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Mbeki letter 'angers' Tsvangirai

26 November 2008

Wilson Johwa and Dumisani Muleya

TALKS to end the deadlock in Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement got off to
slow start yesterday amid reports that the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) had taken offence at the tone of a letter written to Morgan Tsvangirai
by the mediator, former president Thabo Mbeki.

Party insiders said the letter, dated November 22, had so upset the MDC that
officials had sought an audience with President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is
also current chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

In the 10-page letter, which is a response to a letter sent by MDC
secretary-general Tendai Biti, Mbeki made comments that did not go down well
with the MDC, sensitive to the common Zanu (PF) accusation that it took its
cue from the west.

Biti had described the decision on Zimbabwe taken by the extraordinary SADC
summit earlier this week as "a nullity", a rejection that appeared to have
irked Mbeki.

"It may be that, for whatever reason, you consider our region and continent
as being of little consequence to the future of Zimbabwe, believing that
others further away, in western Europe and North America, are of greater
importance," Mbeki wrote.

The SADC meeting compelled Zanu (PF) and the MDC to seek ways of jointly
running the much-contested home affairs ministry, a position rejected by the
MDC. Mbeki, whom the MDC has long accused of bias, said the MDC did not
respect decisions made by African leaders.

"Realistically, Zimbabwe will never share the same neighbourhood with the
countries of western Europe and North America, and therefore secure its
success on the basis of friendship with these, and contempt for the
decisions of its immediate African neighbours," Mbeki went on.

He also accused the MDC of publicly denouncing SADC leaders as "cowards".

"Such manner of proceeding might earn you prominent media headlines.
However, I assure you that it will do nothing to solve the problems of
Zimbabwe," Mbeki said.

He also told Tsvangirai that in accepting large numbers of Zimbabwean
exiles, "in a spirit of solidarity", neighbouring countries had displayed no
characteristics of cowardice.

The parties were also at odds about the scope of yesterday's negotiations.

Sources said Mugabe's negotiators from Zanu (PF) insisted they were in SA
only to discuss an amendment of the constitution to facilitate
implementation of the power-sharing pact as recommended by SADC.

But Tsvangirai's MDC faction wanted to include a far wider number of issues,
including the distribution of ministries, the appointment of provincial
governors, top government officials and diplomats, the composition and
function of the National Security Council and the correction of "fraudulent
changes" to the original power-sharing agreement.

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ZANU PF intransigence blocks agreement: MDC

by Own Correspondents Wednesday 26 November 2008

JOHANESBURG - Zimbabwe's opposition said the ruling ZANU PF party's
"intransigence and lack of sincerity" have blocked political settlement in
the crisis-sapped country as the two rivals began a fresh round of
power-sharing talks in South Africa on Tuesday.

Negotiators from the ruling party and the two opposition MDC formations were
meeting mediator ex-South African leader Thabo Mbeki to discuss a draft
constitutional Bill that would allow President Robert Mugabe to form a unity
government outlined under a September 15 power-sharing agreement.

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

"The MDC notes with concern ZANU PF's intransigence and its continued lack
of sincerity which have stood in the doorway of an amicable political
settlement; a settlement which does not reduce the MDC to a junior partner,"
the opposition said in a statement as talks were due to begin.

The MDC, which has accused ZANU PF of wanting to take control of all the
most powerful ministries and consign it to a peripheral role in government,
said it wanted the new talks to go beyond the constitutional amendment Bill
to look into all outstanding issues, including the equitable distribution of
government posts.

It said: "The MDC resolved that the party will not join the inclusive
government until all the sticking issues are addressed. The sticking issues
include the equitable distribution of ministerial portfolios, the
composition and powers of the national security council.

"(And) the outstanding issue of the provincial governors, the appointment of
permanent secretaries and ambassadors, the correction of ZANU PF's
fraudulent alteration of the Global Political Agreement of 15 September 2008
and the enactment of Constitutional Amendment Number 19."

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

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

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

Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks resume as a cholera and anthrax outbreak that
has killed close to 300 people highlights a worsening humanitarian and
economic crisis in the country and which is spilling to neighbouring

A delegation of international figures led by former United Nations Secretary
General Kofi Annan on Monday described the crisis in Zimbabwe as "worse than
it could have had imagined," and called on SADC to act urgently to avert
humanitarian disaster in the country.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe has also urged a quick political
settlement in Zimbabwe, saying the unprecedented outbreak of disease was
sign a new power-sharing government could not be delayed any longer.

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

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Parties call on Zim leaders to end impasse

by Own Correspondents Wednesday 26 November 2008

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders
should find a speedy solution to the political impasse that has worsened the
country's economic and humanitarian situation, some of the region's former
liberation movements said on Tuesday.

"The parties called upon the leaders to find a speedy solution to the
impasse," said five former southern African liberation movements in a joint
statement issued after their meeting at the ANC headquarters in

Frelimo of Mozambique, MPLA of Angola, Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania, ZANU
PF of Zimbabwe, and ANC of South Africa - discussed, among other things, the
situation in crisis-torn Zimbabwe and raised concerns about the current
economic and humanitarian situation.

"The parties also made an appeal to the international community to lift
sanctions, and assist in alleviating the plight of the Zimbabwean people."

Speaking to journalists after the marathon meeting, ANC spokesperson,
Ishmael Mnisi, said the meeting was a follow up to previous meetings where
it had been agreed to strengthen ties among the former liberation parties,
and to develop common approaches to challenges facing their countries and

"Among other current matters, the meeting discussed the situation in
Zimbabwe and raised concerns about the ongoing economic and humanitarian
plight," said Mnisi.

He added: "The meeting also reaffirmed the need to develop a strong
progressive movement in Southern Africa, with the former liberation
movements at its core, to further advance the interests and aspirations of
the peoples of this region."

The former liberation parties also discussed the situation in the Democratic
Republic of Congo, and agreed that the region and the international
community should work hand in glove to find lasting peace.

Mnisi said the ANC President Jacob Zuma would be sending a fact finding
mission to Zimbabwe with a view to assist in terms of providing humanitarian
aid to the estimated six million starving people.

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

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

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

Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara who heads a rebel faction of the MDC in September
agreed to form a unity government.

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

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Little Optimism For Crucial Zimbabwe Negotiations

By Peta Thornycroft
25 November 2008

Negotiators from Zimbabwe's three political parties are meeting in South
Africa to try to reach agreement on an amendment to the constitution that
would enable the formation of a government of national unity. Peta
Thornycroft, reporting from Harare, says in the streets of the capital many
people are aware that this is a crucial make or break round of negotiations.

