Oct 15, 2008, 11:37 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Wednesday he was 'very
hopeful' that talks to rescue a power-sharing deal he signed a month ago
with his arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai would be concluded soon.
Mugabe was speaking on his arrival at a hotel in Harare for a second day of
talks with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai and MDC
faction leader Arthur Mutambara brokered by former South African president
Thabo Mbeki Sponsored Links:
Mbeki, southern Africa's mediator in Zimbabwe, returned to the country amid
signs that the September 15 unity agreement signed by the three leaders at
his urging is on the rocks.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who is supposed to become prime minister in a
government of national unity, are at loggerheads over the distribution of
key ministries between their parties.
Mugabe is under pressure from hardliners in his party not to hand
significant power to the MDC.
On the MDC side, Tsvangirai is being pressurized not to accept a junior
role, given that the MDC won the most votes in the last parliamentary
elections. Sponsored Links:
The tensions deepened when Mugabe on Friday unilaterally awarded control of
the defence and home affairs ministries, among others, to his Zanu-PF party.
These portfolios give him control of the army and the police, both of which
he has used to subdue the MDC and its supporters.
Mugabe's move prompted Tsvangirai to threaten to walk away from the deal.
Despite being ousted as president of South Africa last month by his party,
Mbeki has been mandated to continue as mediator.
Zimbabweans are counting on the speedy implementation of the power-sharing
deal to help unlock much-needed aid and investment. Sponsored Links:
A decade of increasingly disastrous rule by Mugabe, 84, has left Zimbabwe
inching closer to the status of failed state.
Over 2 million Zimbabweans require food aid - a figure expected to reach 5
million, or close to half the population by January - and inflation is
running at over 230 million per cent, one of the highest on record.
October 15 2008 at 07:52PM
By Nelson Banya
Harare - Zimbabwe's parties are close to breaking a deadlock over a
power-sharing deal and "history is being made" at talks between President
Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition MDC said on
MDC chief negotiator Tendai Biti, asked by reporters when talks would
be concluded, said: "If you pray hard, tomorrow. History is being made and
mountains are being moved".
Mugabe and Tsvangirai are holding talks in Harare mediated by former
South African President Thabo Mbeki after a power-sharing deal he brokered
last month faltered over a dispute about cabinet posts.
A second day of negotiations ended on Wednesday without a breakthrough
but will resume on Thursday at 09h30 GMT (about 11.30am South African time),
"The proceedings have been going... they have not concluded. We are
continuing tomorrow, because there are some matters still outstanding," he
told reporters as he left the talks venue.
Tsvangirai threatened to pull out of the agreement on Sunday after
Mugabe allocated key ministries, including defence, home affairs - which
oversees the police - and finance, to his Zanu-PF party.
A new government will have to tackle the world's highest inflation
rate of 231 million percent and severe food, fuel and foreign currency
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The announcement by Zimbabwe' President Robert Mugabe
of a list ministries allocated to the country's three main political parties
is not legally binding and can be revoked without further gazetting, legal
experts said on Wednesday.
Mugabe angered the opposition on Saturday after publishing an Extraordinary
Government Gazette detailing the ministries allocated to each of the three
parties involved in a power-sharing agreement.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Morgan Tsvangirai
dismissed the list, saying Mugabe had acted unilaterally in violation of the
power-sharing deal signed last month.
The MDC contested that negotiations over the cabinet posts allocations had
not been concluded, with at least five ministries still in dispute.
In a weekly legal briefing sponsored by the International Bar Association,
southern African lawyers said the notice issued by Mugabe was not a law and
was no more than an "official notification for public information of an
allocation of ministerial functions".
"The general notice does not mean that the distribution of ministries
between the parties cannot be changed. If Mr Mugabe is persuaded to change
his mind, the distribution can be changed immediately, with or without
further gazetting," the lawyers said.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai were meeting on Wednesday for a second day of
negotiations to break the deadlock over the ministerial positions, which has
stalled the formation of a new government.
By Tichaona Sibanda
15 October 2008
It has emerged that talks aimed at resolving the impasse over the allocation
of ministries are far from over, as Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai are
reportedly still at loggerheads over the cabinet portfolios.
A journalist from an independent newspaper in Harare, speaking to Newsreel
from the Rainbow Towers venue of the talks, said that contrary to reports in
the state media that only the finance ministry was still under dispute,
virtually all ministries were under discussion.
'That's ZANU PF propaganda you have been reading in the state media. Nothing
has been resolved and as far as we are concerned all ministries are under
discussion,' said the journalist.
He added that MDC officials at the talks have stated that the impasse can
only be broken if Mugabe was willing to cede the ministries of finance,
foreign affairs, home affairs and local government to Tsvangirai. Former
South African president Thabo Mbeki is mediating in the latest talks to try
and break the deadlock. The latest round of negotiations began in Harare on
Tuesday but the leaders failed to find common ground on Tuesday and
adjourned to Wednesday.
'This is going to be another tough assignment for Mbeki as both sides are
adamant they will not move an inch if they're denied what they want,' the
But when the leaders emerged from Tuesday's meeting they all gave
indications they were hopeful a compromise would be reached soon over the
But the independent journalist said; 'Those at the talks are signalling its
going to be another lengthy period of negotiations mainly between Mugabe and
Tsavngirai because they are still worlds apart.'
The power sharing agreement signed on 15 September, allows Zanu PF to have
15 ministries, the Tsvangirai MDC 13, while 3 go to Arthur Mutambara's
group. Mugabe will remain President while Tsvangirai assumes the new post of
prime minister deputised by Mutambara and Thokozani Khuphe.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Violet Gonda
15 October 2008
Last month leaders of the main political parties agreed to share power and
part of the deal was that politicians agreed to see to the closure of
external radio stations such as SW Radio Africa, Voice of the People and
Voice of America's Studio 7. The power sharing deal also said that the
journalists working at the radio stations should return to Zimbabwe.
George Charamba, Robert Mugabe's spokesperson is quoted in the state
controlled Sunday News saying the MDC has failed to honour a number of
issues raised in the power sharing deal including the disbanding of pirate
radio stations. Charamba said: "The MDC - T was silent on pertinent issues
raised in the deal - among them denouncing illegal sanctions imposed on the
country by its western allies, undermining the country's sovereignty and the
disbanding of pirate radio stations."
Critics of the deal say the entire agreement is a giant compromise and most
of the concessions have been made by the MDC. Andy Moyse, the director of
the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ), said the deal is extremely
inadequate with regards to the media.
Part of the agreement states that the parties will call on governments
'hosting or funding external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe to
cease such hosting and funding.' It also states that the radio stations are
not in the country's national interest and 'encourages' those working for
them to return home.
The MMPZ director said the agreement obliges the MDC to condemn something
that cannot be condemned. The radio stations provide crucial alternative
voices in a country where the state media is filled with hate speech. They
are also private organisations - neither owned, nor controlled by any
Private radio stations and newspapers were forced into exile, driven out by
the repressive laws in Zimbabwe and Moyse said all political parties should
have been, "..calling for the immediate repeal of all these laws and
encouraging those organisations operating outside the country to come home
and to help open up the airwaves back home."
He added: "You are one of the few sources of information that is left. To
close you down, will shut down that source and turn us into a more extreme
media wasteland than we are already."
The deal also talks about the government "ensuring the immediate processing
by the appropriate authorities of all applications for re-registration and
registration in terms of both the Broadcasting Services Act as well as the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act."
Moyse says this potentially causes serious conflict between the unity
government and the civil society as they are asking people to be registered
under the current repressive laws.
A month after the signing of the 'powershare' all the media restrictions
remain and there is no sign that Zanu PF has any interest in changing that
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Freedom House (Washington, DC)
13 October 2008
Posted to the web 15 October 2008
The Southern African Development Community must break its silence and
publicly condemn Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for provocative actions
that have endangered a power-sharing agreement negotiated by SADC envoy
Thabo Mbeki. A strong SADC statement that outlines potential disciplinary
measures is needed strengthen Mbeki's hand as he prepares for crisis talks
this week between Mugabe and his rivals.
On Saturday, Mugabe declared that he would keep all the key ministries for
his ZANU-PF party, prompting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to threaten
to pull out of the national unity government. Tsvangirai's MDC party has
negotiated with ZANU-PF for weeks over ministries such as defense, finance,
home and foreign affairs which are essential to Zimbabwe's recovery. In
another blow to the power-sharing process, Mugabe swore in his two vice
"Mugabe's unilateral actions show a lack of good faith and contempt for the
power-sharing agreement that SADC negotiated," said Jennifer Windsor,
Freedom House executive director. "With their authority challenged, SADC
members should take off the kid gloves and threaten to suspend Mugabe and
freeze his party's assets."
Freedom House is deeply concerned that ZANU-PF intends to drag out the
negotiations even as millions of Zimbabweans face starvation. Mbeki should
have every tool at his disposal to broker a true power-sharing deal that
resolves these outstanding issues so that Zimbabwe can quickly address its
economic and humanitarian crises.
