Nov 29, 2008, 14:59 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party reaffirmed
Saturday that it would not rush to join a government of national unity
unless its demands have been met.
Addressing an MDC rally in Bindura, 80 kilometres north of Harare, party
vice president Thokozani Khupe said: 'We'll not go into a deal that does not
bring food to Zimbabweans though we are committed to the deal. We want to
give you a Christmas present.'
Khupe was speaking on Saturday - a day after her party had agreed to a
constitutional amendment bill in South Africa that lays the groundwork for
creation of posts called for in the September 15 power sharing deal between
MDC and President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF.
Khupe said unless the issue of equitable distribution of cabinet ministries
had been addressed, the MDC would not form a government with Mugabe.
'We want an agreement which is underpinned by law,' Khupe said.
She added that ZANU PF is living in denial by politicising issues. Khupe
referred to a raging cholera outbreak that has killed more than 400 people
'Cholera is a result of ZANU PF mismanagement that has resulted in the total
collapse of the health sector,' she said.
Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic and humanitarian crisis since
independence from Britain 28 years ago.
Late Friday, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said that Zimbabwe's political
parties agreed on a draft constitutional amendment leading to the formation
of a power-sharing government, but that obstacles still remained.
'We have differed with Zanu-PF for a long time while the citizens suffer,
but fortunately we have agreed on something,' Chamisa said. 'I need to
hasten to mention that we still have some outstanding issues such the
cabinet, appointment of diplomats.'
The draft constitutional bill that recognizes the posts and institutions
created by the September 15 deal is now awaiting the approval of the MDC and
Zanu-PF leadership, but that is likely to be academic given that they had
been consulted before.
Former South African leader Thabo Mbeki - who is the mediator - has been
meeting with the Zimbabwe rivals in Pretoria since Tuesday to discuss the
'It is something that we have always admired - meeting of minds of
Zimbabweans when there is something to discuss,' said Ephraim Masawi, the
Zanu-PF deputy spokesman. 'We are happy that as a nation we have moved a
step forward. We need to quickly start working to address the problems
facing the nation.'
The opposition has refused to form the government of national unity accusing
Mugabe of grabbing all the key ministries such as foreign affairs, local
government, finance, home affairs and defence.
President Robert Mugabe's regime has begun locking up members of his armed
forces amid fears that anger over low pay could spark a revolt by the army.
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 7:20PM GMT 29 Nov 2008
Restrictions on the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from the country's
banks amid an economic crisis and hyperinflation mean that soldiers, like
the rest of the population, can only take out the equivalent of 50 pence a
day - enough to buy a single banana.
Fourteen soldiers were arrested this week after scores went on the rampage
in the capital Harare and the middle class suburb of Braeside, attacking
foreign currency dealers with batons.
The soldiers had earlier swarmed into a city centre bank demanding more than
the allocated maximum withdrawal but neither it nor any commercial banks,
including Britain's Standard Chartered and Barclays, have enough cash to
placate the daily queues outside.
The soldiers had been expecting to pick up an ex gratia payment of Z$10
million (£4) from the department of defence, but the central bank could only
pay half that sum, and only to soldiers from one barracks - the King George
VI. The mood soon turned ugly.
"They went mad and started beating people up all over the place," said a
foreign exchange dealer.
Military police and Mr Mugabe's riot squads were deployed to quell the
unrest and make arrests. Later many bars and night-clubs in the city were
Well-placed sources inside the army told The Sunday Telegraph that the bulk
of Zimbabwe's soldiers from captain and below - the vast majority of the
30,000-strong force - are now "extremely dissatisfied, hungry and sick of
The dissastisfaction in the ranks will only add to the multiplying crises -
from impending starvation in swathes of the country to a cholera epidemic
that has killed at least 400 people this month - that is facing both Mr
Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader who is due to become
prime minister after tortuous negotiations over a power-sharing government.
Zimbabwe worthless currency which has had 13 noughts chopped off in 30
months. Nevertheless Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF government has ensured that key
figured in his security forces have escaped the hardship the majority
As an insurance policy that is now being tested to the full, he has made
sure that sections of the presidential guard and the military police are
paid without fail, while the elite of his military have benefited from gifts
of confiscated white-owned land since 2000, so far remaining loyal and
trusted guardians of armouries at all of Zimbabwe's 41 military bases.
"The riot police get bonuses every time they go and beat people up," said a
Control of the security forces has been a major sticking point in the talks
between Mr Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, with
the 84-year-old president desperate to cling on to his command of the police
and army, which have propped up his government ever since independence from
Britain in 1980.
2 hours 52 mins ago
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday blamed foreign governments
for bringing his country to the verge of financial ruin through their
efforts to end his rule. Skip related content
Speaking at a U.N aid summit in Qatar's capital, Mugabe said economic
sanctions should be lifted so the government can turn around the African
state's economic woes.
"Zimbabwe has been and continues to be a victim of unilateral and illegal
coercive measures, aimed at undermining the government through regime change
which is illegal," he said.
Mugabe, who has ruled for 25 years, said it was impossible for Zimbabwe to
hit global goals for reducing poverty because of the impact of the
Inflation in Zimbabwe is officially over 230 million percent and the country
is facing food shortages.
Mugabe, who is talks on a power-sharing government with political rivals,
said Zimbabwe could help itself if not for sanctions.
"Even though the country is well-endowed with natural resources, Zimbabweans
have suffered and are suffering because of these sanctions which have
negatively affected every facet of their lives," he said.
