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SADC Summit on Zimbabwe set for Sunday in Pretoria

By Tichaona Sibanda
4 November 2008

Southern African leaders are set to meet in South Africa on Sunday, hoping
to bridge the gap and reach an agreement between the country's political
parties. Both Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC remain
worlds apart, even after signing the power-sharing deal on 15th September.

South Africa's Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa, told Newsreel in an
e-mailed response that they were still in a process of finalising details of
the venue.

'As soon as they are finalised we will communicate publicly, hopefully
tomorrow morning,' Mamoepa said. However a report from the African News
Agency, APA, quotes officials from South Africa saying the summit will be
held in Pretoria.

There is some cautious hope that a full SADC summit might get the two sides
to agree to put an end to months of conflict and achieve a just and lasting
peace. While both sides have publicly pronounced they were committed to
honouring the deal, success is still far from guaranteed, given the
fundamental historical and political differences between the two warring

Last week Monday, the SADC Troika, a grouping of heads of state from
Mozambique, Swaziland and Angola who form the bloc's security committee,
failed to secure a breakthrough in talks on the formation of an inclusive
government. The summit on Sunday aims to bring together all the leaders of
southern Africa to save the power-sharing deal, seen as the best hope for
ending months of political turmoil and halting the country's shocking
economic collapse.

While ZANU PF contends that only the Home Affairs ministry remained as the
sole issue still to be resolved Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the MDC,
outlined six outstanding issues to be resolved by the SADC Summit.

He named the six as; the allocation of a number of Ministries; the sharing
of provincial governorships in line with the outcome of the 29th March
elections; the composition, functions and constitution of the National
Security Council; the appointment of Permanent Secretaries and Ambassadors;
and the drafting of Constitution Amendment No. 19;

The last issue is to be resolved is about the alterations made to the
original agreement. ZANU PF's chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa made the
alterations, without consulting negotiators from the MDC.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed on Tuesday that Tsvangirai would
attend the summit, even if the regime continues to refuse to renew his
passport. He added that they expected the 15-nation regional grouping to
increase pressure on Mugabe.

'Tsvangirai will be going to the meeting, and we hope that the summit will
help to break the impasse. SADC has to use its leverage, especially on
Mugabe to see sense and to see that people are suffering,' Chamisa said.

The MDC MP told an international news agency that he hoped the Sunday
meeting would be the final negotiation to start a new chapter, after months
of relentless hardship for most Zimbabweans.

'The people are suffering and we should start acting to make sure we
alleviate the problems facing the people. We expect finality and closure to
this whole issue. The suspense and anxiety has been excruciatingly painful
for Zimbabweans,' Chamisa added.

The protracted political feuding between the two bitter rivals has dimmed
any hopes of easing the plight of the people in Zimbabwe. The World Food
Programme last week said about five million will need food aid by the end of
the year, as the country buckles under the world's highest rate of
inflation, estimated at 231 million percent although economists say it is
running into the trillions.

and was assured that the issue would be rectified. It is not known who made
the alterations, but the agreement was tampered with after it was given to
Zanu PF to allow government to do official binding and inserting in folders.

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Zimbabwe opposition expects summit to end cabinet feud

Tue Nov 4, 10:36 am ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition party expects a southern African summit
this weekend to resolve an impasse on how to share control of key ministries
under a troubled power-sharing deal, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

"We are expecting the equitable distribution of key ministries," said Nelson
Chamisa, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"We are hoping the Sunday meeting is the final negotiation to start a new
chapter. The people are suffering and we should start acting to make sure we
alleviate the problems facing the people," he told AFP.

"We expect finality and closure to this whole issue. The suspense and
anxiety has been excruciatingly painful for Zimbabweans," Chamisa added.

Leaders of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) will
meet Sunday in South Africa to try to salvage a power-sharing deal in

President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed the deal on
September 15, but efforts to form a unity government have stalled over
disputes on which party will control the most important ministries.

Key regional leaders have held two smaller summits over the last three weeks
in hopes of pressing the rivals into a compromise, particularly over control
of the home affairs ministry, which oversees the police.

The full SADC summit this weekend will now try to broker a deal to save the
unity accord, which had originally been hailed as an end to months of
political unrest and a step toward pulling Zimbabwe from economic ruin.

