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Fresh threats to Zim power-sharing deal

by Cuthbert Nzou Tuesday 07 October 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's fragile power-sharing agreement faced fresh obstacles as
it emerged on Monday that the ruling ZANU PF party resolved three weeks ago
not to share the 10 posts of provincial governor with the two opposition MDC

Sources said President Robert Mugabe's party also resolved during a meeting
of its central committee last month that a clause in the power-sharing pact
shelving by-elections for a year had to be scrapped because it infringed on
Zimbabweans' right to elect leaders of their choice.

Already, a wrangle between ZANU PF and the MDC over distribution of key
Cabinet posts is holding back the implementation of a unity government
outlined under the September 15 power-sharing deal.

ZANU PF wants to retain control of the key ministries of defence, home
affairs, finance and foreign affairs, a move the MDC-led by Morgan
Tsvangirai has rejected saying it would reduce it to a junior partner in a
unity government.

Our sources who are senior officials in ZANU PF said the party's 74th
ordinary session of the central committee on September 17 - just two days
after signing of power-sharing pact - resolved that the 10 provincial
governors appointed by Mugabe on August 29 should remain in office.

The central committee, the sources said, unanimously agreed that the issue
of governors is not contained in the pact signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
the leader of the smaller formation of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara.

"It was agreed that there was no legal basis to remove some of the appointed
governors and appoint MDC members to fill the posts," a central committee
member said. "The issue of governors is not part to the agreement and the
MDC cannot demand even a single post."

ZANU PF's highest decision making body outside congress also resolved that
by-elections should be held whenever a parliamentary seat became vacant
despite a clause in the power-sharing agreement that sought to block
by-elections in a bid to maintain the present distribution of power in

The central committee immediately tasked the party's commissariat department
to prepare for a by-election in Chegutu senatorial constituency vacated by
ZANU PF member Edna Madzongwe after her election as President of the Senate.

Mugabe's party is also preparing for by-elections in Matobo South and Guruve
North House of Assembly constituencies. Matobo fell vacant after MDC member
Lovemore Moyo was elected Speaker of the House of Assembly while Guruve
North became vacant following the death of ZANU PF's Cletus Mabharanga.

Top ZANU PF official and one of the party's lead negotiators in the
power-sharing talks Nicholas Goche confirmed the resolutions by the party's
central committee, adding that the ruling party would engage the two MDC
formations to amend the agreement clause barring by-elections.

"We will engage the two MDC formations to amend the agreement and allow
by-elections," Goche said on Monday.

He added: "It was felt that the clause infringed on the people's right to
elect leaders of their choice. If left like that there is a danger of a
constitutional challenge in the courts. ZANU PF has started campaigning for
the vacant seats because we have no doubt that the MDCs will agree with us
on the clause."

Goche said no one from the MDC would be appointed governor because the
power-sharing agreement does not provide for that.

"Governors appointed by President Mugabe will not be removed to accommodate
MDC (candidates). Only issues covered in the agreement will be dealt with,"
he said.

But MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa differed with Goche saying the issue of
governors was still outstanding and would be dealt with in the talks.

"Governors form part of the government and as MDC we should be represented
at that level. Our position is that we should have our own people as
governors," Chamisa said. "ZANU PF's position is wrong and we will use the
mediation process to seek what we deserve as reflected by the vote of the

Chamisa said his party, which holds the most seats in the House of Assembly
but not enough to control the key lower chamber, was yet to take a position
regarding the issue of by-elections.

Spokesman for the Mutambara-led MDC, Edwin Mushoriwa was not immediately
available for comment on the matter.

The creation of a power-sharing government is seen as the first step in
ending Zimbabwe's decade-long recession that is seen in the world's highest
inflation of 11 million percent, deepening poverty amid shortages of food
and every basic survival commodity.

But failure by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara to appoint a Cabinet after
several rounds of talks has raised doubts over whether the power-sharing
deal could stand the strain given the three rivals' deep-seated mistrust of
each other. - ZimOnline

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Impasse deep-rooted, says MDC

October 6, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed state media reports
suggesting that the impasse over the power-sharing deal was now down to
resolving differences over the allocation of only two ministries.

Instead, so the MDC says, the impasse was much deeper; as the parties
remained deadlocked over all key cabinet posts and the issue of governors.

The government-controlled Sunday Mail, quoting George Charamba, President
Robert Mugabe's spokesman, reported on Sunday that Zanu-PF and the MDC had
agreed on all other cabinet posts except those of Finance and Home Affairs.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara
of the breakaway faction of the MDC met last Saturday in a bid to resolve
the dispute over the allocation of the ministries.

In a statement, quoted by The Sunday Mail after the meeting, Charamba said:
"The President and the leaders of the two MDC formations met this morning
(Saturday) in consultation over the setting up of Government but failed to
conclude their consultations.

"They, however, decided that there should be further consultation at the
level of their negotiating teams exclusively over the Ministries of Finance
and Home Affairs," said Charamba, who is Mugabe's Press secretary.

The ministries of local government and foreign affairs had also been
reported to be the subject of contention between the parties.

But the MDC yesterday said the impasse went beyond just two ministries.

"The MDC dismisses Zanu-PF claims that only two cabinet posts are yet to be
resolved upon. Contrary to these claims, there is a deadlock on the
allocation of all key ministries and the allocation of governors."