Critics have accused Mugabe of destroying one of Africa's most promising
economies with controversial policies, including seizures of white-owned
farms for redistribution.
Mugabe has clung to power for years despite a worsening political and
economic crisis. He and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to a
power-sharing deal this year but they have failed to break a deadlock over
the makeup of the new government.
(Reporting by Amran Abocar; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Sat 29 Nov 2008, 8:41 GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - At least 50 people were injured when a passenger
train derailed on Friday in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo, Zimbabwean
state media reported on Saturday.
Zimbabwe police superintendent Alex Chagwedera told the Herald newspaper the
train was carrying about 1,000 passengers. "About 50 people were injured.
The train was travelling from Bulawayo to Harare," Chagwedera was quoted as
Most of the injured had been taken to hospitals in Harare, the Herald
A National Railways of Zimbabwe spokesperson said it was too early to say
what had caused the accident.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 29 November
New hurdles blocked this week's efforts to break Zimbabwe's political
deadlock, which has gained fresh urgency with a fast-deteriorating
humanitarian situation in the country. A deal that will lead to anything
substantial "appears increasingly unlikely", opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said this week. He was not turning away from the deal, he said,
but he now did not believe a unity government would be the solution to the
Zimbabwe crisis. Robert Mugabe's reappointment of the country's
controversial central bank chief - seen as the clearest signal yet that he
does not plan to allow extensive economic reforms - and the Movement for
Democratic Change's (MDC) bid to have former South African president Thabo
Mbeki removed from the mediation process hamstrung this week's talks. As the
talks began in South Africa the MDC accused Zanu PF of "intransigence and a
lack of sincerity" and pledged to reject a deal that leaves it a junior
partner in a new government. Zanu PF wants to limit further discussion to
the constitutional amendments required to establish the unity government,
but the MDC has brought in a broad range of grievances which it wants
resolved before any real agreement can be requested.
The MDC has asked the Southern African Development Community to end Mbeki's
involvement in the negotiation process, after Mbeki wrote a letter in which
he reportedly suggested that Tsvangirai was kowtowing to the West, and
criticises him for calling regional leaders cowards. This is the second time
this year the MDC has officially written to the SADC seeking
Mbeki's ≠replacement. Patience among Mugabe's regional allies appears to be
wearing thin. At a meeting of regional liberation movements this week "our
delegation was met with a surprising tone from some of the parties there", a
Zanu PF member told the Mail & Guardian. The government of Botswana, one of
the region's few outspoken critics of the Mugabe regime, has grown shriller
in its criticisms, while new names of perceived Mugabe allies - including
his personal doctor - have been added to a United States sanctions list. But
Mugabe appears as defiant as ever. In the past week he has thumbed his nose
at the world by barring a delegation of the "Elders" group from visiting the
country and re-appointed Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono to another
five-year term. Gono has presided over world-record inflation - officially
measured in July at 231-million percent - and a collapse of the local
currency, from which he has been forced to drop a total of 13 zeros in the
past two years.
Gono has also orchestrated the use of state resources to maintain support
for Mugabe, fuelling the presidential patronage system by handing out
tractors, combine harvesters, seeds, generators, cheap loans, foreign
currency and buses to Mugabe allies. MDC negotiators say that by
re-appointing Gono Mugabe is indicating that he will not back down from the
policies that have ruined the Zimbabwean economy and that he will not
support any changes in economic policy that an MDC finance minister might
try to introduce. Mugabe has conceded the finance ministry to the MDC, but
his reappointment of Gono this week raises concerns about how far he will
let his governing partners go towards introducing much-needed economic
reforms. "His message is clear," a senior African diplomat said on
Wednesday. "He is saying nothing will change even if this deal goes ahead.
He has just dealt this process a massive blow."
Mugabe wants a clause inserted in the draft amendment that will allow him to
call off the deal if he "is satisfied that the circumstances are such that
the continuance of the Interparty Political Agreement is no longer possible
for any reason". The MDC said this clause was fraudulently added to the
September 15 agreement and the party has made the "illegal" changes a key
point of the discussion. Mugabe is also insisting on a clause that allows
him to appoint nine more senators to the upper house of Parliament, which he
already controls. The MDC in turn wants more power to be given to the
council of ministers, which Tsvangirai chairs, and to change the wording of
the agreement to say that Mugabe can make policy decisions only with
Tsvangirai. The two sides also rowed over the detention of 15 MDC activists,
who are being detained at undisclosed locations despite the high court's
demand that they be brought to court. Zimbabwe's refusal to allow the
Elders, whom Mugabe's spokesperson, George Charamba, described as "a
creature of pro-Labour British corporate interests", to enter the country
caused an uproar.
By Peta Thornycroft
28 November 2008
Negotiators from ZANU-PF and both Movement for Democratic Change party
factions Thursday signed a 46-page constitutional amendment to enable
formation of a unity government. Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare the
signed agreement now needs to be approved by the principals of the three
parties, President Robert Mugabe and the leaders of two factions of the MDC,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, all of whom are travelling
The extraordinary breakthrough in the troubled inter-party negotiations came
when ZANU-PF negotiators had to accept that the version of the political
agreement signed on September 11 was a valid document designating the post
of prime minister for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The amendment, signed off on by the six negotiators, page by page, now has
to be given the green light by the three parties' principals who are all
presently travelling internationally.
However, constitutional experts say there is nothing to stop Morgan
Tsvangirai from being sworn in immediately as prime minister, should he wish
Mr. Tsvangirai defeated Mr. Mugabe in the presidential election in March.