In Harare's streets, many people know that a constitutional amendment is
necessary to enable formation of a government of national unity. If it is
agreed upon, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai will become prime minister of

Negotiators in South Africa are faced with two amendments, one written by
the ministry of justice and one by Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC.

The two are very different and this gap, analysts say, will be difficult to
overcome, as the amendment has to accurately cover the Global Political
Agreement signed on September 15 by leaders of the three parliamentary
parties, Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

Lawyers say that the 37-page MDC document is a well crafted piece of
legislation which widens the democratic scope of the agreement, and
addresses many of its imperfections.

But they warn, some of the clauses, particularly those involving human
rights, were not agreed by President Robert Mugabe during negotiations, and,
therefore are likely to be rejected again by Mr. Mugabe's negotiators.

In the streets of Harare, many people say they know these negotiations are

One professional man said while these negotiations represent hope, if the
talks fail he believes the MDC will have to become more militant.

"The next round of talks is a ray of light of hope to the ordinary
Zimbabwean," he said. "This comes back to the core principles of the MDC of
narrowing their options of removing the dictator through democratic means.
Mugabe knows he cannot go it alone."

"The people are frustrated. They have been stretched to the limit. It needs
a stimuli to put light into the frustrations of the people and that stimuli
can only come about by the people in the MDC presidium to mobilize the
people, in the bank queues everywhere, the people are ripe for change," he

A clerk at a security company said that these talks were crucial

"I think this should be the last round of talks, and if they are not going
to agree upon that amendment, then I don't think that it will be of any use
to have any other talks," the clerk said.

She was gloomy about the future should the talks on the amendment fail and
said Zimbabweans would then have to wait until Mr. Mugabe, who is nearly 85,

"It means we are going to suffer more than we are suffering right now if the
UN is not going to do anything. If nature doesn't take its course we are
going to die," she said. "We don't want to die and we don't want to fight
anyone. Because we thought that he was going to listen to reason on his own,
and now we don't know what to do."

If these talks fail to produce a constitutional amendment there will then be
no basis for establishing a government of national unity.

As a result, several people said they may have to go to war to end Mr.
Mugabe's rule.

A street vendor selling vouchers for mobile phones said people would have to
change tactics and fight for a new government.

"People are dying and the issue of having another round of talks should come
to an end and so many people are complaining about the credibility of the
talks," the vendor noted. "Mugabe needs a militant approach if he fails the
dialogue. The suffering and the crisis in Zimbabwe is unprecedented. This
must come to an end as soon as possible."

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa cautioned against any optimism about the
outcome of the talks until all the party's demands were met.

If the talks fail, no one is sure what the next step will be. If they
succeed then Mr. Tsvangirai will be sworn into office. The amendment will be
presented before parliament a month later where it will voted on. A
two-thirds majority is needed in the parliament for a transitional
government of national unity to be a reality.

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UN's Ban urges party deal in "desperate" Zimbabwe

Tue 25 Nov 2008, 19:55 GMT

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 25 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
described the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe on Tuesday as "desperate"
and urged the country's rival parties meeting in South Africa to reach a
rapid deal on a new government.

A statement read by U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said Ban was "alarmed
that the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is now desperate and will worsen
in the coming months," with nearly half the 12 million population needing
food aid.

Zimbabwe, whose rival political parties have so far failed to agree on a
power-sharing government, is suffering from an economic crisis with
inflation topping 230 million percent. A recent cholera outbreak has killed
more than 300 people.

"The Secretary-General urges all parties to support and provide humanitarian
assistance leaving political considerations aside," Montas said.

Negotiators from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and a breakaway MDC faction were
meeting in South Africa on Tuesday with President Thabo Mbeki to discuss
breaking the deadlock.

Montas said Ban called on them to rapidly reach an agreement in line with a
Sept. 15 power-sharing deal which has still not been implemented amid
disputes over who should control key ministries.

"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," Ban was quoted as saying.

Ban regretted a decision by Zimbabwe's government to bar entry last weekend
to a humanitarian mission by "the Elders" -- a group including former U.S.
President Jimmy Carter and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"The Secretary-General hopes that another mission can take place in the near
future, given the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country," Montas
said. (Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; editing by Jackie Frank)

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Botswana could offer Tsvangirai political haven: Report

Published: Tuesday, November 25, 2008
LONDON - Botswana's foreign minister suggested in an interview Wednesday
that his country would be prepared to allow Zimbabwe's opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai to operate there as leader in exile.

Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani also told BBC World News that regional
powers must admit they had failed to resolve the deadlock between Tsvangirai
and President Robert Mugabe and should now bring economic pressure to bear.

Asked whether Botswana would offer Tsvangirai a safe haven if power-sharing
talks collapse, Skelemani said: "Anybody who comes to Botswana saying that
they fear for their life, from their own country, we will not chase them

Pressed about what Botswana would allow Tsvangirai to do from its soil, the
minister said he would not be permitted to launch a military attack on
Zimbabwe from there, but could possibly lead a democratic resistance
"That would be the lesser of the two evils, which is probably, taking up
arms and getting innocent people killed," Skelemani said.

Botswana's President Ian Khama is one of the few African leaders to openly
criticize Mugabe, saying his re-election in June was not legitimate.

The foreign minister also said the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) regional bloc must admit that its mediation efforts have failed.

"The international community, SADC first of all, must now own up that they
have failed - which we have said, that we as SADC have failed. The rest of
us should now own up and say yes, we have failed," Skelemani told the BBC.

After that, it should "call upon the international community and tell Mugabe
to his face, look, now you are on your own, we are switching off, we are
closing your borders, and I don't think he would last," he said.

"If no petrol went in for a week, he can't last."

Negotiators for Mugabe and Tsvangirai met in a new round of talks in South
Africa on Tuesday over a stalled power-sharing deal, that calls for Mugabe
to remain as president and Tsvangirai to take the new post of prime

Tsvangirai won a first-round presidential election in March, but pulled out
of the run-off accusing Mugabe's party of orchestrating deadly attacks
against his supporters.

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As talks drag,is the future federal for Zimbabwe?

November 25, 2008 | By Icarbord Tshabangu
As the Zimbabwe impasse continues we can still look into the future and hope
for a better country.

Exasperated by the excesses of the state Kropotkin, a scholar, once
commented that, Either the State for ever, crushing individual and local
life, taking over in all fields of human activity, bringing with it all its
wars and domestic struggles for power, its palace revolutions which only
replace one tyrant by another, and inevitably at the end of this development
there is.death.or the destruction of States, and new life starting again in
thousands of centres on the principle of the lively initiative of the
individual and communities and that of free agreement, - choice residing
among citizens.

