But, on Saturday, Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was committed to a genuine power-sharing pact with President Robert Mugabe but would not be bullied into a government in which he would have little authority.
“We want to see a finality to this issue,” he said, adding that nobody would force him into joining an administration in which the government would have responsibilities but no power.
“We are committed to the agreement that we signed on September 15 but it is not some unconditional commitment,” he said in an address delivered both in English and the local Shona language.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, his Mozambican counterpart Mr Armando Geubuza and Swazi premier, Mr Sibusiso Dlamini will be in a last ditch effort to persuade the parties against Mr Tsvangirai, who last week boycotted another summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) troika on security has of late been calling for a fresh round of elections to settle the dispute.
The power sharing agreement signed amid pomp and funfare is unravelling over which party gets the key ministries of finance, defence, home affairs and local government.
Mr Mugabe made an important concession by yielding the finance ministry, but the MDC, which also says it has lost faith in long time mediator and former South African president, Mr Thabo Mbeki insists on getting one of the security ministries.
The party is particularly interested in the home affairs portfolio.
Sapa Published:Oct 26, 2008
South African president Kgalema Motlanthe will attend the SADC Organ Troika
meeting in Harare on Monday, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie
The SADC Organ Troika meeting takes place against the background of ongoing
efforts by SADC to help the people of Zimbabwe in their endeavour to find a
lasting solution to their political and economic challenges.
Ex-president Thabo Mbeki in his capacity as the SADC facilitator is expected
to brief the SADC Organ Troika on his efforts to assist Zimbabwe's political
leadership in their efforts to form a new government.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's ruling party is pushing for rotating
control of the disputed Ministry of Home Affairs, ahead of Monday's
emergency summit of southern African leaders, a state-run newspaper reported
here on Sunday.
Quoting the ZANU PF position paper on a month-long deadlock over the sharing
of cabinet positions between President Robert Mugabe;s party and the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), The Sunday Mail said
co-sharing of the contentious ministry would "ensure that there is
continuity and that there are checks and balances".
The Ministry of Home Affairs controls the police force and differences
between President Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai over who takes
charge of the portfolio have stalled progress towards forming proposed unity
The Sunday Mail said the ruling party accepted the proposal by the mediator,
former South African president Thabo Mbeki, to allow rotating control of the
home affairs ministry between ZANU PF and the MDC.
"In order to break the deadlock over this issue, ZANU PF will accept the
co-ministering of this ministry, a proposal initially forwarded by Mr
Tsvangirai," the newspaper reported.
Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) converge in the
Zimbabwean capital, Harare, on Monday for a rescheduled meeting aimed at
ending the deadlock over forming a new cabinet.
The SADC meeting was postponed last Monday when Tsvangirai failed to travel
to Swaziland, due to problems in obtaining a passport.
Sun, 26 Oct 2008 09:03
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai warned on Saturday that he
would not sign a deal with President Robert Mugabe at any price simply to
please other African leaders.
"We have very high respect for SADC (Southern African Development
Community), very high respect for every African institution," he said at a
meeting at Marondera, 80 kilometres east of the capital Harare.
"We don't want our issues to go outside Africa," he added.
"When they (the regional leaders) come on Monday we shall respect them."
But, he said, if the diplomatic moves of the South African mediator Thabo
Mbeki, were misdirected, there would be no deal.
He said his party had one message for Mbeki: "Quiet diplomacy has its
limits, we give him all the respect (but) we may end up abandoning quiet
diplomacy when we realise quiet diplomacy is being led for wrong approval."
Three SADC heads of state and a minister will back Mbeki Monday in his
efforts to get Tsvangarai and Mugabe to reach a deal on the composition of a
new unity government.
On 15 September the two men signed a power-sharing deal to resolve the
crisis created by the defeat of the government in the general election in
"We are committing to a suitable power sharing-agreement... (but) no-one
should ever take us for granted," he said.
"There is nothing wrong with the deal, the problem is now its
implementation... the problem is that Mugabe wants all the key ministries...
I will not enter into this government when I know there is no sincerity...
How can I sign this deal when I am not given the tools to perform?".
Tsvangarai and Mugabe have held lengthy negotiations chaired by Mbeki but
have failed to agree on the distribution of major ministries, in particular
the interior and defence portfolios.
October 26, 2008
By Our Correspondent
MARONDERA - A rally addressed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the small
town of Marondera drew a much larger crowd than attended a Zanu-PF rally in
the capital city on Saturday.
Meanwhile, speculation mounted in Harare Saturday over the mysterious order
by the Public Service Commission for the immediate surrender of all
In a statement issued on Friday PSC chairman, Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah, ordered
all officers using government vehicles to surrender them Saturday morning at
the nearest district or provincial police stations.
Nzuwah also advised all permanent secretaries and principal directors to
report to his office at 8am Saturday for an urgent meeting. It was not
possible to establish what transpired during the meeting.