The second round from which Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew becuse of violence
against his supporters was not recognized by any regional governments. Mr.
Tsvangirai's MDC has a small parliamentary majority.
If the principals agree to the draft amendment it will then be published and
a month later debated in parliament and it will need a two-thirds majority,
and President Robert Mugabe's signature, to become law.
If there are no obstacles, lawyers say, a unity government could be in place
at the earliest by January 15.
The amendment closely follows the original political agreement signed in
Mr. Mugabi is currently at a United Nations meeting in Qatar. Mr. Tsvangirai
is in Morocco collecting a human rights prize and Mr. Mutambara is in the
United States, on a private visit.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki presided over the mediation in
September which created the post of prime minister for Mr. Tsvangirai.
Mbeki was appointed by the Southern African Development Community to
establish dialogue between the rival parties. His negotiating team presided
over this week's breakthrough negotiations in South Africa.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC said despite the
agreement there are still matters outstanding. SADC officials have
acknowledged that there will have to be further negotiations to fairly
allocate the positions of 10 provincial governors after the inclusive
government is sworn in.
Nevertheless there is some relief on the streets of Harare over this
tentative agreement. There had been growing regional pressure on the parties
to end their disputes and focus on trying to solve Zimbabwe's humanitarian
and economic crises.
The following is and editorial reflecting the vews of the US Government
28 November 2008
Who Pays The Price In Zimbabwe? - Download (MP3)
Who Pays The Price In Zimbabwe? - Listen to (MP3)
There is no easing the humanitarian, economic and political crisis in
Zimbabwe until the root of the problem, the absence of a legitimate
government, is resolved.
"Nearly 8 months have passed since the Zimbabwean people voted for a new
President," said U.S. President George Bush, "Yet they are still governed by
an illegitimate regime that continues to suppress democratic voices and
basic human rights."
On September 15, Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai signed an agreement to
share power. But with Mugabe refusing to accept genuine power sharing, the 2
sides are hopelessly dead-locked. Moreover, since the power-sharing
agreement was signed, violence against Mugabe's political opponents has
escalated. September saw a 39 percent increase in acts of violence against
opposition groups, including the destruction of property, beatings, rape and
The 2-month long political impasse has blocked action the Government could
take to try to alleviate a deepening crisis marked by severe food shortages,
record inflation, an over 90 percent unemployment rate, and a deadly and
spreading cholera epidemic caused by a failing infrastructure and
exacerbated by a collapsing health system. And so, in the absence of a
government that reflects their will, the people of Zimbabwe pack up and
leave the country by the millions.
"In spite of the regime's aggressive actions against its own people," said
President Bush, "the United States will continue to honor its commitment to
provide emergency humanitarian assistance pending the formation of a
legitimate government that represents the will of the Zimbabwean people."
It is time for the formation of a legitimate government in Zimbabwe that
reflects the will of the people.
November 28, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The leadership of the mainstream MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai is
scheduled to address what it describes as a major report-back rally in the
Mashonaland central town of† Bindura on Saturday.
Party supporters are expected to be briefed on the dialogue currently taking
place between the party, Zanu-PF and the breakaway MDC led by Arthur
Dialogue between Zanu-PF and the two MDCs resumed on Monday 24 November 24
in Pretoria. A statement released by the MDC Friday stated that the
negotiating teams had since reached an agreement on the issue of
Constitutional Amendment No 19. A number of outstanding issues were still to
be resolved, the statement said.
The outstanding issues included the appointment of provincial governors and
the appointment of senior government officials such as permanent secretaries
"Other sticking issues include the equitable distribution of ministerial
portfolios, the composition and constitution of the National Security
Council and the fraudulent and unexplained alteration of the agreement of
the 11th of September, 2008, and the onethat was signed on the 15th of
September, 2008," the statement said.
The town of Bindura, north of Harare in Mashonaland central is the venue of
the Zanu-PF conference scheduled for the second week of December.
November 29, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - A top-ranking official of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF has
publicly admitted that Mugabe is merely the "de facto" and not legally the
Zimbabwean Head of State.
Zimbabwe's former ambassador to China and a senior Mugabe aide Chris
Mutsvangwa conceded Friday that Mugabe can only become Zimbabwe's legitimate
President when the pending Constitutional Amendment 19 Bill is passed into
Mutsvangwa is a prominent member of Zanu-PF's media and publicity committee,
which was formed to steer the party's publicity campaign ahead of the
disputed June 27 presidential election.
Mutsvangwa spoke as he defended Mugabe's presence at a UN conference in
Qatar to discuss the global financial situation.
Mugabe, whose legitimacy as President is fiercely challenged by his
opponents back at home, is representing Zimbabwe at the conference,
alongside other world leaders.
"Zimbabwe is part of the UN system," Mutsvangwa told journalists at the
Quill Club, Harare 's press club on Friday evening.
"Somebody has got to be representing the country and in our case it is the
one who is the de facto Head of State who will soon be a de jure Head of
State courtesy of an agreement which the MDC has signed already."
The statement by Mutsvangwa is a climb-down from Zanu-PF's earlier stance
that has sought to portray Mugabe as having duly won the June 27 election.
The controversial election was immediately dismissed as a sham by African
observers due to political intimidation and open abuse of electoral
procedures by Zanu-PF.
Mutsvangwa, who has virtually sidelined veteran politician and Zanu-PF
spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira, accused the MDC leadership of failing to
stick to their own commitments.
"The MDC made Mugabe the Head of State in that agreement," he said.