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Congo rebels accuse Angola, Zimbabwe

The Associated Press

GOMA, Congo - Rebels in Congo are accusing Angola and Zimbabwe of mobilizing
troops to fight in Congo in a repeat of a 1998-2002 war that drew in armies
from a half-dozen African nations.

Rebel spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa has offered no proof of the allegation,
which Zimbabwe denies. Angola has not yet commented.

Congo's government appealed last week for help from longtime ally Angola.

A resurgence of Congo's long-running fighting on August displaced some
250,000 people, but has since subsided.

The conflict is fueled by tensions left over from Rwanda's 1994 genocide. In
1998 the war sucked in a half-dozen countries. Angola and Zimbabwe fought
for Congo in exchange for access to copper and diamond concessions. Rwanda
and Uganda backed rival rebel factions

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NCA plans mass protests to push for transitional authority

By Alex Bell
04 November 2008

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and other organisations will
embark on mass protest action starting next week, to push for the set-up of
a transitional government to immediately address the desperate humanitarian
crisis in Zimbabwe.

The group said in a statement released Tuesday that it is "increasingly
evident that the leaders of the political parties involved in the dialogue
have lost touch with the reality and magnitude of the crisis in Zimbabwe."

It comes after the Southern African Development Community Troika on
Politics, Defence and Security failed to resolve the political impasse
between ZANU PF and the MDC, despite the signing of a power sharing
agreement. The NCA said such a failure shows that "the destiny of Zimbabwe
cannot be left exclusively to politicians, whatever their levels of

The humanitarian crisis is set to leave up to half the population starving
within the next two months, with a UN assessment predicting that an
estimated 5 million Zimbabweans will face starvation in January. The
widespread food shortages are already taking its toll on the nation, with
countless numbers dying from hunger related diseases. At the same time, the
collapse of the country's health system under Robert Mugabe's regime means
that thousands more are dying from preventable and curable diseases such as
cholera, because of a critical lack of medical staff and supplies.

The NCA's chairman, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, explained on Tuesday that it and
other organisations will push for SADC, as well as Zimbabwe's political
figures, to adopt an urgent three point plan towards immediate action on the
dire humanitarian situation.

Madhuku said that the humanitarian crisis needs to be top of the agenda, and
will only be effectively dealt with following the set up of a transitional

"During the life-span of the transitional Government, Zimbabweans must be
given full freedom to write their own constitution in an open process such
as that outlined in the Zimbabwe People's Charter," Madhuku added.

Madhuku conceded that pressure needs to be put on Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF
as an individual party, given their hold on power. But he argued that it is
clear that pressurising ZANU PF to give up power is not possible. "If the
political parties do no reach an agreement then we, as the NCA, will call
for a neutral transitional authority," he explained.

The NCA said it will campaign for the three point plan through civic
advocacy and street protests. The first protests to push for this position
will be held next Tuesday in five centers: Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare,
Masvingo and Gweru. These will be followed within days by further protests
in which the NCA will be working with other organisations supporting this
three-point plan.

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Interview - Ncube denies doctoring document

November 4, 2008

(Interview between Violet Gonda of SWRadio Africa and Professor Welshman Ncube, secretary general of the MDC led by Prof. Arthur Mutambara)

REPORTS last week claimed Professor Welshman Ncube, the secretary general of the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara had “doctored” the power sharing agreement document signed by President Mugabe and his opposition rivals on September 15. Ncube tells SW Radio Africa’s Violet Gonda that the claims are a malicious fabrication:

Welshman Ncube: (The allegations) 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 a document. As far as I know I did not take part nor participate in any alteration of any agreement at all.

The fact of the matter is that yes there are alterations in the document which was signed by the principals on the 15th. Those alterations are three - I will come to that in a moment.

We all have three copies or three versions of the agreement. The first version of the agreement is that which we as the negotiators negotiated and signed each page. All the six negotiators signed and authenticated each page so each of the six of us can check if there are any alterations against the originals which we signed as negotiators.

The second document was signed by the principals when agreement was reached on the 11th of September 2008 and it is that document which is constitutive – we make reference to that.

The document which was then signed by the parties at the formal ceremony on the 15th of September was just a formal document which is not constitutive, which was simply a formal public ceremony to give effect to something which had already been agreed previously… That is the second document (Sept 11th) and it is correct.

