The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe opposition hit by new feud over women's wing

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - The head of the women's wing of Zimbabwe's opposition
Movement for Democratic Change is launching a bid to stop MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai from closing her organisation, a statement said on Monday.

Lucia Matibenga said the decision to dissolve the Women's Assembly was
illegal as Tsvangirai had failed to properly consult its members and she
planned to present her case before Zimbabwe's high court on Tuesday.

"The MDC leadership is breaking the constitution left, right and centre,"
Matibenga, a founder member of the party said.

"My application is an attempt to force the MDC to follow its constitution."

The decision to dissolve the assembly was taken by the MDC leadership
earlier this month as part of "a restructuring process" to strengthen the
party in the run-up to joint parliamentary and presidential elections early

The MDC has been riven by divisions in the last couple of years with half of
its members of parliament disavowing former union leader Tsvangirai and
joining a splinter faction led by one-time academic Arthur Mutambara.

After MDC supporters were assaulted by members of Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe's security forces earlier this year, the MDC pledged to bury
their differences but their truce only held for a few months.

Matibenga said the decision to dissolve the women's wing was symptomatic of
the contempt the party leadership showed towards its female members.

"The MDC leadership is showing it is allergic to strong women. They want
women they can manipulate," Matibenga said.

"The leadership had the audacity to say to me the women's section is not
performing, yet they have given us no resources.

"We have no fax machine, only one telephone, no chairs, no desk. I have to
travel by public transport to meetings whereas the male leadership all have
one, two or even three vehicles each."

No one from the MDC leadership was immediately available for comment.

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Zimbabwe war veterans want 100 per cent local ownership: Report

Earth Times

            Posted : Mon, 22 Oct 2007 08:50:02 GMT
            Author : DPA

Johannesburg/Harare - War veterans in Zimbabwe want 100 per cent local
ownership of all resources, it was reported Monday. Parliament has already
passed a controversial law to make it mandatory for foreign-owned companies
and mines to hand over a 51- per-cent stake to black business people in a
move that economists warn will drive away manydesperately-needed overseas

But now President Robert Mugabe's most loyal supporters, veterans of
the 1970s war for independence from white minority rule, want more, the
state-controlled Herald daily reported.

Jabulani Sibanda, the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association claimed the 83-year-old Mugabe was under attack.

We are supporting our president because he has stepped forward in
redeeming what is ours, Sibanda told reporters at a Harare hotel last week.

We want to control 100 per cent of our resources, he added, claiming
war veterans were not happy that locals were restricted to a 51-per-cent
share of foreign businesses.

Mugabe's once-prosperous Zimbabwe sank rapidly into economic decline
after the longtime strongman launched a programme of white land seizures in

Agricultural production has since dropped by more than 40 per cent.
Evictions of the few remaining white farmers are continuing as more than
three million Zimbabweans face food shortages.

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Mugabe Using War Vets to Scare Off Internal Opposition

SW Radio Africa (London)

22 October 2007
Posted to the web 22 October 2007

Henry Makiwa

The ongoing pro Mugabe marches by war veterans are scare tactics aimed at
warding off opposition from the ageing despot's closest critics, a former
fighter of the liberation struggle has said.

Many observers also accuse Mugabe of assembling youths and supporters of the
ruling party, who never fought in the 1970s liberation struggle, to
masquerade as war veterans.

On Monday a leading member of the independent Zimbabwe Liberation Platform,
Muchapera Muhondo, said Mugabe is using the violent reputation of war
veterans to strike fear into potential rivals, ahead of the ruling party's
special congress in December. He added that Mugabe will use "both the stick
and the carrot" to get the much needed votes from Zanu PF's provincial
governors to secure the ticket to stand for yet another term in office.

War veterans loyal to Mugabe have been holding rallies and marches around
the country since August. Addressing a rally in Bindura on Saturday Jabulani
Sibanda, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans'
Association, said ZANU PF should only choose a new leader after Mugabe's

But Muhondo dismissed Sibanda as a pawn on Mugabe's chessboard.

He said: "Sibanda, Chinotimba and all that lot don't seem to know what's
happening. Their time for change has come both within Zanu PF and outside
it, yet they can't seem to read it. There are some like (former security
chief Emmerson) Mnangagwa who really feel they can wrestle control of the
party from Mugabe but it will not be easy. Mugabe is using these war vets to
scare off some challenge already, and then he will also buy out some with
perks and favours. He is not going anywhere that easily." Observers have
also noted that Mnangagwa could still back Mugabe if pressured.

There has been growing speculation that a faction within ZANU PF led by
former army commander Solomon Mujuru could spring a surprise at the party's
December congress by nominating a challenger to Mugabe.

The Mujuru faction is said to be mobilising behind the scenes for former
finance minister Simba Makoni or Vice-President Joyce Mujuru to take over
from Mugabe.

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Power Outage Causing Chaos

SW Radio Africa (London)

22 October 2007
Posted to the web 22 October 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

A catastrophic power failure has plunged most parts of the country into
darkness, amid widespread anger as the few remaining businesses are now
being forced to shut down because of the blackout.

A blackout that struck the capital city on Monday last week continues to
leave more than 200 000 households and businesses without power, for the
second week running. Clifford Muzira who runs a printing business in
Southerton, told Newsreel on Monday that he has not been operating for a
week owing to power outages.

'Industry will soon collapse if government fails to rectify the electricity
problem. I am based in Southerton and I can confirm most businesses there
have shut down and this may soon spread to all cities and towns
countrywide,' Muzira said.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority said a faulty high voltage supply
cable triggered a major power outage, knocking out electricity in much of
Harare and surrounding areas.