After 28 years in power, ZANU-PF lost to the MDC in parliamentary elections
and came in second in the presidential vote in March. ZANU-PF supporters
reacted by waging a deadly crackdown against the MDC in the lead up to the
June presidential runoff between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, forcing Tsvangirai
to withdraw from the race.
Zimbabwe is ranked Not Free in the 2008 edition of Freedom in the World,
Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and in the
2008 version of Freedom of the Press.
Updated: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 13:36
By Michael Hamlyn
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has acknowledged concerns
regarding Robert Mugabe's recognition as head of state of Zimbabwe as
"legitimate", admitting that at the time of the summit meeting in August,
Mugabe had not been elected into office through a credible process.
The Zimbabwe Exile Forum (ZEF), a South African-based NGO working with
people who have fled from the political violence in Zimbabwe, brought an
urgent application before the SADC tribunal in Windhoek seeking the
suspension of Mugabe's invitation to the SADC summit.
It also sought an order that SADC, its organs and institutions refrain from
allowing Mugabe and his government to participate in SADC more generally as
representatives for Zimbabwe.
The ZEF is being assisted by Southern Africa Litigation Centre (Salc),
Namibia's Legal Assistance Centre and South African advocate, Richard
Priti Patel, acting director of Salc said today: "SADC should be applauded
for acknowledging that concerns regarding its recognition of Mugabe as head
of state were legitimate.
"But SADC's response thus far has been woefully inadequate in ensuring a
democratic and peaceful transition in Zimbabwe."
In its response to the application, SADC said that as it has decided the
current situation in Zimbabwe must be settled through dialogue, the
invitation to the summit was directed not only to Mugabe, but also to
representatives from the opposition parties.
The organisation therefore asked the tribunal to turn the application down.
"The settlement of the dispute requires the parties to sit together and talk
to each other," the SADC reply said.
Gabriel Shumba, the director of ZEF, said that "Given Mugabe's recent
attempts to unilaterally convene a government in violation of the negotiated
peace agreement, this response from SADC arguing that the peace process is
continuing is worrisome.
"If SADC does indeed believe these concerns are legitimate then it must step
up and embrace its role as the key regional institution and remove any
official recognition of Mugabe as a representative for the republic of
Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's parliament, controlled for the first time by
the opposition after parliamentary elections in March, opened here Tuesday.
This was as former South African President Thabo Mbeki held talks with the
country's leaders to shore up a faltering power-sharing agreement.
After a disputed presidential poll run-off in June, the opposition and the
government last month agreed to share power in a deal negotiated by Mbeki,
but they have since differed on how to share ministerial positions.
The opposition has accused President Robert Mugabe, whose ruling ZANU-PF
party lost control of parliament in March for the first time since
independence in 1980, of trying to monopolise all key ministries.
He unilaterally allocated all the important ministries to his party at the
weekend, sparking an angry outcry from the opposition.
The parties then agreed to call in Mbeki to break the impasse, which
revolves around control of the ministries of defence, home affairs, justice,
finance and information.
Mugabe allocated all of these to his party, prompting opposition threats to
jettison the power-sharing deal unless they control of some of the
Mbeki began meeting the country's political leaders Tuesday to resolve the
crisis, which analysts said they saw no sign of either side compromising.
Meanwhile, parliament opened for the first time Tuesday after the March
elections, with the opposition dominating.
The opposition has a combined 110 seats in the chamber to 99 for Mugabe's
party, a power shift that has also seen an opposition member being elected
speaker for the first time in Zimbabwe's post-independence history.
Among top issues on the agenda of parliament will be the amendment of the
constitution to allow for the creation of the post of premier, to be
occupied by the opposition under the power-sharing deal.
Harare - 14/10/2008
A New York Times article headlined "Zimbabwe generals' fears of prosecution
threaten deal" has cut to the chase on what is proving to be the major
stumbling block to the implementation of that country's power-sharing deal.
The agreement reached previously always had contemplated that Robert Mugabe
would retain the Presidency and lead the Cabinet, while Morgan Tsvangirai,
as Prime Minister, would be part of the Cabinet and head a Council of
Ministers that would effectively run the country on a day-to-day basis.
In order to achieve this and assuage the fears of those who are concerned
with the repercussions flowing from the atrocities they committed prior to
and during the recent elections, Mugabe would retain control of the military
while Tsvangirai would head the police via the Ministry of Home Affairs and
the critical finance portfolio.
As I set out yesterday, Tsvangirai's control of these two key ministries is
a sine qua non to Zimbabwe's recovery because the international community
would not recognise any arrangement to the contrary. In fairness to the
people of Zimbabwe, the MDC, regardless of external pressure, must refuse to
budge on this issue. In exercising control over same, Tsvangirai would be
able to reintroduce a huge slice of the democratic processes that were
strangled under Zanu-PF's survival politics and reinforce his calls for aid
and investment to begin immediately.
The problem is that once law and order, press freedom and the independent
judiciary are restored, the atrocities committed by the military and Zanu-PF
will become apparent to the people of that country. Actions involving
murder, torture, land grabs and criminal neglect, which have occasioned the
lowest life expectancy in the world, will be laid bare for all to see.
The power-sharing agreement does not provide protection for those who
committed these acts, and therein lies the rub as far as they are concerned.
The hunter will become the hunted.
The mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, has to bridge that
gap urgently. He will need to get the parties to agree on a mechanism that
will put a tap on these prosecutions, which will allow them a bit of
breathing space while they are agreeing on the way forward on the issue of
accountability and which does not require the process to be retarded while
it is being attended to.
This is not a difficult concept and merely requires an amendment to the
agreement setting out whatever moratoriums and qualifications will be
required to address that issue. It can be dealt with in an attorney or
advocate's chambers within a couple of hours.
Immediately thereafter, the ministers must be appointed to their portfolios
as contemplated when the deal was struck in the first instance.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 6:53 am
PRETORIA, Oct 15 (AFP)
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has little leverage to push
Zimbabwe's feuding parties to agreement, having lost his clout as leader of
the region's most powerful state, analysts say.
Mbeki flew back to Zimbabwe to meet President Robert Mugabe and his main
political rival and prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai to rescue the
country's increasingly vulnerable power-sharing deal.
The two sides failed to reach a deal after more than seven hours of
negotiations Tuesday, but were set to hold further discussions on Wednesday.
The much-anticipated agreement was brokered by Mbeki one month ago but has
stagnated amid a deadlock over key cabinet posts, raising fears of a hollow
victory in his bid to end Zimbabwe's economic and political crises.
The stand-off intensified this week as Mugabe awarded his ruling ZANU-PF
disputed ministries and appointed two vice-presidents, leading to opposition
threats to pull out of the pact and calls for Mbeki's return to break the
But analysts say Mbeki's chances for successful mediation are much slimmer
since he was ousted as South African president by his own party last month.
As an ordinary citizen, Mbeki no longer has the leverage to pressure Mugabe
to loosen his iron-fisted control after nearly 30 years in power, said
Moeletsi Mbeki, a respected political analyst and the ex-president's
"I don't think that our former president really has any leverage over
Mugabe, which is why Mugabe proceeded to nominate his cabinet ministers
before he even got there to mediate," he said.
The mere need for Mbeki's presence in Zimbabwe raised concerns about the
success of the fragile political partnership, said Karin Alexander of the
Institute for Democracy in South Africa.
"Having to have a mediator now suggests that this deal is unlikely to
continue for terribly long because they need a mediator to go back every
time there is a decision to be made. So I think that raises huge concern
around the deal itself," she said.
Mbeki's continued role as mediator is also of concern as he no longer has
tools in hand to negotiate an agreement, she said, noting that South
Africa's government controls the flow of crucial supplies, including fuel
needed in Zimbabwe's shattered economy.
Long vilified for his "quiet diplomacy," Mbeki faced increasing pressure at
home and abroad to find a solution to Zimbabwe's problems as the regionally
Moeletsi Mbeki, a frequent critic of his brother, pointed fingers at both
the Southern African Development Community and South Africa's ruling African
National Congress (ANC) for Zimbabwe's problems.
The regional bloc was "party to creating the Mugabe monster" while the ANC
had given "a lot of comfort to the Mugabe regime," he said.
As the rival parties bicker, Zimbabwe's people face a daily struggle to
survive against desperate food shortages and the highest inflation in the
world, estimated at 231 million percent in July -- a tragedy sometimes lost
in the political feud, experts said.
"The humanitarian situation is clearly not a priority at the moment," said
Pooven Moodley of Oxfam.
Once a regional breadbasket, the United Nations estimates that more than
five million people -- nearly half the population -- need emergency food aid
About 80 percent of the population is unemployed and living under the
poverty line of two US dollars per day.
And analysts say they doubt that South Africa's new President Kgalema
Motlanthe will move to exert more pressure on Mugabe than Mbeki did when he
was in office.
"I don't think South Africa is going to change its position," Moeletsi Mbeki
15 October 2008
SA, WHICH is still banking on a resolution to the impasse in Zimbabwe, is
working on several plans to prepare for reconstruction in that country.
The foreign affairs department's director-general, Ayanda Ntsaluba, said
yesterday these included preparation for the current agricultural season, as
well as fiscal stability and economic reconstruction.