So the first two documents are correct. The third document which was signed at the formal ceremony on the 15th of September has three alterations or three omissions – if I may call them that. As far as we know we have raised this with Zanu PF and (Patrick) Chinamasa whose Ministry of Justice was responsible for producing the final document which was to be signed by the principals.

Minister Chinamasa has freely admitted that he made one of those alterations because – he explains – he was advised by his principal (Robert Mugabe) that the three principals – Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and Robert Mugabe had agreed to alter the document to that effect. And as far as we know that is not correct. We have indicated that our principal told us he never agreed on such an alteration. We have checked with our principal (Mutambara) who denies that he ever agreed to change the document to that effect.

And that particular change is a change in the original that we negotiated and agreed. It was to provide that the five existing Senate seats shall go to Zanu PF. There shall be created an additional six Senate seats – four of which will go to Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and two of which will go to Arthur Mutambara’s MDC. It is that clause which Chinamasa altered to read that the existing five will go to Zanu PF and there shall be created an additional nine - three to be shared equally among the three parties. That was never part of the agreement. It is an invention of Patrick Chinamasa and he admits that he is the one who put it there.

The South Africans were not involved. We were not involved. I was not involved. So it is absolutely malicious for someone to suggest that some of us were involved when in fact the person who altered the document freely admits that he altered it and explains why he altered it, in that respect. Then there are two … (interrupted)

Violet Gonda: Before you go to the next clauses or the next issues that were deleted. Just to be fair, you mentioned that there are some people with malicious intent who accuse you of doctoring this agreement and you mentioned one of our reporters here. But to be fair, if you read the story that he wrote he actually says it is the Tsvangirai MDC that has accused Patrick Chinamasa, yourself and Thabo Mbeki’s representative Mujanku Gumbi of tampering with the document.

Ncube: That might be so but the story does not say who in the MDC Tsvangirai has made that accusation and no journalist worth his salt would buy such a defamatory, malicious story, without in fact attributing to a specific person in MDC Tsvangirai who is making that accusation so that we can all confront that person, and if need be sue that person for defamation and for malicious defamation. The responsibility… (interrupted).

Gonda: But you know with the way the talks have been conducted – the secret nature of getting information has been difficult for journalists to get comment, even from officials who are engaged or directly involved in these negotiations. So journalists are left with no choice but to use unnamed sources in most of their stories because of the difficulties we face. Do you not agree that this could also have been a problem, a problem that was created by the politicians themselves?

Ncube: I don’t agree Violet. These are no longer negotiations. This is now a public document on which someone is commenting on a public document which is out there in the public arena and if anyone claims that there is some misrepresentations, alterations in that document that person must be prepared to stand up to it. And any journalist who writes it must be able to say ‘you surely must stand up and defend your accusations?’ You cannot simply say I shall be a nameless source to such a scandalous, such a defamation in my respectful view.

So if indeed there is a person in the Tsvangirai formation who made that allegation they must take responsibility but as things stand, we don’t know, simply because this person has not been identified.

Gonda: So what other clauses…?

Ncube: But be that as it may there are then two other paragraphs which are missing from the final document signed on the 15th. And these paragraphs which are missing, the first is the one which provides that anyone appointed Vice President or Prime Minister or Deputy Minister shall be ex officio members of the House of Assembly and should such a person already be a member of the House of Assembly, the party to which he or she belongs shall appoint a non-constituency member of the House of Assembly. That clause is completely missing and nothing replaces it. It just disappeared from the document.

Equally missing is a third clause which basically states that in the appointment of senior government positions such as Ambassadors and Permanent Secretaries - the President, the Vice Presidents, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers shall sit and agree on those appointments. That clause is also missing. Incidentally these two clauses come one after the other in the agreement and they are both missing.

And Patrick Chinamasa – when we have asked him, the Minister of Justice – he says he doesn’t know what happened to them, he did not remove them, they must have dropped out of the electronic copy accidentally. And there is no dispute that they should be there everyone accepts that they should be there. No-one knows how they were dropped off the agreement.