Statism and centralisation of power often breed suppression of individuals
and communities. Such statism as obtains in Zimbabwe manifests in
totalitarian democracy, where the state, under the guise of sovereignty,
brutalizes the minority, the opposition and the individual. Such democracy
becomes characterised as 'everything for the state, from the state and by
the state'. In such a polity citizens become relegated to powerless mere
onlookers as their life and destiny is negotiated and decided. The
intransigency that has characterised the ailing and failing political deal
between Zanu PF and the MDC as some of us predicted at the time of its
signing is also rooted in statism and totalitarian democracy bedevilling
Zimbabwe today.

While it is widely acknowledged that every political system has its flaws,
it is the case that some political systems are better than others and that
instituting democratic governance systems as a measure is better than
trusting in human beneficence, whether this person be Morgan Tsvangirai of
the MDC or Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF. Statism in Zimbabwe has led to
traumatic times, such as government-orchestrated massacres in Matabeleland
and the Midlands in the 1980s, operation Murambatsvina (remove the filth) in
2005, the government's sponsored violence pre June 2008 presidential
election, particularly in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland and state
sponsored violence at other election periods prior. When an opportunity
presents itself such as in crafting the country's constitution, the people
of Zimbabwe have to choose between trusting persons of power or systems of
governance. Many Zimbabweans may agree that for far too long we have trusted
persons of power and the charisma these personalities exude, at the expense
of systems of governance that may reign in those personalities.

In retrospect, it is quite clear that the excessive bestowal of executive
presidential powers in one person in Zimbabwe, at the expense of
strengthening other arms of government such as the parliament and the
judiciary or the decentralisation of power to regions/provinces under a
federal framework has led the country to its current ruin. One 'moment of
madness', (as Mugabe once referred to the Midlands and Matabeleland
massacres), unchecked by systems of governance, has consequentially led to
other 'moments of madness' too many to count. If the people of Zimbabwe are
to be free from tyranny in the future they will have to reclaim control of
the state possibly through a constitutional framework, which guarantees
decentralisation of power to regions, and insulates the judiciary and the
legislature from executive interference. The democratic processes in
federalised states such as in South Africa and the United States of America
bear testimony on how the executive powers can be kept in check. Peaceful
countries such as Ghana, though not federal have a constitutional framework
that empowers citizens through district assemblies.

It is noted that traditional forms of democracy in Africa existed largely in
the communitarian mode and still exist in some parts of rural Africa. In the
villages there is what they call 'inkundla' in Ndebele or 'pa dare' in Shona
where the villagers have an open forum accessible to all sexes and age
groups (except for children who are still at play stage). In these meetings
there is hardly any dictatorial tendencies as people from all levels guided
by the love and respect of their immediate community seek to reach consensus
through genuine inter-subjectivity. In these meetings everything directly
affecting the village is discussed and the group takes decisions. Under the
current constitutional arrangements the Zimbabwean citizens at the lower
echelons of power find themselves disenfranchised from determining their
destiny and that of their children. Under a federal system, were
regional/provincial leaders are elected by local people and not political
appointees who are only beholden to the one appointing, there is likely to
be accountability as state power is distributed to districts and

The empowerment of regions should be done in a way that neither they
(regions), nor the state dominate the other. It is noted that while
conscious of universal principles, regional communities will use local
custom to address local and specific general realities and afford citizens
active participation in decision-making processes. As Popper once noted, it
is often the lack of rationality and active participation by citizens in a
polity, which often leads to the brutalities of totalitarian regimes as we
have witnessed in Zimbabwe.

There are some who may think that decentralisation of power to provinces and
districts is pre modern and looks backward. What they forget is that the
centralisation of power as we now have in Zimbabwe was inherited from
colonial rule and it suited the colonial oppressor in harnessing the black
masses. Politically, the goal of decentralisation is to 'provide the social
bonds that sustain the moral voice but at the same time avoid tight networks
that suppress pluralism and dissent.' With the rise of statism where some
governments have gradually concentrated power in themselves through
republicanism and majority rule, the rights of individuals and some regional
constituents often become threatened thus negatively affecting various forms
of liberty in the nation. Since our rulers fear that the decentralisation of
power leaves them less powerful, they have often use media in their control
to demonise and poison such discourse.

Often times the subject of federalism and decentralisation of power within
Zimbabwe has been attended by unnecessary tribal rhetoric. This is also not
surprising because under the British's 'divide and rule' policy also
inherited by the current regime, differences particularly between the Shona
and the Ndebele were magnified as a self-preservationist strategy by the
colonizer and later at independence (or even during the war) by certain
nationalist leaders as a tool for control. Further animosity has at times
been engineered or incited by those in power even within these major tribes
(e.g. between Karangas and Zezurus). The people of Zimbabwe may need to wake
up to a realisation that the issue besetting the nation has never been that
of Shonas versus Ndebeles as Joshua Nkomo (even under state persecution)
strived to make people understand. Neither is it that of sub-tribal
friction. The issue has been 'statism' and the excesses of the state - the
government crushing citizens and local life. If the issues bedevilling our
political discourse were tribal, Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC would not be
enjoying the support he has in Matabeleland, nor would Joshua Nkomo had
enjoyed considerable support in provinces outside Matabeleland. Furthermore,
the state sponsored violence as seen prior to June 2008 presidential
election would not have occurred in parts of Mashonaland, but it did.
Federalism should therefore not be seen through a prism of tribalism but a
moral and democratic act that empowers local people and ensures state
accountability. It is an act of giving back rights and power to communities
across the country.

In federalism, structures of power at any level of governance will be
negotiated by those directly affected and citizens would be regarded as
participating on an almost equal footing. As a community centred approach to
governance, the decentralisation of power would discourage an obsession with
mere allocation of power to a few individuals who seek to rule others, but
instead it would involve citizens learning about, reviewing and determining
how to reform decision making processes at local level but in ways that
positively affect central government institutions.

Icarbord Tshabangu, PhD is a Researcher on Citizenship and Education

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Gono appointed to new five-year-term

November 25, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has reappointed Gideon Gono to the position
of governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe  for another five years.

Gono's current term of office expires this week at the end of November and
his new term kicks in the following day, 0n December 1, 2008 to run until
November 30, 2013.

State controlled television announced Tuesday the controversial central bank
chief has earned another term at the helm of Zimbabwe's central bank.

"The reappointment is for five years and takes effect from the 1st of
December 2008 and is up to the 30th of November 2013, as provided for in
terms of Section 15 of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act,"  ZTV announced.

