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Mbeki fails to break deadlock, parliament in first session

Tuesday, 14 October 2008 20:12

Zimbabwe MPs have heckled each other during the first working session of the
new opposition-dominated parliament as negotiators tried to salvage the
African country's power-sharing agreement.

Riot police also broke up a demonstration staged by students outside the
legislature. Witnesses saw at least three students bundled into a police
van. A number of others were injured in a scuffle and had to be helped to a
nearby clinic. Police did not comment.

The new 210-seat parliament that met on Tuesday was the first controlled by
the opposition since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980. At
the official opening ceremonies in August, many MPs jeered Mr Mugabe.

The speech Mr Mugabe made then was debated in a lively session, with MPs
heckling each other. Mr Mugabe was not present.

Speakers addressed the need for the unity government to be formed so the
country's humanitarian crisis could be addressed.

But opposition MP Sam Nkomo warned the new government should not be formed
at "any cost". "There is a need to share power equitably," he said. "We want
to be genuine partners in this agreement."

The MPs will reconvene on Wednesday, when legislation will be introduced
which is necessary for the formation of the new government. The constitution
needs to be changed to create the post of prime minister, which is supposed
to be filled by Mr Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said that no agreement had
been reached Tuesday in power-sharing talks with President Robert Mugabe,
but that negotiations would continue the next day.

"There was no conclusion to discussions. We will continue tomorrow at 10:30
am (0830 GMT)," Tsvangirai said as he left a Harare hotel after more than
seven hours of negotiations led by former South African president Thabo

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Zimbabwe Deal Threatened by Prosecution Fears

Published: October 14, 2008
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's military commanders have pressed President Robert
Mugabe to shield them from prosecution for the violent crackdown on his
political foes this year, senior government officials say, and his response
is threatening to derail a power-sharing deal that was supposed to halt the
country's dizzying downward economic spiral.

Mr. Mugabe's efforts to placate his generals, as well as senior politicians
in his party who are disgruntled about their loss of clout, culminated in
his decision last week to unilaterally claim control of ministries that have
been pivotal to his 28 years of unbroken political dominance and are seen as
critical to protecting his senior generals from the risk of being charged
with crimes.
Mr. Mugabe, 84, signed an agreement on Sept. 15 to share power with the
political opposition after a brutal election season in which more than 100
opposition supporters were murdered and thousands were beaten - a campaign
of violence that senior officials in Mr. Mugabe's party said was organized
by the military.

A collapse of the deal would probably intensify Zimbabwe's status as an
international pariah, deepen hunger and poverty, and spark a fresh exodus of
refugees to neighboring countries. Yet since the agreement was signed, the
country's three senior military commanders have worried about their fate
under a unity government that includes the opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, as prime minister - a man they deeply distrust, who was himself
viciously beaten by the police last year - three officials close to Mr.
Mugabe said in recent interviews.

In addition to his retention of control of the armed forces, Mr. Mugabe's
insistence on retaining the Home Affairs Ministry, which oversees a police
force that could potentially investigate and arrest those responsible for
political violence, threatens to destroy the deal.

Mr. Tsvangirai told thousands of wildly cheering supporters in Harare on
Sunday that he would not be part of a deal that did not give his party
control of the Home and Finance Ministries - and he denounced what he termed
Mr. Mugabe's power grab.

Thabo Mbeki, the ousted president of South Africa who brokered the
power-sharing deal, met on Tuesday with Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai to try
to rescue the accord. But Mr. Mbeki's own clout is now greatly diminished by
his precipitous fall from power last month as leader of South Africa, the
regional superpower.

Zimbabwe's information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, disputed the idea that
the military commanders feared prosecution. "President Mugabe is commander
in chief of the armed forces and head of the security ministries," he said.
"There is no one guilty here. No one is talking about arrests of anyone. The
army is apolitical."

According to other senior officials in the government, however, three days
after Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai signed their deal, Mr. Mugabe huddled
with the inner circle of generals and politicians who run the country with
him, known as the Joint Operations Command.

