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UN chief urges Mugabe to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis

By Angus Shaw
Associated Press Writer / October 29, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe-The political crisis in Zimbabwe has lasted far too long
and President Robert Mugabe must resolve the power-sharing impasse, U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, a prominent Zimbabwean women's activist group said its
jailed leaders will join a nationwide prayer vigil for an end to the crisis.

The U.N. chief has been discussing Zimbabwe's crisis with other leaders and
dispatched his senior adviser to Harare. On Wednesday he told reporters in
the Philippines that the crisis "has been taking too long."

"I sincerely hope that President Mugabe will no longer disappoint the
international community," Ban said. "He should meet the expectations of the
international community."

Zimbabweans themselves were showing increasing impatience -- and willingness
to say so despite the Mugabe regime's record of cracking down violently on
dissent. They want their leaders to come to a political agreement and turn
their attention to the economic crisis. Zimbabweans face the world's highest
official inflation rate, and the U.N. predicts half of them will need food
aid by next year.

Ban said he hoped a planned regional summit could break the impasse over the
allocation of Cabinet posts among Mugabe's party, Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change and a smaller opposition group.

Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence from
Britain in 1980, of trying to hold on to too many of the most powerful
posts, despite agreeing Sept. 15 to share power.

Meanwhile, women of Zimbabwe Arise said its members across the country would
pray Wednesday evening "for a speedy resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe
and for change for the better in the justice system in Zimbabwe, within both
the courts and the prisons."

The group said its leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu would be
praying in the notorious Mlondolozi Prison in southern Zimbabwe where they
have been jailed since holding a peaceful protest Oct. 16.

Other protesters calling on politicians to resolve their power-sharing
impasse were arrested and assaulted earlier this week.

Human Rights Watch, in a statement Tuesday, called on Zimbabwean authorities
to immediately release Williams and Mahlangu and allow peaceful

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SADC Troika was divided over crisis talks

By Tichaona Sibanda
29 October 2008

The SADC Troika that met in Harare on Monday felt that the proposal put
across by the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, for all parties to share cabinet
portfolios equitably, was 'reasonable' but they failed to convince Robert
Mugabe to accept it.

The three party principals, including Arthur Mutambara, were allocated
exclusive time to brief the Troika on how they thought the stalemate could
be ended. But Mugabe remained defiant as ever, refusing to cede control of
the Home Affairs Ministry. 10 other ministries are also up for discussion.

A senior aide to Tsvangirai said that Mutambara told the Troika he favoured
the Home Affairs portfolio being given to the mainstream Tsvangirai MDC.
The regional leaders present at the summit included Mozambican President
Armando Guebuza, Swaziland's Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini, Angolan
Foreign Minister Asuncion dos Anjos, South African President Kgalema
Motlanthe and his predecessor and regional mediator on the crisis Thabo
The MDC official told us that Guebuza, Motlanthe and surprisingly, King
Mswati III who was represented by his premier, were of the opinion that
Tsvangirai's proposal that there be an equitable distribution of portfolio
ministries was very reasonable. Only the Angolan Foreign Minister was
against it, a position presumably communicated to him by his President Jose
Eduardo Dos Santos.

This proposal envisaged the pairing of ministries in the orders of
importance and relative equality. The MDC identified ten key ministries
which they said should be shared equitably.

This is how their proposal works out. They paired Home Affairs (MDC) to
Defence (ZANU PF), Justice and Legal Affairs (ZANU PF) to Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs (MDC), Mines and Minerals Development (ZANU PF) to
Environment and Youth to Women (MDC).
It's believed Motlanthe and Guebuza tried in vain to convince Mugabe to
accept this deal. Mugabe is said to have told the two leaders he would only
consider surrendering control of Home Affairs if that suggestion was coming
from all SADC leaders, not just from the two of them.
There was no elaboration on this extraordinary statement, but it remains
unlikely that Mugabe would agree no matter who was speaking to him.
Eddie Cross, the MDC MP for Bulawayo South, told us that when ZANU PF signed
the power-sharing deal, they did not fully understand the implications of
it. This was in reference to the panic and uncertainty among most civil
servants. The majority of them are set to lose their jobs in a new inclusive
government. Almost all top positions in the government were awarded on
patronage, meaning close to 300 senior government posts should be shared
equally as well.

'Now that they appreciate how much they had conceded to the MDC, there is
panic all over the party. What they didn't realise was that this deal meant
sharing the positions of ambassadors, their deputies, permanent secretaries,
governors, provincial administrators the public service commission,
principal directors. There is going to be virtually a 50-50 sharing in all
government institutions,' Cross said.

The MDC MP said ZANU PF were now trying to delay the power-sharing deal by
regrouping and restrategising.

'But by allowing the talks to move a step higher, from the Troika to a full
SADC summit and possibly to the AU, Mugabe is losing friends and allies
along the way,' Cross added.

Mugabe still has traditional SADC allies in Angola, Namibia and the DRC. But
the majority of them, such as Zambia, Mauritius and lately South Africa,
Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland, are turning their backs on him while
Botswana has been relentless in criticising him.

SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao has meanwhile carried the brunt of
criticism from the MDC who accuse him of deliberately omitting crucial
information from the communiqué issued after the Harare summit.

Apart from failing to raise the issue of Tsvangirai's passport, Salomao is
accused by the MDC of leaving out the fact that SADC had deliberated on the
fraudulent alteration of the agreement of the 11th September and the one
that was signed on the 15th September.

'It was their understanding that the Troika in fact made a resolution that
it is the agreement of the 11th September 2008 that should be binding and we
are indeed surprised that it was not captured in the communiqué,' the MDC
said in a statement.
A full SADC meeting is expected to be convened soon, possibly next week in
Johannesburg, where South Africa holds the chairmanship of the regional

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Zimbabwe opposition pessimistic on SADC intervention

Posted Wednesday, October 29 2008 at 13:02

Zimbabwe's main opposition has contradicted the 15 nation Southern African
Development Community on the reasons for the country's power sharing

This has fuelled pessimism that the regional block will succeed in forcing
the political rivals to form a government of national unity.

On Monday, a SADC troika meeting made of leaders from South Africa,
Swaziland, Angola and Mozambique called for a full summit of the regional
body to deal with the Zimbabwean crisis after a 13 hour meeting failed to
break the impasse.

A communiqué issued at the end of the summit said the only dispute delaying
the implementation of the agreement signed on 15 September was the
allocation of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is in charge of the

But two days after the meeting, the MDC issued a statement saying the
parties were at loggerheads on almost all the key ministries.

The opposition party led by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, said President Robert
Mugabe also appeared unwilling to share the posts of provincial governors,
permanent secretaries and diplomats.

The statement said Mugabe unwillingness to share the positions undermined
genuine power sharing.

Mr Tsvangirai will become Prime Minister if the deal brokered by for South
African President Thabo Mbeki is finally implemented.

"There is an attempt to ignore or over look fundamental principles and hence
the claim in some circles that only the portfolio of Home Affairs is
outstanding," the MDC said. "Nothing can be further from the truth."

Analysts said instead of calling a SADC summit, which is unlikely to deliver
a final solution to the complex crisis, the matter should have been referred
to the African Union.

SADC and AU are the guarantors of the agreement that calls for the formation
of a unity government between President Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF and the two
formations of the MDC.

"SADC has struggled with the Zimbabwe problem since the disputed
presidential elections in 2002 and there is not much that it can do now,"
said Mr Joseph Mhishi, an analyst. "After the troika failed to narrow the
gap between the parties, SADC should have thrown in the towel."

The SADC intervention has always been clouded by the MDC's lack of
confidence in Mr Mbeki's mediation as it accuses him of siding with Mr

Mr Mbeki was appointed by SADC in 2002 to lead the mediation effort and was
re-assigned this year following the disputed June 27 presidential election.

"Although there are few SADC leaders who are prepared to stand up to Mugabe
like Botswana, the rest don't seem ready to prevail on Zanu PF to genuinely
share power." Mr Mhishi said. "They hold Mugabe in so much awe."

The deal that is seen as the best opportunity for ending Zimbabwe's
unprecedented economic and political crisis has stalled over the control of
the most powerful ministries.

The MDC accuses Mr Mugabe of wanting to grab all the powerful posts, while
Zanu PF accuses the opposition of deliberately stalling the process of
setting up the government to invite Western intervention.

"They just wanted a full SADC summit and they got it," the state controlled
Chronicle said in an editorial on Wednesday. "They didn't want to be seen as
being disrespectful of African structures given the notion that they are
Western puppets.

"Ultimately, if you follow what is turning out to be a sequence of well
choreographed events as far as the opposition is concerned, even a full SADC
summit won't be good enough."

Another political analyst, Mr Michael Mhike told Zimonline that it was not
impossible to find a way out of the impasse saying much depended on Mr
Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai's willingness to work together in a spirit of trust
and confidence.

"Sadly, these crucial elements are lacking and I cannot see them
germinating, let alone growing and flowering in the near future," he said.
"It all looks pretty pessimistic."

Others suggested SADC needed to get tougher with both sides to force them to
compromise, to halt Zimbabwe's quickening slide into economic ruin and mass

The implementation of the power sharing agreement has to be fast tracked to
deal with the economic crisis that is seen in the world's highest rate of
inflation of 231 million percent, acute shortages of food, fuel,
electricity, hard cash and every basic commodity.

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Mbeki slammed for not confronting Mugabe

Published: Oct. 29, 2008 at 2:55 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The latest attempt by former South
African President Thabo Mbeki to broker a Zimbabwe deal has failed because
he won't confront Robert Mugabe, sources say.
Mugabe, 84, Zimbabwe's longtime president and chief of the ruling ZANU-PF
Party, is engaged in power-sharing talks with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party and its Prime Minister-Designate Morgan Tsvangirai.
But after reaching a tentative accord, the deal now seems on the verge of
collapse despite Mbeki's close involvement in the negotiations.

Mbeki has been trying to forge a compromise on Tsvangirai's demand that the
MDC be given control of Zimbabwe's Home Ministry, which controls the
country's police apparatus, but Mugabe won't budge. Unnamed sources told the
British newspaper the Daily Telegraph that Mbeki is distracted by his own
political problems in South Africa, where he was forced by the African
National Congress to resign the country's presidency.

"Mbeki will not stand up to Mugabe," a source described as very close to the
negotiations told the Telegraph. "If you can't force Mugabe to give Morgan
Tsvangirai, who is the prime minister designate, a passport, then you can't
force him to do anything."

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Tough choices for SADC as Zimbabwe summit beckons

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's protracted post-election crisis poses wider
diplomatic and financial challenges for the 14 states of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) ahead of this month's extraordinary
summit on Harare's problems, political observers said on Wednesday.

The observers said SADC has found itself caught between a rock and a hard
place, with regards to resolving an impasse over cabinet positions between
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"Much as SADC would want to endorse Mugabe's position on the allocation of
cabinet posts, they realise that alienating Tsvangirai means alienating the
donor community on whose resources the regional bloc relies for its
day-to-day programmes," University of Zimbabwe political scientist who spoke
conditions of anonymity said here.