A former MDC councillor in Harare, who asked not to be named, said estimates
from his sources in Zesa believe an unprecedented 100 000 homes would not
have electricity until later this week and another 100 000 would even have
to wait longer, possibly weeks.

Harare resident Morgan Femai said institutions like hospitals are relying on
generator power 'to keep things going'. It's reported that most clinics and
hospitals that are usually spared power cuts, have been running standby
generators for over a week and were fast running out of fuel. Staff at one
clinic said patients were moved out after its standby generator overheated
and broke down during its first constant use.

Other reports said a blood bank has cut back its operations and shifted
bloodstocks to facilities in unaffected parts of Harare. Femai said
householders like himself in Budiriro, with scarce meat and other
perishables, called friends in Ruwa to use fridge and freezer space.

In Zaka West, Misiso mission near Jerera growth point, with a hospital and
school, has closed its doors because they are unable to continue without
electricity and water.

This has left Jerera without educational and medical facilities as the
nearby government hospital never worked because of underfunding. The nearest
hospital is now nearly 80 km away, leaving people in need of urgent medical
help in serious trouble.

The outages are said to be the worst power cuts in the country's history as
it has affected millions of people.

The country imports nearly 40 percent of its power from Namibia, South
Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Last month
Mozambique said it was reducing its output to Zimbabwe because of a
long-standing debt of US$35 million.

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Crisis Meeting Branded PR Stunt As Violence Threatens Talks

SW Radio Africa (London)

22 October 2007
Posted to the web 22 October 2007

Lance Guma

The MDC have dismissed as a publicity stunt an invitation by Home Affairs
Minister Kembo Mohadi to discuss their claims of escalating state sponsored
violence. Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel it was ridiculous for
the perpetrators of violence to invite the victims for a meeting. He also
said it was incorrect for the state media to allege that MDC president
Morgan Tsvangirai had been summoned to a meeting by Mohadi, when in fact the
minister invited the party in general to send representatives. The meeting
has been scheduled for Wednesday morning at Mohadi's Harare office.

Earlier in the week the opposition threatened to pull out of mediation talks
if Zanu PF continued its nationwide violent clampdown on MDC activists. The
MDC say the violence is against the spirit of the dialogue currently taking
place and the police should, 'act professionally and prove on the ground
that they are not an appendage of Zanu PF.'

Chamisa said, 'the question of dialogue should not just end in Pretoria, it
should not be summertime in Pretoria when it continues to be winter here in
Zimbabwe.' He said people on the ground should feel the benefits of the
dialogue and this would help build confidence in the process.

Worried by the potential fallout of an MDC withdrawal from the talks,
Mugabe's regime responded with a propaganda offensive to try and appear
concerned about the violence. This is the context in which the MDC is
viewing the meeting. Chamisa argued it would have made more sense for the
minister to summon the various provincial police chiefs to explain the
violence in their areas, than to request a meeting with the victims. He said
although they will send party representatives to give evidence, those
attending the meeting will not be lectured to by Mohadi.

Meanwhile 6 MDC youths were arrested in Bindura after a party youth forum
meeting on Sunday. Taedza Muputa, Archibald Ncube, Meleni Mudende, Innocent
Chikaya and Keddie Magoda were still in detention late Monday. It was not
yet clear what charges they are facing. The party was busy arranging legal
representations on Monday.

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Zimbabwe farmer's case a test for SADC tribunal

By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 October, 2007

A case brought by a Zimbabwean farmer for trial, by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) tribunal in Namibia, is bound to be a test of
the regional grouping's dedication to democratic principles and the rule of
law, should the judges decide there is a case to entertain. The tribunal was
established in 1992 in accordance with the SADC treaty, but it's 11 judges
were only appointed in 2005 when it was finally launched. The aim was to
protect the tenants of the SADC treaty, which focus on upholding good
governance and maintaining the rule of law.

The situation on Zimbabwe's farms has been violent, chaotic and lawless to
say the least. And it is top military and government officials who are
currently responsible for the eviction of white farmers, disregarding the
law and blatantly ignoring court orders. Government has also passed
legislation that is deemed unconstitutional, including Amendment 17, which
denied the farmers their right to contest evictions in court. The fact that
only white farmers are being targeted brings in the issue of racial
discrimination, which the SADC treaty speaks strongly against.

Lawyer David Drury who is representing many white farmers who are under
pressure to leave, described the importance of the case saying: "It will be
an important case to establish whether or not the provisions of the SADC
treaty and things like the rule of law are binding on member states and if
so, whether member states who choose to flout the provisions of the treaty
are to be sanctioned in one form or another, and if so what those sanctions
will be."

Drury said the SADC tribunal, unlike the African Union's Commission on Human
Rights, has the power to actually remove a member state from the Union, if
it continues to contravene the provisions of the treaty. The A.U. can only
call for members to comply.

SADC heads of state have so far not been aggressive at pushing for change in
Zimbabwe. On many occasions the issue of abuses by the Zimbabwean
authorities has been kept off the agenda. The appointment of South Africa's
president Thabo Mbeki as the SADC mediator on Zimbabwe has also been
criticised because Mbeki has refused to publicly speak against the abuses.
Given this background observers watching events at the SADC tribunal say
they will not be holding their breath.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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No rest for the dead

BULAWAYO, 22 October 2007 (IRIN) - As Zimbabwe's economic crisis deepens,
the daily struggle to make ends meet often takes priority over providing
loved ones with a decent burial and morgues are being filled beyond

Mortuaries, plagued by power failures, failing refrigerators and lack of
chemicals to operate properly, have to keep corpses for extended periods of
time while relatives try to scrape together what they can to bid the
deceased a final farewell. Many relatives never return and, after nine
months, abandoned corpses are given pauper burials by the state.