Even without the pressure from his top generals and officials, Mr. Mugabe
may well have been unwilling to relinquish control of core ministries. But
on that day, he asked them what they thought of the deal. His military
commanders told him they feared it would leave them vulnerable to
prosecution for their role in organizing the crackdown before the June
runoff election - a crackdown so sweeping that it prompted Mr. Tsvangirai to
quit the race days before it was held, saying none of his supporters should
have to die to vote for him.

"They said it was too risky to leave the repercussions of such an apparently
brutal operation to chance," said a Mugabe confidant; that person and two
others who attended the meeting described what happened on condition that
they not be named because the deliberations were secret.

Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai, a 56-year-old former trade union leader, have
developed a surprisingly comfortable relationship over months of
negotiations, and in the days after the deal was signed, Mr. Tsvangirai said
the octogenarian leader had complained that he was getting a lot of
resistance to the deal from within his own party.

"But if he's getting pressure from his own party, so are we," Mr. Tsvangirai
said in an interview.

Many of Mr. Tsvangirai's workers and supporters paid a terrible price for
their political views, in burned homes, broken bones and flayed bodies. At a
minimum, opposition officials say, the party's rank and file want a police
force that will protect them from abuse - and many also want justice for the
wrongs done to them.

The passions within Mr. Tsvangirai's own party were on display Aug. 26 when
Mr. Mugabe inaugurated Parliament, where, for the first time since Zimbabwe
gained independence from white minority rule in 1980, the opposition had the
majority. Opposition members, many of whom had been in hiding for months,
shouted over and over, "You are a murderer!" Mr. Mugabe's hands trembled.

At the rally on Sunday, Mr. Tsvangirai sought to reassure Mr. Mugabe's party
that the Movement for Democratic Change, the opposition party, would not
seek retribution. "The guilty are afraid," he said, "but the M.D.C. means
Still, as the generals are said to have noted, the 30-page agreement signed
a month ago with great fanfare before heads of state from across southern
Africa includes no explicit promise of immunity for political crimes.

The seeds of the current impasse were planted on the day the deal was
signed. Mr. Tsvangirai put his name to the document, though he had not yet
reached an understanding about how he and Mr. Mugabe would divide the
ministries, said an opposition official close to the confidential talks.

Mr. Mbeki, the mediator, convinced Mr. Tsvangirai that agreeing to a
framework for governing would build confidence. "It was to tie Morgan's and
Mugabe's hands together and their feet together until they realized they
have to cohabitate," the opposition official said.

The next day, Mr. Mugabe came under withering fire at a meeting of his party's
politburo for surrendering too much authority, politburo members said. The
deal was unpopular with both of the main factions in the party: one led by
Emmerson Mnangagwa, 62, a former security chief who ran Mr. Mugabe's
campaign for the election runoff; the other led by Joice Mujuru, 53, one of
Mr. Mugabe's two vice presidents, and her husband, Solomon Mujuru, 59, a
former army commander. The Mujuru camp complained that Mrs. Mujuru had been
reduced to a figurehead in the deal.

Both factions saw the agreement as threatening their control over patronage
that they need to win elections, according to a senior official close to Mr.
Mugabe. And both were angling for the most powerful jobs from a shrinking
pie of ministerial appointments. Under the deal, ZANU-PF, Mr. Mugabe's
party, was entitled to only 15 of the 31 ministries. Politburo members loyal
to Mr. Mujuru accused Mr. Mugabe of planning to give Mr. Mnangagwa the best
portfolios, as a reward for leading the warlike campaign for Mr. Mugabe's
re-election in the June 27 runoff.

Mr. Mugabe, in turn, blamed factionalism within the party, and the failure
of party leaders to campaign vigorously for him, for Mr. Tsvangirai's having
won more votes than he did in the March general election - sentiments he
repeated a day later, Sept. 17, at a meeting of the party's Central

"If only we had not blundered in the harmonized election, we would not be
facing all this humiliation," the state-owned newspaper, The Herald, quoted
Mr. Mugabe as saying, even as he insisted, "We remain in the driving seat."

Mr. Mugabe got another earful when he met on Sept. 18 with the Joint
Operations Command, the inner circle.

Opinion within the command was divided on the deal.