But he said the lack of a government in Zimbabwe hindered progress. "The
sooner the executive is constituted in its totality the better," he said
during a news conference in Pretoria.
Donor and farmers' groups in Zimbabwe have expressed concern that the
country had hardly any seed or fertiliser, nor was there time to import
enough stock from the southern African region.
The World Food Organisation estimates that about 5-million people will need
food aid by January next year.
Former president Thabo Mbeki was in Zimbabwe yesterday, where he hoped to
break the latest deadlock between President Robert Mugabe and the two
factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Ntsaluba said should Mbeki's latest mission fail, he would probably appeal
to President Kgalema Motlanthe in his capacity as chairman of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) or to Swaziland's King Mswati, the head
of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security.
"I think those will be the steps, but let me stress we'd approach that by
saying if that is not achieved by Friday - or whenever that critical point
will be - the facilitator will be in a better position to judge," Ntsaluba
said, in response to a question on whether the impasse would be broken by
the end of the week.
Amid fears that Zimbabwe's September 15 power-sharing agreement had all but
collapsed, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has threatened to pull out of the
Claiming Mugabe violated the spirit of the pact, Tsvangirai said that he was
willing to give Mbeki another opportunity to break the political deadlock.
Tsvangirai's threat came as Mugabe swore in his two deputy presidents, Joyce
Mujuru and Joseph Msika.
The move was condemned by the European Union which also announced readiness
to consider additional sanctions should the power-sharing deal remain
At the weekend, the 84-year-old leader took the MDC by surprise when he
gazetted a notice allocating key ministries, such as home affairs and
finance, to his own Zanu (PF) .
America.gov (Washington, DC)
14 October 2008
Posted to the web 15 October 2008
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said October 14 that there is now
"a real bump in the road in terms of the implementation" of the September 15
agreement between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).
Under the deal, mediated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, the
opposition would control 16 Cabinet seats and Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party would have 15.
Mugabe's government published a list October 11 showing how it intends to
divide the ministries. It awarded itself key portfolios such as defense,
home and foreign affairs, justice, mining and land, and assigned the
opposition relatively minor ministries such as constitutional affairs and
water management. Tsvangirai has threatened to break off talks on forming a
McCormack said Mugabe "apparently overstepped the bounds" of the September
15 deal "in claiming several ministries that were not part of the
He said trust in Zimbabwe's long-term ruler has "always been the open
question" when it came to the power-sharing deal. After it was announced,
"we welcomed the agreement but we also held out final judgment until it was
"The devil is in the details of the implementation," McCormack said, and the
United States will wait to see how the current impasse is resolved.
"Of course, any implementation solution has to be one that is acceptable to
the MDC and Mr. Tsvangirai," he said.
According to the World Food Programme, more than 5 million people -- nearly
half of Zimbabwe's population -- are facing starvation while talks to form
the government continue.
In an October 9 worldwide appeal for assistance, the U.N. agency said $140
million was needed to provide enough rations for its food stocks, which are
set to run out in January 2009.
Millions of Zimbabweans have already run out of food or are surviving on one
meal a day, the agency said.
The United States continues to be the largest donor to the World Food
Programme and has also been a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to
Zimbabwe. Between 2002 and 2007, the United States gave about $400 million
in humanitarian assistance, most of which was food aid.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 02:43 RVOP
At least three inmates die everyday at Khami maximum security prison due to
shortage of food and other illnesses, prison officers confirmed to RadioVOP.
Prison officers who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed to RadioVOP
that an average of three inmates die at the prison everyday.
"People die everyday here. At least three people die and as you can see,
there are 21 bodies in this room and we are just waiting for their relatives
to come and collect...and if they don't do that, we will give them a
paupers' burial. There is nothing we can do because there is no mortuary
here," said a prison officer.
To make matters worse, there is no mortuary in the prison complex and bodies
are piled up in one room. Prison authorities say they cannot transport the
bodies to Bulawayo hospitals as prison vehicles have broken down.
Prison officers revealed that there was a serious shortage of food and
spread of HIV/Aids through homosexual tendencies.
"A doctor comes here once and even if someone gets seriously ill, we can't
take them to town because there are no cars. Our truck has been parked for
more than four months because of shortage of spares," he said.
By Alex Bell
15 October 2008
The severe food crisis in Zimbabwe is putting the lives of the country's
children at great risk - with many youngsters already beginning to succumb
to the effects of malnutrition, disease and starvation.
Aid agencies have predicted that up to 5 million Zimbabweans will face
starvation by January, but the present crisis and unraveling humanitarian
disaster is already taking its toll and an entire generation of children is
unlikely to survive as far the end of the year. At the same time farmers
unions have said that food aid will be vital for at least the next eighteen
months because of poor harvest projections for the upcoming farming season.
In an act of great cruelty the government banned food aid distribution in
June. This has been partially lifted and aid agencies are now battling to
try to get food to those who are most desperate and at risk.
Journalist Jan Raath went on an undercover journey through the eastern
province of Manicaland and described to Newsreel a terrible scene of death
and suffering. Raath said the country's reserves of food are clearly
exhausted and the diseases related to hunger "kwashiorkor, marasmus and
pellagra are appearing to a degree never seen in the country before."
"Emaciated children are being taken to hospitals, but half of those are
being turned away," Raath explained. "Half of those lucky enough to be
admitted die and God knows what happens to those that are sent home." He
said the smallest victims of the country's combined crises all carry signs
of kwashiorkor. "Their hair is clumps on what look like oversized heads and
their bodies are swollen with oedema," Raath described.
Pellagra, an adult form of malnutrition that ends in madness and death, is
also starting to become common and not just in the impoverished rural areas.
Raath said that three private doctors had seen patients with severe symptoms
in the past fortnight. "It means even the middle class are starving," Raath
The partial lifting of the food aid ban has only seen a trickling in of much
needed, critical aid, and Raath has no doubts that the present situation
could have been avoided. "The main reason that we now see so many children
dying is because of the food aid ban," Raath said. He explained that
hospitals, which should be regarded as a safe haven to receive food and
treatment, are unable to feed the sick. "They receive one day's supply of
milk, but then get nothing for five days straight," Raath said. He went on
to say that "the Government is doing its best to cover up the situation and
most doctors are told not to talk about the situation publicly." He added
that many doctors cannot approach aid agencies for food, for fear of
revealing how desperate the situation is.
"It clearly shows that the government has no interest or concern for the
people," he said.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
October 14, 2008
By Geoffrey Nyarota
I BELIEVE I speak on behalf of the majority of Zimbabweans when I express
the hope that Thabo Mbeki returned to Harare this time around driven by a
singular determination not to depart again without achieving the success we
yearn and pray for.
The current round of negotiations that have bedevilled Zimbabwe under his
stewardship over the past many months will not yield the desired result,
however, unless certain pertinent facts that may be unpalatable to some of
the contesting parties are taken into serious consideration.
That the negotiations have already lasted so long is an indictment on the
negotiating skills of both Mbeki and the Zimbabwean political leaders. But
they cannot allow the negotiating process to proceed beyond this round
without finding a solution; otherwise the whole initiative must be abandoned
as a total failure and a waste of precious time.
The political parties partaking in the negotiations should be mindful that
they are negotiating, not for personal benefit, or in a quest for power and
glory. They were elected by the electorate in March and June, however
questionable the process and they represent the people. The welfare and the
future well-being of the citizens of Zimbabwe must be held paramount in
their deliberations. Their major pre-occupation should be to seek to redress
the economic, political and human rights crises that have ruined Zimbabwe.
For an inordinately long period of time, the people of Zimbabwe have endured
pain, deprivation and humiliation, while remaining silent and patient, even
in the face of open provocation.
In those circumstances it cannot be too much to ask the politicians to
tamper their expectations in accordance with the reality of the situation
they have created with little regard for the welfare of the people.
Zanu-PF, or the MDC for that matter, cannot demand to take charge of certain
ministries merely to satisfy the expectations or the aspirations of
individual politicians. That cannot continue to be a guiding principle. In
the case of Zanu-PF, Mugabe is on record as saying that his last cabinet was
the worst he has ever presided over, in terms of the performance of
This is a sentiment fully endorsed by the majority of Zimbabweans, a rare
achievement for Mugabe of late; to have any of his pronouncements receive
the approval of even those of his compatriots that he has systematically
alienated over the years. It is for that reason that the people denied so
many of the ministers in question their vote in March. It was because he was
the leader of an under-performing team and because of his own lackluster
performance that they gave more votes to Morgan Tsvangirai, even though it
took the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission a total of five weeks to count the
In those circumstances it is amazing that Zanu-PF should demand, as Mugabe
did on Friday, the very ministries in which he openly admits they have
performed dismally. I refer here to the crucial ministries of Finance,
Foreign Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs, Justice, Information and others,
which he arbitrarily apportioned to his party on the list which he had the
audacity to gazette on Friday night.
Strangely Zanu-PF says precious little by way of justifying the allocation
of these ministries to themselves.
Let's take the controversial Ministries of Home Affairs, for instance. Under
a succession of ministers, some of clearly dubious credentials, there has
been an outright breakdown in law and order in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe
Republican Police has been reduced to a politically partisan institution.
