by Godfrey Marawanyika Godfrey Marawanyika - Fri Nov 28, 11:03 am ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition said Friday it had reached some
"understanding" with President Robert Mugabe, despite earlier claims that a
latest round of power-sharing talks had made no progress.
"There's been some shared understanding on the issue of the constitutional
amendment" which will set out the powers of the new prime minister, Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa told AFP.
"However other outstanding issues are still to be resolved."
The constitutional amendment is critical to the forming of a unity
government, which has run aground over the share of powers between
Tsvangirai and Mugabe under a two-month-old deal.
The opposition's announcement comes two days after Tsvangirai said former
South African president Thabo Mbeki should step down as the mediator in the
political crisis and that fresh talks had made no headway.
"He does not appear to understand how desperate the problem in Zimbabwe is,
and the solutions he proposes are too small," Tsvangirai said in a statement
issued on the second day of the talks in Johannesburg.
Chamisa declined Friday to say if he was optimistic that a unity government
would soon be formed, but said he believed the opposition could settle its
differences with the ruling ZANU-PF.
"There are some issues which are remaining that should not take a lot of
energy and time," he said.
"A lot depends on the sincerity of ZANU-PF."
The South African media printed Friday details of a scathing letter written
by Mbeki to Tsvangirai in which he accused the MDC leader of stonewalling
the power-sharing talks.
The 4,000-word letter, printed in The Star newspaper, was written before the
latest round of talks ended and slammed Tsvangirai's refusal to accept
recommendations of regional leaders on forming a unity government, accusing
him of seeking support from the West rather than from African neighbours.
Mbeki said Tsvangirai should "take responsibility for the future of
Zimbabwe, rather than see its mission as being a militant critic of
President Mugabe and ZANU-PF."
Mbeki took particular issue with Tsvangirai's remarks that southern African
leaders "did not have the courage" to stand up to Mugabe at a summit in
Johannesburg on November 9.
Regional leaders and Mbeki's mediation efforts have come under increasing
pressure to push the bickering Zimbabwean politicians to agreement, as the
country faces a deadly cholera outbreak which has claimed 389 lives.
South Africa's new president Kgalema Motlanthe has withheld millions of
dollars in aid until a new government is in place, and Botswana has urged
the international community to tell Mugabe "you are on your own".
Zimbabwe's unity deal was hailed as a step toward hauling Zimbabwe out of
political turmoil and economic ruin, but instead the nation has sunk deeper
The explosion of cholera is the latest sign of the collapse of the country
which was regarded as a post-colonial success story in the first two decades
after independence from Britain in 1980.
Now Zimbabwe is now burdened by the world's highest rate of inflation --
last put at 231 million percent.
Mugabe's government suffered another blow Friday, as a regional tribunal
ruled that 78 white Zimbabweans can keep their farms because the
government's land reform scheme discriminated against them.
Judge Luis Mondlane, president of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) tribunal based in Namibia, said that Zimbabwe had violated the treaty
governing the 15-nation regional bloc by trying to seize the white-owned
By Alex Bell
28 November 2008
Harare's streets were on Friday the site of total chaos as angry uniformed
soldiers decided to vent their frustration on traders, forex dealers and
passersby, on the city streets.
The attacks began after a large group of soldiers went on the rampage at a
bank on Thursday. Bank tellers had been unable to pay them the full amounts
they wanted to withdraw, after they had spent a full day in the queue. These
long queues outside banks have become a common feature because of the
serious shortage of currency, as well as the restrictive limit on cash
withdrawals. It's understood the group ran amok and vented their anger on
the staff of Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group along Samora Machel Avenue in
Harare, after the bank ran out of cash by the end of the day.
The group of an estimated 60 to 70 men had queued to make cash withdrawals
until closing time on Thursday afternoon. Banks in Harare are now required
to serve all customers already in the banking hall at closing time. But
roughly an hour after the doors were shut, bank officials announced there
was no more money to pay out - causing outcry among the uniformed group. The
men assaulted bank staff and broke windows before pouring out onto the
streets, blocking traffic and intimidating passersby.
SW Radio Africa's Harare correspondent, Simon Muchemwa explained that forex
traders were the next victims of the soldiers' rampage on Thursday. But he
said that Friday also turned into a nightmare when the soldiers returned to
take out their frustrations on the public..
"On Friday afternoon they returned and started ransacking all the banks and
shops," Muchwema explained. "Lots of shops were looted and the soldiers were
beating everyone in sight."
The Military police were eventually called in to try and calm the situation,
and Muchemwa described the scene as 'chaos' as military police tried to
control and arrest the uniformed soldiers. "Every shop and bank has been
closed and people are so afraid," Muchemwa said. "Everyone knew that the
situation in the country would one day come to an end, and this civil unrest
is the beginning of that end."
Muchemwa said there were also concerns that the soldiers were planning on
conducting door to door raids from Friday night, to continue venting their
anger - despite the attacks being grossly misguided. Muchemwa said it was
'unfortunate' that the public is bearing the brunt of the total collapse of
the country, by becoming victims of violence, because of problems directly
caused by the government.
Independent economic analyst John Robertson, had previously told Newsreel
that public unrest was 'foreseeable' because of the tension caused by the
central bank's decision to restrictively limit cash withdrawals. On Friday
he expressed a lack of surprise at the news that soldiers went on the
rampage, but added that "it is surprising that there hasn't been an outbreak
of serious violence before this, because there have been obvious signs of
It is yet unclear however if the cash crisis and the general frustration
over the cash withdrawal limits is the only reason for the violent outburst
by the soldiers. It has been suggested by some sources that the attacks have
been orchestrated and possibly motivated by the ongoing political stalemate
between ZANU PF and the MDC. There are fears soldiers are clamping down on
the public in an effort to intimidate them - in the event that the MDC
should pull out of the talks for a unity government.
Meanwhile a meeting convened by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in
Masvingo on Monday called on Zimbabweans to converge on banks next Wednesday
and stage demonstrations if they fail to withdraw their funds from the
banks. Robertson argued on Friday that targeting and blaming the banks for a
situation that has been created by the government and echoed by the Reserve
Bank, was unfair, saying the banks "are victims of the exact same problem."
By Lance Guma
28 November 2008
A tribunal of the regional SADC grouping on Friday has ruled that Zimbabwe's
violent land reform exercise did discriminate against the 78 white farmers
who filed a group application challenging the seizure of their farms. The
ruling, which was made during a sitting in Namibia's Supreme Court, has far
reaching implications for Mugabe's land grab, widely seen as punishment for
white farmers who allegedly supported the opposition. It means the 78
farmers who filed the application can keep their farms. Whether the regime
will comply with the order is another matter.
The President of the tribunal, Judge Luis Mondlane, ruled that Zimbabwe was
'in breach of the SADC treaty with regards to discrimination' when it seized
the farms. It also slammed the fact that government hasn't paid fair
compensation for any farms. The government meanwhile said it has not yet
received the judgment from the court. The SADC tribunal was set up to ensure
the objectives of the regional grouping's founding treaty are adhered to.
These include issues of human and property rights.