The commissioners of the police and of prisons, Augustine Chihuri and
Paradzai Zimondi, and the director general of the Central Intelligence
Organization, Happyton Bonyongwe, said the opposition would not want to
violate the spirit of the deal by seeking prosecutions, according to
officials who were present. A senior official close to Mr. Mugabe who
attended the meeting explained that the police were not so worried about
prosecution because their vulnerability stemmed more from negligence - that
they did not stop the violence or arrest its perpetrators. Nor had the
prison services participated directly in the violence. And the intelligence
agents, because they dress in plain clothes, are less recognizable.

"The C.I.O. agents are faceless," the official said. "The problem is with
the uniformed forces, because their names are out there with the people."

But Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Defense Forces; Lt. Gen.
Philip Sibanda, the army commander; and Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the air
force commander, said they worried because there had been no explicit
guarantee of immunity, according to participants in the Sept. 18 meeting.

Spokesmen for the military did not return calls left in their offices on
Tuesday. Col. Ben Ncube, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, was
reached on his cellphone, but the line went dead when he was asked about
General Chiwenga's views on the power-sharing agreement.

Officials at the military meeting said the military leaders had reason to be
concerned that there was simply too much evidence of their role. A list of
200 officers they had deployed across the country to oversee the
intimidation and beating of opposition supporters - complete with names,
ranks and districts where each one was posted - had been leaked to
journalists and civic groups.

"The real fear is with the army generals, because their people ran the
runoff campaign," one official said.

Two journalists contributed reporting from Harare, Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe leaders happy with power-sharing talks


October 14, 2008, 21:00

Zimbabwe's political leaders have emerged from a marathon meeting expressing
satisfaction with progress made at unlocking a power-sharing dealock.

President Robert Mugabe says some ground has been covered in resolving the
impasse over the sharing of cabinet positions. Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has also expressed satisfaction,
saying talks will resume tomorrow.

The leader of the smaller MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara, says positive
progress has been made.

Former President Thabo Mbeki is on a make or break mission to salvage the
shaky power-sharing agreement he brokered last month.

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A Sham Deal

The Times
October 15, 2008

Mugabe is cynically thwarting the power-sharing agreement with the
There can no longer be any doubt that President Mugabe has no intention of
honouring the deal to share power with Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change. His acceptance of the formula
negotiated by Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's former President, appeared purely
tactical - a way of buying time, alleviating the growing pressure from
Zimbabwe's anxious neighbours and throwing a sop to the millions of
Zimbabweans outraged at his Government's electoral fraud and intimidation.

Only now, however, has the depth of the wily Mr Mugabe's cynicism and
opportunism become clear. He has refused to cede any power to his opponent,
insisting on keeping the main ministries for his minority Zanu (PF) party
and retaining control of the apparatus of intimidation - the police, army
and security agencies - as well as foreign affairs, mining and land. Mr
Tsvangirai has been offered only the Finance Ministry, a poisoned chalice
that would give him responsibility, without any real leverage, for coping
with an inflation rate of some 231 million per cent.

Mr Tsvangirai has rightly decided that this is not power-sharing but a power
grab, and has refused to conclude an agreement. Meanwhile, Mr Mbeki arrived
in Harare yesterday in a last-ditch attempt to rescue the deal that he
mediated a month ago. This time, however, he comes without the authority of
his country's presidency behind him. There is little indication that Mr
Mugabe will now pay any attention to his views or make any concession to his
political rival. The hopes that Zimbabwe might follow the example of Kenya
and forge out of electoral antagonism a government of national unity to
avert social breakdown now look rashly optimistic.

Mr Tsvangirai is in a difficult position. He has on his side moral
authority, an electoral victory and a majority in the first Zimbabwean
Parliament not to be dominated by Zanu (PF). All that counts as nothing
against the thuggish intimidation, political adroitness and loyalty of the
police and bully-boy "veterans" ready to attack any opponent, which Mr
Mugabe can still command. The would-be prime minister is not helped by his
own lack of political experience and naivety, which the President has
exploited to thwart him. Unilaterally, Mr Mugabe has already appointed two
members of his party as vice-presidents.

