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'SA to host SADC summit on Zimbabwe'

by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 03 November 2008

      HARARE - South Africa is set to host an extraordinary summit of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) to discuss northern neighbour
Zimbabwe's political impasse, diplomatic sources said.

      The regional summit - whose date is still to be announced - comes
after the 15-member bloc's security Troika failed last week to pressure
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to reach
agreement on the composition of a new power-sharing government.

      South African President and current chairman of SADC Kgalema Motlanthe
will chair the extraordinary summit, according to the diplomats, who did not
want to be named.

      "South Africa as the current chairperson of the regional body is
almost certain to host the crisis meeting on Zimbabwe," said one of the
diplomats. "Although Mozambique is the current chairperson of the Troika, it
has been found necessary that the head of the regional organisation chairs
the meeting."

      The diplomat who is privy to the Zimbabwe power-sharing negotiations
also said that prospects of the deal being reached before year-end were

      "We do not want this issue to be taken to the UN (United Nations),
this is an African problem and we do not want it to go out of the region. We
do not even want the African Union to have anything to do with it."

      Mugabe, Tsvangirai and another opposition leader Arthur Mutambara
agreed to form an all-inclusive government under a September 15
power-sharing deal that retains Mugabe as president while making Tsvangirai
prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister.

      Analysts see such a power-sharing government as the first step to
ending decade-long food shortages and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. But six
weeks after agreeing to share power political leaders are yet to form a
unity government because they cannot agree on who should control the most
powerful ministries.

      The United States last week voiced concern over delays to form a unity
government in Zimbabwe and put the blame squarely on Mugabe who it said was
refusing to share power genuinely and equitably as outlined under the
power-sharing accord. - ZimOnline

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MDC writes protest letter to SADC's Salamao

by Nqobizitha Khumalo Monday 03 November 2008

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC party has written to Southern African
Development Community (SADC) executive secretary Tomaz Salamao protesting
against what it says is his misrepresentation of the status of the country's
stalled power-sharing talks.

Salamao said in communiqué last week that the only issue of dispute between
the MDC and President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party was over who
should control the ministry of home affairs in a unity government outlined
under last September's power-sharing deal.

The SADC official issued the statement after a summit in Harare of the bloc's
Organ on Politics, Defence and Security failed to pressure MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, Mugabe and the head of a breakaway faction of the MDC Arthur
Mutambara to agree on the composition of a unity government.

The MDC claims the parties are deadlocked over the allocation of at least 10
ministries, sharing of the country's 10 gubernatorial posts, allocation of
diplomatic posts and sharing of permanent secretary positions in the new

Tsvangirai confirmed at the weekend that his party had written a letter of
complaint to Salamao.

 "We have written to him expressing concerns and protesting the misleading
information that he included in the communiqué after the stalling of the
talks on Monday (last week)," said Tsvangirai.

"The issues leading to the deadlock are not limited to the Ministry of Home
Affairs as Salamao will want to make the world believe, said Tsvangirai who
was in Bulawayo to attend the launch of a documentary on atrocities
committed by Zimbabwe's army in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the
early 80s.

The MDC leader could however not be drawn to reveal the details of the
letter to Salamao, limiting himself to only saying that the letter makes it
clear that the opposition party was not happy with the SADC secretary's
"manipulation of the truth".

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai said that he would attend an extraordinary summit of
SADC aimed at saving the Zimbabwe power sharing deal, even if he did not
receive his passport.

"With or without a passport I will be travelling for the SADC summit when
the dates are announced, even if the date and venue is announced tomorrow I
will travel with or without the passport," Tsvangirai said.

The statement by Tsvangirai is a climb down from earlier statements made by
the MDC chief negotiator, Tendai Biti, who told reporters on Tuesday that
Tsvangirai would not to the SADC summit unless he received his passport.

Tsvangirai two weeks ago refused to attend a summit of SADC's politics and
security Organ in Swaziland, saying demanding he be issued with a passport
before he could leave Zimbabwe.

The MDC leader, who is prime minister designate under the stalled
power-sharing deal, has not been granted a normal passport for months, and
requires emergency travel documents every time he leaves the country.

