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Mediator expects Mugabe at summit, hopes Brown there, too

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: November 28, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: A fellow African leader called Zimbabwe's president a
brother Wednesday as he urged Britain's prime minister to end a standoff
with Robert Mugabe and attend an upcoming Europe-Africa summit.

Mugabe said he had "never, ever, said no to any dialogue with the British,"
but that it was his country's former colonial ruler that needed to make an

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he cannot sit in the same
meetings with a man accused of ruining his country's economy and democracy.
Mugabe - otherwise banned from traveling to Europe - has pledged to attend.

The Brown-Mugabe spat threatens to overshadow the Dec. 8-9 summit in
Lisbon - a meeting aimed at addressing issues ranging from trade to illegal
migration. Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade flew to Zimbabwe's capital in
what he called a mediation effort undertaken at his own initiative.

He said he proposed forming a committee of at least five heads of state,
including South African President Thabo Mbeki, to improve relations between
Zimbabwe and its former colonial ruler.

"We have never, ever, said no to any dialogue with the British. We don't
fear talking. It's the other side that fears talking to us," Mugabe,
Zimbabwe's ruler since independence in 1980, told reporters as stood next to
Wade after their discussion.
Neither leader addressed the accusations against Mugabe of turning a country
that was once a major food exporter into an internationally isolated nation
where skyrocketing inflation makes buying bread difficult.

Asked if Zimbabwe could make any moves to improve its relations with
Britain, Mugabe said: "Why don't you ask what Britain can do to improve the
relations? They are the ones who owe us."

Mugabe said Gordon Brown's presence was not needed in Lisbon to make the
summit a success.

"From our point of view, he is just an individual. That is from the point of
view of Africa," Mugabe said.

Wade said he also has been working to have talks with Brown, though two
attempts to schedule a telephone discussion have fallen through. He said he
still hopes to meet with Brown and persuade him to attend the Lisbon summit.

"I think Britain must come to Lisbon," he told reporters ahead of the talks
with Mugabe.

But if forced to choose, Wade said, he would take Mugabe over Brown.

"Mugabe is an African brother," Wade said.

Wade said he does not condone Mugabe's policies, but said his actions should
be considered in historical context.

"We did not have the type of colonization that they had here," Wade said.

Zimbabwe, once part of the British colony of Rhodesia, was long-governed by
a ruling white elite that controlled much of the country's wealth. Critics
date the start of Zimbabwe's runaway prices, chronic unemployment and acute
shortages to Mugabe's government's decision to strip white Zimbabweans of
their farms to give to blacks in 2000. The economic decline has been
accompanied by a crackdown on political dissenters, whether white or black.

Portugal, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, wants the Europe-Africa
summit to herald a period of closer cooperation between the 27-nation EU and
the 53-member African Union and counter the influence of China which has
invested billions of euros (dollars) in developing African countries in
recent years.

The summit is also set to address human rights, good governance and global

Portuguese officials say they would prefer Mugabe stay home for fear his
presence would divert attention from key issues. But at the insistence of
the AU, Portugal invited all Africa's leaders.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair stayed away from the first
EU-Africa summit in Cairo seven years ago because of Mugabe's presence, and
in 2003 a planned EU-Africa summit in the Portuguese capital was called off
when some African nations balked at the EU's refusal to invite Mugabe.

In Brussels, EU officials said that South African President Mbeki had said
he would boycott if Mugabe was not invited this year. Even in Europe, German
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her government was in favor of all
countries being invited.

African leaders say that while they may not support Mugabe's policies, they
believe dialogue is the best way to address Zimbabwe's economic and
political crises, and Mbeki has said he is making progress in attempts to
mediate between Mugabe's party and its main opposition. Many also are loath
to be seen as abandoning one of their own under pressure from a former
colonial power.

Wade said he planned to meet with Zimbabwean opposition leaders during his
visit and said he was "happy to learn from the president" that he and
opposition leaders are in talks ahead of elections planned for March.

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Senegal leader proposes committee to mend Zimbabwe, Britain rift

Yahoo News

by Susan Njanji

HARARE (AFP) - Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said Wednesday he will
propose the creation of a committee of African heads of state to mend broken
relations between Zimbabwe and former colonial power Britain.

Wade, in Harare for talks with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to try to
defuse tensions between Harare and London, also urged British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown to reverse his decision to boycott an EU-Africa summit because
of Mugabe's attendance.

"I am going to propose the creation of a committee of at least five African
heads of state including (South African) President Thabo Mbeki to try to
normalise relations between Zimbabwe and Britain," Wade told journalists in
Harare ahead of his meeting with Mugabe.

After two hours of talks with the Zimbabwean leader, Wade said he considered
such a committee "indispensable".

"I wish that the African Union (AU) set up a commission of five heads of
state ... to normalise relations for dialogue between Zimbabwe and England.
I think that is indispensable," he said.

Mbeki has been brokering talks between Zimbabwe's ruling party and the main
opposition on behalf of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
regional bloc.

Wade paid tribute to Mbeki and SADC for their efforts so far.

"But I think that this problem should be an African problem, to involve all
African countries, and I think that the African countries did not help
enough," he said.

Mbeki spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga, however, told AFP he was "not aware" of
the initiative.

Brown has said he will not attend the EU-Africa summit in Portugal scheduled
for December 8-9 after Mugabe declared he would be present at the meeting.

Wade, who said he has tried unsuccessfully recently to telephone Brown,
added: "I think Britain must come to Lisbon."

He said he planned to speak to Brown or travel to England over the boycott
threat before the Lisbon summit.

"I think that the British government has a problem there, I think we will
not let the situation continue," said Wade, who concludes his visit

Wade said that he would also try to meet Zimbabwean opposition leaders
during his stay in the country.

Asked whether Brown's absence will impact the Lisbon summit, Mugabe said:
"From our point of view, he is just an individual. That is the point of view
of Africa."

Mugabe said he had no problem with a proposed dialogue with Britain.

"(Wade) wanted to know if we object to dialogue and I told him no. We have
never ever said no to any dialogue with the British. We will talk even if we
may not agree after talking. We don't fear talking," he said.

Brown's office said earlier that Britain would not leave its summit chair
empty, although Brown ruled out himself or senior ministers from attending.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain were strained from 2000, when
Mugabe's government began taking land from white farmers, the majority of
whom are of British origin, for redistribution to landless blacks.

Britain has also been one of the chief critics of Mugabe's government for
alleged human rights violations.

The Senegalese leader said he came to Zimbabwe "in my own right as an
African citizen" concerned about the southern African country's
"difficulties, politically and economically."

Earlier, Wade said Africa had not done enough to resolve Zimbabwe's
problems, adding that initiatives by neighbouring South Africa at the behest
of the SADC were inadequate.

"My impression is that one country alone cannot help Zimbabwe," Wade said in
apparent reference to efforts by South Africa, which was given a mandate by
the regional bloc in March to broker talks between Zimbabwe's ruling party
and the main opposition.

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African states rally behind Robert Mugabe

The Times
November 29, 2007

Jan Raath in Harare and David Charter in Brussels
A group of 14 African nations yesterday raised the stakes ahead of next week’s
EU-Africa summit by threatening to pull out unless European leaders agreed
not to single out Zimbabwe for criticism. Officials in Brussels, however,
said there was no way that President Mugabe could escape a lecture on the
dire straits of his countrymen if he turned up to the meeting in Lisbon.

The threat from the Southern African Development Community was last night
seen in Brussels as a provocative attempt to influence the agenda being
drawn up by the Portuguese hosts, and certain to put Africa at loggerheads
with the EU.

The SADC threat escalated the presummit row over Mr Mugabe’s attendance
which has already seen Gordon Brown confirm his own boycott of the summit, a
move followed by Mirek Topolanek, the Czech Prime Minister.

Tomaz Salomao, executive secretary of the SADC, said that its 14 members
including South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania as well as Zimbabwe,
would pull out if Zimbabwe was on the agenda. “SADC will not go to Lisbon to
discuss Zimbabwe because the summit is not about Zimbabwe, but about
relations between the EU and Africa,” he said.

But while neither Zimbabwe nor any other country is expected to be listed as
a separate agenda item, “governance and human rights” is one of five areas
for discussion at the two-day gathering. A discussion of human rights is
also a precondition for lifting Mr Mugabe’s EU travel ban to allow him to go
in the first place.

The agenda for the December 8-9 summit was still being drawn up but several
countries are determined not to let Mr Mugabe off the hook because of
sabre-rattling by his neighbours. “We want to address the horrible track
record of Zimbabwe,” one EU diplomat told The Times.

The Portuguese are planning to have one lead speaker on the subject of
governance and human rights, who may be Jose Socrates, the Prime Minister.
Other leaders will then be able to make brief observations.

The EU diplomat added: “We want to raise Sudan and there is a terrible
situation in Somalia that is deteriorating. However, Zimbabwe is also a very
important issue which will have to be addressed. “Undoubtedly Mr Mugabe will
try to get all the attention but if that is the price we pay, so be it.”

Repeated attempts to convene the summit since it was last held in 2000 in
Cairo have all collapsed over the question of Mr Mugabe’s presence.

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'SADC will not allow summit to discuss Zim'


     November 28 2007 at 09:05AM

Johannesburg - The SADC will not allow the forthcoming EU-Africa
Summit, slated for Lisbon, Portugal, next month, to discuss Zimbabwe,
according to SADC executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao, the state controlled
Zimbabwean Herald reported on Wednesday.

The EU-Africa Summit, scheduled for December 8 and 9, should focus on
relations between Europe and Africa, and not on Zimbabwe, Salomao said.

"SADC will not accept to go to Lisbon to discuss Zimbabwe because the
summit is not about Zimbabwe, but about relations between the EU and
Africa," he told The Herald.

The SADC executive secretary said that sanctions were damaging
Zimbabwe's economy.

"The sanctions are damaging the economy in Zimbabwe, although Europe
does not want to accept that. They prefer to call them targeted sanctions,
but for us they are sanctions and our approach has been to have them
lifted," he said.

Salomao told the Herald that the regional bloc was still working out
measures to help Zimbabwe's economic recovery as mandated by SADC leaders at
their summits in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in March and Lusaka, Zambia, in

SADC Ministers of Finance recently met in Lusaka to map the way
forward and find specific interventions to help Zimbabwe, after having being
mandated by SADC leaders to do so, he told the Herald.

Salomao's remarks on the EU-Africa Summit came as President Mugabe
declared that he would be at the talks, while British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown said he would not be there, but will send a representative, the
newspaper said.

Mugabe told reporters on arrival at Songo Airport in Mozambique to
witness the handover of Cahora Bassa Dam from Portugal to Mozambique that he
would attend the EU-Africa Summit.

