Suffering of Zimbabweans,
Today is exactly 24 days after the signing of the global political agreement between ourselves and Zanu PF.
On the day we signed the agreement the people of Zimbabwe breathed a sigh of relief and their hopes for a final resolution of this crisis were raised.
Unfortunately, no progress has been made since then, to bring the Zimbabwean people to the beginning of the path of recovery.
Instead, the economic crisis has worsened with people spending all their days in endless cash queues. We now live in an environment characterised by hunger and starvation and we are days away from seeing people dropping dead on the streets.
I believe suffering knows no political affiliation and both Zanu PF and MDC supporters are suffering under this economic crisis. The agricultural season is upon us yet the nation is not prepared to take full advantage of what promises to be a good season.
We have just witnessed the conclusion of a disastrous education year in the history of our country, with the national examination board crippled by the economic crisis to the extent of failing to implement the Grade 7 examination sitting for this year. The country's universities are failing to open for the next semester due to the economic crisis.
I stated at my last press conference that given a nation in such a state it was necessary to put a government in place in order for us to begin the task of ensuring that the problems facing our country are dealt with. I believe that as leaders we have a duty of ensuring that we reward Zimbabweans for their patience and commitment to peace by ensuring we succeed in working together.
We have actively engaged our colleagues in Zanu PF with a view to ensuring that we have agreement on the outstanding issues. May I take this opportunity to brief the nation on the state of the dialogue.
State of the dialogue,
We have been engaging with our colleagues in Zanu PF at both the negotiators and principals level.
In particular, we have been deliberating on the allocation of ministries. There has been no progress made on this entire section as ministries can only be negotiated comprehensively and not individually.
It is not true to say that we are left with two ministries to negotiate as any agreement reached on those two particular ministries would have an effect on the allocation of the rest of the ministries. In this regard, we have declared a deadlock and therefore the process cannot move forward except in the presence of the facilitator.
I would like to emphasise that in looking at the allocation of ministries we have been informed by our desire, as MDC, of ensuring that we have a fair power sharing arrangement that allows us to deal with the current economic crisis while at the same time ensuring that we guarantee the basic freedoms for our people as well as democratise our society.
We have not yet deliberated on the outstanding issue of the allocation of governors. This issue remains outstanding considering that as negotiating parties we agreed that the allocation of governors must be in the spirit of the result of the election on March 29, 2008.
There is still an outstanding issue of omissions made in the signed agreement at the signing ceremony on the 15th of September, that had been agreed and initialled by all parties when we signed the original agreement on the 11th of September 2008. We are assured that the facilitator will sort out this problem and provide an updated document to the general public.
Lack of paradigm,
We are concerned by the lack of paradigm shift on the part of our colleagues in Zanu PF and have watched with dismay:
¶ their continued hate language in the state media which is destroying the hope of our people as well as their confidence in this power sharing arrangement.
¶ the continued trumped up charges brought against our Secretary General, members of parliament and various members of our party structures across the country.
¶ the continued discrimination on the basis of political affiliation mainly taking place in the rural areas.
¶ the continued interference with, and threatening of, our councils, by the illegal minister of local government.
¶ the lack of sincerity and commitment to working together demonstrated by what should be a simple administrative issue like issuing my passport, which has been turned into a political weapon by our colleagues in Zanu PF.
Throughout this negotiation effort up to the signing of the global political agreement, we have compromised on many ocassions with a view to ensuring that the political crisis in our country is resolved in the interest of our nation.
We are committed to change and therefore do not have challenges accepting change in its many forms. Zanu PF is not sensitive to the plight of the people and therefore has not gone through a paradigm shift of accepting the change created by signing the global political agreement.
SADC and AU are the guarantors,
The global political agreement we have is guaranteed by SADC and the African Union and therefore in the event of a dispute or deadlock as we have now, the matter should be taken to SADC and AU in order for them to assist us.
We have communicated this position to the African Union and to SADC as well as to the facilitator and have confidence that our African brothers will do everytihng in their power to ensure that this issue is resolved with speed.
We as Zimbabweans owe it to our African counterparts to ensure that we spare no effort in resolving the outstanding issues. We look forward ot working with SADC, AU, and the facilitator in order to find a solution.
I thank you.
October 9, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
officially declared a deadlock in current power-sharing negotiations between
his party and President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
The MDC leader has called on both SADC and the AU, who are listed as
guarantors of the fragile agreement, to intervene in order to break the
Zanu-PF and the MDC committed themselves to ending nearly 10 years of
unmitigated economic recession and intense political rivalry by signing a
power sharing agreement on September 15, 2008.
The deal entailed President Robert Mugabe would remain in the position of
President while Tsvangirai assumed the office of Prime Minister.
The deal also entails Zanu-PF will appoint 15 ministers to the new cabinet
while the MDC is allocated13 with the remaining three going to the smaller
breakaway faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara.
The deal raised the diminishing hopes of a nation bludgeoned by nearly 10
years of an acute economic crisis.
But three weeks after the official signing of the agreement the parties are
still haggling over how to allocate key ministries amongst themselves.
Zanu-PF says the current impasse is minor and does not require the
intervention of former South African President Thabo Mbeki who oversaw the
negotiation process and the eventual signing of the deal under the auspices
The party, which now constitutes a minority in Parliament, maintains the
parties have agreed on the allocation of all but two ministries, something
the MDC leader vehemently denies.
"It is not true to say that we are left with two ministries to negotiate as
any agreement reached on those two particular ministries will have an effect
on the allocation of the rest of the ministries," Tsvangirai told
journalists at his home in Harare 's Strathaven suburb Thursday.