While Charamba routinely makes statements about Zanu-PF he is not an
officially designated spokesman of the party, being merely a civil servant
working in the government office of the president of Zanu-PF, President
Mugabe. The official spokesman of Zanu-PF is the elderly Dr Nathan
Shamuyarira, who on matters pertaining to the power-sharing agreement has
deferred to former Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who was one of
Zanu-PF's negotiators.

Last month, Mugabe unilaterally appointed 10 provincial governors from his
Zanu-PF party before the conclusion of the power-sharing deal. The agreement
itself is silent on the issue of governors, with reports that an
understanding had subsequently been reached that the appointments would be

A Zanu-PF central committee meeting held on September 16 is reported to have
resolved to oppose any attempts by the MDC to push for the reversal of the
gubernatorial appointments.

Yesterday, the MDC said communication had ceased since Saturday, and
suggested the need for the intervention of SADC and the AU. The party
dismissed a report in the state media suggesting further consultations had
been held.

"There has been neither contact nor communication made between the MDC and
Zanu-PF as mischievously reported in The Herald," said the MDC. "The
negotiating teams have not met since the meeting between the three
principals on Saturday to discuss the outstanding issues.

"Considering the fact that it is now exactly 21 days after the signing of
the global agreement, the cabinet deadlock calls for the urgent help and
assistance from SADC and AU as guarantors of the deal to unfreeze the

The MDC said it was concerned at the prolonged and protracted dialogue,
considering that people were dying of hunger, factories had closed, school
calendars had been disrupted, workers were not going to work and there was
an outbreak of disease such as cholera.

"The country is at a standstill and the people's patience is running out,
hence the resolution of the impasse is more urgent than ever before," the
statement said.

The dispute over the ministries threatens the power-sharing deal, which was
signed on September 15 and overseen by ousted former South African President
Thabo Mbeki.

Over the past two weeks, Zanu-PF has attempted to put gloss over the
impasse, if not underplayed it, with Mugabe refusing to admit there was a
deadlock when he attended the recent UN Summit in New York.

However, reports hinted the MDC, now the majority in Parliament, was mulling
over pulling out of the deal unless Mugabe acquiesced on the key ministries

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So what really was agreed at the talks?

October 6, 2008
Jupiter Punungwe

SOME people have equated the recent Mbeki-mediated co-governance talks
between the MDC and Zanu-PF to the Lancaster House of 1979.

As we know, the 1979 talks led to some meaningful political change in 1980.

Personally I hold a very dim view of the usefulness of the more recent talks
to the ordinary Zimbabwean. If anything will come out of the recent talks it
will be more by luck than by design.

In 1979 the Lancaster House talks almost collapsed. This is famously
epitomised by a picture of grim faced Patriotic Front leaders who had staged
a walk out. One can also rightly argue that the recent talks had their
moments of drama and grim faced leaders huffing and puffing out of the
negotiating venue.

However a key difference is the issues over which the drama happened at the
two sets of talks. The Lancaster House talks centred on matters of
principle. The walk out which resulted in the historically famous picture of
Patriotic Front leaders was over the issue of land redistribution, not who
was going to get what post.

At the end of the Lancaster House talks the direction which the country was
going to take was very clear. Everybody knew there was going to be an
election based on the one man one vote principle.

Everybody knew that a policy of equitable redistribution of resources
including land was supposed to be followed by whoever won the election. None
of leaders of the political movements of that era had been allocated any
stone-cast roles in the incoming government. No cabinet posts were allocated
in advance. The then Prime Minister Abel Muzorewa actually slipped into
political oblivion. If the talks had been held under the same terms as those
going on now he would probably have been guaranteed a political life through
having a 'senior' post reserved for him.

In contrast, at the recent talks, issues of principle where conspicuous by
their absence. Grim faced charges out of the Rainbow Towers were over the
sharing of cabinet posts and power, not the settling of sticky points of
principle. All the major points of Zanu-PF misrule were left un-negotiated
with very vague mention of future agreements on the way forward. A heavy
smokescreen of obfuscation left many people trying to guess what was really

The first thing you need before embarking on a journey is to know where you
want to go. Zanu-PF and he MDC have been like a flight crew quarrelling
about who is going to be captain, who is going to be co-pilot who is going
to be part of the cabin crew. Yet they do not even know whether they want to
fly to Plumtree or to Nyamapanda, in the first place. They just want to fly
somewhere. If the two parties know what policies they want to implement as a
GNU, they have been doing an extremely good job of not communicating those

On the key point of economic management for example, it is not clear whether
the MDC is going to have full say on the economic direction the country
takes from now on. All that is mentioned is that the MDC are going to be
given the ministry of finance and tasked with turning around the economy. I
understood that to mean that the MDC were going to be given responsibility
for sourcing funds from their western backers. Little of substance was
mentioned on critical economic management principles such as unfettered free
trade, accountability and a tough stance on corruption.

In fact indications are that old Zanu-PF policies are going to continue with
little modification. Already the handout of free national resources
(tractors) to cronies has started. Attempts to enforce ludicrous and
production stifling price controls are continuing. Little attempt if any is
being made to stop access to state coffers by Zanu-PF bigwigs whose wanton
pillaging of state resources is the primary source of Zimbabwe's economic
problems. Big names in Zanu-PF, who are no longer big names in national
politics, because they no longer represent any constituencies, continue to
dictate matters ahead of the elected representatives of the people.

