The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zuma says summit must "force" Zimbabwe deal


Fri 7 Nov 2008, 7:25 GMT

(Adds background, further Zuma quote)

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Southern African leaders must "force"
Zimbabwe's sparring parties to break the deadlock over a power-sharing deal
at a summit this weekend, South Africa's ANC leader Jacob Zuma said on

"As far as I'm concerned SADC must make those Zimbabweans reach an
agreement," Zuma told Reuters after a speech to the Cape Town Press Club.
"They must force them."

The 15-Nation SADC (Southern African Development Community) is due to meet
in Johannesburg on Sunday to try and solve an impasse between President
Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai over allocating
cabinet posts under a September power-sharing deal.

"I believe that the Zimbabwean matter does not end within the borders of
Zimbabwe, it impacts on all of us and for that reason we must force them to
stop making us feel the impact," Zuma, leader of the ruling African National
Congress, said.

South Africa's government said on Thursday it would take a tough stand at
the summit over Zimbabwe. This was a sharp change from the style of former
President Thabo Mbeki, whose softly-softly approach as official southern
African mediator has been criticised as ineffective.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis has forced millions of its citizens to flee the
country, with an estimated three million Zimbabweans in neighbouring South
Africa alone.

Establishing a unity government is seen as critical to reversing economic
meltdown in the southern African nation where inflation is officially 231
million percent. Even under government price controls, the cost of bread is
doubling every week.

Zimbabweans are struggling to survive amid widespread shortages of meat,
milk and other basic commodities as a result of the collapse of the
agricultural sector. The country is dependent on food handouts and
malnutrition is on the rise.

Tsvangirai, who would become prime minister under the power-sharing deal,
has accused Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF of trying to seize the lion's share of
important ministries in order to relegate the MDC to the role of junior
partner. (Writing by Marius Bosch; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

African leaders to pile pressure on Mugabe


Southern African leaders will pile pressure on Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe and opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai at a summit on Sunday to end
their feud on forming a unity government.

The emergency summit of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community
(SADC) in Johannesburg is the highest-profile effort yet to
save a power-sharing deal signed on September 15.

The agreement, brokered by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, calls
for 84-year-old Mugabe to remain as president while Tsvangirai takes the new
post of prime minister.

But the deal is teetering on the verge of collapse over a protracted dispute
on which party will control the most powerful ministries, especially Home
Affairs which oversees the police.

SADC's security arm has held two summits over the last three weeks in failed
bids to break the deadlock, pushing the region into a last-ditch effort to
save the deal on Sunday.

"It is difficult to be optimistic about Sunday's summit," said University of
Zimbabwe political science professor Eldred Masungure.

The so-called "quiet diplomacy" championed by Mbeki -- which avoids public
criticism of Mugabe -- has so far failed to produce a workable arrangement
between the ruling Zanu-PF and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), said Masungure.

"Sufficient pressure has to be put, particulary on Zanu-PF to concede the
Home Affairs Ministry to MDC," he said.

"A muscular approach is needed from SADC, rather than continue with quiet
diplomacy," Masungure added.

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a first-round presidential vote in March, but
pulled out of a June run-off, accusing the regime of orchestrating deadly
political violence against his supporters.

Amnesty International estimates that 180 people, mostly MDC supporters, have
been killed and 9 000 injured in politically-motivated attacks since March.

Many members of the SADC club are reluctant to criticise Mugabe, while
others fail to uphold democracy themselves, said Takavafira Zhou, a
political scientist from the Great Zimbabwe University.

"The problem which SADC has is that since it was formed by former liberation
parties, it might want to protect one of their own," he said.

"The other problem is that we have countries in the region like Swaziland
who do not have elections because of the monarchy. How can they talk of free
elections when they don't have them," Zhou added.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, and was once hailed as
a liberation hero in a country that had been among Africa's most promising.

Now the economy lies in tatters, ripped apart by the world's highest rate of
inflation, last estimated at 231-million percent a year.

Nearly half the population requires emergency food aid, while unemployment
stands at more than 80%.

Some neighbours like Botswana have taken a tough line against Mugabe, in
part because his economic management has produced a flood of migrants
seeking work outside Zimbabwe's borders.

Botswana has called for a re-run of Zimbabwe's election -- a suggestion
angrily dismissed by the regime.

Economic powerhouse South Africa also made tough remarks ahead of the
summit, with government spokesperson Themba Maseko warning that Zimbabwe's
crisis "is becoming a major political hindrance to the stability" of the

The question is whether Mugabe will respond to whatever pressure the region
musters at the summit, said Heidi Holland, a biographer of the president.

"I personally don't think that African countries, including South Africa,
have as much leverage as people say," she said.

"The problem is that you are dealing with a man who genuinely and absolutely
does not care about his people and their suffering." - AFP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Civil society groups to demonstrate at SADC summit

By Lance Guma
07 November 2008

Zimbabwe's political rivals will be under pressure from both civil society
groups and regional leaders Sunday, to put aside their differences and form
a new government. Activists from several pressure groups based in South
Africa will demonstrate at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg
insisting, 'this should be the last summit on Zimbabwe.' John Vincent
Chikwari, the Secretary General of the Revolutionary Youth Movement of
Zimbabwe, told Newsreel they would demand that ZANU PF show more sincerity
towards the MDC.

The group also blamed Mugabe's regime for not owning up to the massive
humanitarian crisis and said NGO's should be allowed to do their work
unhindered. Sunday's protests will join together members from the National
Constitutional Assembly, Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe SA Chapter, Zimbabwe
Solidarity Forum, MDC Activists Association and the Revolutionary Youth
Movement, amongst others. Chikwari said Zimbabweans are looking for
solutions to the problems affecting the economy, education, health, plus the
dire humanitarian situation. In the absence of an inclusive government the
crisis is expected to continue.

But all signs point to another deadlock at the summit. The MDC expressed
concern at increasing incidents of violence and the abduction and arrest of
several of their members. Around 25 MDC supporters were brutally attacked in
Epworth and 5 of them had to be hospitalized at the end of October. A few
days later state security agents in Banket raided the homes of the MDC
leadership there and arrested 9 MDC members, including a two year-old girl.
The whereabouts of those abducted are still not known. The party feels their
rivals ZANU PF have all but 'buried the talks' with this sort of behaviour.

To deflect attention from the state sponsored violence, ZANU PF meanwhile
accused Botswana of training MDC youths to come and destabilize the country.
Zimbabwe made the charges at an extraordinary meeting of regional security
ministers in Mozambique on Wednesday. The accusations followed a call by
Botswana's President Ian Khama for a re-run of the presidential election, as
another way of breaking the impasse. ZANU PF responded angrily accusing
Botswana of 'extreme provocation.' On Friday Botswana government spokesman
Jeff Ramsey dismissed the accusations as 'baseless' and challenged the
Zimbabwean government to provide evidence.

While protesting civil society groups exert their own pressure at the
conference centre, South Africa also talked tough on Thursday. Government
spokesman Themba Maseko said; 'The region cannot be held to ransom by
parties who are failing to reach agreement on the allocation of cabinet
posts. This is becoming a matter of extreme concern for us and we will be
taking quite a hard stance to make sure that agreement is reached.'

Analysts predict the MDC will not make any concessions regarding control of
the Home Affairs Ministry and any progress would have to rely on Mugabe
being reasonable for once. Unfortunately the ZANU PF leader appears more
interested in holding onto power and in protecting the security chiefs who
secured his violent re-election.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'No chemistry' between Zim rivals


††††November 07 2008 at 04:07PM

By Donna Bryson

Zimbabwe's political factions were bitterly and deeply estranged
heading into a weekend summit at which regional heavyweight South Africa and
other neighbours were to push them hard to share power.

Both Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change say they want
resolution so they can turn their attention to rescuing their country from
economic collapse.

But there was little prospect of a breakthrough at Sunday's summit of
the Southern African Development Community, the 15-member regional bloc that
has been shepherding Zimbabwe negotiations for more than a year.

South Africa, which will chair Sunday's meeting, expressed impatience
with both sides nearly two months after they signed the broad outlines of a
power-sharing deal under which Mugabe was to remain president and Tsvangirai
become prime minister.

South African government spokesperson Themba Maseko told reporters
South Africa will take "quite a hard stance" on Sunday to push for

Botswana, another member of the regional bloc, has been even blunter,
placing the blame for the deadlock on Mugabe and calling for new elections
in Zimbabwe. That sparked charges from Mugabe's government that Botswana had
trained opposition activists to destabilize Zimbabwe. Botswana denied the

Political analyst Sydney Masamvu said impatience among Zimbabwe's
neighbors may be fueled by the need to focus on new crises like the conflict
in eastern Congo, which also was on the agenda Sunday.

But he said leaders will find it difficult to make progress on
Zimbabwe with Mugabe cronies in politics and the military resisting
surrendering power - for fear either of being dragged to court for human
rights violations, or of losing access to state coffers.

In addition, Tsvangirai won't be "frog-marched into an agreement,"
Masamvu said. Some of Tsvangirai's traditional supporters already have
accused him of giving too much by allowing Mugabe to remain president, and
signing on to a deal that cannot work.

"There's no chemistry, there's no appetite for agreement," said
Masamvu, southern Africa researcher for the International Crisis Group, an
independent think tank.

A crackdown on dissent was intensifying in Zimbabwe, with attacks on
Tsvangirai's supporters and arrests of pro-democracy protesters. Zimbabwe
state media, meanwhile, accused the opposition of planning to force Mugabe
from power - unlikely given Tsvangirai's history of nonviolence and Mugabe's
own bloody record after nearly three decades in power - but a stark
illustration of the distrust that separates the two.

Negotiations have stalled on appointing Cabinet ministers. Tsvangirai
accuses Mugabe of trying to hold on to too many of the most powerful posts,
including the police and finance ministries.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said in a telephone interview
from Zimbabwe's capital that even if they emerge from Sunday's summit with
an agreement, working together in the same government is "not going to be

But "people are suffering. People are dying," Chamisa said. "We need
to find a way forward."

Zimbabwe Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said in an interview
that "as far as the ruling party is concerned, we should have had an
agreement long ago."