Related Links
  a.. Police violence stops Zimbabwe demo
The West also faces a dilemma. Should it encourage Mr Tsvangirai to continue
negotiating and offer him the emergency aid essential if Zimbabwe is to
escape disaster? The humanitarian arguments are compelling. Aid agencies say
that five million people, almost half the population, now face starvation.
Many children in rural areas are sick from malnutrition. The Harare
Government is indifferent to their fate, and has done almost nothing to
relieve the suffering apart from allowing a partial resumption of food aid
by foreign agencies. There is no scope for sanctions that might add to the
suffering. Zimbabweans should not be punished for Mr Mugabe's actions.

In the longer term, time is on Mr Tsvangirai's side. With Mr Mbeki's
resignation, Mr Mugabe has lost his only apologist; Jacob Zuma would
certainly take a tougher line. Zimbabwe's neighbours are growing
increasingly restless with his intransigence. Unless Mr Mugabe cuts a deal
now, he will soon find he is totally isolated. He and his cronies have the
most to lose.

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Zim leaders to continue power-sharing talks today

by Nokuthula Sibanda Wednesday 15 October 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the opposition failed to
reach agreement on Tuesday on the formation of a power-sharing government
but said negotiations will continue today.

"We are continuing tomorrow, we have not finished," Mugabe told reporters as
he left the Harare Rainbow Towers hotel where negotiations were taking

The leaders of the two opposition Movement for Deomcratic Change (MDC)
formations Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara confirmed the negotiations
that are being facilitated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki
would resume Wednesday morning.

"There was no conclusion to discussions. We will continue tomorrow at 10:30
am," said Tsvangirai, who has threatened to walk away from the September 15
power-sharing agreement if Mugabe sticks to his decision to allocate key
government ministries to his ruling ZANU PF party.

Mutambara said: "We have had a very productive day but our discussions will
continue tomorrow."

Mbeki returned to Harare on Monday night on an urgent mission to salvage a
historic power-sharing deal that he brokered nearly a month ago between
Mugabe and MDC leaders Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

The deal has looked in danger of failing after Mugabe last weekend
unilaterally allocated the key ministries of defence, home and foreign
affairs, information, local government and provisionally finance to his
ruling ZANU PF before conclusion of negotiations with the MDC.

Main MDC leader Tsvangirai told supporters last Sunday that he would quit
the deal if the new efforts by Mbeki to end the impasse over Cabinet
ministries did not yield positive results. Tsvangirai said fresh elections
would have to be called if the power-sharing deal collapsed.

But one of Mbeki's aides told the media earlier on Tuesday that the former
South African President was confident he would be able to rescue the
September 15 power-sharing deal. "We are convinced that we should be able in
the end, no matter how long it takes, to reach a conclusion," the aide said.

Under the agreement Mugabe will remain president while Tsvangirai becomes
prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister. The agreement allots 15
cabinet posts to ZANU PF, 13 to the Tsvangirai-led MDC and three to
Mutambara's faction.

However it is silent about who gets which specific posts and the rival
parties have since the signing of the agreement wrangled over who should
control the important ministries of home affairs, finance, local government,
foreign affairs.

As Zimbabwe's leaders bicker over Cabinet positions, an economic crisis
gripping the southern African country continues to worsen as highlighted by
the latest inflation figures released by the government's Central
Statistical Office last week showing annual inflation rocketing to 231
million percent in the month of July, the highest such rate in the world.

In addition to hyperinflation, Zimbabweans also have to grapple with acute
shortages of every basic survival commodity and eight in 10 people are out
of employment. Shortages of water and electricity are common, burst sewers
flow unchecked in the country's cities while roads are littered with
potholes. - ZimOnline.

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MDC calls for probe into political violence

by Tendai Maronga Wednesday 15 October 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC party called for a parliamentary probe
into political violence and for perpetrators to be brought to justice as
Parliament resumed sitting on Tuesday.

