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Zimbabwe talks deadlocked, mediation needed - MDC

Toronto Star

By Nelson Banya
HARARE (Reuters) - Talks on the formation of a power-sharing government in
Zimbabwe failed on Tuesday to end a long stalemate over cabinet posts, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change said.

The MDC and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF have been negotiating since
Sept. 15, when an outline deal was reached to end a political crisis that
worsened after Mugabe's re-election unopposed in an election in June
boycotted by the MDC.

Tendai Biti, Secretary General of Morgan Tsvangirai's main MDC faction, said
no progress had been made in talks on Tuesday.

"There's no progress, there's a clear deadlock. We met again today but
couldn't move the process forward," Biti told Reuters.

The MDC said earlier that talks were deadlocked on sharing out all key
ministries. It called for urgent African mediation over the crisis, which
has accelerated Zimbabwe's economic collapse.

ZANU-PF said at the weekend that the dispute centred only on the finance and
home affairs ministries but an MDC statement on Tuesday rejected this.

The MDC called for help from the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and the African Union. The original deal was brokered by Thabo Mbeki,
who remains as SADC mediator despite being ousted as South African

"The facilitator has to come back," Biti said.

Asked if the MDC had made contact with him, Biti said Mbeki "is aware of
what is happening."

ZANU-PF officials were not immediately available for comment.

A senior ZANU-PF official said on Monday that Mugabe was expected to meet
Tsvangirai in the next two days in another attempt to break the deadlock.


"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
impasse," the MDC said.

Under the outline agreement, Mugabe would retain the presidency and chair
the cabinet, while Tsvangirai would head a council of ministers supervising
the cabinet.

Without a breakthrough, Zimbabwe's economy could worsen still further. The
once-prosperous nation is crumbling under inflation of about 11 million
percent -- the highest in the world -- and chronic food shortages.

Zimbabweans have to queue for hours, sometimes overnight, to withdraw money
from banks where withdrawal limits have been imposed by the central bank.

"MDC is concerned with the prolonged and protracted dialogue considering
that the people are dying of hunger, factories closed, school calendars
disrupted, workers not going to work and disease outbreak," said the MDC.

"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."

Copyright © 2008 Reuters

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Biti: Deadlock caused by absence of good faith and common sense

Violet Gonda
7 October 2008

The political crisis in Zimbabwe continues with no end in sight. Tendai
Biti, the Secretary General for the Tsvangirai led MDC, said there is a
complete failure to agree. He said that ZANU PF and MDC negotiators met
again on Tuesday, but with no result.

Biti told SW Radio Africa: "The facilitators must be brought in and the
facilitator must use his wisdom to try and break a situation which, in my
view is not characterised by good faith and a situation that might embarrass
Africa which celebrated on the 15th of September and might find itself in a
situation where those celebrations were premature."

The MDC's chief negotiator said Zimbabwe is now in a tragic situation where
80% of the population are starving and surviving on berries, in a country
with an inflation rate never before seen in any other part of the world. "So
it's a disaster, an absolutely disaster," Biti lashed out.

ZANU PF says that there are only two contentious cabinet posts, but the MDC
Secretary General insists there is no agreement on anything. "All the
portfolios are at stake. So basically you have to start from afresh. It's
like a jigsaw puzzle. You may have two pieces that you may not have sorted
out but these two pieces affect the entire jigsaw," Biti added.

When asked why the MDC signed a deal before the negotiations had been
concluded, Biti responded by saying: "Judging from where we were coming from
the issue of allocation of cabinets should have been a foregone conclusion.
Surely ZANU PF would have understood that they cannot, under whatever
matrix, demand the finance ministries because they failed. The reason why we
are where we are is because they failed. So they would have recognised that
the MDC has to be given this task. Equally the MDC would have deferred to
ZANU PF on the question of security ministries because they are still
controlling. That is elementary."

The MDC leader said what is causing the deadlock is an "absence of good
faith and the absence of common sense."

On Tuesday, South Africa's News 24 reported that MDC spokesperson Nelson
Chamisa had expressed regret that the party had signed the power-sharing
deal, without having agreed on the make-up of a unity government. According
to the online paper Chamisa told a radio station in South Africa that he
thought the party's "big mistake" was to have signed a deal before the
negotiations had been concluded.

We asked Tendai Biti if he regretted the signing of the deal and he said: ""Absolutely
not. We have served Zimbabweans to the best of our abilities and we will
continue to serve."

He went on to say: "We have done everything we can to serve Zimbabweans
honestly and faithfully. What is missing is a paradigm on the part of ZANU
PF and we can't be blamed for that."

The Secretary General said if the deal collapses then the fault must fall
squarely on ZANU PF.

He also denied reports that the MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was forced
into signing the deal by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. He said
the signing of the deal came after intense negotiations by the three
political parties.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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MDC: Unity deal minus agreement on Zimbabwe government a "mistake"

Africa News
Oct 7, 2008, 7:11 GMT

Johannesburg - A spokesman for Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) on Tuesday expressed regret that the party signed a power-sharing deal
with President Robert Mugabe, without having agreed on the make-up of a
unity government.