But Ndlovu also repeated his government's charges that opposition
leaders were being manipulated by former colonial power Britain into
resisting agreement. The opposition rejects such charges as arrogant and

Opposition spokesperson Chamisa said that if no progress on
power-sharing was made Sunday, his faction would turn to the African Union
and the United Nations to ask them to oversee new elections.

Lovemore Madhuku, head of Zimbabwe's independent National
Constitutional Assembly, said ordinary Zimbabweans were ready to take
matters into their own hands. His alliance of civic and labor groups plans
street protests starting days after the summit to pressure Mugabe, even
though protests have been violently dispersed by police in the past.

"Zimbabweans have not been listened to. The international community
has not been listened to," Madhuku said. But "the most important front is
the front of the people on the ground here. They must do more. That is the
way forward." - Sapa-AP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe takes SADC leaders for a ride

November 7, 2008

By Geoffrey Nyarota

THE extra-ordinary meeting of the SADC heads of state scheduled for Sunday
will take place against a backdrop of two events that may have a bearing on
the outcome.

Across the Atlantic the conduct and the outcome of the awesome and historic
presidential election that unbelievably catapulted Senator Barack Obama to
the White House should have a profound effect on events electoral in
Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, the call yet again by Botswana President Ian Seretse
Khama for a new round of elections in beleaguered Zimbabwe, this time
supervised by the United Nations and under international observation can no
longer be taken lightly.

The just ended presidential election in the US has a long-distance message
for the people of Zimbabwe. While John McCain conceded defeat graciously and
Obama claimed victory, literally within moments of polls closing, a process
to elect a president which started way back in March has still not led to
the formation of a new government seven months later

If is both unbelievable and completely at variance with known democratic
practices that Zimbabwe's ship of state continues to flounder in stormy
waters rudderless and with an incapacitated captain at he wheel. Of the
large crew only one or two are anywhere visible. Like the captain they are
petrified by a gripping fear of sinking as the once majestic ship starts to
take a list to port.

The President of Botswana, a man of perspicacity and resolute determination,
by all appearances, has once more proposed what increasingly appears to be
the only logical strategy for rescuing the ship of Zimbabwe - hold another
round of presidential elections under UN supervision.

Patrick Chinamasa, one of the crew on the crippled ship, immediately went
ballistic. His shrill obscenities left many of the courageous and dignified
passengers wondering why they continued to allow him to insult their
intelligence with impunity.

Chinamasa, now a politician of indeterminate mandate, having been rejected
by the electorate on March 29, cannot be allowed to continue to pretend that
he speaks for anyone.† But on Wednesday he spoke as the SADC leadership
packed their bags once more for Johannesburg to make yet another attempt -
this will surely be the last - at resolving Zimbabwe current political

As they proceed to the venue of their latest palaver, the SADC leaders need
to be reminded once more of one home truth that they have so successfully
pretended not to be aware of.

Their Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, has not intention whatsoever of
making any meaningful power-sharing concessions. He seeks either to remain
in office until 2013 or to die while in office, which ever comes first.

Here are the facts.

Mugabe clearly has no intention of sharing, let alone handing over power to
anyone in or out of Zanu-PF, least of all to Movement for Democratic Change
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. He regards them with total contempt, matched only
by that of the talks' facilitator, Thabo Mbeki. The political establishment,
civil society and the population of Zimbabwe, as well as SADC heads of
state, at least the enlightened among them, are painfully aware of this sad
fact. The politicians trudge along while the people cheer the negotiation
process on half-heartedly in the forlorn hope that perhaps through an act of
divine intervention Mugabe will either be visited by a streak of benevolence
or will simply drop dead.

But then miracles never happen by design or strategy.

In fairness to Mugabe, he has never concealed his real intentions. There is
no line of succession within Zanu-PF. While he is 84 years of age, his
Number Two Joseph Msika is a year older at 85.

The most burning issue of Zanu-PF's internal politics has over the years
been the total absence of any discernible line of succession to the party's
president and secretary general, Mugabe. One of Mugabe's greatest weaknesses
as President was his failure to groom a successor. Perhaps it was the
greatest strength or strategy of his authoritarian hold on power. The
so-called succession wars allegedly pitying former army supremo, Solomon
Tapfumaneyi Mujuru, wealthy spouse of Vice President Joice Mujuru, against
Mugabe's flavour of the month, Emmerson Mnangagwa, are mostly creations of
the media fraternity.

Now if Mugabe has over the years refused to brook the prospect of a
successor to the throne from among those who stood by his side in Maputo,
while guiding the struggle against colonialism with him, on what basis has
anyone believed that he would accept a successor or a power-sharing partner
from outside Zanu-PF.

"Never, ever, ever," Mugabe declared without equivocation during the
campaign for the March 29.† Tsvangirai would never become President of
Zimbabwe. This sombre statement was uttered at a time when it had become
patently clear, even to Mugabe himself, that the prospect of victory was
tilted heavily in favour of Tsvangirai, his archrival.

Mugabe could have said Tsvangirai would never win the election. Optimism is
the essence of the election campaign, after all. But his pronouncement was
quite unequivocal; Tsvangirai would never become President of Zimbabwe,
whether or not he won the election.

It is our fault that we decided not to take him seriously.

The members of the Joint Operations Command, the power behind the President's
throne, made their own position clear. They would never salute anyone but
Mugabe even if someone else won the elections. Former US President Abraham
Lincoln said : "The ballot is stronger than the bullet."† In Africa Mugabe
countered 165 years later: "The bullet is more powerful than the ballot."

Zimbabwe was clearly headed for turbulent waters.

To prove their point, when Mugabe lost the election on March 29 ZEC and JOC
carted the ballot boxes away to some secret place. Electoral fraud took
place in broad daylight and with total impunity on the part of the
perpetrators. They carried the gun. Zimbabweans had surrendered their
ballots. When they announced the results five weeks later, the stage had
been set for Mugabe's dramatic return to State House.

There was no going back.

When Mugabe was inaugurated on June 29 it was on the basis of a stolen
victory. Everyone knows that. Thabo Mbeki knows that. Morgan Tsvangirai
knows. Arthur Mutambara is aware. There is little doubt about the nature of
Mugabe's return to power in the minds of the SADC leaders who gather in
Johannesburg on Sunday.

Mugabe and his cohorts have invested much emotionally and materially to
remain in power. Judging from the utterances of Chinamasa they will not
negotiate their way out. Their strategy is to buy time and to extract

The peaceful campaign up to March 29 was part of the grand Zanu-PF scheme.
They would simply snatch victory from Tsvangirai's inept hands anyway after
the elections.

To add insult to injury the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has never offered
a plausible explanation for the five-week delay in announcing the
presidential election. They hold the public in contempt. But this fuelled
speculation that the commissioners and others were busy stuffing ballot

The recent dreadful fiasco over the murder of ZEC official, Ignatius
Mushangwe, has now served to dispel any lingering doubt that the March 29
election was, indeed, rigged. Any failure by the authorities to open an
inquest into the circumstances surrounding this brutal murder will remain an
open admission of guilt.

If Chinamasa can, with total impunity, doctor an official document waiting
to be signed after months of negotiation, George Chiweshe will cook election
results, also with total impunity.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Mugabe is a desperate man.
So are Chinamasa, Mnangagwa, Chiweshe, Augustine Chihuri and Dominic

To Zanu-PF letting go of the Ministries of Defence and of Home Affairs is
tantamount to passing a death sentence on those who have caused suffering
among millions of Zimbabweans, while rigging elections and orchestrating
massacres in order to remain in office.

These are the facts before the SADC leaders on Sunday. It is doubtful they
will rise to the challenge of the momentous task that faces them.

It is for these and other reasons that Khama's proposal for a fresh round of
elections makes so much sense, whatever Chinamasa may have to say.

Zanu-PF is surely a party of the people. Mugabe won a landslide victory only
four months ago. He should welcome an opportunity to confound the MDC leader
once more.

The people of Zimbabwe will then live happily ever after.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sokwanele - Agreement of 15 September 2008 : Highlighting Incidences of Non-Compliance

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Newsletter : 7 November 2008

"I sincerely hope that President Mugabe will no longer disappoint the international community… the crisis talks have been taking too long."

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 29 October 2008


On Monday 15 September 2008, a historic agreement was signed in Harare between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu PF) and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Formations on resolving the challenges facing Zimbabwe.

The agreement comprises 25 "Articles" and lists the points of agreement reached under each.

The preamble acknowledges "the challenges that we have faced as a country and the multiple threats to the well-being of our people and, therefore, to resolve these permanently."

Commitments made by the three political parties in the preamble include:

Article II:† Declaration of Commitment, states:† "The Parties hereby declare and agree to work together to create a genuine, viable, permanent, sustainable and nationally acceptable solution to the Zimbabwean situation and in particular to implement the following agreement with the aims of resolving once and for all the current political and economic situations and charting a new political direction for the country."

Flaws in the fragile power-sharing agreement soon became apparent however, amid concerns that delays in forming a unity government were exacerbating the humanitarian crisis and dashing hopes of an inflow of aid.

One of the main stumbling blocks was the unresolved allocation of ministries.†

On 11 October, the state-controlled Herald newspaper published a list of ministries to be controlled by Mugabe, including defence, home affairs (which controls the police), justice and foreign affairs.† This would ensure that Mugabe maintained his grip on the security forces and therefore continued to secure his power base.† Clearly this could also serve to protect his military chiefs who are reported to fear prosecution under the agreement.

On 24 October, the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported that opposition party leaders and diplomats had described the actual power-sharing signed on 15 September as a "forgery" after it was discovered the document was an altered version of the original one agreed to on 11 September.

Almost a week later, Tomaz Salomao, the Secretary-General of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), admitted the power-sharing deal signed had been fraudulently altered and pledged the issue would be resolved.

Welshman Ncube, the Mutambara-MDC's chief negotiator, confirmed there had been alterations and that two paragraphs were missing.† He said that former Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF), who had been given the document on a computer disc by South African officials to prepare a legal document, had admitted to altering one of the paragraphs and "accidentally" deleting two of the other clauses. (

Following the failure of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security to resolve the political impasse last month, SADC will hold an extraordinary meeting on the situation in South Africa on Sunday 9 November.