SADC receives the bulk of its funding from the European Union and the United
States, while less than 20 percent comes from member states.

The regional grouping would, therefore, try to avoid alienating its donors
for the sake of maintaining political solidarity with Mugabe.

"SADC will have to make tough choices between ensuring there is a real
sharing of power between the MDC and ZANU PF or siding with Mugabe and lose
international financial support which is key to the implementation of
regional programmes and projects," the political scientist said.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai are locked in a dispute over the sharing of cabinet
positions between their respective parties following the signing of a
historic power-sharing agreement in September.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accuses Mugabe of trying
to retain all key ministries and relegating the less influential portfolios
to the opposition.

The remaining dispute is over control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which
is in charge of the police, immigration and passport departments.

A meeting of the SADC troika on politics, defence and security cooperation
ended in stalemate on Monday after failing to break the impasse between the
two Zimbabwean rivals.

A summit of the full SADC membership is expected in the next two weeks to
resolve the impasse.

  JN/nm/APA 2008-10-29

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State of the Talks

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 00:11

Fellow Zimbabweans, members of the media fraternity, the Extra-Ordinary
Summit of the SADC Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation Troika
concluded in the early hours of the 28th of October 2008. In the communiqué
released by the Troika, pursuant to this summit, the Troika has decided to
refer the Zimbabwe issue to a
full summit of SADC which should be held as soon as possible.

On our part, we thank the Troika for yet again sacrificing their
time,patience and experience on the issue of Zimbabwe, more
particularly,President Monthlante of South Africa and President Guebuzza of
Mozambique and every other leader who attended the summit. Zimbabwe is
privileged that it can count as friends, countries in the region and
distinguished African statesmen such as President Guebuzza and President
Monthlante.It is regrettable that the Troika could not narrow the gaps
between the Zimbabwe parties. In our view, an urgent summit towards the
resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis is paramount. Zimbabweans are suffering
and dying. The State has dismally failed to provide the least basic social
amenities and our people have been reduced to a primitive mode of production
in depths that have not been known even in many warring situations.

At the core of our differences, in our view, is the lack of sincerity and
good faith on the part of Zanu PF. The fact that contrary to the Global
Political Agenda (GPA), Zanu PF is still interfering with the distribution
of humanitarian assistance, and the fact that it is still emasculating basic
freedoms is equally unacceptable. We condemn in the strongest language the
recent assaults of the members of the Zimbabwe Students Union (ZINASU) and
the continued incarceration of the members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA).Even yesterday as the dialogue process was in progress, Zanu PF had
the audacity of insulting and assaulting civic society and MDC activists who
were merely expressing their freedom of expression. That lack of sincerity
is demonstrated in the total disrespect of the MDC and its leader Mr. Morgan
Tsvangirai and the attempt to reduce the same to disinterested bystanders in
the cooperative government despite the fact that it is the MDC that has the
legitimate peoples' mandate following its victory on the 29th of March 2008.

It is our hope that the SADC Summit will be convened with utmost urgency to
deliberate on the outstanding issues;

1. The first critical outstanding issue is the allocation of portfolio
ministries as enshrined in Article 20.1.6 (5) of the GPA. On this issue, the
firm position of the MDC is that there are fundamental principles that are
key, not just to the MDC, but to the people of Zimbabwe.
1.1.    There cannot be responsibility without authority and,
1.2.    There has to be equitable distribution of portfolio ministries.In
this regard the MDC has suggested a methodology in respect of which the key
ministries are paired in the orders of importance and relative equality. We
identified 10 (ten) key ministries which we believe are supposed to be
shared equitably. For instance, we have paired Home Affairs to Defence,
Justice and Legal Affairs to Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Mines
and Minerals Development to Environment and Youth to Women. In our view
equity and responsibility with authority can be achieved if the ministries
are therefore allocated on the basis of the above methodology.

However, there is an attempt to ignore or overlook these fundamental
principles and hence the claim in some circles that only the Portfolio
Ministry of Home Affairs is outstanding. Nothing can be further from the

2. The second outstanding issue is the appointment of the ten Provincial
Governors in line with the outcome of the 29th of March elections.

3. The third outstanding issue is the question of the composition, functions
and constitution of the National Security Council. This is a critical issue
in view of the dangerous and partisan role that has been displayed by the
intelligence services in this country.

4. The fourth outstanding issue pertains to the appointment of Permanent
Secretaries and Ambassadors.

5. The fifth outstanding issue is the question of Constitutional Amendment
No. 19 which is the legal document that is necessary and conditional in
bringing the GPA into life.

6. The last point is the morally irreprehensible fact that the fraudulent
alteration of the agreement of the 11th of September 2008 and the one that
was signed on the 15th of September 2008. It is our understanding that the
Troika in fact made a resolution that it is the agreement of the 11th of
September 2008 that should be binding and we are indeed surprised that it
was not captured in the communiqué. From the above, it is clear that there
is so much that still has to be done and a lot of goodwill, patience and
wisdom, which so far has not been evident or has not been exercised.

On our part, we are fully alive to the historical obligations on our
shoulders and the expectations of Zimbabweans. However, the one instruction
that those suffering and abused people have been telling us at our massive
rallies at Zimbabwe Grounds, Mkoba Stadium,Mutungagore Primary School, White
City Stadium , Mamutse Stadium and all over Zimbabwe is a bold but simple



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CIO source says JOC will inhibit MDC

October 29, 2008

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - Even if the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) gets any of
the security ministries under the power-sharing deal, it will be very
difficult for the party to erase President Robert Mugabe's legacy, a senior
intelligence source has said.

He said Mugabe had fully entrenched himself within the security forces over
the past eight years, the MDC would face problems running the security
ministries which are staffed with Mugabe's staunch loyalists.

The country's security ministries are some of the key cabinet posts that
have been at the centre of continuous haggling since the signing of a
power-sharing agreement by Mugabe and MDC leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara of the splinter MDC.

The deadlock, which will now be dragged to a full summit of the regional
Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc, has delayed the
implementation of the government of national unity, which has been
prescribed by the region as the only way to immediately solve Zimbabwe's
political and economic crisis, which began in 2000.

Mugabe has stuck to his guns that he will not hand over any of the security
ministries of Home Affairs, Defence and also Justice, while the MDC leaders
have demanded that these should be shared if the party is to assume
relevance in the day-to-day-running of the all-inclusive government.

While it now looks highly unlikely that the current impasse will be
resolved, a senior member of the country's secret service - the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO), told The Zimbabwe Times Wednesday that even
in the unlikely event that a security ministry was handed over, the MDC
would not be able to control the allocated ministry.

"It would have been better if President Mugabe was completely out of the
picture because then the MDC would have the full authority to get rid of
those security chiefs that are counter-productive and implement new policies
without any undue influence from anyone, like what the President (Mugabe)
did after independence," said the source.

"However, with him still in power, any such attempts will be met with
resistance because he is still the overall in charge of the country."

He added that, with the Joint Operations Command (JOC) set to sit secretly
to review the country's security situation, the security chiefs would
over-rule any opposition efforts.

He also revealed that, to be able to get rid of the security forces' current
reputation of being partisan towards Mugabe, the opposition should first get
rid of the top security personnel, something that will not be tolerated by
Mugabe and former freedom fighters.

"The security chiefs and war veterans wield a lot of power in the country
right now and President Mugabe depends on them to remain in charge," said
the security source. "Already these have shown that they do not trust
Tsvangirai and if the opposition tries to get rid of them, they will raise
security alarms and charges like those of treason will be raised, resulting
in possible arrests and a repeat of political chaos."

The source added that it would be impossible for the opposition to work with
the current security set-up, as more than three quarters of commissioned
officers were former freedom fighters.

All of them went through re-orientation training during which they were
taught to be loyal to Mugabe's Zanu-PF and to be brutal towards the MDC

"Most of the junior officers, especially those that were recruited during
the past five years, were only recruited after a thorough check of their
political background, with those deemed to be supporters of the MDC
disqualified from joining the security forces," he said.

"Most of those that are in the junior ranks now are graduates from the
National Youth Training Service (NYTS), who are used to assaulting members
of the opposition and it might be very difficult to change their hardliner

He, however, said that the juniors would easily be reoriented if Mugabe was
not in charge and most of the security chiefs were dismissed, as the lower
ranking officers were also suffering under the current government.

However, MDC secretary-general, Tendai Biti, is optimistic that the MDC will
manage to handle the situation if handed any key ministry.

"We have faith in the professionalism of our security forces, and believe
that we will be able to work with them," said Biti. "Remember that our
police force was once the best in the world and this can still be achieved."

Security chiefs have been singled out as the main reason why Mugabe has
remained in power despite falling out of favour with ordinary Zimbabweans,
now bearing the brunt of his failed policies.

The security chiefs have been used to suppress dissent through brutal
assaults of the MDC leaders, supporters and civil society leaders.

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Zimbabwe Local Councils Seated, Despite Cabinet Dispute


By Tendai Maphosa
29 October 2008

The March 29 general election saw Zimbabweans choosing a president, members
of the two houses of parliament and local councilors. But unlike the
national government, still to be formed due to the deadlock over the
allocation of vital cabinet portfolios to the ruling party and the
opposition, local councils are busy at work. Tendai Maphosa has more in this
report from Harare.

While the presidential election was inconclusive and the lower house
election produced a hung parliament, the local government poll handed most
of the main urban centers to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
led by Morgan Tsvangirai. MDC candidates were chosen in all but one of
Harare's 46 wards.

The last time the MDC controlled the city was after the 2002 presidential
elections. The then MDC mayor and his council were dismissed by the

A government-appointed commission was running Harare until the current
councilors were sworn in on July 1. They have reported no serious problems
working with the Zanu-PF local government minister.

But the delay in agreeing on cabinet portfolios is impacting negatively on
the Harare City Council's planning. VOA spoke to Harare's deputy mayor
Emmanuel Chiroto at his City Hall office.

"At all levels people are rather hesitant to make decisions," he said. "We
are having our committee meetings, we are making resolutions, but all these
need financial support to sustain whatever plans we have and we cannot get
it when the situation is like this. We need a government like yesterday so
as to alleviate the suffering of the people of this country."

But things have not been as smooth for some councils. Chiroto says his party
controls the majority of councils across Zimbabwe and that does not appear
to be sitting well with the Zanu-PF.

The local government minister is allowed by law to appoint a quarter of the
total number of councilors in a given council as special interest
representatives. Some councils have been complaining that the minister is
appointing losing Zanu-PF candidates to councils. In some cases, they say,
these appointments actually overturn MDC majorities.

Chiroto says the local minister has not tried to tamper with the Harare city
council because of the MDC's overwhelming majority at City Hall.