Asked about the summit, Mugabe said: "Yes, I'm going."

The SADC and the African Union have been fighting British demands for
President Mugabe to be excluded, the Herald said.

No EU-Africa summit has been held since the first and only one in
Cairo, Egypt, seven years ago, as several African countries rejected a
summit which excluded Zimbabwe, the report said. - Sapa

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Mugabe ready for dialogue with Britain


Wed 28 Nov 2007, 17:21 GMT

(Updates with Mugabe meeting)

By Diadie Ba

HARARE, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, caught in a
standoff with Britain which has cast a shadow over an EU-Africa summit, said
on Wednesday he had no objection to dialogue between the two countries.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will boycott the Dec. 8-9
Lisbon summit because Mugabe, who has clashed with Britain and other Western
governments over charges of rights abuses and controversial policies, will

"We have never ever objected to any dialogue with the British, because if we
don't talk, how do they want us to resolve this situation if there is no
dialogue. Of course we will talk," Mugabe told reporters after meeting
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

Wade, critical of South Africa's efforts to end the political crisis in
Zimbabwe, said earlier he wanted to create a group of African leaders to
resolve the impasse between Harare and its former colonial ruler.

"I am going to propose the creation of a committee of five heads of state,
which will include (South African leader) Thabo Mbeki of course, to try to
resolve relations between England and Zimbabwe," said Wade, whose visit to
Harare follows one by Mbeki last week.

"I am a facilitator ... Nobody has sent me here. It is a personal
initiative. I know that Thabo Mbeki has done a lot but the situation has not
so far been resolved," added Wade, who has sparred with Mbeki for leadership
on continental issues.

In Dakar, the Senegal-based Pan-African Human Rights Group RADDHO criticised
Wade for flying off to Zimbabwe while so many social and economic problems
are unresolved in his own country.

"Wade has absolutely no business involving himself in this mediation. He's
going to make a fool of himself. Because no one is better placed than Mbeki
and he hasn't been able to manage it," RADDHO Secretary General Alioune Tine
told a news conference in the Senegalese capital.

Southern African states have mandated Mbeki to secure a deal on
constitutional reform between Mugabe and Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections
due in March.

Mbeki said after meeting Zimbabwe's political parties last Thursday that he
was "very confident" that mediation efforts would produce a solution to the
country's crisis.

Western diplomats and South Africa's opposition say Mbeki is too soft on
Mugabe. Mbeki says quiet diplomacy has the best chance of ending Zimbabwe's
political and economic crisis.

Previous EU-Africa efforts to meet have foundered over whether to invite
Mugabe, reviled by the West but seen by Africa as an independence hero.

An EU source said on Tuesday Portugal would formally notify member states
this week that it would waive an EU visa ban to enable Mugabe and his senior
aides to travel to the summit. (Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka in
Harare and Nick Tattersall in Dakar; Writing by Stella Mapenzauswa; Editing
by Giles Elgood)

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EU scrambles to control Mugabe after he confirms summit visit

· Moves to stop Zimbabwe leader stealing limelight
· Africa minister will travel to Lisbon in Brown's place

Ian Traynor in Brussels
Wednesday November 28, 2007
The Guardian

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe announced yesterday that he will travel
to Europe next week to attend a summit of EU and African leaders in Lisbon,
confounding EU hopes he would stay away, and triggering frantic plans by his
Portuguese hosts to try to keep him from stealing the summit limelight.
African leaders had threatened to cancel the Lisbon meeting if Mugabe was
not invited, while the prime minister, Gordon Brown, confirmed yesterday
that he would boycott the summit because of the presence of the Zimbabwe

"I will not be attending this summit," he declared at his Downing Street
press conference. "Given the circumstances of the last 10 years and our
attempts to give assistance in Zimbabwe, which have been thwarted and
resisted, it is not possible for us to attend this summit and sit down with
President Mugabe."
It is expected in Brussels that Mark Malloch Brown, the minister for Africa,
will represent Britain at the first Europe-Africa summit for seven years.

Mugabe has asked the Portuguese, currently chairing the EU, for a visa to
travel to Lisbon, despite being blacklisted by the EU and barred from
travelling to Europe.

According to sources in Brussels, the Portuguese are certain to enable
Mugabe to travel when they issue visas for more than 50 heads of state or
government. Britain is not expected to oppose the visa being granted.

While other EU countries are unhappy about Mugabe's attendance, Britain is
isolated in boycotting the meeting at the top level. Most say there is too
much at stake to allow it to be derailed by Mugabe.

Portuguese and EU officials sought to play down the Mugabe dispute. "When
the history of the Lisbon summit is written, this issue will only be
mentioned as a footnote," said João Cravinho, the Portuguese official in
charge of the summit. "There is not a single reason for postponing or not
having this summit. The time is now," said a senior Brussels policy-maker.
"I'm a bit sad that the summit could be taken hostage [by Mugabe]. I would
not only be sad, but angry."

But the expectation is indeed that the 83-year-old will use the summit to
exact revenge for years of blacklists and isolation. "The British fear a
handshake," Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, told Reuters. "We can't
expect timid characters to be where men are."

EU sources say the Portuguese have drawn up elaborate plans to try to
minimise Mugabe's impact on the summit, organising his hotel, meetings, and
venues to try to keep him from grandstanding before the television cameras
and diverting attention from the meeting.

"They'll be watching very closely to make sure he doesn't hijack the
summit," said one source, who doubted the Portuguese effort would succeed.

France barred Mugabe from coming to a meeting of French and African leaders
last February in Cannes, triggering a boycott by President Thabo Mbeki of
South Africa who is attempting to craft a deal between Mugabe and the
Zimbabwe opposition on free elections next year. An EU scheme to appoint a
special envoy for Zimbabwe is also being resisted by Mbeki, who is said to
be furious that a European could upset his delicate, quiet diplomacy. An
official working for Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, has been
chosen as the special envoy, but has not yet been named.

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Mugabe's presence a 'footnote'


    November 27 2007 at 09:29PM

Lisbon - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's attendance at an EU-Africa
summit in December will not cause any "diplomatic embarrassment", a
Portuguese foreign affairs official said Tuesday.

"It is not in any way a diplomatic embarrassment," Joao Gomes
Cravinho, secretary of state in the Portuguese foreign ministry, told TSF

"We deeply regret that what is new in terms of relations between
Europe and Africa be obscured by the media's obsession with the presence of
Zimbabwe's president."

Portugal currently holds the rotating European Union presidency and
will host the December 8-9 summit.

Mugabe told Portuguese news agency Lusa on Tuesday he will attend the

"It is clear that his presence amounts to a major attraction for
journalists, but it is substance that remains in history, and when the
history of the Lisbon summit is written, Mugabe's presence will only be a
footnote," said Cravinho.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since its 1980 independence from Britain and
is accused by the West of stifling democracy and leading his southern
African nation to economic ruin.

No EU-Africa summit has been held since the first and only one in
Cairo seven years ago, as several European countries rejected inviting
Mugabe, accused of human rights violations.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated Tuesday that he would
not sit down at the same table as the Zimbabwean president next month.

Portugal's foreign minister, Luis Amado, had earlier astonished
European diplomats by judging it "preferable" if Mugabe did not attend,
since he might divert participants from essential issues.

Amado's remarks have been greeted with irony in some parts of Africa,
where southern African governments in particular have threatened to boycott
the summit if Mugabe is barred from attending.

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Zimbabwe Opposition Formation Threatens To Exit Crisis Negotiations


By Blessing Zulu
27 November 2007

The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed
by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai is threatening to pull out of South
African-brokered talks with the ruling party which it says is refusing to
embrace serious reform.

Leaders of the Tsvangirai MDC formation were to meet in Pretoria on
Wednesday to examine their position and strategy. Sources privy to the
negotiations told VOA that the talks are in a "final and decisive phase" but
the party doubts that the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe is
willing to embrace deep electoral reform.

South African sources said President Thabo Mbeki in his capacity as mediator
for the Southern African Development Community wants to bring a draft accord
with him to the European Union-African Union summit in Lisbon early next

President Mugabe is also said to be keen to provide evidence that he is
serious about resolving the country's long-running political and economic

European diplomats say that unless he can bring something tangible to the
table in Lisbon, Mr. Mugabe could find himself in an awkward position at the

President Mugabe confirmed Tuesday to reporters in Mozambique that he
planned to attend the summit, following which British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown confirmed that he would follow through on his threat to boycott the
event if Mr. Mugabe is present.

Sources familiar with the crisis talks said opposition and ruling party
negotiators have been haggling over agenda items including a new
constitution, thoroughgoing reform of electoral, security and media laws,
and the general political environment.

The negotiating parties have been meeting in Harare for at least six hours a
day since Sunday. The talks were expected to continue Wednesday before
breaking Thursday for the presentation of the 2008 budget to parliament by
the finance minister.

Political analyst Peter Kagwanja, a director of the democracy and governance
research program of South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council, told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that pulling out of
the talks would be counterproductive and self-defeating for the Tsvangirai

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Mugabe hides inflation behind bare shelves

The Times
November 28, 2007

Jan Raath in Harare
Zimbabwe can no longer calculate the rate of inflation because there are not
enough goods left in the shops to allow price comparisons, the Central
Statistical Office claimed yesterday.

Moffat Nyoni, the Director of the CSO, said that it had been impossible to
compile reliable data for the past month because of "the unavailability of
required information such as prices of goods, due to their shortage on the
formal market".

According to leaked figures, the annual inflation rate in October stood at
14,840 per cent - almost double the 8,000 per cent in the previous month.
The CSO usually publishes its statistics in the middle of the month, and its
failure to do so this month led to allegations that they had been
deliberately suppressed. Each passing month's figures openly contradict the
Government's constantly trumpeted claim that it is beating inflation.

But Moffat Nyoni, the director of the CSO, said inflation in Zimbabwe could
no longer be measured, because there were not enough goods in the shops.

"There are too many data gaps," Mr Nyoni said. "We went to too many shops to
observe and so compilations have not been completed. Some of the goods used
in the inflation basket were not available in the shops."

Goods have been scarce since July, when businesses were forced to slash
their prices to well under what it cost to buy or produce them. President
Mugabe hoped that the strategy would beat inflation, which he believes is a
plot by businesses in collusion with Western governments to create economic
chaos that would lead to open revolt and bring about his overthrow.
Thousands of businessmen were arrested for "overcharging". Shops that
refused to lower their prices were raided by soldiers, police, state secret
agents and often price inspectors in an orgy of legalised looting.

Not many are convinced by Mr Nyoni's explanation, however.