A perspective of the meltdown in Zimbabwe

To ramp up the pressure, Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly and other organisations are planning to embark on mass protest action next week to push for the setting up of a transitional government to immediately address the desperate humanitarian crisis.

Zimbabwe faces yet another disastrous agricultural year as most farmers have not received fertilizer or seed and in many parts the land has yet to be prepared.

The health crisis escalates by the day and the current outbreak of cholera is the worst in the country's history.† Famine, disease and the collapse of the health care sector are claiming lives at the rate of 4 000 each week, a staggering 16 000 every month.† Hundreds of infants are dying countrywide, many due to kwashiorkor, a disease caused by acute under-nutrition and a lack of proteins.

From mid October, medical staff at Harare Central Hospital and the Parirenyatwa hospital have been turning away patients, telling them the hospitals were closed.†

'There are no drips, no antibiotics, no sutures and anaesthetics for operations, it is better we close.† What we have now is a system that endangers the lives of patients," said a nurse, speaking on condition of anonymity to the Zimbabwe Standard.

The collapse of Zimbabwe's education system, once heralded as sub-Saharan Africa's finest, has been compared by Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, to countries that are experiencing civil strife or fully-fledged war.†

Since the school year began in January, the country's 4.5 million pupils have had a total of 23 days uninterrupted in the classroom.†† To avoid the humiliation of total failure in 2008, the government has not cancelled the academic year, despite repeated calls from the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, with the Ministry of Education continuing with farcical public examinations.††

Six teachers were murdered and thousands assaulted by Zanu PF militia in the violence that marred the second-round presidential election on June 27.


The following selection of articles published in the media provides a perspective of the ongoing violations of the agreement.† They demonstrate that Mugabe and his Joint Operations Command (JOC) have no intention of relinquishing their stranglehold on power and, in many instances, it is "business as usual".

Stipulations in the agreement include:

(a) that in the fulfillment of its obligations above, the Government and all State Institutions and quasi State Institutions shall render humanitarian and food assistance without discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation or religion;

(b) that humanitarian interventions rendered by Non-Governmental Organisations, shall be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and religion.

(c) that all displaced persons shall be entitled to humanitarian and food assistance to enable them to return and settle in their original homes and that social welfare organisations shall be allowed to render such assistance as might be required…

Police and war vets block MDC food distribution to orphans
17 October 2008 - SW Radio Africa

As millions of Zimbabweans face a daily battle to survive, it is becoming clear that Zanu PF continues to hold the nation hostage - this after police and war veterans prevented the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from distributing critically needed food to hungry orphans in the Nyanga rural district in the eastern Manicaland province last week….

Numerous children, the smallest and youngest victims of the country's combined crises, have already died from the hunger related disease of kwashiorkor….

Food aid is becoming daily more critical after Mugabe only partially lifted his government's ban on foreign aid, imposed in June. A United Nations assessment report predicted that up to 5 million Zimbabweans would face starvation in January...

According to international relief and development agency, World Vision, the chronic food shortages are the worst the country has ever seen. The group's Director of Humanitarian Emergency Affairs for Zimbabwe, Daniel Muchena, (said) the crisis had affected urban areas just as badly because of the economic collapse, and all sectors of the country would soon be reliant on food aid.

Despite this clear need for food, there has been no change in the minds of the Zanu PF controlled police and war veterans.

According to the MDC's social welfare officer for Manicaland, Lloyd Mahute, police and ex-combatants told MDC officials that they could not give food to people because they did not have permission to do so from Robert Mugabe's government - this despite the power sharing agreement signed by Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

According to Mahute, armed police, backed by war vets, some of whom were wearing ruling Zanu PF party regalia, last week stormed Ruwangwe rural business centre in Nyanga and ordered villagers who had gathered to receive food packs to disperse empty handed.

The MDC had sourced the food from charitable organisations for distribution to about 500 vulnerable households in Nyanga, the majority of which are parentless homes.

Mahute said that more than 10 tons of food including maize meal, cooking oil, salt, sugar beans and dried fish is now locked up in warehouses because it cannot be given to the hungry.

Kids dying of hunger in Zimbabwe
24 October 2008 - Sky News

Sky News has obtained new evidence of the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe where children are dying of starvation because of food shortages.

Filming secretly inside the country, we also found proof that Robert Mugabe is using his security forces to try to hide the crisis from the world. In one hospital ward in the eastern province of Manicaland we saw 15 children suffering from severe malnutrition….† One girl, aged four, could no longer stand because she was so weak.

An officer, speaking to us anonymously, told us he was among a team ordered to "intimidate and harass" the senior staff into concealing the number of starving children they are treating.

He said the nurses were warned they faced arrest if they admitted to anyone that there were malnourished children in the wards.

But one nurse, again speaking anonymously, told us there had been a significant increase in the number of starving children being admitted and in the number dying….

"Malnutrition among children is a silent emergency," Geoff Foster, a British paediatrician working in Zimbabwe, said. "Children are dying quietly in the villages."

…The police officer who spoke to Sky News said that aid agencies were being targeted by a campaign of harassment. "There are roadblocks and we are ordered to search all of their vehicles and we take some of the food that is meant to be used as aid," he said.

Robert Mugabe forces Zimbabwe aid agencies into cash crisis

19 October 2008 - Sunday Telegraph

Aid agencies have accused Robert Mugabe of cutting their lifeline to millions of starving Zimbabweans after he imposed sweeping new bank restrictions which have made it impossible for them to finance their operations.

… The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has cancelled the inter-bank money transfer system used by businesses and aid agencies to move cash around.

With daily cash withdrawals limited to Z$50,000 a day - worth just £1.20 given Zimbabwe's current soaring inflation rate - it has become impossible for relief workers to make the large payments necessary to buy and distribute food or pay staff wages….

"We cannot get money from the banks to pay people to distribute the food, it is as simple as that," said the operations manager of one of the top three distributing agencies.

"We have enough food in the warehouse to ensure no one starves, and we have enough money in the bank to finance our operations, but the Reserve Bank will not give us access to it."…

Mr Mugabe banned all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from working in rural areas after he lost the first round of the presidential elections to Mr Tsvangirai….

David Coltart, an MDC MP from the country's second city, Bulawayo, said he has had a harrowing week in his urban constituency.

"The food shortage is catastrophic," he said. "There are HIV Aids patients on anti-retrovirals who have not had adequate food supplies for two months and some of them are at death's door. There are probably 25 000 others in my constituency alone also at death's door…. About two million people need food now, and it will be five million by January. The situation is absolutely critical."

Military seed merchants

23 October 2008 - IRIN (UN)

The distribution of agricultural inputs such as maize seed and fertiliser for the 2008/09 season has become the domain of Zimbabwe's military and President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party….

"We received an instruction that the government had purchased all the seed (through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) and would be responsible for distribution to the farmers," an official who declined to be identified told IRIN….

The commander of Zimbabwe's defence forces, General Constantine Chiwenga, assisted by senior military officials, has been given the responsibility of identifying the beneficiaries of agricultural inputs, and maize seed and fertiliser have been handed out at Zanu PF rallies to party members and senior government officials.

A Zanu PF member in Marondera, a large town in Mashonaland East Province, told IRIN that senior army officers responsible for seed distribution were diverting it to the parallel market….

"Known or suspected Movement for Democratic Change supporters did not receive any maize seed or fertiliser from the soldiers…," he said.

Zimbabwe Hunger Alert - Solidarity Peace Trust
10 October 2008

The hunger in Zimbabwe is at crisis proportions. The following link contains an account of one starving family that is typical of possibly thousands of others at this time - The image below shows a Zimbabwean infant in suffering from Kwashiorkor, a famine related disease increasingly seen in Zimbabwe. The report contains more images.

Child suffering from Kwashiorkor

Stipulations in the agreement include:

(a) to promote the values and practices of tolerance, respect, non-violence and dialogue as means of resolving political differences;

(b) to renounce and desist from the promotion and use of violence, under whatever name called, as a means of attaining political ends;

(c) that the Government shall apply the laws of the country fully and impartially in bringing all perpetrators of politically motivated violence to book;

(d) that all political parties, other organisations and their leaders shall commit themselves to do everything to stop and prevent all forms of political violence, including by non-State actors and shall consistently appeal to their members to desist from violence;

(e) to take all measures necessary to ensure that the structures and institutions they control are not engaged in the perpetration of violence.

(g) to work together to ensure the security of all persons and property;

(h) to work together to ensure the safety of any displaced persons, their safe return home and their enjoyment of the full protection of the law.

MDC statement on the recent spate of violence
7 November† 2008 - MDC-T Press Release

Violence, which arrested this country after the 29th March election has reared its ugly head again. Zanu PF has unleashed a new orgy of brutality and assaults across the whole country. On the 27th of October 2008 over 25 MDC supporters were brutally attacked in Epworth and five of them had to be hospitalised. In addition, Zanu PF militia has set up two torture bases in Epworth, Harare.

The bases are in Ward 4 with one at Maulani and another at Rueben Shopping Centre. The bases are being sponsored and financed by the losing Zanu PF candidate and former Minister of Mines Amos Midzi. Midzi is also Zanu PF's chairman for Harare province.

Also involved in running the bases are, Zanu PF Youth Chairman, Zimbwe and other party cadres Garakara and Chimandira.

On Thursday 30th October 2008 state security agents in Banket, Mashonaland West province, raided the homes of MDC leadership and arrested nine MDC members including a two year-old girl. During the arrests they looted property including a computer and party documents at the home of MDC's national executive member, Concilia Chinanzvavana.

However, by Monday the police had not brought the accused to court. MDC's lawyers then filed an urgent court application at the High Court compelling the police to bring the arrested to court or release them as 48 hours had lapsed since their arrests.