Appointed in 2003 at the height of unprecedented cash shortages, Gono earned
the admiration of many Zimbabweans for what then appeared to be his noble
policies. But his term has since been blighted by  controversy due to his
continued meddling in fiscal issues.

The 49-year-old central bank chief has continued to stoke more controversy
by printing huge quantities of bank notes, ostensibly with the full support
from President Mugabe.

He has been accused of using the cash to buy scarce foreign currency on the
thriving black market to fund partisan activities of Zanu-PF.

This practice has also been blamed for fueling hyperinflation in the
country, now pegged at an all time 231 million percent, the highest in the

Under Gono's term, the bank deposits of many Zimbabweans have ballooned to
quadrillions of dollars. They are, however, allowed to withdraw only small
amounts stipulated by Gono.

Gono was once the chief executive of the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ)
and in that capacity  was at one time the  personal banker of President

His name appears on the black list of top Mugabe loyalists banned  from
travelling to the United States of America and EU member states because of
their role in the oppression of the people of  Zimbabwe.

Under his term, some banks have shut down for alleged corruption while top
bankers and prominent business persons have been forced to skip the country
for fear of persecution.

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3,000 dead from cholera in Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe is trying to hide the scale of the deadly epidemic sweeping
the country. But its impact can today be revealed

By Basildon Peta
Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's President, is trying to hide the real extent of
the cholera epidemic sweeping across his nation by silencing health workers
and restricting access to the huge number of death certificates that give
the same cause of death.

A senior official in the health ministry told The Independent yesterday that
more than 3,000 people have died from the water-borne disease in the past
two weeks, 10 times the widely-reported death toll of just over 300. "But
even this higher figure is still an understatement because very few bother
to register the deaths of their relatives these days," said the official,
who requested anonymity.

He said the health ministry, which once presided over a medical system that
was the envy of Africa, had been banned from issuing accurate statistics
about the deaths, and that certificates for the fraction of deaths that had
been registered were being closely guarded by the home affairs ministry.

Yet the evidence of how this plague is hurting the people of Zimbabwe is
there for all to see at the burial grounds in this collapsing country. "When
you encounter such long queues in other countries, they are of people going
to the cinema or a football match; certainly not into cemeteries to bury
loved ones as we have here," said Munyaradzi Mudzingwa, who lives in
Chitungwiza, a town just outside Harare, where the epidemic is believed to
have started.

When Mr Mudzingwa buried his 27-year-old brother, who succumbed to cholera
last week, he said he had counted at least 40 other families lining up to
bury loved ones. He said: "That's sadly the depth of the misery into which
Mugabe has sunk us."

Unit O, his suburb, has been without running water for 13 months. The only
borehole in the area, built with the help of aid agencies, attracted so many
people day and night that it was rarely possible to access its water.
Residents were forced to dig their own wells, which became contaminated with
sewage. The water residents haul up is a breeding ground for all sorts of
bacteria, including Vibrio cholerae, which causes severe vomiting and
diarrohea and can kill within hours if not treated.

The way to prevent death is, for the Zimbabwean people, agonisingly simple:
antibiotics and rehydration. But this is a country with a broken sewerage
system and soap is hard to come by. Harare's Central Hospital officially
closed last week, doctors and nurses are scarce and even those clinics
offering a semblance of service do not have access to safe, clean drinking
water and ask patients to bring their own.

As the ordinary people suffer Mr Mugabe is locked in a bitter power struggle
with the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai over who should control which
ministries in a unity government. The President has threatened to name a
cabinet without the approval of the Movement for Democratic Change, which
could see the whole peace deal unravel.

Talks were continuing between the two parties in Johannesburg yesterday with
little sign of a breakthrough, but pressure is growing from around the
region and beyond to strike a deal as the humanitarian crisis deepens.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans have streamed into South Africa, desperate for
medical care. Officials in the South African border town of Musina say their
local hospital has treated more than 150 cholera patients so far. "[The
outbreak] is a clear indication that ordinary Zimbabweans are the true
victims of their leaders' lack of political will," the South African
government's chief spokesman Themba Maseko said.

Yesterday Oxfam warned that a million of Zimbabwe's 13 million population
were at risk from the cholera epidemic, and predicted that the crisis would
worsen significantly in December, when heavy rains start. "The government of
Zimbabwe must acknowledge the extent of the crisis and take immediate steps
to mobilise all available resources," said Charles Abani, the head of the
agency's southern Africa team. "Delay is not an option."

The Zimbabwean Association of Doctors for Human Rights has accused the
government of dramatically under- reporting the spread of the disease.
Doctors and nurses - whose salaries can just buy a loaf of bread thanks to
hyperinflation - tried to protest last week against the health crisis, but
riot police moved in swiftly.

It is not just cholera victims who are suffering. Willard Mangaira, also
from Chitungwiza, described how his 18-year-old pregnant sister died at home
after being turned away at the main hospital because there were no staff and
no equipment to perform the emergency Caesarean operation she needed. Yet he
added that if the situation in Chitungwiza was deplorable, what he had left
behind in his village of Chivhu, 100 miles away, was beyond description.
Adults and children alike were now living off a wild fruit, hacha, and
livestock owners are barred from letting their animals into the bush to
graze until the people have fed first.

Bought foodstuffs are beyond reach. The official inflation figure is 231
million per cent and the real level is higher: some estimates say basic
goods double in price every day. Few can afford to give their deceased
relatives a proper funeral. Death used to be a sacred time, with families
taking a week to celebrate the life of the deceased before burial. Now the
dead are buried instantly.

Lovemore Churi buried his father within an hour of his being confirmed dead.
"I did not have the money to let mourners assemble and then start to feed
them," he said. "If mourners hear that someone is already buried, they don't
bother coming and one does not have to worry about how to feed them. That is
the way we now live."

The disease: Deadly, but preventable

* Cholera is caused when a toxin-producing bacterium, Vibrio Cholerae,
infects the gut. It is carried in water containing human faeces.

* In its most severe form, and without treatment of antibiotics and
rehydration, it causes acute diarrhoea and dehydration, and can kill within
hours of symptoms showing.

* John Snow, a doctor in 19th-century London, was the first to link it with
contaminated water when he studied an outbreak in Soho in 1854, which had
killed more than 600 in a few weeks.

* Until then, it was thought to be spread by a mysterious "miasma" in the
atmosphere. Snow showed the outbreak came from a single contaminated well in
Broad Street. He had the handle of the well removed, and the epidemic
stopped almost overnight.

