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Mugabe's minister acknowledges violence against MDC

Zim Online

Thursday 25 October 2007

By Rugare Munodawafa

HARARE - Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi on Wednesday acknowledged that
opposition supporters were being victimised and admitted this could
jeopardize on-going dialogue between the ruling ZANU PF party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

Sources told ZimOnline that Mohadi told senior MDC officials he met
Wednesday morning at his offices to personally report to him acts of
violence against members of the opposition party.

"He (Mohadi) also undertook to study a dossier prepared by the MDC detailing
all acts of violence against its supporters that took place after March,"
said a government official who attended the meeting between Mohadi and the
opposition officials.

According to our source, MDC home affairs secretary Sam Sipepa immediately
impressed upon Mohadi that to test the government's sincerity, the
opposition party would seek permission to hold a public demonstration.

The police, who under state security laws must sanction all public
demonstrations, have in the past banned the MDC from holding demonstrations
although ZANU PF supporters are regularly allowed to march in the streets in
support of President Robert Mugabe.

Mohadi, who could not be reached for comment on the matter, reportedly
promised to look into a request by the MDC to hold demonstrations.

The meeting between Mohadi and MDC officials was held following the minister's
request to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai that he wanted the opposition to
corroborate statements that politically motivated violence was on the
increase despite the South African brokered talks between the opposition
party and ZANU PF.

At a press conference soon after the meeting, Nkomo said they had impressed
upon Mohadi that dialogue could only proceed well if ZANU PF desisted from
acts of violence on the ground.

"We told him it would be difficult for us to talk if we have a gag on our
mouth and a gun barrel on our back," he said. "We also suggested to him that
he should make a public statement against violence and urging the police to
be non-partisan in their application of the law.

Nkomo said apart from comprehensive dossier of violence, his delegation had
also raised with Mohadi reports received by the opposition party suggesting
that the government had ordered more teargas for use against the opposition
in the run-up to the election.

The MDC officials also told Mohadi the police continued to treat the
opposition party like an illegal movement despite it being a registered
political party with legislators in Parliament and councilors throughout the

ZimOnline understands that in the dossier submitted to Mohadi, the MDC
claimed that 4 122 incidents of political violence and human rights abuses
were recorded between January and June 2007.

These included seven murders, 18 rapes, 459 cases of torture, 34 cases of
discrimination in food aid, 69 abductions, 2 323 cases of intimidation, 1
141 cases of assault and 152 cases of unlawful detentions.

The opposition officials also raised the issue of Joseph Mwale, a state
secret agent who allegedly murdered two MDC activists in 2000 but is yet to
face justice and remains employed by the government.

"Mohadi and his officials kept on jotting down notes and promised to look
into the issues raised by the MDC delegation but it is not clear what, if
any action, will be taken," the source said. - ZimOnline

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Civic groups to meet ZANU PF, MDC over talks

Zim Online


           Thursday 25 October 2007

By Simplisio Chirinda

HARARE - Zimbabwe non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will meet the ruling
ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
to press the political parties to consider the views of civic society during
negotiations to end the country's crisis.

Civic groups that have unsuccessfully attempted to persuade South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki - facilitating talks between ZANU PF and the MDC - to
include them in the dialogue process, insist they should be part to any
initiative to end the country's crisis, arguing Zimbabwe's future cannot be
left to politicians alone.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) director Rindai Chipfunde said a
meeting of civic groups held in Harare on Wednesday had resolved to "request
for a meeting with the political parties involved in the talks and find out
how we can be engaged and let our views be known and represented by the
mediating teams."

Chipfunde, who said NGOs also wanted more information about the inter-party
talks that have been held in almost total secrecy, did not say when exactly
the civic groups would be requesting meetings with the two political

Civic groups will meet the political parties separately and ZimOnline
understands the first meeting with the MDC is scheduled to take place in
Harare today.

The NGOs will also use today's meeting to discuss the MDC's backing of
government constitutional reforms, a move disapproved by most civic groups.

Mbeki was last March asked by Southern African Development Community (SADC)
heads of state and government to lead efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's
eight-year crisis by facilitating dialogue between ZANU PF and the MDC.