And in any event it is ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the South Africans would participate in such a fraudulent activity, they have no interest in it. Equally ridiculous is that we would or I would participate in removing clauses from an agreement – clauses which would allow my party represented by the Deputy Prime Minister to participate in the appointment of senior government employees; and indeed I will participate in removing a clause which creates a parliamentary seat for my President who is a Deputy Prime Minister. What interest would I have in actually subverting an agreement in such a way that the interests of my party to be represented are in fact compromised?

So 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.

Gonda: So what is going to happen with the clauses that were deleted?

Ncube: It really doesn’t matter because the constitutive agreement is the agreement which was signed on the 11th of September by the Principals. Those clauses are there and that is the agreement. What happened on the 15th of September was merely a formal ceremony. The agreement is embodied in what was signed on the 11th of September.

The document signed on the 11th of September has all the clauses that we need and that are now supposedly in dispute. So as far as some of us are concerned, it’s a non-issue because the agreement which is operative, the agreement which was reached, is the agreement which was signed by the negotiators. The clauses are correct and the agreement which was signed by the Presidents on the 11th – which is the constitutive agreement - all the clauses are there and they are correct.

So, as far as I am concerned, it’s an academic question; we should all go back to the agreement which is not in dispute, which is what was signed by the negotiators and the principals on the 11th of September.

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Teachers Unions says exams in chaos as chiefs & militia invigilate

By Violet Gonda
4 November 2008

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has said chaos is
characterising examinations across the country, as the industrial action by
the majority of teachers continues.

PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou said the authorities have now compromised the
credibility of exams as army personnel have been distributing exam papers to
rural schools and headmasters are being ordered to sit down with the army,
chiefs, headmen and youth militia to invigilate.

Teachers have not been attending classes saying their salaries are being
eroded by inflation, and this has resulted in children in many government
schools not receiving any proper learning. The PTUZ have repeatedly called
on the government to postpone exams, but they are going ahead as scheduled.

Grade 7 exams have just finished and some 'O' and 'A' Levels started on
Monday. Zhou said: "Several schools failed to write Shona and Ndebele paper
2 at grade 7, while hundreds of pupils did not turn up for examinations in
rural parts of Zimbabwe."

The outspoken union leader said the government move baffles logic and common
sense, as they are going ahead in spite of the logistical problems and the
obvious fact that teachers will not be prepared to mark such fraudulent

"With '0' and 'A' level exams starting yesterday and picking up momentum
next week, one would have thought that the government would have learnt from
grade 7 exams that things are abnormal and stopped the exams," Zhou said.

He told SW Radio Africa: "We have been informed by headmasters and teachers
that after failing to get teachers as invigilators, the headmasters had no
option except to resort to the chiefs, youth, the headmen, and we have it
also on record that the exams are being distributed by army personnel."

The teachers union said it was now cataloguing all the anomalies involved
with a view to producing a comprehensive report at the end of the exam

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Air Zimbabwe plans to begin flying to Iran

State-owned Air Zimbabwe said Tuesday it planned to start flying to Teheran,
the Iranian capital, shortly as part of a search for new profitable routes.
Joachim Bango, the head of air transport at the airline, said the national
carrier would be flying five times a week to Teheran. He said the move
follows the signing of a bilateral air services agreement between the two
countries. Air Zimbabwe has expanded its regional and international
destinations in recent years, adding countries such as DR Congo, China,
Dubai and others. It said the move was intended to compensate for low
business at home, where the local economy has shrunk by around 80 percent in
the last few years. (Tuesday 4 November - 14:37)

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Bill Watch 43 of 3rd November 08 [Deadlock referred to full SADC Summit; Motion on Food Crisis]