"We can't have people who flip-flop as if they have got the memory of a
duck. You have got to stick to what you have signed. You made Mugabe
President; you made your own president the prime minister-designate. You
have got to have the memory of an elephant - long."
Mutsvangwa accused Tsvangirai of undiplomatic behaviour and of failure to
appreciate he would soon become Zimbabwe's Prime Minister.
"Tsvangirai is still trying to get used to the process of getting powerful,"
he said, "He should be comporting himself as somebody who is about to enter
high office of course under Mugabe as per his agreement."
Mutsvanga, a former ZBC chief executive officer, lashed at former UN
secretary general Dr Kofi Annan for his recent attempt to visit Zimbabwe to
assess the ''escalating humanitarian crisis'' in the country.
Government last week barred a planned visit by Annan alongside former United
States president Mr Jimmy Carter and Mozambican rights advocate Ms Graca
Machel. Machel is the wife of Nelson Mandela.
The three belong to a group of former statesmen and prominent personalities
known as the Global Elders.
Zimbabwe government officials suggested Annan was barred because he
represented what they described as neo-colonial interests.
"He is an expatriate African who left Africa quite early (in his life),"
"That's Annan. He spent a lot of time as a UN diplomat and his last and most
important assignment in Africa was in Rwanda in 1994 and all that butchering
"He was actually in charge of the UN peacekeepers and he made that country
go through that horrid genocide.
"When he went into the United Nations, he never promoted even one African to
become an important person at the United Nations.
"So I am talking of somebody whose history about Africa is at most sordid
but probably very tenuous. Now he comes here masquerading as somebody who is
a humanitarian. He allowed sanctions at the UN something he never condemned
as secretary-general. Now he wants to come here to see the effects of those
Mutsvangwa accused Annan, a Ghanaian, of insincerity.
"He is a man looking for glory," he said, "He is a man who wants to find a
trusteeship in Africa at a later day. Let him go and seek for election in
Ghana if he wants to become a ruler in Africa."
November 28, 2008
By Sibangani Sibanda
IN HIS novel, "Catch 22" Joseph Heller created a character called Orr, who
was caught in ".one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that
concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers.was the process of a
Orr did not want to fly bombing missions because ".he was crazy and could be
grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no
longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to
fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly
them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want
to he was sane and had to".
I remember, many years ago, reading this passage, and having to read it over
and over again before I could even begin to understand what the author was
on about. When I finally got to understand what Mr. Heller was saying, I
thought the passage was very funny, but that it described an imaginary
situation that could never happen in real life.
That was before I lived in 21st Century Zimbabwe!
This week, I made what I thought was a routine application to Tel One to
have my telephones moved from one address to another. Having filled in the
necessary forms, I was then told that my application could not be processed
until I paid my current bill - which I had not received yet. A phone call
soon rectified that problem and I was told that my current bill was fifty
three million Zimbabwe dollars. Luckily, I had my chequebook with me and
could settle the bill immediately.
Life, to borrow an Americanism, ain't that easy in Zimbabwe.
Thirty percent of the bill - 15.9 million dollars - had to be paid in cash!
Given that Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono has decreed that we can only
withdraw $500 000.00 a day from our bank accounts, it would take me 31.8
days to withdraw this amount, by which time I will be needing cash for the
In any case, had Mr. Gono not just gone on television to announce to the
nation that organizations like Tel One (which are owned by government) had
to accept cheques? Pointing this fact out to the Tel One officers met with
blank stares or mumbled statements about Mr. Gono working for the Reserve
Bank and not for Tel One. The decision had been made at higher level than
these officers, anyway and there was little point in continuing to argue
The fact was that if I did not find the 30 percent cash, they would not
process my application and, in time, would cut me off altogether!
I telephoned the Reserve Bank to seek clarification. I was referred to the
"Financial Intelligence" Unit of the Reserve Bank, where I spoke to,
probably the unfriendliest public officer that I have encountered in years
of dealing with public officers. He told me in very curt tones, to speak to
the general manager of Tel One.
In other words, I had to go to the very person who made the decision in the
first place for redress! However, the term "intelligence" in the Zimbabwean
context tends to conjure up images of men in dark glasses who have the
ability to make problematic persons disappear rather violently, so I felt
like I had no option but to do what I was told.
I did not rate my chances of speaking to the general manager very highly,
but I telephoned anyway, and got put through to his secretary! He was out
for the day but if I left my name and number, she would make sure that he
called me back. He was really the only one who could deal with my problem,
she told me. I await his call.
Meanwhile, I cannot just sit back and risk losing my lines. So I am going to
make application to the Reserve Bank, through my local commercial bank for
emergency cash to pay Tel One, ZESA, City of Harare, and The Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZINWA). There, my application will queue alongside
the applications of bereaved families - whose numbers have increased
dramatically with the cholera outbreak - , employers asking for cash to pay
their workers (and this is November, the traditional "Bonus" month!), the
chronically ill who need cash for their medication, the list is long.
My bank manager does not believe that there is much chance that my
application will be approved. I will probably be told that Tel One are
obliged to accept payment by cheque and that I should insist. I already
tried to insist and failed, but that is hardly Mr. Gono's problem, is it? I
think I begin to understand how Orr felt!
All that is left is for me to offer my most insincere congratulations to Mr.
Gono on his reappointment as Reserve Bank governor for another five-year
term. I console myself in the belief that he cannot possibly
Nearly 500 new cases and 23 additional deaths have been reported since yesterday, with the largest increase in cases found in Budiriro and Beitbridge in the country’s south.
