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Zimbabwe eyes high-value banknotes amid talks deadlock


Mon 3 Nov 2008, 7:37 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will soon introduce higher denomination
banknotes, of up to one million Zimbabwean dollars, in a bid to ease the
effects of hyperinflation, the country's central bank said on Monday.

The southern African country lopped 10 zeros off the currency on August 1,
but it continues to lose value as inflation surges.

The government put inflation at 230 million percent for July, the world's
highest, although the Washington-based Cato Institute foundation estimates
it now at 10.2 quadrillion percent.

Currently, the highest denomination banknote is Z$50,000, not enough to buy
a loaf of bread, and the central bank plans to introduce Z$100,000,
Z$500,000 and Z$1 million (about $8) banknotes in a bid to help consumers
battling to make simple purchases.

"In the measures underway, the Reserve Bank plans to introduce a number of
new, higher denominations; review the cash withdrawal limits, as well as
commence aggressive campaigns for increased usage of alternative means of
payment," the central bank said in a statement.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis -- blamed on President Robert Mugabe's
policies -- has worsened amid a stalemate over cabinet positions in a
power-sharing government the veteran ruler agreed to form with opposition
rival Morgan Tsvangirai on September 15.

Analysts say the power-sharing pact offers the best chances of hauling the
country out of its worst economic crisis, but hopes of a quick turnaround
have been dimmed by a disagreement over key ministerial appointments, which
now threatens the deal.

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Welshman Ncube denies doctoring power sharing document

By Violet Gonda
3 November 2008

The Secretary General of the Mutambara MDC, Welshman Ncube, has described as
a "malicious agenda and a creation of fiction" reports alleging he was
involved in the doctoring of the power sharing deal.

News reports had quoted unnamed MDC sources alleging that the document had
been tampered with by former Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa, Welshman
Ncube and Thabo Mbeki's own representative, Mujanku Gumbi.

In an interview with SW Radio Africa, Ncube said: "It can only be the
product of people who are extremely malicious, who have no journalistic
ethics who run with a stupid false story without even the decency of talking
to the people who are accused of the fraudulent alteration of the document."

Ncube added: "I did not take part or participate in any alteration of any
agreement at all."

However the Mutambara-MDC's chief negotiator said there are alterations and
two paragraphs that are missing from the final agreement signed by the
principals on 15th September. He said Chinamasa has admitted to altering one
of the paragraphs and "accidentally" deleted two of the other clauses.

Ncube said there were three sets of documents:

The first set of documents represented the agenda items discussed and agreed
upon by the six negotiators, representing ZANU PF and the two MDC
formations. Ncube said all six negotiators initialled the agenda items and
each person has a copy. "It is not possible for anyone to tamper with this
document because we signed every agenda item and we can verify each clause.2

The second set of documents was the Global Political Agreement signed by the
principals on the 11th September when they finally reached an agreement.
This was then followed by the third document that was signed at a formal
ceremony on 15th September.

Ncube said the differences which exist are in the document that was signed
by principals on the 11th. He said after they had signed the hard copy, the
document was put on a computer disc and given to ZANU PF's former Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa by the South Africa officials, to prepare a legal

The first clause that was altered by Chinamasa was on the issue of senate
seats.  Ncube said ZANU PF already had 5 non constituency seats. So it had
been agreed that an additional 6 senators would be appointed. Out of the
six, four would be from the MDC Tsvangirai and two from the Mutambara MDC.
However that paragraph was completely changed and Chinamasa inserted a
clause saying there would be 9 new senate seats, to be shared equally
between the three rival parties.

According to Ncube, Chinamasa admitted that he is the one who inserted that
particular clause, claiming he had been told by his principal - Robert
Mugabe - that all three leaders had agreed to this. But Ncube said his
principal - Arthur Mutambara - has denied agreeing to increasing the senate
seats to 9.

The second alteration is a paragraph that is completely missing in the final
document. The missing paragraph says anyone appointed to the position of
Deputy Prime Minister and Vice President would automatically be a Member of
Parliament. If that person is already an MP his/her party will appoint a non
constituency MP. Ncube said this clause is missing and said Chinamasa claims
it was "deleted by accident."

The third alteration comes in the form of another missing paragraph in the
final agreement that said the Prime Minister and his Deputy Prime Ministers
and the President and his Vice Presidents shall sit to make appointments of
senior government employees like Ambassadors and Permanent Secretaries,
Again the former justice minister claims the paragraph was accidentally

Ncube said; "It is pure nonsense for anyone to suggest that I would have
participated in the alteration of a document in a manner which prejudices my
party. You need to be a fool to actually believe such nonsense."

He also said the South Africans were not involved in the alteration of the

Tsvangirai MDC initially raised concerns in an interview in early October,
complaining that the agreement had been altered.

We were unable to get hold of Thabo Mbeki's representative or Patrick

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Mugabe Backing Kabila in Eastern DRC - CNDP Claims Amidst Allegations of Rampant Looting, Killing and Rape

The New Times (Kigali)

3 November 2008
Posted to the web 3 November 2008

James Karuhanga

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has sent in military support to the Eastern
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to back Joseph Kabila's struggling FARDC
forces against the rebel group National Congress for the Defence of the
People (CNDP).