"It did not happen in Harare, we never have those that actually lost the
elections being appointed," he said. "I was going to find it very difficult
to be working with the person that I defeated in Hatcliffe now coming here
as an appointed councilor. In the rural areas these [appointed] councilors
do have voting powers. They can actually change certain decisions that
elected officials will have made."

But at the moment, Chiroto - like other Zimbabweans - is hoping the
appointment of a new power-sharing government as agreed by the opposing
parties last month, will at least bring about some clarity and an
improvement for Zimbabweans.

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Analyst says breaking 'rural terror' key to success of deal

By Lance Guma
29 October 2008

Zimbabwe cannot move forward as long as there are vigilante terror groups
operating in the rural areas and blocking people from expressing their vote
freely in elections. According to Luke Zunga, a Zimbabwean businessman
exiled in South Africa, the current discussions over cabinet allocations
have to address this problem or will be completely meaningless. He believes
that for the deal to work, the MDC has to continue campaigning vigorously
for the Home Affairs, Information and Finance Ministries as a buffer against
the continued use of state terror.

Only through the control of finance will the MDC be able to stop state
sponsorship of militants in the rural areas. By controlling Home Affairs,
and with it the police, all perpetrators of violence will be arrested. He
also added that because of the divisive propaganda churned out by the state
media, control of Information is going to be vital in order to change things

Zunga, who is also a treasurer for the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development
Chamber, even suggested, 'the appointment of a SADC police commissioner,
'whose tasks will be to eliminate rural terror structures and clean the
police,' if the deadlock persisted. He argues that at independence Zimbabwe
turned to a Pakistani army general to help with the integration of the
various armed forces from the guerrilla groups, 'so it's not new.' Any calls
for a re-run of elections supervised by the UN, 'will not necessarily
neutralize the rural terror gangs,' he argued.

Zunga feels the current SADC mediation team has over-simplified the
Zimbabwean problem into a conflict between two parties that need to work
together. He believes the problem lies deeper in the ZANU PF culture of
violence and intolerance. 'Our view is that President Mbeki is aware of the
rural control.  If so, his support or recommendation for Mugabe to take
control of these ministries transfers the liability for the death and
starvation of these people to the doorstep of South Africa,' he added.

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Crisis set to worsen as currency loses all value

By Alex Bell
29 October 2008

The country's dire economic crisis is plunging the country to new depths of
desperation as the local currency, day by day, becomes completely valueless.

The Zimbabwe dollar, already revalued by the government to cope with
rocketing hyper inflation, sets daily record lows as the country's political
nightmare and global cash crisis take it's toll. Zimbabweans queue for hours
to withdraw their daily limit, but despite the Reserve Bank increasing the
daily withdrawal limit to Z$50,000, the cash barely covers transport costs.
The economy has spiralled out of control, to the point where shops are now
refusing to accept local currency, after the Zimbabwe dollar depreciated at
its fastest rate ever over the weekend.

Professor John Makumbe from the University of Zimbabwe explained on
Wednesday that "only 50% of households get periodic support from the
diaspora." He added: "These people have access to critical foreign currency,
but the people who don't are literally starving - and that is an

The RBZ's decision to suspend the online money transfer system earlier this
month has also taken a significant toll on the country, with Makumbe
explaining that many companies have been ruined. He added that people cannot
even pay their bills because the daily withdrawal limit is so low,
emphasising that "the collapse is multi dimensional."

At the same time as people in their millions are beginning to succumb to
hunger and malnutrition as a result of the food shortages across the
country, the cash crisis is also taking its toll on critically needed
humanitarian aid. Reports from relief agencies indicate that the suspension
of the inter-bank transfer system is hindering humanitarian operations for
NGOs, as money cannot be accessed to start crucial food distribution.

Makumbe explained that the country's humanitarian crisis will become worse
as the economy continues to collapse. He expressed anger that talks for a
power sharing government have continued against the backdrop of suffering,
and echoed that the nation is being held hostage as political bickering

"The MDC is being forced into a corner by ZANU PF, and they have no room to
back out because the people are at risk," Makumbe said. "It is clear that
the international community will not pump much needed funds into the country
if real power sharing is not established, and in the mean time, people are

In fact 5 million people are starving, as the world sits back and watches.


Analyst says breaking 'rural terror' key to success of deal
By Lance Guma
29 October 2008

Zimbabwe cannot move forward as long as there are vigilante terror groups
operating in the rural areas and blocking people from expressing their vote
freely in elections. According to Luke Zunga, a Zimbabwean businessman
exiled in South Africa, the current discussions over cabinet allocations
have to address this problem or will be completely meaningless. He believes
that for the deal to work, the MDC has to continue campaigning vigorously
for the Home Affairs, Information and Finance Ministries as a buffer against
the continued use of state terror.

Only through the control of finance will the MDC be able to stop state
sponsorship of militants in the rural areas. By controlling Home Affairs,
and with it the police, all perpetrators of violence will be arrested. He
also added that because of the divisive propaganda churned out by the state
media, control of Information is going to be vital in order to change things

Zunga, who is also a treasurer for the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development
Chamber, even suggested, 'the appointment of a SADC police commissioner,
'whose tasks will be to eliminate rural terror structures and clean the
police,' if the deadlock persisted. He argues that at independence Zimbabwe
turned to a Pakistani army general to help with the integration of the
various armed forces from the guerrilla groups, 'so it's not new.' Any calls
for a re-run of elections supervised by the UN, 'will not necessarily
neutralize the rural terror gangs,' he argued.

Zunga feels the current SADC mediation team has over-simplified the
Zimbabwean problem into a conflict between two parties that need to work
together. He believes the problem lies deeper in the ZANU PF culture of
violence and intolerance. 'Our view is that President Mbeki is aware of the
rural control.  If so, his support or recommendation for Mugabe to take
control of these ministries transfers the liability for the death and
starvation of these people to the doorstep of South Africa,' he added.

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Teachers Union offices forcibly closed in Gokwe

By Violet Gonda
29 October 2008

Repression is increasing in Zimbabwe as the power sharing deal stalls. The
offices of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) in Gokwe were
forced to close on Tuesday by state security agents, for allegedly causing
"confusion and disharmony" in the area. The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
reports that the union's Secretary General, Raymond Majongwe, is under
threat by state agents for allegedly encouraging boycotts of examinations.

The Crisis Coalition said in a statement that Moses Mhaka, the Gokwe office
coordinator, was threatened with death if he continued operations.

The PTUZ has been at the forefront of a teachers' strike calling for
salaries that counter the hyper inflationary environment, and for better
working conditions. The critical nature of the education sector has led the
teachers' union to call on the authorities to postpone exams, as there has
not been a conducive learning environment in government schools.

There is growing concern that the Mugabe regime is returning to business as
usual and is reverting to its normal tactics of suppressing dissent, as the
political deadlock continues with no end in sight.

Scores of activists were violently silenced in Harare on Monday during
demonstrations demanding a quick resolution of the political impasse; and in
Bulawayo Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu continue to be held at the
Mlondolozi Female Prison. The leaders of Women of Zimbabwe Arise were
arrested two weeks ago for leading a peaceful protest demanding food and the
formation of a new government.

Meanwhile South African civil society groups gathered in Johannesburg on
Tuesday to mobilise support for the detained WOZA leaders and also to
condemn the rights abuses taking place in Zimbabwe. Carrie Shelves, the
programmes coordinator of a South African NGO, People Opposing Women Abuse
(POWA), said the groups gathered to raise voices of alarm to their
President, about what is happening against the human rights defenders,
especially during what is supposed to be the middle of a peace-deal.

She said: "There was an immediate statement calling for the release of the
two WOZA leaders, but also a cease to the kind of violence that we have seen
meted out against other women activists there."

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Six ROHR activists released Tuesday evening

By Lance Guma
29 October 2008.

Six activists from the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) were
released Tuesday evening after being arrested Monday for demonstrating
against the delay in forming an inclusive cabinet. Mercy Ncube, Simbarashe
Sibanda, Joseph Mutizi, Adam Muchiriri, Tonderai Moyo and Clever Nyoni spent
the night at Harare Central police station, only to be released without

Joshua Mwale, the 7th arrested ROHR activist, was released the same day on
Monday. The group says Adam Muchiriri, who they had earlier feared was
abducted on the same day of the demonstration, was actually also in police
custody. ROHR said in a statement the detention of their activists, 'was
kept secret by sympathetic (police) officers who wanted to protect the
detainees from the Central Intelligence Organisation.'

CIO agents are said to have visited the station 3 times between Monday and
Tuesday demanding the ROHR activists be handed over. 'They were not beaten
or tortured during detention, except for Clever Nyoni who was beaten by
police during his arrest,' ROHR said. Around 47 women from the Women's
Coalition, who were also arrested during their own Monday demonstration,
were released the same day around 9pm.

Meanwhile ROHR say they still have not been able to positively identify the
body of one of their members, Osborne Kachuru, from Mbare. Kachuru was
allegedly beaten to death at ZANU PF's offices in Fourth Street, Harare soon
after ROHR's demonstration. On Wednesday Edgar Chikuvire the Information
Director said they are still looking for a family member to go and identify
the body at Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary.

Chikuvire also told Newsreel that of the 4 ROHR members abducted by ZANU PF
youths Monday, only 2 have been accounted for. Those released confirmed that
there were many other people being detained unlawfully at the ZANU PF
offices in Fourth Street, an indicator the number of people abducted could
be much higher than reported.

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Fair elections, not summits, the utlimate solution

October 29, 2008

By Tendai Dumbutshena

IF the communique released by the SADC secretariat after the failed meeting
to resolve the political impasse in Zimbabwe is to be believed, 15 regional
heads of state and government are to meet to decide who controls the
ministry of Home Affairs  in the proposed inclusive government.

Taxpayers and donors in the SADC region will fund a summit to get Zimbabwe's
warring factions to agree on who runs the Home Affairs portfolio. How
farcical can things get?

Desperate people clutch at straws. This is what is happening in Zimbabwe as
people wait expectantly for SADC to provide the solution.

It is forgotten that for eight years this body  has let the people of
Zimbabwe down. It turned a blind eye to Robert Mugabe's violation of its own
protocols on governance and human rights. It endorsed elections which were
condemned even by its own observers. It cynically embraced the lie that the
land issue was at the core of the crisis in Zimbabwe to absolve itself of
the responsibility to take a principled stand against Harare's aberrant
behaviour. It was only jolted into half-hearted action when it appointed
Thabo Mbeki last year to mediate following brutal assaults on political and
civic leaders including MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai. Images of the
savage attacks and the resultant international outcry forced the hand of
SADC leaders.

Also central to the problem has been Mbeki's treacherous role which began in
2000. Masquerading as a mediator, Mbeki has done everything within his
powers to protect Mugabe and prolong his rule. Even now he continues to bat
for Mugabe seeking at every turn to undermine the MDC. His hidden hand was
visible in SADC's communiqué which took the position of Zanu-PF that only
the ministry of Home Affairs was the outstanding issue.