"The situation is desperate; we have seen people disappear immediately after
a relative admitted in the hospital dies. This has created serious problems,
as the mortuary here at Mpilo hospital [on the outskirts of Zimbabwe's
second largest city, Bulawayo] cannot cope - bodies are piled on top of each
other," said Ishamael Moyo, who sells cheap wooden coffins to poor desperate
families just outside the mortuary.

"They stay long without being collected, while some are never collected at
all," Moyo told IRIN. "The situation is terrible: refrigerators are always
breaking and the mortuaries do not have chemicals to spray the decomposing
bodies." According to the authorities, the mortuary was designed to hold 60
corpses but now has a daily average of 250.

Around 200 bodies are given pauper burials every year. "The number is
increasing due to HIV/AIDS and the economic situation ... most people given
pauper burials would have been admitted at hospitals and when they die their
relatives simply disappear," said a hospital official at Mpilo, who wished
to remain anonymous.

Some bodies had been unclaimed for so long that they had started
decomposing. "We have bodies that have not been collected for over six
months; the mortuary is overflowing with bodies as we speak," said one
mortuary attendant.

Blessing Chebundo, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Health and
Child Welfare, noted that "Hospitals are not coping with the huge number of
deaths due to HIV/AIDS and we discovered during a nationwide tour that
corpses are rotting at mortuaries due to overcrowding and for staying longer
periods in mortuaries without being claimed by relatives."

He said the Department of Social Welfare now lacked the funds to conduct
pauper burials on a regular basis, and that the problem was aggravated
because bodies were being brought to mortuaries and left there while
families tried to raise the cash to pay for funerals.

The spokesperson for the Bulawayo city council, which is in charge of city
cemeteries, Phathisa Nyathi, said the city was running short of burial
space. The council recently reported that burials were increasing by 20
percent each month.

"The number of deaths we have registered in the last two years has increased
astronomically: in July this year the number of burials in all our
cemeteries was 747, while in August the number of burials was 867 ... in
previous years ... we were having between 50 and 60 burials in a single
month," Nyathi said.

For the last three weeks Maureen Phiri, 46, has been shuttling from one
funeral parlour to another comparing costs and policies that might suit her
family's pocket. Her husband, Nhlanhla, 52, is terminally ill with cancer
and the family has exhausted its savings on his medication.

"It pains me that I am already planning my husband's funeral ... [but] if I
just sit and do nothing we will fail as a family to bury him when he dies,
because of high funeral costs," Phiri said.

She said funeral parlours in the city charged between Z$20 million and Z$25
million (between US$40 and US$50 at the parallel market rate of Z$500,000 to
US$1) for a coffin, which was too much for her teacher's salary of only Z$14
million a month (US$28).

According to the World Health Organisation, in Zimbabwe life expectancy has
plummeted from 62 years in 1990 to 37 years for men and 34 years for women
in 2004; both figures are thought to have dropped even further since then.


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Cemeteries in Zimbabwe Reflect Gravity of Crisis


By VOA News
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
22 October 2007

The cemeteries of Zimbabwe are filled these days with fresh graves, many of
the smallest mounds covering some of what was the southern African nation's
future. An opposition leader says the acres of freshly dug graves are
evidence of the ruin President Robert Mugabe has left Zimbabwe. The World
Health Organization blames the rising death rate on a combination of AIDS,
food insecurity and poor health care. We again join a foreign journalist for
a look inside a nation teetering on the edge of humanitarian collapse -- a
reporter who must remain anonymous because independent reporting in Zimbabwe
earns beatings and jail time, who files this undercover report from

It is an hour before sunset in the city of Bulawayo and we are driving
through Westpark Cemetery, situated on the edge of town.

Behind the wheel is a man we shall call William. His true identity, like
mine, must be kept a secret for his own safety. William is a local
mortician, a lucrative career in this part of the world, where the business
of death is very profitable.

"Some people might say it is a political thing," says William. "The ruling
government is not doing anything to help the people. They say they are
helping, but according to the death rate, there is nothing they are doing."

A brisk winter wind rustles through the tall dead grass and dried flowers.
Most of the graves, however, have hand-painted signs. They are decorated by
rocks and wooden crosses. In this country, this is steady work.

The World Health Organization estimates that the crisis in Zimbabwe claims
an average of about 3,500 lives each week. This has led to criticism of the
Zimbabwean government and President Robert Mugabe, who will not allow the
official figures to be released.

David Coltart is a Member of Parliament representing the opposition party in
Zimbabwe. "Zimbabwe has this unique combination, and I say unique -- it's
unprecedented in any country ever-- where you have a combination of a very
high incidence of AIDS, the fastest declining economy in the world and very
high levels of malnutrition," he says, "and its that convergence which has
led Zimbabwe to have the world's lowest life expectancy."

Zimbabwe was once a nation that fed itself and the nations around it. Now
many rely on western food aid to keep them from starving.

In the cemetery of fresh graves, there is not even enough room to walk
between earthen mounds.

Then we turn the corner to the children's section. It is packed full of tiny
graves, decorated with dead flowers and handwritten signs. One reads, "Baby
of Sarah, June 13th to June 15th, 2007."

Sarah's baby was only two days old.

"The challenge for us in Zimbabwe," Coltart says, "is for the international
community to recognize that this is now arguably the world's gravest
humanitarian crisis. And it needs an appropriate response from the
international community."