In an exclusive telephone interview with The New Times, Rene Abandi, CNDP
Foreign Affairs Commissioner, made these revelations: "Zimbabweans and the
FDLR are the ones that fight, government forces simply run away and we
remain fighting. We have given this evidence to MONUC and they acknowledge

"Apart from Zimbabwe, Kabila wants to bring in SADC and as you've heard, the
French also want to come in, their Foreign Minister has been lobbying for a
French dominated EU humanitarian mission of about 1,500 soldiers," added

"Their role is real," he said, declaring that they had evidence of -
Zimbabwe ammunition - from the battle field.

If this is proved true, then Zimbabwe becomes complicit in the rampant
looting, rape and killing taking place in the Eastern DR Congo. Commenting
on the atrocities committed last week Abandi said : "They raped women,
looted and maimed families on that night."

He also claimed that these brutal atrocities in Goma town were designed by
the DR Congo government troops in a bid to put blame on the advancing rebel
army (CNDP).

"Bad things happened in Goma before we ceased fire. When just four
kilometers away and before government soldiers withdrew, they killed people
who don't speak Kinyarwanda, and this was planned to be blamed on us to
tarnish our image once we took over," Abandi said.

"All this they did to smear us. But what is more painful is that the
international community sees this but does not act," he lamented.

Abandi sounded bitter while explaining that recently Ban Ki Moon, the UN
Secretary General simply condemned the government army for - indiscipline.

"Such type of killing and he merely calls it indiscipline?"

"Secondly, after our ceasefire, in all the areas under our control, people
have resettled people have peace but this is not mentioned by the
international community," he stressed.

"No one has been harmed in the many areas we control but the good things on
the ground the truth, and the good on our side, is not mentioned," he added.

"The humanitarian crisis overly talked about is actually on the decline. We
are finding a solution for it but this is news that they don't want to
accept," he said.

Commenting on possible dialogue with Kinshasa and Rwanda's role in the
conflict, Abandi said: "Instead of talking to us (Congolese), they want to
talk to Kigali but we have a problem as Congolese between ourselves," he
said, while strongly dismissing claims that Kigali supports his group.

Abandi, however, acknowledged that Rwanda shares a similar concern, over the
alliance between the fatal rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of
Rwanda (FDLR) and the Military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(FARDC) - - saying that this is a fact that government uses as an excuse to
say Rwanda helps CNDP. The FDLR rebels are genocidal forces responsible for
the 1994 Tutsi genocide, which claimed over a million lives.

"We never buy weapons but capture from government," he stressed on their
source of funding, adding that their strength comes from sheer
determination, backed by truth.

"The first source of strength comes from willpower, but most importantly,
from truth and our side has got truth.

And truth wins by all means," he said, accusing Kinshasa of corruption and
divisionism, among others.

"Government does not work but pillages, they behave like mercenaries!"

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Zimbabwe's Rumoured Presence in Country 'Terrible Disaster' - MDC Politician

The New Times (Kigali)

3 November 2008
Posted to the web 3 November 2008

Edwin Musoni

When contacted on phone yesterday night, the Harare East Member of
Parliament and chief negotiator of Zimbabwe's strong opposition party,
Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC), Tendai Biti strongly criticised the
rumoured deployment of Zimbabwe's military in the Eastern Democratic
Republic of Congo, (DRC) - saying that it would be a "terrible disaster."

The New Times sought a reaction from the MDC after revelations in an
exclusive interview with Rene Abandi, National Congress for the Defence of
the People (CNDP) Foreign Affairs Commissioner.

Abandi claimed Zimbabwe's presence in the East DR Congo. "Zimbabweans and
the FDLR are the ones that fight, government forces simply run away and we
remain fighting. We have given this evidence to MONUC and they acknowledge
this," he claimed.

"If Mugabe deployed the army in DR Congo then it's a terrible disaster and a
major setback to both the economy and the peace process," said Biti who also
doubles as the MDC Secretary-General.

Biti questioned the auspices under which the Zimbabwe troops are operating
in DR Congo adding that their (Zim troops) existence was illegal.

"Mugabe has no authority to deploy troops out of the country, at the moment,
it is only the parliament that can endorse such a deployment," he said.

He also rushed on to say that currently, Zimbabwe is undergoing a serious
financial crisis and that if Mugabe deployed to DR Congo, it would deepen
the Zimbawe's problems.

"DR Congo is not a priority to the Zimbabweans there is need to focus on
more issues of national development than external issues," he said.

Zimbabwe is currently reeling under the world's highest inflation at 231
million per cent, coupled with shortages of everything, from drugs in
hospital, to basic food stuffs such as bread and clean water.

Meanwhile, there are increasing reports of deaths from the deadly water
borne disease Cholera, in the urban areas of Harare.

Zimbabwe's military adventures in the DR Congo, in 1998, had a heavy impact
on the southern African country's economy -- today ordinary Zimbabweans are
still counting the cost.

When contacted for comment Joe Felli, MONUC's, Head of Office, in Kigali,
said he was not aware of Zimbabwe's presence in Congo, as he had just
arrived from Kinshasa. He promised a follow up interview.

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Cholera spreads in Harare claiming more lives

By Tichaona Sibanda
3 November 2008

Cholera hotspots are multiplying in several areas of the capital, amid
reports that at least 20 people died last week of the disease in Budiriro,
west of the city.