Speaking on South African radio about the three-week delay in the
implementation of the historic September 15 agreement, MDC spokesman Nelson
Chamisa said he he thought the party's 'big mistake' was to have signed a
deal before the negotiations had been concluded.

Hopes for an end to Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis had been high
when autocratic President Robert Mugabe agreed to share power with his
longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai in a deal brokered by former South African
president Thabo Mbeki.

Under the deal, Mugabe remains president with reduced powers and Tsvangirai
becomes prime minister.

Three weeks later, fears that the deal could fall apart are mounting as
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the MDC remain at loggerheads on how to share
ministerial posts between them.

The bare-bones September agreement merely states that Zanu-PF is to get 15
ministries in a 31-ministry cabinet, Tsvangirai's MDC is to get 13 and a
splinter MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara gets three.

Despite widespread reports before the signing that the parties had agreed
that the MDC would gain control of key ministries such as home affairs,
which controls the police, and finance, and that Zanu-PF would retain
defence, among others, the MDC says there was never any such agreement.

Early last week, Mugabe had said he expected the government to be finalized
by the weekend and that only four ministries were still in contention. But
later talks between the 84-year-old leader and Tsvangirai, 56, ended without
a breakthrough.

Accusing Zanu-PF of wanting to retain its stranglehold on power, the MDC has
referred the disagreement to the Southern African Development Community,
which deployed Mbeki as a mediator.

'We are very clear that there hasn't been any progress,' Chamisa said.

'Zanu-PF are resorting to propaganda, misinformation, misleading the public,
trying to portray a kind of picture where things are moving,' Chamisa

Since the agreement, Mbeki has been ousted by the ruling African National
Congress as South Africa's president.

SADC has endorsed him to remain on as mediator in Zimbabwe, but Mbeki has
not yet returned try to shore up the deal, which is seen as crucial to
salvaging Zimbabwe's battered economy.

Western governments are standing by to inject millions of dollars of aid and
investment into Zimbabwe but only if a credible MDC-dominated government is

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Deadlock over Ministries grinding the country to a standstill

[MDC Media Release]

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.

There has been neither contact nor communication made between the MDC and
Zanu PF as mischievously reported in The Herald.  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

MDC is concerned with the prolonged and protracted dialogue considering that
the people are dying of hunger, factories closed, school calendars
disrupted, workers not going to work and disease outbreak.

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.

For more information please call MDC (Zimbabwe) Hon. Mr. Nelson Chamisa
0912940489 National Spokesperson or Luke Tamborinyoka 0912850556 or (South
Africa) Nqobizitha Mlilo 0835274650 or George Sibotshiwe 0766330314

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Mugabe content to play the waiting game


It's a waiting game, and no one is better at outlasting his competition than
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

After a June election that the world derided as a sham, Zimbabwe's longtime
president signed a unity government deal with the opposition last month that
allows him to keep his job.

But his cronies in the Cabinet who would lose power are now baulking. As
Zimbabwe descends into financial and humanitarian chaos, Mugabe appears
content just to wait for the opposition to yield to his demand for more
choice Cabinet seats.

For decades, Mugabe has consistently shown that he is more interested in
power than the fate of his people. In contrast, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change is pained by the delays in instituting reforms that could
help Zimbabwe's hungry masses.

Mugabe has even more leverage because he has never been afraid to use
violence against his rivals. His police, soldiers and party militants drove
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai out of the June presidential run-off
with attacks on opposition supporters.

And he has been using violence for years. Soon after Mugabe took over after
independence from Britain in 1980, his troops were accused of massacring
rivals in the western Matabeleland province. In 2005, his government
brutally cleared out slum areas seen as opposition strongholds.

Even as Mugabe signed the power-sharing deal three weeks ago, he sounded far
from defeated.

In a nationally televised speech, he offered to teach opposition members how
to govern, noting they had had little experience -- but not acknowledging
that was because he had used violence and fraud to keep them out of office.

At one point during the speech, Tsvangirai held his hand to his head in
disbelief. Since then, the two have been unable to agree on how to share the
Cabinet, with Tsvangirai accusing Mugabe of trying to hold on to the most
powerful posts.

The main disputes have been over who would control the police, defence,
justice, finance, foreign affairs, information and local government.

Control of the security forces is particularly sensitive. Top generals have
said publicly they would never salute Tsvangirai. Mugabe could, as he has
threatened to do, simply name his own Cabinet, with or without opposition
members. That he has yet to do so indicates some concern about the reaction
of his neighbours and the West.

But he could still try to portray the opposition as the stumbling block at a
time when Zimbabwe needs a true leader to tame its hyperinflation -- an
economic crisis some have compared to the situation in Germany after World
War I.