Senior opposition legislator Sam Sipepa Nkomo told the House of Assembly
that national healing could be achieved only if there was full disclosure on
political violence, broaching a sensitive subject that has potential to
wreck a power-sharing agreement between Zimbabwe's three biggest political

Nkomo, who is Member of Parliament for Lobengula constituency and is home
affairs secretary for the main MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said
there was need for a select committee of Parliament to investigate the
violence that engulfed Zimbabwe after March 29 elections won by the

"For there to be any meaningful national healing, there is need for all the
crimes of political violence to be investigated and all the perpetrators
brought to book," Nkomo said as he stood to debate a speech by President
Robert Mugabe officially opening Parliament on August 25.

"Let's not underestimate the violence that was suffered by the people of
this country," Nkomo said to a Parliament that appeared as still bitterly
divided as when MDC legislators jeered and booed Mugabe as he addressed the
house in August.

Touching on the power-sharing deal between Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF, the MDC
and a breakaway faction of the opposition led by Arthur Mutambara, Nkomo
said the pact could only succeed if power was shared equitably amongst the
three parties.

"For the agreement to succeed, we will have to share power equitably . . .
it cannot be an inclusive government at any cost," said Nkomo.

The legislator was speaking as ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki held
talks at a Harare hotel with Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara to resolve an
impasse over sharing of Cabinet positions in a proposed unity government
that is threatening the power-sharing pact.

But the abiding differences between Zimbabwe's politicians were on full
display as ZANU PF legislators ignored Nkomo's pleas for a probe into
political violence or his calls for equitable power-sharing - taking to the
floor only to sing praises to Mugabe for agreeing in the first place to
share power with the MDC.

A ZANU PF legislator, Savior Kasukuwere, reminded the MDC of a call made by
Mugabe in his speech to Parliament that the country should put the divisions
of past elections behind in order to move forward.

"It will help no one to start to open old wounds. Let's put the past behind
us and move the country ahead," said Kasukuwere, amid heckling and booing by
MDC legislators.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutmabara signed a deal on September 15 to form a
power-sharing government to tackle Zimbabwe's deepening economic and
political crisis.

Under the Mbeki-brokered deal Mugabe will remain president while Tsvangirai
becomes prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister. The agreement
allots 15 cabinet posts to ZANU PF, 13 to the Tsvangirai-led MDC and three
to Mutambara's faction.

However it is silent about who gets which specific posts and the rival
parties have since the signing of the agreement wrangled over who should
control the important ministries of home affairs, finance, local government,
foreign affairs.

The power-sharing pact is also silent on the potentially divisive question
of how to achieve national healing while ensuring those who committed
political violence and abused human rights are brought to justice.

Many of those accused of masterminding the political violence that the MDC
says killed at least 200 of its members while displacing thousands of others
after the March polls are senior officials of ZANU PF and top military
commanders loyal to Mugabe. - ZimOnline

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US accuses Mugabe of violating power-sharing deal

Yahoo News

2 hours, 47 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Tuesday accused Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe of violating a power-sharing deal with rival Morgan Tsvangirai
by offering key government posts to his own party.

"President Mugabe apparently overstepped the bounds of that agreement in
claiming several ministers that were not part of the power-sharing agreement
that was brokered," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told

"What we hope is that you get back the implementation of the agreement that
was struck between the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) and President
Mugabe," he added.

Tsvangirai is the leader of the MDC.

McCormack appeared to doubt Mugabe's intentions when a reporter asked if the
United States trusted the veteran leader.

"Well, we'll see," he said. "That's always been the open question."

Tsvangirai, leaving a Harare hotel after more than seven hours of
negotiations led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, said that no
agreement had been reached Tuesday in power-sharing talks with Mugabe.

But he added that negotiations would continue the next day.

Mbeki brokered the agreement reached four weeks ago that called for
84-year-old Mugabe to remain as president while Tsvangirai takes the new
post of prime minister.

The deal had been hailed as a breakthrough in efforts to end months of
deadly political turmoil and to rescue the nation from economic ruin.

But Tsvangirai has threatened to pull out of the deal after Mugabe last
weekend announced he would give his own party the most important posts in

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Mutambara expresses frustration over deal

October 14, 2008

HARARE (Reuters) - Former South African President Thabo Mbeki began
mediation between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday to try to rescue a power-sharing pact.