In fact they are preposterously demanding that they be accommodated in the
new government with more power than the elected representatives of the
people from the MDC, or those from their own party they consider 'junior'.
Somebody must remind them that the only 'senior' thing about politics in a
democracy is the number of people who vote for you. If the people at first
vote someone into power, who subsequently fail to serve the people's
interests, the people have an unfettered right to vote someone else in.
Historical votes are not a factor in democracy, only the current mandate

The old dogs have absolutely no right to continue growling. They should tuck
their tails between their legs and slink into oblivion gracefully. If they
want a chance to come back as representatives of the people they should stop
pushing their potbellies around the corridors of government offices, where
they no longer belong, and go back to sweat and slave for the people at
grassroots level. This message also includes Tsvangirai because although
those from the MDC might hotly dispute it, the fact is that he is not
legally elected to represent anyone.

It is astounding when people who spend decades in the bush fighting for one
man one vote, act in a way which clearly shows that they have no clue what
one man one vote is about. One man one vote is about testing the wishes of
the people periodically and following those wishes. Seeking to qualify one
man one vote with some system of perceived political seniority is a
departure from democracy, and we the ordinary Zimbabweans should never, ever
accept such qualification. A person's 'political seniority' goes away the
moment they lose the mandate to represent the people.

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Economic crisis throws Zim into 'information dark age'

JAN RAATH | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Oct 07 2008 07:25

Zimbabwe's economic catastrophe is plunging the country into an "information
dark age" as newspapers, radio and television become overwhelmed by
multimillion percent inflation and the breakdown of infrastructure,
according to media analysts.

Newspapers have become too expensive for all but a tiny minority, while the
state-controlled radio and television monopoly services are stricken by
chronic power cuts, says the independent Media Monitoring Project of
Zimbabwe (MMPZ).

Zimbabwe is classified by the New York-based international Committee to
Protect Journalists as among the 10 worst countries for hostility to freedom
of the media.

An armoury of repressive laws introduced in 2002 by President Robert
Mugabe's regime prescribe sentences for "crimes" such as working as a
journalist without accreditation from the state-run media commission and
publication of information "likely to bring the government into disrepute".

MMPZ coordinator Andrew Moyse says the country's media landscape is already
dominated by government mouthpieces providing "biased and selective
coverage, even during this important period in the country's history",
referring to a stalled power-sharing agreement between the country's
84-year-old autocratic president and prime minister-designate Morgan

"Now it's becoming clear that the nation has been plunged into an even more
intense and suffocating information dark age, where reliable information is
at a premium and the main means of communicating news is rapidly reverting
to word of mouth, or SMS," he said.

Under Mugabe's reckless management, the country has plummeted in the last
eight years from one of Africa's most prosperous nations to a land scarred
by chronic food shortages, hyperinflation and a nearly worthless currency.

The state-controlled and subsidised Herald newspaper, the only national
daily, soared to Z$3 000 on Saturday from Z$10 on August 1, when the central
bank slashed 10 zeros off the currency. For that price, a hungry Zimbabwean
can get two loaves of bread.

"In any other country, a newspaper is probably the cheapest item of people's
daily expenditure," said Moyse. "Here, who is going to sacrifice a loaf of
bread to read the Herald?"

The country's independent newspapers, which receive no subsidies, the
Zimbabwe Independent, the Sunday Standard and the Financial Gazette, now
cost Z$4 500 -- taking them "into the luxury-items bracket".

Relentless barrage
The regime has blocked the emergence of any independent electronic media,
while state radio and television maintain a relentless barrage of hostility
against Mugabe's opponents.

Even the public broadcaster is feeling the heat of the economic meltdown. In
April, it admitted it was covering only 45% of the country, because of
antiquated and run-down transmission equipment.

Earlier this year, the government-owned transmitter company said it needed
US$45-million to upgrade its equipment. The government stumped up US$500 000
which, according to state media, was promptly stolen by a government

Whatever the source -- whether the official media, foreign-based private
radio stations, online news agencies or email -- news is becoming
increasingly elusive as a result of ever-more frequent and severe power
cuts, said Moyse.

"Only those lucky enough to own their own generators -- depending on the
availability of fuel -- have access to information on a fairly regular

Rural people with no access to electricity are becoming totally cut off as
cheap radios disappear from shops and battery prices soar.

Earlier this year, Ray Kaukonde, Mugabe's former governor of one of the
country's largest provinces in the north-east, compounded the isolation by
ordering that shortwave radios be seized to stop people listening to private
radio stations broadcasting from outside the country.

"It's a basic truth that where communication is suffocated, rumour and
speculation abound," said Moyse. "The authorities complain bitterly about
this grievous state of affairs, yet it is entirely of their own making." -- 

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Judge reins in invaders of council farm

October 6, 2008

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - A Bulawayo High Court judge has granted a provisional order
barring Zanu-PF supporters who recently invaded a city council farm from
constructing any buildings on the farm.

In an interim relief order in a case brought by the MDC-led Bulawayo City
Council against 3000 Zanu-PF farm invaders, Justice Maphios Cheda barred the
party supporters who invaded Umnganwini Council Farm from cutting trees,
clearing the land or constructing any structures.

The invasion was led by suspended Zanu-PF Bulawayo women's league treasurer,
Lillian Kandemiri,

Kandemiri, who claims to be a war veteran, alleged that the invasion in May
had the blessing of Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu -PF secretary of administration
and former Minister of Lands. She also claimed the invasion was an extension
of the government land reform programme.

"Pending the determination of this matter, it is ordered that the respondent
and all those claiming title through her, be and are hereby interdicted from
cutting trees and clearing the land in Umnganwini township farm in Bulawayo,
constructing any improvements or preparing to construct improvements on
Umnganwini township farm," reads part of the provisional order issued by

Cheda also gave Kandemiri, who is the first respondent, and those claiming
title to the land through her, 10 days to respond to the provisional order.

