokered the accord signed on September 15, calling for Mugabe to
remain as president while Tsvangirai takes the new post of prime minister.

But the deal has stalled over disputes about how to divide control of key
cabinet posts and which powers to grant the new premier.

Amid the bickering, ordinary Zimbabweans face a mounting humanitarian crisis
with a cholera epidemic killing nearly 300 people across the country and
spilling across the border into South Africa.

Nearly half the population is expected to need emergency food aid in
January, while the economy has been shattered by the world's highest rate of
inflation, last estimated at 231 million percent in July.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe warned Monday that unless a
political deal is reached, "the situation will get worse and will implode or
collapse altogether."

Separately Zimbabwe's state media Tuesday accused former US president Jimmy
Carter and ex-UN chief Kofi Annan of plotting to overthrow the government,
after Harare rebuffed a humanitarian visit by the statesmen.

Carter, Annan and rights activist Graca Machel -- the wife of Nelson
Mandela -- planned to visit Zimbabwe at the weekend to find ways of easing a
humanitarian crisis that has left half its population in need of emergency
food aid.

President Robert Mugabe's regime turned away the three, who belong to a
group of senior statesmen known as the Elders, accusing them of seeking to
bolster the opposition in power-sharing talks due to resume Tuesday in South

"The so-called 'Elders' are a creature of pro-Labour British corporate
interests. There is nothing elderly about them," Zimbabwe's secretary for
information George Charamba said in the government mouthpiece Herald

"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," the paper said.

The Herald also accused the statesmen of trying to pave the way for United
Nations intervention in Zimbabwe.

Annan, Carter and Machel spent the weekend meeting with Zimbabwean exiles in
South Africa.

Carter said on Monday that the humanitarian crisis was greater than feared,
as a cholera epidemic is killing hundreds across the country.

"The entire basic structure... is broken down. These are all indications
that the crisis in Zimbabwe is much greater, much worse than we ever could
have imagined," Carter told reporters.

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A limited life in Zimbabwe

Wherever you go, so long as you're in Zimbabwe, you hear vendors shouting,
Bacossi airtime! At the bus terminus it's also Bacossi fares - meaning
reduced fares.

People in Zimbabwe are quick to get these Bacossi products, be it airtime,
tomatoes, fruits, bus fares, fuel, beer . . . the list goes on.

At the banks the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor limits the cash
withdrawal to $500 000. You can call this the Bacossi cash withdrawal limit.
It limits you from buying $1 million and $2 million airtime, it limits you
from paying $2 million to and from work, it limits you sending your children
to school, paying rates and rentals on time. It limits you from enjoying
your hard earned money called Your Salary!

The RBZ Governor's Bacossi limit makes you go hungry.

This entry was posted on November 25th, 2008 at 11:03 am by Dennis Nyandoro

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Civil society must re-strategize

Life under a dictatorship in Zimbabwe has seen all systems collapse,
including the work of civil society organizations and human rights
defenders. If its not the so-called war veterans stifling progress, it is
the invisible government dictating obstructive policies like the recent food
ban that saw a majority of needy Zimbabweans starve. The same government is
slowly but systematically taking the country to hell by committing crimes
against its own people, the most recent being the unexplained disappearance
of the Global Fund money to fight TB and AIDS and the state indifference to
the endemic cholera outbreak.

As to be expected some members of society and civil society have made
efforts to protest. A risky occupation in the face of a brutal and
unrelenting police force that is always ready to descend on peaceful
protesters with baton sticks and tear gas. Marching, as we have seen in the
last few years, has been rendered basically useless. So have picketing and
other peaceful forms of civil disobedience. A number of civil society
groups - notably WOZA, the ZCTU and ZINASU among others have been
outstanding in staging protests in Zimbabwe. But none of their endeavors
have achieved much. It is high time they all sat down and re-strategized to
effect the mother of all protests in Zimbabwe.