The deal, brokered by Mbeki last month, is in danger of collapse over
disagreements about cabinet posts and Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC,
threatened to pull out of it at the weekend after Mugabe allocated key
ministries to his ZANU-PF party.

Negotiators for ZANU-PF and the MDC met briefly at a Harare hotel before the
leaders arrived to meet Mbeki. Arthur Mutambara, who heads a splinter MDC
faction, is also taking part in the talks.

Mutambara expressed frustration over the stalled deal.

"The fact that we are here, bickering over cabinet posts is a travesty of
justice. Mutambara, Mugabe and Tsvangirai should shape up or ship out," he
told reporters as he arrived.

Justice minister and ZANU-PF's chief negotiator in the power-sharing talks,
Patrick Chinamasa, told the state-run Herald that he hoped Mbeki could offer
new ideas.

"As far as we are concerned, the only contention is the Ministry of
 Finance," he said. Mugabe this weekend angered the MDC by allocating the
ministries for defence, home affairs - which oversees the police - and
finance to his ZANU-PF party.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe's parliament began sitting for the first time since it
was officially opened by Mugabe in August amid jeers and boos from MDC

Mugabe's party was stripped of a majority for the first time since
independence from Britain in 1980 after a March 29 election which the
opposition says he rigged to retain power.

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March presidential poll held concurrently.
But he did not have enough ballots to avoid a June run-off poll, which was
won by Mugabe and condemned around the world after it was boycotted by

Sharp differences were evident in parliament, with ZANU-PF lawmakers
praising Mugabe for agreeing to share power, while their MDC counterparts
said they could walk away from the deal.

"If we are genuine . we should share power equitably. It cannot be an
inclusive government at any cost," said MDC lawmaker Sam Sipepa Nkomo. "We
can't be swallowed and we should not allow ourselves to be lipstick on
ZANU-PF, a decoration."

Lawmakers are expected to prioritise a constitutional amendment allowing the
creation of the prime minister's post, which the power-sharing deal agreed
would be filled by Tsvangirai.

Nelson Chamisa, an MDC spokesman, said he hoped Mbeki would break the
cabinet impasse.

"We are still placing our faith in the efforts of the mediator, and that
ZANU-PF has to be persuaded that it has to share and not grab power," he

Analysts say that although the talks look doomed, the rivals are under
pressure to reach a settlement, although some say Mbeki will have less
leverage in Zimbabwe after being ousted as South African president by his
own party last month.

A new government will have to tackle the world's highest inflation rate of
231 million percent and severe food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.

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Zimbabwe Governor's Anti-Political Violence Position Questioned



      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      14 October 2008

Newly appointed Governor Martin Dinha of Zimbabwe's Mashonaland Central
province urged magistrates this week to punish all perpetrators of political
violence without fear or favor, but members of the former opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, which won a majority in parliament this year
in violence-ridden elections, questioned his sincerity.

Dinha issued the anti-political violence call Monday during the swearing-in
of a magistrate in Bindura, Feresi Chakanyuka. But his remarks drew
criticism from local officials of the MDC, which took the brunt of
post-election violence by militia members and war veterans.

Many observers accused the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe,
re-elected in June in a highly controversial uncontested election, of
orchestrating the wave of violence which sprang up after Mr. Mugabe and
ZANU-PF were dealt a stinging defeat in March elections.

Mashonaland Central MDC officials said Dinha's remarks insulted those who
lost loved ones and property in violence which reached a crescendo before
the June 27 presidential run-off election. They said he knows there will be
no prosecution of those responsible for such deadly violence so long as
ZANU-PF retains control of the levers of executive power.

Mashonaland Central was one of the provinces worst hit by political

Dinha, a former ZANU-PF mayor of Bindura and head of the pro-government
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice, called on President Mugabe in May to declare a
state of emergency to safeguard lives and property amid rising violence he
said the MDC was perpetrating.

Mashonaland Central Organizing Secretary Gilson Chitakunye of the MDC
formation led by party founder and prime minister designate Morgan
Tsvangirai told Jonga Kandemiiri that he does not expect magistrates to take
Dinha's statement seriously.