Twice this year the Government has stopped or delayed publication of CSO
figures. "Its professional organisation and its figures are internationally
audited," said a business executive who asked not to be named. "Professional
people are being made to lie by the Government because the data is so scary.
We have a government that would prefer to change the data than change the

Harare shopping centres were crowded yesterday but most people were
anxiously waiting to draw money from banks, which now allow individual
customers Z$10 million (£3.35) and companies double that. Few had stocks of
cash, and most could serve customers only when someone came in to make a
deposit. In supermarkets people wandered past half-empty shelves that for
months have rarely offered even basic necessities.

- President Mugabe said that he would attend the EU/Africa summit on
December 8 even though the Portuguese hosts have made it clear that he is
not welcome (David Charter writes).

The President of Zimbabwe, 83, insisted on his right to attend despite an EU
travel ban. Gordon Brown has confirmed his boycott of the summit in Lisbon.
Portuguese officials insisted that Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace, would have to
apply for a visa. The first EU/Africa summit for seven years was organised
to update policies on trade, aid and climate change at the insistence of the
African Union. EU leaders are expected to criticise Mr Mugabe's human rights

Struggle to survive

- A 500g packet of bacon at Zim$15 million (£5) costs the monthly pay of an
industrial worker on the minimum wage

- A junior magistrate's salary of Zim$20 million would be Zim$2 million
short for a 750g (26oz) roll of luncheon meat

- A teacher's salary of Zim$24 million would buy 900g jam, 5kg rice, two
rolls of lavatory paper and a bottle of ketchup

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Sokwanele - Lest we forget: The catastrophic impact of the deepening crisis on Zimbabwe’s children

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Lest we forget: The catastrophic impact of the deepening crisis on Zimbabwe’s children
Sokwanele Article: 28 November 2007

Street children in Harare (photo credit Robin Hammond)Zimbabweans have lived in a state of more or less perpetual crisis for the last seven years. In all this time they have shown a remarkable talent for coping with extremes of adversity and just simply surviving. Patience, perseverance and amazing ingenuity are just some of the heroic qualities the people have demonstrated as the crisis has deepened and the suffering has been steadily ratcheted up. Yet as good and necessary as these qualities are in the daily struggle to survive the effects of prolonged ZANU PF mis- rule, they are not enough. The victim of a savage mugging must do more than raising his arms to cover his face from the blows raining down upon him. If he cannot immediately restrain his assailant he must at least remove himself from harm’s way. And that counsel applies particularly to the youth of the nation who are suffering massive damage, in terms of their health, education, and moral well-being.

No sector of Zimbabwean society has been more abused by the present ruling clique than the nation’s youth. They have been cynically used and abused in the political process (notoriously so in the youth militia programme), and their welfare otherwise totally ignored by a regime obsessed with its own survival. As a result the impact upon our youth of the economic meltdown, mass migration and disintegration of the health and education services has been catastrophic.

The first casualty of the economic meltdown and consequent exodus of workers from the country has been the family. The strong family unit which at one was synonymous with the health and well being of the nation, is now seriously fractured. It is an amazing fact, but true, that three out of four of those Zimbabweans now working are working outside the country. With an unemployment rate in excess of 80 per cent, and increasing, the economically productive sector of our nation is simply voting with their feet, moving, legally or illegally, to greener pastures beyond our borders. And with a huge number of households now deprived of one or both parents, it is little wonder that family life suffers. Marriages are put under a strain, but it is the children ultimately who suffer the most. Sadly the spectre of younger siblings left in the care of older brothers or sisters is no longer uncommon.

Affordable housing is increasingly difficult for most Zimbabweans to secure. And here it has to be said that, even before the onset of the present national crisis, the record of the ZANU PF government was scarcely any better than that of the former colonial administration. Since independence in 1980 the present government has done precious little to alleviate the critical housing deficit. In the western areas of Bulawayo for example, one thinks of building projects at Nketa near Rangemore, Cowdray Park and Matatshula, but nothing else comes to mind. Scarcely enough to accommodate a growing population which never had sufficient affordable housing.

Then of course in 2005 at the regime’s own hand a substantial number of housing units were wantonly destroyed in the infamous Operation Murambatsvina. The UN Secretary General’s special envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, found that the homes and/or livelihoods of 700,000 people in cities across the land were destroyed in this military- style operation. It was a calculated and callous move against, in many cases, the poorest of the poor, and it resulted in massive social dislocation. Previously many residents of high density suburbs had expanded their meagre dwellings, building on annexe cottages and out-rooms which were turned into kitchens and bedrooms for elderly family members, leaving the main houses to accommodate children. The wholesale destruction of these dwellings not only forced families into even more unhealthy overcrowding, but also rendered a whole swathe of lodgers homeless. Due to increasing scarcity, rents of such accommodation as was still available, soared beyond the means of most.

On top of the chronic shortage of reasonable housing the escalating national crisis is making it ever more difficult for parents to provide their children with a balanced diet. The regime’s disastrous attempt to reduce the price of foodstuffs has simply resulted in the emptying of supermarket shelves across the country. Ask where does a young mother obtain nutritionally balanced food such as cerelac, lactogen and cerevita for her toddler, and the answer has to be - in South Africa or Botswana. But if the parents are not among the tiny percentage of Zimbabweans who can afford the occasional shopping trip outside the country, there is no way for them to secure such items. Again at the cost of their young children.

A whole swathe of basic products such as sugar, cooking oil, mealie meal and flour are now only available on the black market and at extortionate prices. Bread is unobtainable for most and meat unaffordable, though you will still see children queuing for hours to buy a few buns or sweets – their studies forgotten and household chores awaiting their return. Little wonder then that malnutrition is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon, especially among those of tender years.

It is now estimated that four out of five Zimbabweans are living below the poverty datum line, and a massive 4.1 million people will require food aid from the international donor community by the end of the year. Of these 150,000 are former farm labourers and their families who lost their homes, employment and means of growing their own crops in the illegal farm invasions which commenced in the year 2000. With 70 per cent of commercial agriculture destroyed and less than 5 per cent of the country’s maize production now coming from that source, the current chronic food shortages are hardly surprising. Not without good reason has the World Food Programme designated Zimbabwe one of the Global Hunger Spots.

Yet, scandalously, in such a situation of dire need a substantial stock of food already supplied by the international community remains in storage, pending the forth-coming elections when it can be deployed to the best advantage of the ruling elite. Moreover the World Food Programme and NGOs such as Christian Care are obstructed by government from distributing their nutritionally balanced foods.

Hunger and malnutrition of course impact negatively on the child’s progress at school. Arriving at school without having had any breakfast, and in many cases tired after walking miles because of the shortage of fuel, children are hardly able to concentrate on their studies. Add to this the effect of poor morale among the grossly underpaid teachers, the lack of teaching resources and crumbling school infrastructure, and it is not difficult to understand why educational standards have fallen dramatically – and this in a country which in the early post-Independence years recorded an increase in educational standards which was the envy of the region. Again our children are the victims of mis-rule and their deprivation will impact negatively on the nation’s development for decades to come.

The disintegrating health delivery system is also hugely damaging to our children. Many hospitals and clinics now dispense only paracetamol. For other drugs patients must refer to a chemist, but their supplies are dwindling and prices are beyond the reach of most Zimbabweans, including those enrolled with a medical aid society. Doctors’ consultation fees are also now unaffordable to most. Not surprisingly therefore parents in rural areas are increasingly turning to traditional healers when their children fall ill. Their services are less costly but of course they lack modern facilities and diagnostics such as blood testing and x- raying. Furthermore there is little traditional healers can do to counter the twin scourges of disease and malnutrition.

In the present crisis statistics are not readily available for chronic malnutrition among children, or the related physical stunting and impaired brain development. By the time such information becomes available to the medical profession it may well be too late to do anything to help the present victims.

Though Bulawayo City Council’s Director of Health Services, Dr Zanele Hwalima, claims that to date her authority has been able to provide a 90 per cent coverage or immunization against the seven killer diseases (whooping cough, diphtheria, tuberculosis, meningitis, measles, tetanus and small pox), one can but wonder how much longer they will be able to hold the line. Blessing Chebundo MP who is the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairman on Health, says, “the political situation in Zimbabwe has really affected the life of children because currently there are no drugs in hospitals. Medicine for immunization is not available and we can see diseases like polio coming back”.

Of all the many victims of the regime’s corruption and incompetence (and we are all victims in one way or another), it is the nation’s children who are the most vulnerable and who have most to lose. The crumbling education system is depriving them of the opportunity to acquire the necessary life skills to make their way in the world. (And we note that despite their incarceration under colonial rule, most of the ruling elite were able to advance their education and prospects at that time). The disintegrating health service is failing the children badly, and many are dying unnecessarily. Widespread and chronic food shortages are also now claiming lives and sentencing many of our children to, at best, stunted lives. The economic melt-down is blighting their prospects of ever finding remunerative employment or fulfilling careers. And finally the undermining of family life is depriving them of the security they need in childhood, not to mention the moral compass they require for life.

Such, and more, is the loss our children are suffering through the prolongation of the present crisis. The question is how much longer we, their parents and grandparents, are willing to stand by and allow them to absorb the blows which this regime is raining down upon them. The bully must surely be stopped - now. The street mugger must be restrained from doing further violence, even if we cannot immediately bring him to justice.

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MDC starts 'period of defiance' against repressive laws

By Tichaona Sibanda
28 November 2007

MDC activists in Manicaland have started what they called a 'period of
defiance' against police brutality and government restrictions on freedom of
speech and assembly.
Concerned at the little time left for campaigning between now and elections
next year, the MDC has vowed to wage a campaign aimed at forcing authorities
in the country to let them address their supporters or repeal the laws

Pishai Muchauraya, MDC spokesman for Manicaland, said they have in the last
fortnight held several rallies against the wishes of the authorities in
defiance of government rules that forbid outdoor gatherings of more than a
dozen people without a police permit.

'We are fighting a dictatorship that uses state resources to crackdown on
dissent and our campaign is a simple message to the regime leadership that
you cannot silence the oppressed forever. Hopefully this campaign will
translate into pressure on the government to reform the system,' Muchauraya

The campaign has already claimed its first victim. Lazarus Manhanga, the 44
year-old MDC chairman in Nedziwa in Chimanimani was arrested Monday for
refusing to divulge information relating to this campaign.
Manhanga is one of the central figures who have been defying police orders
against holding political rallies in the Chimanimani area in the last three
weeks. He has been interrogated in police custody at Cashel Valley since
Monday. Muchauraya told us that Manhanga is a fearless MDC activist who has
told the police he's not afraid to die for change in the country and will
continue to defy them.