But the police were by Thursday afternoon defying the High Court order. Those in police custody are, Ward 22 councillor, Fani Tembo, ward coordinator, Lloyd Tambwa, Fidelis Musona, Fidelis Chiramba and Ernest Mudimu, Chinanzvavana and her husband Emmanuel Chinanzvavana and a two year-old baby.

Over and above this, the majority of the MDC elected rural councilors are unable to execute their mandate due to continuous disruptions, violence and interruptions by Zanu PF thugs including the former Minister of Local Government, Chiminya Ignatius Chombo.

In addition, students activist from Zinasu have also been terrorised. Jennie Williams, Mahlangu and other colleagues from Women Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) are still languishing in Remand Prison in Bulawayo. Over and above this, over 100 activists from the Women Coalition of Zimbabwe were arrested on the 28th of October as the SADC Troika meeting sat in Harare.

Zanu PF's actions portray a Party that has declared war on its people. A Party that is bankrupt of any genuine solution for Zimbabwe other than hunger and violence. To the extent that Zanu PF's actions are clearly a breach of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and an assault on the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed on the 15th of September 2008.

It is quiet evident that Zanu PF has put a full stop to that dialogue. In short Zanu PF has killed the dialogue despite the hopes, patience and expectations of the people of Zimbabwe. The bottom line is that Zanu PF must be upfront with the Zimbabwean people and openly bury the corpse of these talks.

ROHR activists released from police custody without charges

30 October 2008 - The Zimbabwean

Six Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe activists who were arrested on 27 October after a peaceful protest were released next day without any charges.

(The activists) spent a night at Harare Central police station … after numerous failed attempts by staff to identify and rescue them….

…Their detention was kept secret by sympathetic officers who wanted to protect the detainees from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

This comes in the wake of reports from ROHR members and the public that some police officers also fell victim to Zanu PF violence on Monday.

An ROHR eyewitness who escaped from the Zanu PF headquarters after the abduction…, saw a police officer in uniform being beaten inside the headquarters.

She said he was being accused of being sympathetic to opposition activists and disregarding Zanu PF instructions.

Stipulations in the agreement include:

(a) to work together in a manner which guarantees the full implementation and realisation of the right to freedom of association and assembly

Riot police descend on women protesters
October 27, 2008 - Women's Coalition

Riot police in Harare descended on hundreds of women who were peacefully protesting over the delayed conclusion of the peace talks between Zimbabwe's three major political parties.

At least 47 women were arrested around 10h00 on Monday 27 October and over 100 were beaten in the city as they were walking to the venue of the talks scheduled to begin this afternoon.

The Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) had mobilized nearly 1 000 women who were tear-gassed and badly beaten as they regrouped at a spot near the Rainbow Towers where the talks were expected to be held….

By 11h30, police had set up a roadblock and were turning away any cars intending to go to the venue of the talks, regardless of their purpose….

National Coordinator of the WCoZ, Netsai Mushonga, was among those arrested and information reaching their offices said the group had been denied access to lawyers…

The organisation said that time was running out for the millions who are starving in the country.

Protester beaten to death inside Zanu PF office
28 October 2008 - SW Radio Africa

A protester from Monday's demonstration (near the Rainbow Towers) was beaten to death, allegedly at Zanu PF's offices in Fourth Street, Harare.

…Osborne Kachuru from Mbare was abducted immediately after the demonstration by unidentified men, and bundled into a twin cab truck belonging to Zanu PF.

A few minutes later three other people were abducted by youths using a Nissan single cab truck, believed to be owned by Zanu PF political commissar Eliot Manyika. Manyika was allegedly driving the car and instructing the youths to beat up some of the protesters.

… Edgar Chikuvire, the Information Director for the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), said their lawyers travelled to Parirenyatwa Hospital in an effort to positively identify Kachuru's body.
(However, they) were turned away by hospital authorities who told them they needed to bring at least one relative for the identification exercise.

Kachuru's friends insisted their colleague was killed inside the Zanu PF office after being brutally assaulted. Newsreel spoke to several of his friends who said they saw his body being removed from the Zanu PF office and transferred to the mortuary at Parirenyatwa.

More than 200 ROHR activists participated in the series of demonstrations on Monday that brought business to a standstill in Harare.

Around 300 women from the Women's Coalition also took to the streets, demanding a unity government be formed urgently. Over 200 students held another protest decrying the strike by lecturers and the continued closure of some of their colleges.

Police violently put down all the protests using tear gas and baton sticks….

The Women's Coalition reported that 47 of their members were arrested and a further 11 had to seek treatment for injuries sustained from police beatings…

Police ruthlessly crush protest by youth activists
27 October - Zimbabwe Youth Forum

Hundreds of demonstrating activists (who gathered around the Harare International Conference Centre, the venue for the SADC Troika meeting), were arrested at the scene and many others were injured.

…† The peaceful march was violently crushed by the police who fired shots in the air as well as tear smoke. The police also beat up the protesters as well as ordinary citizens who were either queuing at the banks or moving around town….

There are also reports of more than twenty youth activists who were abducted close to the venue of the negotiations by militias who were moving around in white trucks marked Zanu PF….

The demonstration was organized and led by the Youth Agenda Trust and it involved other youth movements like the Youth Forum, community youth based organizations as well as student movements such as ZINASU and Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe.†† †

WOZA declares a national disaster and demands food for all Zimbabweans in Bulawayo today - 9 arrested

October 16, 2008 - WOZA website

Hundreds of members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA) took to the streets of Bulawayo (on 16 October) … to declare a national disaster and demand immediate food aid for all Zimbabweans…

On arrival at the Government Complex, the group … sat down outside the gates whilst a delegation of four elderly women went in to request that the Regional Department Heads of all the service departments come out and address the crowd on what is being done to alleviate the humanitarian crisis facing the country.

The group sat peacefully waiting to be addressed for 45 minutes before five riot police approached the group…. They were forcibly dispersed by being beaten with baton sticks.

Two leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, were arrested and taken to Drill Hall….† Three members received medical treatment for the beatings they received. One has a broken finger, the other two bruising….


On 3 November, WOZA reported that Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu had spent their third weekend - and a total of 19 days - in Mlondolozi Prison in Bulawayo.

Despite a High Court appeal on the 27 October, they said there had still been no response from authorities.

…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 added….

Stipulations in the agreement include:

a) respect and uphold the Constitution and other laws of the land;

(b) adhere to the principles of the Rule of Law.

WOZA activists remain in jail as magistrate attends workshop
24 October 2008 - SW Radio Africa

… Human Rights Lawyer Gabriel Shumba, from the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, told Newsreel on (24 October) that the continued detention of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders "exemplified the intolerance still evident in Zimbabwe."

The forum and other human rights lobby groups, including Amnesty International, widely condemned the arrests and called for (Jenni) Williams and (Magodonga) Mahlangu to be immediately released.

"The situation, including the desperate humanitarian crisis, is indicative of the fact that Zanu PF is not willing to let go," Shumba said.

"As long as this is the case, Zimbabweans will never be accorded the freedoms that are theirs by right." …


Stipulations in the agreement include:

(b) ensuring that all state organs and institutions strictly observe the principles of the Rule of Law and remain non-partisan and impartial;

(c) laws and regulations governing state organs and institutions are strictly adhered to and those violating them be penalised without fear or favour…

Zimbabwe opposition claims supporters attacked by youth militia

31 October 2008 - Bloomberg

Zimbabwe's main opposition party said 20 of its supporters were injured when they were attacked by a youth militia loyal to President Robert Mugabe.

The attackers, known as "Green Bombers" because of their uniforms, beat opposition members on October 29 at Epworth, outside Harare, the Movement for Democratic Change….

At least 20 MDC supporters had to seek medical attention, five of whom were hospitalized. The attacks followed a visit to the area by former Mines Minister Amos Midzi, who stood as a candidate for Mugabe's Zanu PF in Epworth in the March 29 election and lost to the MDC….

One man injured in this week's attacks said Zanu PF was "angry" because the MDC hasn't signed a final accord on power sharing.


Stipulations in the agreement include:

c) shall give consideration to the setting up of a mechanism to properly advise on what measures might be necessary and practicable to achieve national healing, cohesion and unity in respect of victims of pre and post independence political conflicts; and

d) will strive to create an environment of tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans and that all citizens are treated with dignity and decency irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, place of origin or political affiliation…

CIO take over burial of murdered election official
30 October 2008 - SW Radio Africa

After allegedly murdering a whistle blowing Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) official, state agents last weekend forcibly took the body of Ignatius Mushangwe from his Waterfalls home and buried it in the Mukumba Village of Chihota.

A report by the Zimbabwe Times website quoted a family member as saying Mushangwe was meant to be buried .. in Harare by his family.

However agents from the notorious Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) forced his wife and eldest son to sign a letter consenting to the burial in Chihota….

A source confirmed that the agents claimed they had orders from the President's Office to carry out a hasty burial. '

More details are emerging on the murder of Mushangwe who allegedly spilled the beans on how Mugabe's regime planned to print surplus ballot papers to rig the June 27 Presidential run-off.

An intelligence source has claimed that the ZEC director of training and development was, 'murdered by a hit-squad from the military intelligence, allegedly led by one Staff Sergeant Makwande, to silence him in an operation that was approved by the Joint Operations Command (JOC).'…

After being kidnapped in June, Mushangwe's partially charred body was found dumped in Norton last week.

Liberty Mupakati, a former civil servant who worked with Mushangwe, told Newsreel on Thursday that the hasty burial was meant to keep the media away and prevent photographs and other forms of recording.

Amnesty: Zimbabwe abusers must face justice
31 October 2008 - Associated Press (AP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's party leaders and police who are responsible for beating, raping and killing dissidents must be brought to justice if almost a decade of abuse is to end, Amnesty International said Friday….

…The international human rights group said accountability was key. "If the perpetrators are allowed to roam ... they will do it again," Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty's Zimbabwe researcher, said at (the) news conference in South Africa…

… Amnesty said the Mugabe government's deliberate policy of protecting those who have committed human rights violations in order to maintain its hold on power has allow human rights violations to escalate.