Nzuwa's order to surrender vehicles applied to all users of government
vehicles except ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries and
"Police have been instructed to impound any vehicles of drivers who do not
comply with the instruction," Dr Nzuwah said.
Meanwhile, more than 5 000 MDC supporters turned out for a rally 70 km east
of Harare to hear Tsvangirai, who is the Prime Minister-designate promise he
would not settle for crumbs in the power-sharing talks set to resume Monday.
The crowd dwarfed the approximately 400 Zanu-PF provincial party supporters
who turned out to listen to President Robert Mugabe's provincial leadership
in Harare redouble its support for the embattled veteran ruler in the
deferred talks set to resume in Harare Monday under the facilitation of an
expanded mediation team.
The Zanu-PF provincial chairman Amos Midzi told dozens of Zanu-PF supporters
that President Mugabe had the full backing of the province, and that "we
know he will never sell out".
Monday's talks will include the SADC chair, new South Africa President,
Kgalema Motlanthe, the full complement of a committee of presidents that
make up the SADC troika on Politics, Defence and Security, including chair
of the organ, King Mswati III of Swaziland.
The SADC troika will meet with the leaders of the three main political
parties in Zimbabwe.
In Marondera the excitement in the air was palpable as the MDC supporters in
the Rudhaka football stadium in the high density suburb of Dombotombo swayed
and chanted, as if sensing victory.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told The Zimbabwe Times at the rally: "The
country is appetized, its ready for the big meal and the big meal is
democracy, that is what people want."
Looking down on the crowd were the remains of Mugabe's face on a huge but
now dilapidated billboard which bore the message: "Tinokutendai nekuvhota
murunyararo (We thank you for voting in peace)". The message on Mugabe's
campaign poster was an ironic but grim reminder of the gruesome murder of
MDC activists in this area during the violent run up to June run off
Marondera is the place where prominent MDC activist Shepherd Jani was
abducted and gruesomely murdered by State security agents. His mutilated
body was dumped by the roadside with his eyes gouged out and his tongue
sliced off. The MDC district youth chairman and district chairman are still
missing following their abduction by gunmen believed to be State security
On Saturday an MDC banner was quickly drapped over Mugabe's campaign poster
in Rudhaka Stadium.
"The nation is anxious, the nation is expecting," Chamisa said. "Its
delivery time, the gestation period has been long."
Chamisa spoke amid mounting speculation over the move by government to
recall all government vehicles from senior officials. The announcement was
made in a radio broadcast.
There was widespread speculation that the Mugabe regime was attempting to
neutralise resistance from senior civil servants and preparing them for a
change of guard. There are reports of hefty retirement perks for senior army
generals and secret agreements in the power-sharing deal guaranteeing
immunity from prosecution for generals.
"I think they are finally close to capitulating and surrendering power to
the MDC," said a senior African diplomat. "The recall of government cars is
Tsvangirai told his supporters in Rusape: "There is nobody who is going to
stampede us into a junior position. We respect the AU and SADC as
institutions but that respect must be reciprocated."
Tsvangirai said it was pointless to enter into a deal that did not transform
the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
"The deal should provide jobs, freedom, prosperity, national healing and a
new democratic constitution," he said. "If it can't provide this it is not
worth participating in."
Tsvangirai said he had hope that the SADC delegation flying into Zimbabwe on
Monday for the last bid to break the deadlock over sharing of Cabinet posts
would resolve the issue.
"We respect African institutions; we want this issue to be resolved."
Tsvangirai said there was catalogue of acts of bad faith on Zanu-PF's part.
He said the abuse of the State media by the Mugabe government continues with
virulent editorials targeted at him.
Tsvangirai said the police and army should remain impartial because they
were national institutions that should be non-partisan. He said Zanu-PF
should stop taking people for granted.
Meanwhile Zanu-PF officials pushing for the revival of the defunct PF-Zapu
of Dr Joshua Nkomo will on Saturday convene a mass rally at White City
Stadium to decide on the fate of the Unity Accord signed in 1987 as the
looming split in the ruling party moves to the public domain for the first
The Standard reported that Vice-President Joseph Msika, the most senior
surviving PF-Zapu leader following the death of Nkomo, would attend the
meeting, signalling the seriousness of the problems afflicting the party,
impeccable sources said.
Last month, Zanu-PF politburo and central committee members from the
south-western regions demanded an urgent special PF-Zapu congress to review
the accord which joined together the former liberation movements to end the
Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces.
The ruling party's provincial coordinating committee complained that former
PF-Zapu members were not treated as equals and communicated its concerns to
They said the straw that broke the camel's back was their non-inclusion in
negotiations that led to the power-sharing agreement with the MDC.
Organisers of the meeting, which might send shock waves in Zanu-PF, said
although it was not a PF-Zapu congress as such, its resolutions would be
October 26, 2008
The government has recalled all vehicles from its employees to help
transport Grade Seven examination papers during the weekend to over 240
centres for the examinations scheduled for this week.