The one obvious weakness that has been inherent in the previous protests
staged by Zimbabwean civil society has been 'individualism,'. How often do
we hear that today WOZA is staging a demonstration, tomorrow it is the NCA,
then ZINASU, and then ZADHR? Each time their separate protests hardly last
30 minutes or achieve the desired goals before the leadership is nabbed and
the groups disperse. It is always the same pattern: go out in the street -
police appear promptly - protest leaders are nabbed - the rest of the group

Instead of these individual groups staging their protests separately, it
would be more strategic for them to come together as one unit driven by a
single passion. The struggle for justice is not about populism or fame, it
is about sacrifices and the sooner Zimbabwean civil society organizations
realize this the better for everyone. Civil society should be willing to
work with other member organizations because they are fighting the same
cause - a rogue regime that is trampling its people.

Civil society needs to go beyond their differences and form a highly
organized unit that will mobilize in such a way that will 'confuse' the
police who are used to nabbing the one leader, rendering the protest over. A
unified civil society must find tactics that will work. They must abandon
ineffective mobilizations. The current type of demonstrations may make
participants feel they have done something huge, or garner donor
appreciation, but they will not end the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Organizing protests is also about logistics: where people meet; how and
where they march to for instance. WOZA has been proficient in timely
convergence with the help of synchronized watches and marching in silence
for a distance while the crowd gathers. The same tactic  - if adopted by a
unified movement of civil society groups has the potential to see the
largest march since the 90s. The law of large numbers has historically
proved to be the best crowd puller. The more people who march, the more
infectious the spirit of solidarity and the higher the possibility of
ordinary citizens joining in the protest - which is the desired effect,

And, no matter how many they are, the police do not outnumber the ordinary
citizens. The law of large numbers is critical in keeping the rogue police
force at bay. Outside the CFX bank in Bulawayo, irritated customers
retaliated and pounced on a policeman who was overpowered by the angry mob.
Civil society needs must take advantage of the situation - the angry crowds
and the fact that the police hardly have the fuel or the water to mobilize
their water cannons!

This entry was posted on November 24th, 2008 at 12:39 pm by Natasha Msonza

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The implications of signing an un-agreed agreement

It is now abundantly clear that an un-agreed agreement was signed between
ZANU PF and the two MDC's or the MDC whichever one prefers. So where does
this take our country? Obviously nowhere until an agreement is actually
signed! Which means that for any workable solution to be found there will
again, be need to sit down and re-agree the agreement before it is
re-signed! Otherwise there will not be any thought of a plausible solution
unless people genuinely and sincerely agree to work together for the common
good of our country.

But where can the common good come from when there is no common intention
for a commonly good outcome in the first place? One thing that has never
been fully explained is why in the first place a so-called agreement was
signed with an untrustworthy party like ZANU PF when the most essential
aspects of such an agreement had not been fully thrashed out? Why was pen
put to paper when all the intricate points had not been exhaustively
explored and agreed on? The issues of ministries and all the other ones that
continue to be referred to as such "more others", would not be thorny at
this crucial moment had people agreed first.

What we keep hearing is that it is not just about the issue of the ministry
of home affairs as the so-called mediators are allegedly narrowing the
disagreement down to. But that there is a whole raft of other issues as well
that are still major sticking points. That just takes us back to the
question again: that where in this earth would meaningful people sign a
meaningful agreement when there is not one, not two but a whole array of
issues for that matter, to the supposed agreement that have not been agreed
to? Surely what should come first, the wagon or the horses? Because if you
put the wagon in front of the horses what should you expect? That the most
unthinkable would happen with the wagon pulling the horses? If that was ever
possible then our country could have been saved from annihilation no doubt.