Tsvangirai says the refusal by Mugabe's government to issue him with a
passport is symbolic of the veteran leader's insincerity and lack of
commitment to genuinely sharing power with the opposition.

Zimbabwe's historic power-sharing deal that was brokered by former South
African President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of SADC retains Mugabe as president
while making Tsvangirai prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister.

The bare bones agreement allots 15 Cabinet posts to Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF
party, 13 to the Tsvangirai-led MDC and three to Mutambara's faction.

However it is silent about who gets which specific posts and the rival
parties have since the signing of the agreement wrangled over who should
control the most powerful ministries such as defence, finance and home
affairs. - ZimOnline

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Zim rights lawyers statement on political developments
Monday 03 November 2008

STATEMENT: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) continues to closely monitor developments relating to the implementation of the 15 September 2008 agreement signed by the principals of the three political parties represented in Parliament.

It is deeply regrettable that the ongoing impasse was not resolved at the meeting held in Harare with the SADC Troika on 27 October 2008.

Such failures are a disconcerting indication that political players, both national and regional, have failed and continue to fail to view the interests of the suffering people of Zimbabwe as the central and most urgent factor necessitating resolution of the outstanding issues and allowing the new inclusive government to be formed and commence its duties.

Whilst the political negotiations continue without an end in sight, Zimbabweans continue to be starved on the basis of their political affiliation. Political violence is, once again, on the rise.

Deaths due to cholera outbreaks mount, and health, water and sanitation services have collapsed.

Children are forced to sit for examinations when they have effectively learned nothing in the past year.

People continue to walk to work, fail to retrieve their own cash from banks, and look from afar at basic goods in the shops and market places which they can no longer afford.

Events which occurred prior to, on the day of, and subsequent to the meeting on 27 October 2008 – more particularly the indiscriminate arrests, detentions, assaults and alleged abductions of women and youth human rights defenders, as well as innocent bystanders, by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and non-state actors allegedly aligned to ZANU PF – clearly show that the status quo in respect of responsibility for the control of such law enforcement agents cannot continue.

Certain sectors of the ZRP continue, with the knowledge and/or acquiescence of the Minister responsible for their supervision, to willfully violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of ordinary Zimbabweans with impunity.

Law enforcement agents remain in urgent need of reorientation to instill a culture of human rights within the force and ensure that they apply the laws of the country impartially and not for the purposes of mere persecution of people who, in their desperation, have taken their public protest peacefully to the streets.

Non-state actors who willfully commit human rights violations with the knowledge or acquiescence of the state must also understand that their actions are unacceptable, criminal, and cannot be maintained in a truly democratic dispensation.

Such issues have been highlighted and accepted by all three principals in the signed 15 September 2008 agreement and yet compliance is completely lacking.

Further, the partisan coverage of events by the state-controlled print and electronic media is a clear indication of lack of good faith in abiding by the spirit and letter of the 15 September agreement.

Such media continues to provide biased coverage and commentary on the ongoing political discussions, and continues to completely shut out information which is regularly released by the two MDC formations.

It is clear to those who are fortunate enough to have access to online publications and alternate information that the differences between ZANU PF and MDC and the areas of contention remain wide, despite what continues to be reported in the state-controlled media.

Ordinary Zimbabweans, who have remained patient and hopeful that a resolution is in sight which will positively and clearly impact on their lives, have a right to receive diverse, comprehensive and honest information about the issues in contention and areas of difference so as to develop their own opinions and actions based on such information.

The de facto government continues to believe that starving people of information will allow them to continue to control and/or silence public scrutiny and dissent.

This is unacceptable conduct in any country, and under any circumstance.

The solution to this wide-ranging catastrophe is to convene an Extraordinary SADC Summit "urgently".

When, where and what will be on the agenda are not clear, but the Zimbabwean people have once again been forced to deal with further delays in the resolution of the impasse whilst the humanitarian crisis escalates to unmanageable proportions.

What is clear is that we cannot afford another Summit where the outcome is a resolution which offers no meaningful action to assist in urgently redressing the critical humanitarian situation on the ground.