The UN continues to support the Government respond to the outbreak through water deliveries, education programmes, procurement of medical supplies and constructing latrines.
OCHA noted that more health professionals are needed to respond, given the scale of the outbreak, and that poor hygiene awareness and solid waste removal are propelling the increase in cholera infections.
Cases of the illness – an acute intestinal infection caused by contaminated food or water – have also been reported in neighbouring Botswana and South Africa, and the health ministries of these two countries and of Zimbabwe have been working with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) to address the spread.
WHO and its partners are responding to cases and supporting treatment centres in 26 districts, and the agency has airlifted emergency supplies from its Dubai warehouse.
The agency has identified several areas where there are gaps, including detection, response organization and surveillance.
It is also planning to dispatch a team – comprising epidemiologists and water and sanitation specialists, among others – to investigate and respond to the outbreak.
For its part, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has over 50 staff dedicated solely to tackling Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak. The agency is working closely with authorities and along with its partners, has asked for $9 million as part of the UN Consolidated Appeal to address water and sanitation issues.
2 hrs 48 mins ago
HARARE (AFP) - The Zimbabwean capital of Harare wants to offer free graves
and coffins to cholera victims as the country battles an outbreak which has
claimed more than 400 lives, a spokesman said Saturday.
Lesley Gwindi, spokesman for the Harare city council, said the decision was
taken during a meeting held earlier in the week.
"Council resolved that graves be allocated to the (cholera) victims," Gwindi
"It has also been suggested that as mitigation measures those who die of
cholera be also allocated coffins."
He said the proposal for coffins has gone to the local government ministry.
A grave costs between 25 to 30 dollars (20 to 24 euros), yet locals are only
allowed to withdraw 500,000 Zimbabwean dollars per day (0.50 US cents) as
the country deals with runaway inflation.
A total of 9,908 cases have been recorded in the impoverished southern
African country, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
said, raising an earlier toll of 389 dead out of 9,463 affected.
The death toll was 412, it said on Friday.
Cholera is now hitting the whole of eastern Zimbabwe and spreading, aid
agencies have warned.
UN humanitarian agencies aim to ensure delivery of medical supplies, clean
drinking water and water purification kits.
Cholera causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting that eventually kills a
patient, but is easily prevented by washing hands, cleaning foods, and
keeping drinking water away from sewage.
Such conditions are luxuries in many parts of Zimbabwe, where a crumbling
economy has left busted sewage lines unrepaired. Drinking water is not
always treated, as well.
Meanwhile, residents from Chitungwiza (30 kilometres west of Harare) have
sued the Zimbabwe National Water Authority for failing to provide sufficient
clean water and repair broken sewers, the state-run Herald newspaper said.
"Due to their lack of diligence and constant supplies of clean water to my
place of residence, diseases like cholera surfaced and people are dying,"
the residents said in the application.
††††November 29 2008 at 02:47PM
Harare - Zimbabwean citizens have taken a government department to
court for failing to provide them with adequate and safe drinking water, as
the country's cholera-related death toll nears 400, reports said Saturday.
A group from Chitungwiza, a town outside Harare, filed an application
in the High Court on Friday suing the government-run Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (Zinwa) which is responsible for supplying water in the
"Due to their lack of diligence and constant supplies of clean water
to my place of residence, diseases like cholera surfaced and people are
dying," Arthur Taderera, the chairperson of the Chitungwiza Residents and
Rate Payers Association charged in his affidavit.
His affidavit described "large pools of raw sewerage" in the streets,
and private citizens could do nothing because Zinway had exclusive
jurisdiction and control over all water resources.
"It is an offence for me to fix the sewer system on my own because
that is the prerogative of the respondent," Taderera said, referring to
Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst humanitarian crisis since attaining
independence from Britain 28 years ago. Cholera has been raging on since its
outbreak in September in Chitungwiza - about 30 kilometres south-east of
The water borne-disease has so far claimed nearly 400 lives and has
since spread to South Africa. Nearly a decade of economic meltdown has made
it impossible for Harare to import adequate chemicals to treat water. As a
result many citizens have resorted to shallow wells and rivers to obtain
Meanshile the United Nations says about half the population is in
urgent need of food aid. Unemployment is estimated at 90 per cent and
official inflation at 231 million per cent - the highest in the world.
The health and economic problems plaguing the country come as
meanwhile a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and
opposition signed in September has failed to take off.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has refused to
form the government of national unity accusing Mugabe of grabbing all the
key ministries such as foreign affairs, local government, finance, home
affairs and defence.
The government of national unity was seen by many as the only way for
Zimbabwe to try to battle its way out of its economic quagmire. - Sapa-dpa
Midlands Bureau Chief
FIFTEEN more people have died from cholera in Midlands Province taking
the death toll to 28, an official said.
Speaking in an interview on Thursday, the Provincial Civic Protection
Unit officer for Midlands, Mr Thompson Siziba, said nine people died in
Shurugwi, five in Mberengwa while a single death was recorded in Kwekwe.
He said 241 more have been diagnosed as having the disease since the
province was hit by the outbreak last week.
"Gweru has 108 cases of cholera diagnosed while Zvishavane had 77,
Mberengwa 23 and Shurugwi 20. Kwekwe had five cases and a single death.
Gokwe North and South had eight cases but no deaths," said Mr Siziba.
"In Gweru we are coping very well as we have managed to contain the
disease. We are not recording any new case. We had 108 cases of cholera and
104 were discharged. Only four are still admitted."