There are also reports that government is suppressing information on the
disease, described by medical sources as 'spreading like wildfire'. Reports
suggest the problem is far more widespread than the authorities admit.

Last week the government claimed only six people had lost their lives to the
disease, but news reports say that 20 people had died in Budiriro alone,
putting the number of victims who have succumbed to the disease in Harare in
the last two months to 50.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights say the disease has so
far claimed over 120 lives countrywide, and warned many more will perish if
government fails to take immediate measures, such as water treatment at
household level.

Outbreaks of cholera in the western parts of Harare have been caused by
widespread water contamination, including seepage from raw sewage flowing
across many streets in the high density suburbs.

A Public health expert, Oliver Mudyarabikwa, told Newsreel cholera was a
disease that no longer poses a threat to countries with minimum standards of
hygiene, but remains a challenge to countries like Zimbabwe where access to
safe drinking water and adequate sanitation cannot be guaranteed.

He said dealing with cholera required basic management skills like looking
for the source of the disease and consulting with the residents in the
affected areas.

'All resident should be informed about the disease. All possible media
should be used: radio, TV and churches. They should be informed that cholera
is a highly communicable disease, caused by a microorganism and spread from
one person to another through food, water and soiled hands and other items.
The germ is easily killed by heat (boiling water, cooking food) or by
disinfectants such as chlorine. Washing hands with soap and water help get
rid of germs on hands,' Mudyarabikwa said.
Food handling
The health expert added that public water sources should be well supervised
to make sure they supply treated drinking water. After treatment, drinking
water should be stored in appropriate containers and protected from further

'We know the government says it has no money to buy water treatment
chemicals, but at least they should run campaigns warning people of the
dangers of the disease during these difficult times,' said Mudyarabikwa.

Officials expect the death toll to rise as dozens of critically ill patients
continue to throng clinics and hospitals seeking treatmen,t but almost all
medical stocks in country have run out.

Health Minister, David Parirenyatwa said his ministry was working flat out
to resolve the crisis, but despite the gravity of the situation nothing on
the ground supports this statement, as the government has been grossly
ineffective since the disease broke out.

Treating the condition requires only simple measures, but the clean water
and rehydration salts required are in short supply in areas where they are
needed most. An outbreak of cholera spreads very quickly in areas where
there is poor sanitation and where water supplies are tainted.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Community (ZimVAC) has
released a controversial report claiming that MDC controlled areas in
Matabeleland South do not need urgent food assistance.

The report has sparked fierce accusations that the regime is still
politicising operations of aid agencies. ZimVAC comprises the government,
United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, and it carries
out hunger vulnerability assessments in the country.

There are accusations that it's latest report was mainly compiled by
government officers in August, following the ban on the operations of
non-governmental organisations in June.

 Fambai Ngirande, spokesman for the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (Nango), said in Shurugwi last week a consignment of food from
a humanitarian organisation was monitored by suspected members of Zanu PF,
who then took over the food distribution.

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WOZA leaders spend third weekend in prison

By Violet Gonda
3 Novemeber 2008

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu have spent their third
weekend - and a total of 19 days - in Mlondolozi Prison in Bulawayo. Despite
a High Court appeal on the 27th October there has still been no response
from authorities. The pair have been denied bail three times in a Magistrate's
court, prompting the defense lawyer to appeal in the High Court last week.

WOZA says it is concerned about their well being as the group has been told
they will now only be allowed to visit once every two weeks. Previously they
were allowed to see them daily during the week. Although the daily visits
have been stopped, they are still being allowed to send food into the

WOZA believes the two women are being punished for filing complaints about
the way they are being treated by the prison guards. The pressure group also
accuse the High Court of "playing games" as court officials are never
available when the defense lawyer tries to contact them. WOZA said: "The
latest ploy, in a long list of delaying tactics, is that the judge that
received the paperwork on Thursday 30th October has gone to Hwange and they
are unable to locate the file to give to another judge."

Williams and Mahlangu were arrested on October 16th for leading a peaceful
demonstration in Bulawayo calling for an end to the suffering of all
Zimbbweans.  Several protesters were beaten and a number were arrested, but
released on the same day.

Meanwhile, the influential South African Council of Churches (SACC) joined
the growing list of South African civil and student bodies condemning the
unjust detention of the WOZA leaders.

"We are very concerned about the welfare of these two courageous women,"
said Eddie Makue, SACC General Secretary.  "It is ironic that those who are
working for peace are charged with disturbing it, while those with the power
to promote a true and just peace seem to have no interest in doing so," he

The SACC General Secretary called for a speedy and fair trail of the two
women and called on the political leaders to involve civil society in
negotiations to resolve the political impasse.  "Incidents such as the
attack on WOZA heighten our concern that ordinary Zimbabweans will be the
ones to suffer if the country's social compact is nothing more than a
self-serving agreement among political elites."

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Botswana president calls for rerun of Zimbabwe presidential poll


Botswana President Ian Khama on Monday called for an internationally
supervised rerun of the presidential poll in Zimbabwe as "one viable way
forward" to get that country out of its political crisis.

"We strongly believe that the one viable way forward in Zimbabwe is to have
a rerun of the presidential election under full international sponsorship
and supervision," he said in his 2008 State of the Nation address to

"That way, a repeat of the past run-off presidential election, which was
declared by regional and international observers to be neither free nor fair
and was characterised by intimidation and violence, can be avoided.