"In this regard, we have declared a deadlock and therefore the process
cannot move forward except in the presence of the facilitator.
"The matter should now be taken by SADC and the AU in order for them to
"We have communicated this position to the African Union and to SADC as well
as to the facilitator and have confidence that our African brothers will do
everything in their power to ensure that this issue is resolved with speed."
Asked if Mbeki has personally been informed, he said, "We have informed the
facilitator. He has responded. We have asked him to come over and see
whether he can assist."
Tsvangirai says Zanu-PF is being "unreasonable" by refusing to relinquish
the so-called key ministries to his party as previously agreed. The MDC
leader accuses his rivals of "playing politics while the country is burning".
"Zanu-PF is not sensitive to the plight of the people and therefore has not
gone through the paradigm shift of accepting change created by the signing
of the global political agreement," said Tsvangirai.
He says Zanu-PF is refusing to embrace the spirit of the unity agreement as
demonstrated by the continued persecution of the MDC leadership and party
functionaries throughout the country.
"We are concerned by the lack of paradigm shift on the part of our
colleagues in Zanu-PF and we have watched with dismay their continued hate
language in the state media which is destroying the hope of our people as
well as their confidence in this power-sharing arrangement," he said.
He said the meddling in council issues by former local government minister
Ignatius Chombo was also among issues that threatening the agreement. Chombo
is the former Minister of Local Government but has continued to function in
this capacity in the absence of a cabinet.
"We are dismayed by the lack of sincerity and commitment to working together
demonstrated by what should be a simple administrative issue like the
issuing of my passport which has been turned into a political weapon by our
colleagues in Zanu PF."
The MDC leader continues to be denied a new passport after the expiry of his
passport a few months ago. Tsvangirai leader admits his party erred by
failing to insist in the complete unraveling of the terms of the deal prior
to its signing.
"In the euphoria of all the spirit of arriving at the agreement," he said,
"we drew the attention of the facilitator that there should not have been
something very difficult about the allocation of ministries and the
facilitator agreed with that.
"That is why the facilitator raised these two issues in the signing of the
agreement that there are still two outstanding issues, allocation of
ministries and (appointment of) the governors because he realized that it
should not be difficult."
The MDC has come under intense criticism for signing a deal which critics
say unnecessarily subordinates the Prime Minister's functions to the
This they say is erroneously premised on the disputed outcome of the
presidential run-off election on June 27 which was declared as not free and
fair by the whole world.
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe and two other opponents in the first round of the
elections on March 29 but failed to garner the requisite majority that would
have automatically secured him the presidency.
Tsvangirai is adamant the deal is the best his party could practically
negotiate for given Mugabe's intransigence.
He maintains the deal is good but is being threatened by the lack of
willingness by his rivals to realise its successful implementation.
"The problem is that you have to always watch your back," he said. "This
should not have been a problem at all."
October 9, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A high-powered South African delegation led by Intelligence
Minister Ronnie Kasrils flew into Harare midday Thursday to breathe fresh
life into the fragile power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe as official inflation
skyrocketed to 231 million percent.
Intelligence sources have confirmed that Kasrils flew into Zimbabwe on a
private plane to arrange meetings between Thabo Mbeki with President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai. Kasrils is
accompanied by South Africa's National Intelligence Agency (NIA) boss Manala
Manzini and the head of the secret service, Dennis Hilton.
The team is tasked with getting position papers from both sides and a full
briefing of the deadlock in sharing of Cabinet posts and governors' posts.
The team is on a SADC mission, said our source.
The team flew in just two hours after Tsvangirai addressed a press briefing
at his home calling for the immediate intervention of Mbeki to break the
deadlock over Cabinet posts.
The Zimbabwe Times heard that the team has met outgoing State Security
Minister Didymus Mutasa and requested a roundtable between the political
protagonists on Mbeki's behalf, according to intelligence sources.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's inflation, already the highest in the world, hit a new
record of 231 million percent for the year to July, the government's Central
Statistical Office said Thursday. Massive surges of up to 11,2 million
percent in food expenses contributed to the figure, along with steep
increases for transport, water and electricity, office director Moffat Nyoni
Zimbabwe's economy has collapsed since the deadlock over sharing of cabinet
posts between President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the MDC.
Independent economists say the increase in inflation was "higher than my
most pessimistic forecast," contradicting government claims that good rains
and a predicted "bumper harvest" would help rein in price increases.
"They have none of the answers, and none of the hoped-for improvements are
showing through," said a banking analyst. "I fear it will be a billion
percent by the end of the year."
The US based research think-tank specialist, Steve Hanke said this week
inflation in Zimbabwe had actually risen to 531 billion percent. Hanke says
the model he used is based on market-based price data. He says all sectors
of the economy have collapsed, adding the "crisis is still growing." The
country is literally bankrupt.
Production of Zimbabwe's main foreign currency earner, tobacco, has dropped
85 percent since the start of the aggressive land reform program. All
economic sectors have also been hit by political turbulence emanating from
the political deadlock and lack of vital inputs. Unemployment is estimated
at 80 percent, fueling an exodus of some 4 million of Zimbabwe's 12 million
people in search of jobs in neighboring African countries, Europe and North
The cost of a loaf of bread has surged to Z$10 000 on the black market; it
is no longer obtainable at the government-controlled price. Across all
sectors, signs of collapse are evident.
The recent surge in health service costs hits particularly hard in a country
where at least 3 000 die every week from AIDS-related diseases, according to
State hospitals are in disarray due to lack of staff, equipment and drugs.
Private doctors charge Z$50 000 for a consultation - more than many
Zimbabweans earn in a month.