The Heads of State and Government must not be brought together to deal only with one political hurdle, being the allocation of Ministries.

The Summit must comprehensively and holistically address all the current outstanding issues, as they have been outlined by the parties to the agreement if they are not to contribute to further delays and the collapse of the country. Apart from the political issues, the SADC Summit must, as a matter of urgency, ensure that immediate short-term measures are put in place to:

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Chinamasa, Ncube doctored document

November 2, 2008

By Our Correspondent/SWRadio Africa

HARARE - Two lawyers, Patrick Chinamasa of Zanu-PF and Welshman Ncube of a
faction of the MDC, allegedly conspired to doctor the now controversial
September 15 document, it has been revealed.

SADC secretary general, Tomaz Salomao has admitted that the controversial
document signed on that day by President Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai
leader of the mainstream MDC and Arthur Mutambara of the breakaway MDC
faction to formalise the power-sharing agreement had been fraudulently
altered behind the back of the Tsvangirai MDC.

The Tsvangirai MDC initially raised serious concerns about the authenticity
of the document in an interview in early October, complaining that Zanu-PF
had doctored the agreement and altered certain clauses over the weekend
before it was signed. Although last Monday's Troika meeting acknowledged
this fraud had taken place, the communiqué released by Salomao after the
meeting said nothing about the issue.

The Troika came under pressure to come out and publicly admit and condemn
the alteration.

The Tsvangirai MDC has accused the Zanu-PF representative at the ongoing
negotiations, Chinamasa, who is the former Minister of Justice, secretary
general Ncube, representing the Mutambara faction and Thabo Mbeki's own
representative, Mujanku Gumbi, of tampering with the document by making
certain changes to it, without the knowledge of the representatives of the
mainstream MDC led by Tsvangirai.

This happened over a weekend and the party leaders, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
Mutambara then signed the document on the Monday morning, with Tsvangirai
presumably oblivious of the alleged fraudulent intervention of Chinamasa and
Ncube over the weekend and on the assumption, therefore, that it was the
same document agreed to the previous Friday.

The MDC claims Chinamasa, Ncube and Gumbi had altered clauses relating to an
increase in the number of non-constituent senators allocated to the
Mutambara faction, a clause stating that a replacement for vice prime
minister cannot be a non-constituent MP and that there would be mutual
consultation among the parties on matters pertaining to the appointment of
key government officials and ambassadors.

In interviews with journalists Salomao has now publicly admitted that the
power-sharing document agreed to on Friday, September 11, was fraudulently
doctored before it was signed on Monday, September 15. Salamao pledged that
the issue would be resolved, presumably before the next SADC extra-ordinary

The SABC reported on Friday that the SADC summit would now be held in
Johannesburg this week.

Salomao's admission follows pressure from the MDC who wrote a stinging
letter to SADC headquarters highlighting their concerns.

Meanwhile, Mugabe's Zanu-PF party held a politburo meeting last week in
which sources say the party resolved not to make any concessions on the
ministries they usurped through the expedience of a government gazette
issued by Mugabe.

Such intransigence on the part of Zanu-PF could throw into total disarray
the prospects of any meaningful success being achieved at the urgent full
SADC summit to be convened following last Monday's deadlock in Harare.

Tsvangirai has since September 15 been widely condemned and exposed to
ridicule for signing a document that fell far short of his party's and the
long-suffering general public's expectations. As a result, it has been
impossible to implement the power-sharing agreement.

Salomao's revelation also serves to confirm long-standing allegations of an
unsavoury relationship between Zanu-PF and the MDC faction formed by Ncube
and let by Mutambara.

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Aid Group Says Zimbabwe Misused $7.3 Million

Published: November 2, 2008
JOHANNESBURG - The government of Zimbabwe, led by President Robert Mugabe,
spent $7.3 million donated by an international organization to fight killer
diseases on other things and has failed to honor requests to return the
money, according to the organization's inspector general.