"It should be unacceptable for ruling parties to seek to manipulate election
outcomes to extend their stay in power, as this is bad for democracy on our
continent," he added.

Power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF and main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have remained deadlocked over the
distribution of key ministries.

Khana has been an outspoken critic of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Botswana said in August that it did not consider Mugabe's re-election in the
June presidential rerun to have been legitimate.

The leader of Zimbabwe's opposition MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, pulled out of
the second round vote in protest at what he said was a rising wave of
government violence against his supporters.

He finished ahead of Mugabe in the first round, held in March.

The MDC won a majority in parliament in the March elections, leaving
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in the minority for the first time since independence
in 1980.

A total of 180 people were killed and about 9,000 injured in political
violence since Zimbabwe's general elections in late March, Amnesty
International said in a new report Friday.

Zimbabwe's political crisis has worsened its economic collapse. The country
suffers the world's highest rate of inflation, last estimated at 231 million

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Zimbabwe sells some 3.5 tonnes of stockpiled ivory for $450,000


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Zimbabwean officials say they have sold some
3.5 tonnes of ivory for over US$450,000, with the money earmarked for the
country's cash-strapped wildlife authority.

Monday's sale in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, is part of a string of
elephant ivory auctions being held in the region for the first time in a

Last year, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ruled
that Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe could sell some 97 tonnes
of stockpiled ivory to approved Japanese and Chinese buyers.

Once known for its natural beauty and wealth of wildlife, Zimbabwe's
economic crisis has left authorities battling to maintain the country's

Poaching is increasing as hungry Zimbabweans look for alternative sources of

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Aid group: Missing cash hits Zimbabwe's malaria fight


November 3, 2008 -- Updated 1229 GMT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Political corruption in Zimbabwe threatens efforts
to save millions of people from malaria in the southern African country,
according to aid agency officials.

 The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has demanded that
Zimbabwe's government return $7.3 million placed in the country's reserve
bank to pay for the distribution medicine that can cure malaria, according
to the group's spokesman.

A senior western diplomat in Zimbabwe told CNN he believes the money was
taken by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government to fund political
activities. He accused reserve bank governor Gideon Gono of involvement.

"This could put millions of people in Zimbabwe at risk of malaria in the
current malaria season," said John Linden, spokesman for the group which is
a leading international financing institution for those diseases.

Linden said his group has given Zimbabwe until Thursday to repay the money
or else no more aid will be sent to the country.

"At this stage we do not have confidence in the reserve bank's ability to
release the money when needed, so we have demanded that all the money be
released immediately," Linden said.

The money was intended to train thousands of health workers to distribute
the malaria cure, medicine that is already available but sits on shelves.

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Arrested UK journalist in court Wednesday

By Alex Bell
03 November 2008

A British journalist will appear in a Harare court on Wednesday on
allegations of practicing his trade without accreditation - in a clear sign
that the pledge by Zimbabwe's political leaders to "uphold and develop press
freedom" is little more than an empty promise.

Phillip Warington Taylor was hauled off his return flight from Harare to
Britain last Thursday by agents from the notorious Central Intelligence
Organisation. The journalist, who had spent 30 days in Zimbabwe, is denying
the charges against him, saying he was just a visitor to the country and not
practicing journalism.

Taylor, who was ordered to surrender his passport on his arrest, appeared in
court last week and was granted bail. He is now set to return to court on

Foreign journalists in Zimbabwe have repeatedly fallen victim to harassment,
attacks and arrest by Robert Mugabe's regime, particularly during elections
periods. But with the signing of the power sharing agreement it was hoped
that such clampdowns on media freedom would be a thing of the past.

Mugabe, his chief political rival MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and leader of
the MDC splinter faction, Arthur Mutambara, all put pen to paper signing the
agreement, which included an article dedicated to "Freedom of Expression and
Communication" - an agreement that has since been proved to be an
inadequate, doctored and empty promise.

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Shots fired at MDC MP Sipepa Nkomo's vehicle

By Lance Guma
03 November 2008

MDC Member of Parliament for Lobengula, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, has told Newsreel
his vehicle was shot at near Fort Rixon (near Shangani) as he traveled back
to Bulawayo from an MDC meeting in Harare last Tuesday. The Mercedes E230
car was being driven by fellow legislator Seiso Moyo when a loud bang
reverberated. The left front passenger window was smashed, while Moyo
struggled to control the car. Nkomo says he urged Moyo not to stop the car
and keep driving as fast as he could.

MP Nkomo, who is in charge of the Home Affairs portfolio in the MDC, stopped
short of calling it an assassination attempt, telling us everything happened
so fast, they had no time to be sure what was going on. 'I can't rule out
anything. The Lord is my shepherd,' he told us.

Nkomo was returning from an MDC National Elections Directorate meeting in
Harare and was traveling in the back seat of the car with his wife. Asked
if maybe the loud bang he heard was something else, Nkomo said, 'I know the
sound of gun.' When the car arrived at the next roadblock Nkomo says he
filed a report with the police. He also made another report at Bulawayo's
central police station when they arrived home.

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Tsvangirai dabbling in peripheral issues: ZANU PF

      by Patricia Mpofu Tuesday 04 November 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government on Monday accused
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of seeking to derail a unity agreement
between the two political foes after he called for a truth commission to
probe atrocities committed by the army more than two decades ago.