William Michael Campbell filed the test case last year in December and
sought relief from what he called, 'a continued onslaught of invasions and
intimidation.' But in June 2008 Campbell's family was attacked on their
farm, abducted and tortured at a militia camp, just two days after Mugabe's
sham one-man presidential election run-off. Campbell was beaten unconscious
and is now totally deaf in one ear after his ear drum burst during the
beatings. Ben Freeth, his son in law, sustained a fractured skull and
underwent brain surgery which involved having a hole drilled into his skull
to drain the blood. Despite this they returned to the farm in September and
continued to challenge the seizure of their land in court.
Newsreel spoke to Ben Freeth soon after the SADC judgment was delivered. He
said, 'We are just elated. It is so wonderful to have a judgment that is
clear and strong and in essence says the rule of law is above politics. No
kings, princes or politician is above the law.' He said they hoped the
government will adhere to the ruling because all they wanted to do was get
on with their normal lives and farm. He said since they left hospital the
level of interference on the farm has dropped and all they were grappling
with were regular incidents of theft.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe's Supreme Court this week dismissed a constitutional
lawsuit brought by Danish farmer Kim Bikertoft, who lost his Nyahondo Farm
in Chinhoyi to a government acquisition order. Bikertoft argued that the
takeover of the farm by Retired Brigadier General Walter Tapfumaneyi,
violated the Bilateral Investment and Protection Agreement signed between
Zimbabwe and Denmark in 1996. The Supreme Court dismissed the application
saying it will provide the reasons at a later stage. Lawyers for the farmer
say they have now exhausted all the legal remedies in Zimbabwe and will now
be seeking a, 'specific declaration to the SADC Tribunal that Zimbabwe acts
in accordance with international law.'
The failure of the Supreme Court to protect foreign investment in the
country bodes ill for future investment and summarizes the probable attitude
of the government to Fridays' SADC ruling made in Namibia.
by Brigitte Weidlich Brigitte Weidlich - Fri Nov 28, 11:35 am ET
WINDHOEK (AFP) - A southern African tribunal ruled Friday that 78 white
Zimbabweans can keep their farms because Harare's land reform scheme
discriminated against them.
Judge Luis Mondlane, president of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) tribunal, said Zimbabwe had violated the treaty governing the
15-nation regional bloc by trying to seize the white-owned farms.
President Robert Mugabe's government "is in breach of the SADC treaty with
regards to discrimination," Mondlane said, in a ruling seen as a test of the
new tribunal's influence.
"The 78 applicants have a clear legal title (for their farms) and were
denied access to the judiciary locally," he said.
Three of the 78 farmers have already been forced from their land, and the
court ruled that Zimbabwe had also violated the treaty by failing to pay
them fair compensation, he said.
For the remaining 75 farmers, Mondlane ordered Zimbabwe's government "to
take all measures to protect the possessions and ownership" of their land.
"No actions may be taken by insurgents and others to interfere with or
disturb the peaceful activities of the remaining 75 applicants," he said.
The verdict is the first major ruling by the court since it first convened
in April last year.
By treaty, the court's rulings are binding, but Zimbabwe did not immediately
say if it would comply.
Zimbabwe's ambassador to Namibia, Chipo Zindoga, said the government did not
yet have a formal response to the ruling, but warned the verdict could
interfere in the country's controversial land reforms.
Eight years ago Zimbabwe began seizing white-owned farms to resettle them
with landless blacks, but the chaotic programme was plagued by deadly
violence and some farms ended up in the hands of cronies of President Robert
"The resettled farmers will be perplexed and alarmed that this ruling will
interfere with the land reform," Zindoga said.
The group of white farmers was led by William Michael Campbell, who filed
the case last December to seek court relief "from a continued onslaught of
invasions and intimidation," according to court papers.
"I am overwhelmed," a tearful but joyful Campbell said minutes after the
ruling, after exchanging hugs with fellow farmers and his lawyers.
"The judgement is historic, the end of a very long legal battle. I call on
all SADC leaders to see to it that the rule of law is respected in SADC and
that peace prevails in Zimbabwe and we all can farm," Campbell's son-in-law
Ben Freeth told AFP.
Chris Jarrett, vice chairman of the Southern African Commercial Farmers
Alliance, said he hoped that Zimbabwe would respect the ruling.
"Today's ruling does not just stop here, it will affect the whole of the
SADC region. It sends a precedent for the African continent," Jarrett said.
The SADC tribunal was created as part of a peer review mechanism within the
organisation. It aims to ensure the objectives of SADC's founding treaty,
including human rights and property rights, are upheld.
If it is respected, the ruling could influence land reforms other countries
around southern Africa.
In Zimbabwe and many neighbouring countries, white settlers took most of the
best farmland during colonial times. Now African nations face a dilemma in
how to bring black farmers back onto the land without disrupting food
Zimbabwe gave much of its land to inexperienced farmers and provided them
little support, causing an enormous drop in food production that critics say
is at the root of current shortages.
November 28 2008 at 02:53PM
South Africa says it has blocked Zimbabwe's opposition leader from
leaving the country because his travel documents expired.
A spokesperson for South Africa's Ministry of Home Affairs says Morgan
Tsvangirai was refused permission to board a flight to Morocco Wednesday.
Spokesperson Siobhan McCarthy says an exception had been made to allow
Tsvangirai into South Africa but that they could not allow him to travel to
a third country.
Tsvangirai called this week for former South African President Thabo
Mbeki to stop mediating deadlocked talks to form a power-sharing government
in Zimbabwe. - Sapa-AP
November 28, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Magistrates in Zimbabwe have gone on a countrywide strike to press
government to review their salaries as well as improve their working
Provincial, senior and junior magistrates walked out on Wednesday saying
government continues to ignore their pleas for better working conditions.
Although not specifying on the amount ideal for their new salaries, the
magistrates have since been agitating for each one of them to be issued with
a personal vehicle by government.
Zimbabweans magistrates are not entitled to any vehicles.
A Harare magistrate who spoke to the Zimbabwe Times Thursday said a full job
action was finally called Wednesday after it had become apparent government
was not willing to respond to their pleas for improved working conditions.
The strike, which started in Harare Wednesday, spread to other cities and
towns with Bulawayo, Mutare, Chinhoyi and Gwanda courts said to have joined
Prisoners awaiting trial are being remanded in custody as there are no
magistrates to hear their cases.
Government has been accused of practicing double standards after it recently
sourced brand new vehicles for the spouses of judges, their clerks and
messengers of court, who are not even government employees.
No explanation was given for that.
Sources have revealed that two messengers of court who recently benefited
from government's benevolence are one Smart Moyo in Harare and one Victor
Gwekwerere who operates in Chitungwiza.
Justice and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary David Mangota is said
to have sanctioned the purchase of the vehicles through the Reserve Bank of
"This is open corruption," said a disgruntled magistrate who spoke on
condition he was not named.
"Messengers of court and the wives of judges do not appear on any of our
structures and yet government is still capable of finding a compelling need
for them to be issued with cars at our expense."
Efforts to seek comment from both Mangota and Patrick Chinamasa, the
outgoing justice minister were fruitless.
Chinamasa is however said to have snubbed a five-member delegation of
magistrates, who were tasked to approach his office over the matter a few
weeks ago. He apparently told them they would have to wait for a new
Minister of Justice when President Robert Mugabe the new cabinet is
Mangota is said to have gone a step further by telling the magistrates that
he has been a magistrate before and as far as he was concerned, "it was
impossible for magistrates to starve".
The response by Mangota was interpreted as a hidden encouragement for
magistrates to take bribes in order to supplement their salaries.