The actions by Zimbabwe have deprived the organization, the Global Fund to
Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, of resources it needs and damaged
efforts to expand life-saving treatment, said the inspector general, John
Parsons. Zimbabwe's actions also jeopardize a more ambitious $188 million
Global Fund grant to Zimbabwe, due for consideration by the fund's board on
Friday, Mr. Parsons said.
The Global Fund has continued to demand that Zimbabwe return the money, and
Global Fund officials say Zimbabwean financial officials have promised to do
so by Thursday. But Mr. Parsons said Zimbabwean officials also said they had
not repaid the money because they did not have enough foreign currency.

The breakdown of trust between the Global Fund and Zimbabwe's government
comes at a time of widening humanitarian crisis and casts further doubt on
the willingness of Western donors to invest heavily in rebuilding the
economically broken nation as long as Mr. Mugabe is in charge, even if a
deadlock over a power-sharing government is resolved.

Mr. Parsons said in an interview on Sunday that last year the Global Fund
deposited $12.3 million in foreign currency into Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank. He
declined to speculate on how the $7.3 million it was seeking to be returned
had been spent, except to say it was not on the intended purpose. Civic
groups and opposition officials maintain that the Reserve Bank helps finance
Mr. Mugabe's patronage machine.

Mr. Parsons did offer an example of the human consequences of the Reserve
Bank's failure to hand over the money for disease fighting. The Global Fund
has brought in large quantities of medicines that can cure malaria but has
been able to finance the training of only 495 people to distribute them
safely instead of the planned 27,000. There were 2.7 million cases of
malaria among Zimbabwe's 12 million people in the World Health Organization's
most recent estimates.

"The drugs expire by the middle of next year, and it would be criminal if we
can't use them because of these problems," Mr. Parsons said. "They've got
quite a short shelf life."

Zimbabwe's information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said Sunday in an
interview that he was not aware of the particulars of the disagreement, but
he defended what he described as the Reserve Bank's good intentions and
accused the Global Fund of politicizing aid.

"They always want to put certain standards and concoct certain things to
make us look bad and horrendous in international eyes," he said.

Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank, the custodian of the Global Fund's
money, has been spending large sums this year on a variety of things,
according to reports in Zimbabwe's state-owned media.

Mr. Gono gave the country's judges new vehicles, satellite dishes and
televisions and allocated 79 vehicles for the Information Ministry. He
announced the provision of 3,000 tractors, 105 combine harvesters and
100,000 plows for the country's farm mechanization program. Mr. Ndlovu, the
information minister, said the Reserve Bank had been getting foreign
currency for imports of food and medicine.

Mr. Ndlovu said the Global Fund had sided with Western nations that had
restricted aid to Zimbabwe and imposed sanctions on it - sanctions that Mr.
Mugabe and his party blame for the country's economic ruin.

"The money from the Global Fund is nowhere near what the Reserve Bank has
spent on health care for the country," the information minister said.

Civic groups and opposition officials contend that Mr. Gono and the Reserve
Bank have helped finance the governing party's patronage operation,
essential to Mr. Mugabe's hold on power for the past 28 years. Eddie Cross,
a senior official in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, accused
the Reserve Bank of looting the Global Fund's donation.

International aid groups and United Nations agencies say the country's
annual inflation rate of more than 230 million percent and rules imposed by
the Reserve Bank have severely complicated the logistics of helping the most
impoverished people.

The Reserve Bank suspended electronic banking a month ago, making it
impossible for international organizations to pay for goods and services
with bank transfers. The Reserve Bank has also severely limited cash
withdrawals from commercial banks. And the inflation rate has rendered check
payments nearly worthless by the time they clear days later.

More than 20 aid groups, donor countries and United Nations agencies wrote
Mr. Gono last week asking that electronic banking be restored for
humanitarian aid purposes and that they be allowed to pay service providers
in foreign currency. If agencies are increasingly unable to pay for their
field operations, they wrote, that inability will "greatly increase the
already substantial suffering of those Zimbabweans who are most in need of
humanitarian response."