The MDC has set the record straight. Differences go beyond the home affairs
ministry to include the posts of provincial governors, diplomats, permanent
secretaries and the composition and functions of the proposed national
security council. Mbeki and the SADC secretariat want the full SADC summit
to only discuss the Home Affairs ministry leaving other issues of concern to
the MDC off the agenda.

It will be interesting to see where the summit is held. Normally it is held
in the country of the current chair which is South Africa. The MDC has
threatened that Tsvangirai will not attend if he is not issued with a
passport. It may well be decided to hold the summit in Zimbabwe so that SADC
leaders do not have to put pressure on Mugabe to issue a passport. The
policy of appeasement is still very much alive.

Nothing positive should be expected from the SADC summit. Mugabe has no
intention of sharing power with the MDC. At long last the MDC has officially
acknowledged this. Regional leaders with the notable exception of Botswana's
Ian Khama are unwilling to get Mugabe to do the right thing. There is great
resentment among African leaders when Western powers involve themselves in
the Zimbabwe issue They are told this is a matter for Africans to resolve
among themselves.

But what if Africans cannot bring themselves to seriously address the issue?
What if their feeble efforts are rendered useless by an insatiable desire to
protect and appease Mugabe? What will a full SADC summit achieve that a
smaller group more suited to resolving such a matter failed to do? For as
long as SADC leaders are not prepared to show some spine and address the
issue squarely these summits and troika meetings are a waste of time and

Some analysts suggest that the matter be referred to the AU - another
guarantor of the agreement. What makes them think AU can do better than
SADC? The AU usually defers to regional bodies on such matters. The
continental body is full of leaders with a peripheral interest in Zimbabwe.
Many of them lack the moral stature to pronounce on Zimbabwe. If an African
solution is to be found it has to be in the region. Unless there is a
paradigm shift in their thinking and approach SADC leaders will not be able
to offer a solution to Zimbabwe's crisis. If they fail to author an
acceptable solution there is no point in running to Addis Ababa.

The inescapable conclusion to draw is that the September 15 agreement is
worthless. No one including the two major protagonists, Zanu-PF and MDC,
believes it is a workable solution. Given Mugabe's visceral loathing of
Tsvangirai and his party, is it not naïve optimism to believe that somehow
the agreement will work? The fact that seven weeks after the signing of the
agreement nothing has been achieved says it all.

The solution offered by Botswana is the only realistic option. Mugabe must
be put under pressure to accept a short transitional arrangement leading to
the adoption of a new constitution and elections. This process must be
driven by the international community because the regime in Harare cannot be
trusted to behave properly. Mugabe is vulnerable to pressure. What is
lacking among his peers in Africa is the will and courage to apply the
pressure. The people of Zimbabwe must be given an opportunity to settle this
matter once and for all. They must freely decide who governs them.

Therein lies the solution. But the international community must play its
part. If Africa is unwilling to do the right thing for Zimbabwe, others

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The Failure of African Leadership

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 12:28
by Eddie Cross

Nothing could illustrate the failure of African leadership more
clearly than the farce that took place in Harare this weekend. Following the
debacle last week when Morgan Tsvangirai refused to travel on an emergency
travel document restricted to Swaziland, the SADC organ on politics and
security convened in Harare this Monday. It was attended by the Presidents
of South Africa and Mozambique as well as the Prime Minister of Swaziland
and an official from Angola.

They know exactly what the problem is - in March the MDC beat Zanu PF
in a closely contested election and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai beat
Mugabe by a wide margin. These leaders know that Morgan got more than 50 per
cent of the vote - I understand his actual vote was 54 per cent but after
five weeks of procrastination and desperate efforts to falsify the poll the
Junta was forced to admit that Mugabe had been beaten but that Tsvangirai
had received less than 50 per cent and would have to face a run off.

The South Africans know full well that the real result was a clear
victory for MDC and a humiliation for Mugabe, but went along with the
charade and allowed the run off to take place. What followed was three
months of intense political violence unleashed on the population by 100 000
youth militia under military leadership in over 2000 camps spread throughout
the country.

When finally it became apparent that any attempt by the MDC to monitor
the election would be faced with violence and even the murder of MDC polling
agents, the MDC decided to pull out of the contest. Zanu PF went ahead and
in complete contrast to the March election, Mugabe was declared the winner
in 48 hours and sworn in, in unseemly haste.

The African observer missions then turned Zanu's world upside down by
declaring that the election had "not been a reflection of the people's will"
and stating that Mugabe had not been elected President. Battered and
bruised, the MDC and the hapless electorate picked themselves up and were
then faced with a demand by SADC leaders that they "resume" the talks with
Zanu PF under the mediation of Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki picked up from where his previous mediation had left off, as if
nothing had happened in the interim. We are now 4 months down the road on
that new initiative and having agreed and signed a power sharing agreement
on the 15th September; we are still trying to get the deal implemented. In
signing the deal, the MDC massively compromised its rights as the Party that
had won the elections outright in March.

Mugabe, who by all accounts lost the election in March and certainly
has no legal or democratic justification to call himself President,
continues to act as if he had won the election and Hansard still lists all
Zanu PF ministers and Deputy Ministers as Ministers of Government. No doubt
they are still on their full salaries and perks even though a number of them
were defeated by MDC in the election in March and all of them were stood
down as Ministers when Parliament was sworn in a few weeks ago.

Just to compound this situation Mugabe is treated as a State President
by SADC and given full political and diplomatic recognition. The so called
"Global Agreement" provides for a clear separation of powers between the
Prime Minister and the President and also sets out in precise terms how the
different arms of government are expected to work together.

Only an idiot could interpret the agreement as meaning that Zanu PF is
still in charge and MDC is the junior partner, It is self evident that the
allocation of ministerial portfolios should be divided equitably, So when,
after weeks of pointless argument Zanu PF published an allocation of
Ministerial portfolios that gave Zanu PF complete control of the security
machinery of the state as well as all resource ministries and left the rest
to the MDC, it was a step too far.

That brought the region back into the process and gave us the hope
that the regional leadership would recognise the illogical and unacceptable
nature os such an allocation and impose a solution on the local players that
made sense. First it was Mbeki and he made a hash of things - actually
endorsing the Zanu PF allocation of posts! Then came the Troika and the
aborted meeting in Swaziland.

Morgan had raised the issue of his passport with the negotiators and
when he was issued with a Emergency Travel Document with a single
destination restriction he refused to travel. In fact the issue goes far
beyond just the question of withholding his travel documents (the passport
has been ready for weeks and is sitting in the desk of the Registrar
General) it was just the latest of a series of incidents that show that the
Junta in Harare has no intention of allowing the new government to be

They are continuing to restrict and interfere with food distribution
by the international community. They have retained tight control over
commercial food distribution. The security forces continue to attack any
attempts by civil society to support the negotiation process and the media
is as warped and restricted as ever. There has been no attempt to implement
the "Global Agreement" in any form up to now.

When Morgan Tsvangirai failed to attend the Troika meeting it was
aborted and reorganised for Harare a week later. In Harare the key player
was always going to be the new President of South Africa, Mr. Motlanthe.
This was his first real test when it comes to foreign affairs and for most
of us it seemed completely logical that he would step up to the plate and
smash a home run.

But no - after 13 hours of intense "negotiations" they came out of the
closet and issued a statement that did not change one single element in the
situation. The issue would go a full meeting of SADC Heads of State in two
weeks time. What an even larger group of hopeless leaders will do is
difficult to imagine. The key player remains Motlanthe, he alone has the
power and influence to force a resolution and it just that that is required.
The Junta will never give up power without the use of force in
whatever form and if that is not going to come from the streets, it has to
come diplomatically behind closed doors.

In 1976 that pressure came from the South Africans in support of an
initiative by the American Secretary of State, in 1979 it was pressure from
Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania. The only question now is who will do the
necessary in 2008?

While this charade is being played out, southern Africa burns. In the
midst of the global financial crisis, we look indecisive and ineffective. By
failing to take crucial decisions on issues such as inter Party violence in
South Africa and the resolution of the crisis in Zimbabwe - all within our
own clear competence, we are failing our respective countries, the region
and our people's best interests.

It was up to the Secretary General of the United Nations to spell out
what was needed. He called for an equitable allocation of Ministerial
portfolios and the formation of a new government in Harare as soon as
possible. He said that only such a move would bring the political and
economic crisis under control. He is right, are our leaders up to it this
time? Failure is just that would be "too ghastly to contemplate".

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Peer Review Progress, But Many Miss the Meeting

South African Institute of International Affairs (Johannesburg)

29 October 2008
Posted to the web 29 October 2008

Steven Gruzd

Last weekend, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was in the spotlight
in Benin.

From 25-26 October 2008, participating African Heads of State and Government
gathered in Cotonou for the first Extraordinary African Peer Review Forum.
Most Forum meetings are traditionally held on the margins of busy African
Union Summits, where other business frequently intervenes. In Egypt in
June-July, Zimbabwe dominated. This time, the APRM was squarely the focus.
But do the benefits of a longer, more in-depth stand-alone meeting outweigh
notoriously poor attendance?

The first big news in Benin was that the APRM lost its first member, at
least for now. The President of the Forum, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles
Zenawi, announced that because Mauritania was suspended from the AU due to
the coup in Nouakchott earlier in the year - defying the AU prohibition on
unconstitutional changes of government - the state would also be suspended
from the APRM (having just joined, in January 2008).

Does this perhaps signal more willingness by the presidents to hold one
another accountable? When faced with the post-election turmoil rising
directly from deeply flawed polls in Kenya in December 2007, it was
surprising that President Mwai Kibaki was not put on the spot by his peers
at the Addis Ababa APR Forum the following month. He did not attend, and
although Kenya's progress report was merely tabled and not discussed, this
was more due to time pressure than a strategic sanction.

This meeting completed the 'peer review' discussion of Nigeria that ran out
of time in June. According to a statement by special advisor to the
president on Nepad, Ambassador Tunji Olagunju, the meeting encouraged other
heads of state to emulate 'best practices' from Nigeria identified by the
Country Review Mission, including setting up a non-partisan presidential
advisory body akin to Nigeria's Council of State; as well as declaring and
publishing their personal assets as Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua had
done in the interests of transparency.

Burkina Faso's report was also presented, which now brings to nine the total
number of states reviewed, joining Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Algeria, South
Africa, Benin and Uganda. That makes almost one-third of the acceding
states - notable progress from a slow start.

But a quorum at Forums decoupled from AU Summits is always problematic. In
Abuja in mid-2005, over forty presidents chose to travel to China for a
meeting; just six went to Nigeria. This time, there were more no-shows.
Disappointingly, of the 28 leaders expected, apart from the host President
Yayi Boni of Benin, and Meles of Ethiopia, only the presidents of South
Africa and Benin's neighbours Togo and Burkina Faso pitched up, plus the
Rwandan prime minister and Gabonese deputy president.