The magistrate said, "We cannot continue to rely on corruption to feed our
families. Why would we put ourselves at the risk of being arrested when we
have an employer to take care of such basic needs?"
It seems as though most of the people I am coming across are not even aware
that the power negotiation talks resumed in South Africa. Everybody is now
concentrating on living in a fast-collapsing economy.
Talk in Harare's streets is of the deadly cholera outbreak that is
decimating the urban populace.
A relation of mine lost a business associate of his who resided in Budiriro.
The man first complained of severe stomach cramps before he began suffering
from massive diarrhea and vomiting. He lost his life within 6 hours, leaving
a wife and family to whom he was breadwinner.
The numbers of dead from cholera are piling up and still the cover-up
operation continues with the administration not will to admit it has failed
the people and declare a national health emergency. Lives can still be
saved, but acknowledgement of failure and acceptance is a prerequisite from
the administration so that efficient and expedite ways of containing the
outbreak are sought.
It seems there is another cover-up too:
I learnt yesterday from an insider that bodies are returning to Manyame
Airbase aboard airforce planes in body bags as the war in the Congo ravages.
A lot of secrecy has surrounded the deployment of soldiers into the DRC
conflict but reports of Zimbabwean military activity are being received,
even from foreign media correspondence. The DRC excursion has proved to be
very unpopular amongst members of Zimbabwe's demoralized army who are not
prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice while safeguarding the interests of
an unpopular dictatorship. They have also been deployed in helicopter
gunships to launch air assault operations on illegal diamond miners in the
Marange diamond fields.
This entry was written by Freedom Writer on Friday, November 28th, 2008
Fri 28 Nov 2008, 12:00 GMT
By Laura MacInnis
GENEVA, Nov 28 (Retuers) - Fast-spreading cholera is "the tip of the
iceberg" of what stands to be a major health crisis in Zimbabwe, United
Nations agencies said on Friday.
Nearly 400 Zimbabweans have died from the disease, which has infected more
than 9,400 people and spread to neighbouring South Africa and Botswana.
A lack of clean drinking water and adequate toilets are the main triggers of
Zimbabwe's epidemic of the preventable and treatable diarrhoeal disease that
can be fatal, especially in children, according to the World Health
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said there are very few places where people
infected with cholera in Zimbabwe can seek medical care, and the clinics
that are open have far too few health workers to contain the outbreak.
"Cholera is only the tip of the iceberg in Zimbabwe. The health system is
very weak in this country," she told a news briefing in Geneva.
International aid groups are building latrines, distributing medicines and
hygiene kits, delivering truckloads of water, and repairing blocked sewers
across Zimbabwe to mitigate the cholera emergency.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has begun delivering
food for Zimbabwean doctors, nurses and other health workers who have not
been paid because of their country's economic collapse.
"Some of the staff working in the clinics have not received a salary for
weeks, and they cannot keep working if we do not get them food," ICRC
spokeswoman Anna Schaaf said.
The agency said on Thursday it was doubling the budget of its Zimbabwe
office to nearly 13 million Swiss francs ($11 million) in 2009. "The
situation in hospitals is catastrophic," ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger
Zimbabwe's inflation is more than 230 million percent. Its economic crisis
has caused many public hospitals to close, and most towns suffer from only
intermittent water supplies, broken sewers, and uncollected garbage.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that 9,463
people in Zimbabwe have been infected by cholera in the latest outbreak, and
that 389 have died.
Cholera spreads through contaminated water used in drinking and food
preparation, and poor hygiene. It causes vomiting and diarrhoea and can lead
to death from dehydration if untreated.
The U.N. children's agency UNICEF said that to stop the current outbreak,
Zimbawbwe's water pipes, sewers, and latrines need to be fixed, new
boreholes need to be drilled, and water treatment chemicals need to be
distributed across the country.
"Without international support, the lives of children in Zimbabwe will
remain in grave danger," it said in a statement. (Additional reporting by
Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Louise Ireland)
Pan African News Agency (PANA)
Date: 28 Nov 2008
Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - China announced Friday it would give
cholera-plagued Zimbabwe vaccines worth US$ 500,000 to help the country
contain an outbreak of the disease which has claimed the lives of about 400
people in recent weeks.
Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans have been hit by cholera countrywide,
prompting regional and international aid agencies, including the World
Health Organization , to step in with assistance.
Neighbouring South Africa, where cholera-related deaths of Zimbabweans have
been reported, announced this week it would keep its borders open to sick
Zimbabwean s seeking medical treatment.
A Chinese diplomat said the vaccines were being rushed to Zimbabwe and
should arrive in the country shortly.
"We are sympathizing with the Zimbabwean people and we want to help as best
as w e can to stop the spread of the cholera disease that has killed many
people in t h is country," He Meng, deputy Chinese Ambassador to Harare,
The cholera outbreak is being blamed on poor sanitation, particularly lack
of clean water supplies in most urban areas.
Friday, November 28, 2008 at 9:20 AM
Humanitarian organizations trying to prevent a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe
from becoming a regional catastrophe are feeding unpaid hospital employees
so they can keep working, the United Nations said Friday.
By FRANK JORDANS
Associated Press Writer
Humanitarian organizations trying to prevent a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe
from becoming a regional catastrophe are feeding unpaid hospital employees
so they can keep working, the United Nations said Friday.
Aid agencies including UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red
Cross are accelerating efforts in the southern African country, rushing
food, water, hygiene kits and body bags to stop the spread of the disease.
More than 9,900 cases have been reported - and 412 people have died - as
Zimbabwe's beleaguered health system struggles to cope.
"Water and sanitation problems are huge," said Fadela Chaib, a World Health
Organization spokeswoman in Geneva.
Cholera can be easily prevented and treated if properly handled, Chaib said.
But crumbling clinics, starving staff and lack of clean water, even at
health centers, is making it difficult for Zimbabwe to cope.
The Red Cross said it is supplying hospital staff members with food so they
can continue working, Many haven't been paid in weeks, forcing them to leave
work in search for food.
Zimbabwe is suffering from three years of failed agricultural harvests,
hyperinflation and sanctions. The country's government has come to a
standstill while President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai try to agree the details of a power-sharing deal.
"We know that Zimbabwe is suffering from very, very weak health
infrastructure," Chaib said. "Cholera is only the tip of the iceberg in
With efforts to control the outbreak stymied by a lack of government action,
aid agencies say they are particularly concerned about the possibility of
Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak turning into a regional problem. About a third
of the country's cases have been reported in the southern town of
Beitbridge, a key border crossing with South Africa.
UNICEF said several suspected cases have been reported in South Africa and
neighboring Botswana over the past month. Aid groups are anxious about what
will happen when seasonal rains start causing floods.
"The cholera crisis could deepen," said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, a spokesman
for the International Organization for Migration.
GWERU, November 28 2008 - The onset of the rainy season initially
raised hopes that the persistent food shortages being faced by many
Zimbabweans may be alleviated.
But sadly, this is not so, Zimbabweans should brace for another hungry
year as most farmers are failing to plant crops, due to a lack of inputs
including seed and fertlizer among other thingss.
Normally there would have been a lot of agricultural activity at this
time but as evidenced at some of the former commercial farms that RadioVOP
visited, this is not so.
