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National Executive calls for unity against the dictatorship

22 October 2005

The MDC National Executive committee met today 22nd October 2005, in the backdrop of the exaggerated, over-publicized and sensational fallout, to the National Council meeting on the 12th October 2005.
Zimbabwe faces a serious national crisis wherein rising inflation, unemployment and the collapse in social services have no precedent.
It is a period that calls for reflection and a united, solid leadership against the dictatorship, the pervasive corruption of the failing state and the growing arrogance of the beleaguered regime.
The Executive Committee therefore noted that there was an obligation on the MDC to hold its moral high ground and maintain the decisive leadership and resistance it has provided to the suffering masses of Zimbabweans in the last six years.
The Committee noted the people’s desire to see the resolution of the crisis through a broad-based, people-driven and people owned Constitution and the eventual holding of free and fair elections under that Constitution.
The Committee endorsed the people’s wish not to engage in processes that postpone the resolution of the crisis, including the active desire for the boycott of the Senatorial election.
Following this, the Executive resolved:
-         The re-affirmation of the need for unity in the party despite the vicious assault by the dictatorship and its propaganda machinery;
-         The reaffirmation of the party’s commitment to upholding its democratic, solidarity and social liberation values;
-         To immediately embark on a decisive programme of action for the demand of a new Constitution
-         To strengthen the party structures, particularly at branch and ward levels
-         To strengthen and enhance our relationship with civil society and other social partners.
Morgan Tsvangirai

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Zimbabwe opposition head says boycott gets backing


      Sat Oct 22, 2005 4:41 PM BST

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader said on Saturday his party
had backed his controversial decision to boycott next month's senate polls,
but a top-ranking party official said local groups might not fall into line.

A dispute over whether to participate in the elections on November 26 has
been threatening to split the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), the party that came closest to unseating President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF from power in 2000.

MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the polls are a part of a drive by
Mugabe's party to tighten its grip on power, but other MDC leaders fear that
if the opposition does not take part, it will be further edged out of
national politics.

Tsvangirai said in a statement the national executive, the organ that runs
the MDC's daily affairs, had backed his boycott stance and pledged action to
demand a new constitution to ensure a "truly independent commission" runs
Zimbabwe's elections and for a president to be limited to two terms in

Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango said although some officials opposing
Tsvangirai's stance had not attended a meeting on Saturday, the meeting had
a quorum.

Earlier this week, MDC Vice President Gibson Sibanda said Tsvangirai had
flouted the party's constitution and breached its provisions by overriding
the national council, the party's top decision-making body, which voted 33
to 31 in favour of contesting the ballot.

Sibanda, who did not attend Saturday's meeting, was not immediately
available for comment.

Secretary-General Welshman Ncube, who has been linked to the
pro-participation faction, said he was not aware of Saturday's meeting and
that the council decision stood.

When asked whether the party would field candidates when the nomination
court sits on Monday, Ncube said this was up to the MDC's provincial bodies.

"The council resolution to participate still stands and now it's up to the
various provinces to make up their minds on whether or not to implement that
resolution. I can't say that on their behalf," Ncube told Reuters.

Tsvangirai said the national executive agreed to campaign against the senate
polls and had mandated the party to engage civil society to tackle the
country's crisis by demanding a "broad based people-driven and people-owned

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Betrayed and bereft

Dear Family and Friends,

For six months we have not had a drop of rain in Zimbabwe and now, as we
wait for the first thunderstorm, the atmosphere is exceedingly strained.
Daytime temperatures are way up in the thirties Centigrade and the skies
are mostly clear and still. During the day we battle with flies which seem
to be everywhere and at night the mosquitoes whine and wheedle
incessantly. The mozzies, as we call them, are very bad already, even
before the rains have started, and they are going mostly unchecked as even
a simple tin of insecticide is now over quarter a million of dollars and a
luxury that few people can afford.

In Marondera this week we've gone two days without water, one day without
electricity and every day without petrol and yet, amazingly enough, we
muddle through one day after another. I have found it almost unbearable to
watch and follow Zimbabwe's politics this week as it seems the opposition
have lost their way, forgotten their reason for being and become intent on
squabbling over the chance to get a seat in a Senate which they themselves
said was not wanted and an unacceptable financial burden on a population
stretched way beyond the limits. Night after night state owned television
have announced with growing glee that that "the rift in the MDC is
widening" and have shown opposition party officials issuing opposing
statements and publicly contradicting each other. For six years we have
seen almost no coverage of the opposition party on national television but
this week the film footage has been incessant as the ruling party have
gloated, crowed and chortled at what Mr Mugabe calls "that irrelevant

I pray that by the time you read this letter, the MDC will have come to
their senses. I cannot believe that any one of them has forgotten the
rapes, arson, torture, beating, brutality and murder that have littered
our lives for the past five and a half years. I cannot believe that any of
them are happy and contented that their families are spread out all over
the world, in political and financial exile. I cannot believe that any one
of them will be able to look at themselves in the mirror and feel good
about earning a living as a Senator. It will be a living that ordinary
people are dying, literally, to give them. I cannot believe that any of
the MDC leaders, even one of them, think that these elections will be
different - clean, unrigged, free, fair and transparent.  Multiple
hundreds of thousands of people are already disenfranchised, either
through forced removal from their homes and constituencies through one
government policy or another or by having been declared aliens in the
country of their birth.