Mbeki - who insists dialogue will deliver free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe next year - has not made civic society formal parties to the talks
arguing SADC mandated him to broker talks between political parties only.

Civic groups represented at the Wednesday meeting included the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe
(MMPZ), Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR) among others. - ZimOnline

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Harare to import maize seed in bid to boost food production

Zim Online

Thursday 25 October 2007

By Thulani Munda

HARARE - Zimbabwe has issued seed firms with permits to import maize seed
for the 2007-2008 agricultural season, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor Gideon Gono said yesterday.

Giving an update on the forthcoming agricultural season dubbed the "Mother
of all Seasons," Gono said contracts and funding arrangements had been
finalized and seed houses would start importing from Zambia and Botswana.

"Within the last 24 hours, we have concluded everything to do with the maize
seed needed by the country," Gono said. "Our suppliers in Zambia and
Botswana have confirmed that by Monday the first consignment would be

Zimbabwe needs an estimated 50 000 metric tonnes of maize seed for the
agricultural season. So far at least 36 000 metric tonnes are available but
seed houses are holding on to stocks unwilling to sell at state-fixed prices
they say are uneconomic.

Seed houses are expected to import 12 400 metric tonnes of maize seed from
neighbouring countries.

Gono said Zimbabwe had secured a line of credit from a Western European
country to buy raw materials for the manufacture of packaging for
agricultural produce next marketing season.

He said factories were already working on the packaging and 30 million bags
will be available by March next year. Gono could not be drawn into revealing
the identify of the country that he claimed had provided lines of credit.

Gono said the central bank would launch a high-tech fuel facility for
selected farmers in all the provinces. Under the arrangement, at least 50
farmers from each of the 10 provinces will be issued with a card they can
use to swipe fuel at designated service stations.

Zimbabwe, also grappling with its worst ever economic crisis, has since 2000
relied on food imports and handouts from international food agencies mainly
due to failure by new black farmers resettled on former white-owned
commercial farms under a controversial government land redistribution
programme to maintain production.

Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands have lost jobs while the
manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is operating below
30 percent of capacity. - ZimOnline

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Zim's participation in SA competitions put on hold

Zim Online

Thursday 25 October 2007

      By Nigel Hangarume

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's first match in South Africa's domestic
competitions has been put on hold after player concerns were raised this

      Cricket South Africa (CSA) had announced this week Zimbabwe would
participate in South Africa's domestic competitions.

      But yesterday CSA said it had put Zimbabwe's participation on hold
until a board meeting tomorrow deliberates player concerns.

      Zimbabwe were scheduled to play South Africa's six professional
sides - Cape Cobras, Diamond Eagles, Highveld Lions, Nashua Dolphins, Nashua
Titans and Supersport Warriors.

      Representatives of all of South Africa's six franchise sides on Monday
met in Cape Town where some players are said to have raised concerns about
playing Zimbabwe.

      "I can't at this stage reveal what was decided at the meeting, but you
can take it from the fact that the meeting was held that some of the players
have concerns about playing against Zimbabwe," Tony Irish, chief executive
of the South African Cricketers Association, was quoted by the Mercury as
saying yesterday.

      "We have taken up the issue with Cricket South Africa."

      Zimbabwe Cricket officials said they would wait for official
communication from CSA.

      It could not be established why South African players had reservations
about playing Zimbabwe.

      The South African senior team and their A side toured Zimbabwe last

      India A came in July as a replacement for West Indies A who refused
tour Zimbabwe on security grounds.

      Sri Lanka A are currently playing Zimbabwe Select.

      Australia scrapped a tour scheduled for last month as a protest
against President Robert Mugabe's human rights record.

      Zimbabwe is facing a crippling economic crisis - dramatised by food,
fuel, drugs and power shortages - blamed on Mugabe's policies. - ZimOnline

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Activists Outmanoeuvred - But Undeterred


By Tonderai Kwidini

HARARE, Oct 24 (IPS) - Anti-death penalty activists in Zimbabwe are keeping
up their campaign, despite a police clampdown on their meetings and
ever-lengthening food queues, power cuts and the relentless rise in prices
of many essential items.