One thing I have noticed is that there will always be some degree of faith
in a process no matter how flawed the process is especially where there is
an element of desperation as in our case. The whole process of the MDC, a
clean and young party, entering negotiations with a view to sign a working
agreement with ZANU PF and all its tainted and bloodied background does
beggar belief. Of course it has all being done in the name of national
unity, reconciliation and trying to usher in a new era of bi-partisan
governance for the first time in the history of our country. However, ZANU
PF and the MDC working together has always been as inconceivable as it is
unworkable and unthinkable because of the huge divide that is their
philosophies. The former is a party with a philosophy of eliminating its
opponents and not working with them, while the latter has a democratic
agenda that is simply falling on the deaf ears of the dictatorial ZANU PF.

Everything could be possible and bi-partisanship could be achieved if
explored in the best possible manner, not as a matter of quick-fixing a
process that is threatened with doom. There are also three issues at work in
the pursuit of the so called government of national unity and some of them
are what people may find as taboo to talk about especially at this time when
the moon is not fully rounded up. One is the issue of the tenure of the MDC
president that is on its sun set weeks because Tsavngirai has already
overstayed in opposition politics and another term or two of him in power
would see him at the helm of the MDC for fifteen or twenty years
respectively. The other is the issue of Mugabe and the ruling ZANU PF party
that have terribly overstayed and are also in their sunset days because
their departure from the scene is of course more urgent and compelling than
the former. The third and most important issue however, is that of finding
an urgent solution to the problems be-devilling our country. That one is in
the best interests of both parties because whichever emerges with that
elusive solution will carry the day as well as the support of the people of

ZANU PF has neither a credible chance nor any visible willingness to do so
primarily because they have presided over the gravy situation we face today
in the first place. Expecting them to turn our fortunes around would be
calling on the devil to put out the fire in hell when the same devil thrives
on that fire and the suffering of those who are unlucky enough to end up in
that part of high heavens. The MDC has the lion's share of a chance to turn
the fortunes around. However, just like they did on the 18th amendment that
they could have used to knuckle ZANU PF to cede more power before this
contentious 19th amendment and all its hither-to-be thrashed out details,
the MDC missed once again on a huge opportunity and this is how they missed.

The fight against the tyrannical regime has never been a two horse fight
between ZANU PF and the fractured MDC. It has been a democratic fight
between ZANU PF and a host of other players that have in some cases, even
inflicted much more serious blows to the regime than the MDC has done. These
are the NCA, WOZA, ZACTU, PTUZ, ZINASU, the Human Rights Lawyers and a host
of other smaller civic and trade union organisations. These have played a
very crucial role in sustaining the pressure on Mugabe and ZANU PF and when
it came to negotiating these groups were supposed to be given a prominent
role so that they could continue even at the negotiating table, to keep the
pressure on Mugabe and ZANU PF with the constant threats of a continued
campaign of their very effective civic disobedience.

However when it came to the negotiating table, the MDC was already smelling
victory and they wanted a lion's share of the spoils and obviously bringing
in a host of all these other players to the talks looked set to diminish
that possibility.  They chose to go it alone and that undoubtedly gifted
ZANU PF because now Mugabe and his cronies felt a huge chunk of the weight
to their opposition being taken of their shoulders. They found themselves
faced with two opponents in Tsvangirai and Mutambara who are all the
"Presidents" of one party. And with the initial talk of a possible
re-unification of the MDC, ZANU PF was even nosing the prospect of one
opponent! Why the likes of Lovemore Madhuku of the NCA, Raymond Majongwe of
PTUZ, Jennie Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu of WOZA, the student leaders at
ZINASU, the sensible bishops who broke ranks from their corrupt counterparts
and a host of others, why were they drafted in as part of an all inclusive,
effective and heavy weight team to negotiate for a comprehensive pact with

This is where it was all lost because from the very beginning of the talks
between ZANU PF and the MDC, all these groups voiced their concerns with the
manner in which the talks were being conducted. Firstly, the talks were not
all inclusive because they left out some of the essential elements to the
democratic struggle. Secondly there was no mechanism in place for a
meaningful backroom role for those who were undeservedly and disrespectfully
left out of the mainstream process of the talks to closely stay with the
talks, and to advise the so-called principals effectively and actively.
Thirdly, there was never any real transparency and sense of accountability
characterising the talks. The net result was a watered down but murky
process that was ill-conceived from the start, and ill-conducted throughout
with the full contempt from the ZANU PF apparatus that enjoyed overt support
from a biased and unwell meaning SADC that never had any genuine agenda to
solve our problems in the first place. The only mission of SADC has always
been, and will always remain, to save the face of Mugabe.