The Bulawayo City Council filed the urgent application last month seeking
the eviction of Kandemiri and her fellow invaders.

The local authority wants her and the farm invaders to be evicted because of
fears of extensive land degradation should they remain. There is also
concern that the invaders will resort to poaching in the nearby Tshabalala
Game Sanctuary

The order came two weeks after the Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial executive had
suspended Kandemiri from the party for playing a leading role in the
invasion of the farm.

After the invasion of the farm five months ago, Kandemiri collected $500
million (only 5 cents revalued) and allocated pieces of land to Zanu-PF
supporters, her relatives and some senior civil servants.

Some of the beneficiaries of Kandemiri's generous intervention were already
building permanent homes on the expansive properties.

She had also defied calls by the governor for Bulawayo, Cain Mathema and the
Zanu-PF provincial executive, to leave the farm together with her 3 000

After her suspension, Kandemiri claimed that the provincial executive had
not officially communicated with her regarding the suspension.

She accused the Bulawayo Zanu-PF provincial executive of being disloyal to
President Robert Mugabe but being loyal to losing independent presidential
candidate, Dr Simba Makoni.

"Their action is unprocedural," Kandemiri said. "There is no way they can
claim to have suspended me from the party without communicating with me."

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Zimbabwe banks run out of cash after ruling

07 October 2008

Brian Latham and Nasreen Seria


HARARE - Zimbabwean banks have run out of cash after the central bank raised
withdrawal limits last week, sparking a rush by thousands of people to pull
out funds.

"Parts of the city centre were impassable today because thousands of men and
women were thronging streets outside banks trying to access their cash,"
said John Mapingure, a taxi driver in Harare.

"People are clamouring for their money. No one has cash, leaving people
completely desperate," he said.

Banks had not been allocated enough cash to meet consumer demand, Chipo
Sakupwanya, a manager at ZB Bank , said in Harare yesterday. Jessica
Mahatchi, a secretary with a cellphone retailer in the city, yesterday said
she had been queueing for cash for more than 24 hours.

On September 26, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe raised the cash withdrawal
limit 20-fold to Z$20000 to help consumers pay for goods that have lea pt in
price. But the central bank is failing to print money fast enough to keep up
with soaring inflation. The Harare Tribune newspaper quoted Cato Senior
Fellow Steve Hanke as saying inflation was now at 530-billion percent.

Last Tuesday, the central bank suspended the real-time gross settlement
system, which allows for electronic payments to be cleared immediately.
Companies will be forced to settle payments by cheques, which take up to a
week to clear.

Zimbabwe's central bank governor, Gideon Gono, said he had "no option" other
than to suspend the electronic payment system because it was being abused by
illegal foreign currency dealers and businesses. The move might help to ease
the cash shortage, Gono said yesterday .

"It was a necessary move to restore sanity to the banking sector," Gono
said. The move "should ease the situation because it will prevent
unscrupulous members of the public from using overpricing and extractive
pricing structures to remove cash from the system, leaving desperate
consumers to watch their money disappear in despair."

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MDC on collision course with labour alliance

Tuesday, 7th October 2008. 6:50am

By: Kumbirai Mafunda.

Zimbabwe's largest labour alliance, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), this week set itself on a collision course with the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) after reiterating its condemnation of the
power-sharing agreement signed last month by leaders of the country's three
political parties ostensibly to end the country's nine-year political and
economic logjam.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured), who spearheaded the formation
of the opposition party during his leadership of the militant labour union
signed an agreement with ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara,
the leader of a rebel faction of the MDC, last month to form a power-sharing

Under the deal, which is currently deadlocked over the equitable
allocation of ministerial portfolios Mugabe remains president but will
relinquish some of his powers to Tsvangirai who becomes prime minister while
Mutambara, who heads the breakaway faction of the MDC, will be appointed
deputy prime minister.

But the ZCTU, which was influential in the formation of the MDC in the
late nineties and which last week labelled the power sharing deal an elitist
pact at the weekend accused the MDC of over-exposing itself to Mugabe and
warned that the agreement was meaningless to Zimbabwean workers.

"The MDC will soon realize that they played into the hands of
dictatorship and what they signed was meaningless. The ZCTU reminds
Zimbabweans that we should not make the same mistakes we made in 1980 when
independence euphoria clouded our minds and ZANU PF took advantage of that
to disempower people. The same has happened during the current deal between
the MDC and ZANU PF," read part of the ZCTU statement seen by this reporter.

Although the ZCTU's statement was not clear on what action the labour
federation will take it came short of announcing the end of its alliance
with the MDC.

"The ZCTU General Council decision was made with a sober mind. It was
a painful but true reflection of what the deal is all about. We have an
obligation to tell our members the truth. As we wait for the deal to unfold,
we hope to be proved wrong," said the ZCTU.

Observers laud the power sharing agreement as the first real
opportunity in nearly a decade for Zimbabwe to begin work to end an
agonizing economic crisis characterised by the world's highest inflation of
more than 11 million per cent, skyrocketing unemployment and shortages of
food and every basic survival commodity some militant civic society groups
believe that the agreement between MDC and ZANU PF alone would not end the
country's multi-faceted political and economic crisis and have called for
free and fair elections supervised by the international community.

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Zimbabweans in UK tell EU: "Stop bankrolling Mugabe's friends."


6th October 2008 - Press Release

European Union countries have been urged to suspend government-to-government
aid to members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) because
of their failure to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe.