The police force has become highly politicised under a Commissioner General
who openly declares his own allegiance to President Mugabe. Generally, there
has been a shocking deterioration in the standards of policing. The voters'
roll is now a total shambles. To be issued with a passport has become an
In the face of such crass incompetence on what basis does Zanu-PF demand to
retain the Ministry of Home Affairs?
The Ministry of Finance has been the worst performer. A succession of
ministers has presided over the collapse of our economy. Matters of economic
policy have been relegated to the Governor of the Reserve Bank. Gideon Gono's
simple answer to Zimbabwe's dire economic situation has been to print
worthless bank notes with reckless bank abandon.
Ironically, while the President Mugabe shamelessly hurls endless abuse at
President George Bush, the American dollar has become the official currency
In the area of Foreign Affairs the government - Mugabe himself in
particular - has reduced Zimbabwe to the status of an internationally
isolated nation, a pariah state, shunned by most of the international
community. Those African nations the government would have us believe
support Zimbabwe do so only out of some form of pan-African nepotism. Even
then, none of them ever makes unequivocal public pronouncements in support
of Zimbabwe or Mugabe.
They merely suffer his presence in silence when they meet at international
fora. Those African leaders who publicly voice their opinion are critical of
Mugabe - Raila Odinga of Kenya, the late Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia and Ian
Seretse Khama of Botswana. They did not collectively endorse the election
which Mugabe claim he won by a landslide. Mugabe arbitrarily pulled us out
of the Commonwealth. He did not seek our mandate. He treats our country as
The belligerence that characterizes Mugabe's relationship with certain
foreign leaders is totally without the consent of the people of Zimbabwe. I
have listened to Zimbabwean diplomats as they speak of the utter
embarrassment of representing a country whose leader does not respect
diplomatic etiquette, a leader whose approach to international relations is
totally devoid of the decorum expected and required of a statesman.
But, so they say, they have to support their families.
Mugabe accuses the media both national and foreign of painting a negative
picture of our Zimbabwe. He is the worst culprit in this regard. It should
be a condition of the agreement that he desists from such behaviour. The
Ministry of Information has totally ruined Zimbabwe's media sector. Herald
House, an imposing building in its heyday was built on revenue from
newspaper sales and advertising. Today The Zimbabwe Times publishes a story
about Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd, a once magnificent company, which now
fails to pay its journalists and other staff.
Jonathan Moyo and George Charamba must hang their heads in shame.
What strategies does Zanu-PF have for the recovery of the media sector?
Instead of just making demands they must explain.
The suggestion here is not that Zanu-PF surrenders everything to the MDC.
After all, the MDC did not secure a resounding victory. That is debatable,
however, given the inordinate delay in the announcement of poll results. In
the case of the presidential election the result was not announced for a
total of five weeks. This is totally unheard of the world over, but then the
people of Zimbabwe are so civil, so humble, so patient and so law-abiding.
Mugabe and Zanu-PF should recognise and respect these amazing qualities.
So should Mbeki.
Above all, both Zanu-PF and MDC cannot simply demand to be allocated certain
ministries without justifying those demands by explaining to the
satisfaction of the people they seek to serve what exactly they propose to
change or to achieve in those portfolios for the benefit of the nation.
Mbeki must not preside over the signing of another half-baked agreement. The
future of Zimbabwe over the next five years is at stake. He must hold a
private meeting with Mugabe where he should impress upon him the fact that
presidents don't own countries, while citing his own recent experience.
Finally, Mugabe must realise that it is either an admission of failure or a
display of total lack of ambition and enterprise for him to seek to remain
on the same job in the same office for a total of 33 years.
|Nobody can deny that it was a pretty good deal for a man who lost the election.|
The Heart of the Matter
Tanonoka Joseph Whande
I received feedback from some listeners.
A listener calling himself 'Dannyboy' took issue with Simba Makoni's
intentions to form another political party.
The letter reads in part:
"Having read Mr Whande's article I must agree with him in the
broadest sense. It is true that Makoni forming another party will only
"muddy" the political landscape. What is needed by Zimbabwe now is
people with less personal political ambitions not daydreamers with
delusions of grandeur. Makoni should be mature and realise this and join
existing structures rather than try and pull off a hopeless charade. And
to his number should be added the great professor Moyo. Inexplicably,
Whande left Moyo off his list yet no one has done more political
bed hopping then Moyo. So, to Mr Moyo we say please rein in those daydreams,
shut your mouth, unless, of course, you are apologising for the damage you
And last week, we were also subjected to another mindless effort in forming
another political party, the so-called Mthwakazi People's Convention (MPC)
which seeks to break up Zimbabwe into tiny little pieces to satisfy the egos
of some misguided people.
The MPC quotes Chief Kayisa Ndiweni, one of hundreds of chiefs, past and
present, saying that since independence in Zimbabwe people of Matabeleland
have not received what they should have.
The MPC should also ask people in Chivi, both north and south, Mwenezi,
Malipate, Chiredzi and other areas neglected by Mugabe.
We don't re-balance things by agitating for autonomy. This is a cowardly and
dangerous way of doing things and one which will never mature because
regardless of how angry people get, Zimbabwe will never ever be parceled out
to any tribe, big or small.
The MPC accuses the MDC of not talking about Matabeleland; there is
absolutely no reason for the MDC to do so at the expense of other areas so
neglected. The MDC talks about all neglected areas in the country except
Mash West and Central.
The sovereignty of Zimbabwe has nothing to do with Mugabe. It has to do with
Zimbabwe; Zimbabwe is not going to divide itself to please a tribe at the
expense of others.
Fighting Mugabe is not fighting Zimbabwe. The MPC should remove its colonial
blindfolds and understand that there is no Matabeleland, Mashonaland or
Manicaland, only Zimbabwe.
And Zimbabwe shall remain one country. Anyone who has nostalgia for
Bantustans can stream down to South Africa where such policies were used to
divide African people.
Speaking of South Africa, I am concerned about the extent to which Zimbabwe
has become heavily reliant on South Africa to solve our problems.
Reliance on South Africa to arbitrate or help to solve the problem in
Zimbabwe has now gone way past the normal mediation functions to something
resembling a preliminary systematic auctioning of our country, and it is
being done with the aid of both the MDC and ZANU-PF.
The MDC's over reliance on South African mediation has now become a cowardly
way of handling negotiations.
The MDC was misled by ZANU-PF and signed an agreement before the
negotiations had been concluded and now the nation is once again in despair,
marooned in the political darkness of ZANU-PF's double dealing.
While the MDC meant well, Robert Mugabe was toying with people who were
trying to bring some semblance of sanity to our country.
But the MDC's haste also betrayed a complete lack of foresight and a
disturbing absence of alternatives that a leading party ought to have.
Instead of a neutral arbitrator, we got Thabo Mbeki.
Instead of an impartial African eminent person to help bring antagonistic
political players together, we got Mbeki who fanned more chaos within one of
the parties at his negotiating table.
Then, instead of an honest mediator, we got Mbeki again.
He failed and was also immediately fired by his own party and lost the South
African presidency hardly two weeks after engineering a barren and
ridiculous agreement between Zimbabwe's opposing sides. What a missed
But even after losing the support and trust of his own people, South Africa
again chose Mbeki to "continue" with his "mediation" efforts in Zimbabwe.
Mbeki is now clearly lethargic and totally unenthusiastic about this
assignment because he knows that having failed to achieve something of note
while he was a sitting president of South Africa, he won't achieve much as a
He knows his limitations and the damage he caused to himself through his
ill-advised 'quiet diplomacy' which was clearly designed to give one of the
protagonists, Mugabe, an edge in lopsided negotiations.
And now, to strengthen Mbeki's hand in negotiations, the South Africans have
now sent their Intelligence Minister to be involved in the ZANU-PF/MDC
negotiations talks. Intelligence minister, why?
We now have South Africa's number one spy negotiating peace in public as if
that country did not play a role, through deliberate neglect or otherwise,
in destroying Zimbabwe.
Considering Mugabe's desperation, can we believe that state secrets are safe
with this man who once even sold national assets to his friends in Malaysia?
Does Africa not have enough diplomats to bring warring sides to the table
that Zimbabwe has to be overwhelmed by South Africans who have let this
issue drag on for so long as they attempted to keep an unpopular dictator
The Zimbabwean stalemate requires another child of Africa to handle it with
firmness, impartiality, fairness and with clout from SADC, the AU and the
UN. The South Africans rested Mbeki and they should also rest him in a case
he has failed to solve for many years. Mbeki might have the time to play
around but Zimbabwe is in dire straits and needs a real solution now. Mbeki
leaves too much room for Mugabe to play around with a nation he has ruined.
However, South Africa's designs go beyond solving the Zimbabwean problem.
South Africa is not necessarily interested in settling the Zimbabwe
quagmire; they are interested in establishing a business foothold that will
effectively make Zimbabwe a province of South Africa.
Only a few weeks ago, South African farmers had loaded their trucks and
"stood willing to assist Zimbabwe at any time".