Also all Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe employees have been asked to release their
vehicles for the same purpose. They will be paid handsomely. The Grade Seven
examinations were being printed over the weekend at Fidelity Printers in
Reserve Bank staff spent two nights printing the papers since ZIMSEC has
failed to do so.
One of the issues I highlighted in my coverage of the xenophobia was the
fact that lack of housing was considered a primary grievance among local
township dwellers. They were of the view that local councils were taking
kickbacks from exiles, mainly Zimbabweans, in order to obtain houses ahead
of those who had been on the list for years. During this past week my views
have been confirmed by those investigating the causes of the riots.
In addition to the housing being allocated through bribery, township
residents who possessed homes also complained of shacks being erected on
their doorstep overnight. Crime, particularly violent crime with people
being shot for cellphones, began manifesting itself. Jobs started being
given to foreigners because they were cheaper and did not belong to unions.
The Sunday Times ran an article to show that with policing, medical support
and the like, the cost of propping up Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe ran into tens of
billions of rands which dwarfs both the arms deal and the Eskom power
This is a material drain on the ability of this government and the next to
fulfil its promises to the South African electorate while ensuring that the
will of the people of Zimbabwe is neither recognised nor carried out.
South Africa and SADC will be in Harare on Monday for the latest round of
attempts to make the parties see sense in the allocation of Cabinet posts in
order to implement the power sharing deal. In the case of the MDC - who won
the election - the fact that they have agreed to share power is compromise
enough. The Zanu-PF who lost and president Mugabe who ensured the
presidential election had to be abandoned however don't seem to grasp the
concept of power sharing any more than they did that of free and fair
Accordingly, South Africa must make it clear to Mugabe that should he not
concede the ministeries of Finance and Home Affairs at the very least then
the time has come to hand this over to the international community. With an
election due in South Africa next year it will be very difficult to explain
in these financial times how South Africa can continue to pay for the elite
of Zimbabwe while South Africa's masses are starving.
That would ensure the demise of Mugabe, Zanu-PF and the real possibility of
prosecutions and imprisonment.
Should they however, immediately see reason, then the region will support
the government of Zimbabwe on the long road back to stability.
Take it or leave it.
This entry was posted on Sunday, October 26th, 2008 at 11:28 am
Zimbabwean's have become a very imaginative lot. Each time the Reserve Bank
imposes daily cash withdrawal limits new methods of withdrawing millions are
Sunday 26 October 2008, by Bruce Sibanda
RBZ set $50 000 as the maximum daily limit, but thousands of Zimbabweans
have bank balances running into billions of worthless currency. If one has
Z$1 million it would take him close to a year withdrawing it.
But new - legal ways have been crafted to withdraw huge amounts per day. So
how does a street vender like Thomas Ncube (21 years) has to have millions
in his bank account? Simple. It would be through what is called MONEY
Officially, one dollar is trading at less than Z$400 and that's way too low.
So foreign currency dealers are offering lucrative rates. A US$100 bill
translates to Z$30 billion. So Ncube approaches a dealer and is given a bank
fat cheque. But that would take years to withdraw the money to the last
On Thursday, I meet Ncube at a bank but unlike myself and the rest, he was
armed with countless documents. He had a burial order, death certificate and
Ncube simply told the bank officer that he had "lost" one of his uncle's and
he needed cash for the funeral expenses. "My uncle should be buried in
Kwekwe (about 100 km out of Harare) and that would cost $5.2 million for the
After the dramatic explanation, Ncube was handed over a bank form which he
took no time to complete. Upon completion of the requisite form, the bank
official told him to make a follow up to the application after two days.
Although he knew that his reason to withdraw money - true or fabricated -
seemed compelling, ultimately he knew that his chances of receiving such an
amount rested on the bank's discretion.
On Saturday, he was a happy chap- Z$5.2 million richer. He had faked his way
through the bank's procedures. All documents where forged.
He told me that he needed the local currency to buy forex for black market
trading. This has become the order of the day at most financial institutions
here as Zimbabweans seek ways to siphon the fast depreciating local currency
from their bank accounts.
Money burning has become so lucrative that most people particularly civil
servants are spending time at banks, banking fat cheques.
HARARE - THERE was drama at the Cresta Jameson Hotel on Friday night
when a group of war veterans threatened to beat up the manager after he had
hiked prices for all drinks.
The war veterans said he had not been given authority by the National
Incomes and Pricing Commision (NIPC). They demanded that the manager should
call Godwills Masimirembwa before beating him up.
Drinks had gone up from Zd 500 000 for a shot of vodka to Zd 5
million. Tea had gone up to Zd 45 million in the top hotel.
The manager then immediately reduced prices and asked for forgiveness.
The war veterans then demanded that he give a free bottle of scotch
whicky which they downed and then left.
The manager refused to comment on the issue but said he would report
the war veterans because he knew them and their bosses.
Jameson now charges cash for all drinks including tea and coffee.