Zimbabweans are suffering chronic shortages of hard currency, cash, food and
all basic goods and medicines. Aid agencies say at least five million
people, about half the population, will need food handouts by January.

Under the power-sharing deal, Mugabe remains president and head of the
Cabinet. As prime minister Tsvangirai heads a council of ministers -- in
effect, the Cabinet without Mugabe present -- responsible for government
policies, a complex arrangement Mugabe could exploit by playing on tensions
within the opposition.

Mugabe's party gets 15 Cabinet seats, Tsvangirai's party gets 13 and a
smaller breakaway opposition group led by Arthur Mutamabara gets three.

Critics, including Zimbabwean labor, religious and human rights groups that
traditionally back Tsvangirai, say the deal should never have been struck.
They say what Zimbabwe needs now is an apolitical administration with
neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai that could prepare for new elections.

The opposition has called on African leaders such as former South African
President Thabo Mbeki, who mediated the power-sharing agreement, to step
back in. But African leaders have had very little success in the past in
influencing Mugabe.

If the opposition has any leverage, it is with the broader international
community. Western powers are ready to unblock aid and investment -- but
only if Tsvangirai is established as the main decision-maker.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday that European Union
sanctions will not be lifted until Mugabe and the opposition agree on a new

Mugabe, though, insists that his country doesn't need its former colonial
power and blames his country's economic woes on Western sanctions.

His critics counter that Zimbabwe's severe decline began in 2000 with
Mugabe's orders to seize white-owned farms, ostensibly to help impoverished
black Zimbabweans. Most of the farms seized went to Mugabe loyalists
instead, devastating the country's agricultural base.

While banks in the capital are besieged daily by poor people trying to
withdraw pittances to buy bread, Mugabe loyalists have easy access to
foreign currency and can play off currency discrepancies on the black
market. Some are getting rich amid the chaos. - Sapa-AP

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ZANU PF Politburo wants deal revised

Local News
October 7, 2008 | By Mellisa Dube-Koketso
ZANU PF has said the power sharing deal signed with the MDC needs to be
revised and some aspects changed before a new cabinet is announced. The
party has also indicated that it will not share the 10 posts of provincial
governor with the MDC.

ZANU PF highest decision making body the soviet style, politburo resolved
during its meeting late last month that a provision in the power-sharing
deal shelving by-elections for a year had to be scrapped because it
infringed on Zimbabweans' right to elect leaders of their choice.

A clause under 'ELECTORAL VACANCIES' in the power sharing deal stipulates that:

Aware of the divisive and often times confrontational nature of elections
and by elections;

  Noting the need to allow this agreement to take root amongst the parties
and people of Zimbabwe; and

  Cognisant of the need to give our people some breathing space and a
healing period;

  21.1 The Parties hereby agree that for a period of 12 months from the date
of signing of this agreement, should any electoral vacancy arise in respect
of a local authority or parliamentary seat, for whatever reason, only the
party holding that seat prior to the vacancy occurring shall be entitled to
nominate and field a candidate to fill the seat subject to that party
complying with the rules governing its internal democracy.

However ZANU PF likely keen to reverse its losses in the March 29 election
wants by-elections to be held whenever a parliamentary seat becames vacant.

The body 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 went on to state that 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

Tendai Biti, the Secretary General of the mainstream MDC, told SW Africa
radio that there is a complete failure to agree. He said that ZANU PF and
MDC negotiators met again on Tuesday, but with no result.

Biti said, "The facilitators must be brought in and the facilitator must use
his wisdom to try and break a situation which, in my view is not
characterised by good faith and a situation that might embarrass Africa
which celebrated on the 15th of September and might find itself in a
situation where those celebrations were premature."

The MDC's chief negotiator said Zimbabwe is now in a tragic situation where
80% of the population are starving and surviving on berries, in a country
with an inflation rate never before seen in any other part of the world. "So
it's a disaster, an absolutely disaster," Biti lashed out.

ZANU PF says that there are only two contentious cabinet posts, but the MDC
Secretary General insists there is no agreement on anything. "All the
portfolios are at stake. So basically you have to start from afresh. It's
like a jigsaw puzzle. You may have two pieces that you may not have sorted
out but these two pieces affect the entire jigsaw," Biti added.

When asked why the MDC signed a deal before the negotiations had been
concluded, Biti responded by saying: "Judging from where we were coming from
the issue of allocation of cabinets should have been a foregone conclusion.
Surely ZANU PF would have understood that they cannot, under whatever
matrix, demand the finance ministries because they failed. The reason why we
are where we are is because they failed. So they would have recognised that
the MDC has to be given this task. Equally the MDC would have deferred to
ZANU PF on the question of security ministries because they are still
controlling. That is elementary."

Additional reporting by Zimbabwe Online and SW Radio Africa

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Zuma urges more Zim talks to end deadlock


African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that
Zimbabwe's political parties should keep talking to resolve an impasse in
forming a Cabinet under a power-sharing deal.

But Zuma said that if outside mediation was needed, he was confident that
his rival, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, could step in to
break the deadlock.