On Saturday, 11th October, Glenys Kinnock MEP will attend the Zimbabwe Vigil
outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London to accept a petition signed by
thousands of people who have passed by the Vigil in the Strand.  Mrs Kinnock
is Co-President of the African, Caribbean and Pacific / EU Joint
Parliamentary Assembly and has taken a close interest in the situation in

The event marks the 6th anniversary of the Vigil, which has been held
outside the Embassy every Saturday since 12th October 20002 in protest
against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. It has been described by the
Observer as the largest regular demonstration in London.

The petitions reads: "A Petition to European Union Governments. We record
our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.  We
urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend
government-to-government aid to all 14 (now 15) SADC countries until they
abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We
suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in

The Vigil condemns SADC for recognising Mugabe as President when SADC's own
election observers criticised the polls this year as deeply flawed. Mugabe
consequently feels free to disregard a power-sharing deal signed last month
despite the deepening humanitarian crisis. The UN says that about half the
population will need food aid by early next year.

The Vigil wants the money saved by our proposal - and it amounts to many
hundreds of millions of pounds a year - to be used to finance refugee camps
in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique to which Zimbabweans can
flee for their lives without fear of prompting more xenophobic violence. The
money would fund shelter, medicine and education no longer available in

Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton said: "We do not see why the British
taxpayer, should, for instance, give more than £60 million this year to
Malawi, whose President struts around on a stolen farm in Zimbabwe and who
has named a new highway after his hero Robert Mugabe."

Mrs Benton explained: "We're not of course, calling for a halt to
humanitarian aid to the region, medicine etc. What we are talking
about is balance of payments support which often goes astray.  We believe
SADC has failed to live up to its basic responsibilities and must share the
pain of Zimbabwe as it becomes the country of the dead, the dying and Mugabe's
Zanu-PF Party. We are grateful that Botswana and Zambia have recently begun
to protest about what is happening but our proposal will benefit them in
relieving their refugee burden."

Event:                                         Zimbabwe Vigil's 6th
Venue:                                        Outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2
Date / time:                                2 pm - 6 pm, Saturday,
11th October 2008
                                                      Mrs Kinnock will
arrive at around 3.30 pm.  The petition will be presented at around 4 pm.
Further information:             Contact Rose Benton (07970 996 003,
07932 193 467), Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775), Ephraim Tapa (07940 793 090)

Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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UZ Fails To Open Again

HARARE - The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) has indefinitely suspended
the opening of the college as the turmoil in the country's education sector
continues unabated.

Students, who had gone to the college hoping to start lectures on
Monday  were greeted by notices that the university management had
indefinitely suspended the opening.

Ronald Shoshore a final year student of psychology said the delay in
opening the university has jeopardised his plans in life.

"I had hoped that we were going to graduate this year but this seems
to have failed. It's so painful because I can not afford to be a student for
so many years and the economy has hit hard on me," said Shoshore.

He said the delays have also made life very difficult for his parents
who can't afford the education bill.

"My parents had also thought that by now I should be working and
taking care of them. I am devastated," he said.

Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) president Clever Bere said
the failure by the UZ management to open this semester was a sign of a
failed leadership in the country.

"The end loser was always going to be the student. We have lost on
quality and we are also losing on time. The whole problem goes down the poor
policies by president Robert Mugabe and his cronies. We are in this messy
because of them," said Bere.

UZ vice chancellor Prefessor Levy Nyagura said the decision to close
the university indefinitely was reached after a meeting by the university

"You have to direct your questions to the university council, they are
better positioned to comment," he said before switching off his mobile

Some lecturers had at the weekend expressed doubt that the university
would open as most of them are on strike and conditions at the university
were said to be in a deplorable state with toilets not functioning.

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False dawn

 07 October 2008

FORMER president Thabo Mbeki has his work cut out for him if his position as
international mediator in Zimbabwe is to help him salvage any semblance of a

Rudely removed from office shortly after the much-vaunted breakthrough in
Zimbabwean political negotiations that resulted in last month's signing of
an interim power-sharing agreement, Mbeki's controversial approach to the
Zimbabwe conundrum is now looking as ineffective as ever.

It is becoming apparent that the agreement was concluded in haste for the
wrong reasons, not least Mbeki's desire to prove his detractors wrong:
claims of "quiet diplomacy" being vindicated were clearly premature. In
fact, it beggars belief that a "deal" could have been announced when there
were so many fundamental issues that had not yet been resolved - the two
sides can't even agree on the sticking points, let alone how to resolve

When President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) and the two Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) factions agreed to share power in an effort to stabilise the
country last month, the world was a very different place from what it is
today . Mbeki was under political pressure but remained the president of SA.
The US subprime crisis was a major concern but appeared to be under control.

Mugabe was under more pressure than ever before, both at home and
internationally, to submit to the will of the Zimbabwean electorate as
expressed in the March election, from which the MDC emerged with the
greatest support. For the first time in years, the stubborn old despot had
more to lose by playing hardball than he had to gain.

That has clearly changed in recent weeks, illustrating the folly of calling
a piece of paper an agreement when it does not commit any of the parties to
specific actions or expose them to real consequences if they are not true to
their word.

After appearing at first to have accepted that he would have to hand over a
meaningful amount of state power to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai if he was
to escape from the hole he had dug himself and the country into, Mugabe has
seized the opportunity provided by the political turmoil within SA's ruling
party, and the global financial crisis, to wriggle out .