So too were business and financial institutions who have already put aside
millions and millions to invest in Zimbabwe as they "assist" in reviving
Mbeki's strategy on Zimbabwe, whether intentional or otherwise, clearly
benefited South African business. They watched the country slowly
disintegrating over decades while they prepared precisely for this moment.
Now, because of their proximity, they are at the doorstep "ready to help".
The looming collapse of the agreement is a great disappointment and it means
further suffering for Zimbabweans who have not known peace since 2000 and
who have experienced little of it before that.
I applaud Tsvangirai and the MDC for going out of their way to seek a
solution to the problem that confronted the nation. I applaud Tsvangirai for
his patience and honest attempt to change the fortunes of our country. In
that vein, they pushed and shoved to get Mugabe and his ZANU-PF to the
The heart of the matter is that Mugabe never had any intention to honour any
agreement. It is all a façade to buy time and hoodwink the international
community into believing that an honest effort is being made to resolve the
The world, especially SADC, the AU and the UN should draw the line and stop
one crazed old man from holding the world at ransom over Zimbabwe. It is
time to be emphatic and precise not to toy around with a dictator who has
toyed with too many people's lives.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my compatriots, is the way it is
today, October 16, 2008.
15th Oct 2008 18:30 GMT
By John Fenandes
MUTARE - A Zimbabwean soldier with the rank of sergeant was murdered by
villagers at Nenhowe near Nyanyadzi following a dispute over diamonds,
police have confirmed.
Michael Jimu, who was based at Three Brigade in Chikanga, Mutare, died as a
result of assaults by close to 100 villagers and illegal diamond miners.
Police spokesman in Mutare, Inspector Brian Makomeke told the media the
soldier was attacked with stones, open hands and booted feet after a dispute
over diamonds had gone out of hand.
The police said the soldier had been hired together with two other men to
recover a piece of diamond from one Joseph Hamusa of Nenhowe Village. He was
accompanied by Lovemore Musapingura and Denis Mangudya.
The solider and his team went to Hamusa's home, searched and took $Zd80
million (revalued) resulting in a fight breaking out between the two
"A fight erupted between the two parties resulting in Mangudya stabbing
Hamusa's mother on the arm," Makomeke, the police spokesman said. "Other
villagers joined in the fight resulting in the assault of Jimu."
The police spokesman said the soldier was taken to Birchenough Bridge
Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
His colleagues were arrested and are being charged with robbery and assault.
The dead soldier has since been buried at Yeovil Cemetery. The funeral
parade was held at the Three Brigade.
Since the discovery of diamonds at Chiadzwa in Marange several people have
been murdered following disputes arising from the precious stones.
Powerful cartels which are immune to arrest and prosecution have also
emerged amid concerns this may fuel high profile crime in the eastern
Police have launched countless operations to stop the illegal mining and
dealing in diamonds but the exercise appears not to be yielding any result.
So far only small time miners and dealers have been successfully arrested
and prosecuted. Big time dealers continue to make forays in and out of the
fields to buy the diamonds without much hassle.
By Chief Editor, on October 14 2008 15:32
Corruption at government hospitals has become rife with general nurses
selling medications through the back door.
An account from a Chitungwiza woman revealed what is taking place at the
government referral hospital. Talking to Zimbabwe Gazette she said that they
had to give a nurse some money so that prescribed medication could be given
to her ailing mother.
"For my mother to be given a drip we were told that they were not available
at the hospital and had to go and buy on our own from pharmacies. However a
nurse followed us on our way out and told me that if we paid her something
she would release the drip to us as they had it at the hospital," said the
Chitungwiza woman who prefers anonymity. She said the nurse told them that
medication was there but just as everyone is making a living out of the
resources at their work places, they as nurses are simply doing the same.
"She said that we had not to be amazed by this as it so common nowadays,"
went on the woman.
She stated that after giving the nurse some money their mother was given the
drip though she unfortunately passed away. On talking with several patients
in the hospital after paying them a visit, they said though medication in
government hospitals was scarce the little the hospital has is being sold
through the back door by the nurses.
"We are here and we see them (nurses) contacting these back door deals
with our relatives when we need medication. It is such a pain as some of us
only need not much of specialized medication," said a patient who only
identified himself as Chamunorwa who was referred to Chitungwiza Hospital
A nurse whom we managed to get some little information from said she could
not deny that this is what is going on.
"Just like everywhere else nurses also can make a living from their work
places just like an other employee at any company," she said. She said that
only when the government which is their employer starts addressing their
plight, they will continue selling medication through the back door.
The Zimbabwe Gazette earlier on had a story that stated people were sleeping
on the floor in Chitungwiza Hospital and up to now the situation is even
getting worse. Many patients are finding themselves in the congested
hospital and some are sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Efforts to get
comments from the management of the hospital were fruitless as they could
not comment to alternative media.
"Do you want me fired? Of course as a referral hospital we now have to make
do with an increased number of patients. On the issue of nurses selling
medication I cannot comment." said a senior official at the hospital when we
had asked him to comment.
Parirenyatwa hospital is also said to be suffering from the lack of
medication with many dying in the hospitals or having to be send back home
awaiting their death. The situation is being made worse by the said back
door selling of the little medication available by nurses.
HARARE, 15 October 2008 (IRIN) - Tendai Moyo, 28, living in the Zimbabwean
capital, Harare, goes into a shop in the downtown area and heads for a shelf
where, a day ago, she saw a feeding bottle she wanted to buy for her
She picks it up and goes to the till, convinced she can afford this luxury for her child, but the cashier nonchalantly tells her the price has more than doubled, and the new price is more than the cash she has on her.
Moyo, a cleaner and one of the few people with a job in a country with an unemployment rate of more than 80 percent, storms out and joins a long queue at a nearby bank to see if she can withdraw more money.
After three hours, having withdrawn the maximum daily limit of Z$50,000 (US$2.50) and added it to the $Z100,000 (US$5) given to her by her husband, a driver for a commercial bank, she returns to the shop. She again picks up the feeding bottle, but is then told by the cashier that in her absence the price has gone up and she is now $Z30,000 (US$1.50) short.
Moyo is no longer on maternity leave and had hoped to use the bottle for her son's formula because she cannot breastfeed him regularly.
"This price madness is frustrating, and it makes you hopeless because it seems it will never come to an end. I just don't understand why and how prices keep on increasing at such a rate," Moyo told IRIN. "I have given up and will have to use a cup instead of the bottle that is ideal for my son."
Navigating the official annual inflation rate of 231 million percent is as perplexing to the customers as it is to the vendors. "We spend more time changing price tags than serving customers. The branch manager visits the shop floor at least two times a day with a new list of prices for the commodities that are still in stock," the cashier at the shop, who declined to be identified, told IRIN.
"In fact, these days he spends more time in meetings with other managers than supervising us, and I suspect that it is at these meetings that changes to the prices are made." As inflation spirals, business has rapidly tapered off. Most customers walk into the shop, examine the price tags, shake their heads and walk out.
He said shoppers were sometimes annoyed, or made derisory remarks like: "You will have to buy these items yourselves before they rot, because we will never come back here!"
Three prices for one item
At another shop a few streets away, transactions in foreign currency have become accepted after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) recently allowed them.
A three-tier pricing system is used: some commodities are sold for foreign currency, others — mostly small and perishable goods — are sold for local currency, and another set of prices - marked up by more than a 1,000 percent - are for those paying by credit card.
|Never in my life have I seen one shop selling the same product using three different prices. It boggles the mind, and I cannot understand why the value of one item changes from one shelf to another|
"Never in my life have I seen one shop selling the same product using three
different prices. It boggles the mind, and I cannot understand why the value of
one item changes from one shelf to another," said Samuel Godzongi, an informal
trader who left his job as an auto-electrician because the salary became
Even the cost of commodities priced in foreign currency changed routinely. "It seems this is the only country in the world where goods bought in foreign currency are eaten up by inflation so fast," he said. "Besides, the prices are way ahead here as compared to neighbouring countries, and to me there is no justification for it."
He told IRIN that consumers had no option but to go without basic items, because "there just is no way in which you can buy them, unless you were to resort to robbery."
"What is even more painful is that no matter how much money you have in the bank, the daily withdrawal limits make it impossible for you to buy the items that you need. No matter how fast the central bank introduces higher denominations for the local currency, it cannot keep pace with the speed with which prices are galloping."
Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist and former chief executive of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), said licensing shops to sell in foreign currency was contributing to inflation.
Inflation and politics
"It should be remembered that black market [parallel market] rates of foreign currency are going up every day, if not several times a day. As a result, for goods sold in local currency, the prices go up as well in direct response, and retailers tend to use the foreign currency mark-ups to increase the prices of goods sold in cash," Makwiramiti told IRIN.
He said prices were also responding to the political climate, and the deadlock in talks since a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change was signed on 15 September.
|After news that a political deal had been signed, parallel market rates fell and prices were beginning to respond. However, when it became clear that political parties had reached a deadlock, prices began to shoot up again|
"After news that a political deal had been signed, parallel market rates fell
and prices were beginning to respond. However, when it became clear that
political parties had reached a deadlock, prices began to shoot up again, this
time more steeply than ever before. It is mostly speculative," Makwiramiti said.