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Ailing Student Denied Bail Again

SW Radio Africa (London)

22 October 2007
Posted to the web 22 October 2007

Henry Makiwa

Ailing student leader Edison Hlatshwayo was once again denied freedom on
Monday by a Masvingo court, after the state prosecutor opposed the
magistrate's ruling to grant him bail.

Student activists in the country's oldest city, today accused the police and
the state of deliberately targeting Hlatshwayo. Student leaders allege that
state prosecutor Chauromwa Dehwa, declared even before the trial opened that
he would fiercely oppose Hlatshwayo's release from custody to ensure the
safety of his job.

Student activist and spokesman of the National Constitutional assembly,
Murdock Chivasa, said students overheard Dehwa informing a colleague before
the court session that "higher powers" had ordered him to fight against
Hlatshwayo's release.

Chivasa said: "We were standing outside the courtroom and unbeknown to Dehwa
and his colleague, we were going to attend our friend's case too. He did
mention that he was under pressure from his superiors to make sure Edison
remains locked up. We are sad that the state went even against the judgment
of the magistrate to persuade that he remains behind bars. He had ruled that
Edison should be granted a Z$5 million bail. The state opposed bail citing
some flimsy section 1.21 of the "Criminal law (codification and reform)
Act". We feel he is just being targeted as an example to all student leaders
of the extent the Robert Mugabe's regime is prepared to go to frustrate us."

Hlatshwayo, the Great Zimbabwe University Students Executive Council
Secretary General, is being charged for malicious injury to property
following disturbances that rocked the university early September. He was
arrested on 27 September while attending a Youth Forum meeting in Masvingo.

Chivasa himself was remanded out of custody until 20 November by same court
on charges he undermined police authority when he allegedly called them
"dogs of Mugabe."

Three other students, George Makamure, Brenda Mupfurutsa and Ogylive Makova
were also remanded in custody.

After the court hearings police also arrested Joel Dungudza, a part 3 Bsc
Social science student at Great Zimbabwe University. It is alleged that he
has been arrested in connection with "contempt of court" charges following
demonstrations at the court on Monday in solidarity with Edison Hlatshwayo.

Meanwhile authorities at Great Zimbabwe University have summoned ten
students to the college disciplinary committee for a hearing tomorrow. They
are being accused of assaulting Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union members
on campus. This follows disturbances during orientation week when ZINASU and
ZICOSU members clashed on campus.

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Chinotimba ousted as ZFTU refuses to toe gvt line

22nd Oct 2007 08:15 GMT

By Ian Nhuka

BULAWAYO - Controversial war veterans' leader and vice-president of the
government-controlled Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) has been
ousted from the organisation.

Chinotimba, and ZFTU president Alfred Makwarimba were voted out by the
affiliates of the trade union together with a dozen other executive members
during their general council meeting here Saturday.

The Makwarimba executive was accused of mismanagement
and misappropriation of an unspecified sum of money.

Twenty-five out of the ZFTU 33 affiliates voted against the Makwarimba
executive. He and his former deputy did not attend the meeting.

Makwarimba is also accused of signing the social contract with employers and
government early this year without the ZFTU council's backing.

The controversial Chinotimba, led farm invasions in 2000 and is part of a
war veterans committee organising marches countrywide in support of
President Robert Mugabe's bid to be the Zanu -PF candidate for next year's

The affiliates voted in little known, Peter Mpofu to the post of interim

Makwarimba and Chinotimba could not be reached yesterday as their mobile
phones were not reachable.

Mpofu, said Makwarimba and Chinotimba were poor leaders, adding that under
their leadership the ZFTU had become a haven of criminality.

"Let us be united and stand against the repetition of the just ended madness
where ZFTU was becoming a haven for criminals. That criminality that we saw
ourselves deviating from the orthodox to unorthodox means of survival,
dictatorship, self ownership of ZFTU and cheating of workers," he charged.

The ZFTU has been hit by instability in recent years as factions seek to
seize control of the organisation, long seen as an appendage of Zanu PF.

The ruling party is unsuccessfully trying to use ZFTU to dilute the
influence of the stronger Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

Early this year, Chinotimba announced the ouster of Makwarimba from the
trade union but Zanu PF national commissar, Elliot Manyika brokered peace
between them.

The government accused ZCTU of being aligned to the Movement for Democratic
Change and its leaders have often been harassed and arrested for staging
strikes against worsening working conditions and salaries of workers.

The Saturday vote saw Godard Hungwe, Sabastian Tshuma being voted in as
interim second and first vice presidents respectively.
Bernard Dhanda, who was secretary-general in the ousted executive, was the
only survivor.

On his part, Dhanda alleged that Makwarimba and Chinotimba perpetrated

"Makwarimba and his gang continued with their factionalism and embezzlement
of funds," he claimed.

Treasurer Wilson Makopa, organising secretary Tawanda Mupeti, and
information and publicity secretary Kenias Shamuyarira were also voted out.

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Mugabe refuses to count himself out

Business Day

22 October 2007

Dumisani Muleya

HARARE - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is understood to have named four
senior officials of his ruling Zanu (PF) as his possible successors during
discussions with President Thabo Mbeki - but has not ruled himself out as a
potential candidate.

The four are Zanu (PF) politburo members Emmerson Mnangagwa, John Nkomo,
Sydney Sekeramayi and Simba Makoni.

The notable omissions are Vice-President Joyce Mujuru and Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono. Mujuru, whom Mugabe in 2004 publicly anointed as the
next president during the Zanu (PF) congress, has fallen out with her boss
over internal power struggles. Gono continues to be mentioned as a possible

Reports say Mbeki asked whether it was possible for Mugabe to signal who his
successor could be so that SA and other countries could help to facilitate a
smooth transition. The reports say Mbeki wanted to know if there were no
credible successors to Mugabe in Zanu (PF).