On Friday Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede announced on ZBC TV that people
displaced by Operation Murambatsvina would not be eligible to vote unless
they had re-registered in their new constituencies.  This announcement was
followed shortly afterwards by an advert advising that voter registration
would close just 48 hours later on Sunday.

And so, while it is agonising to watch the MDC tear themselves apart,
ordinary people are left feeling betrayed and bereft and asking why we
have all endured so much, suffered so much and lost so much. Certainly not
to become part of the gravy train. We are waiting for the rain in
Zimbabwe, and for democracy and an end to oppression, unemployment, hunger
and soaring inflation. Until next week, love cathy Copyright cathy buckle
22 October 2005.

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Zimbabwe currency move reflects desperate cash scramble


      Sat Oct 22, 2005 10:00 AM GMT

By Sujata Rao

LONDON (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's surprise move to let the market set the rate
for its beleaguered currency looks more like a desperate attempt to fill
empty government coffers than a serious effort to secure vital inward

Harare urgently needs hard currency to pay for wages, energy imports and the
$160 million it owes to the International Monetary Fund, but few foreign
investors are tempted by a country where annual inflation is above 350
percent, property rights are flouted and the economy is close to collapse.

But without political and economic reforms, Thursday's foreign exchange
shift will not bring any lasting benefits even if it temporarily shores up
exports, analysts say.

"The news that Zimbabwe is to float its currency on international markets is
yet another sign of desperation from the Mugabe regime," said London-based
Leo Hornak, Strategic Risk Analyst at Merchant International Group which
monitors political risk.

"The economic situation has now deteriorated to a point where it seriously
threatens the President's hold on power."

The problem of how to fund a ballooning fiscal gap while the economy withers
and the currency black market diverts any significant cash generated by
businesses away from government channels is a crucial one for President
Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's economy has contracted over 30 percent since 1997 as the
government-sanctioned seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution
triggered a collapse in agriculture, hitting exports and prompting investors
to flee.

Its main exports now are tobacco, minerals and cotton though these are
barely enough to make ends meet as the country suffers under its worst
economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980, with inflation
rampant and poverty pervasive.


Abandoning a foreign exchange regime that currently values the Zimbabwe
dollar at 26,000 to the U.S. dollar for a managed float that re-introduces
interbank dealing will see the currency plunge in value as it falls into
line with the 90,000 level the local unit changes hands for in the black

But it will give a fillip to exports and, by allowing exporters to exchange
70 percent of their earnings at market rates, analysts say the cash-strapped
government is betting it will raise more revenue from the 30 percent
exchanged at a rate set by the central bank than it currently does as firms
divert cash through the black market.

"It (the previous foreign exchange regime) led to a massive underreporting
of export receipts. Exporters indeed tried to sell as little as possible
through the official rate," said Elisabeth Gruie of BNP Paribas in London.

"Now with exporters having the right to keep 70 percent of their receipts,
the government collection might be more efficient, but with a shaky
political system the viability of this system is not warranted," she added.

The IMF said this month the country was "rapidly reaching a point" where
even if policy decisions were taken, "Zimbabwe would never be able to
recover" to the level it was at before.

Some analysts said the latest move could further devastate the lives of
ordinary Zimbabweans who are living a hand-to-mouth existence after six
years or recession.

"Inflation is rampant and there is a serious risk that this will spur
inflation further," said Lars Christensen emerging markets economist at
Danske Bank. "Furthermore, the government is completely uncommitted to
political and economic reform and fiscal policy is far from supportive."

The IMF estimates Zimbabwe's fiscal deficit will widen to 11.5 percent this
year and the economy will shrink by 7 percent. The central bank acknowledged
inflation would be 280-300 percent this year, versus the previous 80 percent

MIG's Hornak said the scramble for hard currency reflected recent reports of
serious shortages of food among the Zimbabwean army and police, who have
been relatively well-supplied so far.

"If this is now changing, the political balance of power could alter
rapidly," he said. "But one thing is clear -- there is no prospect of
economic recovery or even to recover a bit of what has been lost. It is
catastrophic," Hornak said.