A third of Zimbabweans are now hungry and in need of food aid, the United
Nations estimates. A million children have lost one or both parents. About
140,000 people died of AIDS there last year.
Mr. Mugabe's government banned the work of international aid groups for
almost three months during the election season earlier this year, accusing
them of backing the political opposition. The ban was lifted on Aug. 29, two
months after Mr. Mugabe was declared the victor in a discredited
presidential runoff election. His main rival, the opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, dropped out of the race, citing state-sponsored violence against
his supporters.

It has taken time for the aid groups to resume work. One major humanitarian
group, which declined to be identified by name for fear of retaliation
against its staff by government officials, said it would be able to get food
to only half as many people as originally planned this month because of the
difficulties of paying for its logistical operations.

The Zimbabwe office of the United Nations Children's Fund, which coordinates
one of the world's largest programs for orphans, decided Friday that it
could no longer pay the local groups it supported there by check, seriously
hampering its ability to help the most vulnerable children and their
mothers, said Roeland Monasch, Unicef's acting representative in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Monasch said the United Nations' daily posting of the country's exchange
rate showed that the number of Zimbabwe dollars required to buy a single
American dollar rose from 3 million on Oct. 23 to 1 billion the next day,
and then to 40 billion on Wednesday and 1.1 trillion on Saturday. For Unicef
to continue operating, he said, it must start using American dollars.

Mr. Parsons, the Global Fund inspector general, who presented the
preliminary findings of a Global Fund audit on Tuesday in Harare, Zimbabwe's
capital, to donor nations and United Nations agencies, said in the interview
that he had met with Reserve Bank officials to tell them, "We need our money

But Reserve Bank officials have told the Global Fund they do not have the
foreign currency required, Mr. Parsons said, so, "One has to assume they
spent it on other things."

In Mr. Parsons' presentation to donors, a slide on program management
featured a Cameroonian saying: "Trust in Allah but tie your donkey." The
Global Fund's management, known as the secretariat, has not released any new
money to Zimbabwe since last December and will not disburse more until the
problems in protecting the Global Fund's donations are resolved, he said.

"We cannot safely leave foreign exchange in Zimbabwe," Mr. Parsons said.
"The secretariat has to find some other means to safeguard our funds - to
keep it offshore and drip-feed it into Zimbabwe. It can't be under the
Reserve Bank or anyone influenced by the Reserve Bank."

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Zanu PF playing games with the people's suffering

November 1, 2008 | By Nelson Chamisa

The MDC is deeply disturbed by the utterances made this week by a senior
Zanu PF official that non-governmental organisations were hoarding food aid
in order to misrepresent the food situation in the country.

The MDC notes with concern that the statement made by Rugare Gumbo,
purporting to be the Minister of Agriculture on Wednesday show that Zanu PF
is still in denial that the food situation in the country has reached very
critical levels.

Firstly, Gumbo cannot purport to be a minister. There is no government in
Zimbabwe and Gumbo cannot use a fictitious position to mislead the nation
that the hunger in Zimbabwe is being exaggerated. For the record this is a
clear Zanu PF position with regards to the issue of hunger in the country.

The self-styled minister denies that Zimbabweans are eating wild fruits,
adding that the people have been doing this since "time immemorial." Gumbo
should tell the nation when he last had his supper of wild fruits and where
Zanu PF members are enjoying their wild fruit meals.

This is a reckless statement, which confirms that the elite in Zanu PF have
taken permanent resident status in cloud cuckoo land. Throughout the
country, Zimbabweans are competing with wild animals to eat wild fruits as
unprecedented starvation stalks the countryside.

It is just unheard of that a person who purports to be in charge of food
distribution thinks that it is acceptable to eat wild fruits just because
the practise has been in existence since time immemorial.

This is reducing the people to the primitive days of over 300 years ago.
Because of Zanu PF, Zimbabwe has gone back 10 generations back to primitive
communities of hunters and gatherers.

In recent months, we have had unbelievable reports even from the State media
of people in the rural areas dying after consuming wild fruits and going for
days without any food.