Tsvangirai told reporters in Harare Thursday that only a resolution of the
present deadlock over Cabinet posts could save the economy from further
decline and said he was holding out for fair power-sharing that will ensure
better lives for many.
Thursday's visit by the South African intelligence team has raised fresh
hopes of the resolution of the crisis, currently fuelling anxiety in the
The World Food Programme has said that 28 percent of Zimbabwe's children
under five are malnourished and nearly half the population will starve
without food aid in the next six months.
Peta Thornycroft in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 6:16PM BST 09 Oct 2008
The WFP released shocking statistics from Johannesburg to support its appeal
for a further $145 million, saying at least two million people needed food
"Millions of Zimbabweans have already run out of food or are surviving on
just one meal a day - and the crisis is going to get much worse in the
coming months," said Mustapha Darboe, WFP regional director.
Veteran human rights campaigner, Paul Themba Nyathi questioned the accuracy
of WFP statistics from his bleak home area in southern Zimbabwe.
"People I see every day are literally starving to death. There is no single
item of food in any village anywhere down here. The food crisis is the worst
I have ever seen."
Zimbabwe was self sufficient in food until 2000, when President Robert
Mugabe instigated a land reform programme, confiscating white-owned
commercial farms and giving them to political cronies or landless peasants
with no farming skills.
The UK has already given $18 million (£10.4 million) to the WFP this year.
Trevor Gifford, president of the once powerful Commercial Farmers' Union
said without a political solution next year's food production would be no
He said his few hundred remaining members were "harassed, threatened and
prevented from farming on a daily basis."
Prime Minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai addressed the press in Harare
yesterday and said hunger would see people "dropping in the streets" within
He said there was a deadlock in negotiations over the allocation of cabinet
positions in the new power sharing government formed after he signed an
agreement with Mr Mugabe on September 15.
He also called on the former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who helped
to arrange the agreement, to return to Harare and help resolve the impasse.
"On the day we signed the agreement the people of Zimbabwe breathed a sigh
of relief.... unfortunately no progress has been made," he said.
Thu 9 Oct 2008, 14:40 GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation hit a record 231 million
percent and prospects for rescuing the ruined economy dimmed on Thursday
after the opposition said no progress had been made on forming a
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he had made compromises on many
issues but both sides remained divided on sharing ministries. He was
nonetheless still hopeful of eventual agreement.
"We are part of this deal and very confident about this deal. There is
nothing wrong with the deal, but in the process of implementing the deal we
have reached an impasse, not on the fundamental points of the deal," he told
a news conference.
"It's ridiculous to say the deal has broken down because of this failure to
agree on posts. Having a good agreement with a bad guy (Mugabe) is always
Movement for Democratic Change leader Tsvangirai spoke hours after record
inflation figures were issued. The yearly inflation figure raced to 231
million percent in July from 11.2 million percent in June.
A loaf of bread which cost Z$500 when the central bank redenominated the
Zimbabwe dollar on August 1, now goes for at least Z$7,000.
Many Zimbabweans have resorted to bartering goods and rely on help from
relatives abroad, mostly in South Africa, for supplies of scant basic
foodstuffs like maize, sugar and cooking oil.
"Millions of Zimbabweans have already run out of food or are surviving on
just one meal a day and the crisis is going to get much worse in the coming
months," said Mustapha Darboe, the World Food Program's regional director
for east, central and southern Africa, in a statement.
Central Statistical Office data showed that on a monthly basis, prices in
July shot up by 2,600 percent, largely driven by high prices of bread and
An outline agreement signed on September 15 has stalled over the most
important cabinet posts, angering Zimbabweans who have had to endure the
world's fastest price rises, shortages of food, foreign currency and
crumbling infrastructure. Both sides accuse each other of jeopardising the
"What is baffling is that the political players seem to take a cavalier
attitude over the political crisis whose resolution is tied to the economic
turnaround," said Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at
University of Zimbabwe.
"The consequences of such a rate of inflation is absolute desperation,
despair and poverty. The politicians don't seem to realise that what they do
or don't do has an effect on the economy."
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki will travel to Zimbabwe to
continue his mediation, said Tsvangirai. Questions were raised over Mbeki's
ability to broker a cabinet deal after South Africa's ruling ANC ousted him.
Tsvangirai said his MDC party had also contacted the African Union (AU) and
regional grouping SADC over the stalemate and expressed confidence they will
seek a speedy resolution.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a fierce Mugabe critic, accused the
Zimbabwean leader of dragging the continent's name through the mud and
expressed little faith in African mediation.
"...We should not be surprised at the AU's failure to stand up for
democracy. Many of our national leaders have skeletons rattling loudly in
their cupboards," he said in a speech in Lagos.
Thu 9 Oct 2008, 9:52 GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Former South African President Thabo Mbeki will travel to
Zimbabwe to mediate in deadlocked talks over forming a cabinet, opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday.
"We have spoken to the facilitator and he has responded he will be coming,"
Tsvangirai told reporters. Tsvangirai said his MDC party had also contacted
the African Union and regional grouping SADC over the stalemate and
expressed confidence they will seek a speedy resolution.
Thu 9 Oct 2008, 9:51 GMT
HARARE, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal has not collapsed
despite a deadlock on forming a cabinet, opposition MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said on Thursday.
"It's ridiculous to say the deal has broken down because of this failure to
agree on posts. Having a good agreement with a bad guy (President Robert
Mugabe) is always something else," he told a news conference.
By Peta Thornycroft
09 October 2008
The U.N. World Food Program says that nearly half the population of Zimbabwe
will need food aid by early next year. Peta Thornycroft reports that WFP
says two million people in Zimbabwe need aid immediately.