Others appeared to rather choose recent events such as the UN General
Assembly, the Francophone Summit in Quebec, or the joint conference of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community
(EAC). What does this say about priorities?

A two-day meeting allowed, in theory, more time to reflect on lessons from
early 'pioneer' countries. The following cross-cutting issues (to use APR
parlance) were slated for discussion: management of resources (particularly
land); African elections; corruption; managing diversity and preventing
xenophobia; and the indigenisation of judicial courts (Rwanda's gacaca court

But the poor attendance by the top dogs meant that South Africa's new
President Kgalema Motlanthe, the newest member of the Forum, was the only
President to make a speech on the land issue. The Kenyan Focal Point, the
Minister of Planning, read another paper on land on behalf of President
Kibaki (absent once again).

Motlanthe argued that unresolved land questions set back developmental
efforts, land is heavily tied to food security and trade issues, cautioned
about biofuels displacing food production, and said that bold new thinking
was needed. But he said, 'We also have to accept that measures aimed at land
reform are likely to encounter resistance from groups that have historically
benefited from the status quo. For this reason, land reform measures can
only succeed on the back of a comprehensive and popular democratic

In addition, Algeria and Angola sent papers on elections. The Forum decided
that in future, only heads of state present in person should make formal
inputs - a diplomatic carrot (or is it a stick?) - to boost attendance.

Two other vital administrative issues were up for discussion in the
closed-session meeting: the audit report of the APRM for the 2003-2006
period, and the long-overdue reconstitution of the APRM Panel of Eminent
Persons. At this point, no official communiqué has been issued, but
attendees confirmed that Dr Chris Stals from South Africa has retired (in
June 2008), and Madame Marie-Angelique Savané from Senegal - the Panel's
feisty first chairperson - will also not continue serving.

According to the Benin meeting's website, the tenure of Professor Adebayo
Adedeji as chairperson was also meant to have come to an end. The website
stated that Forum members would select a committee at the upcoming 10th
Forum meeting in Addis in January 2009 'in order to outline the election
methods in July 2009, of the newest members of the Panel.' This suggests
that the process will continue to drag on for another eight months at least.
How will this affect countries like Mozambique that have been awaiting their
Country Review Mission for several months? These delays cause public and
media interest to flag as the momentum of the process is dissipated.

It was previously agreed that the reports on implementation of National
Programmes of Action for Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Algeria and South Africa
would be deferred to January 2009, so as not to be prejudiced by a crowded
agenda. While this is sensible, further delays stress the need for the
mechanism to develop a robust, ongoing NPOA monitoring and evaluation
system, as more countries move deeper into the process. If not, the
mechanism risks becoming a victim of its own success. Tracking progress and
highlighting achievements is currently almost entirely left to the national
level. Transparency would be enhanced if these reports were routinely lodged
on APRM websites and distributed in hard copy as well, including to national
and regional parliaments, and to the media.

Overall, the idea of a longer, stand-alone Forum is a good one, but not if
presidents don't play ball. Like everything in this remarkable process, it
needs political will, belief and personal commitment to make it really work.

Steven Gruzd is the Head of the Governance and APRM Programme at the South
African Institute of International Affairs.

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CIO take over Mushangwe burial

October 29, 2008

HARARE - The family of murdered Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) official
Ignatius Mushangwe was "at a loss of words" Wednesday as they narrated the
events surrounding his burial last weekend.

Mushangwe's body was removed from his Waterfalls home by the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) on Friday and transported to Mukumba Village
in Chihota for a hastily arranged burial the following day.

These startling developments occurred as fresh evidence emerged to suggest
Mushangwe was murdered by a hit-squad from the military intelligence
allegedly led by one Staff Sergeant Makwande to silence him in an operation
that was approved by the Joint Operations Command (JOC).

A senior intelligence source described his murder as "a dry operation, a dry
disposal," which he described as an assassination carried out in a hurry.

Mushangwe was kidnapped on June 17 by unknown gunmen 10 days before the
tense June run off election, after being identified as the mole who revealed
planned vote- rigging. His strangled and partially charred body was dumped
in Norton last week Thursday.

Mushangwe, the ZEC's director of training and development, was assassinated,
preliminary investigations have revealed, for exposing that government had
printed surplus ballot papers ahead of the June run off vote.

He is also alleged to have leaked documents showing nine million papers had
been ordered for the country's 5.9 million voters and that ZEC had ordered
600 000 postal ballots for a few thousand policemen and soldiers.

Intelligence sources say he was killed to stop him making further
revelations about electoral manipulation aimed at ensuring President Robert
Mugabe won the crucial runoff election.

A family source who requested to remain anonymous has also told The Zimbabwe
Times that the CIO descended on Mushangwe's family home in Waterfalls on
Friday where his body was lying in State awaiting burial at the Granville

Intelligence operatives were said to have forced Mushangwe's wife and the
eldest of the deceased's four children to sign a letter of consent.

The wife tried to protest saying there was a burial order for Mushangwe to
be laid to rest at Granville cemetery, but the CIO would have none of that
and cited "security concerns" if the burial took place in Harare.

A family member was then force-marched to the Registrar of Births and Deaths
to change the burial order so the burial would now take place in Chihota.
Sources say Mushangwe's burial order was hastily altered after the CIO
officers said that they had orders from the President's Office to remove the
body immediately.

Our source said the CIO literally took over the funeral and stated that the
State would foot the bills and transportation of Mushangwe's body to his
rural home.

That same Friday evening, the body was seized from the Waterfalls home and
driven overnight to Chihota. Mushangwe's funeral was teeming with
intelligence operatives, said a source.

On Saturday morning, Mushangwe was hastily buried in Mukumba village in
Chihota at a funeral where body viewing was only confined only to very close
family members.

"By the time many people arrived in the village, he had already been
 buried," said our source. "He was buried by strangers, with very few of his
family members there to witness the burial. We are completely at a loss of

A secret service contact told The Zimbabwe Times that colleagues in military
intelligence had "named people who claimed involvement in Mushangwe's death
and say the team leader was Staff Sergeant Makwande".

The informant said Mushangwe's body was stored in a military mortuary near
the Harare airport and was later dumped in Norton, where it was taken into
the Norton mortuary by police, who subsequently informed the wife.

Mushangwe's wife was overwhelmed with grief when The Zimbabwe Times tried to
speak to her but sources said she was demanding an inquest.

The secret service informant, who ruled out the opening of the case by the
police, alleges that Mushangwe had developed "powerful enemies" because of
his unyielding stance on vote rigging.

"He was on the provincial JOC's hit list," he said.

The Zimbabwe Times heard that the so-called powerful enemies feared
Mushangwe would discredit the ZEC by revealing misinformation they had
deliberately planted to bolster the electoral prospects for Mugabe, whose
popularity ratings had slipped dramatically given his loss to MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of voting in March.

"Mushangwe's integrity might have signed his own death warrant," our family
source said.

An elderly family member said: "Kutopondwa uku hapana chimwe (This is
murder, it can't be anything else.) We don't know what happened to Gina
(short for Ignatius). We may find out, or we may never know. He was a
fighter, a war veteran. He was an independent and wonderful person, a man of
integrity. He was a forthright man before God and country."

He said despite the disruptions to the funeral by the CIO, the family had
been moved by the generous support and solidarity from Zimbabweans in the
days after news of Mushangwe's murder came to light.

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Zimbabwe ashamed to admit dollarisation

October 29, 2008

By Lance Mambondiani

OVER the past weeks, a debate has been raging on whether the Zimbabwean
economy is now dollarised following the widespread preference of the
greenback as a form of payment for most transactions. Stratospheric
inflation and unstable exchange rates have caused the Zimbabwe dollar to
lose credibility and value as a trading currency.

Nationals and foreigners alike have become less willing to transact in local
currency due to its instability resulting in the use of foreign denominated
currencies. In order to attract foreign currency into the official market,
the central bank has also licensed some retailers to charge for services in
foreign currency but have been quick to add that the economy has, however,
not been dollarised. While authorities and analysts argue on whether or not
the economy has been dollarised, this article will briefly analyse what
exactly is "dollarisation," what the evidence on the ground suggests and the
implications of dollarisation on the people if indeed the economy is now

Dollarisation in its simplest form is the process in which a local currency
loses its function as a medium of exchange and is instead replaced by a
foreign currency, usually the United States dollar, hence the term
dollarisation (it can, however, be used to refer to the use of any other
currency such as the South African Rand which is now also widely used in
Zimbabwe, this could also be described as Randisation). There are basically
three types of dollarisation, official, unofficial and partial

Official or full dollarisation occurs when a foreign currency is adopted by
a country as its main or exclusive legal tender. A number of Latin American
countries have adopted dollarisation after financial crises in Mexico and
Brazil in the 1990s. Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama and Guatemala are examples
of Latin American countries to adopt dollarisation. Some of these countries
have been at conflict with the US for many years. In most of these countries
though, dollarisation was adopted in an attempt to address rampant
inflation. Officially, the Zimbabwean dollar remains the de jure legal
tender of the country and based on that perspective, there is no official

Unofficial dollarisation occurs when individuals and companies alike shun
the local currency and demand foreign currency as a form of payment to hedge
against local currency instability. Indications are that most trades in the
country are now unofficially consummated in foreign currency. Evidence on
the ground suggests that transactions such as grocery purchases, property
sales and rentals, legal fees and fuel sales among other officially or
unofficially now require settlement in foreign currency. The instability of
the Zimbabwe dollar and the problems often incurred in withdrawing cash at
most banks have also resulted in money transfers from the diaspora being
completed in foreign currency.

Not so long ago, my mother, deep in the middle of rural Hurungwe, requested
that when next I send money to her, she would prefer that I send US dollars
than Zimbabwe dollars. In a sense, the rural areas are equally aware of the
instability of the Zimbabwe dollar.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe recently announced that lawyers were to start
charging for their services in foreign currency. One of the country's most
successful football team, DeMbare is also believed to have lodged an
application with the central bank to charge their gate fees in foreign
currency. A close friend was recounting a story of being stopped by traffic
police on the Masvingo- Beitbridge road who requested for bribes in foreign
currency. When he mentioned that after clearing his vehicle at the boarder
he didn't have any left foreign currency left, the police officers preferred
that he part with a portion of his imported groceries than pay the bribe in
Zim dollars for them to allow him to proceed with his journey.

Fact or fictions, indications are that people are increasingly abandoning
the Zimbabwe dollar as a medium of exchange preferring the US dollar or
South African Rands.

Partial dollarisation occurs when a country keeps its own local currency in
circulation, but also allows payments and transactions to be carried out
freely in dollars. Officially, the central bank announced in September the
introduction of Foreign Currency Licensed Warehouses and Retail Shops
(FOLIWARS) in terms of which 1,000 retailers and 200 wholesalers will be
allowed to sell goods in foreign currency.