"I am hoping that it is going to be resolved by Zimbabweans themselves. I
think it is just taking long. They just have to negotiate with themselves
and find a solution," Zuma said in an interview on SAfm radio.

"What is happening now is a challenge to the leadership ... to exercise
responsibility as the leaders and the political parties for the sake of the
country," he said.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed on September 15 to form a unity government
under a deal brokered by Mbeki.

Talks have since bogged down, with Tsvangirai accusing Mugabe of wanting to
grab most key ministries -- such as defence, home affairs, foreign affairs
and finance.

A protracted political crisis has wreaked havoc in Zimbabwe, once one of
Africa's most prosperous countries, which now suffers the world's highest
rate of inflation, last estimated at 11,2-million percent, with millions
dependent on food aid.

Just days after Mbeki brokered the deal, he was forced from office in his
own long-running power struggle with Zuma.

But Zuma on Tuesday commended his rival's mediation efforts, and said he was
confident that the former president could return to Zimbabwe if his help was
again needed.

"If he intervenes again, I am certain he will do a good job," Zuma said.

Urgent help
Meanwhile, the MDC said on Tuesday talks on forming a Cabinet with Mugabe's
party were deadlocked over all key ministries and called for urgent African

"The MDC dismisses Zanu-PF claims that only two Cabinet posts are yet to be
resolved," the opposition said in a statement.

It called for help from the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
and the African Union.

Zanu-PF officials were not immediately available for comment.

A senior Zanu-PF official said on Monday that Mugabe was expected to meet
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the next two days in another attempt
to break a deadlock over cabinet posts.

But the MDC said there had been no contact between the parties since talks
on Saturday between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who heads a
breakaway MDC faction.

"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
impasse," said the MDC.

Under the outline agreement, Mugabe will retain the presidency and chair the
Cabinet, while Tsvangirai heads a council of ministers supervising the
Cabinet. -- AFP, Reuters

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UN appeals for humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe


October 07, 2008, 15:00

The United Nations (UN) Office on Humanitarian Affairs is appealing for at
least $240 million, or over R2 billion, for emergency humanitarian aid for

The office's country director, Georges Tadonki, says almost a third of the
population will need urgent food, health care, and agriculture support over
the next three months. Tadonki says international donors have been more
forthcoming since a power-sharing deal was signed between the main political
rivals last month. However, he has appealed to the rival parties, whose
negotiations are now stalled, to grasp the urgency of the humanitarian

Meanwhile, there is increasing concern over Zimbabwe's historic
power-sharing agreement. Most recently, Zanu-PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) appear to be clashing in their decision on key
cabinet positions.

In spite of state media reports suggesting that differences have been
narrowed down to just two ministries, the MDC claims there is a deadlock on
all 31 portfolios. The MDC is accusing Zanu-PF of negotiating in bad faith
and misleading the nation on the true state of the cabinet formation talks.

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Zim teachers want exams cancelled


    October 07 2008 at 06:12PM

Harare - School exams in Zimbabwe should be cancelled because strike
action by teachers has left pupils unprepared, a teaching union said on

"For the record, there was no meaningful learning and teaching in 2008
and all examination classes are not prepared," Takavafira Zhou, leader of
the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), told journalists.

Teachers went on strike when classes began in January, demanding pay
increases and better working conditions.

The strike was briefly suspended following a deal with the government
but nearly two months ago the teachers embarked on an indefinite strike.

Due to massive inflation teachers have seen their salary shrink to a

High school pupils were due to take their final examinations at the
beginning of October but have not yet been informed whether they will go

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn for a decade with high
inflation and unemployment. At least 80 percent of the population lives in

The state-run Herald newspaper on Tuesday reported that some teachers
were demanding payment in groceries and cash from parents and pupils.

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Education Stakeholders Meet Over Exams Postponement

HARARE, October 7, 2008 - The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ), on Monday met with education authorities in a bid to persuade the
government to defer the October/November 2008 public examinations.

The militant PTUZ on Monday held closed door deliberations with the
permanent secretary for Education, Sports and Culture, Stephen Mahere, to
discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe's education sector amid revelations that
entry examination statements for national examinations, which officially
start next week, have not been distributed to schools and students.

Raymond Majongwe, PTUZ's secretary general confirmed meeting with
Mahere and his team of directors at the ministry's head office.

The union officials and the ministry of education officials
deliberated on salary and working conditions of teachers, the 2008 public
examinations, alleged unfair labour practices in the teaching profession and
the situation of teachers who were allegedly victims of political violence
in the March and June presidential elections.

PTUZ wants the government to peg teachers salaries in US$ and are
demanding take-home salaries of US$1200.