The World Food Program says it needs $140 million to cover mass emergency
feeding for millions of Zimbabweans before the harvest next April.
The U.N. agency warned that without additional contributions it will run out
of stocks in January, "at the very peak of the crisis."
A statement from WFP regional director Mustapha Darboe said, "millions of
Zimbabweans have run out of food or are surviving on just one meal a day,
and the crisis is going to get much worse in the coming months."
Zimbabwe was self sufficient in food until President Robert Mugabe started
evicting white commercial farmers in 2000 and gave their land to members of
his ZANU-PF party who had few farming skills.
Every year since then food production has decreased and the economy has
shrunk, producing record-breaking inflation of more than 300 million
percent, a worthless currency, and the lowest life expectancy in the world.
The World Food Program says 28 percent of children under five in Zimbabwe
are now malnourished and 45 percent of the population will depend on
emergency food aid early next year.
The United States is by far the biggest donor and has given $108 million
Veteran human rights campaigner, Paul Themba Nyathi says WFP statistics
appear too low for southern Zimbabwe. He said he has never seen such a food
deficit before. He said every person he sees in rural areas in the south is
Another human rights activist said this food crisis was not only the worst
ever, but was more complicated than before because urban shops had no
essential food items available for sale.
Meanwhile, the bad news in Zimbabwe compounded when Prime Minister Designate
Morgan Tsvangirai announced he had deadlocked with Mr. Mugabe over
allocation of Cabinet positions under the power-sharing agreement signed on
He called for former South African president Thabo Mbeki, appointed by the
Southern African Development Community last year to mediate the Zimbabwe
political and humanitarian crisis to return to Harare to help unblock the
By Violet Gonda
9 October 2008
The MDC President has finally come out and told Zimbabweans there is a
deadlock in the power sharing agreement and appealed to the African Union
and SADC for immediate assistance. Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare on
Thursday: "We have spoken to the facilitator and he has responded he will be
The leadership of the Zimbabwe Liberation Veterans Forum - a grouping of war
veterans, former senior commanders of the national liberation war and
members of ZIPA High Command (Zimbabwe Peoples Army) - has said the
intervention of the regional bodies is welcome, but not Thabo Mbeki. The
group says the focus should be on the African Union and SADC.
Speaking on behalf of the Forum, Wilfred Mhanda said what is happening
merely betrays the lack of seriousness on the part of ZANU PF "and I think
the only problem that I might have with Morgan Tsvangirai is calling on the
He said it was the former South African President who created this problem
by not tying up the loose ends. "Actually I don't think President Mbeki did
a good job and I don't think he is in a position at all to resolve this
problem," the war veteran said.
Mhanda said it is certainly 'naïve' for anyone to expect Mbeki to perform
miracles when he no longer has any leverage.
Some analysts say it is curious that the MDC is now putting its hopes on
Mbeki, when in the past they have urged SADC to remove him.
Mhanda believes the agreement 'is not even worth the paper that it is
written on,' and it is not too late to bring in a new facilitator, as there
is nothing that has changed on the ground.
Mhanda also commented on the developments in the Mavambo/Vusile movement, a
political outfit headed by former Finance Minister Simba Makoni. He said he
broke ranks with this group as Makoni 'did not adequately distance himself
from ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe.'
Mhanda said: "I was a candidate for Simba Makoni in Mbare. People were
beaten up and people were being evicted from their homes and Simba Makoni
did absolutely nothing. This was an opportunity for him to demonstrate his
leadership qualities and in that case he actually failed most of us."
Mhanda doesn't regret playing a role in the Mavambo/Kusile movement, saying
the formation contributed positively to the political landscape as March
29th was one of the best elections Zimbabwe has ever had.
He however said: "As a result, the perception among the people was that he
(Makoni) is just a Trojan horse. A ploy by ZANU PF. He took a long time to
clarify this and it was his 'indecision that affected us."
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
October 9, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - War veterans who fought in the liberation war under the Zimbabwe
People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), the armed wing of Dr Joshua Nkomo's
ZAPU, have broken away from the controversy-ridden Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA).
The ex-ZIPRA fighters, who say their lives have not changed for the better
since independence, have already put in place an interim executive to steer
the body away from the mainstream ZNLWVA, a backbone of Zanu-PF over recent
Ironically, the ZNLWVA is led by Jabulani SIbanda, who claims to have also
fought on the side of ZIPRA during the war of Zimbabwe's liberation. He has
failed to effectively quash assertions that he is too young to have
participated in the war of liberation in any capacity
The rebel war veterans have named their movement the Organisation of ZIPRA
Veterans and have applied for registration with the Ministry of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare as a voluntary welfare organisation.
Retired Colonel Ray Ncube, who was elected interim chairman, said ZIPRA war
veterans were some of the poorest people in Zimbabwe, yet their counterparts
who fought under the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), the
armed wing of President Robert Mugabe's then ZANU party, were leading more
Ncube attacked the ZNLWVA for not doing anything to correct the apparent
discrepancies between cadres from the two liberation armies.
"We have been members of the ZNLWVA for close to 20 years now," said Ncube.
"Apart from that, we are a reserve force under the Ministry of Defence, but
this has not resulted in positive change in our lives as ex-ZIPRA cadres.
"We feel that a leaner organisation, representing only former ZIPRA comrades
will help us a lot in terms of enhancing our lives."