Again, I always want to look back to history and draw parallels with the
present situation. The composition of the nationalist delegation to the
talks at Lancaster was a showcase of the depth of Zimbabwean political and
intellectual talent. There were political heavy weights and intellectual
bulldozers who were part of a comprehensive consultative process that helped
to keep the British government and the Rhodesian regime of Ian Smith under
sustained pressure and a realistic threat of the return to war should an
acceptable solution not  be found. Everything was agreed at Lancaster before
any folders were brought for signing. Look at the so-called talks today, if
Tsvangirai and his handful of so-called advisors nestled in South Africa and
Mutambara and his little team of Welshman and co is what Zimbabwe has to
steer us from this crisis of insurmountable proportions, then mighty God
really, really, really, really needs to help us. Where is the depth and
breath of the MDC talent that we hear of? Why don't they be seen at work now
pushing this difficult agenda? When will they be used? Are they being
reserved for government?

I have no personal agenda whatsoever against Tsvangirai but I have seen how
the supposed torch bearer of Zimbabwean opposition politics has squandered
golden opportunities to eliminate ZANU PF from the equation. From the
feedback I get there were always going to be avid Tsvangirai supporters who
are as religious as Mugabe's supporters were in 1980 and these will always
see or hear no evil where their dear leader is involved. However, there is a
growing number of others who strongly feel that all is not well in the state
of Zimbabwean opposition politics and that number is growing steadily just
like the detestation of Mugabe grew over the years from the darling of the
nation to a scar on the lives of our people .This is why I will continue
with my line of argument because it is not personal, but rather it is
national. It can be a seemingly lonely and gruesome venture to chip through
the thickness of the wall of blind patriotism but once that wall is down, it
is down for all to see and this is why Mugabe is so exposed today.

Who ever thought that, Tsvangirai himself included, that one day the MDC
would have to sit down and talk to ZANU PF with a view to forming a
government of national unity with the same party that has killed countless,
I mean countless supporters of the opposition party. What did those people
die for really? If any of them wakes up today to see Tsvangirai and Mugabe
sharing the same tea trolley in the same office block what will they say
really? Nkomo and Mugabe went to Lancaster House to talk to Ian Smith not
with a view to working with Smith. It was solely to usher in a new era of
all-inclusive politics whereby the entire population of our country would be
given the freedom to choose a government of their own choice after being
denied that natural right for decades.

There was never going to be a government of national unity between Smith on
one hand, and Nkomo and Mugabe on the other. Setting aside some reserved
parliamentary seats for liberal minded white MP's in a free, post-colonial,
post minority rule Zimbabwe, never meant a government of national unity
between a regime that killed thousands of innocent people and those who were
fighting for an all-inclusive political outcome. It was never going to work
to put Smith and Mugabe in opposite rooms at Munhumutapa buildings like what
is being proposed for Tsvangirai and Mugabe.

Mugabe has to clear off the scene and leave Tsvangirai alone with maybe, a
few liberal minded ZANU PF elements if they can be found anywhere. But if
Tsvangirai cannot force Mugabe to go like the latter did to Smith who does
he want to that for him? He is the one who wants to be our next president
and we want him alone with no Mugabe strapped around his waist. That's not a
negotiable condition.

Silence Chihuri is a Zimbabwean writer based in Scotland. He can be
contacted on or 07706376705

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Divisions rock MDC-dominated Bindura council

November 25, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

BINDURA - Serious divisions have rocked the MDC-dominated Bindura Town
Council over the past three months amid claims the new councillors have been
heavily infiltrated by Zanu- PF.