Meanwhile African Distillers Limited (Afdis) has followed in the
footsteps of Delta Beverages Limited and is asking cash from its customers,
resulting in all spirits going up in Harare.
All hotels confirmed that they were now being asked to pay cash for
vodka, whisky, brandy and any spirits from Afdis.
The company also confirmed that it now wanted cash only for all its
products. The move comes as corporates can only withdraw Zd 10 000 daily in
Zimbabwe. Customers on the other hand, can withdraw Zd 50 000 daily.
Afdis has said all prices would go up by 1 000 percent on Monday when
the talks between the Movement and Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu PF are
They said the politicians were frustraing economic and political
Afdis is listed on the ZSE.
There was little expectation at the Vigil that the visit to Harare by the
SADC troika would produce any relief for the desperate people of Zimbabwe.
None of us could recall Angola and Swaziland, or even Mozambique, standing
up for human rights in Zimbabwe - let alone face to face with Mugabe. But
there was a feeling that at least it might expose the SADC troika to the
realities of life in Zimbabwe - that is, if their delegations left their
five star hotels for long enough to notice the collapse of the country . . .
the queues at the banks, the barren shops, the streams of stinking sewage in
the high-density suburbs, the erratic electricity and water supplies, the
run-down hospitals, the empty schools, the starving people . . .
We are gloomy that the Vigil demands for free and fair elections and an end
to human rights abuses will be met any time soon unless South Africa under
its new leadership takes a firmer line with Mugabe.
The Vigil has now sent our petition to the European Union urging it to
freeze government to government aid to SADC countries unless SADC upholds
its obligations to the people of Zimbabwe rather than supports Mugabe and
his fat cats. A copy of our representations has been sent to the SADC
Secretariat suggesting that Zimbabwe be suspended from membership of SADC
and that the Mugabe regime should be denied visas for SADC countries and
have their assets frozen. A copy has also been sent to the AU Chairman,
President Kikwete of Tanzania, and it is to him that the Vigil is now
looking to apply greater pressure.
On a happier note, the Vigil celebrated with a cake the birthday of Fungayi
Mabhunu of the Vigil management team, who joins us every week come rain or
During the week, six Vigil members (Jenatry Muranganwa, Dumi Tutani, Anges
Zengeya, Moses Kandiyawo, Kelvin Kamipura and Gugu Ndlovu-Tutani)
participated in a Black History event at City and Islington College in
London. Over the years we have forged a close relationship with the College
who invite us back for our singing and dancing each year. Some good links
were formed with staff, students and local groups.
As we mentioned last week, the Vigil was approached by Caribbean Labour
Solidarity who wanted a Zimbabwean speaker. We are pleased that one of
regular supporters, Simon Mambongo, will be representing us and he would
welcome support. See 'for your diary' for details of the meeting. We notice
that many people who used to support Mugabe as a liberator are reappraising
their position. There are more and more articles critical of Mugabe in
newspapers in the formerly supportive Afro-Caribbean world.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 136 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
· Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday, 27th October, at 7.30 pm.
Postponed from last week, Trudy Stevenson, Secretary for Policy and Research
of Mutambara MDC, will update the forum about the elections, the appointment
of the Speaker and the power sharing talks. Venue: The Fabian Society, 11
Dartmouth St, London SW1H 9BN (020 7227 4900). Nearest station: St. James'
· ROHR meeeting in Manchester. Saturday, 1st November 2008, 12.00 -
4.00 pm. Venue: Afewe Pub, Royce Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 5TR. For
information call Moses Nyagotsi on 07778 547 971 or Paradzai Mapfumo 07932
216 070 or 07533 831 617.
· ROHR meeeting in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Sunday, 2nd November 2008,
12.00 - 4.00 pm. Venue: Chervron Community Centre, Byker,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE4 2HQ. For information call T Musariri on 07765 055
095, T Mauwa 07832 354 304 or P Mapfumo 07533 831 617 or 07932 216 070.
· Caribbean Labour Solidarity meeting. Sunday, 2nd November at 12
noon. The speaker is Simon Mambongo of the Vigil who will talk about
developing conditions in Zimbabwe. Venue: HCD, 62 Beechwood Road, Hackney
London E8 (off Dalston Lane E8) Station; Dalston Kingsland, Buses: 28, 30,
38, 242, 277, 149, 243.
· Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday, 8th November 2008, 2 - 6 pm. Venue:
Argyle Street Precinct. For more information contact: Patrick Dzimba, 07990
· Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays
10.30 am - 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton
Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury
Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355
(open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
October 26 2008 at 09:54AM
By Eleanor Momberg
Blackjacks, grass, berries, wild figs, rats, roots and seeds meant for
planting have become the staple diet of hundreds of thousands of
Zimbabweans, according to refugees fleeing the hunger.
While the political leaders haggle over cabinet posts in a political
stalemate, ordinary Zimbabweans are either fleeing across the borders for
food, or are resorting to desperate means at home to find a few morsels to
"My family back home is eating berries, rape and anything else they
can find when I cannot send food home to them," a Zimbabwean living at the
Methodist Church in Johannesburg said last week.