* Preventing cholera relies on proper sewage treatment, sanitation and water

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List of individuals, entities, added to US sanctions list

US Treasury - OFAC
25 November 2008

Statement issued by Office of Foreign Assets Control November 25 2008

The following individuals have been added to OFAC's SDN list:

BREDENKAMP, John (a.k.a. BREDENKAMP, John A.; a.k.a. BREDENKAMP, John
Arnold), Thetford Farm, P.O. Box HP86, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe; 10
Montpelier Square, London SW7 1JU, United Kingdom; Hurst Grove, Sanford
Lane, Hurst, Reading, Berkshire RG10 0SQ, United Kingdom; New Boundary
House, London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom;
Middleton House, Titlarks Hill Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 0JB,
United Kingdom; Mapstone House, Mapstone Hill, Lustleigh, Newton Abbot,
Devon TQ13 9SE, United Kingdom; Dennerlei 30, Schoten, Belgium; 62 Chester
Square, London, United Kingdom; DOB 11 Aug 1940; citizen Netherlands; alt.
citizen Suriname; alt. citizen Zimbabwe; Passport ND1285143 (Netherlands);
alt. Passport Z01024064 (Netherlands); alt. Passport Z153612 (Netherlands);
alt. Passport 367537C (Suriname) (individual) [ZIMBABWE]

KECHIK, Mahmood Awang, Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital, 1, Jalan Mamanda
9, Selangor Darul Ehsan 68000, Malaysia; DOB 22 Aug 1954; citizen Malaysia;
nationality Malaysia; Dr. (individual) [ZIMBABWE]

RAUTENBACH, Muller (a.k.a. RAUTENBACH, Billy; a.k.a. RAUTENBACH, Muller
Conrad); DOB 11 Nov 1950; alt. DOB 23 Sep 1959; citizen Zimbabwe; Passport
ZE26547 (Zimbabwe) (individual) [ZIMBABWE]

TAVEESIN, Nalinee (a.k.a. TAVEESIN, Nalinee Joy; a.k.a. TAWEESIN, NALINEE),
14th Floor of Modern Tower, Tower 87/110 Sukhumvit 63, Wattana, Bangkok
10110, Thailand; 33 Soi Soonvijai 4, Rama IX Road, Soi 26, Success Tower,
Huai Khwang, Bang Kapi, Bangkok 10320, Thailand; 19-8 Soi Passana 3,
Sukhumvit Road, Pakanong Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand; 33 Soi
Soonwichai 4 Bangkapi, Huaykhwang, Bangkok 10310, Thailand; DOB 12 Feb 1960;
citizen Thailand; nationality Thailand; Passport Z066420 (Thailand);
Managing Director (individual) [ZIMBABWE]

The following entities have been added to OFAC's SDN list:

LIMITED), Flat 1, Aileen Gardens, 51A Park Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 2SP,
United Kingdom [ZIMBABWE]

BRECO (ASIA PACIFIC) LTD, First Floor, Falcon Cliff, Palace Road, Douglas
IM2 4LB, Man, Isle of; Business Registration Document # M78647 (United
Kingdom) [ZIMBABWE]

Cliff, Palace Road, Douglas IM99 1ZW, Man, Isle of; Hurst Grove, Standord
Lane, Hurst, Reading, Berkshire RG10 0SQ, United Kingdom; Business
Registration Document # FC0021189 (United Kingdom) [ZIMBABWE]

BRECO (SOUTH AFRICA) LTD, Cumbrae House, Market Street, Douglas IM1 2PQ,
Man, Isle of; 9 Columbus Centre, Pelican Drive, Road Town, Tortola, Virgin
Islands, British; Business Registration Document # Q1962 (United Kingdom)

BRECO (U.K.) LTD (a.k.a. BRECO (U.K.) LIMITED), New Boundary House, London
Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom; Business
Registration Document # 2969104 (United Kingdom) [ZIMBABWE]

BRECO GROUP, Hurst Grove, Sandford Lane, Hurst, Reading, Berkshire RG10 0SQ,
United Kingdom; Thetford Farm, P.O. Box HP86, Mount Pleasant, Harare,
Zimbabwe; 10 Montpelier Square, London SW7 1JU, United Kingdom; Middleton
House, Titlarks Hill Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 0JB, United
Kingdom; New Boundary House, London road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire SL5
0DJ, United Kingdom; Mapstone House, Mapstone Hill, Lustleigh, Newton Abbot,
Devon TQ13 9SE, United Kingdom; Dennerlei 30, Schoten, Belgium [ZIMBABWE]

BRECO INTERNATIONAL, 25 Broad Street, St. Helier JE2 3RR, Jersey [ZIMBABWE]

BRECO NOMINEES LTD, New Boudary House, London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot,
Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom; Business Registration Document # 2799499
(United Kingdom) [ZIMBABWE]

London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom; Business
Registration Document # 2824946 (United Kingdom) [ZIMBABWE]

CORYBANTES LTD, New Boudary House, London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot,
Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom; Middleton House, Titlarks Hill Road,
Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 0JB, United Kingdom; Business Registration
Document # FC21190 (United Kingdom) [ZIMBABWE]

ECHO DELTA HOLDINGS LTD, Thetford Farm, P.O. Box HP86, Mount Pleasant,
Harare, Zimbabwe; Hurst Grove, Sandford Lane, Hurst, Reading, Berkshire RG10
0SQ, United Kingdom; Newboudary House, London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot,
Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom [ZIMBABWE]

KABABANKOLA MINING COMPANY (a.k.a. KMC), Nr. 1106 Avenue Lomami, Lubumbashi,
Katanga, Congo, Democratic Republic of the [ZIMBABWE]

MASTERS INTERNATIONAL LTD., New Boundary House, London Road, Sunningdale,
Ascot, Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom; Business Registration Document #
2927685 (United Kingdom) [ZIMBABWE]

MASTERS INTERNATIONAL, INC., 1905 S. Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33803; US
FEIN 133798020 (United States) [ZIMBABWE]

PIEDMONT (UK) LIMITED, Newboundary House, London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot,
Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom [ZIMBABWE]


DEVELOPMENTS LTD), C/O: Mossack Fonseca & Co. BVI Ltd, Akara Building, 24
DeCastro St, Road Town, Tortola, Virgin Islands, British; P.O. Box 3136,
Road Town, Tortola, Virgin Islands, British [ZIMBABWE]

SCOTTLEE HOLDINGS (PVT) LTD, 124 Josiah Chinamano Avenue, P.O. Box CY3371,
Cauaseway, Harare, Zimbabwe; New Boundary House, London Road, Sunningdale,
Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom [ZIMBABWE]