Effectively, this means the ZNLWVA will become an association of former
ZANLA fighters with a former ZiPRA leader, Sibanda, Another organisation of
war veterans, the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform was formed after 2000 out of
disenchantment with the role played by the war veterans during the land
invasions.The ZLP was spearheaded by war veteran WIlfred Mhanda, also known
as Dzinashe Machingura, one of the senior ZANLA fighters who were jailed by
Mugabe in deplorable conditions , only to be freed after the signing of the
Lancaster House Agreement. The current Commissioner-General of Police,
Augustine Chihuri, and outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Rugare Gumbo, were
among ZANU's prisoners at Cabo del Gado in northern Mozambique.
The formation of yet another association os war veterans is set to unsettle
Zanu-PF, especially as the new group as vowed to reclaim more than 50
multi-billion dollar properties that were seized by the government at the
height of the Gukurahundi disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands.
The split of the ZNLWVA is likely to further weaken Zanu-PF which has relied
heavily since 2000 on the so-called war veterans to spearhead its election
campaigns. The ex-combatants are accused of unleashing violence against
opposition supporters in the 2000, 2002 and 2005 elections as well as most
recently in the run-up to the June 27 presidential election run-off. The
deputy chairman of ZNWVA, Joseph Chinotimba, stands accused a reign of
terror in the Buhera District, where many were butchered in the run-up to
the June 27 presidential election.
"It must surprise you to find out that ZIPRA cadres are very poor yet we
liberated this country," Ncube said.
Other members of the interim executive are Besta Magwizi, the vice-chairman
and John Gazi, the secretary.
On the properties allegedly seized by the government, Ncube said his new
organisation would seek to establish the status of the properties and work
to have them returned to ex-ZIPRA combatants.
Soon after independence, the ex-servicemen pooled their resources together
and acquired 25 farms and 31 companies, operating under Nitram.
He said since the seizure, only four farms had been given back to the former
ZIPRA soldiers. He said the major problem was that the farms were being used
by certain figures that he refused to name.
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
[MDC Media Release]
Three weeks after the signing of the political settlement by the three
principals of the political parties in Zimbabwe, the country finds itself in
extreme distress as Zanu PF's intransigence over key ministries and
governors sends all sectors of the economy facing collapse.
Zanu PF's insensitivity has left many people across the country dying of
starvation, pupils failing to attend school because the teachers are on
strike, parents failing to access their money from the banks, patients
failing to get treatment as doctors and nurses are on strike and the
hospitals have no medicine.
In short, there is a national paralysis. Zanu PF does not seem to appreciate
the magnitude of the crisis in the country. The whole nation is hanging
characterised by anxiety, uncertainty and speculation.
The paralysis has resulted on a serious catastrophe as it has affected
families who will starve to death. It has been a wasted academic year.
It has been a lost business year.
It also looks like a wasted agricultural season, as Zimbabwe cannot be
expected to make adequate preparations for the current farming season.
We must always put the people first ahead of petty interests as Zanu PF is
doing. We cannot take the people for granted.
Zanu PF is insisting on running all the key ministries in the country when
the same party has in the past 28 years crippled the economy of a once
Our argument for equal sharing of responsibilities is motivated by the
desire to change the way we have been doing business in order to improve
people's lives. Unlike Zanu PF our religion is not power but the people's
We are glad that Zimbabweans in their majority understand and support our
position of insisting on genuine power sharing. The people are on our side.
The MDC is calling for equal distribution of key ministries so that it is in
government in a partnership of equals.
Zimbabweans want a new and responsive government in place so that it begins
to address the people's concerns of food, jobs, medicines and education.
For more information please call MDC (Zimbabwe) Hon. Mr. Nelson Chamisa
0912940489 National Spokesperson or Luke Tamborinyoka 0912850556 or (South
Africa) Nqobizitha Mlilo 0835274650 or George Sibotshiwe 0766330314
Another reason to despair as Parliament opens next week
When - and indeed if - the new Zimbabwe parliament opens on Tuesday, many
members, particularly those from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
may be missing. Not on a point of principle, and not from fear of
intimidation, although both are significant factors in our current
No, the members will not turn up for this simple and mundane reason: they
can't afford the bus fare.
This seems a ludicrous situation, even by Zimbabwe's standards, until you
examine the facts. First, there is a limit to the amount of cash anyone can
draw from the bank in one day. It is Z$20,000, But the bus fare from, say,
Mutare, is a cool Z$150,000. From Gweru, Z$80,000. And that was when I last
checked. The figures go up by the day.
MDC MP Docus Sibanda told me: "To attend Parliament I will have to travel
from Bulawayo to Harare, a distance of some 400km. The bus fare will be at
least Z$100,000. This means I would have to queue up at the bank for five
straight days to get the necessary cash. "
There are special arrangements in place for lawmakers to receive free
tickets to drive or fly in from their constituencies to Harare. In the last
parliament, this system was widely abused, with only Zanu-PF's requests for
tickets being approved. This was parlicularly prevalent when controversial
government bills were going through the House.
Today there is no indication that anything will change in the new
parliament, with Zanu-PF still controlling the Reserve Bank, the general
administration, and the so-called forces of law and order.
Members of Parliament who face this problem have applied, through the person
of the Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma, for their personal withdrawal
allowance to be raised above the Z$20,000.
But Zvoma has said that the issue does not lie within the parliament's
purview. "This is a nationwide problem. All we can do is make an appeal to
the authorities. It is not us who will make the final decision."
Clearly nothing will be done now before Tuesday, and the scheduled opening
of parliament. It would seem that once again, when it comes to genuine
democracy, Zimbabwe has missed the bus.