Citing numerous industrial strikes by teachers and violence against
teachers during the presidential elections, the union told Mahere and his
officials that very little education took place during the academic year
hence the push to have this year's public examinations deferred or

"We have recommended the setting up of a committee to assess the state
of the student's preparedness for 2008 public examinations comprising
stakeholders from government, labour and employers with a view to either
defer the examinations to an appropriate date as determined by the outcome
of the survey or set aside the 2008 academic year and allow students to
repeat their current grades in 2009 and freeze all intakes for a new cohort
of Grade 1, Form 1 and Form 5," reads part of a PTUZ document handed to
government on Monday.

Mahere told RadioVOP that his ministry was still studying the union's

"We had a fruitful meeting but we are still studying their points of
view," he said.

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The universities lock their doors

A bleak outlook for Zimbabwe's students as classes fail to start

All four of Zimbabwe's universities have failed to open for the first
semester of the 2008/2009 academic year. And the country's students are left
wondering if their education has come to a sudden and permanent stop.

The University of Zimbabwe (UZ), the National University of Science and
Technology (NUST), Midlands State University (MSU) and Chinhoyi University
of Technology (CUT) have all failed to open their doors, some six weeks
after the scheduled resumption of studies.

The basic problem at all four establishments seems to be a familiar one for
our country: the staff have withdrawn their labour because their salaries
are unrealistically low.

I understand that lecturers have demanded a monthly salary of US$1500, which
is the average paid for similar posts in South Africa. But it is clear that
none of the institutions can afford this level of pay.

Students who attempted to attend in the normal way were met by brief notices
announcing an indefinite suspension of all activity. One statement, by MSU
Registrar G.T. Gurira, claimed that his university had officially opened on
September 30, but closed immediately due to a withdrawal of labour by
members of the teaching staff.

I contacted UZ Vice-Chancellor Professor Levy Nyagura, who told me that the
decision to close was made by his university council, but he refused to
comment on the reasons for that decision.

Zimbabwe National Students Union president Clever Bere said the closure of
the universities was a sign of failed leadership in the country. "The end
loser was always going to be the student," he said. "First we lost out on
quality of teaching, now we are losing out on any teaching at all."

Final year economics student Primrose Siluma said: "I hoped I would graduate
this year. Then I could find a job and help my parents. Now there is no
chance, and I am devastated."

Posted on Tuesday, 07 October 2008 at 10:45

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Economic meltdown bites and colleges fail to open

By Lance Guma
07 October 2008

With the deadlock over the cabinet continuing Tuesday, the country descended
deeper into economic meltdown. Banks ran out of cash with thousands of
people milling outside for money, some companies shut down over the
cancellation of electronic bank transfers and the University of Zimbabwe
announced it was suspending indefinitely its scheduled opening, owing to a
lecturers strike for better pay. And there's also a virtual news blackout.
People desperate for news and information have to negotiate the high cost of
newspapers and the chronic power cuts restrict them to occasional bulletins
on radio or TV.

UZ students who went to campus on Monday found notices telling them the
university would be closed indefinitely. Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura said
the decision was reached after a meeting of the UZ council. At the centre of
the problems for the institution is a strike by lecturers who are demanding
better pay and working conditions. The state of facilities at the UZ is also
said to be 'deplorable' with toilets not working, among other things. A
former student told Newsreel that half the toilets at the UZ were not
working 7 years ago and 'one can only imagine what the general state of
decline is right now.' Under council health and safety by-laws the college
would never pass any checks of its facilities.

Elsewhere all the other major colleges are also closed including the
National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Midlands State
University (MSU). Lecturers at NUST have been on strike for more than 3
months also demanding better pay and working conditions. Mfundo Mlilo from
the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) confirmed that only the Harare
Polytechnic, Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo and the Bindura
University were open.

On Monday banks completely ran out of cash as thousands tried to withdraw
their money. The new Z$20 000 cash withdrawal limit still means long queues
in order to get hardly enough money to survive. With inflation pegged at 530
billion percent by some independent experts it's not hard to see why the
banks can never supply enough money to meet demand. But instead of
addressing the fundamentals the Reserve Bank has been fire-fighting the
symptoms. The cancellation of electronic bank transfers has been one such
misguided move, and many companies face closure over the new rules.

Economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told Newsreel that Gono's policies had
given rise to the mass use of electronic transfers as a way of beating cash
shortages. He said the big problem is that there is more money in people's
accounts than physically exists in notes and coins in the banks. He called
this 'virtual' money and said senior officials in the central bank were
involved in shady RTGS deals that had worsened the situation. He said Gono's
measures were an attempt to solve problems he created via his own policies.
'The only surprise is that Zimbabwe is having economic problems at the same
time as the rest of the world,' Mhlanga remarked.

According to the Kubatana blog, an underground movement calling itself
People to People distributed flyers in Harare over the weekend 'rebuking the
Reserve Bank Governor for printing substandard bank notes in the form of the
new $20 000.' The new notes have no security features and so are very easy
to counterfeit and many shops and vendors are refusing to accept them.