The report included witness accounts of abuses starting in 2000, when the opposition Movement for Democratic Change first proved itself a real challenge to Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

Stipulations in the agreement include:

(f) work together for the restoration of full productivity on all agricultural land

New wave of Zim land grabs
7 October 2008 - Daily Dispatch Online

… Some white farmers, whose property was occupied by squatters in earlier land invasions, now find themselves the victims of fresh invasions by new bands of squatters belonging to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Since 2000, the number of white families has shrunk from about 4 500 to about 400 as Mugabe's militias have murdered, maimed, looted and laid waste to farms in the name of a "revolutionary land reform programme" that was launched to rescue the octogenarian leader from losing an election.

Up to 60 farmers have been subjected to often violent attempts to drive them from their farms since Mugabe signed the power-sharing deal with Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change, last month.

The agreement commits the incoming Government to carry out a "comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit ... for the purpose of establishing accountability".

"There has been a mad rush for free pickings; we are getting reports on a daily basis," said David Drury, a lawyer who has fought several cases for dispossessed white farmers.

"The agreement may well mean that there will be a moratorium on the process of land seizures. If the process is followed through, they are going to lose out. So now they want to get a toe-hold on the farms and assert their possessory rights."

Land grabbers - army officers, magistrates, agricultural officials, local government officials - are walking into homesteads and settling in, commandeering farmers' vehicles, furniture and the food in their fridges.

Didymus Mutasa, the Lands Minister, has signed blank "offer letters" supposedly conferring right of occupancy, which are then filled in by the would-be occupiers and waved in the faces of farmers.

Stipulations in the agreement include:

(a) to give priority to the restoration of economic stability and growth in Zimbabwe. The Government will lead the process of developing and implementing an economic recovery strategy and plan. To that end, the parties are committed to working together on a full and comprehensive economic programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy, which will urgently address the issues of production, food security, poverty and unemployment and the challenges of high inflation, interest rates and the exchange rate.

(b) to create conditions that would ensure that the 2008/2009 agricultural season is productive…

Illegal Settlers Torch Timber Plantations
21 October 2008 - The Zimbabwe Standard

A wave of land invasions has struck the Eastern Highlands, leaving in its wake 10 000 hectares of torched plantations that will see heavy job losses and a shortage of timber products next year.

The country's thriving timber industry will suffer a major setback after illegal settlers set fire to vast tracks of timber plantations in the Eastern Highlands recently, destroying timber that could have earned the country billions in foreign currency.

Thousands of hectares of mostly pine trees were burnt to ashes within hours on once productive estates. One person, believed to be a commercial farmer, died during the conflagration….

New Hyperinflation Index (HHIZ) Puts Zimbabwe Inflation at 2.79 Quintillion Percent
31 October 2008 - Cato Institute

Hanke Hyperinflation Index for Zimbabwe (HHIZ)
Index Monthly Inflation Rate Annual Inflation Rate
3-Oct-08 4,190,000,000,000.00 18,000.00% 1,910,000,000,000%
10-Oct-08 16,100,000,000,000.00 21,700.00% 5,770,000,000,000%
17-Oct-08 1,050,000,000,000,000.00 479,000.00% 293,000,000,000,000%
24-Oct-08 108,000,000,000,000,000.00 13,500,000.00% 22,900,000,000,000,000%
31-Oct-08 17,900,000,000,000,000,000.00 493,000,000.00% 2,790,000,000,000,000,000%
Sources: Imara Asset Management Zimbabwe and Prof Steve Hanke's calculations.
1. Numbers are reported with three significant figures.
2. The HHIZ is reported on the last trading day of the week.
3. The monthly inflation rate is HHIZ(t)/HHIZ(t-4) - 1 and the annual inflation rate is HHIZ(t)/HHIZ(t-52) - 1.
4. The HHIZ values are numerical estimates. In consequence, they are subject to revision when new price data are incorporated into the estimates.
Via the Cato Institute

Stipulations in the agreement include:

(d) that steps be taken to ensure that the public media provides balanced and fair coverage to all political parties for their legitimate political activities.
Journalists Barred From Covering Talks

29 October 2008 - Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) - Windhoek

Several journalists were barred from covering the SADC Troika-mediated talks held in Harare on 27 October 2008 as part of efforts to break the impasse….

Security details manning the entrance to the premises of the Rainbow Towers Hotel, where the talks were being held, turned away a number of freelance journalists who are not accredited with the statutory Media and Information Commission (MIC) and demanded they produce MIC accreditation cards allowing them to cover the event.

Accreditation of journalists by the MIC is no longer compulsory following the December 2007 amendments to the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Previously, on 15 and 16 October 2008, an official from the Ministry of Information and Publicity approached Brian Hungwe and Peta Thornycroft, who freelance for foreign media organizations, and ordered them to leave the hotel where they were mingling with other journalists…

The official reportedly told the journalists that he was acting on instructions from his superiors.

MISA-Zimbabwe calls upon the Parliament of Zimbabwe to repeal the AIPPA as a matter of urgency as it poses serious violations to media freedom and freedom of expression and also violates the 2002 Banjul Declaration on the Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa, which frowns upon statutory regulation of the media as is the case in Zimbabwe under the MIC.

… MISA-Zimbabwe reiterates that journalists have the professional mandate to cover and report on the country's socio-economic and political developments as they unfold without any hindrance.

Zimpapers Editors Under Surveillance
21 October 2008 - The Zimbabwe Standard

All Zimpapers editors were this year put under surveillance to establish if they subscribed to the Zanu PF government's policies, the newspaper group's chief executive officer, Justin Mutasa has said….

Last week, this paper obtained minutes of (a disciplinary) hearing held on October 7 in Harare, where the under-fire CEO made shocking revelations about how government made direct appointments of editors in the group and that Zimpapers' editorial policy was set to suit individual Ministers of Information.

The Zimpapers' titles in the past have denied accusations that they operate more like a propaganda tool of the ruling Zanu PF and government and not as public media.

"The complainant (Mutasa) told the hearing that editorial standards are not set by the group chief executive but by the Minister of Information," read the minutes. "Every incoming minister calls all the editors and expounds to them what he expects from them. Editors must comply."…

We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe in serious breach of SADC tribunal ruling on land

By Violet Gonda
6 November 2008

77 farmers were granted a temporary relief to stay on their farms by the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal held in Namibia in
March. However there have been many infringements of this ruling by the
Mugabe regime, as disruptions on commercial farms continue.

Ben Freeth, one of the affected farmers, said while the SADC States are
taking the law and human rights abuses seriously, the Zimbabwean government
is showing the contempt in which it holds the law and the well being of its
people. Freeth said: "When farmers are being illegally prevented from
farming and the people are starving there is a strong case for it being
termed as a crime against humanity."

The tribunal stated in March: "Accordingly, we order that the Republic of
Zimbabwe shall take no steps, or permit to be taken, directly or indirectly,
whether by its agents or by orders, to evict from, or interfere with, the
peaceful residence on, and the beneficial use of, their properties in
respect of the applicants/interveners referred to in the previous paragraph,
their employees and the families of such employees."

However, the Zimbabwean government has been in breach, and in contempt of
the orders of the tribunal, as none of the 77 interveners in the case have
"the beneficial use of their properties", as they are still being denied
access to large portions of their land.

Instead of complying with the demands of the highest court in the region,
the Zimbabwean authorities have responded by taking steps in the local
courts, resulting in three farmers being convicted and sentenced to vacate
their properties, or face a jail sentence. Four other farmers with SADC
tribunal protection are also facing prosecution in the Zimbabwean courts.

The commercial farmers took the Zimbabwean government back to the tribunal
in July, on a contempt of court issue. The government was held in contempt
of the tribunal and the matter was referred to the SADC Heads of State at
the summit held in August in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Heads of
Governments then referred the issue to their Ministers of Justice, but Ben
Freeth says the farmers are at the moment in the dark as to what the
ministers have done regarding any kind of censure, since the regime
continues to be is in contempt of the tribunal and the SADC treaty. But no
one seems to be doing anything about it.

The affected farmers say the last couple of months have seen an increase in
the number of 'invaders' appearing on properties that had been granted a
staying order by the regional tribunal. Freeth said the country is reeling
under severe food shortages and yet disruptions on commercial farms are
continuing and farmers being blocked from growing food. In the Chiredzi and
Chinhoyi areas police and army generals are at the forefront of the
disruptions on the farms, covered by the SADC tribunal interim relief.

The commercial farmer said a Senior Assistant Commissioner Veterai, who
calls himself 'untouchable,' continues to live on Farm 30 Hippo Valley
Estate, owned by Digby Nesbitt in Chiredzi. "He has actually been living in
Digby Nesbitt's house for months now, with Digby Nesbitt, and is in complete
contempt, and yet no one wants to touch him because he is an Assistant
Commissioner of the police."

Freeth alleges that a Major General Dube kicked Paul Stidolph off Grand
Parade farm in Karoi and "stole his whole tobacco crop."

In many cases food grown by the commercial farmers is being deliberately
destroyed, despite the country teetering on the brink of starvation. The
President of the Commercial Farmers Union, Doug Taylor Freeme, who used to
farm 1 600 hectares, had only been able to plant 70 hectares in Makonde
South district.† But just this past Saturday, The UK Sunday Telegraph
reported: "Before he forced his way on to Mr Taylor-Freeme's land last week,
Chief Nemakonde, who is in his late 60s and has several wives and scores of
children, sent men to torch a field of winter wheat stalks, meaning there
will be no hay for cattle."

Freeth told us of another commercial farmer, Louis Fick, who lost 200
animals who died, when he was stopped from taking food to them by illegal

†"One wonders what SADC's commitment is to justice and the rule of law when
they are just allowing these things to take place and the tribunal to be
ignored. What does the SADC treaty mean if they are not prepared to actually
do something about ensuring that the rule of law is upheld in Zimbabwe?"
Freeth asked.

The SADC tribunal is expected to pass final judgement on the Zimbabwean
farmers' case on November 28th. Freeth said this will be critical, and a
real test to see where the tribunal stands, as far as property rights are

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Abducted MDC activists still missing

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 October 2008

The MDC is still trying to locate the whereabouts of the officials and
activists abducted by state security agents last week from their homes in
Mashonaland West province.