BILL WATCH 43/2008
[3rd November 2008]
Neither House sat last week
The Senate will resume sitting on 4th November
The House of Assembly is adjourned until 11th November
Bills: There are no new Bills and no draft Constitution Amendment
Statutory Instruments: See end of Bulletin
Still No Breakthrough on Power-Sharing Agreement
The SADC Organ Summit meeting in Harare on 27th October failed to produce agreement between the three parties, despite lasting for some thirteen hours. The Summit accordingly decided to refer the Zimbabwe issue to a full SADC summit to be held as soon as possible.  The Summit will be held in South Africa or Swaziland, but the date has still not been fixed.
Facilitator's report: Mr Mbeki presented a report to the Summit.  This report has not been made public but was allegedly leaked to the press on the 22nd October.  It was reported as covering the proposed allocation of Ministries and how they related to the objectives of the Power-Sharing Agreement, and that Mr Mbeki on the whole endorsed the ZANU PF list as published unilaterally in the Government Gazette of 10th October.  MDC-T refused to comment to the press on a report that was "confidential" but wrote Mr Mbeki a strong letter on their lack of satisfaction with the mediation.  [Veritas does not distribute unverified material but the electronic version of the "leaked" report is available on].
The Summit Communiqué issued on 28th October mentioned the Mbeki report without giving details.  The Communiqué went on to say that the three party principals had made presentations to the Summit.  On the sticking points it gave the impression that the allocation of the Ministry of Home Affairs was the only matter still in dispute.  [Electronic version of communiqué available on request.].  Press reports indicated that there was a division of opinion among Heads of State in the Organ Meeting but these reports are contradictory and cannot be corroborated.
MDC T press statement on 29th October:  [Electronic version available] Secretary-General Tendai Biti outlined six outstanding issues to be resolved by the SADC Summit:
·  allocation of Ministries [stressing that much more than the Ministry of Home Affairs is at stake]
·  sharing of provincial governorships in line with the outcome of the 29th March elections
·  the composition, functions and constitution of the National Security Council
·  appointment of Permanent Secretaries and Ambassadors
·  Constitution Amendment No. 19
·  the admitted discrepancies between the Power-Sharing Agreement signed at the formal signing ceremony on the 15th September and the agreement signed on the 11th September [on this point Mr. Biti expressed surprise that the Summit communiqué failed to capture the Troika's resolution that the agreement of the 11th September 2008 should be the binding version].
Queries about Titles used in the SADC Communique
As the power sharing agreement has still not been put into practice there have been queries as to why the Communiqué is referring to Mr Mugabe as President, but to Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mutambara as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister "Designate".  SADC seems to be leaving the question in abeyance.  In August the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum [ZEF] brought a case in the SADC Tribunal, arguing that Mr Mugabe should not attend SADC Summit in his capacity as President because he had not been elected into office through a credible process.  In its formal response lodged with the Tribunal SADC conceded that ZEF's concern is "legitimate" but explained that, as SADC resolutions on the Zimbabwe political conflict require the three parties to sit together and talk to each other, "the invitation for the Summit meeting held on August 17, 2008, was directed not only to Mr Mugabe but also to representatives from the opposition parties".  The date for the hearing of the case has not been set but the Tribunal is due to sit later this month.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Comments
"Now that SADC has decided to convene a full summit meeting, I hope that these leaders of SADC are considering their responsibility to see peace and stability maintained in that region.  They should really take very decisive measures to help resolve this crisis.  This has been taking too long a time. I sincerely hope that President Mugabe should no longer disappoint the international community.  There has been such a long and urgent call and expectations from the international community.  He should now meet the expectation of the international community, and I am again doing my best and I'm personally engaged in this process."
President Khama calls for re-run of Zimbabwe Presidential election under international supervision
Delivering his State of the Nation Address to the Parliament of Botswana on Monday 3rd November Botswana President Ian Khama referred to developments in Zimbabwe:  "Š we remain seriously concerned about the failure to form a Government that is widely accepted by the people of that country.  We are of the further view that it is important for all SADC member states to uphold the regional standards they have collectively and voluntarily adopted.  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. That way a repeat of the past runoff 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." 