'He told the officer-in-charge of Chimanimani (Inspector Banda) to his face,
and in front of a crowd, that one day they will answer for what they are
doing to the innocent people of Zimbabwe. Surprisingly the police officer
just walked back to his car, got in and drove off without saying a word.
Muchauraya said.

The officer-in-charge is the same police chief who a month ago threatened to
invoke the shoot-to-kill order against MDC activists if they went ahead with
their planned rally at Nedziwa business centre in the area. He deployed
heavily armed officers to cordon off the venue at the MDC rally. He also
allegedly vowed 'he was above the law' and dared anyone who challenged his
authority that their fate would be sealed, violently.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Executions, tapped phones and mass desertion

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 28 November 2007 15:06
Sources reveal CIO is spying on itself
BULAWAYO - Opposing factions within Mugabe's dreaded torture machine,
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), have been carrying out
counter-surveillance on each other.
Sources within the CIO said thousands of junior members of the agency
had deserted and there had been a number of mysterious deaths thought to be
executions of rival spies.
The Zimbabwean was told this week that the divisions came to light
when Director General Happyton Bonyongwe began probing leaks of classified
Sources added that Bonyongwe already knew there were divisions within
the agency, but feared that revealing this to Mugabe would worsen matters.
"The bosses knew this all along, but it seems that they wanted to hide
it from the President because they wanted him to believe that they are in
control of the situation. They also did not want him to panic as we go into
elections next year, but the truth is that there are very serious divisions
within our set-up," said one of the sources.
Some senior and junior members of the spy agency wanted Mugabe to step
down and not stand for re-election next year, as they blamed his policies
for the country's political and economic crises.
They were believed to be holding talks with the country's former
finance Minister, Simba Makoni, and members of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
"These members of the top brass want Mugabe out so that new brains can
take over the reins. They have since mobilised their most trusted
subordinates into exposing the evil plans being used by Mugabe to remain in
power, so that they are weakened and his bid to win re-election next year
flops," said a source.
However, there are also members who are said to be happy with the
status quo, and are fighting to keep Mugabe in power by exposing and dealing
with what they regard as sell-outs.
"Our phones are now bugged.and life has become more difficult in the
agency now. The commanders are also divided themselves and have always
quarrelled over that," said a source.
This year alone, more than 3,000 members are said to have deserted
their jobs in fear and crossed the border into South Africa or fled to the
UK, after learning that they were marked as sell-outs.
"There have been more than 300 mysterious deaths of both junior and
senior members in the past six months and some of these have been traced to
the counter-executions by fellow members," said a source. "These have
happened in both camps, where the members have either been abducted and
executed, poisoned or killed in car accidents, after their vehicles would
have been tampered with by experts. The committees have also stumbled upon
this information and it is bound to affect the President if he is given it,
raw as it is."
State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, refused to comment. - Bayethe

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No money for airports upgrade ahead of 2010

28th Nov 2007 18:40 GMT

By a Correspondent

A senior government official says the country has little chances of
upgrading the country's airport ahead of  the 2010 World Cup to be held in
South Africa. The government has been in the market but failed to lure
investors to assist.

Giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Transport and Communication yesterday, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe
general manager David Chawota said Zimbabwe  requires at least $24 trillion
which is almost half of the money in circulation countrywide. Zimbabwe has a
total of $58 trillion in circulation.

" Zimbabwe intends to upgrade the Harare International Airport , Joshua
Nkomo Airport, Victoria Falls Airport and Buffalo Range Airport in time for
the World Cup. But in the past a number of investors would express interest
in upgrading the airports but failed to bring something solid on the table,"
he said.

He gave an example of Nedbank, which he said in 2003 expressed interest in
upgrading the Victoria Falls Airport but later developed cold feet. He also
said the authoprity was engaged in talks with China Development Bank, a
Russian investor and Nedbank of South Africa for possible investment.

Chawota said Memorandums of Understanding have also been signed between
Government and the Dubai World, Qatar , Russia and Kuwait on the same

He told the committee infrastructure development projects were capital
intensive hence Chawota said Nedbank had expressed interest again by
bankrolling a consortium of local companies.
He revealed CAAZ had not signed any deal so far because the authority was
not comfortable with proposals given by some of the potential investors.

Chawota indicated that some potential investors had preferred loan
agreements but CAAZ's balance sheet could not sustain the magnitude of funds
offered."We were never to be able to pay back," he said.

Chawota revealed that CAAZ is bidding for $24 trillion in the 2008 budget to
be presented by Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi tomorrow. This was after
the committee, chaired by Zanu PF Makonde Leo Mugabe, had inquired from
Chawota the total amount CAAZ needed for the upgrading of the airports.
CAAZ intends to have completed upgrading the Joshua Nkomo Airport (
Bulawayo ) in June next year.

The upgrading of Victoria Falls and Buffalo Range airports is also expected
to have been completed by July 2009. The authority hopes to have concluded
negotiations with potential investors this year with construction expected
to resume in February next year.
The committee expressed concern at the pace and manner CAAZ had been
engaging potential investors.

Zanu PF Chiredzi North legislator Celine Pote reminded CAAZ that the 2010
World Cup was around the corner yet the authority is still battling to find
an investor.

"I have a problem with us Zimbabweans. Bureaucracy is too much. 2010 yasvika
and the whole thing is just stagnant. What is going to happen to us?
Tinoenda kupi senyika. We have only one year left. I am disturbed by the way
people are doing things in offices," she said.

Committee chairperson Mugabe also expressed concern at the slow pace at
which CAAZ was engaging the potential investors.
"Those in the tourism business want to know when airports would be
completed. We cannot afford to lose money because CAAZ or the ministry
(Transport and Communication) is signing many MoUs," he said.

The committee also emphasised the need for CAAZ to involve the Airforce of
Zimbabwe since airports are security areas.

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Villagers punished for supporting MDC

The Zimbabwean

BINDURA - An entire ward in rural Bindura has been denied farming inputs and
equipment as punishment for supporting the opposition MDC.
Angry villagers from Ward 18, which comprises 14 villages in Mashonaland,
told The Zimbabwean last week that their ward was the only one in the area
denied ox-drawn ploughs and other equipment sourced by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe under the government's recent farm mechanisation scheme.
The ward, located within a Zanu (PF) stronghold under Elliot Manyika, voted
overwhelmingly for the opposition during last year's rural council
elections. Since then, it has not benefited from any scheme organised by the
"The whole thing is so unfair. Everyone should be allowed to choose a
political party of his or her choice. Even criminal is the use of inputs
acquired through tax payers' funds for partisan purposes. This is vote
buying," said MDC Bindura Rural Acting Chairperson Alfred Chitonho. -
Takesure Bizure

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Coercion and intimidation? Just the usual election preparations

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - With three months still to go before the country's presidential and
parliamentary elections, it seems coercion, intimidation and evictions have
begun in all provinces.
This week The Zimbabwean talked to activists for the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in Harare, Chitungwiza and Masvingo province.
They told how gangs of Zanu (PF) hitmen had ordered them to leave the area
or be killed.
Munjodzi Mnashe, in Zengeza Two of Chitungwiza, said: "These youths accused
us of working for a puppet party which is pursuing the interests of the
West. I thought of going to the police for help, but when I realised who was
behind these evictions, I knew I would be wasting my time."
In Masvingo, 15 men and their families moved to an MDC safe house after Zanu
(PF) officials evicted them.
The MDC's Masvingo Provincial Chairman, Wilstaff Sitemele, confirmed the
situation: "This is further proof of this regime's continued disregard of
the rule of law. It is also an indication that the ruling party is
negotiating in bad faith at the ongoing talks with President Mbeki of South
Africa." - Allen Muzhingi

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Police demand money and food from dealers

The Zimbabwean

BULAWAYO - Underpaid junior police officers are demanding bribes from
illegal foreign currency dealers.
Several osiphatheleni,  as the dealers are known in the city, revealed this
week that the junior police officers were flocking to an area dubbed The
World Bank - at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Hebert Chitepo Street - and
were demanding food and money.
"It does not matter what they find you doing there. If they suspect that you
are an illegal foreign currency dealer, they just demand that you give them
money or food so that you continue operating without hassles. We usually
comply because that makes them handy in future when one is caught in police
raids," said Nomusa Moyo.
The dealers said most of the demands were from members of the police cycle
patrol and the crime prevention units.
"We get very little from the Government and that is another way for us to
survive," said a junior police officer.
Police national spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, refused
to comment. - Bayethe Zitha

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Revolving fund for land reform - MDC manifesto

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 28 November 2007 15:02
… new constitution, less presidential power
HARARE - The MDC has released its economic blueprint - which also
forms the party election manifesto - vowing to stimulate economic growth if
it wins the 2008 elections.
The party says it will ask creditors to reschedule Zimbabwe's crushing
foreign debt if elected to power. The moratorium would give the troubled
economy some breathing space and free vital resources for development
The MDC, which puts economic recovery top of its priorities' list,
pledges to restore macroeconomic stability by reducing government borrowing
on the domestic market, eliminating unbudgeted expenditure and reducing
government ministries.
"The MDC will initiate negotiations to reschedule external debt, seek
debt forgiveness and swap domestic debt for external debt. Swapping domestic
for longer-term external debt will give the economy more breathing space and
release resources tied into debt servicing for development," the party
pledges in its programme for change released ahead of the elections.
An MDC government will set up a land commission comprising all
interest groups to spearhead the resolution of the perennial land problem.
The commission will acquire between six and seven million hectares of land
for resettlement through the acquisition of underutilised land, derelict and
multiple-owned land already identified and designated for the purpose and
all corruptly-gotten land.
Land ownership, Zimbabwe's oldest conflict, triggered the country's
1970s war of independence and now threatens the sickly economy as former war
guerrillas seize productive white-owned farmland and disrupt farming, the
mainstay of the economy.
The MDC said not less than eight percent of the national budget would
be committed to the setting up of a revolving fund to support land reform
while a new land tax and donations from stakeholders and international
donors would raise more resources.
"Land is a national people's asset and a productive asset," the MDC
Apart from the budget allocation granted to land reform, the MDC said
it would plough more public resources into the country's crumbling health
and education sectors.
The MDC, which in September voted with the ruling party to support
piecemeal amendments to the constitution, said it would embark on a
transparent and all-inclusive constitution making process. Other key pledges
made by the MDC, launched in 1999 by Zimbabwe's labour leaders, include
promises to curb sweeping presidential powers enjoyed by incumbent Robert
The MDC says it will also set up an anti-corruption unit to deal with
widespread corruption, especially in the public service. - Chief reporter

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MEPs outraged at Mugabe's invitation to Lisbon


MEPs have reacted with fury to news that Robert Mugabe will travel to Europe
next week to attend a summit of EU and African leaders in Lisbon.