Village 15 near the former mining town of Mvuma, in Chirumhanzu
district in the Midlands Province, used to be part of the Central Estates
cattle ranch. It used to comprise more than 100 kilometers of arable land,
stretching from the town to the Mhondoro communal lands.
The landscape is now dotted with grass dwellings as well as
pole-and-mud huts. Some are so dilapidated they seem to have been
abandoned.Similarly most of the fields adjacent to the homesteads either lie
fallow or are overgrown, intensifying the overall atmosphere of neglect.
If this were a normal agricultural season dry-planted crops would be
in various stages of growth. But despite the on-set of the rainy season
there has not been much planting in Village 15. Only a handful of farmers
can be seen in the fields.
Villagers complained that when available, seed and other inputs are
either charged in foreign currency or sold at too high prices in local
Obvious Gara is one of the few who have managed to plant some seed.
Gara said he has been able to plant because he had seed left over from last
"It's not enough," he said. " I would need a hundred kilograms of
maize seed to complete the whole field. I am afraid to use ordinary seed
which is untreated because I fear it might not germinate. If everything was
alright, I would be able to produce more than I did last year, and be able
to supply maize to those in town and others from around who would not have
the maize, helping to avert the hunger that is stalking the country," he
Another villager, Tapiwa pointed to a small patch of land, despair
etched on his face.
Looking hungry, Tapiwa said he thinks the country faces another
disastrous season. "At the moment I have not done any meaningful planting. I
don't have even a grain of seed. It will be difficult to avert the current
food crisis because we can't grow anything as we don't have seed,' he
Other villagers, complained that under normal circumstances most of
their crops would be at an advanced stage of growth. with the maize crop
almost knee-high. In the past some farmers used to plant untreated maize but
this year most do not even have grain to feed their families.
Some war veterans also expressed concern over the unavailability of
inputs and castigated people involved in Operation Maguta - who are supposed
to give inputs to farmers - for being corrupt. Most inputs provided by the
government rarely benefit real farmers as they end up on the parallel
While some residents of Chirumhanzu worry about the unavailability of
seed, their counterparts in Shurugwi, Chiundura and Lower Gweru face other
Nyaradzo Gede, a farmer in Shurugwi said that even if seed was
available, it would be difficult to plant because of a lack of draught power
and farming implements.
Most farmers in the areas exchange their cows with maize as hunger
takes its toil. Others cannot work due to hunger.
The World Food Programme recently warned it would have to cut rations
in Zimbabwe due to a lack of funds from donors. Over 5 million peopleare
expected to need food aid by January. Food aid agencies need to raise about
USD 550 million to feed hungry people in Zimbabwe.
By Lance Guma
28 November 2008
Amakhosi Theatre director Cont Mhlanga has picked up an international award
for his politically charged satirical play The Good President. Mhlanga also
received US$50 000 for winning the Artventure Freedom to Create Prize.
The awards ceremony was held in London but Mhlanga was in Zimbabwe at the
time. He told journalists, 'I am extremely humbled by the recognition of my
work. This award is not just for me, it is for those artists who are
victimised for working with me, and it is an award for theatre in this
country. Theatre is the only tool that amplifies the people's voice in
Mhlanga has been a long time critic of the Mugabe regime and has had several
of his plays banned by the authorities. The Good President, for example,
mirrors how an African dictator has ruled a country for 27 years and closely
narrates Zimbabwe's own current problems under Mugabe.
In their citation for Mhlanga's award, Artventure said he had challenged and
questioned state ideologies, policies, corruption, nepotism and the
leadership for more than 25 years. Other groups to win awards included the
Belarus Free Theatre, Pakistani-Norwegian singer and human rights activist
Deeyah and Burmese satirist Zarganar, recently imprisoned for 45 years
Buses arrive every day dropping migrant workers in the city, but not many
have time to go back home because they are so busy working. But Warren doesn't take people, he takes cargo and money to migrant workers'
families. They trust him to take sacks of maize meal, rice, oil and hard currency back
home where people desperately need them. Warren is one of around 20 bus drivers, standing around chatting and chomping
on watermelon, waiting to fill their buses. "We take things for about 20 or 30 people at a time, depending on what they
want to send," he says. Expensive A small box can cost 200 rand ($20, £13) to send to Harare, bigger sacks cost
much more. They charge a 20% commission on 1,000 rand. But Zimbabweans don't have much choice as electronic money transfers don't
reach rural areas. And their own currency is now totally worthless, teachers can't even buy a
loaf of bread with their monthly pay. A ragged cardboard sign shows his destinations, but he'll take a delivery
right to the customer's door and then phone them when he's back to say "job
done". Trust David, a 26-year-old painter has been using these minibuses for two years to
take back food for his family. He has seven people to provide for. "Only three are working, but that isn't enough, there's nothing to buy,
nothing." The whole system works on trust. "It wasn't easy the first time to trust them," he says. "I kept calling them constantly finding out how far they had got, but when my
family called to say they had received it, my mind was settled." An estimated three million Zimbabweans have gone to earn their living in
South Africa, as their economy has collapsed at home. The bus drivers are anticipating a rush in demand at the beginning of
December, as people start sending things back for the festive season. With no end in sight to the crisis, these couriers will be in business for
BBC News, Johannesburg
Migrant worker in Johannesburg
Buses arrive every day dropping migrant workers in the city, but not many have time to go back home because they are so busy working.
But Warren doesn't take people, he takes cargo and money to migrant workers' families.
They trust him to take sacks of maize meal, rice, oil and hard currency back home where people desperately need them.
Warren is one of around 20 bus drivers, standing around chatting and chomping on watermelon, waiting to fill their buses.
"We take things for about 20 or 30 people at a time, depending on what they want to send," he says.
A small box can cost 200 rand ($20, £13) to send to Harare, bigger sacks cost much more.
They charge a 20% commission on 1,000 rand.
But Zimbabweans don't have much choice as electronic money transfers don't reach rural areas.
And their own currency is now totally worthless, teachers can't even buy a loaf of bread with their monthly pay.
A ragged cardboard sign shows his destinations, but he'll take a delivery right to the customer's door and then phone them when he's back to say "job done".
David, a 26-year-old painter has been using these minibuses for two years to take back food for his family.
He has seven people to provide for.
"Only three are working, but that isn't enough, there's nothing to buy, nothing."
The whole system works on trust.
"It wasn't easy the first time to trust them," he says.
"I kept calling them constantly finding out how far they had got, but when my family called to say they had received it, my mind was settled."
An estimated three million Zimbabweans have gone to earn their living in South Africa, as their economy has collapsed at home.
The bus drivers are anticipating a rush in demand at the beginning of December, as people start sending things back for the festive season.
With no end in sight to the crisis, these couriers will be in business for some time.
No private radio or station or private daily newspaper. The news bulletin lasts close to one hour with interludes of history of the struggle against white domination — a good idea, especially, for the young.
The capital city Harare is beautiful, but its streets are clogged with thousands of jobless pedestrians, thanks to the closure of the country’s businesses as a result of the cash crisis caused by the ruler’s draconian ways.
Giant supermarkets have been reduced to village shops with a few items at the front of the shop and empty shelves concealed in the back as police do the rounds to catch any shopkeeper displaying empty shelves.
Another trick is the display of signs screaming ‘stock taking’ at the door of a closed shop.
Water is in abundant supply at a nearby dam but chemicals for treating the precious commodity are scarce hence the numerous deaths from cholera.