Peaceful Demonstrations outside SADC Meeting broken up
On the day of the Summit peaceful demonstrations by several hundred people - members of the Women's Coalition, youth and student groups and human rights organisations - were forcibly broken up by the police and prevented from reaching the Summit venue.  Tear-gas was used.  Demonstrators were beaten up and more than 50 arrested.  11 women demonstrators needed medical treatment for injuries sustained.  The demonstration by Restoration of Human Rights [ROHR] members left 23 people with injuries and 4 abducted and badly assaulted by Zanu PF supporters.  Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights [ZLHR] commented: "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 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." [Electronic version of ZLHR press release available.]
On the Senate Order Paper [Agenda] for 4th November
The only item on the agenda is the continuing Debate on the Mr Mugabe's speech of 26th August when he opened the new Parliament.
On the House of Assembly Order Paper [Agenda] for 11th November
The following items are on the agenda:
·   Motion on Post-Election Violence [debate not yet commenced]
·   Motion on Economic Crisis and Other Problems Facing Zimbabwe [debate not yet commenced]
·   Motion on the Food Crisis [debate in progress - see below]
·   Debate on President's Speech [debate in progress]
Debate on Food Crisis
During debate on the 22nd October MDC-T members criticized military involvement in the distribution of both food and agricultural inputs, and called for the removal of the remaining obstacles hindering humanitarian NGOs from providing the massive food relief required.  A ZANU-PF member explained military involvement by describing  food security as part of the national security concern of the country ["a hungry person is an angry person and where we have anger, we have an insecure situation"].  This explanation was not acceptable to the majority of the MPs.  Despite the urgency of the food crisis the debate was postponed to until the House of Assembly resumes on the 11th and even then ZANU PF could drag the debate out before there is a vote.
Appointment of committees, commencement of pre-budget consultations
As neither House was sitting last week, there was no progress on Committees or regularising the Budget.
Looking ahead
Even if the formation of an inclusive government is further delayed, it will soon be necessary to introduce a Supplementary Budget for the remainder of 2008 [Parliament itself being short of funds to pay allowances to legislators] and emergency funding cannot be resorted to after 26th November.
The Parliamentary programme for December is usually a heavy one, involving consideration and approval of the Estimates of Expenditure for the following financial year and the enactment of related Bills [Appropriation Bill giving effect to the Estimates and Finance Bill containing the taxation measures proposed by the Minister of Finance in the Budget speech]. 
This year's ZANU-PF People's Conference will be from 10th to 14th December.  In previous years it has been customary for both Houses to adjourn for a full week in December to permit ZANU-PF members to attend their annual party conference.  Extending the same indulgence to ZANU-PF this year will presumably depend on agreement between the parties.
The week saw no further developments on this issue [see Bill Watch 42 for summary].  No proclamations calling by-elections have been gazetted.  It is doubtful that free, fair and peaceful by-elections are possible under present conditions.  Causes for concern include the recent resurgence of politically-inspired violence in Epworth; continued ZANU-PF control of the distribution of food and agricultural inputs through the military as highlighted in the House of Assembly during the food crisis debate [see above]; and unchanged police hostility towards peaceful demonstrations by civil society organisations as illustrated by the forcible breaking-up of demonstrations in the vicinity of the SADC Summit on Monday.
Update on Statutory Instruments
SIs 150A and 150B - new fees for drivers' licences and registration of motor vehicles
SIs 150C to 150M - new fees and charges under various Customs and Excise regulations, including rents for State warehouse and fees for registration for manufacturers' rebates
SI 151 - new fees for registration of armorial bearings, names, uniforms, etc.
SI 152 - new fees for the Companies Office
SI 153 - Child Abduction (Contracting States) Notice.  This lists the 61 States with which Zimbabwe has reciprocal arrangements under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  This new list reflects 32 recent additions which came into effect on the 1st August 2008. 
SIs 154, 155 and 157 - suspension of customs duty and VAT on gumboots, agro-chemicals and other agricultural inputs, backdated to 24th October
SI 156 - new "prescribed amounts" for the purposes of applying various  provisions of the VAT Act
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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The grey economy is the real one