"It is now very difficult to obtain police clearance to hold gatherings.
Everything we try to do to bring people together is viewed by the police as
a political event," John Chinamurungu, Amnesty International's chairperson
in Zimbabwe, told IPS. "It's very difficult to get campaigns going."

Amnesty and the Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and the
Rehabilitation of Offenders (Zacro) have been co-operating closely to rally
public support for the abolition of the death penalty and to get the issue
on the national political agenda.

Zacro's new engagement follows an opinion article by an official of the
organisation in the state-owned daily, 'The Herald', last January. This
announced the opening of a carefully-scripted Zacro campaign, details of
which were later outlined to IPS by Edson Chiota, the organisation's
national co-ordinator.

The plan included carrying the message of abolition to Zimbabwe's 13 million
citizens with the printing and distribution of millions of posters and

But campaigning has been hit by the speed and scale of the unfolding
economic crisis. In January the year-on-year official inflation rate was
1,600 percent. In September it reached 7,982.1 percent, according to the
government's Central Statistical Office. Unofficially, the rate is said to
be approaching 25,000 percent.

Paper and fuel, essential for a nationwide campaign, are almost impossible
to obtain.

The struggle to exist from day to day is now uppermost on people's minds. In
the capital, Harare, hour-long queues for bread are normal. Earlier this
month, the agriculture ministry announced that the wheat harvest was
two-thirds of what was required. Shortly afterwards, the official price of
bread was increased by 300 percent.

"There are millions in Zimbabwe who need food assistance," Richard Lee of
the United Nations World Food Programme, said in August. It was estimated
then that some 3.3 million would require the agency's help to survive over
the coming months.

Authorities have responded to any street protest or show of dissent by
rushing in riot police, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

But despite the unfolding catastrophe, Amnesty and Zacro have refused to be
cowed into calling off their sensitisation workshops on the death penalty.

Amnesty's local vice-chairperson, Francis Mweene, has been a notable
participant, having survived death row. He was sentenced to death in
white-ruled Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known before it gained independence in

"It was a big surprise to me that I found myself able to live again.It was
because Amnesty Zimbabwe stood for my right to life," he told IPS, recalling
how the organisation's international contacts helped pull him back from the
jaws of death.

"It is through testimonies that I think people can be sensitised and
understand why we are advocating against (the) death (sentence)."

Mweene's leading of the testimonies clearly makes it difficult for the
authorities to step in and ban such meetings. Zimbabwe's president, Robert
Mugabe, led a liberation war against the Ian Smith regime and would
certainly have ended up on death row like Mweene had he been captured.

Alongside these meetings, Amnesty has been issuing T-Shirts emblazoned with
anti-death penalty slogans.

In July, Zacro tried to persuade traditional leaders in the Council of
Chiefs to support its anti-death penalty campaign. The chiefs were holding
their annual meeting in Harare and the northern resort of Victoria Falls.

But politicians were clearly not willing to see this happen. They stepped in
to prevent the death penalty issue being tabled at the meeting, according to

"We hoped to start with the chiefs and use them as leverage to get this
issue into the House of Assembly and eventually seek out an audience with
the head of state," Chakanyuka told IPS.

The chiefs could have raised the issue in parliament, where they sit by

Zacro's focus on the chiefs fitted into the initial thrust of the campaign,
which argued that the death penalty was "alien and contrary to traditional
African concepts of justice and beliefs".

The meeting also showed that opinion among the officially-supported chiefs
was divided on the death penalty issue.

"You should be given a sentence in accordance with your crime. If you
deliberately kill, you should also be killed," Chief Makoni told the
meeting, according to a press report at the time in the privately-owned
'Financial Gazette'.

It has been suggested that the chiefs might have been less than enthusiastic
about being associated with such a controversial issue and bringing it
before Mugabe, for fear of losing their privileges. They are essentially on
the government payroll.

"With the elections coming there is no chance we will be able to talk to the
chiefs again until afterwards," a disappointed Chakanyuka said.

The polls -- presidential, parliamentary and local government -- are
expected to be held in six months.

Zacro is now planning to circulate a nation-wide petition calling for
abolition of the death penalty.