In some cases they have to fight with animals to get the scarce wild fruits
yet Zanu PF says this is not true and instead blames the NGOs for putting
the lives of the people at risk. The regime is responsible for this massive
starvation. Even the State media has published reports of senior Zanu PF and
government officials stealing grain from the Grain Marketing Board. In fact
it these corrupt sharks and tigers in the GMB that are diverting grain that
is meant for the people to the lucrative black market where it fetches high
prices, which most of the rural and urban people cannot afford.

It is wishful thinking that these donor organisations can bring in food into
the country then lock it up just to please the international media.

Gumbo's statements show how Zanu PF is out of touch with reality. Zanu PF is
burying its head in the sand rather than declaring the situation a national
disaster and forming an inclusive government

During President Morgan Tsvangirai's report back rallies people have been
complaining about hunger and the partisan and corrupt way the GMB is
distributing grain.

The MDC reiterates that hunger knows no politics therefore food distribution
should not be politicised.

In a new Zimbabwe, food will be the government's first priority. No one will
ever spend a single day hungry let alone an hour.

Editor's note:Nelson Chamisa is the MDC Secretary for Information and
Publicity and Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana Central,he is also the
party's former National Youth Chairman.

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Glaring errors in SADC Troika communiqué

November 2, 2008

By Masiiwa Ragies Gunda

I HAVE been reading the SADC communiqué following the failure of the Troika
to resolve the political impasse in Zimbabwe.

It is not surprising that the meeting failed dismally if one goes through
the communiqué. Not all readers have gone through this communiqué; hence
this analysis may help fellow Zimbabweans to understand some of the issues I
have observed from the communiqué.

The communiqué betrays the assumptions brought by these supposedly African
statesmen. The first problem is that the Troika assumes that Mugabe is the
undisputed President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Article 4 of the
communiqué designates Mugabe as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe while
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara are correctly identified as Prime
Minister designate and Deputy Prime Minister designate respectively.

It is clear from this communiqué that the Troika did not accord the two MDC
factions the same status as Zanu-PF because they are negotiating with the
sitting President. This stupid interpretation of the reality in Zimbabwe by
the Troika flies in the face of the SADC tribunal which observed that Mugabe
has no claim to the presidency any more. It is therefore not surprising that
the Troika failed to break the impasse because it is basing its discussions
on the wrong premises.

To think that the presidents and ministers who attended this meeting failed
to note the simple fact that Mugabe is not the undisputed President of
Zimbabwe just shows the calibre of Africa's politicians. The second
observation pertains to the capacities granted Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
Mutambara by the Troika.

Article 5 wrongly observes that the Global Political Agreement signed on 15
September 2008 was signed between the "Government and the two MDC
 formations". Nothing could be further from the truth! The troika leaders
should have their heads examined seriously because even my grandmother in
the rural areas knows that there was a "deal" signed between Zanu-PF and the
two MDC factions, not between government and the two MDC factions.

Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche represented Zanu-PF, not the government
of Zimbabwe.

These may seem mere oversights, yet this is how Mbeki and now the Troika are
trying to cheat the people of Zimbabwe by sustaining a regime that was
rejected by the majority of the people. By assuming that the deal was signed
between the government and opposition, essentially the Troika therefore is
subscribing to the Mbeki foolishness that Mugabe was right in allocating all
the ministries that he has used to destroy democracy to his party because
the Troika does not seem to understand the difference between the government
and Zanu-PF.

Article 10 and 11 are as vague as they come. Is the Troika suggesting that
all other ministries have been agreed upon? What then does the Troika mean
by saying that the parties must agree on Home Affairs to allow for the full
implementation of the agreement? Is the Ministry of Home Affairs blocking
discussion on other ministries or is it the last?

This appears to be different from the information the MDC has been giving
out. It sounds more as if the Troika was reading a speech written by
Chinamasa. It appears that we are not any wiser after the Troika meeting
than we were before the meeting. Further, what is the situation now with
regard to the appointment of Governors? Is the Troika also of the opinion
that since they were already appointed there is nothing more to say about

The Troika sounds to me more like a sub-committee of the Zanu-PF politburo.
After going through the communiqué, my first question was, who paid for the
hosting of these apparently clueless politicians who would be more at home
in a Zanu-PF central committee meeting than masquerading as statesmen when
they cannot make common sense judgments on the real problems in Zimbabwe.