Bindura town has a complement of 12 councillors, all elected on an MDC
ticket while an additional three were later controversially appointed to the
council by outgoing local government minister Ignatius Chombo.

Sources have revealed the council has since been divided into two hostile
camps with eight councillors being loyal to deputy mayor Ivory Matanhire,
who is said to be closely linked to Zanu-PF, while the other four are
sympathetic to ousted mayor Tinashe Madamombe.

It is said the rebels have become "too cosy" with Zanu-PF to a point of
receiving bribes from a top Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
operative residing in Bindura to block all resolutions that favour the MDC.

The CIO operative owns multiple residential stands in Bindura.

The 27-year-old Madamombe was ousted early last month after the eight
rebels, apparently acting on instructions by the town clerk, passed a vote
of no-confidence on him for allegedly taking unilateral decisions on behalf
of council, among other reasons.

The removal of the mayor, which was allegedly engineered by former mayor and
newly- appointed governor for Mashonaland Central province, Martin Dinha,
was not sanctioned by the MDC leadership, it is said.

Madamombe was immediately replaced by one Daniso Wakatama, a former council
auditor who was at one time fired by council on corruption charges.

Sharp divisions emerged after the March elections when the councillors
proposed to remove the town clerk, Joseph Kabanga, who is linked to Zanu-PF,
and replace him with his predecessor Paison Chikeya Mugogo.

Mugogo was fired by Chombo in March this year for allowing MDC president
Morgan Tsvangirai to hold his campaign rally at Bindura Stadium ahead of the

Incidentally, it is said, the rebel group has pulled all the stops to have
Magugu evicted from the council house arguing he is no longer a council

Both the town clerk and the mayor have since challenged their removal
through the courts.

A source who spoke to The Zimbabwe Times on condition of anonymity Monday
accused the council rebels of not having the MDC at heart.

According to the source, the rebels are among councillors railroaded into
submitting their nomination papers ahead of the March 29 elections after all
the party faithful recoiled fearing victimization by some violent Zanu-PF

"The rebels do not have MDC at heart," said the source, "They are mere
chancers who were hastily recruited into the party at the very last minute
as it became apparent the ward seats would go to Zanu-PF if the MDC did not
field candidates."

"At that point, no one among our trusted members was willing to stand on an
MDC ticket fearing for their lives."

MDC secretary for local government Cecil Zvidzai confirmed the divisions
within the Bindura council.

"What is happening is that our youthful councillors have been bribed into
fighting against each other by Zanu-PF," he said.  "Chombo has been all over
the place trying to make sure our councillors rebel against each other.

"It is so unfortunate that we are dealing with people who have become too
used to dictatorship. Their focus is on power retention as opposed to
delivering services to the people of Bindura.

"They do not seem to care that we are living in a very challenging situation
where cholera is wrecking havoc within our localities.

Zvidzai vowed his party will bring sanity to the divided council.

"As a party, we are saying we will cause sanity to prevail in Bindura," he
said.  "We will make sure that we give them (councillors) an induction
programme and refocus them on issues that matter most to the people."

Persistent efforts to obtain comment from the Bindura Town Clerk or Chombo
were fruitless.

However, Chombo is yet to formally respond to continued accusations of
meddling in council affairs, by the MDC.

The MDC now dominates the majority of councils after the March 29 elections.