Meanwhile the group the 'Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe' (ROHR) has
slammed the decision by Justice Joseph Musakwa on their court challenge over
cash withdrawals. On 25th September they had applied to the High Court for a
complete scrapping of cash withdrawal limits. The Judge ruled the case was
not urgent. ROHR members Rodgers Chigwededza, Tinashe Gotora, Jackson
Mabota, and Precious Mateyeni had all filed a petition asking the court to
scrap or review the withdrawal limits.

ROHR expressed frustration the judge would rule the case is not urgent, 'and
should join the long civil case queue for it to be heard. In other words we
are supposed to join another queue to stop the cash queues?' their statement
read. One of the applicants in the case, Jackson Mabota, is the sole bread
winner while his wife is pregnant. 'His salary is deposited in the bank and
he is struggling to get his money from the bank so he can sustain his family
needs. Mrs Mateyeni (another applicant) has two school going children who
have been missing classes because of the cash crisis caused by Gono's
The attitude of the judiciary summarizes government attitude to the crisis.
The fat cats are OK and they just don't care about anyone else.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank is renamed by the people

Go now, Gono

An underground movement that calls itself People to People distributed, or rather littered, Harare’s streets with flyers over the weekend carrying a message rebuking the Reserve Bank Governor for printing substandard bank notes in the form of the new $20 000. Aside from detailing how the $20 000 note has no tight security features and is probably being replicated, the flyers also mention that some shops and vendors are not accepting this note as legal tender. The flyer also demands reasonable withdrawal limits and reasonable policies to curb inflation.

I started hearing complaints about the $20 000 note last week and indeed, it is of poor quality and appears to have been printed on something like bond paper. It also doesn’t have raised font or the silver security strip and watermark that have been the usual security features. But until today it has been possible to transact with it. First it was the hwindis (conductors). They are no longer considering the $20 000 note as legal tender. Unfortunately for them a lot of us had that note and we’d gone such a distance that either dropping us all off or taking us all back to the taxi rank would have been a loss either way. The hwindi eventually capitulated on taking the notes muttering under his breath that as soon as he can he will deposit the money in a bank.

While it is commendable citizen activism the flyers may spark alarm and despondency. The flyers were strewn all over the city from taxi ranks to shopping centres such that those who initially hadn’t closely analyzed the $20 000 note are all going to start shunning it. Now this is a disaster because that’s what the banks are churning out and one cannot exactly consider the option of re-depositing because of the hassle getting it in the first place and there is no guarantee of getting 10s next time. In any case, who wants to deal with tellers who are always on go slow and probably orchestrate the formation of the long bank queues in order to work overtime to reap the benefits?

When bearer cheques were first introduced in 2003 people blasted them for their insulting poor quality and very existence but not to the extent of actually not recognizing them as legal tender. If the people lose faith in the national currency, it spells disaster. One of the fundamental principles of a good economy is that the people have confidence in it. Most Zimbabweans know the security features of the US dollar better than their own money. In fact, they can tell a fake from a real one and actually know which year that country printed new notes.

It is nauseating to think that some people can just play games with a country’s whole economy and get away with it. What will it take for the man who sits at the helm of our central bank to admit failure and resign?

It really is a shame. The Shona version of the People to People flyer concludes by saying: Nderipi zita idzva reBhanga guru renyika? Rinonzi Zeroes Acre! Loosely translated: What is the new name for country’s central bank? It is called the Zeroes Acre! Indeed.

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Botswana wants Mbeki to break Zim impasse

Tuesday, 07 October 2008

Staff Writer

Botswana has said that South Africa's deposed president, Thabo Mbeki should
intervene to break the deadlock over the sharing of cabinet posts in
Zimbabwe. Mbeki mediated the Zimbabwe power-sharing deal.

Botswana has expressed concern over the current cabinet posts-sharing
impasse between ZANU-PF, MDC-Tsvangirai and MDC-Mutambara in the Zimbabwean
government of national unity.

The Botswana Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement yesterday
expressing concern over the delay in forming a Government of National Unity
(GNU) in Zimbabwe as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the
warring parties a month ago.

"The parties committed themselves to put Zimbabwe first and give its people
a genuine chance at rebuilding and reconstructing their livelihood. (The
impasse) is disturbing and in our view cannot be ignored. Further delay in
forming a government and implementing the agreement can only increase the
plight of the people of Zimbabwe," the statement warned.

Botswana implored the parties to work towards seeking solutions and bridging
their differences and "set Zimbabwe on a path of national reconciliation,
economic reconstruction and recovery".

The statement called on Mbeki to intervene to assist the parties in breaking
the impasse.

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NOCZIM seeks contract farmers to grow jatropha

Filed from Singapore 10/7/2008 11:26:39 AM GMT

HARARE: The National Oil Co. of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) is recruiting contract
farmers to cultivate jatropha to support the country's biodiesel production.
NOCZIM pledged to provide farmers with cuttings to set up short-term
yielding plantations from September to November 2008. Farmers with the
capacity of preparing at least five hectares of land are eligible to apply
for the programme. The programme will assist the farmers to set up the

Zimbabwe is aiming to build biofuel plants in all of its 10 provinces by
2010, according to a government official late last year. A biofuel unit was
set up within NOCZIM earlier this year to fulfill Harare's biodiesel

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SA MDC leaders meet with Zim ambassador


     October 07 2008 at 05:07PM

The exiled leaders of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
have entered into discussions with that country's ambassador to South
Africa, the party said on Tuesday.