Welcome to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. In fact from the outside, you may think it is hell on earth, but Zimbabwe still remains one of the most beautiful countries on earth.
The capital, Harare, boasts one of the most beautiful residential areas on the continent.
Harare has many high class residential areas built to European standards and without the high walls that are common in Nairobi.
Robert Mugabe himself lives in one of the top residential areas known as Borrowdale where he has his own house. His top guest, former Ethiopian ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam, is ensconced in Gunhill, another top residential area.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has his residence in a area known as Strathaven.
Indeed, Harare or Salisbury as it was known before Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, was designed for the rich.
The nearest estate where the poor reside is Mbare, some five kilometres away from the city centre. Other estates for the middle class such as Highfields, the bedrock of Zimbabwe politics and where Mugabe still has a house, is located 10 kilometres from the city centre.
In Harare, the rich compete in designing unique palaces. One tycoon has even designed a house with a lift that enables everyone around to see when he is on his way upstairs for lunch.
To be exceedingly rich in Zimbabwe, one needs to be a Mugabe ally. One such man is Mr Phillip Chiyangwa, a property tycoon who had a licence to sell city plots. He is Mugabe’s nephew.
However, amid the wealth and the fantastic road network, at 231 million per cent, Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world.
To fill a trolley with a few basic household goods at a supermarket, one needs the equivalent of Sh23,400 or 300 US dollars.
The dollar exchanges at a rate of 900,000 Zim dollars, now known as the Zim Kwacha on the backstreets, a derogatory term used to compare it with the formerly weak currencies of Zambia and Malawi. In one day, you can have three different exchange rates.
It is not uncommon to find one armed with several means of payment while out shopping. There are shops that accept the US dollar, others accept only the Zim dollar while others accept cheques or credit cards.
While in Harare, be ready for surprises. One of the craziest cases is where one pays bus fare and is issued a ticket but on boarding the bus, a pass of some hundreds of thousands of Zim dollars is demanded by the conductor.
Even the shops cannot handle the zeroes. Imagine a figure known as the zillion. It has some 69 zeroes. Which cash machine would handle it? There is also a trillion which comes with 12 zeroes and decillion with 33 zeroes.
I was, therefore, not surprised to see some Zimbabwe dollars being swept and thrown into the trash can at Harare’s international bus station, known as Roadport.
With the cash crisis comes cholera which has killed close to 300 people in the country since August. The cholera results from water contamination as a result of lack of chemicals to purify the water.
Friday, 28 November 2008
Mozambique seizes US$225 million bound for Zimbabwe
APA-Maputo (Mozambique) Mozambique on Thursday arrested two Pakistan
nationals trying to smuggle US$225 million in cash into Zimbabwe at
Machipanda border post in central Manica Province, Radio Mozambique reported
Quoting police officials, the state-controlled broadcaster said the
money was starched in an old sack in the boot of a light vehicle when police
and customs officials pounced on the vehicle while conducting routine
The two Pakistanis did not reveal the purpose of the money but said
they were going to Zimbabwe to update their residence permits in Mozambique
since their diplomatic representation is based there.
Police spokesman in Manica Province, Pedro Jamusse, told the
broadcaster that this is the first ever apprehension of such large sums of
money after Machipanda boarder became notorious for illegal foreign currency
"This is a huge apprehension, it's a lot of money and we are still
investing where it (the money) is coming from and its final destination. So
far we have beefed up joint security operation to protect the money now in
the hands of the customs department and the ministry of finance," Jamusse
Mozambique only allows a maximum of US$5000 to go through its
boarders, ports and airports and undeclared money reverts to state coffers
Television footages showed the US$100 packs of notes starched into an
old sack in the boot of a light five-seat vehicle.
Machipanda boarder post has in the recent past became the hive of
foreign-currency business trading centre as thousands of desperate
Zimbabweans flock to Manica and Chimoio to buy groceries, which are far
cheaper than those found across in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans have swamped shops in Manica and Chimoio where basic
commodities, including fuel, are loaded onto trucks.
HARARE, November 28 2008 - Some companies in crisis hit Zimbabwe are
now paying workers with fuel coupons that are redeemable in US dollars, as
the local currency increasingly becomes useless, a RadioVOP survey has
This comes amid reports that the Zimbabwean government on Tuesday
formulated a new survival strategy which will see foreign
currency-denominated fuel coupons become the mode of settling day-to-day
transactions. Many local firms, however, have been accepting the coupons as
a form of payment.
Cabinet sources told RadioVOP that the decision was made after candid
revelations by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono that
banks were running out of cash in the local currency, and that this could
spark civil unrest.
Sources said Gono told President Robert Mugabe that Fidelity Printers,
the central bank's subsidiary which handles printing and minting operations,
could no longer cope with churning out the astronomical volumes of notes it
was being requested to produce.
He told Cabinet that Fidelity's machines were now too old and
frequently broke down, with spares being difficult to source. He said the
RBZ would soon be forced to stop printing notes altogether because of the
decision by its German suppliers to cut paper supplies.
The RBZ Governor said the situation was also being worsened by the
fact that all the money the bank availed to financial institutions quickly
disappeared into the informal market where thriving foreign currency
exchange deals are rampant.
It was also pointed out that Zimbabweans no longer deposited real cash
into their accounts because they are only allowed to draw a maximum of less
than one US dollar a day. Mugabe this week extended Gono's contract by
another five years.
"mr" by Smart Tembo at Friday, 28 November 2008 17:56
Its good for some companies to try and avert a crisis and save the worker
but imagine a Company like ZISCOSTEEL which is a crisis in the making.
People are getting peannuts for pay and they cannot even access the money.
Imagine a person from Torwood who has to walk to Kwekwe fifteen ks away to
get a MISERABLE $500 000 AND HAS TO WALK BACK HOME. Transport home costs
what he gets from the bank.Imagine his only LIVELIHOOD is the ZISCO-PEANUTS.
LIFE IS HELL IN ZIMBABWE for some workers. IF YOUR COMPANY pays you in kind
perhaps yo can be able to SURVIVE otherwise thats what we work for TO
Young girls, many barely adolescent, sell sex in capital's seedy nightclubs
to support themselves and their families.
By Chipo Sithole in Harare (ZCR No. 169, 28-Nov-08)
Six months ago, 14-year-old Chipo Munyeza boarded a bus to go from her rural
home in Masvingo south-eastern Zimbabwe to Zimbabwe's bustling capital,
She travelled with friends who assured her she would be able to get a job as
a maid, enabling her to look after her impoverished siblings back home.
Today, she is one of hundreds of girls, many as young as 13, who sell their
bodies in Harare's seedy nightclubs, with their grubby neon signs and
crumbling, once glitzy, decor.
Critics blame growing prostitution in Zimbabwe on President Robert Mugabe,
whose policies, they say, have turned the nation, which was once an exporter
of food, into a beggar state with unprecedented levels of unemployment.
Small, with the short, kinky hair of a typical Zimbabwean girl, Chipo does
not fit the picture of a sex worker. Yet she dances suggestively to rumba
music blaring from the disco at the popular Liz, the Queen Elizabeth Hotel,
in an attempt to attract men, who come from far and wide to pick up girls
from this bustling bar.
Nightclubs like the Liz are always packed with girls drawn from the
dirt-poor townships around Harare.