"We want to present a petition to President Mugabe since he is the man who
has been vested with all the powers to decide if one should be sent to the
gallows or not," Chakanyuka said.

Mugabe has resisted all calls for the repeal of the death penalty, which
dates back to the colonial era, in his 27 years of rule -- and is unlikely
to change his mind now, in the twilight of his beleaguered regime.

But by campaigning on this issue now and associating the retention of
capital punishment more closely with his name, it may be hoped that one of
the first measures to be adopted by his successors will be the abolition of
the death penalty.

Zacro is also hoping that its campaign will stimulate public interest in
further penal reforms.

The last execution in Zimbabwe was carried out in 2004. Since 1999 seven
people have been executed by hanging, according to Zacro. (END/2007)

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EU-AU Legislators Say Mugabe Ban In Lisbon Could Hobble Summit


      By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
      24 October 2007

The international polemic over whether or not European Union chair Portugal
should invite Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to the European-African
summit coming up in December in Lisbon seems to be tilting in Mr. Mugabe's

The Czech Republic and Sweden recently threatened to boycott the summit
along with Britain if Mr. Mugabe attended, but most European nations seem
likely to attend.

This neutral stance was reflected in a declaration Friday by members of the
European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament stated jointly that Mr.
Mugabe should be allowed to participate in the summit in his capacity as
Zimbabwean president.

The delegation weighed the consequences of a ban on his attendance, warning
this would result in a further delay of the EU-AU summit, canceled in 2003
over the very same issue. The European and African parliamentarians said
that as they directly represent constituencies, they should have more say on
the EU-Africa strategy.

The European and African parliamentarians said they would meet again before
the December summit to outline the issues they want placed on the agenda.

Portugal has stated that it will not discriminate against any country or

A senior Portuguese official said the quarrel between Zimbabwe and Britain
is bilateral, so it should not overshadow the larger issues the summit will
address, such as security, human rights and immigration, adding that Europe
could not afford miss another chance to engage Africa, as China and the
United States are doing.

The head of the Dutch delegation to the Pan-African Parliament meeting,
Maria Martin, told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the position adopted Friday should not be taken as a show of
support for Mr. Mugabe.

Rapporteur Marwick Khumalo of the Pan-African Parliament's committee on
cooperation, international relations and conflict resolution, said the
upcoming summit was bigger than just Zimbabwe and Mr. Mugabe.

Khumalo, a member of the Swaziland parliament, said his organization now has
the resources to send mission to Zimbabwe to look into human rights

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Turmoil Churns Pro-Government Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      24 October 2007

The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, which many consider to be aligned
with the government of President Robert Mugabe, has been rocked with a power
struggle that featured the ouster over the past weekend of its entire

Those dismissed by a vote of 25 out of 33 affiliate members at a meeting of
the union's general council included the prominent war veteran Joseph
Chinotimba, who is a vice president of the union, now-embattled President
Alfred Makwarimba, and Information Secretary Kennias Shamuyarira.

Chinotimba and the others on the executive panel were accused of entering a
social contract with business and the state without obtaining approval from
the council.

Charges of factionalism and embezzlement have also been launched.

But the ousted executive members, who were not present at the Bulawayo
meeting in question, have refused to acknowledge their dismissal, saying
Chinotimba engineered the meeting as part of a ploy to seize the presidency
from Makwarimba.

Chinotimba was suspended from his post earlier this year after announcing
that Makwarimba had been ousted, then was readmitted on the insistence of
Political Commissar Elliot Manyika of the ruling ZANU-PF party, a cabinet

Chinotimba could not be reached for comment on the imbroglio.

But outgoing union spokesman Shamuyarira told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that
a general council meeting is on tap for Friday in Harare, adding that he and
the others ousted in last weekend's meeting have handed the matter over to
their lawyers.

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Three Students Cleared In University of Zimbabwe Disciplinary Hearing


      By Carole Gombakomba
      24 October 2007

Eight student leaders at the University of Zimbabwe were summoned Wednesday
to a disciplinary proceeding by university Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura to
face charges that they led a violent protest in July against the closure of
residence halls.