Party spokesman, Nelson Chamisa told us on Friday that despite round the
clock efforts to make contact with their activists, they have been unable to
do so.

'This is proving to be more difficult than we thought. But we haven't
forgotten about them, we don't abandon our own,' Chamisa said. State
security agents in Banket raided the homes of the MDC leadership there and
arrested nine members.

During the arrests they looted property, including a computer and party
documents at the home of MDC's national executive member, Concilia
Chinanzvavana. Those still missing include Ward 22 Councillor Fani Tembo,
Ward Coordinator Lloyd Tambwa, Fidelis Musona, Fidelis Chiramba and Ernest
Mudimu, Mrs. Chinanzvavana and her husband Emmanuel Chinanzvavana. It's
believed a two year-old baby belonging to the Chinanzvana couple is also in

MDC MP for Makoni central in Manicaland province, John Nyamande, blames ZANU
PF leaders such as former security minister Didymus Mutasa, for inflaming
the fragile truce that exists between the two political parties.

Nyamande cited an example of a meeting of heads of government from his
constituency three weeks ago, where the new governor in Manicaland,
Christopher Mushowe and Mutasa addressed a meeting at Rusape country club.

'Mutasa told the audience he was totally against the power-sharing deal and
went on to denounce Morgan Tsvangirai, using all sorts of foul language
against him in front of civil servants. I was glad though that people walked
out the moment he started spitting venomous hate speech,' Nyamande.

He added; 'These are statements that ignite violence. People like Mutasa
should act responsibly or else the situation in the country will never

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said in its latest report
released this week that cases of political violence and human rights abuses
shot up 39 percent from August to September.

Ironically this is in the same period that the country's political leaders
agreed to bury the hatchet and join hands in a unity government. The ZPP
noted that disturbances in September alone shifted to more extreme forms of
violence and abuse, with seven murders, five rapes and 20 cases of

'The violence toll increased by 39 percent from its August level of 964 to
1336 by September with incidents of murder, rape, kidnapping, assault,
looting, harassment, displacements . . . maintaining a disturbing visibility
after the signing of the 15 September power-sharing Agreement,' the report

The ZPP added in their report; 'Two strands of fear are noticeable in all
the 10 provinces; the traditional fear (by victims) of further retribution
and the new fear of guilt, where those associated with the perpetration of
violence are afraid of possible investigations and arrests.'

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

RBZ pays back missing millions after Global Fund suspends Zim grants

By Alex Bell
07 November 2008

Zimbabwe's cash strapped Reserve Bank (RBZ) has managed to come up with more
than US$7 million to return to international donor organisation, the Global
Fund - after the group this week suspended Zimbabwe grants over missing aid

The group froze its donations to Zimbabwe on Thursday after the central bank
was found to have "diverted" US$7.3 million from funds meant to help
millions of seriously ill people. The missing money was part of the US$12.3
million grant from the Global Fund to 'Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria'.
Zimbabwe's government requires that all foreign donations to
non-governmental organisations be sent through the RBZ and civic groups have
suggested that the funds were spent by the bank on drumming up political
support for ZANU PF, particularly in the run-up to elections in March and
June this year.

Global Fund executive director Michel Kazatchkine announced on Monday that
the donor group had ordered that funds under its administration in Zimbabwe
be placed under the Additional Safeguards Policy (ASP), which aims to ensure
that funding is used for its intended purpose and not to benefit the
government. On Thursday the group then announced that it had immediately
suspended its current operation in Zimbabwe and said it will
not make the 2009 payment for more than US$600 million. At its meeting in
India on Thursday, Kazatchkine said the group "will not sign any new grants,
even if the fund board approves future grants to Zimbabwe, unless that money
is fully recovered."

Zimbabwe's central bank, whose Governor Gideon Gono has been quoted in
correspondence with the Global Fund saying that the missing money was used
"for other national priorities", has now returned the US$7.3 million.

"The Global Fund greatly appreciates this development which will accelerate
the live-saving activities of the malaria, tuberculosis and HIV programs in
Zimbabwe," Global Fund's Kazatchkine said Friday.

The group's board was expected to consider a request by the government for
an additional US$400 million in health care funds. Kazatchkine said the
central bank had also agreed that recipients of aid from the Global Fund
would be able to use U.S. dollars for all transactions in Zimbabwe,
eliminating foreign exchange and inflation risks.

However, it is still not clear if future donations will be made directly to
recipient aid groups, despite NGOs and the United States Ambassador calling
for donations via the RBZ to be halted.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US Will No Longer Channel Money Through Reserve Bank

HARARE, November 7 2008 - As the largest donor to humanitarian efforts
in Zimbabwe, the United States said it will no longer channel funds to
non-governmental organizations through the country's Reserve Bank.

The decision follows an announcement by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis, and Malaria that the reserve bank has failed to honor its
commitment to repay $7 million designated for lifesaving medicines. U.S.
ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee said the bank "diverted" the Global Fund
money to other purposes. For this reason, donor funding should be withheld
from Zimbabwe, and nongovernmental organizations should be permitted to
access it directly, he said.

"We do not want to see the people of Zimbabwe, who need this money,
disadvantaged," said McGee. "What we do want to see however, is a surefire
system to safeguard the money that is coming into Zimbabwe."

"Through the United Nations, we have submitted a letter asking the
reserve bank to give all nongovernmental organizations operating here in
Zimbabwe the ability to access money from offshore accounts. We are still
waiting for a response," McGee said.

Leading organizations in Zimbabwe say they cannot carry out their work
because the reserve bank restricts the amount of donor funds they are able
to withdraw. The bank also bans electronic transfers of funds from
nongovernmental organizations to pay for goods and services needed to
distribute emergency food supplies to millions of hungry Zimbabweans.

"These are brave people, they are doing God's work trying to help the
people of Zimbabwe, and until the government takes these artificial
restraints away from the system, it is going to be very difficult for
nongovernmental organizations to do what they are here in Zimbabwe to do,"
said McGee.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA Anti Torture groups condemn Zimbabwe prison conditions

SADC urged to act immediately
Friday, 07 November 2008 06:24

SANTOC (South African No Torture Consortium), recognising detention of
political activists as a form of torture, welcomes the release on bail of
the two leaders of WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise), Jenni Williams and
Magodonga Mahlangu.

However, SANTOC's members, together with experts on torture from the
pre and post apartheid era, are deeply concerned about the conditions under
which the WOZA leaders were held in Mlondolozi Prison (Bulawayo) during
their three-week detention.

SANTOC therefore calls on the South African government and SADC to
press Robert Mugabe at this weekend's Summit to grant the International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) immediate access to all Zimbabwean
prisons, so that the ICRC can investigate the conditions under which
prisoners are being held, especially women.

Statement issued at the Meeting on Torture Rehabilitation in South
Africa: Lilliesleaf Resource Centre, Johannesburg, 6/11/08..

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The death throes of Harare's hospitals

Friday, 7 November 2008

Empty beds at Harare Central Hospital

By Brian Hungwe

Hospital wards in one of Zimbabwe's main hospitals bear a resemblance to deserted, poor rural classrooms and the country's empty supermarkets.

Desks and chairs are piled up in a corner, while educational health posters hang precariously on the wall with paint peeling off.

The paediatric beds, with no linen or mattresses, look like lonely, abandoned supermarket trolleys.

There are no more patients inside the wards, just empty beds
Dr Malvern Nyamutora
Junior Doctors' Association

The pitiable sight of Harare Central Hospital, a once-busy referral medical centre, sums up the dim state of the economy.

The sick lose all hope of finding treatment the moment they step into the lifeless hospital reception.

Years back, the hospital car park would be jam-packed.

Inside the wards, attentive nurses and doctors would pace the long, meandering corridors, while well-fed patients would loiter outside for some exercise or sunshine.

But now, the entrance into the hospital is deserted, with hardly a doctor or nurse in sight.

The floors may be well-polished, but the majority of wards are empty - mattresses piled up one on top of another.

The sound of birds outside dominates the occasional cries of sick babies facing injections.

These children are the only patients getting treatment - for their cleft lips - thanks to a team of doctors from the US-based group Operations for Hope.

'Go home'

"Harare Central officially closed down on Friday last week, and at the Parirenyatwa Hospital, most wards have not been functioning, save for except for one or two," says Dr Kudzanai Chimedza.

Outpatients reception at Harare Central Hopsital
The usually busy reception at Harare Central is deserted

He is president of the Junior Doctors' Association - the 200-strong Junior Doctors' Association considered the backbone of the public health delivery system.

"It's a decision undertaken by senior doctors, citing poor working conditions," he says.

Hospital authorities asked relatives to come and pick up their sick loved ones.

They could no longer cope, weighed down by lack of resources.

Rarely does a referral hospital shut services, except in a time of war.

But Zimbabwe gives all the indicators of being at war - it has the world's highest rate of inflation, which officially stands at 231,000,000%.


The cost of treatment has shot through the roof, leaving the poor sick very vulnerable.

"The neglect of the health sector by government is genocide," says Malvern Nyamutora, vice-chairman of the Junior Doctors' Association.

The patients might be unwell, but government officials are sick in the head
Nurse at Harare Central Hospital

"To me nothing can explain this better, it's genocide, simple.

"Patients are dying needlessly; drugs are not there; prescription papers are hard to get, tubes for blood collection are difficult to come by; food for patients isn't available; surgical operations for patients have been stopped and doctors are only attending to emergencies only.

“There are no more patients inside the wards, just empty beds.”

At the country's major referral hospital, Parirenyatwa, there are no more surgical operations.

"The two theatres have been closed, even the one for caesarean operations," he says.

"Everyone is being referred to private clinics, and if you don't have money, you die."

A cholera outbreak has hit the capital's townships, so far claiming more than 20 lives, according to the non-governmental organisation Doctors for Human Rights.

"The stark reality is that they will be coming to hospital to die, because there is nobody to care for anyone," Dr Nyamutora says.

The cholera crisis has been compounded by sewer pipes which have burst and severe water shortages.