"The leadership of the Movement for Democratic Change in South Africa
paid a courtesy visit to ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo as a gesture of
goodwill in the ongoing powersharing talks," the MDC said in a statement.

The MDC's Austin Moyo and Sibanengi Dube held a brief meeting with
Moyo at his offices in Pretoria.

"We discussed various issues affecting Zimbabweans in diaspora
including the need for the inclusive government to comprehensively deal with
repatriating Zimbabweans back home," the MDC said.

The visit took place amid concerns over Zimbabwe's political rivals'
failure to reach an agreement on forming a unity government.

President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed a
power-sharing agreement more than three weeks ago after contested
presidential and parliamentary elections. - Sapa

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Footballer believed drowned in ritual swim


Tue 7 Oct 2008, 15:59 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - A Zimbabwean soccer player drowned in a crocodile
infested river during a ritual to cleanse his team of bad spirits before a
match, a state newspaper said on Tuesday.

The Chronicle quoted unnamed sources as saying about 16 players from second
division side Midland Portland Cement were told to swim in the Zambezi river
in the resort town of Victoria Falls ahead of a soccer match on Sunday.

"The technical team told every player to get into the river so that they
could be cleansed of bad spirits," it said.

The paper quoted local police commander Peter Rodzi as saying that after the
swim, the other players had noticed that one of the team was missing.

"The area where the team was swimming is prohibited as the current is
strong. The river is also infested with crocodiles and hippos," said Rodzi.

Belief in the power of spirits is widespread in Zimbabwe and many African

(Reporting by McDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

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Zimbabwe blog: salvaging pips

Last Modified: 07 Oct 2008
By: Guest blogger

Hunger forces more people to beg as seized farms remain neglected, writes
guest blogger Helen from Zimbabwe.

The old woman went from door to door in a village just 10km out of town and
at each house she held out a small, blue, chipped enamel bowl and asked if
anyone could spare a little food.

On the third attempt she got a couple of tablespoons of cooked sadza (thick
maize meal porridge) and she knelt on the ground and clapped with cupped
hands, the traditional thanks.

A man in the village who witnessed the hungry woman asking for food said
that he felt so ashamed for her suffering and for the state of the country.

There are four commercial farms in the vicinity of this village: one is
literally a stone's throw across the road and the others are all less than
3km away.

All these farms which between them produced tobacco, maize, beef, lamb,
milk, chickens and eggs, were seized by the government in the last seven
years but all have now fallen into disrepair and neglect and no longer
produce any food for sale.

One hungry woman begging for food from her neighbours is the tip of the
iceberg in Zimbabwe's rural villages.

Three weeks after a power sharing agreement was signed there is still no
sign of government assistance and so far only people with HIV and AIDS are
receiving help from NGOs. Registered individuals this week each received a
month's supply of anti-retrovirals, 20kg of unground maize, 5kg of dried
beans and 2 litres of cooking oil.

While lists of names of families who need food aid have been compiled, so
far nothing has arrived and people are surviving on wild fruits. At this
time of year the fruits in season are wild oranges (locally called Mutamba)
and small wild plums (known as Muhacha) but competition for the fruit is
fierce and there is never enough to support hungry families.

Villagers who still have some food left from last year's harvest are sorting
through the dwindling remnants and selecting pips that they can plant.

Two weeks before Zimbabwe's main planting season there is no seed maize or
fertilizer to be found anywhere and village Headmen and Chiefs are calling
meetings and advising people to reserve any maize pips that look good enough
to plant.

The hunger is equally bad in urban areas where a cocktail of disastrous
economic policies have virtually closed the country down.

Cheques are not accepted by any shops or businesses, electronic transfers
have been stopped by the Reserve Bank, inter account transfers have been
suspended and cash is almost non existent.

Banks have become totally swamped with thousands of people desperate to
withdraw the maximum daily limit of twenty thousand dollars.

With your daily limit of cash, if you are lucky enough to get it, you cannot
even buy one orange. A single 65 gram packet of two minute noodles is this
week priced at 117 thousand dollars, requiring 6 days of queuing at the

Most people have no choice but to queue at the banks where lines form as
early as 2am. All day, every day the bank queues are being controlled by
Police with dogs and scuffles are breaking out more and more frequently as
tempers flare and desperation rises.

If you can get one, the new 20,000 note is cause for both concern and
amusement. The note has no metal security thread and displays a peculiar
Zimbabwe Bird which looks distinctly thin and misshapen and sits on the note
at a skewed angle - a fitting symbol of the state we're in.