The UZ Student Representative Council said university officials failed to
complete the hearings in one day, having failed to produce statements by
security personnal.

The cases of student activists Thabani Moyo, Manifest Jabuli and Tatenda
Chiuya were heard in the first day of the hearing. Sources said charges
against Moyo and Jabuli were withdrawn for lack of evidence while Chiuya was

The cases of Student Representative Council President Lovemore Chinoputsa,
Vice President Sean Matsheza, Legal Affairs Secretary Fortune Chamba, and
students Ceasar Sitiya and Shadreck Vengesai were adjourned until Nov. 7.

In July, Nyagura ordered police to evict an estimated 5,000 students from
residence halls on grounds they were unfit to inhabit, leaving thousands
sleeping in the open.

Students staged protests over what human rights activists called a
humanitarian crisis.

Secretary General Beloved Chiweshe of the Zimbabwe National Students Union
told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that many
students see the hearing as a way of intimidating students now reduced to

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Diaspora Resistance - Moratorium on money transfers

"Whose bread I eat, his song I sings, money talks, money is power"

Exiled Zimbabweans need to understand that, "it is often safe and painless
to be brave from a distance". Let us grab the regime by the belt buckle and
force it recognise the Diaspora economic might.  Our actions will compel the
regime to acquiesce to our demands for our right to vote, an immediate end
to state sanctioned violence, the return of the rule of law and free and
fair elections.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono, in cohorts
with the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) now employs covert
black-market foreign currency buyers. The sole function of the buyers is to
mop up all available currency from the public and authorized dealers,
utilizing the infinite amounts of freshly minted local cash provided by the
RBZ. The foreign exchange is bought clandestinely at the day's prevailing
black market rate (US$1: ZW$1 000 000 000.00) or (£1: ZW$2 250 000 000.00)
and subsequently transported and secured in the RBZ vaults for use by the

ZANU (PF) and government officials then acquire the same foreign currency
from the RBZ at the official rate (US$1: ZW$30 000.00). Simple arithmetic
will show that when a cabinet minister requires annual college fees (US$35
000.00) for his child to attend a university in the "imperialist west", he
pays the RBZ, one billion and fifty million dollars (ZW$1 050 000 000
000.00). The RBZ in contrast would have acquired the same amount of foreign
currency from the parallel market for 35 billion dollars (ZW$35 000 000
000.00). Thus Diaspora funds sent by hardworking Zimbabweans living in exile
with the intention of sustaining their families inadvertently become the
subsidy and essential lifeline to buttress and maintain the regime.

 Case in point: a Zimbabwean care worker in the United Kingdom sends £ 50.00
(pounds) home to his mother through a money transfer agent. The RBZ through
the agent gives the mother ZW $112 500 000 000.00 and retains the £50.00
(pounds) for onward transmission to the government.  Essentially the
government is buying currency back at only a fraction of its local value.
Rather than utilizing the funds for national essentials like food,
electricity, fuel and medicines, the government instead spends the valuable
foreign currency acquiring  non productive assets e.g. luxury cars, homes
and expensive foreign shopping sprees.

Uku ndiko kunonzi kudzorera marasha kuHwange!!

 From November 1 to November 30, 2007, let us starve the regime of its
source of foreign currency. During this period, as a protest to the
continuing human rights violations, we must to use our collective Diaspora
monetary strength by withholding all money transfers for that phase. It is
estimated that 1 500 000 working Zimbabweans reside outside the country. On
average exiles remit twenty-five dollars (US $25.00), per month to relatives
back home. If we collectively protest and withhold remittances, the
government fails to collect a monthly subsidy of 37 million dollars (US $37
500 000.00.), from its disenfranchised citizenry.

 All Zimbabweans in exile should exercise their constitutional rights and
grasp this momentous occasion for a powerful, bipartisan demonstration
against the government's economic mismanagement, irrational policies,
endemic corruption and blatant breach of international humanitarian law. The
regime must repeal draconian laws and allow exiled Zimbabweans to vote.

 Let us clutch this fortuitous moment and deprive the regime of its
sustenance. The power for our own emancipation is in our wallets.

Asesabi Lutho

Phil Matibe -

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