"There are no beverages, no meat. We were poaching for fish in small
dams with nets," said one man.
"If we can't get fish, we eat rats. Others are following the railway
lines and the roads used by the grain trucks. They pick up any seeds or
grains that fall off and eat them. There is nothing else we can do."
Another said poaching for meat in national parks and reserves had also
become a norm, given that "it is so easy to bribe the officials so that we
can go in and get some food".
Many of those spoken to last week said they had fled to South Africa
to find food.
"I am here to work so that I can send food to my family. They are
starving. There is no mealie meal in the shops. In the shops you have to pay
in rands or American dollars for anything.
If you want to buy soap, you have to queue at the bank for three days
so you have enough money for a bar," said a man who fled three weeks ago.
This week a 2kg packet of rice was selling at US$4.90, 2.5kg of cake
flour at $5.60 and a bar of laundry soap cost $4.
All had the same story - their wives, parents, children, grandchildren
and girlfriends would die if they did not receive food aid.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said in a recent report that
desperately hungry Zimbabweans were running out of survival options and had,
in some instances, resorted to selling their livestock to buy food.
There were growing numbers of cases in the southern provinces where
families were marrying off their underage daughters to elderly well-off men
in return for food and support.
In Harare last week, firemen went on strike because they were too
hungry to work.
Last week Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) held a protest in Bulawayo
declaring a national disaster and demanding food aid. Two leaders were
In an open letter to the government, mediator Thabo Mbeki, President
Kgalema Motlanthe and SADC, Woza said despite the crisis "still nothing has
been done" and "people are dying of starvation".
This article was originally published on page 4 of Cape Argus on
October 26, 2008
October 26, 2008
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - The commander of a Zanu-PF youth base in the run up to the June
27 presidential election was jailed for 20 years on Friday after he was
convicted of raping the wife of an MDC activist.
Kufa Ringeringe of Bota Village in Zaka pleaded not guilty to two counts of
rape but was convicted on both charges by Masvingo regional magistrate,
Esther Muremba, who deplored the rape of defenceless women under the guise
of campaigning for President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe was the Zanu-F candidate in the controversial and violence-ridden
second presidential election in June.
The court heard that sometime during that election campaign Ringeringe, who
was the leader of a number of Zanu-PF youths camped in Bota Village to
spearhead the Mugabe campaign, visited his victim's homestead in the
company of a group of youths.
On arrival they discovered that the woman's husband, a well known MDC
activist in the area, had fled from political violence. Ringeringe and the
youths then abducted and took the woman to their base, which was situated at
a nearby primary school. The youths threatened to beat up the woman unless
she revealed the whereabouts of her husband.
As they threatened her the youths fondled the woman's breasts while touching
her private parts. The court was told that Ringeringe then intervened and
offered to help the complainant, saying he was the only one with authority
to order his colleagues to stop harassing her.
He then took the complainant to a secluded place where he raped her twice
before he ordered her to return home.
In his defence outline Ringeringe told the court that the charges against
him had been fabricated by members of the MDC in the area who knew that he
was a Zanu-PF supporter.
However Magistrate Muremba convicted Ringeringe on two counts of rape. She
deplored the use of violence during an election time.
She said raping a defenceless woman under the guise of campaigning for
President Mugabe was a serious offence. Ringeringe was not legally
represented while Elson Chavarika appeared for the state.
By Stanley Kwenda*
MANZINI (Swaziland), Oct 25 (IPS) - Shupikai Machinya, a Zimbabwean
cross-border trader who attended the recent Southern Africa Social Forum in
Manzini, Swaziland, is one of the many delegates who wanted to understand
just how a country ends up in debt.
Machinya frequently travels to South Africa where she acquires basic goods
for resale in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe basic commodities such as salt, sugar,
rice, cooking oil, bathing soap and maize-meal are rarities as a result of
the devastating economic problems that the country is facing.
Although she belongs to the fledging Cross-Border Traders Association of
Zimbabwe, debt and development remain distant issues for her. ''I only know
that debt is money borrowed by the government from outside but how it's used
and for what reason nobody knows,'' Machinya told IPS.
''We have heard that our government has borrowed lots of money since
independence to build roads but no new roads were built after 1980 (the year
Zimbabwe achieved independence). They even lied that they wanted to make the
road from Harare to Beitbridge dual carriage as nothing has happened.''
Beitbridge is a border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
The just ended social forum meeting in Manzini discussed debt among Southern
African countries and how it can be effectively managed for the benefit of
The three-day meeting, attended by several civil society organisations from
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, resolved to
initiate debt audits to force governments to account for monies borrowed.
But why the fuss about debt?
''The problem of debt is central, it's a social problem. The United Nations
Development Programme estimates that poor countries pay four times more than
they borrow, yet they ought to be spending more on health and education,''
argued Dakarayi Matanga, executive director at the Zimbabwe Coalition on
Debt and Development (ZIMCODD).