The main obstacle to a new unity government being formed is ostensibly the
wrangling over which party gets the crucial finance and home affairs
portfolios, which confer significant powers over the allocation of resources
and policing respectively. Both have been badly abused by Zanu (PF) for
political ends in the past, so it is understandable that the MDC is
reluctant to participate in a government where these powers are still under
Mugabe's control.

As long as the political stalemate continues, neither international aid nor
private investment will flow in the required quantities. The economy will
continue to slide and social conditions will worsen even further.

But it is no longer even guaranteed that a unity government will, in itself,
be enough to improve matters. It is clearly in SA's best interests to do
everything in its power to help Zimbabwe recover, but the world has bigger
fish to fry at the moment and will need to be convinced that there has been
real change to the status quo, no matter who controls specific ministries.

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Sokwanele: 15th October is Blog Action Day 2008 - the theme is 'Poverty'

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

15th October is Blog Action Day 2008 - the theme is 'Poverty'
Sokwanele : 6 October 2008


October the 15th is Blog Action Day 2008. Blog Action Day is a nonprofit, grassroots movement of thousands of individual bloggers coming together for one cause.

This year's theme for Blog Action Day is Poverty

We have registered the Sokwanele blog - This is Zimbabwe - to participate in the action, and we are inviting YOU to send us items written by you that we will publish throughout the day on our blog.

Here are some questions that we think you might have for us. We've answered them for you. If there is anything else you want to know, please email us.

Why should I participate?

Zimbabweans are uniquely qualified to talk about the issue of poverty, and Blog Action Day 2008 is a chance for Zimbabweans to step out from behind all the newspaper articles and tell the story in their own words.

Let's speak for ourselves and tell the world what words like 'poverty' and 'hyperinflation' and a 'failing economy' really mean for ordinary people in Zimbabwe - ordinary people like YOU.
What do you want me to do?

Write and tell us how poverty and the failing economy has affected your life or your family's life or the lives of people you know around you.

This sounds like a good idea, but I'm so busy surviving (and queuing so I can survive) that I'll probably forget to get around to doing my bit.

Send us an email right now saying you want to be involved, and we'll email you a day or two before the 15th October to remind you about the action

But I am not a good writer. I want to tell my story, but I don't think I can do this.

Your stories and experiences are too important to be silenced by something like worries about writing skills. The world cannot possibly understand how poverty affects lives by reading newspaper articles that quote statistics or talk about an economy collapsing.

What does this mean in real life? Only you can tell them. So please speak out. Send us your experiences and stories as you would in an email to a friend. We'll worry about the trivial things like punctuation and paragraphs.

I don't want my name on the Internet where other people can see that I have written about my life in Zimbabwe.

We understand people are fearful. We won't publish names, and we won't publish locations, or email addresses, or anything at all that can lead back to a person.
"Poverty" is a big theme, what do you want me to write about exactly?

That's up to you. The list below is not a request for articles along these lines unless you want to write about them, but it might help you to focus your thoughts and think about what you want to write.

We hope this list helps to focus your mind. You can write about what you like within the theme of poverty, and we ask that you help us to talk about poverty in Zimbabwe by writing about your experiences and thoughts in relation to Zimbabwe.

I only have access to email so I can't see the Sokwanele blog on the Internet. How will I know what other people have written?

On the 15th October we will compile a mailing out of the entries and send it to our mailing list. Please note that our list includes journalists and government officials in other parts of the world - the sort of people who would like to know the grassroot's truth about what it is like to be living with Poverty in Zimbabwe. We will try to include as many of the entries as we can in our mailing so you can read them too.

I don't want to write about poverty; I want to write about politics because I am angry and want to shout about Zanu PF /  MDC-MT / MDC-AM.

The worldwide theme for Blog Action Day is 'Poverty', so we ask that you focus on that.

You are entitled to express your political views but we ask that you write them thoughtfully and with respect for different opinions and that you stick to publically known facts. We also ask that you write your views in the context of poverty.

Sokwanele will not publish anything that contains political rumours or information that cannot be verified. Our country needs to be strong and united and rumours and fighting between the parties and ourselves does not help us to stand together and confront the challenges facing Zimbabwe - the biggest challenge being poverty.

I am a Zimbabwean, but I am in the diaspora. I want to be involved too!

You can be. If poverty made you leave the country then write and describe why and how that happened. Maybe you are seeking asylum in another country and cannot work and finding it hard to survive... tell the world what its really like to be a stranger in another land, forced to leave for economic reasons.
Do you know any refugees who do not have access to email? Or do you work with Zimbabwean refugees in another country. You might want to tell their stories too.

OK, how long does it have to be, and when do you need it by?

When: We will publish on the 15th October so we need it by the end of the 13th October, preferably, or on the 14th October at the latest. But you can start sending them now if you want, and we will get things ready to go in advance.

How long: As long or as short as it takes you to tell your story.

Please write in English so the majority of the world can hear our stories.

Can I send photos as well as, or instead of, writing something?

If they are photographs you have taken and you are happy for us to publish them then, yes, please do. Email them to us. Please include a caption with them so people know what the photograph is about. (Any faces appearing in the pictures will be blurred out by us before publishing).

Can I write more than one entry on different topics about poverty in Zimbabwe because there is so much to say about what's happening!?

Yes, you can. Go for it!

I am not a Zimbabwean, but I would like to help as well.

If you can speak about poverty in Zimbabwe from your own perspective then please send us an entry. Maybe you are actively involved in trying to address poverty in Zimbabwe with a group or organisation overseas? Tell us about it.