More than 20 000 innocent civilians from the Ndebele ethnic minority are
believed to have been killed in the early 1980s during a bloody
counter-insurgency drive by the army in the southern Matabeleland and
Midlands provinces.

Tsvangirai - prime minister-designate in a proposed government of national
unity with President Robert Mugabe - at the weekend called for an
investigation into the army massacres and for perpetrators to be brought to

"Without justice we cannot move forward," the opposition MDC party leader
said at the launch of a video on the army atrocities.

But Information Minister and government spokesman Sikhanyiso Ndlovu
questioned Tsvangirai's motive in raising the issue of the army atrocities
and accused the MDC leader of picking on the controversial army campaign to
derail the September 15 power-sharing agreement.

"It looks like he is against the spirit of the agreement," said Ndlovu,
himself a Ndebele and a former member of late nationalist leader Joshua
Nkomo's PF ZAPU party whose supporters were mostly from the minority group
and where targeted by the army.

Ndlovu said: "Instead of concentrating on forming an inclusive government he
(Tsvangirai) is dabbling in peripheral issues. The President (Mugabe) has
said that history was a sad moment in the past which is regrettable . . .
Zimbabweans want a new government and not populism."

Mugabe - who some say personally ordered deployment of the army's North
Korean-trained 5th Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands ostensibly to stop
an armed insurrection against his rule - has called the deployment and
resultant atrocities an "act of madness".

But the 84-year old leader has never personally accepted responsibility for
the civilian murders or formally apologised. He has also not yielded to
calls by human rights activists for his government to compensate victims of
the brutal army operation.

Some political analysts have suggested Mugabe and his lieutenants may be
stalling on power-sharing for fear that should they allow their absolute
grip on power to be neutralised in a unity government they could end up
facing human rights trials related to the 1980s army massacres and the
political violence of the past nine years.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980, have failed
to agree on who should control the most powerful ministries in the unity
government - a deadlock that is now threatening to derail the entire
power-sharing agreement between the bitter opponents.

The power-sharing talks are stalled over control of the home affairs
ministry that oversees the police and will play a critical role in any
future effort to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.

The regional SADC grouping has said it would soon call an emergency summit
to try to end the Zimbabwe impasse after the bloc's special security organ
failed to resolve the matter last week.

The power-sharing deal that retains Mugabe as president while making
Tsvangirai prime minister and another opposition leader, Arthur Mutambara,
deputy prime minister is seen as the first real opportunity in nearly 10
years for Zimbabwe to begin on a new chapter of national healing and

However many in and outside Zimbabwe remain immensely skeptical that the
deal can stand the strain given deep-seated mistrust between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline

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Former Zipra fighters jeer Sikhanyiso Ndlovu

November 3, 2008

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - Former Zipra fighters embarrassed the former Minister of
Information and Publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, on Saturday when they booed
him during a meeting held at the White City Stadium in Bulawayo.

Ndlovu, an avid supporter of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF had asked
the sizeable crowd of about 500, to chant Zanu-PF slogans.

The ex-combatants had convened the meeting and invited Vice-President,
Joseph Msika to address them. Sources say Msika had turned down the
invitation at the last minute after some senior Zanu -PF officials told him
that the meeting was a platform for the revival of PF-Zapu, the late Dr
Joshua Nkomo's former opposition party.

Msika was vice-president of PF-Zapu.

"It was a good meeting," said one source on Sunday night. "About 500 former
PF-Zapu and Zipra cadres were present."

"We had wanted to be addressed by Msika and we know that he was in Bulawayo
yesterday (Saturday) and today (Sunday) but he decided not to attend. We
wanted him to get first hand information of our grievances about the plight
of former Zipra combatants. Although he did not attend, we were able to
share our experiences.

"But we had a problem with Sikhanyiso Ndlovu because I think he had no
reason to chant Zanu-PF slogans. It wasn't a Zanu-PF meeting but a Zipra
meeting, or PF-Zapu meeting if you want."

The meeting and current efforts to revive PF-Zapu have apparently shaken
Zanu-PF, which is in the throes of suffering deep-seated divisions.

It is believed that the brains behind the initiative to revive PF-Zapu is
former minister and Zanu-PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa. He attended
the White City meeting.

Recently, he told journalists here that he was "unshakable in PF-Zapu" and
was willing to lead a Matabeleland-based political party.

He complained of what he referred to as systematic marginalisation by the
government and Zanu-PF of former both PF-Zapu and Zipra cadres.

Dabengwa left Zanu -PF in February during the campaign for the March 29
elections to support the failed presidential bid of another former minister
and Zanu-PF politburo member, Simba Makoni.

The former Zipra fighters announced two months ago that they had broken away
from the mainstream Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association to
form the Zipra Veterans Association. They have set up a committee led by
retired colonel, Ray Ncube to spearhead the new organisation.

The veterans have also said they want to revive PF-Zapu and have set
November 25 as the day when a PF-Zapu revival convention will be held.

Zanu -PF provincial chairman for Bulawayo, Macloud Tshawe told the crowd
that Msika could not attend because he was not feeling well.

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MDC Deals With Council Rebellions

HARARE, November 3 2008 - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
says it has addressed reported internal rebellion cases in Masvingo and
Bindura town councils.