ZIMCODD is a civil society organisation interested in developing Zimbabwean
people's capacity to redress the debt burden and unjust trade practices and
building and promoting alternatives to the neoliberal economic and social
Matanga regards debt audits as necessary to understand how debts are
incurred and repaid and whether citizens are involved in the whole process
of incurring them. Matanga urged SADC countries to initiate debt audits,
saying regional countries have a common history of debt and how it affects
He gave a comprehensive synopsis of the different kinds of debt that
countries accrue. He said debt is a situation where a person, country or
organisation owes some money or possessions to another person, country or
He said there are several kinds of debts. Bilateral debt is owed by one
government to another. Commercial debt is to private sector creditors and
commercial banks. Domestic debt is owed to creditors resident in the same
country and is denominated in local currency. External debt is owed to
foreign creditors and denominated in foreign currency.
Multilateral debt is owed to a consortium of lenders, like the World Bank or
regional development banks such as the African Development Bank. Official
debt, he said, is owed to public sector lenders. Publically guaranteed debt
originates from loans made to state-owned enterprises or private companies
where the payment is guaranteed by the government of the debtor country.
''We should be concerned about the issue of a country's indebtedness because
debt is an obstacle to human development. Debt results in the use of scarce
resources for servicing debt instead of investing in people's wellbeing,''
According to ZIMCODD, Zimbabwe is one of the countries with a high and
unsustainable level of indebtedness. Zimbabwe's total external debt stood at
4,9 billion dollars in 2007, an amount as big as the country's gross
domestic product (GDP).
Matanga further stressed that for ordinary citizens like Machinya to benefit
from debt, a host of things have to be put in place. He recommended that
SADC civil society organisations keep an eye on government borrowing;
institute legal reforms through advocacy to parliaments to force governments
to be accountable to citizens; and launch mass public education on debt
The Southern African Social Forum was held on Oct 16 to 18, to be followed
by the Nigeria Social Forum Nov 2 to 5 and the African Social Forum in Niger
from Nov 25 to 28. The World Social Forum will happen in Jan 2009.
Saturday 25th October 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
Every day ends in Zimbabwe with the most magnificent golden sunset at this
time of the year. As the sun drops over the horizon we are bathed in orange,
copper and caramel and are then so spoilt to witness a magnificent vista of
stars light up our night skies. Some evenings the wattled plovers call in
alarm as someone walks near their nests, other evenings the bats swoop over
the garden catching insects but every night I think of a friend who has now
left who told me that no matter how bad things got, I should keep looking
Looking for a telephone number in my address book the other day I got
distracted by the names of people who needed to be erased as they aren't in
the country anymore. In the last eight years all of my immediate and
extended family members have gone; my lawyer, doctor, optician and
chiropractor have emigrated; the vet I took my animals to has left so has
the electrician, plumber and car mechanic. Nurses and teachers that I knew
are gone, so has a physiotherapist, radiographer and three pharmacists. The
farms where I bought meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables have all been taken
over and none of them produce anything for sale at all anymore - they have
been reduced to dusty weed lands housing a few desperately poor subsistence
farmers and their families. The two huge agricultural companies where I
bought tools, seed, fertilizer and equipment are all but empty. The stock
feed companies where I bought cattle and chicken food, flour, salt and maize
meal for many years now have nothing at all to sell, not even a bag of dog
food. The polythene factory has closed down, two transport companies have
gone, a butchery, abbatoir, florist, sports shop and school outfitters have
closed down. The nursery where I used to buy tree seedlings has collapsed
and the flower nursery has gone too and then of course come the friends and
neighbours who have left. Page after page in my address book the names are
felled and each one is crossed out with a heavy heart. How far Zimbabwe has
fallen and all because a handful of people are so determined to stay in
For the last eight years those of us who have managed to stay in Zimbabwe
have been deeply traumatized witnessing the break down of communities and
the collapse of our country. Most days we don't know how, when or if, it
will ever end and if we can ever be "normal" again. At the same time, the
millions who have left the country are just as traumatized by everything
they've left behind: families, friends, pets, homes, memories and simply
that feeling deep in your soul that you are at home. I can't wait for the
day when I can write to the millions of Zimbabweans scattered all over the
world and say: come home, we are ready to rebuild. Sadly that time has not
come yet, we hope it will be soon.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.
Friday, 24 October 2008
SELEBI-PHIKWE: At least 125 Zimbabweans were rounded up in Selebi-Phikwe
this week and deported despite the pleas of civic groupings asking SADC and
African Union (AU) members to halt mass deportations.
Selebi-Phikwe Police Station Commander, Superintendent Victor Nlebesi says
the Zimbabweans were rounded up during a joint operation code-named
Nlebesi said the police, immigration and labour officers swooped on areas
suspected to be harbouring illegal immigrants on Monday and Tuesday.
He said 129 people were nabbed during the operation with two Chinese
nationals found working without work permits. Two locals were fined for
employing illegal immigrants.