Mugabe indicated that Mnangagwa could be his successor but was unpopular
with voters, as was Nkomo. The two are not elected officials. Mnangagwa was
defeated in the past two general elections by the Movement for Democratic
Change, while Nkomo has avoided elections, apparently in fear of defeat.

It is further claimed that Mugabe said although there were people who want
Makoni to take over, he had failed in all previous government assignments.

Makoni has been a minister in Mugabe's previous two cabinets and left
unceremoniously over policy disagreements.

Mugabe said Sekeramayi was his preferred choice because he was composed, but
if he advanced his name in the party there would be outrage as he has no
grip on the shifting dynamics of leadership in the party.

In the end, it is said, Mugabe concluded that the four were not ready to
take over and that was why he had to be Zanu (PF)'s candidate in next year's

Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, refused to comment, saying he did not
want to discuss "speculation".

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Zim appeal

The Sowetan

22 October 2007
Khangale Makhado

Church feels world needs to help.

The synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (N-T), has said
it can no longer sit and watch as the situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe
continues to deteriorate.

Emerging from a four-day synod held at ELCSA headquarters in Bonaero Park,
the synod urged people to stand against the "rulers in Zimbabwe who seem to
have lost all sanity and are systematically destroying their country and

The synod said people were dying and there was a need for the world to
intervene and take decisive action as the situation could no longer be
regarded as an internal affair .

"The synod on the one hand reflected on the political and economical
disaster in our neighbouring country, but even more so, on the misery of its

"Zimbabweans are not accepted as refugees in our country, therefore, they
are regarded as illegal aliens and are not permitted to work and earn an
income," said ELCSA (N-T) Bishop Dieter Lilje.

He said that in its endeavour to show compassion to the people and a country
in need, the synod, together with ELCSA, was in the process of developing a
project to support Zimbabweans in South Africa.

"We appeal to congregations to start a prayer movement to pray for justice
and an end to injustice, for a true democracy, and healing and restoration
of Zimbabwe .

"Further to establish contact with congregations in Zimbabwe on a one-on-one
basis, to encourage fellow Christians in this way, and give support where
possible," said Lilje.

The synod also urged other church leaders to continue raising the issue of
Zimbabwe to the highest ecumenical levels.

The synod also encouraged church leaders in Zimbabwe to exert pressure on
the state to adhere to basic human rights.

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Law Society steps in to help prevent breakdown of rule of law in Zimbabwe

Law Society, UK

Monday 22 October 2007

The Law Society is hosting a visit from the Law Society president of
Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa, on Wednesday 24 October, to highlight the
dramatic deterioration in the rule of law and respect for human rights in

Mrs Mtetwa will speak to an audience of lawyers and human rights activists
to launch a report: Self regulation at a crossroads - attack on lawyers and
independence of the legal profession in Zimbabwe.

The report catalogues the systematic persecution of the legal profession
through threats, surveillance, violence and torture. Most notably, on 8 May
2007, Beatrice Mtetwa was chased by riot police and severely beaten with
baton sticks.

The report highlights the Zimbabwean Governments attack on the independence
of the legal profession in the context of a lack of accountability of the
state and a complete breakdown in the rule of law. Finally, the report also
makes some short and long term recommendations for a return to peace,
democracy and the rule of Law in Zimbabwe.

Andrew Holroyd, Law Society president of England and Wales, says:

"Part of being a solicitor is a commitment to the rule of law and that must
mean the rule of law around the world as well as at home. As an immigration
practitioner I see only too often the terrible human impact of civic and
social breakdown. Many of our members have asked the Law Society, as their
professional representative body, to express our solidarity with lawyers in
Zimbabwe as they defend the rule of law, the very basis of any civilised
society. Beatrice and her colleagues are inspirational in their courageous
stance and the Law Society stands shoulder to shoulder with them."

Beatrice Mtetwa, Law Society president of Zimbabwe, says:

"The Law Society of Zimbabwe has always been an important voice in defence
of the rule of law, constitutionalism, the independence of the judiciary and
human rights. Lawyers in my country have been subjected to threats,
intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detention, false prosecutions,
abductions, assaults and torture in attempting to resist attacks on legal
institutions. We appreciate the help the Law Society is giving us to help
protect human rights and legal standards and agitate for the return to the
rule of law in Zimbabwe so that the country is given a chance to develop."

During a recent visit to the Commonwealth Law Conference in Nairobi by the
president Andrew Holroyd, the Law Society of Zimbabwe submitted a wish list
of capacity building support including requests for books, equipment and
training. This week talks will be held to discuss the wish list and review
how the Society is able to give practical help to their fellow lawyers in


For more information call the Law Society Press Office on 020 7320 5811.

The event will be held at the Law Society on Wednesday 24 October from 18:00
at the Reading Room, The Law Society's Hall, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2.
E-mail: if you are interested in attending.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe calls upon the international community to exert
pressure on the Zimbabwean government:

  a.. in the short-term to: abide by domestic and international legal
principles for the protection of the legal profession, not to compromise the
independence of the legal profession or the Attorney General, not to harass
or assault lawyers, prosecute those who interfere with lawyers carrying out
their duties, ensure court orders are enforced by the authorities, stop
searching or removing privileged files from lawyers offices.
  b.. in the long term to create or restore: a national dialogue and
reconciliation; an environment conducive to democracy and human rights,
credible independent national institutions, the independence of the
judiciary, a professional police service, a free media.