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Election network says senate elections have already been rigged

From SW Radio Africa, 21 October

By Tichaona Sibanda

Dr Reginald Matshaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network, said Zanu PF has already rigged the upcoming senate poll, making
any MDC participation meaningless. 'Anyone contesting elections against Zanu
PF will not break the balance of power in terms of representation. Besides
the President nominating ten chiefs and six others to make it sixteen, they
have also neutralised all MDC strongholds by combining them with strong Zanu
PF constituencies.' There are five senate seats in each province. In the two
Matebeleland provinces, Dr Matshaba-Hove gave an example of Hwange West
(MDC) and Tsholotsho (Independent) being combined into one constituency. Two
other MDC constituencies Nkayi and Lupane were combined into one.
Surprisingly Bubi-Mguza constituency in the same province was left intact
because it voted Zanu PF. In Matebeleland South, the Beitbridge constituency
has also been left intact because it belongs to Zanu PF. Whereas the
Masvingo central constituency, which was won by a small margin by the MDC
has been combined with two rural Zanu PF constituencies, both won by an
overwhelming majority. He also said, 'the same applies in the Midlands and
other provinces outside Matebeleleland. The whole process smacks of
chicanery.' He discredited the whole process saying unlike the lower house
(Parliament) where the delimitation commission at least 'pretended to sit
down and work out constituencies' there were no procedures followed in
demarcating boundaries for the senate poll. According to Dr Matshaba-Hove,
'Patrick Chinamasa simply came up with the amalgamation of various
constituencies.quite often three constituencies combined into one. More
often than not urban constituencies were diluted by rural constituencies.'

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Zimbabwe facing crisis as stakeholders revolt


Steven Price in Harare

October 22, 2005

Zimbabwe cricket was heading towards another crisis after the provincial
associations passed a vote of no confidence on the Peter Chingoka-led
Zimbabwe Cricket board at an emergency meeting in Harare on Friday night.

The meeting at the Old Hararians club was attended by chairmen of Masvingo,
Manicaland, Matabeleland, Midlands, Matabelaland Country Districts,
Mashonaland Country Districts and Mashonaland, as well as players'

However, Mashonaland, the most influential single province, who are
themselves embroiled in an internal power struggle, were represented by
Cyprian Mandenge, who leads the pro-ZC board faction, and Elvis Sembezeya
who heads the anti-ZC board faction. As a result, the two did not have a say
in the proceedings.

The other six provincial associations passed a vote of no-confidence in the
national board, and that motion will be communicated to Malcolm Speed, the
ICC chief executive, on Monday. They also demanded the appointment of a
forensic auditor to investigate the board's finances amid growing reports of

The result of the vote is that Zimbabwe Cricket will almost certainly have
to call a special general meeting within 21 days to hear the views of all
stakeholders. However, in a bid to avert the potential embarrassment of a
no-confidence motion being passed then, ZC have announced the creation of
five new provinces - Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland
East, Matabaleleand South and Matabeleland North - despite the fact that
critics claim there is precious little cricket played in these regions.

The new provinces are likely to vote in favour of the existing regime. One,
Mashonaland West, already have an executive - Themba Mliswa. He is a
well-known figure and was described as a pro-Mugabe activist who has been
involved in activities close to the ruling Zanu-PF party.

According to a source at the club on Friday, Mliswa interrupted proceedings
and claimed that he had been sent by the state security department to call
it off as it was an illegally convened meeting of the opposition MDC party.
It seems that word of his likely disruption was leaked in advance and local
police were on site to remove him.

Earlier in the day an emergency ZC board meeting did not take place after
the directors once again failed to constitute a quorum as signs of cracks
grew deeper.

Most board members failed to turn up for the meeting on Friday in a move
insiders said was a protest against the way some executives have been
unilaterally making unpopular decisions. The sources say there has been
internal divergence in ZC against the selection process used chose three new
directors appointed on the ZC board this week. Wilson Manase, a lawyer,
Charlie Robertson, chairman of Mashonaland Country Districts, and Tavengwa
Mukuhlani, the controversial former chairman of the Mashonaland Cricket
Association, were appointed to the board this week, replacing ZC managing
director Ozias Bvute, and former directors Hemant Patel and Rick Pettipher.

This latest showdown follows weeks of player unrest over contracts and the
dismissal of Phil Simmons as national coach. Three cricketers - Heath
Streak, Stuart Carlisle and Craig Wishart - have announced their retirement
in the last month while others have made clear their deep unease with the
way the national game is being administered.

On the field, a sequence of dismal results were capped this week when an
almost full-strength Zimbabwe A side were whitewashed 3-0 in Harare by

© Cricinfo

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