If you are someone who wants to support and stand by Zimbabweans, then please come by our blog on the 15th October and spend time leaving comments and feedback for those who have sent in entries. When Zimbabweans speak out, its always good to know that we have been heard! So please support us by listening and reflecting back.
I am a Very Important Person and I would like write something in my own name so I can communicate with Zimbabweans about poverty and tell them I am standing with them.

Thank you very much. Send it to us and tell us you do not want to be anonymous. Send us a link to your own website too and we'll publish that alongside it.

Ok, I'm in! Is there anything else I need to know...?

Yes. If you don't have time to write your entry today, I'm reminding you now to send us that email saying you want to be involved, so we can remind you later that the 15th October is fast approaching.

Let's get the conversation about Poverty in Zimbabwe started!

Please forward this message to those you think might be interested. Subscribe to receive mailings by sending an email to
You can also subscribe yourselves automatically via our website at the following address:

Visit our website at
Visit our blog: This is Zimbabwe (Sokwanele blog)
Send an e-card!

We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!

Sokwanele does not endorse the editorial policy of any source or website except its own. It retains full copyright on its own articles, which may be reproduced or distributed but may not be materially altered in any way. Reproduced articles must clearly show the source and owner of copyright, together with any other notices originally contained therein, as well as the original date of publication. Sokwanele does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt of this email or use thereof. This document, or any part thereof, may not be distributed for profit.

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Zimbabwe Civic Association Says Water-Borne Disease Remains Threat


By Jonga Kandemiiri
06 October 2008

Contradicting Zimbabwean government statements that a recent deadly outbreak
of cholera in Chitungwiza and incidents of water-borne disease in Harare
have been brought under control, the Combined Harare Residents Association
said residents of the capital and the surrounding region still face a high
risk of communicable disease.

The association said authorities are doing little to tackle the ultimate
source of the threat by providing a reliable supply of clean water and
repairing sewage systems which have badly deteriorated, releasing infectious

Combined Harare Residents Association Information Officer Justice Mavedzenge
told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his
association has received reports of 23 cases of diarrheal disease, raising
fears cholera may be striking again.

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Zimbabwe Food Crisis Dire, But Humanitarian Providers Ramping Up


By Patience Rusere
06 October 2008

A senior official of the Consortium for the Southern Africa Food Security
Emergency or C-SAFE said the organization is feeding about 400,000
Zimbabwean school children in its target areas of Matabeleland South,
Masvingo and parts of Mashonaland and Manicaland.

C-SAFE Chief of Party Edward Brown said that despite delays caused by a
government ban on most nongovernmental humanitarian assistance between June
and August, he expects his organization to be feeding up to 1.5 million
people by next month.

Working with distribution agents including World Vision, Care International
and Catholic Relief services, Brown said that C-SAFE in partnership with the
United Nations World Food Program should be feeding around five million
people by early 2009.

But Brown said the current situation is dire and that his staff has heard of
malnutrition-related deaths that could have been prevented if food were made

Brown told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
despite resiliency in many communities, Zimbabweans are running out of
coping mechanisms.

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Couple's Shock at 'Cruel Chaos'

Monday, October 06, 2008 12:56 AM

(Source: Herald Express (Torquay UK))By LIZ PHILLIPS
Brixham missionaries Michael and Sue Furminger have sent an eye- witness
account of President Mugabe's continuing repressive regime to the Shadow
Foreign Secretary William Hague and United Nations leader Ban Ki-Moon.

The couple, who have just returned from spending two months in Zimbabwe
after leaving their jobs in the legal world to become missionaries, said:
"We can't return to the security and comfort of the UK and not share the
realities of day-to-day life in Zimbabwe."

Now they are back from the church-based farming initiative in Harare and
pleading for humanitarian aid and economic assistance from the international
community to stop widespread starvation fuelled by run-away inflation.

Michael said: "We just want to raise public awareness of the terrible
situation there.

"It may be thought nave for a couple in a small West Country town to try to
influence a collective international response but we all have a
responsibility to do what we can to help relive the desperate plight of
these people.

"We were so shocked and saddened by our experiences. They are in a desperate

"Supermarket shelves are empty and families spend all day going round shops
to see if anything at all is on sale.

"What little they can get is priced in billions and maybe trillions of
Zimbabwean dollars."

Michael added: "We know one man whose month's wages bought just two bananas.

"Inflation rates change by the hour. One man was quoted a trillion dollars
for an engine oil change but the price was only stable for two hours."

The couple, who met in the 1990s while working at Torquay county court, hope
that their dispassionate descriptions and legal backgrounds will give weight
to an aid package and international food help without any headline hype or

Sue added: "We have sent copies to local MP Anthony Steen, to Shadow foreign
secretary William Hague, and Javier Solana who is the European Union's high
representative for foreign policy."

She said: "The economy is in cruel chaos designed to keep people hungry.

"It is such an everyday struggle to buy food, travel to work or make phone
calls that many just give up."

But a mass programme of financial assistance mustn't be used to prop up the
regime enforced by dictator Mugabe (pictured) even if it is slowly changing
to a power-sharing basis, say the couple.

Michael said: "The timing has to be right but not delayed.

"There has to be some evidence of a freer market, respect for human rights,
and press and political freedom."

(c) 2008 Herald Express (Torquay UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights

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SA urges calmness after disease outbreak

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 07 October 2008

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Gauteng provincial health authorities on
Monday, said a mysterious flu-like illness has killed four people since
September in Johannesburg.

Confirming the death of the fourth person, Malinda Pelser,
spokesperson for Johannesburg's Morningside Medi-Clinic said people should
not panic over the deaths of four people from the strange illness, saying
the disease was not airborne but transmitted through bodily fluids.