In the dimly-lit pub with its purple fluorescent lights and deafening music,
prostitutes sell the only thing they can. Teenage girls far outnumber the
men - the pub teems with half-naked girls gyrating to the beat and available
for a price.
Bouncers at the gate no longer bother to check the age of what one guard
called these "veteran hookers".
"It's the way they have chosen for themselves," he said. "It's pointless
trying to stop them from getting in - some of these kids even pay us bribes
to let them in."
Chipo demands 10 US dollars, or 100 South African rand, for sex. She refuses
to accept payment in the rapidly devaluing Zimbabwe dollar.
She tells IWPR she was persuaded to enter prostitution after realising it
was the only way she could survive the harsh realities of city life.
Humanitarian agencies say more and more professional women in Zimbabwe are
earning a living by selling sex, with even married women joining the trade.
Thelma Msika, a civil rights activist, told IWPR that the desperate
conditions in the country are forcing women into prostitution in increasing
"While the government and several non-governmental organisations are trying
to check the spread of HIV through prostitution, a combination of poverty
and ignorance is frustrating [these] efforts," said Msika.
"These sex workers depend on the profession for a living but we must not
lose focus; we must realise that it is the men who are actually creating the
demand. We obviously urge the sex workers to be creative and find
alternative means of survival, but in these economic circumstances it's a
Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis has taken its toll on the capital's
once vibrant nightlife. But some men who have the cash trek to the myriad
bars in the city centre to take advantage of young girls driven into the
oldest profession by the desperate economic situation.
With a countrywide unemployment rate of more than 80 per cent, the few
people who can still afford a night out - Harare's wheeler dealers - are
seemingly oblivious of the country's dire situation as they order one drink
"Economic crisis? What economic crisis?" asked a foreign-currency dealer,
who would only give his middle name, Joshua, for fear of his wife finding
out about his carousing.
"Everything is fine," he said, seated on a peeling plush couch surrounded by
several teenage prostitutes.
Monya, a powerfully built security guard, tells IWPR he is not busy at all
these days, unlike earlier in the year when male customers pushed and shoved
their way around the joint.
"The pub is full of prostitutes with no one to service," he said.
Sitting at the bar in despair, Patience, a streetwise sex worker in a
low-cut top, wonders how she will support her four-year-old son if
Zimbabwean politicians don't set aside their differences and make an effort
to jumpstart the moribund economy.
"There is nothing we can do except wait," she said, referring to the stalled
power-sharing agreement signed between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Signed in September, the deal was intended to usher in a new all-inclusive
government widely expected to pull the country back from the brink of
economic ruin. However, due to a series of disagreements, the political
rivals have so far failed to form a government.
While the economy collapses, nightclubs like Liz are not about to give up,
hoping that added attractions like sexually suggestive belly dancing and
karaoke, plus beer at half price, will generate big bucks again.
While many young girls work in seedy nightclubs, some approach truck drivers
and others go after the rich.
The "highway girls", as they are called, are often picked up by cross-border
truck drivers - a practice the health authorities say is feeding an AIDS
epidemic that kills 2,500 Zimbabweans each week.
"I have to do this because there are no jobs, and the income is a bit higher
than selling vegetables," said Rumbidzai, who has worked as a prostitute for
two years in a parking bay for heavy trucks in Harare.
"I know there is AIDS, and I insist on condoms."
The highway girls are such a common sight they have been immortalised in a
popular song, Madhara Egonyeti, or Elderly Truckers, which pleads with
drivers to refrain from having sex with young girls.
Across town, in the red light district of Avenues, a leafy suburb which
looks clean by day, yet turns into a prostitutes' lair at night, half-naked
hookers line the streets.
Tracy, who describes herself as "a qualified teacher who gave up her
profession to become a professional hooker", works on Fife Avenue, a main
Her favourite spot is near the Tiperary Night Club, an upmarket pub
patronised by Harare's rich, a stone's throw from the flat she shares with
her sister. She said she is not too picky about her clientele, who are
generally upper class.
Among her clients, she counts rich and powerful men, including politicians,
government ministers, priests and "anyone with US dollars, seeking pleasures
of the flesh", she tells IWPR. "As long as they have money, I deal with
them. I don't really care," she said.
She turned to prostitution because she could not live off her teachers'
salary, she said.
"I am a big girl. I couldn't continue bothering my parents. They don't know
this is how I live, but I look after them well. They can't survive in this
environment of such hardship. At least business is good in the Avenues."
Lying between Harare's city centre and its leafy suburbs, the Avenues
comprises bars and lodges, and the streets are crowded nightly with men
willing to pay anything up to 100 US dollars for a night with a prostitute.
Although for years, officials have tried to play down the area's lurid
attractions, it remains one of Harare's most popular nightspots.
Working the street in the Avenues can be challenging at times, said Tracy,
but it is far easier than jobs she has held in the past. By casting a wide
net and not being too picky about her clients, she said, she is able to earn
an average of 1,000 US dollars a month.
One soft-spoken woman, who quit her job as a nurse because she said she was
not earning enough to pay her bills, said she has been a prostitute for the
past two years, and makes a good living by carefully selecting her clients
in the Avenues area.
"I go for the executive type of men, mainly foreigners or diplomats. They
are the ones who have good money and are not reluctant to pay when you set a
price," she said.
She chose her current "career", she said, because she felt there was no
other way to put food on the table for her two children. She believes her
children know what she does for a living, yet tells herself "they
Her prices start at 100 US dollars for a night and a client who wants oral
sex will have to pay more. In addition, he may be required to buy her a few
drinks and perhaps take her out to dinner.
"Business in the Avenues is great," said the woman, who lives in Eastlea, a
working-class community on the outskirts of the city centre.
But, she adds, the job can be challenging at times - prostitutes are
sometimes harassed by police officers, who try to get them off the streets
and sometimes demand sex to release them.
Any prostitute found wandering in a public place, behaving in an indecent
manner or soliciting passersby can be jailed, once convicted, for up to two
months. Jail time may or may not include hard labour. A magistrate can also
impose a fine.
Female police officers have often posed as prostitutes in a bid to nail
A recent operation, codenamed "No to Prostitution" netted 12 kerb-crawlers,
including top businessmen, with police naming the offenders in the state
However, the operation was immediately stopped by the authorities, given its
potential for exposing and embarrassing top government officials well-known
for picking up young girls for sex.
Chipo Sithole is the pseudonym of an IWPR-trained reporter in Zimbabwe.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Not a week goes by in Zimbabwe without some so-called minister demonstrating
to the country and the world how ridiculous and incompetent they are as they
delve more and more into the world of make-believe. Anyone with half a brain
can see that the stories they continue to tell the world to explain Zimbabwe's
collapse are nothing more than downright fairy stories. And always there is
the wicked ogre - the west and western sanctions in particular - to justify
their every ludicrous claim that things are just fine in Zimbabwe. There is
no crisis, it's all a western plot designed to undermine Robert Mugabe and
give credence to the opposition. Never, will these tellers of tales admit
that they themselves might be just a little responsible for the absolute
breakdown of every aspect of life in Zimbabwe. Last week we had Gideon Gono,
surely one of the chief story tellers, blaming the country's astronomical
inflation rate on Zimbabweans themselves! It's all because they haven't
worked hard enough on the farms they were given, they have not made
sufficient use of all the benefits that were bestowed on them by a
munificent Reserve Bank which had bankrolled the country's noble and
patriotic land reform programme - at the behest of one Robert Mugabe, of
This week we had more fairy stories. It was those wicked sanctions that were
the cause of the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, the Deputy Minister of Health
Muguti claimed, " It is very regrettable that people are dying of cholera.