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Zimbabwe balks at Wade's mediation bid

22nd Oct 2007 11:25 GMT

By a Correspondent

AS new opposition accusations of violence emerged this week to threaten
Thabo Mbeki's mediation efforts in Zimbabwe, neither the ruling party nor
the political opposition appeared keen on Senegalese President Abdoulaye
Wade's latest bid for involvement in the talks.

Wade said earlier this month that he plans to visit Zimbabwe within weeks to
"talk with him [President Robert Mugabe] to see what Africa can do". Wade
said he wants the Mbeki mediation process, which has been sanctioned by the
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to be broadened to include the
entire African Union.

"We should have an official [AU] position about Zimbabwe, but there is no
official position and this country is getting worse and worse," Wade told
reporters in Dakar. "We should do something and not say brother Mbeki please
solve the problem of Zimbabwe. He cannot solve the problem alone."

Wade did not arrive for an earlier scheduled one-day visit in September. No
official explanation was given for the last-minute cancellation. Information
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said that although "anyone is free to visit", he
was not aware of any scheduled visit by Wade, or what role the Senegalese
leader intended to play.

A column on Saturday in the state newspaper, The Herald, gave the best
indication of how wary Zanu PF is of Wade's intentions. Linking Wade to the
row over whether Mugabe should attend the December EU-Africa summit, the
paper said: "France is seeking justification to attend [the summit] through
the dutiful Senegalese President Wade who thinks he can do better than Mbeki
in bringing about a resolution of an impasse which has already been
unlocked . the Mbeki mediation is going on very well, too well in fact."

Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary general and one of the opposition's two
mediators, said his party saw no reason to doubt the Mbeki process.

Zanu PF would be the most opposed to a widening of the mediation, because
this would imply the country was in disarray, said analysts. Already Mugabe
has fought Western attempts to drag the crisis to the United Nations and
angrily rejected UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's proposal to designate a
UN envoy to assess the humanitarian and human rights crisis in the country.

Mugabe told Ki-moon at the UN that the agreement his party reached last
month with the MDC on electoral reforms showed the SADC process was
sufficient. Political analyst Brian Kagoro said Wade's rivalry with Mbeki
would serve only to "put Mbeki and Wade on the catwalk, as if this is some
beauty contest".

Mbeki's team faces a bigger battle than keeping Wade away, as the opposition
increases its threats to leave the talks and boycott elections. The MDC
faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai has written to the SADC threatening to
withdraw from the talks in protest at what it says is an escalation of
violence against its supporters.

In its letter, the MDC detailed a series of attacks that have occurred since
the talks began in April. A total of 103 rallies and marches had been
crushed, while seven murders, 18 rapes, 69 abductions, 459 cases of torture,
2 323 cases of interference or intimidation, 1 141 cases of assault and 152
cases of unlawful detention had been recorded.

"While the MDC and Zanu PF are engaged in dialogue in Pretoria, the regime
has continued to hound our supporters, brutally assaulting and attacking
them against the spirit of the dialogue process," the MDC said. "There's no
use being in talks in Pretoria and at war here at home." Elphas
Mukonoweshuro, Tsvangirai's closest adviser, said "the process [of pulling
out] has already started".

A meeting of the MDC's top executives this weekend will decide the issue. No
comment was available from either Zanu PF or the more moderate Arthur
Mutambara faction of the MDC. Under pressure from hard-line elements of his
party, who are bitterly opposed to negotiating with Mugabe, Tsvangirai has
said he will boycott elections next year if the Zanu PF does not repeal
security and media laws immediately.

The laws make free and fair elections impossible, he said. Possible new
splits within Tsvangirai's party also threaten the integrity of the
negotiations. Last week Tsvangirai sacked the head of his women's league,
Lucia Matibenga, who has strong grassroots support, replacing her with the
wife of one of his allies and widening rifts within his party.

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The destruction of Zimbabwe and its ancient African moral culture