Posted on Thursday, 09 October 2008 at 10:11
Thursday, 09 October 2008 11:42
Power sharing; public hope and necessity of reforming state media
When the power sharing agreement between Zanu PF and the two Movement
for Democratic Change political parties was signed on September 15 2008,
there were, albeit temporarily, relieved sighs of hope, the occasional
declarations of victory and, from most civil society organisations,
These feelings were temporary primarily because with the passage of at
least 48 hours, scepticism was and still is beginning to take root in the
public psyche, though not yet loud enough to be of concern to the political
parties. And the main reason fro this scepticism has got two key sources;
the conduct of the state controlled media as well as the clauses over and
about media policy reform issues that are alluded to in the power sharing
Whenever one purchases the state daily, The Herald or any other of its
weekly publications, the editorial slant, even after the agreement, has
remained as firmly entrenched in Zanu PF propaganda as ever before. There
has been no change in the language of first, praising President Robert
Mugabe and his party, nor has there been any improved coverage of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party, let alone Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara and his party.
The same can also easily be said of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation's affiliate radio and singular television station. Every time,
one tunes in to either listen or to watch the news, the coverage is clearly
intended to keep the Zanu PF reasons for signing this agreement within the
realms of a propaganda tactic akin to what was witnessed in the run up to
the now largely discredited June 27 Presidential run-off poll. President
Mugabe is consistently depicted as the benevolent leader who has and is
doing everything in his power to defend the country's 'sovereignty' even
after it is clear that the humanitarian, economic, social and political
crisis is well beyond the aegis of Zanu Pf or its leader. The Prime Minister
and his deputy are invariably presented to the public as though they can
only be but subordinates of the President through never being shown on
television or listened to on radio speaking or acting on their own, but
always in the presence of the Zanu PF leader or in news about the Zanu PF
How this has been allowed to go on might not be for this writer to
answer but it is evidently symptomatic of an unrepentant state media, still
assuming, amongst other things, it is beyond reproach and beyond public
accountability to give news as is. Even state media personnel other in the
form of people that write stories, or those that are still directly involved
in the regulation of the media (though without clear locus standi), have
continued as if, it is not a power sharing agreement, but some sort of
victory for Zanu Pf, a completely dishonest position. Take for example Dr.
Tafataona Mahoso, who consistently appears on state media programmes such as
Media Watch lambasting not only the new Speaker of Parliament but all other
media with no one being given the right of reply. Moreover, his continued
spewing of inappropriate language and what I consider a misrepresentation of
Naomi Klein's best seller, The Shock Doctrine in his Sunday Opinion columns
for propaganda purposes, whilst at the same time still laying claim to be
the chairperson of the Media and Information Commission is clearly an
attempt to present the context of this agreement as being 'business as
with Zanu PF, its apparatchiks and its state media being firmly in control.
On the other hand, the private media, in its limited presence to three
print weekly papers and intermittent magazines, has been by and large trying
its best under the circumstances. It has been covering not only the voices
of the three political parties, but even civil society as well as the
humanitarian, economic and social crisis that is ravaging the country. Even
the so called pirate radio stations, have been giving ordinary people an
opportunity to speak their minds on everything that is going on and by so
doing indicating that there is indeed some change in the country which is
not couched in Zanu PF history or some vain glorious attempts to keep
President Mugabe's image as the sole leader of the country intact.
This having been said, there are ways in which the state media must be
immediately restructured in order for there to be fairer and truly public
oriented representation of all the political, social and economic processes
that are taking place in our country. First, is that, regardless of whether
there is a cabinet or not, the three principals in this inclusive government
must immediately instruct the ZBC and Zimpapers to cover all issues
affecting the country freely and fairly and in line with the SADC Protocol
on Culture, Information and Sport in tandem with the African Charter n
Broadcasting as well as the Windhoek Declaration on an Independent,
Pluralistic and African Press, all of which indicate their commitment to
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as a public
serving, and independent media at all levels.
This will also mean that these three principals must set up a
monitoring mechanism of how the state media behaves in the interim in
relation to the aforementioned Protocols, Principles and Declarations until
the convening of parliament.
Secondly, the Parliament of Zimbabwe, through the office of the
Speaker, President of Senate and the Standing Orders Committee must ensure
that the Transport and Communications Portfolio Committee has a greater
oversight role in how the state media is administered as well as how it
serves the public in terms of the same protocols, declarations and
principles. This must be done in tandem with a view to reform the state
media and remove it from direct government control similar to that which has
characterised the last 40 or so years of state media in both the then
Rhodesia and post independence Zimbabwe.
Thirdly, both this inclusive government, should it ever come into
existence, and the Parliament of Zimbabwe must be cognisant of the fact that
the clauses on the media that are in their agreement are completely
inadequate for the establishment of a free media. The Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) remains undemocratic both in its
insistence of state regulation of the media as well as its cumbersome
process of allowing citizens to acquire information from government,
regardless of the January 2008 amendments. The Broadcasting Services Act
(BSA) also remains repressive in limiting foreign direct investment in a
capital intensive industry as well as functioning in tandem with AIPPA and
POSA as well as the Interception of Communications Act.
In conclusion, this article was not premised on the need to defend the
power sharing agreement, which is essentially what it is. Its intention was
to put into perspective the dishonest role that the state controlled media
is so keen on continuing to play by promoting one political party over and
above the others, not covering social and economic issues as obtaining on
the ground, and not being sensitive to the importance of serving the public
over and above the interests of one political party. Over and above the
inclusive government, media freedom remains a critical arena for democratic
transformation of Zimbabwean society. Retaining the current structures of
the media and how it is regulated under the undemocratic nuances of AIPPA,
POSA, BSA and ICA, is to betray the right of the people of Zimbabwe to know
not only their country but what is truly happening within it. Democratic
media reform must and still remain a priority
By Takura Zhangazha: MISA-Zimbabwe National Director
|Thursday, 09 October 2008 08:28|
AMBASSADE DE FRANCE
Press release from the Embassy of France in Harare, Zimbabwe
Given the difficult humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe and the growing number of people exposed to severe malnutrition, France is increasing its efforts to assist the population.