Maybe the ones who created this situation have decided to kill us softly."
Declaring that "The situation is under control", Muguti added with the usual
absence of logic that we have come to expect from the regime that there was
no need to declare the cholera outbreak as a national emergency - because it
is under control. The very next day after this extraordinary statement
Muguti contradicted himself by saying, " The outbreak will worsen with the
rains." The fact that it has been raining for over a month seemed to have
escaped his attention! Not once have the authorities admitted that it is
ZINWA's failure to provide clean and safe water for the country that is the
direct cause of the epidemic. Without forex they cannot buy the chemicals to
purify the water and the only source of legal foreign exchange is the
Reserve Bank headed by none other than Gideon Gono. Mugabe extended his term
of office for another five years this week despite the Agreement signed by
all three political parties that had clearly stipulated that no such
appointments would be made without the agreement of all the signatories.
It is Gideon Gono's refusal to increase the withdrawal rate that has made
life such hell for people who spend their lives standing in line waiting to
withdraw amounts so small that they will not even buy a quarter of a loaf of
bread, let alone medicines. The ZCTU is right to point out that Gideon Gono's
failure to increase the amount people can withdraw may well account for the
huge number of deaths from an entirely preventable disease. 'Killing them
softly' as Muguti described the actions of the imagined enemy is perhaps a
more apt way to describe what Mugabe and his cronies are doing to their own
people. As Eddy Cross pointed out this week, Didymus Mutasa's words some
years ago about having a population of only six million are fast becoming a
reality. Mutasa had said it would be preferable to have a reduced population
if they all supported the liberation struggle, ie Zanu PF.
The combination of lies and downright stupidity reached a crescendo with the
refusal to let the Elders into the country to see for themselves the
humanitarian situation. By refusing them entry the Zanu PF regime
demonstrated to the whole world their arrogant contempt for any opinion
other than their own. That action more than any other showed the world that
Mugabe will bow to no one; he really believes that he can take on the whole
world and win. A certain Adolf Hitler had the same belief. Did not Mugabe
say that if his enemies compared him to Hitler that did not bother him one
bit? Surrounded as he is by clownish, incompetent and unelected ministers
who faithfully echo his every wish it is not surprising that he now believes
himself to be invincible. SADC's cowardly failure to bring him to book have
merely supported him in this view. We have only to look at how the
government-controlled media covered the disgraceful refusal to admit the
Elders to understand the extremes they will go to defend Mugabe's stance.
Personal abuse and downright lies about the Elders may have satisfied Mugabe's
ego but they did nothing to ease the suffering of the people or bring a
solution to Zimbabwe's problems any nearer.
If the reports coming in that the MDC have officially pulled out of the
talks are true then I for one applaud their decision. Today the UK Daily
Telegraph reveals that buried deep in Zanu PF's version of the
Constitutional Amendment, Mugabe as President reserves the right to abandon
the Inter-party Agreement if 'for any reason' he sees fit. Such a
presidential decree would immediately nullify the Agreement and leave Prime
Minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai out of office. Despite all the
suffering the people have endured, I do not believe that is what they wanted
when they voted for the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai on March 29th.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, PH aka Pauline Henson author of
Countdown a political detective story set in Zimbabwe and available from
Carter intended to enter the country under the auspices of
“The Elders,” a sort of superhero team of wizened liberal
There is a King Lear-like aspect to the events involving Jimmy Carter that have played out this past week in Johannesburg. Last Friday the former president met up there with retired UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Graça Machel Mandela, intending to cross into increasingly anarchic Zimbabwe to investigate conditions there that have now added cholera outbreaks, with death tolls mounting into the hundreds, to the list of warning signs of total social collapse.
As such signs go, it’s a biggie. The discovery of the fecal-oral transmission of cholera is, for most doctors, the sharp defining line of demarcation between modernity and barbarity in medicine. If you have a proper civilization, you shouldn’t have cholera. And if cholera does show up, you should be able to treat the vast majority of cases with a blend of water, sugar and simple salts. (We call a very similar product “Gatorade” and dump it on football coaches — televised habit of conspicuous consumption that almost seems designed to flip the bird to the developing world.) Not long ago, Zimbabwe was counted as having solved the problem of decent urban water supplies — but the Mugabe regime’s politically targeted “slum clearances” of 2005, defended at the time by liberals as a run-of-the-mill developing-country health measure, have left thousands of urban poor to their own devices in digging wells and disposing of human wastes.
Carter, Annan and Machel intended to enter Zimbabwe under the auspices of “The Elders,” a sort of superhero team of wizened old liberal heroes drawn up by Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel in a fit of British whimsy and bankrolled, in part, by money from the founders of eBay. (“Only we still retain the name, and all the additions to a king”) Carter’s participation was considered a crucial coup for the mission, for it was his administration’s firm insistence on democratic principles against short-term U.S. strategic interests that undid the “internal settlement” between whites and blacks in Rhodesia and ultimately put Robert Mugabe into power in a majority-ruled Zimbabwe.
If anyone ought to be permanently welcome in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, or in any other African country that pretends to be a democracy, it should be Carter, who prevailed over the Cold Warriors in Congress at a time when acquiescing in power-sharing arrangements that preserved white dominance would have been easy. Instead, Carter was told by Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president now busying himself as a general envoy between Mugabe and the other states in southern Africa, that the arrangements already made for his visit would not be honoured and that the three Elders would not be receiving entry visas. They were forced to set up an office in Johannesburg and entertain testimony from Zimbabwean opposition leaders and representatives of NGOs.
Now president Carter has spoken out with admirable clarity, describing the country as a “basket case” and an “embarrassment” and putting the blame firmly at the feet of Mugabe for refusing to adhere to promises of fair power-sharing with the opposition party that actually won March’s Zimbabwean elections. What’s notable is that Carter was much more harsh than Secretary-General Annan, who is trying to preserve credibility by assigning blame in roughly equal measure to Mugabe and the opposition. Mugabe, for his part, continues to argue that it’s all part of a white conspiracy to push him out the door and begin the process of recolonizing a country that no one would now buy lock, stock and barrel if it were on sale for five dollars.
In the meantime, we don’t need the Elders to read us the writing on the wall. Qualified health workers, no longer convinced they can do more good than harm, have literally abandoned Zimbabwe’s hospitals; some of the facilities have been taken over by HIV patients in order to keep the flow of anti-retroviral drugs going. Meanwhile, the country’s fire departments no longer get enough fuel from the state petro monopoly to keep working, and anthrax is breaking out amongst cattle farmers.
Indeed, the one bright spot in recent Zimbabwe dispatches from IRIN, the UN’s humanitarian news service, has been a boom in neighbourhood mortuary services that cater to the poor. Which means Mugabe is at least guaranteed to have a few friends right up until the end — whether that be a coup, an invasion, a further totalitarian implosion, or, by some miracle, a peaceful transition to stable government.