Avenue, P.O. Box CY 3371, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe; Newboundary House,
London Road, Sunningdale, Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom [ZIMBABWE]

House, Mapstone Hill, Lustleigh, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 9SE, United
Kingdom; Falcon Cliff, Palace Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, Man, Isle of;
Moorgate House, King Street, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 2LG, United Kingdom;
Business Registration Document # 3547414 (United Kingdom) [ZIMBABWE]

TREMALT LTD (a.k.a. TREMALT LIMITED), Virgin Islands, British; Thetford
Farm, P.O. Box HP86, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe; Hurst Grove, Sandford
Lane, Hurst, Reading, Berkshire RG10 0SQ, United Kingdom; New Boundary
House, London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 0DJ, United Kingdom

Issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, United States Treasury,
November 25 2008

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Zim court refuses to uphold investment protection pact

by Nokuthula Sibanda Wednesday 26 November 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an application by a
Danish citizen to block President Robert Mugabe's government from seizing
his farm outside Harare because it is protected under a bilateral investment
protection agreement between Harare and Copenhagen.

In a landmark ruling that could render bilateral investment protection
agreements (BIPA) between Zimbabwe and other countries useless, Deputy Chief
Justice Luke Malaba dismissed the application by Kim Birketoft but said
reasons for the ruling would be provided in due course.

"The order being sought is hereby dismissed. Detailed reasons would be
handed in due course," ruled Malaba.

Malaba pointed out that Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, and senior judges
Wilson Sandura, Misheck Cheda and Paddington Garwe were in agreement with
his ruling.

Birketoft had sought relief from the country's highest court after the High
Court had earlier ruled that the government could seize his Nyahondo farm in
Trelawney and hand it over to a top army officer in total disregard of a
BIPA between Zimbabwe and Denmark.

Nyahondo farm was allocated to Brigadier General Kim Tapfumaneyi just as
most of the best farms seized from whites under Mugabe's controversial land
redistribution programme have ended up in the hands of top officials of his
government and ruling ZANU PF party and trusted military officers.

Several countries among them Austria, France, Germany, Mauritius, Holland,
South Africa, Sweden and Malaysia signed investment protection agreements
with Zimbabwe before the land reform programme began in 2000. The Supreme
Court ruling could render these agreements useless.

Mugabe's chaotic and often violent land redistribution programme - that he
says was necessary to ensure blacks also owned some of the best land
previously reserved for whites by former colonial governments - is blamed
for destabilising the mainstay agriculture sector and knocking down food
production by about 60 percent.

Zimbabwe has largely survived on food handouts from international relief
agencies since the land reforms began seven years ago.

Mugabe however denies his land redistribution exercise caused hunger and
instead puts the blame on poor weather and Western sanctions he says are
responsible for shortages of seed and fertilizers for farmers to produce
enough food. - ZimOnline

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Cholera intensifies in Glen Norah

Zimbabwean woman carrying her on her back walks over stagnant sewage water at Mbare in Harare, Zimbabwe, Friday Nov. 21, 2008. About 160 people have died of disease because of bad sanitation in recent weeks, independent groups say. The lack of clean water and poorly maintained sewage systems have seen the water borne disease thrive.

The residents in the suburb of Glen Norah reported a disquieting spread of cholera in the area this week, with more than 4 people dying in Glen Norah B, as at yesterday (20 November 2008).

The state-run Herald newspaper, yesterday (20 November 2008) featured an article which alleged that “Cholera is under control” while people continue to lack clean tap water and to die from cholera, a bacterial disease. It is paradoxical that this mishap comes at a time when the state is desperately propagating untrue information in a bid to cover up the statistics and magnitude of the Cholera pandemic.

The pandemic whose nucleus in Harare is Budiriro suburb is distressingly spreading to other neighboring residential suburbs and is also wreaking havoc across the country, thus exposing the de facto government’s disaster management and preparedness incapacity and the need for help; suffice to say; the cholera pandemic must be declared; A National Disaster . ZINWA, the “government” parastatal responsible for water provision and sewer management has, despite the resources it received from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), failed to meet the residents` tap (clean) water demands. The “government” has also failed to timeously act on the ZINWA failure i.e. reverse the disastrous decision of the water and sewer takeover and return the management of these to the local authority. These failures, coupled with the collapse of the country’s public health sector have resulted in the massive infections and deaths from cholera.

The Combined Harare Residents Association demand that the “government” acts responsibly; i.e. relieve ZINWA of the sewer and water management duties and return them to the City of Harare Local Authority. The residents cannot bear another day of ZINWA failure, “government laxity and the Cholera pandemic. CHRA will continue to rally the residents around demanding, quality service delivery and a responsible leadership/government. We stand by the Cholera victims and hold ZINWA and the “government” liable! The residents shall continue seek recourse for their violated rights.

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Zimbabweans In UK Hold Prayer

BIRMINGHAM, November 25 2008 - As the Zimbabwean political and
economic crisis continues with no end in sight, Zimbabwean Christians in the
United Kingdom (UK) held a mass prayer meeting for Zimbabwe, at the Mount
Zion Community Church Sanctuary building in Aston, Birmingham on Saturday.

Among other issues, the church leaders and Christians from many parts
of Birmingham, prayed for the empowerment of Christians and their leaders in
Zimbabwe, a peaceful settlement to the political crisis in Zimbabwe and an
end to violence. Prayers were also made for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora,
many of whom are living in desperate situations, and facing immigration

Speaking after the meeting, Rori Masiane of the Mount Zion Community
Church said the meeting had gone a long way in proving that Zimbabweans in
the UK can work together, hence dispelling the negative stereo typing of
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.

Qobo Mayisa of the Council of Zimbabwean Christian leaders UK said
although the church in Zimbabwe has grown rapidly during the past few years,
the unfortunate issue that needs redressing is the fact that the church in
Zimbabwe is not doing much to offer practical help to many destitute
Zimbabweans and those in need.

Many speakers at the prayer meeting emphasized the need for
Zimbabweans in the UK to be more united and prove their capability to form
strong community organizations similar to those of Somalis and other

The prayer meeting whose theme was "Keep Hope Alive" was organized
jointly by Qobo Mayisa, the General Secretary of the Council of Zimbabwean
Christian Leaders UK and Rori Masiane of the Mount Zion Community Church.
This mass prayer meeting was also a big success due to the sterling efforts
of Sihlangu Tshuma and Xolo Khabazile.

The power struggle between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai has overshadowed daily hardships in Zimbabwe including food, fuel
shortages and hyperinflation that has driven millions of Zimbabweans out of
the country and strained regional economies.

hyperinflation that has driven millions of Zimbabweans out of the
country and strained regional economies.