African leaders had threatened to cancel the meeting if the president of
Zimbabwe was not invited, while UK premier Gordon Brown now says he will
boycott the summit because of Mugabe’s presence.

EU sources say the Portuguese have drawn up elaborate plans to try to
minimise Mugabe’s impact on the event.

But UK Tory MEP Geoffrey van Orden today led a chorus of criticism at the
decision to allow him to attend.

He said, “The British government should exercise its right to block the
Portuguese government obtaining an exemption to the EU's travel ban on
Mugabe, and it should not dignify the summit with a British minister of

"It should never have come to this. The British government should have been
more effective in its international diplomacy, and the EU should at least
have made some effort to live up to its own principles.

"It is an affront to the millions of Zimbabweans abused and dispossessed by
Mugabe that he is being given a platform in Lisbon. So much for EU concerns
about human rights and good governance in Africa,” said van Orden, who has
led parliament’s opposition to the Mugabe regime.

"It is not surprising that many in Britain regard the EU's efforts at
assuming a meaningful role on the world stage as, at best, empty posturing,
and at worst, a cynical pursuit of someone else's foreign policy interests."

His comments were echoed by UK centre-right deputy Nirj Deva, who called for
Mugabe to be arrested "the minute he steps foot on European soil" for
alleged crimes against humanity.

He said, "He has broken international criminal law and, therefore, should
face the full weight of international criminal law.

"His presence in Lisbon will be an affront to international law, human
dignity and everything we are trying to do in the EU as a partner in

"An arrest warrant should be issued against him as soon as he arrives."

UK Socialist deputy Glenys Kinnock said,"It is unacceptable that Mugabe and
his Zanu PF entourage will attend the summit.

"This summit is meant to promote policies on good governance, human rights,
democracy and strategies to tackle African poverty.

"Mugabe knows little and cares even less about these priorities, as the
suffering of the Zimbabwean people amply demonstrates. Mugabe's presence in
Lisbon will achieve nothing other than allowing him an opportunity to gloat
and strut."

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Are we making progress?

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 28 November 2007 10:49

I am constantly amazed at the number of people I speak to who say they
determined to stick things out - but ask, are we making any progress
finding a resolution to the current economic and political crisis?
Amazed at
the numbers because I really expect most people with options to throw
in the
towel and decide to move to greener pastures.

The facts are that we are making progress. Looking back, much more
than I think any of us expected 18 months ago. In March 2006 the newly
divided MDC had just held two Congress's - one in Bulawayo for the
led group and another in Harare for the group led by Tsvangirai. Zanu
PF had
just settled yet another challenge to the succession issue and Thabo
had thrown in the towel - fed up with the infighting in the main
parties and in the lack of progress and consensus.

The international community had likewise decided to sit on their hands
for a
while - they were deeply disappointed in the split in the MDC ranks,
apparent bickering and also in the seemingly intransient nature of the
Zimbabwe situation. Nothing much happened for the next nine months
that the economic crisis deepened and our gradual slide into some form
of a
failed State accelerated.

Then came the fateful decision in December 2006 by Zanu PF to try to
postpone the election to the same time as the Soccer World Cup - June
Mbeki was galvanized into action and moved to try and establish a new
strategy for resolving the Zimbabwe crisis. He swiftly moved to secure
basics of the new strategy - get the elections moved back to March
2008 and
try to get Mugabe to hold then under free and fair conditions. The
preliminary steps seemed too easy to be true - Mbeki spoke with Mugabe
Ghana on the 7th March and Mugabe said yes to both issues.

Mr. Mugabe then made a serious error of judgment - he ordered his
Chiefs to "crush the MDC" so that they would not be capable of
fighting an
election in March 2008. Four days after he accepted President Mbeki's
suggestions to resolve the crisis, the leadership of the MDC was
and beaten in custody. Television footage of the incident was somehow
captured and released and a media blitz ensued which in turn
galvanized the
leadership of the SADC region to sit up and eventually demand action
settle this dispute once and for all. Mbeki got his multilateral
approach to
the crisis and Mugabe lost a critical regional support base.

On the 29th March 2007, the SADC leadership met in an emergency
session and
resolved to work with President Mbeki in seeking a resolution to the
Ten days later the details were thrashed out in Harare and formal
between the MDC (this hated "puppet of the West") and Zanu PF
eventually got
underway and have been going on for the past 8 months.

That they have taken place at all is a remarkable victory for the MDC
its allies. That the region has supported the process and insisted
that the
MDC was a key player is equally astonishing. 18 months ago no one in
Zanu PF
would have said that this would happen - not in a "thousand years" to
the words of another tyrant in another era!

Then came the key decision by the MDC to walk out of the process if
fundamental principles were not recognised and worked into the final
agreement. These were principally centred around the issues related to
electoral system and its management, together with the fact that
despite the
commitment to the talks and to trying to resolve the crisis in
democratically, the Zanu PF regime and its thugs had continued to rain
on the MDC and its structures political violence on a scale that
the whole process.

The MDC action stirred the South African leadership back into action
last week President Mbeki made a short stop over in Harare to see the
leaders and to resolve the logjam in the talks. The talks resumed
immediately after his visit and a revised deadline for the final
outcome was
set as the 15th of December.

I remain convinced that no one can walk away from this process. The
continual praise that Mr. Mugabe heaps on the SADC leadership and
Africa for its role in the process is a smoke screen for what is a
difficult situation for Zanu PF. They simply cannot afford to alienate
SADC and are being forced to accept reforms that endanger their grip
power and their ability to dictate the outcome of the next election.
their fury, the MDC has been given a veto over those issues and we
have now
used this to force through changes that suddenly make the near
seem possible.

We are going to have an election and I still think it will be in March
We will not have anything like normal conditions for the campaign
leading to
the elections but at least we will be able to say to the people of
country - you can all vote, vote in secret and the recording and
of your vote will not be tampered with this time. Perhaps, just
perhaps, we
will have a chance to change our government democratically.

In March 2006 there was no way we could have envisaged this situation.
It is
a real victory for the democratic forces here and for the friends we
across the globe. It is also a victory for African leadership and if
we can
pull it off, it will help put Africa's image back on track as a
continent of
democratic change and hope. But for this to happen we still have a lot
to do
and a way to go. On our part we will stick to our position without
compromise, prepare for the elections by selecting candidates (over
2000 of
them) and putting our policies in place and in front of the

Then its up to you out there - vote and vote wisely. Do not waste your
on anyone who cannot deliver change and whose policies and stand is
absolutely clear. We have struggled to get us all this chance to
resolve the
crisis in Zimbabwe - without violence, legally and within a recognised
political framework. The rest is up to us - all of us who live here
and hold

Eddie Cross
Bulaway0, 27th November 2007

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Zimbabwe critical of new US envoy

From Associated Press, 27 November

By Angus Shaw

Harare - Zimbabwe's government newspaper offered a chilly, racially tinged
welcome Tuesday to the new US envoy. In his column in The Herald, a
government mouthpiece, political editor Caesar Zvayi said James McGee had
criticized Zimbabwe's democratic and human rights record in statements to
the US Senate before his arrival and, as an appointee of US President George
W. Bush, was likely "to turn out to be the house Negro." McGee is black.
McGee, who began his assignment in Harare last week after formally
presenting his diplomatic credentials to President Robert Mugabe, declined
to respond to Zvayi's remarks. Though "one of our own, at least as far as
skin color is concerned," McGee was a Vietnam veteran who earned three
flying medals for "bombing hapless villagers" there, Zvayi wrote. But
"Zimbabwe welcomes the Son of McGee and hopes he will not shame the
ancestors in whose loins he crossed the Atlantic to his adopted home," Zvayi
continued. During his Senate confirmation hearings in September, McGee said
Zimbabwe was "suffering under authoritarian misrule," and said he would work
for peaceful change. "Abandoning the people of Zimbabwe to the worst effects
of their government's misrule is not in America's interests," he said.
McGee's predecessor, Christopher Dell, also had been a sharp critic of
Mugabe's government. In a farewell interview before taking up a post in
Afghanistan after three years in Zimbabwe, Dell told an independent
newspaper that the government was "doing regime change to itself" through
economic mismanagement.

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Mugabe is continuing to violate human rights, says US

Zim Online

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Thursday 29 November 2007

HARARE - The United States (US) has said the severe beating of pro-democracy
activists in Harare last week showed that President Robert Mugabe's
government continues to disregard democracy and violate human rights.

The US said that the brutal attack on the activists, which happened as South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki was visiting Harare, clearly demonstrated
Mugabe's disregard for international opinion.

Mbeki was last March appointed by regional leaders to lead efforts to end
Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis by facilitating dialogue between
Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party.

"That such a brutal attack would occur during Mbeki's visit demonstrates the
Mugabe regime's continuing disregard for democracy, internationally accepted
human rights standards, and the opinion of the international community," the
State Department said in a statement released this week.

Police severely assaulted members of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) pressure group who were protesting against a recent constitutional
amendment they say entrenches Mugabe's grip on power.

Washington called on Harare to "end immediately the violent attacks against
democratic activists and civil society organisations, to respect the rule of
law, and to allow the Zimbabwean people to exercise peacefully their
political rights."

The call was immediately rejected by Information Minister and chief
government spokesman Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who shot back, saying Washington
should be better be attending to the chaos in Iraq than trying to 'lecture'
Zimbabwe on democracy.

"The last thing we would accept from Bush and his people is a lecture about
democracy," said Ndlovu. "He (Bush) must be concerned about what is
happening in Iraq where they are killing innocent souls."

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating political and economic crisis that
is highlighted by hyperinflation, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for
a country not at war according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign
currency, food and fuel.

Mbeki, who stopped over in Harare en route to the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting that took place in Uganda, told journalists he was happy
with progress in his mediation effort in Zimbabwe.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade on Wednesday held talks with Mugabe as
part of an initiative to break Zimbabwe's crisis. The Senegalese leader, who
is proposing the creation of a committee of five heads of state to find a
solution to Zimbabwe's crisis, says Mbeki would be included in the
committee. - ZimOnline

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Zim prisoners, rural women fail to access AIDS drugs

Zim Online

by Prince Nyathi Thursday 29 November 2007

HARARE - Prisoners and rural women in Zimbabwe are failing to access
life-prolonging AIDS drugs despite the country making huge strides in
reducing HIV prevalence rates, says a new report by an international
treatment group.

The International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), that
advocates free access to anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), said prisoners and
rural women were failing to access the drugs due to poverty and lack of

The report, titled, "Missing the Target 5: Improving AIDS Drugs Access
and Advancing Health Care for All," says prisoners in Zimbabwean jails were
among the hardest hit due to a severe economic crisis gripping the country.