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
BULAWAYO, 4 November 2008 (IRIN) - Takunda Moyo, 35, seems the epitome of a successful business person: he drives a sleek car, wears designer label clothes, and is never short of a dollar or two. He is part of a new class of entrepreneur - the illegal foreign exchange hustler.

As one of the front men for the cartel that runs the business in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, Moyo is several rungs up the ladder from the people who stand on the pavements all day.

His job is to supply them with daily cash floats and communicate new currency rates to thousands of individual dealers in the city. "The foreign currency exchange business is a complex web, and all the women you see on the streets, changing foreign currency, are simply employees of a big cartel that runs the illegal black market in the country," Moyo said with a chuckle.

"They are the big fish," he remarked, preferring not to divulge whether or not he actually knew who the cartel members were. "Trying to sniff them out will put you in big trouble, my brother. They are well connected in big places and nothing happens to them; they control this country."

How forex prices are set and adjusted is a mystery to most Zimbabweans, like the ever-rising inflation rate, which, officially, is 231 million percent, but independent economists estimate it could be high as a billion percent. The point is that with goods increasingly denominated in foreign currency, getting your hands on some has become a necessity.

"Food prices are always going up, as people are charging in foreign currency," complained Nomathemba Moyo, who lives in the working-class suburb of Magwegwe. "The price changes daily with the movement of foreign currency rates."

Moyo provided some insight into how the rates are calculated. "There are several factors our bosses look at, and they include availability of cash, demand, and the rates from the Old Mutual 'implied rate' [a daily estimate produced by the insurance firm]."

This rate can be influenced by big companies making large purchases as they source foreign exchange for imports, and in so doing push down the value of the local currency.

Here to stay

In an economy in which 8 out of 10 people are unemployed, the only job Sifiso Nyoni, 26, has ever had is as a currency trader, but she has no idea who she really works for.

Read more 
 A day in the life of hyperinflation
 How do you rein in 231 million percent inflation?
 All aboard for a 2,500km shopping trip
"Every foreign currency dealer on the street knows that the people who bring the money to us [and communicate the rates] are just small," she said. "But there are others - bigger people, who are controlling the black market."

Despite numerous measures put in place by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to try and curb the parallel currency market, it continues to thrive, mainly because it offers much better prices than the official rate, and - so the rumour goes - because the cash-strapped government itself uses it.

"The rates are attractive on the black market, so I will rather risk arrest than change at the banks, where the rates are ridiculously low," said Mercy Sibanda, who had just changed R100 (around US$10).

Currently the US dollar is trading at Z$100,000 and the South African rand is worth Z$10,000. At independence in 1980, one Zimbabwean dollar fetched US$1.47.


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

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Alternative means of payment ? Zimbabwe financial mess

"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 other alternative means
of payment."

Tuesday 4 November 2008, by Bruce Sibanda
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has introduced new $1 million, $500 000 and
$100 000 banknotes in a desperate bid to ease the recurrent cash shortages
plaguing the inflation-ravaged economy.

The bills will officially come into circulation on Friday, although they
were already on the foreign currency dealers market this morning.

As high as they are, though, the highest bill can only buy eight loaves of
bread. The highest new note is equal to just US$6.

The new notes with be the 22nd, 23rd and 24th notes introduced by the
Reserve Bank this year alone. The central bank also said it will review cash
withdrawal limits to compensate for ever-accelerating inflation. The
withdrawal limit for individuals is still $50 000 a day while that for
companies is $10 000.

In a statement last night, the central bank said: "In a market that has
become predominantly speculative, most providers of goods and services are
demanding cash as the only acceptable means of payment, penalising those
that could otherwise be willing and able to use cheques for transaction

"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 other alternative means
of payment."

Signs of a severe cash shortage are showing across the country as citizens
are currently struggling to access cash from their various bank and
financial institutions' accounts.

A serious cash shortage has persisted since October 2007.

Long bank queues are once again part of everyday life in which the maximum
withdrawal limit, which people say is too little, forces them to come back
to the bank virtually daily. Bank sources hint the cash situation is poised
to deteriorate further in the coming weeks.

People wake up to join queues as early as 5am, as long queues can be seen by

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How is Zim raising money for conservation?

November 04 2008 at 11:52AM

By Celean Jacobson

The sale of almost four tons of ivory by Zimbabwe on Monday raised
$450 000 (about R4,5-million) for conservation in a country whose economic
crisis has left authorities battling to maintain vast reserves and protect
elephants, rhinos and other game.

The sale, which was held in the capital, Harare, is part of series of
ivory auctions being held for the first time in a decade.

Last year, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
ruled that Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe could sell 108 tons
of stockpiled ivory to approved Japanese and Chinese buyers. The final sale
will take place in South Africa this week.

Morris Mtsambiwa, director-general of the Zimbabwe Parks Authority,
said the funds from Monday's sale will be used for elephant conservation and
to help them better manage the country's national parks.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis, which has led to a critical shortage of
food, fuel and other basic goods, has had a devastating effect on a country
once known for its natural beauty and wealth of wildlife.

Endangered rhinos are being killed almost weekly by poachers while the
illegal trade in game meat is flourishing as hungry Zimbabweans turn to
alternative sources of food.