"With prices of basic commodities such as food now unaffordable to the majority, average workers have turned into beggars, going to restaurants during lunch time to ask for leftovers from the few who are still able to afford it."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Posted : Wed, 15 Oct 2008 15:03:15 GMT
Author : DPA
Harare (dap) - The world marked the United Nations' first Global
Hand-Washing Day Wednesday but in Zimbabwe, where a severe economic crisis
has made clean water a precious commodity, handwashing can be downright
risky. The UN introduced the day to highlight the importance of handwashing
to prevent disease in a world in which about half the population does not
have access to safe water.
In parts of the Zimbabwean capital Harare residents go for more than three
weeks without tap water, because the government of President Robert Mugabe
is short on cash to pay for water purification chemicals.
"For us here washing hands can be a luxury. There is no safe water. We now
mainly depend on water from wells," said Shame Chinyani, a 27 year-old
resident of Chitungwiza, a township of nearly one million residents about 30
kilometres south-east of Harare.
"When the water is available from the taps, it is usually very dirty. The
situation is very bad and if something is not done urgently, the whole
population will suffer from water-borne diseases," said Chinyani.
The lack of water forces people to defecate in the open, where the collapse
of the refuse collection system means huge heaps of garbage have piled up in
The sanitation breakdown is causing increasingly regular outbreaks of
cholera. One such outbreak claimed at least eleven people lives in
Chitungwiza in September.
"I think the idea of such a day (Global Handwashing Day) is wonderful.
People need to be made aware of the importance of washing hands to avoid
diseases outbreaks," said 32-year-old Mary Shambandiripo, a mother of two
who lost a cousin to cholera.
Health experts say the situation is the result of an economic crisis
characterized by nine-figure inflation that has left Mugabe's regime
In most southern townships of Harare, Zimbabweans, once among Africa's
richest people, are now drawing water from rivers or shallow wells.
Besides water, cash, fuel and food are in critically short supply.
Zimbabweans had been hoping for a reprieve when Mugabe struck a deal with
Morgan Tsvangirai in September to share power in a unity government, to
which Western governments tentatively promised aid.
But squabbling between the rivals over the distribution of ministries has
delayed the implementation of the deal.
HARARE, October 15 2008 - The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is now
deploying plain clothes police officers to raid foreign currency dealers in
Harare, Radio VOP can reveal.
The officers have been deployed at places such as Road Port,
Copacabana and in the Avenues area of the capital.
A Radio VOP reporter was raided while changing foreign currency on
Tuesday by the ZRP. The officer told the reporter that this was an operation
commanded by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Gideon Gono. He
however accepted a USd 10 bribe to let the reporter go scot free.
The officer said the plain clothes police officers were now arresting
those changing foreign currency on the streets of the capital as this was
illegal. He said the RBZ had set up shops at which foreign currency could be
However the rates for foreign currency are more lucrative on the
streets of Harare and citizens prefer to exchange their currency there. The
Radio VOP reporter had changed USd 30 and received Zd 220 000.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:48
Eleven members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), including Hon.
Marvelous Khumalo were acquitted on por-ZANU-PF charges that they had been
involved in public violence following the March 29 election.
Hon. Khumalo was accused of throwing stones at the house of former St Mary's
legislator Mr Job Sikhala and harassing his supporters while in the company
of two party activists, Brighton Mazhindu and Simbarashe Makuwaza.
Khumalo, Temba Maphenduka, Amos Kobwe, Trevor Mutizwa, Takura Majoko, Obert
Muchawaya Pharaoh Kasambira and Evelyn Mutuwi were also cleared of throwing
more stones at the house of former acting mayor Darlington Nota.
Magistrate Mr Shane Kubonera discharged the 11 at the close of the State's
case citing lack of incriminating evidence. The eleven had been arrested by
the pro-ZANU-PF police oon bogus charges.
During and after the March 29 election, the ZRP police arrested scores of
MDC activists and supporters accusing them of public violence.
According to the MDC, though there are some still languishing in prison,
most of those arrested have been released from police custody as the state's
cases continue to collpase in court.
When the MDC supporters and activists were arrested, the real perpatrators
of violence, the ZANU-PF militia, War Vets, where left to roam around free.
Upto now, these political criminals, most with blood on their hands and with
witnesses to prove that they killed people, still walk free without fear of
In the MDC Eleven case, it was the court's finding that the State through
its witnesses failed to prove a prima facie case against the 11 and that
there was no need for them to be put to their defence.
Prosecutor Mr Nyambo Viera alleged that on February 10 Khumalo, Mazhindu and
Makuwaza and others still at large, held an illegal door-to-door campaign
singing songs and chanting slogans.
It was the State's case that they harrassed Ms Annah Sikhala and Ms Mercy
Makwasha for supporting Mr Sikhala before they threw stones and damaged a
window-pane at Mr Sikhala's house.
The State also accused Khumalo and eight others of carrying out an
unsanctioned door-to-door campaign and threw stones at Cde Nota's house at
the end of March this year.
Posted Wednesday, October 15 2008 at 16:19
The deadlock in the Zimbabwe power-sharing deal is threatening to revive the
messy diplomatic confrontation between Zimbabwe and its diamond-rich
After leading the onslaught against the ZANU-PF government of President
Robert Mugabe, Botswana has once again become the first southern African
country to speak about the current crisis in Zimbabwe caused by the deadlock
over sharing cabinet posts.
Botswana has publicly indicated that it is not happy about the disagreement
between ZANU-PF and the two factions of the Movement for Multiparty
Democracy (MDC) on the division of cabinet posts.
Last Friday, Botswana president Ian Khama fired a thinly veiled broadside at
ZANU-PF for causing the current impasse in Zimbabwe.
Speaking in the second city of Francistown near the border with Zimbabwe,
Khama said that weeks after the parties in the Zimbabwe crisis signed a
power sharing deal, the impasse still continues "due to what I consider to
be selfish desires by one of the parties" an indirect reference to Mr Mugabe
Instead of former South African president Mr Thabo Mbeki, Khama has called
for an immediate deployment of SADC, African Union and United Nations
mediators to resolve the Zimbabwe impasse.
Besides, Khama, the spokesman for the Botswana Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr
Clifford Maribe has said that the deadlock is a grave concern to his
"Almost three weeks have elapsed since the agreement was signed and the
parties are reportedly deadlocked over how cabinet posts should be divided
among the three parties," Mr Maribe said in a statement.
He called on the mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis, Mr Mbeki to assist the
parties in the Zimbabwe dispute to reach an agreement.
Before Mbeki brokered a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe, Botswana tough
stance against the regime was becoming a messy diplomatic headache that
threatened to suck in other countries in the region.
University of Botswana political science lecturer, Professor Bertha
Osei-Hwedie feels that the confrontation between Botswana and Zimbabwe will
be revived if Mugabe continues to act unilaterally. "The statement from the
Botswana Ministry of Foreign Affairs is just the first rumble," she says.
However, she feels that any new confrontation will not cause too much
protocol problems in the region because after all, it is a quarrel between
politicians and diplomats who always find a way of accommodating each other
at international forums.
"Remember that Botswana has indicated that it is willing to talk to Zimbabwe
about its crisis. Even during the SADC summit in South Africa, Botswana did
not completely boycott because Skelemani went there," Osei-Hwedie says.
Before Mbeki brokered the Zimbabwe deal, signs had emerged that Botswana's
decision not to recognise Mr Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe was causing
diplomatic and protocol problems in the region.
While Botswana was shunning Mr Mugabe other countries in the region had
accepted him save for Zambia and Tanzania. This means that Botswana was
getting isolated diplomatically because it had started boycotting regional
forums where Mr Mugabe was invited.
It was becoming increasingly obvious that it will be very difficult for
Botswana to live with a neighbour whose president it does not recognise. But
the power deal offered an easy way for Botswana to recognise Mr Mugabe and
to end what was threatening to become an awkward diplomatic confrontation.
After the signing the deal, the state-owned Daily News of Botswana asserted
that "a new dawn seems to be on the horizon for Botswana-Zimbabwe relations".
After two rounds of presidential elections in March and June deepened the
simmering socio-political crisis in Zimbabwe, Botswana publicly and
frequently stated it does not recognise Mr Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe.
Botswana went further and pressed for the suspension of Zimbabwe from
continental and regional forums because it does not have a legitimate
Botswana claimed that all observers were agreed that the Zimbabwean polls
were deeply flawed and did not meet the SADC principles on free and fair
elections. Hence the elections did not produce a legitimately elected
After the first round of the elections, Botswana rubbed Mr. Mugabe the wrong
way by providing political asylum to opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai
who claimed that his life was in danger in Zimbabwe. Botswana then
engineered a special regional summit, in Lusaka Zambia to discuss the
Zimbabwe situation and hauled Mr Tsvangirai along amidst protests from some
ZANU-PF and Mr Mugabe definitely saw Botswana as a supporter of Mr
Tsvangirai, the man they love hate.
When reports emerged that the West might launch a military invasion of
Zimbabwe, Botswana was seen as the obvious launching pad. Such reports came
amidst claims that Botswana has put its military on high alert because of
the Zimbabwe crisis.