Nlebesi said the operation, which also targeted recovering stolen property,
was a success. Some immigrants were lashed at the customary court while
others paid varying fines before they were deported.
Nlebesi said most of the offenders crossed into Botswana illegally. Some had
"The majority of the illegal immigrants were found in residential areas. We
urge Batswana to desist from harbouring or employing illegal immigrants,"
Nlebesi said. Last week, a grouping of 26 non-governmental organisations,
the Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ)
called on SADC and AU member states to halt mass deportations.
During a meeting to discuss Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement in Gaborone
recently, BOCISCOZ expressed concern at South Africa and Mozambique's mass
deportation of Zimbabwean nationals. The two countries argue that a power
sharing deal has been concluded.
BOCISCOZ appealed to SADC and AU states to stop the deportation of
Zimbabweans from their countries on the basis of the signed agreement as
talks over cabinet posts remain deadlocked.
Millions of Zimbabweans live in neighbouring countries after fleeing the
country's worst economic meltdown since attainment of independence from
Britain in 1980.
Botswana authorities have blamed rising crime statistics on the influx of
Zimbabwean illegal immigrants. The cost of deporting illegal immigrants has
drained government coffers as the exercise has proved almost futile.
Police admit that most of the deported immigrants immediately find their way
back into the country. Efforts by the government to erect an electric fence
along the Zimbabwe frontier have hit a snag as vandals continue to wreak
The fence caused an uproar as Harare authorities argued that it was meant to
bar its citizens while Gaborone maintains that it is meant to keep out
animals to curb the spread of the foot and mouth disease.
From The Wall Street Journal, 25 October
By Mark Schoofs and Nicolas Brulliard
New York - South Africa will stay the course on its longstanding diplomatic
policy with Zimbabwe, Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa's ruling African
National Congress party, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal
Friday. Mr. Zuma, the likely next president of the country, also said South
Africa will maintain its fiscally disciplined policies despite the credit
crisis and the weakening global economy. Endorsing his party's approach on
Zimbabwe, Mr. Zuma ruled out sanctions, arguing that the South
African-brokered power-sharing deal agreed to last month by Zimbabwe's
ruling and main opposition parties is the only viable plan. Longtime leader
Robert Mugabe is to share power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr. Mugabe has thrown the deal into jeopardy by asserting control over
ministries that handle defense, internal security and the media. Mr. Zuma
said South Africa would try to persuade Mr. Mugabe to make the deal work,
and noted the agreement has been endorsed by the international community. He
said that when he met President George W. Bush informally earlier this week,
"He was even saying, 'We are ready to lift the sanctions, let us ensure that
this package works.' Because nobody can produce, at this point in time, a
In a written response to the Journal, a White House spokesman acknowledged
the meeting and said the US is prepared to lift sanctions once Zimbabwe has
"a government that represents the will of the people." Noting that more than
three million Zimbabweans have fled Zimbabwe's political and economic
meltdown and settled in South Africa, Mr. Zuma and top advisers who
accompanied him in the interview stressed that sanctions would likely
inflame the crisis and increase the flood of refugees. Zimbabwe faces
massive food shortages, and this year its official inflation rate topped 230
million percent. Mr. Mugabe has retained the presidency through a brutal
campaign of violence and intimidation and suppression of the press. While
South Africa is Zimbabwe's largest trading partner in the region, the ANC
leaders ruled out unilateral action or "bully-boy" steps, as ANC Treasurer
General Matthews Phosa put it. The ANC leaders contrasted their
collaborative approach with that of US international policy in Iraq and
elsewhere, which Mr. Phosa described as "arrogant." "So stand back. Allow
Africans to resolve this issue. We're almost at the door now" of making the
power-sharing deal work, Mr. Phosa said.