Man-made watering holes have dried up because of a lack of fuel to
keep pumps going, forcing animals to travel long distances in search of
water. In some cases, they are even fighting each other for precious drops
to drink.

"The situation is very bad. It's very sad," said Amir Khalil, from
View Pfoten, an international animal welfare organisation that recently sent
a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.

Khalil and his team toured the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's
flagship reserve, and found it devastated by drought and littered with snare
traps. "Animals are being wounded from the snares and there are no vets," he

Tom Milliken of Traffic, an international organisation that monitors
the illegal trade in wildlife, said there had been a "major increase in
poaching" for food.

"As the economic situation worsens, hunger and poverty in rural areas
is greater than ever," he said.

Milliken warned that organised syndicates who targeted rhinos for
their horns were reversing gains made to boost their numbers.

Mtsambiwa acknowledges rhino poaching is "out of control."

Vehicles bought from the proceeds of Monday's sale will help ensure
greater protection for the animals, he said.

Johnny Rodriguez, of the Zimbabwean Conservation Task force, believes
that unless there is a political solution to his country's problems, it is
in danger of losing its natural heritage.

"We are seeing less and less animals," he said. "Where you used to see
herds of thousands, you are now seeing only hundreds." - Sapa-AP

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Where's the Global Fund money?

Photo: Obinna Anyadike/IRIN
Home-based care workers struggle with lack of funds
HARARE, 4 November 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's AIDS organisations have condemned the government for failing to account for more than US$7 million provided by the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The money was held by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), but allocations were released "erratically and only partially", the Fund said, and warned that no future grants would be approved until all of the remaining US$7.3 million was transferred to commercial banks and "we are satisfied that our funds are safe".

Executive director of the Fund, Prof Michel Kazatchkine, said the dribble of money released by the RBZ, along with Zimbabwe's wider economic crisis, had affected the implementation of programmes, "including the supply and distribution of drugs".

"A full audit of both the financial bottlenecks and programme implementation issues has been carried out by the [Fund's] Office of the Inspector General over the last three weeks and a report will be issued soon," Kazatchkine said.

The Fund said it had been assured by the RBZ the money would be transferred by 6 November.

The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, Benjamin Mazhindu, told IRIN he feared the cash-strapped government, which ordered in 2007 that all foreign exchange accounts be lodged with the RBZ, could have dipped into those funds.

"Evil and insensitive"

"Our suspicions are that the RBZ was diverting money, meant for people and organisations fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, towards buying fertiliser, seed and the national football team. That, for people living with HIV/AIDS, is unacceptable, evil and insensitive, as it means somebody is gambling with our lives."

Tinashe Mundawarara, programme manager of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and an expert on AIDS and human rights law, told IRIN his organisation would wait for the audit before commenting.

"However, should it turn out that some fraudulent activities were taking place, then we will demand that the [Zimbabwean] House of Assembly should institute an urgent audit of all Global Fund money.

"If the RBZ is found on the wrong side of the law, then there will be grave consequences for people living with HIV/AIDS because money from the Global Fund occupies critical space in the fight against HIV/AIDS," Mundawarara said.

The Global Fund has five ongoing grants in Zimbabwe worth US$88 million, and between 2004 and 2007 disbursed just over US$39 million, which has helped to enrol 13,000 people in AIDS treatment programmes and supply 330,000 insecticide-treated bed nets to combat malaria.

Zimbabwe has had a fraught history with the Fund, but excitement was mounting that a US$500 million proposal made earlier this year would be approved after the application was ruled "technically sound", the penultimate step to final approval by the Fund's board of directors.

In seven rounds of funding disbursements, Zimbabwe's applications have been successful in only two. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa has frequently accused the agency of political bias, which the Global Fund has strongly denied.

Maxwell Kapachawo, the head of a network of religious leaders living with HIV/AIDS, said failure by the RBZ to account for the Global Fund grant money underlined the disregard the authorities had for HIV-positive people.

"What they may not know is that we may lose the US$500 million which had [almost] been approved for Zimbabwe. The implications for people living with HIV/AIDS are dire because those funds go a long way in assisting us where the government cannot do anything."

Of the 1.7 million people living with HIV in Zimbabwe, 320,000 are in need of antiretroviral drugs but only 100,000 are accessing free government treatment.

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

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