Under the scheme, fuel retailers and airlines will also be allowed to charge
in foreign currency. The central bank governor insisted, however, that this
did not mean that the economy has now been dollarised. Theoretically, the
introduction of FOLIWARS is the very definition of partial dollarisation
regardless of what the central bank authorities may have us believe.

However, the critical question is why the authorities would deny partial
dollarisation when the policies suggest the same? Why is it important to
understand whether the economy is dollarised or not and what are the
implications of this?

The general economic advantages of dollarisation are clear. In the case of
the central bank, the overriding reason could have been the need to attract
foreign currency from the black market into official channels and the need
to reign in inflation. Other standard economic benefits include financial
and monetary integration and stability and reduced transaction costs.
Properly implemented, it is possible that the foreign currency measures
could assist in reigning inflation and contribute to foreign currency
inflows. As with many other previous policy prescriptions, the 'devil is
often in the detail' the strategy may backfire in the same way that the
floatation of exchange rates back in May accelerated the collapse of the
Zimbabwe dollar.

However, dollarisation could have serious negative political and economic
implications for the Zimbabwean economy. Politically, the main reason for
the failure to admit dollarisation or partial dollarisation is because the
policy is difficult to reconcile with the government's 'sovereignty'
argument and the occasional imperialist rants. Such a declaration would be
an embarrassment to a government which professes hatred to the US
governments. At a symbolic level, one of the most important national symbols
is money, which serves to enhance a unique sense of national identity. Since
it is issued by the government or its central bank, currency acts as a daily
reminder to citizens of their connection to the state and the oneness within
it. The currency underscores the fact that everyone is part of the same
social entity. These effects are lost when money of a foreign state is
adopted. Dollarisation is therefore a greater threat to national sovereignty
than any perceived threat of recolonisation by the British.

Economically, dollarisation or partial dollarisation of the Zimbabwean
economy could have negative implications. Firstly, dollarisation may result
in a rapid rise in the price of commodities which in turn may result in an
increase in poverty levels. The most visible example of this is an unnatural
phenomenon such as accelerated inflation of the US dollar which is now
estimated at more than 50 percent in Zimbabwe compared to 5.3 percent in the
US. The prices of most commodities sold in US dollars in Zimbabwe are said
to be three to four times higher than it is in South Africa or other
countries with convertible currencies. Some houses in Harare are costing
more than a house in the United Kingdom which is economically unjustifiable.

Secondly, the economic benefits of dollarisation to the general population
remain empirically questionable. With an estimated 80 percent unemployment,
foreign earnings capacity is less than 5 percent of the population. Besides
remittances from the diaspora, there is no evidence to suggest that the
majority of Zimbabweans have access to foreign currency. The effect will be
a natural and legitimate demand by employees to be paid in foreign currency.

Thirdly, partial dollarisation may create a bigger unintended problem; it
can make financial systems more vulnerable to liquidity and solvency risks.
Since the banking system itself is largely not a US dollar depository, the
foreign currency circulation will be outside the banking system which
results in inadequate backing for dollar liabilities and complicates the
assessment of liquidity and solvency risks. When these risks cannot be
adequately assessed by financial institutions and other market participants,
they can create or exacerbate a financial crisis or ignite another banking
crisis. Lastly, partial dollarisation often has a contagion effect. Many
other shops will attempt to sell their goods and services in US dollars.
This will be difficult and costly to monitor which may become the breeding
ground for corruption and bribery.

The unofficial dollarisation or at least partial dollarisation of the
Zimbabwean economy appears to be fait accomplis due to the collapsed state
of the Zimbabwe dollar. In my opinion, FOLIWARS and Dollarisation are the
same side of the coin. However, the problem of definition is not as
important as putting in place economic mechanisms to ensure that some of the
problems generally associated with dollarisation do not result in increased
poverty to the majority of Zimbabweans already crippled by the current
economic nightmare or financial disequilibrium which may result in another
banking crisis.

(Lance Mambondiani is an Investment Executive at Coronation Financial. The
view expressed in this articles are personal and do not necessarily reflect
the position of Coronation Financial. To join the discussion on this article
visit Lance's blog or his facebook discussion forum. He can also be reached

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ROHR Zimbabwe members demonstrate in Masvingo

Wednesday, 29 October 2008 08:56
At 0930hrs yesterday (Tuesday 28-10-08) more than 100 people
participated in a demonstration organised by ROHR Zimbabwe in Masvingo. The
protest is a continuation of the peaceful demonstration that was heavily
crushed by Police in Harare during a meeting of SADC heads of State on
Monday (27-10-08), which left 23 people with injuries, seven arrests (7) and
four people abducted by Zanu PF extremists.

ROHR Zimbabwe is organising protests all over Zimbabwe in different
provinces separately to prepare the ground for a more pronounced and
sustained national day of protest. To date, ROHR has staged demonstrations
in Harare, Manicaland and Masvingo since 10 October 2008.

We notice the negotiations for an inclusive government are a direct
result of a failed democratic process, owing to the violence and
intimidation that preceded the June 27 elections which forced the Movement
for Democratic change candidate Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to pullout. .

We believe the people of Zimbabwe have a right to a legitimate
government. That right remains sacrosanct in any progressive democratic
establishment and is protected in regional and international conventions
such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), African Charter on
Human and People's Rights (ACPHR), to which Zimbabwe is party.

The banner of the campaign is Demand for Democracy and Justice, which
is to calling for free and fair elections to be held in the shortest period

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Zimbabwe blog: living like animals

Print this page

Last Modified: 29 Oct 2008
By: Guest blogger

Zimbabwe blogger Helen speaks to one man about the new diets in rural areas.

"People are living like animals," a man from a rural area said when I met
him this week.

When I asked Joseph to explain what he meant, his description was of a
primitive, desperate existence where people are digging up roots, collecting
leaves and boiling beetles just to stay alive.

"Everyone's hungry," he said. "The word you hear all the time is NZARA, it
means hunger, and it's everywhere."

All of last year's stored maize crop has now completely run out and Joseph
said that despite the government's lifting of the ban on food aid, nothing
has arrived in his village yet.

He said that three weeks ago some NGOs had come to the village and taken the
names, family details and numbers of people in each village but so far they
hadn't come back with food.

"Everything that we had to sell has been sold," Joseph said. "There's
nothing left to trade with."

Goats, chickens, items of furniture, spare clothes, and radios - all sold in
order to buy food.

"People are digging for roots," Joseph said, "from plants that our
grandparents used to talk about, things we've never had to eat in all our

Joseph described the back breaking toil of digging in the baked ground for
dry, hard roots with thick skins. He said that lots of people were getting
sick with stomach cramps and diarrhoea from eating roots that hadn't been
cooked for long enough or which came from unknown trees and shrubs.

"Some are eating leaves that they boil and then mash up, if they can't find
any wild fruits. We were surviving on Muhacha berries," he said, "raw,
cooked, dried and used as sort of porridge." The season for these fruits is
almost over and even they weren't all good because many people got diarrhoea
from eating too many of them.

"Now its Mandere that we are searching for," Joseph said and described the
frenzied swatting, jumping and running of villagers that could be witnessed
every evening after sunset.

Mandere are coffee coloured brown beetles, about an inch long, that only
come out at night and make a distinct screeching/swizzing noise - like the
ringing in your ears.

The beetles feed on the leaves of Msasa trees after sunset and are caught in
flight. For many starving villagers these beetles are the only protein they
can get but they require prolonged boiling before they are safe to eat.

The heads and wings are removed before cooking and some of the older
villagers insist that the water must be changed and the beetles boiled twice
to get rid of a poison.

Joseph looked tired and dragged a hand over his gaunt face, telling me he
wasn't getting much sleep lately, worrying about how to keep his family
alive and trying not to think about his own hunger.

Joseph has seven acres of land and is exhausted from the labour of trying to
get some maize seed planted in time for the coming rains. It's not proper
maize seed, just good looking pips that he saved from last year's crop.

His wife wanted to eat it because the family are already hungry but Joseph
insisted it be kept for seed. He thinks he's got enough for about two acres
and he's tilling the rock hard soil by hand as there are no government
tractors to hire for ploughing and his oxen that used to pull the plough
have been sold for food.

Joseph's other five acres will remain barren this coming season as there's
still no seed maize to be found, not for love nor money.

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Zimbabwe bishop says many churches have done nothing for people

28 October 2008

Geneva (ENI). The leader of Zimbabwe's largest functioning alliance of
Christians says the country's main grouping of traditional Protestant
churches and the African and global umbrella church organizations with which
it is affiliated have been notable for their silence on what is happening in
his country.

"The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has done nothing. The churches should have
been speaking without fear of favour, just speaking on behalf of suffering
masses of Zimbabwe. Their absenteeism is so pronounced," said Methodist
Bishop Levee Kadenge, the convenor of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.

Kadenge was speaking on 28 October after a meeting held at the Geneva
Ecumenical Centre, which houses the headquarters of the World Council of
Churches. The ZCC is affiliated with the global church grouping as well as
with the Nairobi-based All African Conference of Churches.

The Methodist bishop said it was difficult for the WCC and the African
church grouping to speak up for Zimbabweans due to the stance of the ZCC,
but that they could have done so if they had chosen to. He noted that 11
million Zimbabweans are suffering under an inflation rate in excess of 200
million percent, and that unemployment exceeds 80 percent, while millions of
Zimbabweans live in exile.

The head of Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF party, Robert Mugabe who became leader of his
country in 1980, is refusing to budge from power or to fully share it with
the Movement for Democratic Change which won a parliamentary election in
March, say Zimbabwean opposition leaders.

Asked why he thought so many church leaders had remained silent while
Zimbabweans had suffered, Kadenge said, "I think it is a question of fear."

"If that means they are silent and they choose to be, that is their choice,"
Kadenge told Ecumenical News International. "But they can go for it. Truth
bearers are not often welcome. The scriptures say so. If the ZCC wants it
can stand persecution by talking the truth. If they don't want that
persecution, that is their choice."

The bishop, who has been detained without trial five times by security
officials and is scheduled to return home, was asked if he was not afraid to
speak out.

"Yes I fear. God yes, I fear, I am a human being. I'm afraid. That does not
stop me doing what I have to do," Kadenge told ENI. "That is the difference.
If I say I'm not afraid, I'm dead. But I'm convinced there is a bigger force
beyond me that takes care of those things."

Still he said, "Churches at grassroots level are very active and that is why
the church continues to be there. But I don't think that is enough."

The Christian alliance of church leaders emerged in 2005 to provide
humanitarian services to the homeless following the government's Operation
Murambatsvina ("drive out rubbish" in the local Shona language), a forced
eviction and demolition campaign that affected hundreds of thousands of

Today the ZCA, a grouping that includes Roman Catholic, Protestants,
Anglicans Evangelicals and Pentecostals, says on its Web site, "The mission
of the organization is to bring about social transformation in Zimbabwe
through prophetic action."

Bishop Kadenge said the Zimbabwe people should be praised for never turning
on one another and engaging in massive killings.