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There is nothing elderly about Elders

From AFP, 25 November

Harare - Zimbabwe's state media on Tuesday accused former US president Jimmy
Carter and ex-UN chief Kofi Annan of plotting to overthrow the government,
after Harare rebuffed a humanitarian visit by the statesmen. Carter, Annan
and rights activist Graca Machel - the wife of Nelson Mandela - planned to
visit Zimbabwe at the weekend to find ways of easing a humanitarian crisis
that has left half its population in need of emergency food aid. President
Robert Mugabe's regime turned away the three, who belong to a group of
senior statesmen known as the Elders, accusing them of seeking to bolster
the opposition in power-sharing talks due to resume on Tuesday in South
Africa. "The so-called 'Elders' are a creature of pro-Labour British
corporate interests. There is nothing elderly about them," Zimbabwe's
secretary for information George Charamba said in the government mouthpiece
Herald newspaper. "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," the paper said. The Herald also accused the
statesmen of trying to pave the way for United Nations intervention in
Zimbabwe. Negotiators for Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are
due to attempt the latest bid to rescue a power-sharing deal signed more
than two months ago but never put into effect. Annan, Carter and Machel
spent the weekend meeting with Zimbabwean exiles in South Africa. Carter
said on Monday that the humanitarian crisis was greater than feared, as a
cholera epidemic is killing hundreds across the country. "The entire basic
structure... is broken down. These are all indications that the crisis in
Zimbabwe is much greater, much worse than we ever could have imagined,"
Carter told reporters.

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Petition to the Minister of Health & Child Welfare

Petition to the Minister of Health & Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa &
the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health & Child Welfare

Declare Cholera a National Disaster Now!

We are appalled at the current humanitarian disaster that has led to
starvation, malnutrition and deaths of ordinary people. We wish to state
without equivocation that those who claim to govern must cringe at the level
of the humanitarian disaster that they have authored by pursuing
ill-conceived policies. Cholera has so far claimed more than 200 lives
across the country and there is suspicion that the deaths are deliberately

We wish to remind the present government that there exists an unwritten
contract between the citizens and government. The ZANU PF government is in
breach of this contract because it has dismally failed to provide basic
services to the ordinary people. Communities have been severely affected by
the humanitarian crisis- children are malnourished, people, including the
sick cannot access their cash from the bank, hospitals are shutting down and
the people are scavenging for wild fruits for survival.

The Government of Zimbabwe is obliged to provide for every citizen and to
improve conditions to make it possible for people to work and improve their
lives. We suspect that those in the high echelons of power are unconcerned
about cholera and do not want to declare it a national disaster because:

1. They have access to clean water and have boreholes at their homes,

2. They fly to Cape Town's Groote Schuur on public purse and not to
Parirenyatwa Hospital for treatment if they get sick,

3. To keep up appearances as well as mislead the international community
about the extent of the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. This also explains
why the humanitarian mission of the Elders was refused entry into Zimbabwe,

4. Misplaced claims to national pride and sovereignty.

Statement Issued by Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) and
Endorsed By:

Name & Organization


Please send to

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Why Mugabe must go


Posted Tuesday, November 25 2008 at 19:25

The world can no longer pretend that Mr Robert Mugabe deserves any honour
and continue treating him with dignity when the country is on the verge of

It is absurd that Mugabe has blocked all efforts to restore sanity in the
country when thousands stare death in the face due to starvation and

The economy has crashed and the political crisis has deepened. Africa and
the rest of the world must now act. The first thing is for African leaders
to block Mugabe from attending any of their meetings.

Second, they must pile up pressure to force the man to honour the
power-sharing deal he signed with the Movement for Democratic Change leader
Morgan Tsvangirai a couple of months ago.

Better still, he should be compelled to take a walk and let the people of
Zimbabwe live in peace.

Lack of decisive action against Mr Mugabe has emboldened him, a fact amply
demonstrated by his administration vetoing the visit of peace-makers Kofi
Annan, Graça Machel and Jimmy Carter from visiting the country.

Of course, the regime has since claimed that it had not been properly
informed about the visit of the three, who were expected to broker a peace

This is why we concur with South Africa's Jacob Zuma that Africa and the
world must take drastic action to reverse Zimbabwe's slide to anarchy.

Inaction will be the continent's and Zimbabwe's greatest undoing. Africa
cannot continue tolerating rapacious, intolerant and oppressive tyrants.

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