The report adds that Zimbabwe's prison population was "the most
neglected and vulnerable group" in the country adding that out of the
estimated 20 000 prisoners in Zimbabwean jails, at least 4 000 were infected
and susceptible to HIV and TB.

"With no sero-prevalence survey or statistics on HIV in prisons,
experts warn that the country could be sitting on a time bomb," warns the
report that was released to the media on Tuesday.

The group said the majority of HIV infected rural women were failing
to access ARVs forcing most of the women to resort to herbal treatments to
manage their health.

"Many of those in rural areas or with limited resources have opted to
manage their symptoms with herbal treatments," said the report.

Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world
with the pandemic killing an estimated 2 500 people in the country every

The AIDS crisis has been worsened by a severe economic recession that
has manifested itself in rampant poverty, massive unemployment and poverty.

The economic crisis has hit hardest Zimbabwe's prisons and health
delivery system with reports suggesting that prisoners were surviving on a
single meal of boiled cabbages and the staple sadza a day.

An estimated 1.3 million people are said to be living with HIV/AIDS in
Zimbabwe with 132 000 being children below the age of 14 while over 650 000
are women.

Of these, only 91 000 people were on the government's ARV free
treatment programme.

In the only few pieces of good news to come from Zimbabwe, Health
Minister David Parirenyatwa last month said Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence rate
had declined from 18.1 percent to 15.6 percent.

Parirenyatwa attributed the success to a vigorous AIDS awareness
campaign carried out by the Harare authorities. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Opposition Factions Differ Over Crisis Talks Pullout Threat


By Carole Gombakomba
28 November 2007

With pressure mounting on the principals in the Zimbabwe crisis resolution
talks that South Africa is mediating, tensions have arisen between the
country's two opposition factions over a threat issued this week by the
formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the talks if the ruling
party does not embrace sweeping political reform.

As reported by VOA on Tuesday, authoritative sources in the Tsvangirai
faction of the Movement for Democratic Change expressed doubts about the
sincerity of the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe. Political
violence continues, especially in provincial towns and rural areas, and the
Harare government has filled positions on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
in preparation for elections set for March 2008, though the commission's
composition is a significant issue on the talks agenda.

However, officials of the rival MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara have
expressed displeasure that the Tsvangirai faction issued threats to pull out
of the talks without consultation between the two factions, which sit
together and advance common positions at the negotiating table in Pretoria
and, more recently, Harare.

Deputy Secretary General Priscilla Misiharambwi-Mushonga of the Mutambara
faction told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
her faction too has serious reservations about whether ZANU-PF is
negotiating in good faith - but with negotiators still at the table no
faction should be issuing ultimatums.

South African President Thabo Mbeki and other top Pretoria officials started
mediation of the Zimbabwe crisis talks in March at the behest of an
extraordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community called
after Harare cracked down on the opposition that month with fatal results,
amid an accelerating economic collapse.

Mbeki has submitted interim reports to SADC and the African Union, and is
likely to be called upon to brief European and African heads of state
scheduled to gather in Lisbon, Portugal, Dec. 8-9 for a summit on
development and trade.

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ZCTF Report: Appeal for Tatenda

27th November 2007
Following the appeal circulated for funds to put towards a reward for the capture of the criminals who gunned down the 4 rhino, Amber, her almost full term unborn calf, DJ and Sprinter at Imire Safari Ranch, the following is a thank you letter from John and Judy Travers of Imire:
                                                 IN MEMORY OF AMBER, DJ AND SPRINTER
  Imire Safari Ranch
  What is man without the beast? If all the Beasts were gone man would die from
   great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man…
  All are connected”. – Chief Seattle 

Imire Safari Ranch, would like to thank each and every one of you, who  without hesitation, have put your hands deep into your pockets, to help us find the culprits to the murder of our four beautiful  Rhino.

The response has been overwhelming, we never thought it would get to this.

The cry for justice, the need to protect and cherish what is left of these already endangered animals , has affected so very many people, all over the world.

The letters of concern, of condolence, of reward have helped us all on Imire to realize we are not out there in the wilderness on our own. Its been extremely heart warming and therapeutic to share your understanding of our need to protect the few rhino left on our planet. To know of the joy the Imire Rhino have brought to so many people, its been wonderful.

Thank-you for all you have donated, however large or small, we hope it will bring the perpetrator to sentence. The carrot is big.

We have set up a new Account, it’s a Trust run by Steve Turk. Any monies that have been put into the Zimbank a/c will be transferred tomorrow. This is for Zimbabwean Residents.


DatVest Nominees

Stanbic Bank,


01 4000 481 860

Imire Black Rhino Fund. 

For Foreign Donors

We are close to registering Imire Reward Fund with a Charity known as

Conservation Zambezi, based in the UK. The Rhino's original homeland ..the mighty Zambezi.

As soon as the finer details have been completed we will inform you all.

I’m so very sorry we haven’t been able to get back to each of you individually, we will in time, I can assure you. It’s just that life has been in a bit of a turmoil of late, and together with no power, even less telephones, and a computer that will not send off photo’s, we have been so slow in thanking you all.

All monies are to be dealt with by the Trusts. 

Of course if we don’t find the culprits, all your money will be returned to you.

We feel very strongly that National Parks must play an important role in this vital search. We have a meeting with them tomorrow, hopefully they will do the posters with the National Park emblem, and be responsible for the distribution of the Reward Posters. 

Tatenda is great, very happy and settled in his new home, joining his new family whenever he can.He loves his walks with the dogs and PigglePoggol the warthog, he is beautiful.

 What a privilege it is to be his Mum.

Thank-you, again from us all on Imire, and from us all in Zimbabwe, for your support and wishes to find the perpetrators of this evil crime of destroying what isn’t ours anyway, the Black Rhino.

We will keep in touch with you all.

Yours sincerely

John and Judy Travers



Judy Travers has now become the substitute mother of Tatenda, the little rhino who was left orphaned by the tragedy at the age of 6 weeks.


                                                 MOTHERLY LOVE

Keeping Tatenda alive is not just a simple matter of filling a bottle with milk and feeding him. The milk he needs must have the same components as his mother's milk. Without this, he will die. He also needs glucose water, vitamins and teats. Not only is this extremely expensive, but after numerous phone calls, we have found that some of the nutrients required do not seem to be available in Zimbabwe. Tatenda goes through a lot of teats because he chews them and so far, we haven't been able to find any. 

In order for Tatenda to stay alive, he requires the following, every month:

  • 60kg skimmed milk powder with NO fat.  Any fat in the milk will kill him.
  • 24kg glucose powder
  • 3 litres Datvitamin syrup - the same type given to children
  • 3 litres Pentavita citrus flavoured syrup
  • Lots of teats - about 10cm long
Please, if anyone can help with any of the above, with funds or just by telling us how we can obtain these things, we would be very grateful. Our contact details are at the foot of this report. The black rhino is an endangered species and we cannot stress enough how important it is to keep Tatenda alive.
The glucose powder is available in Zimbabwe but we don't know how long stocks will last and we have so far only been able to find 3 x 200ml bottles of Datvitamin syrup. We have been told that the fat free skimmed milk powder is only available in New Zealand. If anyone knows where else we can obtain it, please let us know as soon as possible. With regard to the Pentavita syrup and the teats, we have phoned numerous outlets and have not been able to find them.
The ZCTF team has been visiting Tatenda at Imire and we cannot adequately describe what an incredibly beautiful and perfect little animal he is. For a truly unforgettable experience, we encourage everyone who is within driving distance of  Imire, to go and meet him while he is still a baby. 
                                                    MEETING TATENDA
A word of warning though, having lost his mother, Tatenda tries to suck anything he comes in contact with, for example:
Arms                               and especially                knees
He is particularly partial to knees so don't disappoint him by wearing trousers.
Although Tatenda is currently the main attraction at Imire, he is by no means the only attraction. You will witness the amazing sight of an elephant who thinks he is a buffalo and has become the leader of the herd. Under the circumstances, the buffalo probably didn't have much choice in the matter. When a buffalo calf died, this elephant dug a metre deep grave in the hard dry earth, pushed the little buffalo into it and covered the grave with soil. 
You will also have the privilege of being able to touch fully grown elephants in the wild. You will be able to have lunch at a beautiful site in the game park, overlooking a dam, whilst watching the elephants frolicking in the water. 
Anyone wishing to visit Imire should phone them in advance to give them the chance to prepare food, refreshments and game drives for you. Their phone numbers are 022 2354 or 022 2094. For those who would like to stay for a few days, they have lovely chalets and a swimming pool and their prices are very reasonable. The turn-off is on the Mutare Road, just before Marondera if you are travelling from Harare. It is well sign-posted so you can't miss it. Please help to save Zimbabwe's remaining black rhino population by supporting them.  
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Tel:          263 4 336710
Fax/Tel:  263 4 339065
Mobile:    263 11 603 213

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Harare approves new currency instrument

Zim Online

by Thulani Munda  Wednesday 28 November 2007

HARARE - Finance Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has approved the requisite
legal instrument for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to launch a new
currency to replace temporary notes introduced four years ago, ZimOnline has

The statutory instrument, which banking industry sources said was approved
last week, would pave the way for the introduction of the long-awaited new
currency during the first or second week of December.

RBZ governor Gideon Gono has already set December 1 as the final date for
depositors to hand in cash to local banks without having to justify the
source of the funds.

The sources said the law, approved by Finance Minister Simbabarashe
Mumbengegwi, would be used to "legalise the currency switch and ensure that
nobody would dare question the legality of the whole exercise."

An RBZ source said the bank was now "geared up for the exercise, which if
all goes well will start during the first week of December or by the second

"The legal instrument has been prepared and approved so that everything is
above aboard. The instrument will be used to identify the name of the
currency and the denomination range," said the RBZ source who spoke on
condition he was not named.

Both Mumbengegwi and Gono were not available for comment on the statutory

Gono announced last week that he would soon introduce a new currency for the
inflation-ravaged country under the second phase of currency reforms
code-named Operation Sunrise Two.

Sunrise I, implemented in August 2006, saw the introduction of a new family
of bearer cheques by slashing of three zeroes from the older cheques.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party has described current cash shortages gripping the country as a shame.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the shortages were a clear sign of
mismanagement by the ruling ZANU PF party.