Backstabbing and conspiracy have rocked the councils in the past few

While Masvingo Mayor Femius Chakabuda has managed to cling to his job,
Bindura's Tinashe Madamombe did not survive the turbulence - and was ousted
after two months in office.

The Secretary for mayors in the MDC Cecil Zvidzai, on Sunday told
RadioVOP that the challenges had been overcome.

"We had a bit of a challenge in Masvingo but that has been sorted out-
the mayor and his team of councillors are doing very well in terms of
delivery and encouraging stakeholders participation in the running of the
city- its one place that I can tell you that is safe from the fears of
possible Cholera outbreaks which are threatening lives in Chitungwiza,
Chinhoyi and Harare owing to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority's

"The MDC values the culture of debate and people who are used to a
culture of dictatorship do not understand debate," he said.

Zvidzai accused local government minister, Ignatius Chombo of meddling
in council affairs.

"Of course we have the Chombo's who are trying to destabilise our
councils- but I can assure you that these things will be worked on and we
will make sure that we refocus our councils to deliver services to the
people," he said.

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Silently disappeared

There are a multitude of Zimbabweans who have been arbitrarily arrested,
detained, harassed, beaten, intimidated in the days following the signing of
the 15 September agreement. In a way, the WOZA women are 'lucky', as with
their international status they cannot be "disappeared". Yes, they are in a
hell-hole of a detention centre and their case is patently a grave violation
of rights, but they occasionally receive food from people who care about
them and who are also doing all they can to track their whereabouts.

What about the average Zimbabwean? Who is there to make sure the small
people - the ground-level  invisible activists - are kept safe?

Today I got a call from a colleague: who can she call to find out what has
happened to a friend of hers, a fairly well known democracy neighbourhood
activist? He is nothing high-powered, but enough to attract the ire of the
thugs in the Zanu regime. This morning he was one moment seen watering his
garden, then his neighbours witnessed him being bundled into a truck by four
young men. He was the only one at home. His family are frantic; they do not
have the means or the networks to find him.

We try our best, but what is being reported out there by international media
houses is but the tip of the iceberg. The mugabe regime is desperate: they
know they are in the final battle for survival so they are now ready to do
anything in their power to stymie any initiatives that will unseat them.

There is even rumour that Zanu PF are attempting to fan the fires of
discontent and provoke riots so they can call a state of emergency. Zanu PF
are masters of dirty tricks, and it is not unlikely that they will use the
ruse of arms caches, accusations of military training beyond our borders,
etc etc to also introduce the military rule they so desperately desire.

Zimbabweans are exhausted, hungry and beyond the luxury of hope. Our future
lies in the hands of SADC, the old boys club, and I wonder how long, and if
ever, before the tipping point will be reached, submerging our battered
nation into a state of civil war.

This entry was written by Still Here on Monday, November 3rd, 2008 at 1:39

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Deadly cholera outbreak: Zimbabwe's latest affliction

Health Features
By Jan Raath Nov 3, 2008, 18:23 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Most of the patients lay limp as corpses, on the
ground in the open, some of them with their drip bags of saline solution
suspended from tree branches. All 28 of them had been brought in during the

Flies hovered over a nearby overflowing garbage bin and there was a pool of
vomit, almost certainly brimming with the cholera pathogen, near the
entrance to the cholera isolation area.

Since the current outbreak of cholera, the worst in Zimbabwe's history,
began two weeks ago, nine people have died in Harare's Beatrice Road
infectious diseases hospital, a scruffy, run down municipal institution in a
crowded township with a perennial stench of raw sewerage and permanent
embankments of uncollected garbage.

How many more have died without entering the hospital is unknown.

'The situation is 500 per cent better than on Saturday,' said an aid agency
doctor who asked not to be named. 'It was like a war zone in the Congo.
Sputum, vomit, faeces on the floor, patients unattended, lying with empty
drip bags. The kitchen was in an appalling state and the hospital toilet
wasn't working.'

At the weekend, Western aid agencies moved in, delivering drugs,
disinfectant, water sterilizers, mops, buckets, and water tanks to the
critically under-funded and under-staffed hospital. The local Red Cross sent
auxiliary nurses as cleaners to free the hospital staff for medical work.

'Twenty is probably an underestimate for those who have died in the
community, either without or after treatment,' the doctor said. 'We don't
know if the incidence of cases will spike in a sudden surge of hundreds of
cases. It is the potential start of an epidemic that could spiral and turn
out very, very bad.'

Most of the cases Monday and the deaths were from the sprawling township of
Budiriro that has 115,000 residents, but cases from other townships were
also registered, indicating a wide spread of infection.

A total of about 130 people have died in cholera outbreaks around Zimbabwe
this year as the country's economy crashes and infrastructure irrevocably
closes down under the weight of multi- billion per cent inflation.

Death by cholera is the latest affliction to be visited on care- and
disease-worn Zimbabweans. Famine all over the country is reported
anecdotally to be claiming the lives of hundreds of infants.

Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of HIV-AIDS infection in the world -
about 16 per cent of the adult population. 'People are already nutritionally
compromised and immune-compromised and a bout of diarrhoea is a death
sentence,' said the doctor.