A Cholera outbreak that has killed at least 294 people has seen
hundreds of Zimbabweans infected with the disease streaming across the South
African border to seek treatment.

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Zim: forbidden kingdom, iron curtain?

25th Nov 2008 17:47 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

UNTIL the very end of last week, there must have been a faint glimmer of
hope that Robert Mugabe's beleaguered government would not cross the
Rubicon - bar The Elders from entering the country.

But the embattled regime did, thus beginning a journey through a dark tunnel
that could lead to the regime turning this once beautiful, free country into
either Africa's modern-day Forbidden Kingdom, or the advent of an Iron
Curtain on the continent's shores.

Fortunately for the rest of the world, the funds for the equivalent of The
Great Wall of Zimbabwe are not available. Mugabe's government has seen to
this bankruptcy.

For that matter, the absence of satellite states, coerced or vanquished into
a union with the regime, will ensure there is no impregnable curtain of
totalitarianism around a number of states in the region.

But what the barring of Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter and Gracia Machel from
entering the country on a humanitarian mission signifies is a heightened
sense of desperate isolation by the regime.

These three civilians, unarmed and not necessarily representing the hated
West, cannot possibly be the deadly political foes that Harare has tried to
portray them to be. Two of them have long-time relations with the Mugabe
regime going back to the days of the struggle.

Gracia Machel is the widow of Samora Machel, without whose undiluted support
the struggle against the illegal regime in Rhodesia would never have

To many chroniclers of the southern Africa struggle against colonialism, he
paid the ultimate price for his dedication to the battle against the forces
of evil in the region.

The plane in which he died in the mid-80s was believed to have been downed
by enemy fire or other sophisticated devices. Even after she married Nelson
Mandela, many Zimbabweans still harbour a deep love for the woman who met
her husband in the trenches of the struggle against the Portuguese.

Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian international diplomat and Nobel laureate, was always
considered a brother-in-law to Mugabe, whose first wife, Sally, was from
Ghana where she met Mugabe when was teaching there.

There was always a high regard for Sally among most Zimbabweans, a highly
educated, intelligent woman, said to have influenced her husband towards
pragmatism in his political thinking.

Towards the end, Sally must have lived a rather lonely, loveless life, dying
of kidney disease while her husband was romancing a former secretary, the
present first lady, the former Grace Marufu.

Most Zimbabweans believe Mugabe fell out with Annan after the former UN
chief unequivocally condemned Mugabe's government, ironically, over its
rickety human rights record after the notorious Murambatsvina debacle of

Jimmy Carter is a former president of the US who later visited Zimbabwe at
the height of the regime's anti-American obsession. His organisation has
been critical, as many other former supporters of Mugabe and his government
have been, of the regime's deteriorating human rights record over the years.

All three were denied visas to enter Zimbabwe. The government mouthpiece,
The Herald, gave what many considered a grotesque excuse for barring the
visit: the cropping season and other such outlandish state preoccupations.

But, in the end, even the official mouthpiece of the government, The Herald
newspaper could not avoid telling it like it is: The Elders were critical of
the regime's policies and were not welcome to visit the country precisely
for their opposition to those policies.

A fourth member of The Elders was Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the South African
Nobel laureate whose characterisation of Mugabe as "the caricature" of a
typical African leader seems to have deeply wounded Gushungo's massive ego.

The regime's action against The Elders must have been influenced by the same
psychological and ideological aberrations that created The Great Wall of
China and Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain of the Soviet era - a
pathological aversion to outside probing or even the mildest attention.

Like the Mugabe regime, their desire was to be "left alone" to do as they
wished, not only to their own people, but even to the outside world.

The analogy may sound hyperbolic, or gratuitous. But for a long time, the
government has chafed at criticism of its foreign policies, even from
hitherto friendly nations.

Mugabe has always insisted that he should be left alone to pursue a foreign
policy that suits his style - not necessarily in tandem with the political,
economic or even social interests of the country or the people.

The price he has paid is very high. In a small way, the decision by the
South African government to withhold funds intended to help the regime with
its development programmes, is another example of  allies feeling insulted
by Mugabe's arrogance.

It's difficult to imagine that such punitive action will have any impact on
the man, who has fooled many into believing that he is the paragon of
pragmatism, when all the evidence is to the contrary.

Since 2000, Mugabe has increasingly resorted to crude methods to assert his
peculiar rationalisation of what ought to be Zimbabwe's political thrust.
Although he seems to enjoy the tacit support of China and the Russian
federation, these former Marxist-Leninist states are quietly cultivating
relations with their former enemies in the West to advance their economic
and political interests.

There have been hiccups in this campaign, but China has reaped such rich
rewards it is now counted among the four major economies in the world. Only
a few years ago, it was classified as a developing country.

Mugabe, on the other hand, is still wallowing in the mud of the Cold War, in
which many believe he may soon drown. When even leaders like Muammar Gaddafi
have turned over a new ideological leaf, Mugabe insists life is more
beautiful as a dictator than as a democrat.
There can now be doubt that the leaders of the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) now recognise that Thabo Mbeki's mediation style on
Zimbabwe was so skewered in Mugabe's favour it was the root of its failure.

Few can imagine Mbeki, as president of South Africa, deciding on the action
taken by the new president in suspending aid until there is tangible
progress in the negotiations towards a new government in which the
opposition MDC plays a decisive role.

What now seems clear is that some of the men and women around Mugabe are so
frightened of losing their ill-gotten fortunes in the new dispensation they
are willing to have the process drag on until they have salted their filthy
lucre somewhere safe - outside Zimbabwe.

There are no reliable statistics on just how much of the state's wealth some
of the people around Mugabe have gouged out for themselves in the nearly 30
years Zanu PF has been in power.

But if the pathetic state of the economy today is any indication, then there
must be many Zimdollar trillionnaires among them. Certainly, some of them
have many expensive houses in the wealthiest suburbs of the cities of
Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare.

Others may have business enterprises operating in relatives' names,
including hotels and lodges in most of the game parks scattered around a
country whose abundance of game has been one of its major sources of tourism

The role played by the state-owned banks and even the central bank in all
this activity remains fuzzy, but when the facts are finally unearthed, there
may be a few shocks.

What remains to be calculated is how much will be left for the country
itself to make a new beginning. Will there be anything in the national
coffers, or will it all have been siphoned off by the Zimbabwean oligarchs?

Mugabe knows that if he agrees to a power-sharing which truly gives the
opposition a decisive voice in the running of the country, there will soon
be aid flowing in, even at a time when there is a global economic crisis.