"The month of November is supposed to mark the beginning of the festive
season. The fanfare has since gone due to ZANU PF's mismanagement but
Zimbabweans will want to maintain their dignity," Chamisa said in a
statement. - ZimOnline

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Expats keep families afloat

LONDON, 27 November 2007 (IRIN) - The scale of migration to Britain by
Zimbabweans escaping their country's economic and political woes has reached
the point where, with typically wry humour, London is referred to as "Harare

An estimated three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the total population,
have packed their bags and left home. Most, typically the semi-skilled, have
opted for neighbouring countries, but many others have chosen Britain's
green, if damp, pastures.

The welcome mat is extended for 'in demand' professionals - doctors, nurses,
teachers and IT specialists - with work relatively easy to come by. For
others, even those who held down good jobs at home, there is the minimum
wage niche reserved for migrants the world over - office cleaning, working
in burger chains and looking after the elderly.

John and his wife Chipo* are among the lucky ones. She is a nurse who was
recruited in 2000 and then moved to England, working at a hospital outside
London. John was an accountant in a bank in Zimbabwe: he found a job at a
slightly junior grade to the position he had held at home, but quickly moved
up the ladder and is now in a supervisory position.

"Initially the English people were not too sure what to do with me, but I
proved myself," he said. The couple are happy; they drive a car and have
taken out a mortgage on a three-bedroom house. They try to maintain a
'Zimbabwean' home for their two children, but it seems a losing battle;
hanging out with local kids, the boys aged six and four struggle to speak

When they came to the Britain the idea was to work for a few years, make
some money and go back home. But John says returning is no longer on the
agenda. "Our oldest boy is now in school and we have a house, so it looks
like we are here to stay; besides, why would we want to raise our children
in a place where we cannot feed them?"

The economic crisis in Zimbabwe, with inflation at 14,000 percent and
shortages of even basic commodities, means John and Chipo have become the
mainstay of their families at home. "We have to send them money regularly
because there is virtually no way for them to support themselves at the
moment," John said.

Elizabeth used to be a secretary in Zimbabwe. Once she got to Britain it did
not take her long to realise it was going to be very difficult to get a
similar job, so she did what many Zimbabweans, both male and female, do:
care for the aged.

"It's a tough job but it pays my bills, and besides putting my siblings back
home through school, I send my parents money every month," she told IRIN.
She prays for Zimbabwe's recovery. "I'd love to go back - this is not my
home and I put up with a lot of prejudice from white people." She does not
think she is targeted because she is Zimbabwean, "I think it's something
every black person experiences."

A leveller

The experience of migration is one shared by both black and white
Zimbabweans, and has in some cases been a leveller. Zimbabwean whites, who
for two decades after independence were a privileged minority, can also feel
the pinch in exile, despite their British ancestry.

Jane's husband is a businessman in the capital, Harare, but as the economy
stumbled he found it increasingly difficult to maintain the standard of
living they were used to and Jane, middle-aged, went to London.

It was not easy to find work, and she eventually took a job looking after
rich English people's dogs while they were on holiday. "It provides free
board and the pay is not bad," she said. Luckily for her she loves dogs, and
earns enough to send money regularly to her husband.

Although she was born in England she says she has little in common with
local people, whom she says she dislikes, mainly because they keep her at
arm's length. She also misses the good weather "back home", and says she
will be on the first plane back to Harare as soon as the political situation
in Zimbabwe changes. "I am sure once the uncertainty goes we can rebuild
what we had, but all we can do now is wait."

A 2006 study found that at least half of all households in Harare and
Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, were regular recipients of goods and money
from relatives living outside the country. As Zimbabweans in Britain
increase their earning power, there has been a proliferation of companies
through which they can remit money, and even fuel and groceries.

It is a simple process: the money is deposited into the company's bank
account in Britain, and the funds are transferred directly to the
beneficiary's bank account in Zimbabwe. John, the accountant, said this was
the best way of remitting money as it attracted the government's highly
overvalued exchange rate.

One of the biggest online remitting companies,, allows people to
pay for privately imported fuel in Britain. Their relatives are alerted to
the transfer by SMS and collect their vouchers, which they then redeem for
fuel. UK-based Zimbabweans can also pay for groceries imported from South
Africa, and provide their relations with access to treatment via medical
insurance taken out in Britain.


* Real names have not been used

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

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Worsening Economic Crisis Forces Young Jobless Zimbabweans to Leave the Country in Droves

Womens International Perspective

November 28, 2007

by Constance Manika
- Zimbabwe -

On October 23rd, I sent my young sister Farai off to the Republic of South
Africa (RSA) to seek employment. In 2005 she graduated from the University
of Zimbabwe with a BSc Honors in Information Technology, and yet she never
managed to find any paid employment in this field (save for a one-year
unpaid industrial internship she completed as part of her four-year
I am the first to graduate in my immediate family, she was the second. I was
full of high expectations for my sister; and even though I do not have one,
I believed that because of the field she had chosen, she would secure a
high-paying job and have a very bright future.

But of course the policies of our despotic leader, Robert Mugabe, meant
there would be a different future in store for her. With unemployment levels
at a staggering 80 percent (although the government continues to insist
preposterously that unemployment is at 9 percent) my sister's future was
doomed even before she got her degree.

For two years my sister failed to get a job in her field; she was forced
into the education sector, and even then she only got work as a "relief or
temporary" teacher in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education. She
could barely make ends meet on that very meager salary.

Farai taught English Language and Literature to five classes, then every
other day she trudged back home with piles and piles of workbooks to mark
during the night. She was overworked and underpaid and barely had time for
her three year old daughter.

As the days passed by, her disappointment at apparently having wasted four
years at university on a degree that she would never be able to use was
quite evident. She rarely spoke or laughed and was always angry, snapping at
everything and everyone; her young daughter bore the brunt of her
frustration. My mother and I were afraid that she would slip into a
depression and so we tried to cheer her up whenever we could, but it hardly
ever worked.

Then one day in April of this year, she came home from work unusually happy
with some "good news". She told us that she had been talking to "someone"
who knew "someone" who knew "some people" who could help her leave the
country even without a passport and get a job in South Africa. My mother and
I exchanged worried looks; it all sounded very dubious to us.

For starters, these "someones" she was talking about had no names, and I
wondered how sincere their motivation to help my sister was. She had been
told that these "facilitators" could ensure a safe border crossing into
South Africa for a fee of R1000 (about $142 USD) using their connections in
the immigration department.

I was very afraid that the "someones" she was talking about could be human
traffickers preying on desperate professionals trying to escape the
political and economic problems in our country. I warned Farai that she
could find herself in trouble in a foreign country with no proper travel
documents being used a sex worker by these "someones." We had heard and read
about such things in various news reports far too often. I told her that as
an educated person, she ought to know better.

But my sister wouldn't hear any of this. We argued for a very long time, but
she was still determined to leave the country for greener pastures.

She had been told by her "suitors" that the IT industry in South Africa was
very lucrative and that she could earn a salary of about R20,000 (about
$3,000 USD) per month. I found it very hard to believe, but as I said, my
sister was excited and unstoppable.

After a heated argument, we realized we couldn't stop her and agreed to let
her go, on the condition that she would at least obtain a passport. This was
our way of indirectly preventing her from venturing into the unknown,
because we knew that the Registrar General's (RG's) Office was in a
shambles. There was and still is a serious passport backlog.

Day in and day out, hundreds of desperate young professionals seeking to
escape the country's high unemployment rates and poverty queue up at the
RG's office as early as 5am. However, this is not a guarantee that they will
get a passport. Some are told to come back and collect their passports in
six months, while others are told to come back in nine months, ten, or a
year. But even after this waiting period, there is still no guarantee that
the travel document will be ready.
The RG's office has been under strict instructions from Mugabe's government
not to let young professionals leave the country since they realized how
serious the "brain drain" in the country was getting. We all know that the
"backlog" in this department has been deliberately created to stop the
exodus of young people, but nonetheless, it hasn't worked.

After coming up with the passport scheme, my mother and I were sure that we
had exorcised the "I want to leave the country" demon in my sister.

For a whole week my determined sister woke up as early as 4am to be one of
the first people in the passport queue, but each time she failed to make the
cut: only the first 100 peoples' passport forms were taken daily for

After that week went by we thought to ourselves, "Soon she will give up and
forget about this nonsense," but she took us by surprise when one day she
told us that she was actually going to sleep at the passport office in order
to be first in the queue! Many other people were doing this, she explained.
We didn't stop her, and she left home around 8pm one Monday evening with a
small blanket.

The next day she came home jubilant, she had made it to first 100 and had
been asked to collect her passport in 3 months' time - in July.

July came - no passport. August came - no passport. September and then
October came and still there was nothing. For my sister, this was the last
straw. She soon announced that she was leaving for RSA, passport or not. As
we all sat trying to stomaching this news, she quickly added that this time
there was no room for any more negotiation!

So on October 23, 2007 I bade farewell to my little sister. We were all very
sad and worried, as well as angry at the system that had made my sister and
so many other young people this desperate.

But this experience, having someone close to me have to cross the border
illegally, really opened my eyes. It made me appreciate how serious the
issue of unemployment is in our country.

Forget about the well-written reports on glossy paper by migration experts
citing statistics of how many people are leaving the country. The emotional
trauma my sister went through trying to get a passport and then deciding to
leave the country illegally (plus what we went through as a family) is the
human side of the story that these glossy reports can never show. The
reality is that as the economic crisis continues here, many young
professionals are leaving the country, no matter what the cost. This
experience left me thoroughly troubled, but it also opened my eyes wide.
Waiting months for a passport or a visa to leave the country is a luxury
many desperate young professionals just cannot afford. A South African visa
costs about R2000 (about $285 USD) in travelers checks and though many
people cannot raise the money, it hasn't stopped any of them from border

Thousands of Zimbabweans are already illegally living overseas, with an
estimated 3.5 million working and residing in neighboring RSA and Botswana
alone, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). It
also estimated that 25 percent of youths deported from RSA and Botswana had
unsuccessfully applied for Zimbabwean passports before, while some 28
percent of that group stated that the high cost of visas had deterred them
from even applying for one.

Others, like my sister can afford to "jump the border" after paying a
certain fee to bus drivers and conductors who ply the routes of the
countries into which they want to escape. Because these facilitators have
been working these routes for years, they now have connections in
immigration whom they pay off in order to smuggle passengers. All a person
needs to do is to just sit in the bus while these drivers or conductors do
the work. This is a much safer way of border jumping.

Then there are other Zimbabweans who can't afford to pay these facilitators
and opt to take the risk of literally jumping the border fence.

Those who want to cross over into RSA have to cross the Limpopo River (which
separates Zimbabwe and RSA) and run the risk of being eaten by crocodiles or
drowning. They also risk being caught by border patrol officers and being

According to the IOM, illegal immigrants crossing over into RSA through the
Limpopo River usually get dropped off on the Zimbabwe bank of the river.
Once there, the illegal immigrants get to the no man's land and use a rope
tied to the tiers of the bridge to lower themselves to the RSA banks of the

They are then picked up by transport operators who have realized that these
illegal immigrants are big business. They are taken to the heart of RSA but
the risks of being caught and deported are very high.