On 28 October, the MDC secretary-general, Tendai Biti. said Mugabe's party
was not sincerely committed to entering into a genuine cooperative
government under a power-sharing deal in September brokered by then South
African president Thabo Mbeki.

The agreement to institute a power-sharing unity government has since
stalled in a dispute about the allocation of ministerial portfolios.

Bishop Kadenge said the Zanu-PF party, which had been ruling Zimbabwe since
1980, should be making the most concessions in the negotiations since it
lost the March parliamentary elections.

Kadenge said, "We were expecting that yesterday there would be an agreement
signed.. We hoped people of Zimbabwe would be able to breathe fresh air .
There is no trust."

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CHRA condemns violence

29 October 2008


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) condemns ZANU PF’s continued infliction of violence on defenseless and innocent residents. Two members of CHRA were arrested, frivolously charged with inciting public violence and later released yesterday. The two women, whose names have been withheld for security reasons, are the Association’s coordinators in their respective wards. They were arrested on Monday the 27th of October 2008 during a demonstration against the delay in the talks on the formation of a Cabinet at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).


Scores of civic and political activists thronged the HICC on Monday demonstrating their discontent at the continued political stalemate that has worsened the already ailing economy and plunged many residents into a state of abject poverty. Over 50 activists were arrested and hundreds more were beaten by the police and the ZANU PF militia. Four activists were abducted by alleged ZANU PF militia who were moving around in one of the party’s single cab Nissan Hard body vehicle, among the four, two were released after they had been heavily beaten and tortured; the other two are still missing.


ZANU PF is in power sharing talks with the MDC formations but still tortures and kill with impunity. This is a clear statement of bad faith and disrespect to fellow political parties and Zimbabweans in general. The Mugabe defacto government and ZANU PF are pushing so hard towards a power sharing arrangement in which they retain everything while expecting the other parties to give everything. The September 15 power sharing agreement was reached as a compromise to give the people of Zimbabwe a chance to revive their economy, rule of law and employ the whole array of corrective measures during this transitional period. Residents demand that the compromise and faith they have invested in the power sharing deal should be respected and that it should happen now. 


 Residents should be given room to freely express themselves and voice their grievances without fear of political victimization. The tenets of democracy should be respected by everyone at all times and ZANU PF is not an exception. CHRA remains committed to demanding quality and accessible service delivery, good local governance and social justice.  



Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and


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Mutambara exposes lack of depth

October 29, 2008
Tanonoka Whande

SADC's so-called Troika has failed to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis. But is
it true that leaders of Angola, Mozambique and South Africa "failed" to
resolve the crisis?

The most painful and embarrassing thing to me is not the implied failure of
the Troika to resolve the issue; the embarrassment is the fact that these
honourable men were in Zimbabwe to defeat the people's wishes and save, not
Zimbabwe, but Robert Mugabe. They were in Zimbabwe to defeat democracy.They
are having problems because they are trying to cheat the masses of Zimbabwe.

This so-called Troika should have congregated to tell Mugabe that he lost
the elections and that he should step aside. Simple. But they have the
audacity to congregate to try to renegotiate an issue the Zimbabwean
electorate decided upon on March 29. They congregated to insult the
Zimbabwean people. They congregated to force us to reward a loser at the
expense of the winner.

They were a trio of democracy killers. And I am glad they failed; yet I weep
that these men are the ones responsible for our continued suffering.

Had they not been propping up Mugabe, Zimbabweans could have resolved the
crisis a decade ago but we could not because we were not fighting Mugabe
alone. Zimbabweans were fighting and still continue to fight the African
Union in addition to SADC, his principle protectors.

African leaders are ganging up on Zimbabweans.

As if that were not enough, I almost crawled under the kitchen table when I
watched Arthur Mutambara humiliating himself on BBC's Hardtalk. Apparently
tired of creating robots, Mutambara thought it a better adventure to become
a robot himself.

"Who do I speak for in Zimbabwe?" Mutambara asked himself on Hardtalk and
immediately went on to answer himself saying, "I speak for the suffering
people in Zimbabwe."  And he was referring to the very people who rejected
him and all his leadership several months ago.

"Mugabe cannot go it alone," he roared in a pathetically inadequate
theatrical effort for emphasis. "Tsvangirai can't walk away," then he added
the biggest lie, "I can't walk away."

But you can, Arthur, and you should. Please walk away, Arthur. We are in
this mess precisely because of people like you and your cohorts who try to
force themselves on the people. Please walk away, Mutambara, because you are
delaying the resolution of this crisis.

Mutambara went on to say that "the three political parties are putting
national interest before self interest." We are watching and we see what is

No political party, let alone three, that Mutambara mentioned, is putting
national interest before self interest. None, including the MDC.

From where I sit, I see only Tsvangirai, as an individual, putting national
interest before self interest because he was advised to sign that agreement
by those with self interest only to find out that the agreement does not
cover what the people wanted.

Mugabe is looking for personal security and survival and has shown, over the
years that the nation is not worthy his time. If Mugabe had national
interest at heart, he would have resigned a long time ago.

As for Mutambara, what sacrifice has he made for Zimbabwe? His presence in
the ring is out of self interest because there is no justification for his
presence. And don't tell me about the food riots that he apparently
masterminded at the University of Zimbabwe; we are talking more than
dormitory life here.

As for Tsvangirai, he has gone through hell at the hands of Mugabe and I do
not need to recount his trials and tribulations. Tsvangirai, unlike Mugabe,
has a constituency. His followers sent him and he has to report back to
them. Mugabe, on the other hand, tells his followers to jump and they will
leap up faster than you can say Kumbaya!

If Tsvangirai wanted to gain, personally, he could have accepted all that's
been put before him and sat back to enjoy himself and his family while his
scars heal.

Mutambara just wants to reap where he did not sow. I wonder why someone of
such high academic achievement is fighting so desperately to be accommodated
in a profession that hardly requires his academic qualifications.

However, do SADC and the AU understand that the only crisis in Zimbabwe is
Mugabe? Do people understand that whatever ails Zimbabwe is nothing more
than dictator Robert Mugabe, the man SADC, in all its collective splendour
of inefficiency, wants to force on the Zimbabwean people?

The problem in Zimbabwe is Mugabe and if SADC were to recognise that, the
Zimbabwean fiasco would be history.

Mutambara believes that he can just come out of nowhere and become 'Deputy
Prime Minister-designate'. It takes hardworking, well-meaning compatriots a
lifetime to achieve anything close to that. Yet Mutambara aches for that
title which he does not deserve by a long shot. Welshman Ncube, Mutambara's
puppet master, with all his turncoat colours of betrayal, would be more
deserving of this title than Mutambara. Ncube, at least, went through the
process as he learned treachery.

On Hardtalk, Mutambara failed to articulate issues and reminded me of Simba
Makoni's disastrous incoherence and impatience on South Africa's 702 Talk
Radio during Zimbabwe elections early this year.

Mutambara blasted two political parties who are "bickering over ministries".
That is exactly the point, Mr Mutambara. The MDC does not want just
ministries, it wants particular ministries so as to carry out their mandate
from the people and Mutambara, who is representing no one, does not see that
as long as he is accommodated in that arrangement.

In a gesture of pure immaturity and simplicity, Mutambara declared that in
this government that refuses to be formed "there won't be an MDC minister or
a ZANU-PF minister."

But, of course, there will be Zanu-PF and MDC ministers in this government
of national unity. They are not going to lose their identities because
elections loom ahead.  That is why some of us, including the MDC, have
always wondered about how the participants are going to handle something
called collective responsibility in cabinet.

Imagine Mugabe defending an MDC minister who he did not want to be part of
his government in the first place.  And Tsvangirai staunchly defending
Didymus Mutasa or any Zanu-PF minister who continues to carry out old orders
from the old man.

It is too soon for this exercise to be attempted. The wounds are still too
raw yet.

"The issue around cabinet positions is important but it is not sufficient to
destroy the agreement," said Mutambara. But it just did.

Hardtalk host, Stephen Sackur, asked Mutambara a simple question: "With the
country in economic chaos with a vast percentage of your population facing
hunger, starvation, is it not the time for the opposition to be coherent and
to be united with one leader?"

"No, that is not necessary," answered Mutambara. "What is important is to
have convergence of agenda, what is required is to have the purpose and

Say that again Professor Mutambara, please.

Whose agenda and whose purpose and mission? Have you, by any chance, heard
of a people called Zimbabweans?

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Diamonds can take you into forever

Photo: IRIN
Ready to die for diamonds
MARANGE, 29 October 2008 (IRIN) - Armed informal diamond miners in Zimbabwe's eastern Manicaland Province, scraping a living in desperate times, are resisting attempts by police to remove them in increasingly violent clashes.

According to police spokesperson Andrew Phiri, as quoted by the state-owned The Herald newspaper, several police officers were killed about two weeks ago in a shoot-out with diamond miners, known as "makorokoza" in the local Shona language. Local residents claimed a miner was killed by the police last week.

The diamond fields in the Chiadzwa area of Marange District, some 90km southwest of Mutare, the biggest city in the province, have attracted thousands of informal miners in the past two years; Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), said diamond smuggling had cost the country around US$400 million in 2007.

''There is war at Chiadzwa. The police and soldiers who patrol the area warn us that they were given an explicit order to shoot once a situation turns violent''
John Sakarombe, 24, walks with a limp after being shot in the leg by police during a running battle about three months ago. "There is war at Chiadzwa. The police and soldiers who patrol the area warn us that they were given an explicit order to shoot once a situation turns violent," he said.

"True to their word, we buried one of our colleagues in Marange recently; another is battling for his life at home," he told an IRIN correspondent who visited the area recently.

"You see, one would rather die at home than under guard by the police in a hospital, because the moment you visit a hospital they want to know how you sustained your injuries before treating you, and that is when they call in the Babylons [local slang for police]."

Despite the possibility of violent death, the allure of overnight riches keeps Sakarombe and many others in Marange. More than 80 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed in an economy marked by the highest inflation rate in the world — now officially at 231 million percent, but unofficially thought to be many times higher.

Much money

Informal miners sell their rough diamonds to middlemen who, in turn, smuggle them out of the country for sale at higher prices. Many of them, like Sakarombe, who trades in foreign currency, are not short of money. When not digging for diamonds at Chiadzwa, he lives in a hotel in Mutare, and this year alone imported two used cars from Durban in South Africa.

He can afford to buy food for his ageing mother in rural Chipinge, in Manicaland, ensuring that she does not starve at a time when about three million people are in need of food aid countrywide.

''I don't care if some of those who have died are my victims, because they would not hesitate to kill me either''
He can also afford private medical care. "The doctors can do anything if you have the foreign currency to pay them and, after all, the referral hospitals or clinics here are not well equipped in any case."