"Cholera is treatable, just fluids and tetracycline [an anti-biotic] is enough, but if you get people dying of this diarrhoea - that explains the state of the health crisis," Dr Nyamutora says.

Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti has acknowledged the crisis in the health sector, but has put the blame on international sanctions.

These are hurting the economy, putting pressure on the health delivery system, he says.


At Harare Central, student nurses have nothing much to do, even if 70% of the qualified staff have left to neighbouring countries.

Family in Epworth
This family live in Epworth which has been hit by a cholera outbreak

A nurse showed me her September payslip, her salary of Z$12,542 - about 12 US cents - is not even enough to buy a soft drink.

"This is the misery we are going through," said Beaular, a nurse who asked for her real name not to be used.

"With these peanuts, the government expects us to come to work, board our commuter omnibus, and feed our families.

"The patients might be unwell, but government officials are sick in the head," she said.

Her anger is echoed by other colleagues.

"There is zero dedication to duty, because there is zero concern to our plight by government," another middle-aged nurse said.

At Parirenyatwa Hospital, the sight of the grave faces of relatives carrying patients being turned away is heart-wrenching.


Even if someone opts for treatment at expensive private hospitals, people cannot get access to their cash because of limits on bank withdrawals.

Public hospital are also able to accept money, but have to turn patients away simply because there are no drugs, nurses, doctors or medicine.

A report by six Zimbabwean doctors compiled just before the controversial March elections painted a sorry state of affairs.

"Elective surgery has been abandoned in the central hospitals and even emergency surgery is often dependent on the ability of patients' relatives to purchase suture materials," it said.

"Pharmacies stand empty and ambulances immobilised for want of spare parts... this is an unmitigated tragedy, scarcely conceivable just a year ago."

Seven months on, and hospitals seem to be in their death throes.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe blog: saving a baby

Last Modified: 07 Nov 2008
By: Guest blogger

Guest blogger Helen describes one mother's plight to feed her child when
food is in short supply.

My heart was lost the moment I saw baby Tatenda: snuggled up in a towel on
his mother's back, the baby sucked his thumb and stared out of shiny, big
brown eyes.

"Can you help my save my baby?" his mother asked.

I was taking a small bottle of milk to an elderly neighbour when she stopped
me on the road. Her eyes locked onto the milk, the young woman said she
wasn't looking for charity or money, just information on where to get some
protein for her baby.

"Any protein food," she said, "eggs, milk, cereals - whatever will help my
son gain weight."

Right there on the side of the road I heard a story which is being
replicated in countless homes around Zimbabwe.

Stella is 22, a single mother and desperately trying to find enough food to
keep her child alive. The baby's name is Tatenda, which means 'thank you' in
the local language of Shona, and he is 10 months old.

Stella was living with Tatenda's father when she fell pregnant but he
refused to accept the child and threw mother and baby out.

When she first found herself alone with a new baby, it wasn't too bad.
Stella breast fed her son and he slept most of the time in between feeds and
she coped fine.

The problem began when Tatenda was about six months old and needed more than
breast milk. There was (and still is) nothing to buy in the shops - no baby
cereal, flour, wheat, oats, rice or even bread.

Stella managed to buy some maize (corn) on the black market, had it ground
into meal and she cooks this into a thin porridge for Tatenda.

Nothing unusual about that as all Zimbabwean babies are weaned onto maize
meal porridge. The problem is that Tatenda can't stomach the porridge, it
doesn't agree with him and after every meal the baby coughs almost
incessantly, sometimes for hours at a time.

Tatenda is losing weight dramatically and the doctor has told Stella that
she must give the baby high protein food as a matter of urgency if he is
going to survive.

The only protein Stella's been able to get is peanut butter which she adds
to the maize meal porridge. This is a favourite dish here but it hasn't
helped Tatenda at all.

He still coughs, retches and vomits after every meal of flavoured porridge
and now Stella has resorted to dipping her finger into the peanut butter and
Tatenda sucks it off.

This alone isn't going to be enough for her son and that's why Stella
stopped me in the street. She needs eggs and milk for her son but can't find
them anywhere.

The dairy farm that supplied the town with milk closed down two months ago.
It was the last of four big commercial diaries still functioning and the
closure has left all shops without milk, yoghurt and lacto (processed sour

The only milk left to buy must be purchased direct from a small home dairy
farm about 15km out of town. The milk is not pasteurized or packaged and if
you can find a way to get to the farm at milking time you can buy raw milk
if you bring your own container.

Eggs are just as difficult to come by because chicken food is in critically
short supply as is maize, wheat, and soya beans which has forced most egg
producers to cull their hens and close down.

My own son, now a teenager, used to suck his thumb. Maybe that's why helping
this baby is the least one mother can do for another.

An egg every second day and half a cup of milk morning and evening is
already working wonders. Add to this a few precious spoonfuls of a wildly
expensive, imported wheat-based baby cereal and Tatenda is already gaining

The fate of hundreds of thousands of other hungry Zimbabwean babies being
supported by desperately malnourished parents doesn't bear thinking about.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe teachers say political impasse destroying schools

Fri Nov 7, 6:21 am ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean schoolteachers said Friday that the nation's
education system was collapsing because of the deadlock in forging a unity

"Education service delivery has been seriously compromised and is on the
brink of collapse," the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA) said in a

"This is a crisis that our once-vibrant education system is experiencing,"
it said.

"ZIMTA urges the nation, the political leaders of all political formations
that are engaged in the negotiations ... expedite the formation of an
all-inclusive government so as to speedily salvage the education system," it

The statement came ahead of a summit of the regional Southern African
Development Community (SADC) on Sunday seeking to goad veteran ruler Robert
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai into a deal on forming a

Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed an agreement in Harare on September 15 that was
supposed to pave way for a unity government.

But bickering over which party takes key ministries has delayed the
formation of a government and deepened Zimbabwe's political and economic

Schoolchildren have missed their lessons for the better part of the year as
teachers went on strike over low pay and poor work conditions.

The few teachers going to work often spent most of their time selling sweets
and stationery while others resort to so-called "remote control" teaching --†
leaving a pupil to take charge of the class while they attend to personal

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Army ordered to shoot and kill ...

Diamond fields in the Chiadzwa area of Marange District have turned into
bloody battle fields pitting armed members of the Zimbabwe National Army and
brave diamond diggers.

Friday 7 November 2008, by Bruce Sibanda

On Friday four soldiers and two diggers died in one of the now too frequent
battles. Police national spokesperson Andrew Phiri confirmed the deaths
though he say only "a few people died".

Armed informal diamond miners scraping a living in desperate times continue
to resist attempts by the army to remove them in increasingly violent

The diamond fields have attracted thousands of informal miners in the past
two years. Diamond miners are known as "makorokoza" in the local Shona

Shoot to kill orders

Edmond Chirape, 26 survived the attack and he now walks with a limp. He says
Chiadzwa is now a war zone. " The police and soldiers who patrol the area
say they have one clear instruction that is to shoot to kill all diggers

Chirape, arrived at the site in May, says he has so far witnessed at least
three burials of shot colleagues. One of his friends he came along with is
battling for his life at home.

He would rather die at home than under guard by the police in a hospital,
because the moment he visit a hospital authorities want to know how you
sustained the injuries before treatment.

The black market

More than 80 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed in an economy marked by
the highest inflation rate in the world - now officially at 231 million
percent, but unofficially thought to be many times higher.

Informal miners sell their rough diamonds to middlemen who, in turn, smuggle
them out of the country for sale at higher prices.

Many of them like Gift Ncube, who trades in foreign currency, are not short
of money. When not digging for diamonds at Chiadzwa, he lives in a motel in

He and many of his fellow diggers can also afford private medical care. "The
doctors can do anything if you have the foreign currency to pay them and,
after all, the referral hospitals or clinics here are not well equipped in
any case."

Diamonds for prostitutes

Syndicates of informal miners also often have internal confrontations. "The
syndicates accuse each other of encroaching onto exclusive territory
belonging to a certain group or of 'stealing' clients, Ncube say.

"Fights that emerge out of this have also resulted in death, and often occur
after heavy drinking bouts in the city or other places. I know of cases
where rivals have buried each other alive in the tunnels."

The diggers spend most of the day in the shafts digging for the diamonds and
sneak out during the night. That is when they have confrontations with the
soldiers and the armed police on horseback. They are becoming more vicious
every day because some of them get killed or are injured., he says.

The site has also attracted prostitutes who charge in diamonds or foreign

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hunger stricken Zimbabweans scrounge for food in Zambia

November 7, 2008

Severe hunger is forcing Zimbabweans to cross Lake Kariba into Zambia in
search food in the Namafulo, Mweeba and Kanchindu areas in Chief area in
Sinazongwe District.

A local businessman Dodo Sindaza said most of the Zimbabweans are old men,
women, and youths.

Mr. Sindaza said the situation was bad because the Zimbabweans were selling
chickens at K3, 000 each, to enable them† buy a bag of mealie-meal. He said
the hunger-striken Zimbabweans do not know much about the Zambian currency
and end up selling their commodities below the market value.

One Zimbabwean Tolo Munkombwe said the hunger situation in Zimbabwe was
unbearable as there was completely no food in that country. Mr. Munkombwe
said all the shops were closed because there was no food in them and people
have no money with which to buy commodities.

He said schools in Binga town have been closed and teachers have run away
due to food shortage.Mr. Munkombwe who is from Siamwenya Village in Binga
Town said people have resorted to batter system because the Zimbabwean
currency has lost value.

"If you want to jump on a bus to go to any town from Binga, drivers are
demanding to be paid a bag of mealie-meal which is difficult to come
accross," Mr. Munkombwe said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

World Bank, FAO fund Zimbabwe agric with US$ 21.4 million

Zimbabwe said Friday it had received US$ 21.4 million in combined
agricultural funding from the World Bank and the Food and Agricultural
Organisation (FAO). In a statement, the government said the funding was
intended to cover cropping this year and finance the procurement of farming
inputs, including fertilizers and seeds.

The World Bank, which has suspended economic aid to the country over policy
differences with the government, will provide US$ 10 million and FAO US$
11.4 million.