Botswana soldiers were said to be patrolling the common border with Zimbabwe
partly to control crime, illegal crossings but also to monitor what is going
on in the strife-torn neighbouring. Zimbabwe sternly warned Botswana about
any hostile military manouvres and said that it is prepared for a fight.
Botswana's decision to welcome political refugees from Zimbabwe and to
highlight their plight further put a dent in the two countries'
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 09:50
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) ---AS uncertainty surrounds the power-sharing
deal and the economic crisis worsens by the day, transport operators plying
the South Africa-Zimbabwe route are making lucrative business transporting
goods to Zimbabwe.
The transporters said business was brisk as more South African-based
Zimbabweans were sending goods, particularly food, to their starving
relatives back home.
"Business is moving on well with more customers using our services to
sustain their families back home. They prefer our services as we deliver
door-to-door," said a malayisha (informal transport operator) Jabu Tshuma,
who operates from Esibayeni Taxi Rank in Johannesburg to Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second largest city.
He added, "It obviously pains us that things are getting worse by the
day back home. Nonetheless, the situation helps boost our businesses because
our services are more crucial than ever."
Johannesburg's Park Station Rank, where buses that ply the
Johannesburg-Zimbabwe route is also a hive of activity as Zimbabweans send
groceries to families and relatives that are struggling to put something on
the table in their country.
A bus driver said business had been brisker in recent weeks.
"Business has peaked after revelations that Zimbabwe was running out
of food," he said.
He added that as a result of increasing demand, his company had added
another bus to the route. Anne Moyo said she was now sending groceries more
"Owing to the worsening situation, I now send my family groceries
every month either through malayishas and bus operators. However, this is
setting me back as I am not making lots of money," she said.
There are millions of Zimbabweans that reside in South Africa. These
sustain their relatives in Zimbabwe, which is experiencing dire food
shortages following the collapse of the agricultural sector. A shortage of
foreign currency has also exacerbated the situation.
This is one of a few highlights of the country's decline. Inflation is
estimated at 231 million percent, while unemployment and poverty levels are
at an all-time high.
The political situation is also uncertain as leaders are deadlocked
over the allocation of key cabinet posts, threatening a power deal they
recently signed to pave way for the reconstruction of the country--CAJ News.
Medical Teams International has shipped more than $1.3 million in medical supplies to Zimbabwe, a country with the world's lowest life expectancy according to the World Health Organization(WHO).
The supplies—including antiviral drugs, antifungal medications, and cortisone creams—will be distributed by Africa AIDS Response/Portland Mutare Sister City Association.
The delegation also includes Portland Mayor Tom Potter's wife, Karen Hansen; his chief of staff; and a contingent of teachers, students, artists and musicians. Mayor Potter, originally scheduled to lead the humanitarian mission, is remaining in Portland because of current domestic economic concerns.
"We are gratified to be part of this humanitarian partnership with the Mayor's office, Africa AIDS Response and the Portland Mutare Sister City Association," says Dave Beltz, director of commodity support at Medical Teams International.
"Families in Zimbabwe desperately need our care, our medical supplies and our commitment to help them recover from horrific conditions." .
Founded in 1979 as Northwest Medical Teams, Medical Teams International is a non-profit humanitarian relief and development organization that exists to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world.
In its 29-year history, Medical Teams International has deployed more the 1,900 volunteer teams and shipped more than $1.2 billion in antibiotics, surgical kits and lifesaving medicines to care for 35 million people in 100
My last visit showed me just how resilient the tourism industry is — surviving the multiple challenges of currency freefall, fuel crises, political gerrymandering, food shortages and widespread mayhem. It's been the one consistent bright light in an otherwise bleak period.
An estimated 100 000 Zimbabweans are employed in the tourism sector, managing to keep their jobs through the grim times. And considering that each employee probably supports a family, that’s a lot of people that would have been in pretty dire straits if Zim had not managed to hang on to its foreign visitors.
So now that things are looking up, it’s a good time to enjoy all that this awesome destination has to offer. Get in before the crowds, and while the prices are still competitive. Here are a few suggestions.
Victoria Falls has weathered the storm better than most other destinations, and it’s probably top of most people’s Zimbabwe wish list. But the political woes of the last few years have seen the town of Victoria Falls losing a fair number of its visitors, almost all of whom simply went across the river to Livingstone, in Zambia.
But it’s picking up pretty quickly and — even in the last year or two — a number of hotels have been spending money on refurbishment, certain that the wheel would turn. The Zim side of the falls offers a different view from the Zambian side. Some say a better view, but let’s just say it’s a complementary view, and you really should see both.
In fact, you can stay on one side and do a whole host of fun adventures, crossing the border almost daily. Activity-wise, it really doesn’t matter which side you stay on, but you’re likely to get some good accommodation deals on the Zim side. And, between the two, there is so much to do.
Adrenalin junkies will love the wild and wicked Batoka Gorge rafting, which has been described as the best one-day white water rafting trip in the world. Or you could do a tandem kayak trip on those same rapids, or even try your hand at river-boarding — not for wimps, as you negotiate those big and gnarly rapids on a boogie board.
Then there is the bungy jump. It’s not the world’s highest but it’s almost certainly the most scenic. There are gentle booze cruises and flat-water paddling trips for the less intrepid and, if you want an unbeatable view of the falls, you could fly over them in a micro-light or a helicopter.
You can ride an elephant, cuddle a baby lion or do a horseback safari. You could even play golf, and gamble away at the casino — unfortunately, not in Zim dollars, so you miss the chance of telling your friends you lost a million dollars at the roulette wheel, and smile about it! You could spend days in Vic Falls and never get bored.
Hwange National Park
But there’s more to Zimbabwe than Vic Falls. Hwange National Park has definitely had a bit of a hard time of it, but it’s hanging in there. Some of the lodges have closed down but there are a few still running — against all odds.
On my recent visit it was clear they were trying hard to keep going. The curtains and other soft furnishings were getting a bit tatty around the edges, and it was obvious there was no money to spare, but everything was spotlessly clean and the service was great. Best of all, there was so much game to be seen and — a mixed blessing — so few people!
Another destination that seems to have weathered the storm is Kariba, which has continued to attract anglers, bird watchers and big game junkies. The banks of this huge artificial lake are truly wild, with many areas being virtually inaccessible by land.
A large flotilla of houseboats is tethered to the jetties of the somewhat run-down town of Kariba, eagerly awaiting passengers to pit their skills against the ferocious tiger fish or the eminently edible bream, or to just laze their days away on the deck while some of the best scenery in Africa glides by. Strangely, even though Kariba — the lake, not the town — spans the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Zambian side has never really developed a good tourist infrastructure.
Mana Pools National Park
But that’s not the case further downstream. The Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe and the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia offer similar spectacular game viewing and spectacular paddling trips.
I’ve done both, and I preferred the Zim side only because power boats are allowed on the Zambian side. At this point the river is wide enough with enough channels that the two sides really do seem to be different destinations, and a power boat in Zambia can’t be heard in Mana Pools.
You can choose between a rough-and-ready participatory camping trip, on which you load all your goods into a canoe and set up camp on deserted islands or in sheltered coves. Or you can do a luxury trip on which the canoe is relatively free of goods as backup crew drive your luggage round, set up comfortable en-suite tents, light the fire, cook the yummy meals and ensure you have an ice-cold drink when you disembark.
And the best part — you only paddle for a few hours and then take a walk to give your arms a rest, and then you paddle for a while to give your legs a rest ... Pure bliss. A Mana Pools canoeing trip is one of the things you have to do before you die.
Doing your homework
The above are the most reliable and dependable destinations in Zimbabwe at the moment, but they are by no means the only accessible ones. You may just need to do a bit more homework to plan a trip to some of the other iconic spots, such as Matobo National Park, the cool, green Eastern Highlands, or the magnificent, mysterious and enigmatic Great Zimbabwe.
Quite a few independent travellers have visited a number of destinations, doing all their own driving and planning, or even taking public transport. But unless you are particularly adventurous, you’d be better off sticking to the tried and tested destinations and the established operators that have proved their resilience and commitment to the country by hanging in through the bad times. At least for the foreseeable future.
Don’t hold your breath, but if the agreement between Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe holds, the chances are that the tourism industry will bounce back with a surprising alacrity. Here’s hoping.
Story courtesy of www.MediaClubSouthAfrica.com
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13 October 2008
My Fellow Zimbabweans,
Last month, when I signed the historic political agreement, I spoke of
the hope that had returned once again to our country. A hope for a New
Zimbabwe that will soon bring an end to the suffering that is part of
all of our lives.
Today, I know that you are still suffering. I know that you are still
unable to provide food for your family or find affordable education or
health care. I know that you cannot find cash or jobs.
The reason for this continued suffering is simple. The spirit of the
agreement is not being adhered to and the unilateral list of
ministries published by Zanu PF on Saturday was not agreed to by the
MDC. That is not power sharing, it is power grabbing.
The sad thing is that while this process is stalled millions of
Zimbabweans, regardless of political affiliation, are suffering and
dying daily. Hunger does not care which political party you support
and poverty does not care which party you voted for.