By Rejoice Ngwenya, AfricanLiberty.org
Feature Article | 10 hours ago
Dr Gideon Gono's tenure as central bank governor of Zimbabwe has been
extended by another five years, amid hue and cry that President Robert
Mugabe is plugging the holes of possible monetary policy impropriety
investigation by a new government. Most political analysts are alarmed that
Mugabe's hasty decision comes at time when the opposition MDC with
Parliamentary majority is aggrieved that the ageing dictator is refusing to
concede real power. Gono's legitimacy and competency is contestable.
According to the new power sharing agreement, all appointments are supposed
to be frozen until there is cabinet consensus. However, Mugabe has
maintained his character of intransigence by extending tenure of governors
and ministers in an environment where even his own legitimacy as national
president is disputed by MDC and some SADC countries.
However, while state media noted that Gono inherited weak currency, rampant
inflation and a suspect banking system in 2003, they fail to highlight that
during his five-year tenure, Gono presided over a total collapse in the
monetary and fiscal systems. Analysts argue that doling out tractors, cars,
cash loans to parastatals and paying for school examination invigilators is
hardly a benchmark of success.
Zimbabwe has a worthless currency denominated in twenty zeroes, riding on
world record one billion percent inflation. Gono prints a new denomination
every month, while bank queues are getting longer by the day. A loaf of
bread now costs one million five hundred thousand dollars, whereas account
holders can only withdraw five hundred thousand dollars - not enough for one
local bus trip to work.
American economist Steve Hanke, Professor of Applied Economics at The Johns
Hopkins University in Baltimore and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in
Washington, D.C. has already proved that Gono is the epicentre of Zimbabwe's
financial system collapse. Hanke long proposed 'Dollarisation' - the use of
exchangeable currencies as legal tender- in Zimbabwe as a solution, and Gono
reluctantly adopted the strategy after protests by Zimbabwe National Chamber
of Commerce two months ago. This has brought short-term respite to shoppers
who were confronted with empty shelves and had to make expensive trips to
purchase groceries from neighbouring countries.
Zimbabwean economist John Robertson has evidence that Gono's printing
machine has multiplied money supply a trillion fold, making it almost
impossible to recover the value of the Zimbabwe dollar without dismissing
Gono from his position. Gono's quasi-fiscal misdemeanours include buying
maize, fertiliser and motor cars. Early this month, he astounded
educationists by volunteering to pay invigilators who had refused to fulfill
their duties due to the collapse of the educational system. After hitting
the headlines by closing banks, bureau de changes and refusing to
de-regulate foreign exchange policies, Gono has publicly supported the
ruling party ZANUpf and appeared in that party's high-level political
The future of Zimbabwe's monetary and fiscal environment is bleak. Mugabe
has set the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on a collision course with a new
MDC Minister of Finance who will have to deal with a central bank governor
directly under the control of an unpopular but powerful head of state.
Rejoice Ngwenya is Coordinator of Zimbabwe's Coalition for Market and
Liberal Solutions (COMALISO)and a columnist of www.AfricanLiberty.org
Fleet Street Daily | By Bill Bonner
"I think Obama should get Gideon Gono on his new team," writes a friend.
Never heard of Gideon Gono, dear reader? Well, he is one of the best
economists who never won a Nobel prize.
Why? Because Mr Gono is a proven deflation-fighter. No one knows more about
avoiding deflation that Mr Gono. That's why he was such an obvious choice
for Secretary of the Treasury. If America's top financial challenge is
preventing a deflationary meltdown - as everyone says it is - than Mr Gono
is our man. Other economists - notably, Ben Bernanke - have studied the
question academically, but Mr Gono has years of practical experience in the
He probably should have stayed in the field. Perhaps hoeing tomatoes.
Instead, five years ago, the old crony was appointed to head up Zimbabwe's
Reuters reports on the results:
"Zimbabwe's inflation estimated at 89.7 sextillion percent
"Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's central bank Governor Gideon Gono has been
re-appointed for a second five-year term.... Appointed in December 2003,
Gono's term has spanned the economic collapse of once-prosperous Zimbabwe,
highlighted by shortages of basic goods and the highest inflation in the
world, which the government put at 230 million percent in July.
Washington-based Cato Institute foundation estimates Zimbabwe's inflation at
89.7 sextillion percent.
"In an effort to deal with hyperinflation, Gono has introduced higher
denomination notes and lopped a total of 13 zeros off the currency - 3 zeros
in August 2006 and 10 in August 2008 - but it has continued to lose value.
Currently, the highest denomination banknote is Z$1 million, not enough to
buy a loaf of bread and consumers have to carry huge amounts to make simple
But instead of bringing in someone who really knows how to keep prices from
falling, Obama has appointed Timothy Geithner to head up the treasury
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This is a
Non-profit appeal, all funds go directly towards saving Oliver and the
So you can imagine how our hearts sank when we discovered on a recent trip 3 weeks ago that he was potentially fatally injured and had lost the full use of his front leg as he has a festering wound in his lower shoulder, with the heat, humidity, insects and rainy season moving in, phone lines down making communications difficult we have had to rely on the bush telegraph and so many good people to pull off the near impossible with so much working against us it has come as a remarkable surprise just what can be achieved by friends and the dedicated individuals. Almost all of us have had the privilege of having had an Elephant like Oliver and his two buddies Jimmy and Tony visit you in camp, wandering through sometimes a little close for comfort, occasionally leading to an undignified retreat, abandoned fishing rod or a spilt beer. Those moments that makes Mana simply magical. You will all know exactly why we are trying so hard to save our gentle friend.
Dr Chris Foggin and his son Greg have travelled to and from Mana, by car several times. A week later we returned and discovered he had been illusive and went in search and as usual he found us wondering into our camp almost telepathically knowing we would help, he hung around our camp for 2 days and nights. In a great last ditch attempt we had alerted the team. They tried flying in with Norman Monks on the 14th November only for them to have to turn back due to a terrible storm and then drive back in again, bad roads and fuel shortages all just a few of the things that get in the way. Finally everything came together the morning of the 15th and all fell into place he was darted and treated everyone helping to hold him up as he had sat on his haunches and if he remained that way we would all be able to help him up again, Chris worked his good juju and miracles of medicine going far and beyond the call of duty, a true hero. So Oliver has had his much needed treatment and is hopefully on the mend but he is far from out of the woods yet and he will continue to be monitored. As he woke from the M99 reversal drug with a huge push and more than just a little back breaking help from his friends, what a privilege, there were tears and cheers from everyone and all the Parks staff chanted “The Father of Mana Pools has Risen” as you can imagine it was all very emotional.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those involved in this incredible rescue mission inspired by Mark and Natasha Elmer in the UK, ex Zim, a big thank you to Felix at National Parks Chinhoyi, Norman Monks and all the National Parks staff at Mana pools, all National Parks staff at Marongora Dr Chris Foggin and his son Greg, Johnny and Cheryl Rodrigues, The Zimbabwe Conservation Trust, Dr Margie Peacock, Mr Nick Murray, and Hillary Ferreira, and to my dear husband Neville Edwards thanks for being so patient with me. To all of you who give a donation you will be placed in the raffle draw.
A heartfelt thank you because we can make a difference if we try, The money raised insures that all medicines used can be replaced and should any more be required there will be no delays Special thanks to my kids, Mark and Natasha Elmer for the Raffle Prize Donations. May god bless each and every one of you, Oliver’s friends.
Yours Sincerely Yvonne Edwards