Armed and here to stay

James Dauramanzi, 35, a member of a syndicate comprising six informal diamond miners, used to live in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, about 400km from Marange. "I am here to stay and will have to fight it out with these military guys," he told IRIN. He smuggled a revolver out of South Africa when he came home after finding survival on the streets of Johannesburg "too tough".

"I spend most of the day in the shafts digging for the diamonds and sneak out during the night; that is when my colleagues and I have confrontations with the soldiers and the armed police on horseback. They are becoming more vicious every day because some of them get killed or are injured."

Dauramanzi confessed that he had been involved in several shootouts with the security personnel, "and I don't care if some of those who have died are my victims, because they would not hesitate to kill me either."

He said the "less sophisticated" illegal miners carried machetes and spears that were "mostly handy when dealing with the dogs that the police set on us".

View from the other side

A police officer at a roadblock set up to search for diamonds, who did want to be identified, told IRIN: "The makorokoza are becoming more and more daring. If you don't injure or kill them, they will get at you first. They are behaving like warlords, and I guess it's because a lot of money is involved in this dangerous venture."

He said the informal miners had organised themselves into groups that ambushed and attacked security personnel on patrol using home made bombs, and the police had received reinforcements from the headquarters in Mutare after two officers had died in a clash. "There should not be too much restraint when dealing with the makorokoza, otherwise you will be carried home in a coffin," he commented.

However, Dauramanzi accused the patrolmen of stealing from them. "Being assigned to carry out duties here is actually a blessing in disguise for them, because it gives them the opportunity to make money. Sometimes they arrest and torture us to force us to surrender our loot to them," he said.

Syndicates of informal miners also often have internal confrontations. "The syndicates accuse each other of encroaching onto exclusive territory belonging to a certain group or of 'stealing' clients," Dauramanzi said.

"Fights that emerge out of this have also resulted in death, and often occur after heavy drinking bouts in the city or other places. I know of cases where rivals have buried each other alive in the [mine] tunnels." 


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

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Survival recipe book

Photo: IRIN
Dinner's ready - 'umkhemeswana', a wild hard-shelled sweet fruit
BULAWAYO, 29 October 2008 (IRIN) - Rural Zimbabweans have always turned to an emergency larder of wild foods to see them through hard times, but in this year of shortages and dizzying prices for all basic foodstuffs, the fruits and roots foraged from the bush are keeping many alive.

In the southern province of Matabeleland North, villagers are relying on a variety of wild fruits, tubers and okra-like vegetables, which become more abundant as the rainy season progresses.

"Everyday we eat the wild fruit that are available in the bush, but the fruits are not good to eat every day. And school children are no longer going to school but spend the whole day looking for the wild fruits," Samuel Ndlovu, from Dakamela village, told IRIN.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said in a recent statement: "A large number of farmers harvested little – if anything – this year, and have now exhausted their meagre stocks. Many hungry families are reportedly living on one meal a day, exchanging precious livestock for buckets of maize or eating wild foods such as baobab and amarula." About 28 percent of children under five are already chronically malnourished.

Esnath Nyoni, in the Lupane area of Matabeleland North, said her family had last eaten a decent meal in the previous week. They are now surviving on a bland porridge made from ground roots of the cassava tree, into which she squeezes the sweet juice of the brown plumb-sized cork fruit for flavour.

Households that still have maize-meal can stretch it by mixing it with the ground cassava tree roots. "The porridge doesn't taste good, but it gives people energy throughout the day when there is no food available; and for families with livestock, they then mix the meal with sour or fresh milk," said Nyoni.

Dried bean leaves (umfushwa in the Ndebele language) were a useful emergency ration when boiled, Nyoni said. "The advantage with dried umfushwa is that you can keep it for a long time from the last harvest, and it will still be fine until the next harvest, and it has a high nutritional value compared to some of the foods that people eat during droughts."

An alternative cookbook

''This is now the time when the elderly, who have survived in previous droughts, play a crucial role, as the young people have no idea which trees have edible roots ''
The survivor's cookbook also includes, in the Shona language, the potato-like madhumbe and mufarinya, and several other edible and reputedly medicinal tubers, a range of berries, and wild vegetables such as derere - a type of okra - and nyeve, a bitter-tasting plant that can be boiled in a soup or eaten dried.

Care needs to be taken when foraging for wild foods: there have already been reported cases of accidental poisoning due to people picking the wrong plants, or preparing them incorrectly.

"This is now the time when the elderly, who have survived in previous droughts, play a crucial role, as the young people have no idea which trees have edible roots and which ones do not," said Themba Dlomo, another Lupane area villager.

A lack of inputs – seeds and fertiliser – drastically cut last season's harvest. The UN estimates that more than five million Zimbabweans - nearly half the population - will require emergency food assistance in the first quarter of 2009.

The hardship is exacerbated by an inflation rate of 231 million percent, which has pushed even price-controlled maize - in theory available from the state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB) - way beyond the reach of rural Zimbabweans.

Villagers in Lupane alleged that maize delivered to the local GMB depot was finding its way onto the parallel market. "The maize arrives on a weekly basis but we do not get any, as it is transported to as far as Victoria Falls [on the border with Zambia], where it is sold in foreign currency, and we are left to scavenge for wild fruits with the wild animals," said Laiza Ncube.

For most Zimbabweans, eating wild plant foods is an indication of crisis, but since last year the University of Zimbabwe has tried to promote consumption as a sensible food security option.

"The nutritional properties and traditional knowledge of wild foods have been dismissed as 'old wives tales' or 'poor man's food'. Little is known about their health and nutritional benefits," Dr Maud Muchuweti of the Department of Biochemistry has maintained.

"We want to create more awareness of the value of indigenous wild plant foods and promote their effective utilisation." 


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

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Interview: Lessons from Zimbabwe

Democratic Voice of Burma

Oct 29, 2008 (DVB)–Zimbabwean opposition MP Trudy Stevenson said in an interview with DVB yesterday that Burmese and Zimbabwean activists could benefit from closer links in their struggles for democracy.

Drawing on her experience as an opposition representative in Zimbabwe, Stevenson said that strategic planning and the flexibility to adapt to new circumstances were key factors in the struggle for democracy.

DVB: How has the democracy movement in Zimbabwe gained such support?

TS: “From your perception obviously we have more support than you. In my view, Burma has a great deal more prominence in the world media in particular. But how it was achieved was that we strategised as members of the opposition and as politicians.

“We strategised, we communicated with the Western countries, with Europe, America and so on, on ways to put pressure on the Zimbabwe so-called government and the idea of targeted sanctions was adopted because ordinary blanket sanctions hurt the ordinary people. But if you can have targeted sanctions so it’s simply the members of the government that you are attacking, the regime who are targeted, and the sanctions don’t affect the ordinary people then that does put pressure on that government to come to the table, to come to the party as we say.

“So it was strategic thinking and a strategy plan. And that’s what you have to do in politics and in a struggle. You need to strategise and if one strategy doesn’t work or no longer works – and in my view the targeted sanctions have run their course and it’s now time to change tack – but you have to operate rather in a military frame of mind. So you’re strategic and then you constantly review and monitor and when it no longer works then you adopt another tactic.”

DVB: Do you think the Burmese democracy movement should move on from sanctions and find another approach?

TS: “If sanctions have not worked or are no longer working or are causing too many problems, maybe it’s time to look for another tactic. One has to think as a military strategist.”

DVB: Do you have any other comments?

TS: “I can only say that we don’t have many links at the moment. Zimbabwe, we are an African country – even though I have a white skin I am an African – and you are an Asian country. So we are far apart and we don’t have many links. But if we can establish links, I think it will help both countries and we can find much in common. “We sympathise with your struggle as well I can assure you, and we wish you all the best. And what you must not do is give up; you must keep going because democracy is everyone’s human right and the Burmese people will not develop until you have freedom and democracy. That is what will allow you to develop your country.” Trudy Stevenson is a Zimbabwean member of parliament and was one of the founding members of the MDC opposition party.

She currently serves as the MDC national secretary for policy and research.

Reporting by Nay Too

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Cry the beloved Zimbabwe

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Under normal political rule, Zimbabwe is no doubt one of the richest
countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It is a
country of scenic beauty in our region.

The region around the Victoria Falls, to cite just one example, is one of
the most beautiful attractions in the world. Thus placing Zimbabwe among the
top tourism attraction centres in the SADC region. It is also endowed with
literate human resource in the region, but it is now severely hit by
brain-drain because of political mismanagement.

One wonders why SADC has been watching Zimbabwe going down the drain for too
long without taking the necessary action to help. I am fully aware of the
fact that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state, but this does not mean that if a
sister country  in the region drifts into political chaos other countries
should sit back and tell the world that it is a sovereign state. SADC is to
blame for the political crisis in Zimbabwe. Why should they fear to tell
Mugabe at round tables that he is leading his country into chaos?

Although the late appointment of a mediator, Thabo Mbeki has brought a ray
of hope in a seemingly gloomy scenario, one wonders why it has taken so long
for SADC to appoint such a mediator. Things have now gone from bad to worse
in Zimbabwe and because Mugabe is not pressurised by all SADC states, he has
become the monarch of all he surveys. The so called government of national
unity is in fact in the palm of his hand. He is singing a political solo,
but with a discord because he is singing his own tune.

Why should SADC sit back and allow Mugabe to allocate himself key
ministerial positions in a government of National Unity? Who drew up the
agreement? If it was Mugabe himself, that was the referee/player
arrangement. The referee cannot be the player at the same time, and that is
exactly what is happening in Zimbabwe. It is therefore incumbent upon SADC
to regularise this position.

The people of Zimbabwe are starving to death, they need food. They are
dehumanised. Crying daily at the borders of the neighbouring countries. They
have lost morals because a hungry person has no morals. Crime is rampant in
Botswana because of the political crisis in Zimbabwe. SADC cannot sit back
in the face of all these miseries. "Put friendships aside comrades and face
realities to save the people of Zimbabwe". Zimbabwe is supposed to be a
democratic country. In a democratic country, the will of the people is
supreme, the leader respects the will of the people.

We can draw wisdom from the words of wisdom by Sir Seretse Khama, first
president of the Republic of Botswana when he was honoured by the Government
of Botswana on September 17th, 1976.

"History has shown that a leadership which divorces itself from the people
is a leadership devoid of wisdom. Dictatorships and tyrannical systems of
government are hatched and nurtured in the minds of men who appoint
themselves philosopher kings and possessors of absolute truth" .

These words of wisdom were said long before Zimbabwe attained independence
but you can see that they suit the current political situation in Zimbabwe.

SADC has a big task on their table. Unless and until they speak with one
voice the crisis in Zimbabwe cannot be resolved.

The Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe, is undoubtedly one of the most
educated leaders in our region. Education can get one to the top but in
politics it takes character, discipline, respect for the rule of law and the
national interest to keep one there. I believe that a leader cannot be made.
A leader is born.

May SADC, through the help of God, bring peace and stability to Zimbabwe so
that we can also have a rest in Botswana and the entire SADC region.

BMS Letsididi

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