Mr Siziba said in Gokwe South all the five cases were from members of
the same family.
"The husband had gone for shopping in South Africa and passed through
Beitbridge. He is suspected to have contaminated his wife and children," he
Mr Siziba said the CPU team was working tirelessly to arrest the
spread of the epidemic to other parts of the province like Silobela and
"We have set up a Provincial Command centre to help us collect data
and relay information to various district treatment centres that we have set
up. We have established a treatment centre in Shurugwi so far. In Zvishavane
we decided against it after discovering that Murowa clinic was coping well.
We are, however, establishing treatment centres in Gokwe North and South,"
said Mr Siziba.
He said the Zimbabwe National Water Authority in Gweru was working on
unblocking the sewer system in Mkoba 11, which is suspected to be the major
cause of the cholera outbreak in the Midlands capital.
"ZINWA has borrowed equipment from the National Railways of Zimbabwe,
which has helped a lot in the clearing of the blocked sewer system in Mkoba
11. We also have a list of the equipment they need and we have made
proposals to the central bank to assist," said Mr Siziba.
Nelson Chenga, Staff Reporter
A HEAVY lid placed by the government on statistical data that could unravel
the true picture of the devastating cholera outbreak has been disastrous for
the country whose economy is virtually operating on auto-pilot.
Official figures released by the Health Ministry this week indicate that 120
people have died of cholera and 991 hospitalised ever since the disease
struck a few months ago.
But a United Nations report issued from Geneva, Switzerland said: "The
cholera outbreak has taken a national dimension. Newer outbreaks are
reported from all provinces. The total number of suspected cholera cases in
the country stands at 6 072 cases and 294 deaths."
It means therefore, that the number of deaths caused by the waterborne
disease are going unreported due to the breakdown of the country's
infrastructure, particularly health, transport and telecommunications.
As the disease spreads across the borders, South Africa has approached the
World Health Organis-ation, to urgently step in to address Zimbabwe's
South Africa's National Health Minister, Barbara Hogan said: "Our fear is of
people crossing the border, getting into the country, going to other
provinces, without going through checks to see if they are healthy, or have
contracted the virus."
Pretoria says three people have died and 1,000 were being treated for
cholera in Musina, which is close to the border with Zimbabwe's Beitbridge
town. Forty-four lives have been lost in Beitbridge ever since the disease
hit the dormitory town last week.
Hundreds of Zimbab-weans legally and illegally cross into South Africa
everyday to find food and jobs as economic woes continue to bite back home.
With the South African initiative coming hard on the heels of another failed
external intervention by The Elders, Kofi Anan, Jimmy Carter and Graca
Machel to assess the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, there are doubts
that it may not get a favourable response from President Robert Mugabe's
The Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights last week urged the government to
"declare the cholera outbreak a national disaster and solicit international
support to bring it under control and restore supply of safe water and
sanitation systems to Zimbabwe's population".
David Parirenyatwa, the Health Minister, has also described the cholera
outbreak as a national disaster.
Parirenyatwa had previously urged Zimbabweans to "remain calm since we are
on top of the situation," but he backtracked last week saying: "Government
should declare the current cholera outbreak a national disaster so as to
galvanise all the resources necessary to get the outbreak under control."
He said the inadequate supply of clean water has been the biggest setback in
efforts to get the situation under control.
At the epicenter of the spread of the fatal infection has been the capital
city, Harare, where this paper first warned months ago that the disease
would breakout due to poor sanitation and lack of clean water.
However, the disease has for some time been silently kil-ling villagers on
the country's border with Moza-mbique, where a recent outbreak is reported
to have claimed 59 lives.
For example, an unconfirmed 20 villagers died late last week and more than
60 were hospitalised after contracting cholera in remote Mudzi District at
Chakuposhiwa village, located close to the Mozam-bican border.
The catastrophe that nearly wiped out the entire village was one of the many
incidences probably missing from the country's official data, still to
capture all the deaths caused by the waterborne disease.
At Chakupo-shiwa village, after one of the villagers died of cholera,
relatives and friends proceeded with the normal burial rites. One of the
burial rites entai-led that a dead person be kept overnight or for two days
Unbeknown to the villagers was the fact that bodies of cholera victims must
be disposed of as fast as possible and no food is to be prepared or consumed
while shacking of hands - a customary way of greeting each other or
extending condolences - is not allowed in such circumstances. But for these
villagers, it was business as usual.
Tragedy struck and it struck hard. Almost the entire village besieged Gozi
Clinic in Chief Chikwizo seeking treatment and a Medicins Sans Frontiers
team from the district's Kotwa Growth point was forced to rush back to Kotwa
to get more drugs.
People are now so scared of collecting their own relatives' bodies from
mortuaries fearing that they may also contract the disease whose effects one
horrified villager described as worse than HIV/Aids.
Health experts say, in its most severe form, cholera is one of the most
rapidly fatal illnesses known, and a healthy person may become hypotensive
within an hour of the onset of symptoms; infected patie-nts may die within
three hours if treatment is not provided.
In a common scenario, the disease progresses from the first liquid stool to
shock in four to 12 hours, with death following in 18 hours to several days
without oral rehydration therapy.
Symptoms include rapid dehydration, rapid pulse, dry skin, tiredness,
abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
According to the experts the source of cholera is usually infected people
when their untreated diahorrea discharge is allowed to get into waterways or
into groundwater or drinking supplies.
This information now filtering into villages has made the rural folk even
more afraid given the onset of the rainfall season and that scores, mainly
for religious reasons, are dying from the disease in the villages and no
disinfection is taking place.