France has taken the decision on 3rd October 2008 to release food aid amounting to 2 millions euros to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable people of Zimbabwe as well as to support medium- and long-term policies aimed at promoting food security.
This 2-million-euro aid package will be donated through the World Food Programme (WPF), the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the French ONG “Action contre la faim” (ACF).
This new contribution comes on top of French aid to Zimbabwe through various bilateral, international and European programmes.
Mr Stéphane TOULET
Deputy Head of Mission – Head of Press Relations
Thursday October 9th 2008 Talks between Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are
stalling as they clash over key posts in a power-sharing government. But the
fact that the two parties are talking at all points to a long-awaited shift in
the country’s political crisis. Optimism is in the air, and two people who feel
this particularly keenly are Briliant Dube and Clever
Bere, leaders of the national students’ union Zinasu, and outspoken
opponents of Zanu-PF. They talk about how life in Zimbabwe is changing Thursday
October 9th 2008 MDC
supporters celebrate the power-sharing deal signed on September 15. Photograph:
Desmond Kwande/AFP Briliant Dube is vice-president of Zinasu, Zimbabwe's
national students' union
Things for me as an individual in Zimbabwe have been really difficult. Getting food on the table, for instance. As part of the leadership of the students’ union, I have received threats and seen the deaths of others with whom I was working closely. It has instilled a permanent fear in me.
It’s in the nature of student activism in Zimbabwe at the moment that I really have to be active and in the forefront. I have to be part and parcel of any processes that are to do with our ideologies – in this case the ideologies of the MDC [opposition party Movement for Democratic Change]. As a union we are not meant to be partisan, but as an individual of course I am partisan: I support the MDC.
Before Robert Mugabe agreed to power-sharing talks with MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai, many of us in the students’ union would be arrested and abducted. We became a target for Zanu-PF agents because of our sympathies with the opposition. There wasn’t much we could do in the face of this. We couldn’t complain to the police because the justice system was partisan and sympathetic to the Zanu-PF regime. When the threats escalated the only thing I could do was go into hiding for a while and hope that the Lord would protect me. Then, as soon as the political situation looked better, I would resurface. I always came back because I wanted to be useful to the cause of democracy.
At times the only way to carry on with our activism was to be brave and defy the laws made by Zanu-PF. They had ruled, for instance, that students were prohibited from gathering in groups to discuss things – we weren’t even allowed to discuss general, non-political issues. As a student leader I would have to force myself to go out and see the other students, to address them and reassure them that we were still active.
Zanu-PF intelligence members have managed to infiltrate all the educational institutions in Zimbabwe. So when I went out to meet other students I could very quickly be arrested. On the rare occasions that we managed to mobilise students to demonstrate, we wouldn’t be on the streets for more than 30 minutes before Zanu-PF agents came and pounced on us, armed with batons and guns.
I know that these demonstrations were dangerous and chaotic, but we had to do them. In the absence of any proper dialogue with the government it was all we had. Every time in the past that we have tried to bring up issues that affect us, the government has deflected the issue by calling us MDC puppets. For instance, some of us have thrown stones during demonstrations – it’s hard not to when the police are coming at us, beating us and throwing teargas. But then, when we talk to the government, they don’t want to talk about the issues we raise; they want to talk about the stones.
Now that Mugabe and Tsvangirai are talking to each other, we have hope that things will change. We hope there will be an opening to a democratic space where we can air our grievances without our human rights being violated. But we don’t know whether the power-sharing deal is going to work out or not.
Clever Bere is the Zinasu president
With the power-sharing deal between Zanu-PF and the MDC I realise that a window of opportunity has opened. We are now moving away from the day-to-day politicking that took up so much of the time of the political players. It’s not just a hopeful feeling of my own – the majority of Zimbabweans are optimistic too.
There might be a new spirit of change, but we also have to be vigilant. This is the time when we need to consolidate our gains. It’s no longer about the two leaders, or about MDC and Zanu-PF: it’s about the people of Zimbabwe. It is the desperate humanitarian crisis – no food, an HIV pandemic and lack of access to medicine – that requires the immediate attention of Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Over recent years we at the students’ union had become a target for the senior leadership of Zanu-PF and the state security agents. At the time I found it hard to imagine that the next day I’d still be alive. I was regularly tipped off by a reliable source that my name was on the hit list, which was disturbing. On a leadership level, however, this was something I expected to live with. My colleagues and I were aware of the possibility that we might not see the Zimbabwe we were fighting for. People were being killed around us all the time.
As the leader of the student groups there was a delicate balance that I had to adapt to. I had to represent the people’s struggles, but at the same time I had to stay alive, so I couldn’t expose myself too much.
The desperate situation that we went through between the first election on March 29 and the second on June 27 has changed – people can now move more freely. But there is still some violence going on and no one feels totally free. Some people are still harassed, some still killed, but the violence is not so brutal and pervasive as it was before.
Zimbabwe is an unpredictable society and things are changing quickly. Before, my role was to try to get the students’ union to influence political decisions, to play the role of a thinktank and give the MDC moral support. Now our role has changed. We have to respond to current developments and focus on development policies. We have to work out how to assist the new administration in adopting people-driven, people-friendly policies on heath, education and the economy.
But over and above this role, we have to hold the government accountable for every cent it gets from taxpayers and international aid. We’ll be keeping a close eye on them, and making sure that they follow what they agree in the power-sharing processes.