IOM estimates that an estimated 17,500 illegal migrants are deported every
month from neighboring RSA and Botswana.

A support center was set up at the Zimbabwe-RSA border post town of
Beitbridge by the IOM to help deported Zimbabweans. Thousands have benefited
by receiving medication and traveling money. About 1,450 unaccompanied
deported children have received assistance at the center after being

This is how desperate the situation is getting by the day as Mugabe
continues to destroy the economy. As of September, inflation is now at more
than 8,000 percent. The poverty is becoming sickening.

As for my sister Farai, she arrived safely in RSA, but she is still looking
for a job. My stomach tightens each time I hear news that some more
Zimbabweans have been deported. Almost immediately, I pick up the phone to
check if she is well.

You have no idea of the amount of relief that I feel each time she answers,

Can this really be considered any kind of life?

About the Author
Constance Manika is a journalist who works for the independent press in
Zimbabwe. She writes under this pseudonym to escape prosecution from a
government whose onslaught and level of intolerance to journalists in the
independent press is well documented.

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Mining body asks Harare to discuss new law

Business Report

November 28, 2007 Edition 1

Brian Latham Johannesburg

Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines has asked for a meeting with the government to
discuss a proposed law that seeks to force foreign mining firms to cede
control of mines in the country.

Mining firms ''have serious concerns'' about the law, the chamber said
yesterday. It represents most medium and large-scale mining firms.

The new law, which was drafted last week, might force foreign mining
companies to give the government a 25 percent holding and sell a further 26
percent of their shares to black people.

Alternatively, 51 percent could be sold to local shareholders within seven
years, it said.

Zimbabwe has the world's second-largest platinum reserves.

Its government wanted to have a ''free'' 25 percent stake in all precious
metal and diamond mines, the chamber said earlier this month.

The country is in its ninth consecutive year of economic recession after
President Robert Mugabe's government began seizing white-owned commercial
farms for distribution to black people, mainly war veterans.

''Should we get the opportunity to meet with [mining minister] Amos Midzi,
we will discuss the proposed law and may have to settle for concessions,''
the chamber's chief executive, Doug Verden, said yesterday.

The mining ministry was not available for comment.

The bill must pass three parliamentary readings and be signed by Mugabe
before it becomes law.

Midzi was quoted by the state-controlled Herald newspaper yesterday as
saying only black people with resources would be allowed stakes in the
targeted foreign mining companies.

''It must be understood that we are not proposing to give away mines for
free,'' reported the newspaper on its website.

''The beneficiaries would have to raise the necessary capital in order to

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When CHOGM Chairman Museveni Visited Mugabe

The Monitor (Kampala)

27 November 2007
Posted to the web 27 November 2007

Muniini K. Mulera

Imagine in the next few weeks, President Yoweri Museveni, in his capacity as
"Chairman" of the Commonwealth, travels to Harare on behalf of the Club to
convince Zimbabwe's leader Comrade Robert Mugabe to return to the democratic
path and rule of law.

Ever intransigent, Mugabe fires a shot across Museveni's bow by not meeting
him at the airport. Instead he sends a ka-assistant to meet him. Museveni is
miffed, but doesn't let the snub get to him. At State House, eventually, the
two men go into a private meeting, just the two of them.

Mugabe: So Comrade Museveni, you have now become the Head Prefect for
British imperialists, eh?

Museveni: Don't insult me; you know my history of struggle for the people of
Africa. The problem with Africa, and I see you making the same mistake, is
that you have lost sight of the big picture, and you have turned what should
be tactical battles into strategic wars. Otherwise you should have seen that
I am on your side!

Mugabe: Okay, prove it.

Museveni: Comrade, this chairmanship of Chogm is a victory for "us"
revolutionaries. For example, the reactionary forces tried to paint me a
power-hungry politician bent on ruling until death parts me with State House
after the people supported our decision to amend the constitution in 2005
and remove presidential term limits.

We decided, as Brother Gaddafi rightly advised, that revolutionaries don't
just leave power "like that." So when they made mistakes and voted for
backward people like Kizza Besigye, we took steps to ensure that the final
vote tally reflected support for the revolutionary side. Yet, after all
that, here I am chairman of Chogm.

Mugabe: That might be as well, but we did the same thing. We changed the
constitution like you. We controlled our own reactionaries like Morgan
Tsvangirai, just like you did with your Besigye. I built myself a palace,
just like you have rebuilt State House Entebbe- in fact mine was cheaper.

But what happens? The imperialists gang up trying to overthrow us, but you
the Queen comes and hosts a banquet in your more expensive State House. It
is the land Yoweri. You, didn't evict the grandchildren of colonialists who
stole our ancestors' land. You can change the constitution and beat up the
opposition all you want, and they will still back you.

Museveni: That's where you go wrong. What I am saying is that if I can be
Chairman of Chogm, then surely there is hope for you too. Look, that
Tsvangirai fellow of yours, he is just like Besigye. In fact they even
resemble. You did three things to Tsvangirai. One, you "re-arranged" his
votes. Two, you then imprisoned him. Three, you beat him up. In fact you not
only beat him up, you beat up all leaders of the MDC.

Mugabe: So, even George Bush, although he criticises me, did the same thing
in Iraq with his "shock and awe", and they didn't pardon Saddam Hussein.

Museveni: Forget Bush. You can't do all the things you did to Tsvangirai.
Look at what we did with Besigye. We arrested him, but we didn't beat and
inflict wounds on his head. We make sure that he is only tear-gassed. More
critically, we left other FDC leaders alone. Your problem is that you beat
everyone. You must pick and choose and divide them and international

And you can't beat your opponents throughout the year. You hammer them hard
for three months, then leave them for nine months. Everyone soon forgets.
The only thing we seem to agree on is re-arranging the votes.

Mugabe: So you are saying our mistake is in style, not our overall
objective? What we can't compromise on is land. It belongs to our people. We
have no apologies for taking it back by whatever means.

Museveni: Again, you are going about land the wrong way.

You are creating high expectations among the masses, that the land is
theirs. Peasants will only subsist on the land, and sub-divide it among
their many children and wives. The thing with land is that all transfers
must be temporary. The only people who can do something useful with it are
we revolutionaries.

Mugabe: What do you mean?

Museveni: We made slight mistakes in the 1995 Constitution by saying all
land belongs to the people, and we limited government's ability to seize it,
take it. Now we are trying to correct that mistake, and I tell you it is a
tougher war than you had repossessing the land from the whites. Never let
people think the land actually belongs to them. It belongs to
revolutionaries who have a vision for its proper use.

Finally, I want to say it's unfair of you to suggest I was unworthy of
hosting Chogm, yet when it was held in Harare in 1991, your army had just
finished off thousands of people in Matebeleland, and I didn't accuse you of
being a British lackey.

Mugabe: Sorry comrade. Now I see that you have all the qualifications to be
Chogm Chairman.

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Year-long police operation targets only "ordinary people"

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 28 November 2007 15:07
HARARE - Not a single arrest of a top government official - that's the
record of a police operation that promised to stamp out illegal mining.
Operation Chikorokoza Chapera/Isitsheketsha Sesiphelile/No to Illegal
Mining swung into action a year ago, when Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri declared no-one would be spared from arrest.
Despite overwhelming evidence implicating ruling Zanu (PF)
heavyweights, such as former army commander Solomon Mujuru, Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo and Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, no
senior official has been brought to book.
The closest police could come was the arrest early this year of the
now late Principal Director in the Ministry without Portfolio, William
Nhara, a relative lightweight in the political realm. Nhara landed himself
in trouble when he tried to help a Lebanese girlfriend smuggle diamonds out
of Zimbabwe.
The biggest highlight was the arrest and dismissal of 17 junior police
officers who were allegedly found with a few pieces of diamond in their camp
in Marange.
"In Zimbabwe, there are laws for top politicians and the rest of us.
Police know that top politicians smuggle kilograms of minerals outside the
country daily but they are turning a blind eye on it. Corruption in Zimbabwe
will never end," said Kingstone Mariga, a Harare resident.
Close to 40,000 ordinary people have been arrested since the operation
started. Some have been convicted and jailed for two years each with hard
labour, without the option of a fine.
In February this year, Police Deputy Commissioner Godwin Matanga told
a parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, Environment and Tourism that
some influential Zanu (PF) politicians and ministers were disrupting the
operation because "they were benefiting from the corrupt activities". -
Takesure Bizure

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Why should I be mad at the British?

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 28 November 2007 15:02
… Mugabe out of touch with new generation
HARARE - Mike is a young man bitter with everything going on in
Zimbabwe, the hardships, the violence, the poverty, the shortages, the
misrule. Life, he says, went bad early and hasn't gotten better.
"I have no job, no prospects," said Mike Moyo, 22. "I have no money to
go to college, no money to even buy a loaf of bread for my mother because
inflation is so high, and even when I do have a little money, there is no
bread on the shelves. The grocery (stores) are empty. Two of my best friends
are dying of AIDS and the government doesn't care. The police dither while
mobs of government supporters attack people for engaging their democratic
rights. I cannot even afford the taxis but they (governing party officials)
all drive in brand new Mercs (Mercedes Benz) and 4X4s. I have a girlfriend
and I want to marry, but what can I offer her? I can't even afford admission
fees into Synergy Night Club. Now I ask you: Why should I be mad at the
Pencil-thin and smooth-skinned, Mike was born five years after 1980,
the year that this former British colony won its independence and elected as
its leader a hero of the liberation movement, Robert Mugabe.
In his anger and alienation, Mike represents the generational divide
that poses perhaps the greatest threat to topple Mugabe, the only leader
this southern African country has ever known. Mugabe, who faces an angry
electorate in March, campaigns for re-election by repeatedly calling the
opposition MDC a puppet of the British and other foreign countries who want
to re-colonize Zimbabwe. In speeches, he derides the MDC's presidential
candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, as "a joke" a "stooge of the West."
But in trying to invoke the old wounds of colonial rule and foreign
domination, Mugabe, 83, is appealing to instincts that are no longer the
norm here.
Of Zimbabwe's 12 million people, half are over the age of 18. But
nearly 60 percent of adults are younger than 30, with virtually no memory of
what it was like to live in Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known before
independence. For them, and particularly the ones who live in urban centres
like Harare and Bulawayo, the issue is no longer white imperialism or
Mugabe's triumph over it. Instead, their issues are the bread-and-butter
concerns of daily life. - Chief Reporter

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