28 November 2008
The cholera pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the city of Harare with
more cases being reported in Mabvuku, Kambuzuma, Mbare, Glen Norah, Glen
View, Westgate, Budiriro and Dzivarasekwa. The Combined Harare Residents
Association holds ZINWA and the defacto government liable for the lives lost
to cholera owing to their continual failure to supply residents with clean
and adequate water. CHRA maintains its position that; the responsibility of
managing the water supply and sewer reticulation must return to the City of
Harare. This is also the only way that the cholera pandemic can be
controlled and any other impending disease outbreaks can be averted. As long
as there is inadequate (clean) water supply and raw sewer is flowing in
Harare's suburbs, cholera will remain endemic in the city.
Kambuzuma, Glen Norah, Glen View and Budiriro are currently not receiving
tap (and clean) water, a situation that has put a serious strain on UNICEF's
relief supplies to the affected suburbs. The CHRA chairperson for Glen View
Ward 32 (name withheld), has reported that residents usually spend a minimum
of two hours per day queuing for water at UNICEF's water bowsers. Some have
resorted to shallow wells that are scattered all over the suburb. Residents
are also complaining that the little water supplied by ZINWA is dirty and
green in colour. The water becomes foamy when boiled.
The persistent water shortages have also strained the already dilapidated
sewerage system and this has seen areas like Mabvuku-Tafara, Glen Norah,
Kambuzuma and Dzivarasekwa, among others experiencing constant sewerage
bursts, which has further exposed the lives of residents to cholera attacks.
Residents in Mabvuku have had to make do with raw sewerage flowing past
their doorsteps as most household toilets have blocked due to water
shortages. The rainy season has also exacerbated the situation as the rain
water also carries raw human waste from points where sewerage pipes are
leaking and spreads the waste into people's yards and along the streets in
CHRA is in the process of collecting information on the cholera cases as
well as the water supplies in Harare. The statistics that have been
collected so far are outlined in the table below.
AreaNo. of cholera casesNo. of deathsWater supply frequency and sewer
BudiriroAn average of 20 cases within the past and present week.
†13 deaths on 25-11-08Receiving visibly unclean water for less than 10 hours
per week. Raw sewer is flowing in most streets in the suburb.
Kambuzuma6 cases between 24th and 25th of November 20084 deaths (2 on
24-11-08 and 2 more on 25-11-08)No supplies since 23-11-08. (Usually when
supplies are available, it will be between 12midnight and 4am). Residents
get water from shallow wells at an open space in Section 2. Most household
toilets are blocked.
Burst sewer pipes in Section 2, 3 and 4.
Mabvuku/Tafara4 cases between 24th and 26th November 20084 deaths between
25th November 2008. (A victim in Tafara died on the 24th but has not been
buried because relatives are facing
challenges in getting transport. The body is still at the victim's house).No
water supplies in most
parts of the suburb, ward 19 has had no tap water since November 2007. Raw
sewer flowing into houses in Ward 19 (along Hunyani and Zizi roads). Toilets
Glen View21 cases in ward 32 (from the 17th -24th Nov. 2008). More than 10
cases are reported every week. 3 deaths on 24-11-08 along 56 Crescent in
ward 32. 3 more deaths in Ward 30 on 25th Nov (88 Cres, 99 Cres and 102
Cres). 8 deaths (in ward 31). TOTAL: 14Received supplies for 8 days within
the last 6 weeks (supplies were received between 12midnight and 3am).
Intermittent sewer bursts in most parts of the suburb.
Marlborough--The suburb is entering its fourth week without any water
Glen Norah27 infected people transported to Budiriro poly clinic from the
24th to 25th of Nov. 10 deaths (Glen Norah A) from 24-25 Nov 2008.No
supplies from the 21st to 26th Nov 2008. When supplies are available, it is
usually between 12midnight and 3am (maximum of 3 hours). Some residents walk
a distance of 3-4km to get water in Waterfalls. Sewerage bursts near Chitubu
Dzivarasekwa3 cases between 24th and 25th Nov 2008.-Daily water cuts in an
area called Tashinga and Dzivarasekwa Phase 3. Water supplies are available
for a maximum of 4 hours a day (between 12 midnight and 4 am).
Kuwadzana Extension--Supplies are regular but the water is visibly unclean,
Mbare24 children infected from 24-25th Nov 2008 (in ward 12). An average of
20 people is hospitalized at nearby Nazareth Hospital every week.
†4 children died during the past week.Supplies are available at least twice
a week but the water is algae contaminated.
HatfieldIsolated cases reported-No water for the past 2 weeks
Avondale--Supplies are regular in some parts of the suburb while other
parts are experiencing intermittent water cuts.
Mandara--No supplies between January & June 2008. Current supplies are at
least once a week.
CHRA is currently in the process of collecting more information from other
areas so as to keep residents informed. The Association remains committed to
advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance.
Farai Barnabas Mangodza (CEO)
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
145 Robert Mugabe Way
Exploration House, Third Floor
†Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The Zimbabwe government has quarantined a district in
the west of the country where an anthrax outbreak has killed at least six
people and 200 cattle, APA learns here on Saturday.
Teams from the Civil Protection Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and the
Zimbabwe Republic Police are manning 24-hour roadblocks to monitor people
and vehicles leaving or entering Lupane district in Zimbabwe's western
province of Matabeleland North following the reported outbreak.
Anthrax is an acute disease in humans and animals caused by bacteria, which
is highly lethal in some forms.