It appears therefore to me that these African politicians will continue to
squander the little dollars being paid by Zimbabwean taxpayers while they
continue to pamper Mugabe behind our backs. Is there any hope even from the
full SADC assembly? I do not see any.

The time has come for the MDC to begin to seriously consider a plan B or C.
These talks are only being used to achieve one thing and they are
succeeding, pacify people and keep them hoping that something will

Tsvangirai must not continue to be used by these heartless SADC politicians
to pacify the same people that gave him the mandate he carries around. Time
has come for him to ask the people again for guidance. What should we do now
that it is clear that no one will come to help us out of our problems?

The Troika did not even mention that it is disgraceful for Mugabe to deny
Tsvangirai a passport. Maybe soon, he will not need it anyway!

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The MDC must court the security forces

November 2, 2008

By Kennedy Gezi

THIS suggestion has been made before but I will say it again because it
seems as of now the MDC has not got the message.

Regardless of how the ministries are allocated to the parties, eventually,
the MDC will remain a toothless bulldog (some in Zanu-PF may argue, a
British Bulldog) for as long as they remain without the support and loyalty
of the security forces of Zimbabwe.

In my argument security forces encompasses the army, the police, the Central
Intelligence Organisation, as well as the war veterans (the real war
veterans).  Without the support of these forces, the chances of the MDC
advancing further in any significant way against Zanu-PF in the current
negotiations are slim.

It seems the MDC has not been able to convince members of the police force
that it is not to their benefit in the long run to be beating up their
defenseless mothers and sisters, who are simply expressing their desire to
see a better Zimbabwe.  The MDC has not seized any opportunity to persuade
the war veterans (the real war veterans) to stand up and defend the legacy
of freedom against the likes of Jabulani Sibanda and Joseph Chinotimba.

The MDC had not seized the opportunity to educate those in the lower ranks
of the military about how they are being used to uphold the illegitimate
government of Mugabe.  The MDC must formulate and execute an effective
campaign to court the loyalty of the security forces of Zimbabwe, if not to
help put the MDC into office, then at least to save the people of Zimbabwe
from the brutality they continue to suffer without defense.

Without the forces threatening the people of Zimbabwe, perhaps the masses
will be more willing to stand up in a mass uprising against Robert Mugabe,
and the Joint Operations Command. Perhaps knowing that the police and the
army stand with the people, Mugabe will see better reason to negotiate in
good faith.  Perhaps without the backing of the police force, the real war
veterans and the army, Mugabe and his cronies could be sent fleeing from
their offices of power, with tails between their legs.

It has been said numerous times before and during the elections that it
never seemed as if the MDC had a complete winning strategy that would carry
them through from the campaign season, through the elections, and into
power.  The events that have transpired since the March elections have only
gone to demonstrate this.

The MDC did not have a plan for "What if Mugabe does not concede defeat in
March".  The MDC did not have a plan for "What if the presidential elections
had to go to a runoff".  The MDC certainly did not have an answer for "What
if Mugabe decides to hold on to power in spite of even a loss".

Now, the MDC seems to be playing a waiting game, hoping that some
intervention brings them the victory they already won, while the people
continue to die.  There does not appear to be any effective MDC plan at
play. It is obvious now that Zanu-PF would care less if the country were to
deteriorate to the levels of Somalia and other such places we looked at 10
years ago while wondering in silence; "How did they get there?"

The recruitment of those who hold the reins of power in Zimbabwe (not
conceived power, but the real power) does not seem to be an avenue that the
MDC has either explored or pursued in earnest or with any measure of

"Strategy, Comrades", as was once suggested here on The Zimbabwe Times, is
what the MDC appear to lack. The MDC need not announce tomorrow that they
took advice and went and spoke to police officers at such and such a police
station, to try and win them over.

They should be clandestine in their operations; they should be discrete.
But, for goodness sake, they should strategise and be effective.  They
should look ahead, and have a complete action plan that considers the "What

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