A true power sharing arrangement is the only sensible way forward at
this stage because only the MDC can attract the international
assistance that is essential to rebuilding our country.
My fellow Zimbabweans, I have not lost the hope that burned so
strongly inside me last month. I am still hopeful because I know that
we are all united in wanting change.
I am also hopeful because our fellow African leaders in SADC and the
AU guaranteed the implementation of this agreement and they are
honourable people who will not sit by while the future of Zimbabwe and
the whole region is held hostage.
These African leaders also know that the MDC agenda is not about
retribution or witch hunting. Our agenda is about national healing and
rebuilding. Our agenda is about providing food, jobs, prosperity,
peace and security.
Let me assure you that we will not accept any deal that does not allow
us a realistic possibility of implementing this agenda. We shall
negotiate until agreement is reached. But that does not mean we will
compromise. If we don't have the instruments of change in this
agreement, then it is stillborn. We will not betray the mandate given
to us by you, the people.
I know that you are tired of this continual struggle, but I also know
that you stand with me in demanding a New Zimbabwe. A Zimbabwe that
our liberation heroes sacrificed for and for which so many of us have
now paid a heavy price. This is the Zimbabwe we deserve and the
Zimbabwe that we shall have.
I thank you.
May God Bless Zimbabwe
2. Ben Freeth - SAY NO TO COMPROMISE-IT WILL LEAD TO CONFLICT.
When it comes to Gods word and doing things His way with His principles in mind then there can be no compromise. Dealing with the devil has shown itself for what it is. It will only create father conflict down the line.
If as Christians we wish to see a country that works; a country where the people are fed; a country where plants and animals and people thrive and Gods love flows and brings healing to this land then there is a simple solution. We go back to God and we humble ourselves and pray and turn from the things that we know are wrong.
Compromise is wrong. Compromise shows our faith has weakened and we are afraid. We can not both trust God boldly and at the same time be afraid of man and what he will do to us or to the country if we don't compromise with him.
"Fear of man will prove to be a snare" says Proverbs 29.
The "deal" is a compromise of Gods word.
God's word says "don't be unevenly yoked." We know what will happen if we are. He knows of the conflict that it leads too.
When He gave the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai 3500 years ago it was His first act of guidance to the nation before they even got into the land. Those laws still stand. They can not be changed. They were written by Gods finger in stone. "Thou shalt not steal" was a fundamental part of it. "Thou shalt not covet" was another fundamental part. It was Gods constitution. It can not be compromised.
The "deal" endorsed theft by parroting that there will be no compensation and that the great land heist that has created so much hunger and suffering and death is "irreversible." The deal, done in secret with Mbeki, supports lawlessness. Is it any wonder that it is foundering?
I am afraid that such compromises will lead to further conflict. If the MDC hasn't pulled out by the time this letter is published they must do so. They must not compromise Gods word; they must turn to Him and trust Him and know that it is in Him and in His ways that we will see this land thrive once more.
If we compromise Gods laws we will see conflict far worse than the conflict that pragmatism and the alter of expediency tells us we need to avoid.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for Agriculture.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:21 Ashley D. Mwanza
I am always rapt by the ways in which political forces affect the life of an
individual, worse still lives of a multitude of people. Once one of
sub-Saharan Africa‘s most prosperous and promising states, Zimbabwe has
endured a traumatic decade, socially and economically. Nearly all forms of
socioeconomic activity have come to a standstill. The Zimbabwean crisis has
undoubtedly been one of the longest-running news stories of the past decade,
and an optimistic time frame for economic and social recovery is now
estimated to be a decade, at the very least. By then Zimbabwe would be
almost 40 years old and with no real achievement.
The people of Zimbabwe are no strangers to struggle, for they have fallen
through the cracks from colonialism, civil war, and now to the long and
atrocious rule of the current regime. With the heavy hand of the current
government has come the political nightmare that it has become everyday life
under its rule. Children are suffering more than anyone in the country,
which is torn by political skirmishes, poverty, and a heavily lacking
infrastructure, all of which is exacerbated by continuous food and cash
shortages all stemming from poor policies. The Government is covering up the
humanitarian disaster unfolding in the country in which millions are faced
with death, according to a report in The Times.
For a decade now, Zimbabwe's economy and quality of life have been in
uninterrupted decline. With Mugabe’s government completely unwilling to
doing anything to rectify the current political and social situation in the
country, the future for Zimbabwe’s children continues to look bleak. Public
exams due this month are already affected and unfortunately little looks to
change. Regrettably history indicates that international bodies and states
will not act effectively and efficiently on behalf of the children of
Zimbabwe, and Mugabe’s tight hold over the desperate nation is still strong.
Zimbabwe is a land of extreme contrasts. While the super-rich enjoy lives of
unrivalled privilege, millions of ordinary Zimbabweans suffer unimaginable
hardships. But why do things have to be this way? Only a month ago our main
leaders ‘finally’ so we thought that by shaking hands: the two rivals Robert
Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai had agreed to a power-sharing agreement after
months of negotiations and years of fighting each other. That happened
although many analysts did not believe and still don’t in the mediation
process which is an ‘African Solution’ and led by Thabo Mbeki, then South
African President who had to step down from office on September 25 ten days
after the historic day.
While Zimbabwe is going through these political quarrels; The economic
situation continues to weaken. Corruption, food and cash shortages and the
collapse of vital services are spreading everywhere in the country. The
annual inflation rate is at the moment estimated to be 231,000,000%, this
hyperinflation has created a climate of desperation. Only an estimated 20%
of adults have a proper job. The country is the fastest shrinking economy in
the world. A fifth of the adult Zimbabweans are thought of having HIV/AIDS,
without much of action against the disease as the health sector is in
disarray. In recent years, possibly up to at least one quarter of the
population has fled the country because of the political and economic
turmoil, these Zimbabweans now live in neighbouring countries, such as South
Africa and Botswana, or abroad in the United States, the United Kingdom and
Australia all in search of a better
The list is endless, any solution to Zimbabwe’s political and economic
crisis would only be possible through a properly negotiated process to reach
a genuinely workable government as the result and first steps for a new
constitution to be written.
The devil is most certainly in the detail of the government of national
unity agreement, it remains unclear who is ultimately in charge, some would
even say that basically two executive powers, two parallel governments are
existing now, something not very promising indeed, because the two power
centres will block each other. Momentum in Zimbabwe has been reached,
although the provisions of the power sharing document are quite dubious.
Help from the West, especially the European Union and the United States,
will be crucial. The first step was already taken: ten days after the
power-sharing agreement, the European Commission announced that it will
provide an extra €10 million in humanitarian relief aid to Zimbabwe, next to
€15 million in food aid already allocated this year. Before longer-term
reconstruction aid will be distributed, the EC stresses that it will depend
on the development of the democratic process in the country. The US,
however, will for sure wait for a longer time, as it is perceived to be one
of the fiercest critics of Mugabe.
I am without a doubt that opponents will challenge each other on a daily
basis. The more Tsvangirai is able to deliver to Zimbabweans, the faster the
world will distribute aid to the country. At the same time, it could take
months of continuous agony before the future path of Zimbabwe gets clearer.
In the end, no one knows whether the power-sharing agreement will work: It
is fused with ambiguity, contradictions and vagueness. Thereby such a
political agreement, which is grounded on the impunity for Mugabe’s former
actions, is unlikely to last. On the opposite, it could lead to more
atrocities in the future and starvation among Zimbabweans.
Was it wrong for the leaders to ignore the civic groups? Was the deal
rushed? How long will this impasse last? Since the tragic year when hell
broke loose in 2000, the Zimbabwean government has since drafted at least
six economic stabilization blueprints, which proved to be unsuccessful.
Central to the problem, was the involvement of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
in quasi-fiscal activities, frequent price and foreign exchange controls,
consistent defaulting on sovereign debts, a weak balance of payment record,
and a dramatic decline in agricultural output, due to a controversial
fast-track land reform policy.
In tandem with resolving the political impasse, government urgently needs to
institute a broad-based sustainable economic strategy, aimed at
rehabilitating the economy and attracting much needed FDI and foreign aid to
kick-start any reconstruction programs conducive to private sector
While opposition forces took control of Parliament in the March 2008
elections, the resultant chaotic presidential run-off elections in June 2008
have ensured that the incumbent remains in power and Zimbabwe remains a
captured and stalled state. This threatens to prolong Zimbabwe’s political
and economic crisis, worse still the suffering of the ordinary Zimbabweans.
Certainly Zimbabwe's economy can not hold up for that much longer.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s top expert on Zimbabwe in 2002 said
the country was on the brink of an economic crisis that would make the
current hardships seem like child’s play. Gerry Johnson in, the IMF’s
resident representative to Zimbabwe in 2002, said government mismanagement
could soon plunge the nation into a hyperinflationary spiral that would
bring the economy to its knees possibly before year’s end, yes end of
2002, and now we are almost at the end of 2008 and we are beyond our knees
“tapfugama namabvi parizvino nemagokora” (we have knelt on our knees and now
on our elbows). Now what next, on our faces? It’s tragic. Zimbabwe’s
economic crisis is a tragedy of immense proportions.