• Briliant Dube and Clever Bere were speaking to Anna Bruce-Lockhart. For more articles on Zimbabwe, visit our dedicated section on guardianweekly.co.uk.
Thursday October 9th 2008
Talks between Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are stalling as they clash over key posts in a power-sharing government. But the fact that the two parties are talking at all points to a long-awaited shift in the country’s political crisis. Optimism is in the air, and two people who feel this particularly keenly are Briliant Dube and Clever Bere, leaders of the national students’ union Zinasu, and outspoken opponents of Zanu-PF. They talk about how life in Zimbabwe is changing
Thursday October 9th 2008
MDC supporters celebrate the power-sharing deal signed on September 15. Photograph: Desmond Kwande/AFP
Briliant Dube is vice-president of Zinasu, Zimbabwe's
national students' union
October 9, 2008
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The creation of a new political party from a
splintering of the African National Congress (ANC) came closer to reality
yesterday when former defence minister and ANC chairman, Mosiuoa Lekota
announced he was serving "divorce papers" on the ruling party.
A new party could play havoc with the ANC's traditionally secure majorities
at almost every level of government.
At a packed briefing in Johannesburg, Lekota said that he and his supporters
would call a "national convention" in the next few weeks to discuss the way
While denying that he and other supporters of ousted president Thabo Mbeki
would form a new party, he said: "This is probably the parting of the ways,
it probably is. We hope that sense may still prevail in us. If not there's
no going back." Flanked by another ANC dissident, former deputy defence
minister Mluleki George, he said: "Logically it seems that this is the end
The dissidents aim to frustrate the ANC's ability to gain 60 percent in next
election. Lekota's move yesterday suggests an effort to force the ANC under
Jacob Zuma to negotiate access to power with rival factions. Should a
Lekota-led splinter win enough votes in next year's election, it could force
the ANC into coalition negotiations at various levels of government. It also
comes on the eve of the launch of the ANC's list process which chooses
Lekota and George are the public faces of the initiative, which will
culminate in a national convention in the next few weeks. They are loyal to
Mbeki and believe that Zuma has veered "away from the ANC's policies".
While Lekota was short on the details of the new party, sources close to the
initiative said yesterday that plans were at an "advanced stage".
"There is big money behind us, we are working in the provinces, talking to
the unions and other opposition parties," a source said. It is understood
that former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa, Limpopo premier Sello Moloto
and former South African Congress of Trade Unions president Willie Madisha
will be key figures in the new party.
George said meetings would be held in Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and
Western Cape - which was where they feel they had a chance of winning
support - over the next few days.
For its part the ANC has adopted a "good cop, bad cop" approach to the
rebels. ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, who responded yesterday to
Lekota by saying that the "marriage is not yet over" is scheduled to meet
Lekota today. This follows a decision of the ANC's national working
committee to extend an olive branch to disgruntled members. However Zuma was
more strident, saying there was a limit to which aggrieved members could
use ANC structures to destabilise it.
The move to create an alternative is unlikely to be speedy or neat. Those
who lost control of the party after Mbeki's defeat at the ANC's elective
conference last year have struggled to hold on to their power base in the
party since the Zuma juggernaut gained momentum.
With provincial ANC structures towing the Luthuli House line, the Mbeki camp
is increasingly isolated in the party's structures. It is also not of one
mind. While a source close to the faction said yesterday the threat of a new
party would create a "base" from which to negotiate with the new crop of
leaders, Mbeki hardliners appear ready to work with the opposition to
realign the political landscape. But there is disagreement about which
parties would be welcome partners.
Lekota refused to be drawn on whether his "divorce papers" carried Mbeki's
Brussels, 10 October 2008
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner calls for continued efforts to achieve universal abolition of death penalty
On the occasion of the World and European Day against the Death Penalty Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: "I am proud of the EU's leading role in the international efforts to abolish the death penalty. Although over half the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, the global figures for its use remain much too high. I fully recognize the plight of victims of violent crime, but the death penalty is not the solution. On the contrary, it only serves to aggravate a culture of violence and retribution. The Commission is determined to work towards the universal abolition of the death penalty through all available diplomatic channels and as a leading donor in this field.
A culmination of the EU's efforts, actively supported by states from all regions of the world, was the adoption of the resolution on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty, by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2007.
EU encourages public debate, strengthening public opposition and putting pressure on retentionist countries to abolish the death penalty, or at least introduce a moratorium as a first step. The EU also acts against the death penalty in multilateral fora, such as the United Nations; a culmination of this effort was the resolution on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2007. The EU’s political commitment has been matched by substantial financial support for concrete projects, given that the death penalty is one of the priorities under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
• 92 countries and territories have abolished the death penalty for all crimes;
• 10 countries have abolished the death penalty for all but exceptional crimes such as wartime crimes;
• 35 countries can be considered abolitionist in practice. They retain the death penalty in law but have not carried out any executions for the past 10 years or more and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions.
This makes a total of 137 countries which have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Since 2005, ten countries have abolished the death penalty.
However, figures of death penalty application around the world still remain high. During 2007, at least 1,252 people were executed in 24 countries, and at least 3,347 people were sentenced to death in 51 countries. 88 per cent of all known executions took place in five countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA. The EU’s action, as the worldwide leader on the fight against death penalty, remains urgent and necessary.
Under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, more than €15 million have been allocated to support civil society projects since 1994, aimed at raising public awareness in retentionist countries through public education, outreach to influence public opinion, studies on how states' death penalty systems comply with international minimum standards, informing and supporting strategies for replacing the death penalty and efforts for securing the access of death row inmates to appropriate levels of legal support and training for lawyers.
For more information:
Christiane Hohmann 02/2991196
Anja Fiedler 02/2980385