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Humanitarian Agencies In Race With Hunger In Zimbabwe


      By Patience Rusere and Brenda Moyo
      14 October 2008

Zimbabweans have been living with food shortages for years, but the outlook
through the first quarter of next year is more alarming than ever before.

The National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations said recently
that a national emergency should be declared - but for the domestic and
international organizations monitoring and projecting food security in the
country the emergency is all too well established.

Despite the dire outlook, aid continues to flow in from abroad, reported
Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.

A British-based organization has committed 50,000 British pounds to provide
seed to 118 families and three primary schools in the Mberengwa district of
Midlands province.

Christian Aid Africa Specialist Judith Melby outlined the program to
reporter Brenda Moyo.

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State journalists resort to theft of assets

October 14, 2008

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - Journalists have allegedly resorted to theft of assets to make
ends meet amid reports all is not well at the troubled government newspaper
stable where reporters are on a go-slow in protest over the late payment of

Citing serious financial and viability problems, management at Zimbabwe
Newspapers (1980) Ltd, has failed to pay September salaries to its staff at
the Chronicle, Sunday News and the Ndebele vernacular newspaper, Umthunywa,
in Bulawayo.

Official pay day at Zimpapers is the 27th of each month. Staff has now gone
for over two weeks without pay and morale is reported to be very low, as a
result, among staff at the government's main propaganda outlet in Bulawayo.
The least paid journalist at The Chronicle earns about $90 000 a month,
enough to buy about four litres of fuel on the black market.

"Management is issuing conflicting reports about our September salaries,
either blaming banks for the late processing of our pay or saying there is
no money at the company," said one disgruntled journalist.

Another journalist said: "We are on a go-slow in protest over the late pay
and most journalists are not reporting for duty, citing lack of bus-fare.
The Newspapers are now virtually run by interns.

"Reporters have resorted to pilfering pf company resources to make ends meet
with various computer components disappearing at an alarming rate."

It was learnt Trends Magazine, a Bulawayo based monthly entertainment
magazine published by the company in Bulawayo has ceased publishing due to
serious financial and viability problems facing the giant publishing house.

The company has of late been struggling to publish the magazine on time, a
development which has seen advertisers pulling adverts out of the magazine.

"Trends magazine has been closed. Normally the magazine is supposed to hit
the streets by the first of the month, but as I am talking, the magazine has
not yet come out," source said.

Zimpapers also failed to publish its Ndebele vernacular newspaper Umthunywa
last Friday. The Ndebele newspaper has become popular on account of its hard
hitting anti-government stories and editorials.

The editor of the paper was dismissed last month for publishing stories
attacking the government for running down the economy through mismanagement
and corruption. Zimpapers Bulawayo branch manager, Sithembile Ncube
confirmed the government newspaper stable was facing serious financial and
viability problems.

"We are not immune to the financial crisis that is affecting other companies
and everyone else since we are operating under the same environment. That is
all I can say," Ncube said on Thursday in a telephone interview.

The Zimbabwe Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) last week attacked
the state newspapers for their unprofessional coverage of the ongoing
power-sharing talks that are teetering on the brink of collapse due to
disagreements that have stalled the formation of a unity government, more
than three weeks after the deal was signed.

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Why do you keep using AIPPA? -- MISA

Monday, 13 October 2008 16:40 MISA

MISA Zimbabwe has condemned the continued use of repressive media laws to
harass practitioners during the transitional period and has called for the
immediate cessation of harassment and the complete repeal of the restrictive
media laws in the country.

The journalists were barred from entering the premises by security guards on
the basis that they had failed to produce accreditation cards from the Media
and Information Commission (MIC).

"Ironically, the Movement for Democratic Change has in the past criticized
the creation of the MIC under the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the licensing of journalists by the commission,"
said Misa Zimbabwe.

Several journalists were on Thursday, 9 October 2008, allegedly barred from
entering the Prime Minister Designates Strathaven home for a press

"Ironically, the Movement for Democratic Change has in the past criticized
the creation of the MIC under the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the licensing of journalists by the commission,"
said Misa Zimbabwe.

The security guards are alleged to have claimed that they had been given
instructions from the 'top' not to allow journalists without MIC
accreditation cards. Attempts by journalists to explain that they were
freelance journalists were fruitless.