Since taking the reins of the ANC last December, Mr. Zuma, who is widely
regarded as the standard-bearer of the ANC's left wing, has been taking
pains to assure international business and political leaders that South
Africa's business-friendly policies will remain the same. However, many
South African commentators interpreted a recent economic summit of the ANC
and its allies as foretelling a leftward shift. Joking that "Nobody's
checking whether [the ANC] is going to go right," Mr. Zuma said that the ANC
would continue its "mixed economy" approach that combines business-friendly
policies and avoidance of deficit spending with investment in social and
public-works programs to try to alleviate the crushing poverty that most of
the population still endures. As head of the ANC, South Africa's heavily
dominant party, Mr. Zuma is almost certain to win the presidency in
elections next year. Mr. Zuma declined to say whether he would ask Finance
Minister Trevor Manuel to continue in his administration, but praised his
work and reiterated something Mr. Manuel recently said in a speech: that
South Africa's fiscal discipline has acted as a shock absorber in the
current credit crisis.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 26 October
London - Briton Simon Mann, jailed for plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea,
could be transferred home if Britain arrests others like Sir Mark Thatcher,
the African state's president said in an interview Sunday. President Teodoro
Obiang Nguema told the Mail on Sunday that if Britain arrested Thatcher -
son of former prime minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher - and Ely Calil,
Mann could be sent back to a British jail. He also said that Mann's sentence
could be reduced if he continues to "collaborate" with his government. Mann,
a former special forces officer who attended Britain's prestigious Eton
school and the Sandhurst military academy, was jailed for 34 years in July
for leading an abortive coup to oust the president in 2004. Mann also
implicated Thatcher, who was given a fine and a suspended sentence in South
Africa in 2005 after pleading guilty to unwittingly helping to finance the
"I'll tell you what it will take for him to be allowed to leave my country,"
the president said of Mann. "If the British police arrest the people we say
were also involved - Ely Calil, Mark Thatcher and others - and bring them to
court then maybe we will transfer Simon to an English jail so he can be
close to his family". He added that British police had visited Equatorial
Guinea three times within a few months gathering evidence and Mann had
"collaborated brilliantly" with them. "Simon Mann has collaborated with our
government and the British police and if he continues to behave so well,
then yes, we will reduce his sentence," the president said. Police in London
confirmed visits to Equatorial Guinea, the paper said. He also claimed that
Calil had made "overtures" to Equatorial Guinea in the past month with "a
view to reaching some kind of understanding", adding: "We are not sure yet
exactly what he wants". In July, Calil, a British businessman of Lebanese
descent, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that he had "absolutely nothing"
to do with the plot and nor did Thatcher. He added that the plot detailed by
Mann in his trial in Malabo was "pure fantasy" concocted by the authorities
for political purposes.
Sunday Standard, Botswana
by John Regonamanye
26.10.2008 7:46:30 P
Unless Africa, especially its sub region, commits to concerted efforts and
collaboration, malaria will continue to haunt and ravage the continent,
killing millions of people and posing a serious public health problem in its
Speaking at the Standard Chartered Bank curtain raiser event, organized on
last week to unveil the bank's commitment to preventing and eradicating the
deadly disease on the entire African continent, Sir Richard Feacham of
Global Health underscored the importance of working together amongst
neighbouring countries saying "historically, malaria was the big killer,
killing more people than any memorable war and disease".
A professor at the University of California who is committed to the
eradication of malaria across the globe, Feacham said malaria "knows no
boundaries" and, as such, needs "exceptional collaboration", urging the SADC
countries to adopt multi-lateral contributions to defeat the disease which,
to all intents and purposes, has proved a hard nut to break in the region.
"In order to eradicate the disease, it is important to adopt exceptional
cross boarder collaboration and multi-lateral contribution. Malaria knows no
boundaries and it is thus vital for neighbouring countries to exert
concerted efforts for a malaria-free Africa," he said, adding that without
collective responsibility, the fight against malaria would always be evasive
Spurred by the glaring incidences of malaria in Africa and as a way of
giving back to the community, Standard Chartered recently embarked on an
Africa-wide project, the 'Nets for life' project, dedicated to the
elimination of malaria in Africa and invited Feacham, the malaria fighter,
to officiate at the pre-launch of the Botswana 'Nets for Life' campaign.
In Botswana, the 'Nets for Life' campaign is headed for Maun in early
November. Maun is a commonly infested malaria region where
insecticide-treated nets will be distributed.
Feacham has worked in international health and development for 40 years and
has published extensively on public health, health policy and development
Currently, he and the Global Health group are working on the design and
implementation of malaria elimination programs in southern Africa, including
Feacham said that with the Angolan civil war over and replaced with a
democratic dispensation and with the Zimbabwe situation heading for
normalcy, he was optimistic the incidences of malaria would abate.
He argues that civil wars and political instability displaces inhabitants
culminating in the escalating of incidences of malaria.
Feacham urges constant efforts and resources mobilization to liberate Africa
from the deadly malaria.
Although preventable, treatable and curable, malaria has sporadically
engulfed Botswana during rainy seasons with last year's episode the worst,
killing a significant number of children under the age of 5 years in places
uncommon with the disease.
"More than forty years ago, there was optimism about the control of
malaria," said Dr Halabi. "Today, however, we face the prospect of a
disease that is growing and spreading into new areas as a result of climate
change, population movement and emergence of drug and insecticide
resistance." She added that "the threat posed by malaria today is also more
infinitely complex than in earlier times".
Although the country has not received some rains as yet, already there are
signs that the disease could cause yet another terrible disturbance as new
outbreaks are reported in Kweneng and Goodhope, places which never used to
have a malaria problem.
"Such developments tell us that Botswana is experiencing a resurgence of
malaria, which is becoming a global phenomenon that requires concerted
efforts to keep malaria under control."
Echoing the same sentiments expressed by Feacham, Dr Halabi said unless
neighbouring countries along the Trans-Zambezi region collaborate and work
together, elimination of malaria will not be possible.
"Malaria knows no boarder and these efforts must be harmonised and
simultaneously", she said.