It said much of the funding would be targeted at rural farmers, most of whom
had been left struggling in the country's deep-seated economic crisis.

Zimbabwe has been facing food shortages for years now because of droughts
and poor farming policies and is this year importing hundreds of thousands
of tonnes of cereals to avert starvation.

South Africa has also announced a R300 million farming package for Zimbabwe
in the form of agricultural inputs.

Harare - 07/11/2008


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rebellion from within

Why Zanu-PF is facing a fierce challenge from its own ranks

Much like its counterpart in South Africa, Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is
facing an internal split. In Zimbabwe's Matabeleland region, one of the
poorest in the country, determined efforts are being made to revive PF-Zapu,
the party disbanded 20 years ago.

PF-Zapu, led by legendary freedom fighter Dr. Joshua Nkomo, was once a
formidable rival to Mugabe's gang. But in December 1988 Nkomo was persuaded
to allow his party to be absorbed by Zanu-PF in the interests of national
unity. It was a grim mistake, as Nkomo came to realise, and he died in 1999
a disappointed man.

Many of his colleagues remain politically active within Zimbabwe, and this
year's elections and the long-drawn-out negotations which have followed
them, have led to these veterans feeling sidelined and frustrated.

A series of meetings, aimed at the re-formation of PF-Zapu, have been taking
place in Matabeleland, and these culminated in a big gathering at the White
City stadium in Bulawayo last Saturday.

Joseph Msika, once Nkomo's deputy and now a vice-president, was invited to
the meeting, and it was hoped he would agree to lead the newly-formed party.
But Msika failed to show - possibly because Zanu-PF, worried at these
developments, has set up a commission of enquiry to find out what exactly is
going on.

Someone who did turn up was Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who
heads the commission, and who is also, ironically, a former senior member of
PF-Zapu. He tried to get the crowd to chant Zanu-PF slogans, and was roundly
booed for his pains.

Another notable presence was that of former minister and politburo member
Dumiso Dabengwa, who formally offered to lead the new party. Dabengwa
resigned from Zanu-PF back in February, in order to campaign for the failed
presidential bid of another former minister, Simba Makoni.

Are these manoevres a serious threat to Robert Mugabe and his party? MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai may well be reminding himself this week of the
principal of divide and conquer. If Zanu-PF divides itself...who knows?

Posted on Friday, 07 November 2008 at 13:08

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe Wants Dabengwa to Rejoin Zanu PF

HARARE, November 6 2008 - President Robert Mugabe reportedly wants ex
Zanu PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa, to rejoin the party in a bid to
stall moves to revive PF Zapu and save the 1987 Unity Accord.

The unity Accord is facing collapse following the breakaway by
disgruntled former PF Zapu members.

Dabengwa, who quit Zanu PF in March this year, is reportedly on the
forefront of PF Zapu's revival.

Sources say Mugabe has since extended an olive branch to Dabengwa,
begging him to reconsider returning to the ruling party, as he fears that
the breakaway could result in total disintegration of the liberation

Mugabe, according to sources, has since sent Angeline Masuku, the
Matabeleland South governor to convince Dabengwa to rejoin Zanu PF.

Masuku reportedly convened a meeting on October 19 at her farm where
she informed 35 Bulawayo Central committee members about Mugabe's desire to
have Dabengwa back in Zanu PF.

The members were then tasked to convince Dabengwa to concede to Mugabe's

Masuku confirmed having held a meeting with central committee members
at her farm but could not be drawn to confirm whether she had been tasked to
hold such a meeting by Mugabe.

Dabengwa also confirmed to RadioVOP that Zanu PF officials want him
back in the party and confirmed that Masuku had approached him on behalf of
Mugabe. Dabengwa however said he was never going to rejoin Zanu PF.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai hopes Obama will help

November 7, 2008

By Junior Sibanda

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirayi, hailing
the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States, has said he
is looking forward to working with the new president.

The mainstream MDC leader said he was hopeful that together they could
change Zimbabwe's political fortunes.

Tsvangirayi, on his way to South Africa for a SADC Summit that seeks to end
Zimbabwe's is embattled country's political deadlock, said the election of
Obama would spur Zimbabwe to aspire for democratic ideals, a dream that has
seemed elusive over the years as President Robert Mugabe's regime continues
rigging elections.

The comments follow Tuesday's election of Democrat Obama's election to the
White House, the first black person to attain the presidency - after beating
Republican nominee John McCain to become the most powerful man in world

Tsvangirayi, who many believe should have ascended to the presidency in
2002, had the Mugabe administration not rigged elections allegedly and won
the march 29 presidential election, said the outcome of US election offered
him hope of changing Zimbabwe's waning political fortunes.

"As both a democrat and an African, it gives me great joy to congratulate
Senator Barack Obama, on his election as President of the United States of
America. In this quest to have Zimbabwe take its rightful place in the
family of democratic nations, I look forward to working with President
Obama, his new administration and the people of the United States of
America. I know that his historic victory has heartened millions of
Zimbabweans, as President-elect Obama's message of hope and change resonates
so strongly with the people of this embattled country," he said.

The MDC leader said he was hopeful change would come to the southern African
country if free and fair elections were held, like in the US.

"Zimbabweans appreciate the true value of a vote, the preciousness of a poll
that is conducted openly and fairly, and a result that is respected by all.
This is the dream that we continue to aspire to, the right that we demand,
and the change that we know will come to our country as long as we stay true
to our democratic ideals," he said.

"This result is not just a victory for him and the American Democratic Party
but also for the people of that great country. For today's events have
illustrated once again the political maturity and tolerance that are the
foundations of any true democracy. Divided during the campaign, the people
of the United States are now unified by this result, pledging to support and
work with their new President for the betterment of their nation."

Embattled Zimbabweans welcomed the election of Obama, saying they were
hopeful he would maintain a tough stance on the Zanu-PF regime, following
his criticism of the country's leadership during his election campaign.

Mugabe, in power for 28 years despite calls for him to quit, has blamed
Obama's predecessor, George Bush for the turmoil in his country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe says Zimbabwe ready to work with Obama


Fri 7 Nov 2008, 10:33 GMT

[-] Text [+] HARARE, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe,
whose government is under sanctions by Washington, says he is ready to work
with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to improve ties.

In a congratulatory message to Obama, Mugabe made no reference to the travel
and economic sanctions imposed on his ZANU-PF leadership over charges of
election rigging and human rights abuses, or to a deadlock with the Zimbabwe
opposition over a power-sharing deal.

"As the government and people of Zimbabwe join you in celebrating this event
in the history of the USA, I take this opportunity to assure you...that the
government of the Republic of Zimbabwe remains ready to engage your
government in any desirable endeavour to improve bilateral relations," he

The United States under President George W. Bush joined the European Union
and other Western powers in an international campaign to isolate Mugabe over
his increasingly controversial rule.

But Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980,
says the West is driving a "racist plot" to oust him over his seizures of
white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks.

Many analysts blame the farm seizures for an acute economic crisis that he
left the southern African country with severe food shortages and the world's
highest inflation rate of more than 230 million percent. (Reporting by Cris
Chinaka; Editing by Catherine Bosley)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Apology to Prof Welshman Ncube

November 7, 2008

WE wish to take this opportunity to tender to Professor Welshman Ncube,
secretary general of the Arthur Mutambara-led faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change and representative of the same party at the ongoing
power-sharing negotiations, our sincerest apologies for any embarrassment,
inconvenience or ridicule that an article that appeared on this website
early this week might have caused to him.

On Monday, November 3, 2008, we carried on this website an article in which
it was alleged that Prof Ncube had participated in the alleged doctoring of
the September 15 agreement which was signed by President Robert Mugabe and
MDC leaders, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Prof Arthur Mutambara, the leaders of
the MDC and Zanu-PF.

It was stated in the article in question that Prof Ncube had participated in
the alleged deed, while acting in concert with Mr Patrick Chinamasa the
former Minister of Justice and a representative of Zanu-PF and Mr Mujanku
Gumbi representative of South Africa's former President Mr Thabo Mbeki at
the ongoing negotiations.

The source of our article was the website of SWRadio Africa, where the story
was published on Friday, October 31. We did not obtain independent
confirmation of the article. It turns out that SWRadio Africa had sourced
its own article from the website of The Zimbabwean.

On Wednesday we published the full text on an interview on SWRadio Africa in
which Prof Ncube denied he was in any way involved. We had meanwhile
submitted questions to Prof Ncube seeking clarification on the allegations.

The Zimbabwean has now withdrawn the article as being totally baseless. Prof
Ncube has separately furnished us with an explanation that leaves us in no
doubt that while the document was, indeed, altered by Mr Chinamasa, his own
alleged participation in this activity is totally without foundation.

Prof Ncube disclosed to The Zimbabwe Times that Mr Chinamasa voluntarily
drew his attention to the fact he had made an unauthorized alteration in the
September 15 agreement.

After this disclosure Prof Ncube says he and Mr Elton Mangoma, a negotiator
representing the MDC party led by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, had raised the issue
of the alteration with the team of South African facilitators.

"In answer to the question you have posed please be advised that the matter
was raised by myself and Elton Mangoma with the facilitation team," Prof
Ncube said. "The facilitator agreed that they (the facilitation team) would
prepare a corrected version of the Global Agreement and cause it to be
signed by the three principals.

"You might also wish to know that it was in fact Mr P. Chinamasa who
voluntarily drew our attention to the one alteration he says he made. This
was during the lunch session on the day of the formal signing ceremony on
15th September 2007. This led us to study the rest of the document,
whereupon we discovered the other two alterations or rather omissions. We
decided that the issue be taken up with the Facilitator."

It is now patently clear to us that, far from conniving with Mr Chinamasa to
falsify the document, Prof Ncube in fact brought the matter to the attention
of the South African facilitators.

The article having been withdrawn at origin, we also withdraw it by way of
expunging the story from the Zimbabwe Times website. We extend our sincere
apologies not only to Prof Ncube, but to Mr Gumbi as well.

Geoffrey Nyarota
Managing Editor
The Zimbabwe Times

Back to the Top
Back to Index