Blogger News Network
October 22nd, 2007 by Peter Davies

It’s not just Zimbabwe’s economy that is suffering the last stages of destruction; the morals of the country are suffering the same fate.
First, the economy – according to Times-online, a million Zimbabwe $s is now worth just one US$, (48 pence Sterling) and they say inflation has hit 8000%.  But Cathy Buckle, who lives in Zimbabwe, says in her weekly newsletter that she cannot understand how anyone can calculate the food element of inflation when there’s virtually no food available for sale.  After an absence of several weeks, margarine has recently made an appearance in some shops.  “The last time (margarine) was openly on sale it had been 100 thousand dollars for a 500g (1.1 pound) pack.  On Monday a friend said it was back, same brand, same size but the price had gone up to 620 thousand dollars.  By Friday (last week) there were only four or five packets left on the shelf and the price had gone up again, this time to 720 thousand dollars.”  In 1980, when Mugabe assumed power, one Zimbabwe $ was equal to one $US.
Now, the morals:  Before Mugabe’s liberal sponsored Marxist takeover in 1980, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) still retained, as part of its governing system, the ancient African structure of Chiefs, Spirit Mediums and even Witchdoctors – so called “traditional healers”.  All were carefully monitored by the Rhodesian Government to ensure maintain civilised standards.  For westerners who don’t know, let me explain in the briefly (and probably at the risk of over-simplifying):
Chiefs were roughly equivalent to USA Senators, or the UK’s House of Lords; there was a strong hereditarily element, backed up by complex endorsement procedures.  Spirit Mediums have their western equivalent in the Church and had a powerful role in the selection of Chiefs.  As is the case with all other religious leaders, Mediums claimed to be non-political but they were, in fact, intensely political.  Witchdoctors have their equivalent in western medical and paramedical practitioners, but the role is often closely connected with, and sometimes the same as that of a Spirit Medium.  This is because many Africans believe that illness is connected with spiritual matters – or with having incurred the wrath of ancestors, rather than simply physiological or psychological.
Many Spirit Mediums clandestinely sided with Mugabe’s terrorists during the 1970s war, and became ever more powerful after Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980.  ‘Dissident’ Chiefs and Spirit Mediums were weeded out and replaced by Zanu-PF (Mugabe) supporters.  These still retain significant powers as servants of Zanu-PF, especially in the rural areas where most of Zimbabwe’s population reside – that is partly why Mugabe has managed to retain power for so long.  It is also why Mugabe ordered the notorious “Operation Drive Out the Rubbish” brutality that destroyed at least 200,000 homes and forced the occupants to relocate from urban to rural areas.  Mugabe supporting Chiefs control the distribution of food in rural areas on behalf of Zanu-PF and ensure that their subjects vote for Zanu-PF.
Because they are vital for Mugabe’s retention of power, “traditional leaders” are given free rein in certain local matters, such as the distribution or otherwise of AIDS medication and food.  Witchdoctors (now called “traditional healers”) have told men that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS and/or HIV.  This has resulted in fathers raping their own girl children – some of them hardly more than babies.’s report on the 2007 Annual Chiefs’ Conference at Victoria Falls said “The chiefs also complained of moral decadence, citing the high incidence of rape on minors by their fathers…”  This is based on the myth that “…having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. The younger the virgin, the more potent the cure…”  A BBC report on Zimbabwe tells of a girl who “was raped by her father when she was two years old” who is still traumatised at the age of eight.  In 2006, Zimbabwe’s most prominent organisation fighting child sexual abuse was confronting “traditional healers” to take action over the myth that having sex with a virgin can cure Aids, but Zimbabwe’s Attorney-General’s Office reports in 2007, that “an average of 37 rape cases of children by their fathers are committed each week”.
This sort of thing never happened before Rhodesia became Zimbabwe; but this is what happens when terrorists gain power.  Western Christians, liberals and the media are morally to blame for supporting Mugabe and his Marxist terrorists during Rhodesia’s 1970s war on terror.
Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  Davies’ novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.


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The Big Picture - Mugabe As Burden

Daily Trust (Abuja)

21 October 2007
Posted to the web 22 October 2007

Warisu Alli

In 1980 when he became President of independent Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe was
undoubtedly a hero of Africa's long drawn liberation struggle. His
ascendancy to the high office attracted much applause and hope that he was
going to lead Zimbabwe to a glorious future of rapid socio-economic and
political development. In the early years of his rule, it seemed Zimbabwe
was going to bring glory to Africa as Mugabe piloted the affairs of the
nation with much desired sense of focus and commitment.

However, two decades in power, the story has changed as it seems his sense
of integrity and even probity and commitment to the progress of his country
and the country at large has changed. He began to imagine himself to be
above reproach. He dispensed with good political judgment. He began to
trample on the rights of the people and worst of all, like the typical
African political leader, he could not imagine himself out of power. He had
to employ all manner of intrigue and manipulation of the political process
to remain in office. He declared war on the opposition, particularly the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The past few years have been traumatic
for the Zimbabwean people. Gradually, the great hero of liberation struggle
became a despot, who will stop at nothing just to satisfy his lust for

Under his draconian rule, the proud people were turned into refugees as the
economy collapsed. We cannot go into the details of all that now as they
have all been covered adequately in the media. Suffice it to say that
Zimbabwe, or more appropriately, Robert Mugabe, became a leader shunned by
the international community. Even though he tried to wave the flag of
anti-imperialism, as if he was fighting another round of the liberation
struggle, most people knew that the Zimbabwean president was only fighting
to remain in office. This was the undoing of the great Robert Mugabe and was
the cause for his transformation from a hero to a villain for most Africans
and members of the international community.

The Mugabe issue has now exposed the weakness of the African Union's
adherence to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a critical component
of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

The APRM was designed to protect the political order across Africa from the
usual abuse of the governance system, to which many African political
leaders have always subjected their countries. Unfortunately, when it
mattered most, African leaders have always failed to stand up for good,
transparent, accountable and democratic governance. They failed woefully to
call President Robert Mugabe to order. In fact, they have continued to
shield him from criticism thus indirectly granting him their approval
despite the attendant evils of his ways and the many atrocities the
Zimbabwean people have had to endure. Meanwhile, the great people of
Zimbabwe are exposed to all manner of indignities, permanently in flight
from a debilitating economic condition, mass poverty, great food insecurity
and unbelievable inflation rate.

Of course, many current African leaders, lack the moral integrity of the
type that propelled President Nelson Mandela to stand up against the
excesses of General Sani Abacha in his days of maximum dictatorship and call
him to order. In fact on this Mugabe issue, the African Union has failed
woefully to inspire anyone or give hope, that African leaders can redeem
themselves and by so doing, redeem the continent.

Now, in December, the European Union is hosting the much-awaited
Euro-African Summit in Portugal. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister
has announced he would not attend the summit if Mugabe is invited. Czeck
Republic and many Scandinavian countries are beginning to think like the UK.
While, the host Portugal is eager to make the summit a success, and would
therefore not bother about the Mugabe issue, increasingly, others are not so
sure it is a good idea to encourage him by extending an invitation to him to
attend the summit.