"The disease is transferable through bodily fluids and is not
airborne. We want to ensure that there's no panic in the broader public . .
. There is no outbreak at the hospital. We are currently don't have patients
with the same symptoms," Pelser said in Johannesburg on Monday.

The first patient was a Zambian woman who came to the Morningside
Medi-Clinic with flu-like symptoms on September 12. She was treated for
tick-bite fever and other potential infections but died two days later.

Three other people have died from the same flu-like symptoms at the
hospital since September, including a Zambian paramedic who had accompanied
the first patient into South Africa.

Tests were not conclusive of any particular disease including viral
hemorrhagic fever.

The latest victims were a nurse at the Morningside Medi-Clinic and a
cleaner who was not employed by the hospital, but by an outsourcing company.
Both died on Sunday.

Pelser said hospital staff who had been in contact with the four
people who died of the illness were being continuously monitored.

"We are monitoring those who treated the four patients who passed
away, but it's in the hands of the Department of Health to trace and monitor
families and other people," she said.

Those who visited Zambia in the last month and are experiencing the
flu-like symptoms or raised temperatures were urged to immediately report to
their nearest hospital.

The outbreak of the mysterious disease raised fears that it could
easily spread to South Africa's neighbours, particularly its strife-torn
northern neighbour, with an estimated three million Zimbabweans believed to
be living in South Africa and tens of thousands others passing through
Beitbridge border post everyday.

Morningside Medi-Clinic said it would follow strict protocol and
infection-control measures, including isolation, if any other patient
presented the same flu-like symptoms while the provincial health department
said it would conduct tests and post-mortems to establish the cause of these

Meanwhile Zambian authorities said on Monday they, together with the
World Health Organisation (WHO), have mounted investigations into the
unknown disease that has so far claimed four lives in South Africa. -

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Brita Voice launches new protest CD


06 October 2008

Bleeding Britavoice has given birth to a new protest poetic CD for Zimbabweans.

The CD grabs its title, Raunchy Kongonya Dance for Mugabe, from BritaVoice’s mocking of the Zimbabwean woman who still exudes energy in dancing for Mugabe and Zanu PF after which she fails to even grab the soap and water to wash off her sweat.

The 21 track poetic CD embodies tracks such as The Silenced woman, which comes as Britavoice’s special dedication to the Zimbabwean fairer sex; the fearless female political activists who bear the brunt of torture for rising against Mugabe’s ill governance.

Other tracks include I am Weary Mugabe, a very touching piece which opens up and reveals the mind of Zimbabwean’s newest mama, the old 80 year old immensely burdened granny, who bemoans the disintegrated Zimbabwe.

She is to BritaVoice, Zimbabwean newest mama as a result of the low life expectancy for the Zimbabwean woman, now about 20 years old which sees her acquiring once more the mama role of orphaned kids. The old wrecked granny now has to wake up and fend for the orphans.

She cannot help but long for even the days of colonial rule when she could at least have a basic plate of food in front of her. She is left out in the cold as she fails to dance into the tune or conceptualize the dirty game of deals in Zimbabwe.

She cannot get anyone to explain the use of the South African rand, the Botswana Pula and the US dollar in place of the Zimbabwean dollar.

Equally touching is the I am Thinking track which exposes the broken mind of a Zimbabwean street kid out in the cold sleeping by the dirty seweraged street sniffing out glue as if to sniff out the horrors of lacking a home and family, all products of Zanu pf ill governance.

Other tracks are as listed below;

1. The Silenced woman
2. I am weary
3. Raunchy Kongonya Dance for Mugabe
4. Cry zimbabwe
5. Despair
6. Hope
7. Fear
8. Ribbon of hope
9. I am Thinking
10. The true leader
11. The indecent president
12. The unanswered question
13. Zimbabwe my home
14. The RBZ keys and files
15. The proud Zimbabwean ambassador
16. I saw you not
17. The talking show
18. The bleeding soul
19. My contoured face
20. Winds of change
21. DE zwarte Zimbabwe Vrouw

To add more flavour to the works, BritaVoice exploits her bilingual attributes, so your ears will be tuned into some Shona, Ndebele, English and one of the musical Belgian national languages, Nederlands, which is mostly used by the Flemish community.

BritaVoice also exploits her beautiful voice in a unique poetic style and is backed by some artistic African instruments which mostly embrace the drum, ‘djombe’, and the African piano, in an effort to add African culture and style to her works so as to solidly strike her intended audience, the Zimbabwean and get them to speak out even more against Mugabe’s stay in power.

Links to two of the poems, I am Weary Mugabe and the Silenced Woman on mps files are given below for you to have a taste of the BritaVoice works; 06-Track 6.mp3 Silence.mp3

And why a protest poetic CD when there is the burning issue of the ‘deal’? It is difficult to imagine that Zimbabweans will still have to live under Mugabe’s dictatorial rule as President. The recently signed deal falls nothing short of a cunning unjustifiable way to keep Mugabe and his cronies on the political board.

It has rescued Mugabe from sinking into political oblivion. Zimbabwe can only be rescued by the total cleansing of all corrupt and egoistic fellows from the political front, paving way for clean blood.

As a writer and poet, some of the Britavoice works can be accessed on the Britavoice . Orders of the CD can be made via email and also via mobile number 0032 484 612 645. By grabbing one CD you are assured that your ear energies are well utilized.

The writer, Bridget Tapuwa is based in Belgium and she can be reached at or

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