The press conference was however, deferred to 10 October 2008.

In Article 19 of the Agreement between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations of
15 September, 2008, the parties agreed to ensure the immediate processing by
the appropriate authorities of all applications for re-registration and
registration in terms of both the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and The
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)

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On Mugabe's appointment of two vice-presidents (Msika & Mujuru)


 Issued Tuesday, October 14, 2008.

While Mugabe continues to display his intransigence in violation of the
spirit of unity for nation building, there are positives surrounding the
precipitous appointments. Msika and Mujuru are some of the few
less-combative individuals in the Zanu PF old-guard that represent a voice
of moderation. Mujuru is known for her opposition to the use of torture by
the Joint Operations Command (JOC) during the bloody elections of 2008 that
saw several civilians brutally murdered.

These appointments by Mugabe are obviously=2 0a disppointment to those in
Zanu PF that brutalised people hoping to be rewarded for their role in
torturing civilians by ascending to Vice-Presidency and other top
cabinet-level positions. The nation has been spared what might otherwise
have been a more vicious, cunning and power-hungry Zanu PF leadership. We
should however never lose sight of the fact that these individuals bring no
new ideas nor relief to Zimbabwe's battered economy. Unfortunately the
appointments are made out of political considerations and not real issues of
serious concern to Zimbabweans such as economic recovery, respect for human
rights and restoration of civil liberties.

We call upon Zanu PF and MDC to work as expeditously as possible for the
successful resolution of disagreements surrounding the GNU deal. At the same
time, MDC must not waive whatsover, for the portfolios contended for,
chiefly Home Affairs and Finance. Doing so will equal a betrayal of the
people's hopes and dreams for  a freer  and liberated society.  We already
saw how the police continue to harrass and intimidate citizens. As recent as
yesterday, Zinasu was ruthlessly quashed by the police as students took to
parliament pressing for a just educational system at colleges and

--=E 2------------------

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Zuma calls for urgency in SA land reform

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 15 October 2008

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party
leader Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said the country must intensify efforts to
transfer land to blacks if it is to end poverty among rural communities.

Thousands of poor blacks are still waiting for the ANC government to deliver
on its promise on coming to power in 1994 when it set itself an ambitious
target of redistributing 30 percent of all agricultural land to the black
majority by 2014.

With six years before the delivery date the South African government has
only acquired 4 percent of land from private owners for redistribution, and
says it needs to accelerate the process amid growing unrest among the poor
landless blacks.

"We would not be transforming our country if we do not end the
marginalisation of rural areas. That is why we will work to intensify our
land reform programme," Zuma said in a speech at a metal workers union

South Africa - just like Zimbabwe - inherited an unjust land tenure system
from previous white-controlled governments under which the bulk of the best
arable land was reserved for whites while blacks were forced to crowd on
mostly semi-arid and infertile soils.

But South Africa, which has one of Africa's biggest farming sectors and its
biggest economy, has repeatedly said it will not follow the example of
Zimbabwe where President Robert Mugabe has seized most of the farms owned by
that country's about 4 500 white commercial farmers and gave them over to

Zuma said the land reform programme should be expanded beyond simply handing
land to blacks, to include the development of rural areas.

"Land acquisition should be linked to clear rural development programmes,
which will include infrastructure development to produce thriving rural
economies and ensure sustainable development," Zuma said.

Harare refused to pay for land, saying whites had in the first place stolen
the land from blacks. The Zimbabwe administration said it would only pay for
improvements on farms such as buildings, boreholes, dams and roads - and
that it would determine the levels of compensation to be paid to farmers.

Farm seizures are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe - once a net exporter of the
staple maize grain - into severe food shortages since 2001 after black
peasant farmers resettled on former white farms failed to maintain
production because the government failed to support them with financial
resources, inputs and skills training.

The United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Famine
Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said last week that Zimbabwe could
run out of food by early November because the southern African country had
failed to import adequate quantities of basic cereals to make up for a poor
harvest in the 2007/2008 season.

South Africa said last month that it was developing an emergency plan to
help revive the farming sector of its northern neighbour. - ZimOnline

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