On Monday, state radio reported fresh cause for alarm - an outbreak of
rabies, the virus transmitted by dog bite that ends in death if untreated,
in the southern town of Masvingo. There were no vaccinations in the country
to treat patients, and doctors were 'having to refer patients to go back
home and treat wounds with salt and water,' it said.

And there is no doubt in the minds of most people that the sole cause of it
all is Zimbabwe's 84-year-old President Robert Mugabe who refuses to
relinquish his hold on power, despite losing elections in March this year.

Harold Mawere looked anxiously across at his brother, lying still on a bed
in the open. 'He's been lying there for an hour, and blood has started to
flow back into the drip bottle, and no-one is doing anything,' he said. 'He
came to visit us in Budiriro yesterday and in the middle of the night he was
suddenly attacked by cholera. We brought him here this morning, and I don't
know if my wife and kids are ok.

'These people are innocent,' he said. 'This government has made all this,
they don't care about people. There has to be a political solution. Mugabe
has to go, and then we can begin our lives again.'

The collapse of the sewerage system and the breakdown of water supplies that
has lasted for an unbroken year in some parts of the city, date from
Mugabe's enforced decision in 2004 to create a government water utility that
took over Harare's water supply from the municipal authorities, says
Budiriro councillor Penganayi Charumbira of pro-democracy leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change who beat Mugabe in the March

'Harare and most other urban councils are run by the MDC, but Mugabe wanted
to strip them of power, so he took away the water and gave it to ZINWA
(Zimbabwe National Water Authority). It's a disaster, they didn't know what
they are doing and now we have no water in the townships and sewerage is
running in the streets, and flowing into people's wells.

'This is why there are these dire consequences now. It is all caused by
politics, and we have to get rid of him.'

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Zimbabwe : Time for Accountability
Source: p.39 (2008)
Other Number:AI Index: AFR 46/028/200 Keywords:Human Rights; Amnesty International Abstract:This report is based on Amnesty International’s field research, interviews with victims of human rights violations, their families and other witnesses, health workers, reports by other organizations and media reports. Amnesty International visited Zimbabwe in August-September and November 2007 as well as March and July-August 2008. The report outlines the context in which human rights violations have been taking place in Zimbabwe and describes patterns of violations as illustrated by cases. It focuses on violations that took place after the 29 March 2008 elections, as well as human rights violations committed by two units within the Zimbabwe Republic Police in 2007. It sets out Zimbabwe’s obligations under international human rights law and makes a series of recommendations to the government, aimed at ending human rights violations and breaking the culture of impunity as well as addressing the suffering of victims of past violations. Some names of the victims have been altered for their own security and safety.
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The case for a national convention

November 3, 2008
Jupiter Punungwe

SOON after the announcement of the so called agreement between the MDC and
Zanu-PF a few weeks back, Eddie Cross the MDC MP for Bulawayo South
constituency wrote that the agreement was 'like a union between a donkey and
a horse.not very pretty but functional'.

It looks like Eddie's mule was stillborn. It is now very clear that
headlines should have read "Zimbabwe power-sharing disagreement signed".
Efforts to narrow the gap between Zanu-PF and the MDC have proved to be no
better than flogging a dead mule.

Meanwhile the people of Zimbabwe continue to suffer. On the one hand it is
very clear that there are better chances of donkeys growing horns than there
are of Zanu-PF running the economy properly, especially, while the monetary
system is still heavily infected with gonorrhea. On the other hand it is
clear the MDC is using the suffering of the people to try and hold Zanu-PF
to political ransom. In addition they clearly do not have a strategy beyond
having everything handed to them by 'someone'. For example, Eddie Cross
constantly whines about "the South Africans . allowed the runoff to take
place" as if Zimbabwe is a province or a colony of South Africa.

The South Africans clearly have their own problems. In response to their
problems the South Africans have organised a national convention to allow
unhappy citizens to air their views. Zimbabweans can hardly be described as
being happy in the current circumstances. I believe they should also be
allowed to tackle their problems through public a forum such as a national

A convention gives members of the public a chance to air their views
directly and politicians a chance to get direct feedback from the public. If
I had the financial muscle I would book accommodation and a venue at a place
like the University of Zimbabwe or one of the polytechnics during the coming
vacation period. I would then set about publicising the convention and try
to make sure that at least 20 representatives come from each of the
countries districts.

I would organise the convention in two sessions, the morning session would
allow the district representatives to discuss the issues affecting their
district. The afternoon session would then be for district representatives
to put their issues to the convention. The convention would then recess for
a few hours to allow members to formulate possible solutions to problems in
small groups. The following morning would be spent putting together the
various suggestions to try and come up with a national programme of action.

The major aim of the convention should be to accord the people a chance to
give direction to existing political formations. The people should be given
a voice to make sure the country takes a new more constructive political
direction. While the existing political formations will have significant
influence at the convention, none of them should be allowed to hold the
country to ransom. We should never be held to political ransom by
individuals, be they one bulldozing elephant or two fighting bulls.

The convention would be a platform to allow the people of Zimbabwe to voice
their wishes through unfettered public comment instead of the usual placing
on an X on a piece of paper. An X is not even a word and forces a voter to
make a binary choice between a few options. What the people are really
thinking is not captured by the X.

A convention on the other hand gives people a chance to speak like the
traditional open court democracy that I am getting fond of. The existing
constitutionally elected arms of government should then be tasked with
implementing the outcome of the convention. If an outcome has far reaching
legal and constitutional consequences, these should be validated through
national referenda.