There are however said to be effective vaccines against anthrax, and some
forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment.
The reports say at least six people have died so far from the disease which
attacks individuals who eat contaminated animals.
The anthrax outbreak comes on the heels of a severe cholera epidemic that
has also claimed more than 400 lives since August.
Both outbreaks are blamed on an acute shortage of medicines to treat
infected people and animals.
† JN/daj/APA 2008-11-29
ALTHOUGH I am a patron of the Zimbabwe Global Forum, an organisation of
Zimbabwean exiles, I have never encouraged people to flee from their
country. I fled in 1984 because I could see clearly, having lived in
Jamaica, that the Zimbabwe policies would lead to a confrontation with
imperialists and capitalists which we could not win. The details are
Today, I feel discouraged, and I realize that we have all been duped by
Mukuru. Fatigue is setting in. I will no longer discourage those who want to
Jamaica nationalised some agricultural land which belonged to the British
sugar company Tate and Lyle in order to empower the brothers. The new
farmers stood by the roadside selling each two pieces of sugarcane.
Jamaica ran out of sugar and vegetables which were imported form Florida.
How ridiculous can people be? Needless to say, the Jamaican dollar dropped
form two to the US dollar to 45.
And guess what, teachers sometimes went unpaid while the prime minister was
in Britain negotiating with the imperialists he had cursed back home. There
are now more Jamaicans living in New York than in their homeland. So what
else is new under the sun?
What is new is our complete idiocy in refusing to appreciate that people who
bring about such disasters are bull-headed, there is nothing to negotiate
about. The government of national unity confirms the president for five
years. We are definite idiots.
Secondly, the arrangement of sharing power leaves the day-to-day government
in the prime minister's hands and Council of Ministers. Such an arrangement
can only work in Britain where the prime minister will advise the Queen on
whom to appoint as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The wise prime minister can achieve this consensus by whispering in the
Queen's ear first, and if the Queen were to object, he would suggest another
In Zimbabwe, the prime minister-designate travels to Swazi-land on a
scheduled airline while the president has gone to the same place in a
state-hired plane. The prime minister has no passport. He visits France on
an indigent passport issued by the French to United Nations refugees.
Tell me, am I the only idiot in Zimbabwe? If the prime minister is on
government business, trying to find support for starving Zimbabweans, should
the president not give him his blessings?
If he does not, how then is the food to be distributed in Zimbabwe, and who
will sign the cheques?
Many of our readers have cursed out brother Professor Arthur Mutambara about
his view of the sharing of ministerial posts. Brother Mutambara is not very
likeable; he called Sister Violet Gonda "slow" to her face, which is not
Mutambara is correct about the division of posts. The issue of who sits on
the Home Affairs chair is a small issue, it does not concern the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) or the African Union (AU) or the United
Nations (UN). It is making a mountain out of a molehill.
With trust between the parties, surely the Home Affairs minister is
subordinate to the prime minister and his actions must be approved.
Likewise, the police commissioner the flag of Zimbabwe and the Republic for
which it stands, not the prime minister's person.
The problem is not about the position of Home Affairs, it is about trust.
But that problem is endemic in the structures of government.
Whether we like it or not, we have been completely made fools of because we
have failed to accept the obvious. Zimba-bweans are blaming South Africa,
SADC and the AU for failure to force Mukuru to be reasonable.
The plain fact which has escaped those who have ears but don't want to hear
is that Mukuru is admired in some quarters in South Africa. It is the Idi
Thabo Mbeki supports Mukuru because he genuinely believes that he is a
victim of imperialist chicanery. Any nationalist will have up to 20 examples
of imperialist chicanery at his finger tips.
Do you know that Nelson Mandela was betrayed by the American CIA through use
of a telephone at Rivonia farm in 1962? In 1960, Sir Alec Douglas Hume asked
the American CIA to kill Patrice Lumumba.
In a land dispute with the Boers in 1876, Sir Theophilus Shepstone ruled in
favour of the Zulus, then joined the Boers to destroy Zululand.
Why is it so difficult to understand that Pan-Africanists like Mutamabara,
Mukuru, Museveni, Kabila, and Mbeki have reasons to dislike the
Unless we accept the fact that liberation will not come from SADC because
the majority have no sympathy with our struggle, we are swimming in
The idea that every day we must watch as the Zimbabwean police beat up
nurses and doctors and they run away like scared children must be revie-wed.
In South Korea, the riot police are heavily armed against students, but it
has never been a cake walk when those students go on strike.
Parliament should meet urgently. A moment of silence must be observed while
the names of the saints like Chiminya, Chironga and others who died on our
behalf are read. Their sacrifices are already considered as in vain.
As the white population dwindles, Zimbabwe will be regarded as another dark
country in Africa.
President-elect Barack Obama will intensify sanctions already in place. On
April 4, he "underscored the rejection of the failed policies and widespread
suffering caused by Robert Mugabe's repressive rule".
On June 25, he said the Zimbabwean government was illegitimate and "lacks
any credibility". He also said he had spoken with MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai to share "my concern and . . . to express my admiration for his
On July 1, he said he felt saddened by the fact that Zim-babwe opposition
supporters are "silently hunted, tortured and killed".
What then is to be done? The world is in a state of fatigue. Liberation
cannot come from SADC, or the AU or from France, or from Obama. Tyranny must
be challenged by those suffering from it.
Ken Mufuka is a patron of the Zimbabwe Global Forum, an organisation of
over one million exiles. He welcomes suggestions from readers and can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org