The world knows that to let another African country go the same catastrophic
way of Somalia, the DRC or any of the other such countries would be an
unconscionable act of human betrayal.
In those countries, people who believed their independence had ushered them
into a new era of abundance now know their compatriots who died fighting
colonialism sacrificed their lives for nothing.

In fact, they died so that a few men and women and their children could feed
lavishly on the fat of the land - while they and the real heroes' children
die in squalor worse than that they endured before independence.

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A state of degradation

Leading article:
Wednesday, 26 November 2008

First the famine; now the disease. Zimbabweans are being subject to
afflictions of a truly biblical ferocity. An outbreak of cholera, as we
report today, is likely to have already killed thousands. New cases are
appearing daily.
Zimbabwe's health system was once the best on the African continent. But a
decade of neglect has left it is unable to cope. Clinics and hospitals are
under unbearable pressure. They lack the basic facilities to treat patients.
Cholera sufferers are now spilling into South Africa in search of medical

It is, of course, little wonder that there has been an outbreak of the
infectious disease. Sewage and draining systems across Zimbabwe have long
been inadequately maintained. Garbage is not being cleared from streets. The
proximate cause of the crisis is the onset of the rainy season. Raw sewage
is seeping into drinking water supplies.

There is little sign of the Zimbabwean political system riding to the
rescue. A power-sharing deal between Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change was reached two months ago. And
a new round of talks, brokered by South Africa, began yesterday. But the two
sides are deadlocked over the composition of the proposed unity government.

The African National Congress leader, Jacob Zuma, has warned that the delay
on a political deal is costing lives. South Africa's caretaker president,
Kgalema Motlanthe, who took over from Thabo Mbeki in September, warned that
Zimbabwe could "implode and collapse" unless agreement is reached soon. But
the sad truth is that Zimbabwe has already collapsed as a functioning state.
That is why this disease has taken hold. South Africa must take a
considerable burden of responsibility for allowing its neighbour to reach
such a state of degradation. If the ANC had withheld economic supplies from
Mugabe's regime before now, it might never have come to this.

The South African government needs to tell the Zimbabwean tyrant that enough
is, finally, enough. He must agree to the MDC's demands for proper
representation in the new government or be cut off for good. And the new
administration's first responsibility is to address Zimbabwe's spiralling
public health emergency.

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Dante ? Who the heck was Dante ?

It was one of life's enchanted orchestral moments ....

We heard it every few kilometers, it was not consistent but very strange and
very loud.... at
first we thought, with dread ... that there was something wrong with the car
... and we
were all alone on the very quiet BeitBridge to Bulawayo road, it was after
all, 5 a.m. and we
had been up since two am, so nervously we tried to pretend it was not

The border crossing had been particularly stressful, we had thought that
arriving at the
Beitbridge border post at 2.30 in the morning, would ensure we avoided the
queues, but we were seriously mistaken.

There were literally dozens of buses and the silent line of border crossers
wound its way
for hundreds of meters nearly to the gate !!

HeeHoo is a Patient Man and whilst I fretted, fumed and sat fed-up in the
car, he stood
stoically in the line in the pitch dark outside the customs and immigration

Eventually, curiosity got the better of my bad temper and I wandered off to
investigate and
chat with the populace. I had my camera, as always, but was too nervous to
take pictures
of the horrendous mishmash at the border post.

There were people sleeping in every nook and cranny, blankets spread out in
full view of
the "authorities". Every pavement was covered in goods, chattels and a
seething mass of
humanity, it is after all, a 24 hour border post, and people have 24 hour

However it was amazingly quiet, we Zimbos are an exceptionally peaceful
people except
for the likes of me, and apart from the occasional murmur when the queue
jumpers were
just too brazen, conversation was limited and it was quite cool, thank

Beitbridge at midday is hell on earth, but as the dawn broke, it had an
appeal all of its
own.....but I could almost smell the cholera boiling under the surface of it
all ....

Previously on Morning Mirror I have made a point of being positive about Zim
for the sake
of the few tourists who might possibly still come and visit our beleaguered
country, but
right at the moment I am ashamed of my country and I would not want you to
see just
how dreadfully it has deteriorated. If the world does not help us somehow,
there is going
to be an humanitarian tragedy of hideous proportions.

We got through in record time, only two whole hours ... this very week
HeeHoo met some
folk at the airport, they were flying back home instead of driving, because
their cross
border trip had taken ten hours !!

It is actually not the Zim side that is the problem, it is the SA side
"going slow in solidarity
with their Zimbabwe brothers" I hope not, because one could develop cholera
standing in that line for so jolly long !!!

Do us a favor, we are hungry, that's why we are crossing the border in such
vast numbers,
there is nothing, nothing, nothing to eat in Zimbabwe, at least nothing we
can afford, as
we have no money to buy it with !!

Anyhow, back to that strange noise, it was like a continuous, deafening,
harsh, singing

Whenever we heard it, we would open the window to listen, but the strange
sound would
suddenly retreat into the distance. Maybe the wheel was rubbing on something
? Maybe
the engine was about to seize, maybe the canopy of the truck that we were
(packed full of essential staple foods for the 75 elderly residents of the
Edith Duly Nursing
Home,) was lifting somehow, and making this strange, discordant harshness ?

Eventually we could ignore it no more. We stopped, got out, and the sound
hit us like a
brick wall. It was shrill, screeching, massive, unending ..... a cacophony
of gigantic
proportions, it was on one side of the road only, although the sound echoed
on the other,
absolutely deafening.

It was of course, the call of the Christmas Beetle, the African Cicada,
Albanycada albigera
It is a sound so familiar to all of us Africans but we had never ever heard
it so loud and so

Beitbridge had just received its first rains, tinges of green were creeping
through the
packed hard earth, early-bird goats were tugging frantically at the first
real food they had
seen in many months, and the Cicadas were multiplying by their millions, by
the second....

What an amazing sound, we stood in awed silence devouring the most poignant
of all
African sounds, memorizing each sacred minute, savouring the cool ethereal
dampness of
a land so beautiful and yet so desolate, so deserted, so incredibly sad.

The sun was still way down on the horizon but it was already scorching,
another day had
started in Zimbabwe, where body and soul has to fight every moment of every
day to stay
alive. Dante's Inferno has nothing on life in Zim at this moment in time.

"Abandon hope all ye who enter here",

but Hark !

Hark at the Christmas Beetles, all is not lost .... another day is dawning

There are far worse things in the world than border queues and no food, we
have found
that out in a big way just recently.

'Tis but a blimp on life's curved ball and we will survive it, we all know
that .... it is just a
matter of time.

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