One very serious problem, which the current government is failing to deal
with, is the hunger and starvation that is ravaging Zimbabwe at the moment.
The government does not have the capacity to feed the nation especially
under the current economic circumstances. At the same time they have been
going to great lengths to hinder private effort to feed Zimbabweans. In fact
they have been hindering the people's own efforts to feed themselves through
damaging interference with the agricultural input supply system.

The convention should be able to address such short term specifics as well
as long term issues such as constitutional guarantees to ensure that no
government will be able to interfere with the people's ability to do things
for themselves in future. I wouldn't want to pre-empt what should be
discussed at the convention because I believe the ultimate agenda should be
left to the people. However a convention is of absolute necessity at the

Those who would like to discuss the idea of a convention further please feel
free to contact me with your ideas. Those who are opposed to the idea should
also feel free to contact me and raise their issues. I will try and
summarise all views for a future article.

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Zim crisis: Where's the problem, the solution?

Posted on Monday 3 November 2008 - 16:00

  Stephen T. Matenga, Africa News reporter in Haarlem, The Netherlands
Photo: Francis Ncube
  With all due respect, the SADC mediated talks about the crisis in Zimbabwe
have become a mere talk show for their failure to produce a solution to the
deteriorating situation of the suffering millions.

  The talks can best be described by the old adage, which has it that it is
stupid to hold a conference on fighting fire when in actual fact a building
is burning. The most logical thing to do is therefore to fight the fire
first and then have 'talks' or conferences and workshops on fire-fighting

  Put simply, the millions of desperate Zimbabweans who can no longer afford
basic health care, have no food, cant afford medication or school fees for
their children, do no longer get regular supplies of water and electricity
yet the talk show about talks and power sharing is moving from capital to
capital and from five-star hotel to another, costing millions in dollars,
attracting all sorts of African heads of states and media but producing no
solution for the suffering Zimbabweans who simply need a decent affordable
life in a decent economy and a democratic country. That's what Zimbabweans
simply want. In a recent report, international human rights group, Amnesty
International expressed shock that people can talk so much about power
sharing without considering hunger and human rights abuses.

  Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of Southern Africa, producing enough
food to feed the whole region of about 12 countries then. It used to embrace
the model African statesmanship. It was then described internationally as
'the symbol of hope' and 'the beacon of democracy'. All this has gone. The
people have become destitutes without basic food such as cooking oil, sugar,
salt, bread, mealie-meal, water as well as medication. The once glooming
health delivery system has totally collapsed, there is no more education to
talk about.

  Blame game

  This is the major challenge in this country, the people's suffering. The
causes vary and are debatable. Mugabe says its because of the sanctions
imposed by the West because he re-possessed their land and re-distributed it
among landless blacks, Tsvangirai says the country is suffering from Mugabe's
autocratic leadership, human rights abuses and economic mismanagement. The
truth is that all these factors contribute to the current situation. The
multi-million dollar question is how can the country get out of this mud?

  The talks seem not to bear fruit. Blessing Vava, Secretary of Information
and Publicity of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) whose members
were arrested and brutally assaulted by police for demanding finality to the
last talks said the people's patience is being stretched too far.

  "We are greatly disappointed about the current political impasse. Zanu PF
is taking the people of Zimbabwe for granted. Zanu Pf has not been
negotiating in good faith as seen by their continued violation of the MOU.
The continued use of hate language by the state, the abuse and violence by
the police, the failure to issue Morgan Tsvangirai with a passport WHICH IN
OUR VIEW IS A HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION. All in all we hope that a solution is
found as a matter of urgency. We urge the political players to be level
headed and put the interests of the nation and the people first."

  The SADC Organ on Politics and Defense has evidently failed to persuade
Mugabe and Tsvangirai to form a government. The sticking point is the
distribution of Ministries particularly the Ministry of Home Affairs that
controls the police, immigration and the registrar-general who administers
elections. Tsvangirai says if the government is to be a power-sharing
establishment, then he should have home affairs since Mugabe will have
defense. Mugabe will not listen to this and therefore no agreement is in
sight. The SADC Troika says it is now calling the full 14 members of SADC at
a meeting and venue yet to be announced.

  Questions arising

  The concern is, (as Zimbabwe Youth Movement activist Collen Chibango put
it in a Zimbabwe Watch report) what will the whole SADC achieve that the
troika has failed? In other words, are we not heading for another talk show
when the building is burning? The MDC says it will take the issue up with
the AU and the UN if SADC fails. What hope is there for the suffering
Zimbabweans who wonder what is being discussed about them without them so
secretly that even the media is avoided? Whose interests are being served by
these secret negotiators? Are they negotiating for the people's plight or
their personal power interests? The greatest questions are; what therefore
is the solution to this madness about talks at the expense of the suffering
masses? Are the people involved? Will SADC help? Is Motlanthe more powerful
than Mbeki in this issue? How long more can people wait? Isn't the delay a
time bomb as people will soon explode?

  Meanwhile, Mugabe is reported to have sent troops to assist the DRC
government contain rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the
People and surprisingly, seems not worried about the situation in Zimbabwe.
Reports from the Eastern part of the DRC allege that these mercenary Mugabe
troops have been involved in massive looting, rape and killings.

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