Meanwhile, African leaders are sitting on the fence and hoping that the
problem would just go away. Those who have ventured to address the issue,
have hidden the proverbial banner of the need to respect and not interfere
in the "internal affairs" of Zimbabwe. They fail to realize that if they had
done what is expected earlier on by calling Mugabe to order, and by
supporting the Zimbabwean people, Africa will not have the crisis it has now
in that country and the shame that Mugabe is bringing on all the other
African states.

Perhaps, it is to be expected that African leaders will support one of their
own because they are all birds of the same feather. Even then, the shame is
on all of them, that, they have all individually and collectively failed to
deliver on the promises of the MDGs and other aspirations of the African
people, and have turned Africa into a begger continent.

It may not be too late for them to stand up for the principles enshrined in
the APRM.

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Refugees turn to mountain stream for bathing


     October 22 2007 at 12:27PM

By Francis Hweshe

Scores of desperate refugees with no other facilities to bathe or wash
their clothes have turned to a stream on the slopes of Table Mountain.

They go up the mountain in groups and at different times to avoid
congestion. Asked why, ome replied: "Do you know where else we can be
accepted as human beings?"

The refugees said they only bathed over weekends when the Home Affairs
reception centre on the Foreshore was closed. Monday to Friday, they queue
for asylum papers at the centre.

"So we do not get time to bathe or do our laundry," said a University
of Zimbabwe engineering graduate, who left Zimbabwe two weeks ago.

Another young man, his face swollen after falling at the reception
centre during a scramble to try to get papers, said: "I have one piece of
clothing so the weekend is most convenient for me to come and wash my
clothing here because I can wait for it to dry while I'm in my birthday
suit, bathing in the sun.

"Our challenges at the moment are multiple. We need to secure papers
at Home Affairs to be recognised as legal in South Africa, an uphill task.
At the same time we need to look for jobs because we do not want to be
criminals but you cannot look for a job while you are dirty and your clothes
have fleas and lice.

"You need to be presentable, that is the reason why we come up here."

Bathing at the stream comes with some risk. Street children use it as
a toilet and at other times police have chased the refugees away.

Those interviewed said they had been forced to sleep under bridges and
on the street after they were warned by police not to sleep outside the

However, they said their consolation was the discovery of what they
called a "five-cent hotel" in Cape Town where they are able buy a plate of
food for five cents and take a five-minute shower.

"One needs two plates of rice to fill up," they said, adding that the
five-minute shower in Green Point was free but not many of them had the
chance to use it as it operated during the week while they queued for papers
at Home Affairs.

Braam Hanekom of People Against Suppression, Suffering, Oppression and
Poverty (Passop) said his organisation was trying to secure temporary
shelter for the refugees.

Last week the head of parliament's portfolio committee on home
affairs, Patrick Chauke, rescued a refugee locked in a cage in an
unventilated toilet for more than three hours by security guards at the
centre after he allegedly stole a cellphone.

This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Argus on
October 22, 2007

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Sudan leader should not attend EU-Africa summit, say NGOs


22.10.2007 - 09:17 CET | By Helena Spongenberg
Leading NGOs have called for Sudan's president to be barred from attending
the EU-Africa summit in December, while EU capitals continue to be divided
over what to do with Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's presence at the summit in Lisbon "could
be interpreted as a legitimisation of atrocities committed by the Khartoum
regime in Darfur," said Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam
International on Friday (19 October), according to AFP.

In Sudan's Darfur region, more than 200,000 people have died in the past
four years while 2.5 million have been forced from their homes by government
forces or the government-backed militia, the Janjaweed.

The NGOs also called on the EU to apply sanctions against Khartoum and
freeze foreign bank accounts held by the Sudanese president and other
leaders in Africa's largest country.

The call came as EU leaders gathered in Lisbon on Thursday and Friday for an
informal meeting, where renewed signs of divisions on the controversial
issue of Mr Mugabe's attendance at the same summit emerged.

The Zimbabwean leader is accused of human rights abuses, rigging elections
and has been held responsible for creating economic chaos in Zimbabwe, which
now has the world's highest inflation rate of some 6,600 percent, and
unemployment of around 80 percent.

Mr Mugabe, in power since his country's independence in 1980, currently has
an EU travel ban against him issued in 2002, after his ruling Zanu-PF party
won in what the EU considers a rigged election.

Portugal - which currently holds the rotating EU presidency - plans to host
the first EU-Africa summit in seven years on 8-9 December 2007. It would be
the second EU-African Union summit ever held.

The same row over Mr Mugabe's attendance indefinitely postponed a summit
scheduled for 2003.

African leaders - who see him as a hero of the anti-colonial struggle for
independence - have said they will boycott the summit if the Zimbabwean
leader is not invited.

Even Ghana's leader John Kufuor, who has previously described the situation
in Zimbabwe as "an embarrassment to the African conscience", is saying
Africa is indivisible on this issue.

But UK leader Gordon Brown reiterated last week his intention to boycott the
EU-Africa summit if Mr Mugabe comes Lisbon. The Czech Republic is
considering a similar move.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, on the other hand, on Friday opposed such a
move arguing that "criticism of Mr Mugabe can be levelled at him when he is
there," reports Reuters.

"I am going regardless," Ms Merkel said. "I think we should have this summit
... it wouldn't be responsible if everyone was interested in Africa but not
us," she added.

Brussels wants to launch a 'strategic partnership' with the African
countries to manage closer political and economic reforms, and Lisbon views
the December summit as central to this goal.

However, the EU's focus on promoting human rights and good governance in
Africa as a basis for trade and investment is under pressure from China's
increasing economic influence on the continent.

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