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Zim group lashes out at SA government after death of refugee baby

By Alex Bell
07 October 2008

A Zimbabwe activism group, Save Zimbabwe Campaign Coalition, has lashed out
at the South African government for corruption and ill treatment of refugees
at Home Affairs and refugee centres across the country - after the child of
an exile was killed in a police raid at a Cape Town Home Affairs office last

According to group officials, police allegedly attacked a group of
protesting exiles, including a group of Zimbabweans, outside the Nyanga
office last Friday and shot at them at close range with rubber bullets. In
the stampede that ensued a young woman, believed to be a Zimbabwean exile
with a baby on her shoulders, fell and landed on her child who later died.
The group has since called on the South African government to "uphold the
rights of immigrant citizens and take drastic actions against law
enforcement instruments who are abusing their responsibilities."

The Coalition has also lashed out at the South African government's decision
to withdraw asylum from Zimbabwean refugees, under the pretence that the
political and economic crises in Zimbabwe have been "resolved". The group
said in a statement on Tuesday that the decision is "a great
misrepresentation of the political developments in the country." A
representative, Alana, explained to Newsreel on Tuesday that abuse of
refugees is happening "against a backdrop of corruption at Home Affairs,"
where exiles that can pay R150 bribes are able to get crucial asylum papers.

"Home affairs officials still refuse to let humanitarian volunteers enter
the building," she said, "and consequently the degree of corruption of
officials and the levels of poverty of the people inside Home Affairs
remains unknown."

At the same time, Amnesty International on Tuesday issued an alert for the
safety of refugees in South Africa, after the last camp for victims of May's
xenophobic violence was closed on Monday. The group said that violence
against displaced persons attempting to return to local South African
communities continues, "with police failing to accept that these crimes are
part of a continuing pattern of xenophobic attacks." The organisation is now
urging the South African government to honour its obligations towards those
displaced by the xenophobic violence of last May, and called on the United
Nations Human Rights Commissioner to intervene.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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CHRA Commemorates World Habitat day

07 October 2008


The Combined Harare Residents Association joins Zimbabwe and the rest of the world in commemorating the World Habitat Day. This day comes at a time when Harare and other cities are facing insurmountable challenges in shelter and infrastructural development. While the day calls upon humanity to reflect on the state of towns and cities and the basic right to adequate shelter, the day also reminds us of our collective responsibility to the future of the human habitat. With this year’s theme being “harmonious cities” the city of Harare is far from being harmonious as it bemoans lack of housing, infrastructural and service delivery deterioration.


The advent of Operation Murambatsvina saw the city of Harare becoming one of the major contributors to the world’s more than one billion slum dwellers. Most residents continue to suffer from the scars sustained from that unfortunate operation and their situation is exacerbated by lack of sustainable housing (and other) policies. Operation Murambatsvina displaced more than 700 families, most of which have never been resettled as Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle’s beneficiaries were selected on partisan basis. Most displaced residents found themselves stranded without any shelter as Operation Garikai benefited some political apologists who already had shelter elsewhere. Some of the displaced families were dumped at Hopley Farm in Glen Norah and Caledonia in Mabvuku where there are no sanitary facilities or any other social amenities.


The city of Harare (and other cities) is characterized by rapid growth of urban poverty and home ownership remains a pipe dream to many. Areas like Tongogara Squatter camp near Kuwadzana Extension still exist in spite of the Millennium Development Goals’ commitment to decent housing for at least 100 million slum dwellers. Most residents live in abject poverty and those who are lucky enough to get a place to erect their shacks cannot access water, electricity and other services. The housing situation is desperate, home ownership is at its lowest, rental rates at their peak and demanded in foreign currency as the Zimbabwean dollar continues to loose value. Those residents who manage to get houses to rent also bear the brunt of paying in foreign currency, with most high density house owners demanding between R250 and R300 per room. In the city centre and low and medium density suburbs, lodgers pay between US$150 and US$300 or more from single rooms to cottages and full houses. While all this is happening those lodgers are so desperate that they cannot seek legal recourse as it is not affordable to many.


Harare is struggling with persistent water and power cuts, dilapidated sewer systems and collapsed municipal service delivery. The rapid urban growth experienced by the city of Harare coupled with lack of sustainable urban planning has resulted in immense pressure on service delivery; needless to say that the service providers should be highly capacitated in order to adequately deliver. The city of Harare has had local governance problems in the post 2000 era which saw a commission running the city for the better part of the time and the takeover of the water and sewer management system by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) further stalled the administration of sustainable policies to deal with the city’s problems and planning ahead.


The water and sewer management problems have seen some residential areas going for years, months and weeks without water and unattended sewer bursts respectively. The shortages of water dictates that residents fetch water from unprotected sources thus diseases like cholera breed easily. CHRA has so far received countless cases of cholera and diarrhoea. The spread of these diseases is quickened by the crowding in most houses where in most cases a family of six live in one room and several families live in one house.


The saddening reality is the fact that those housing schemes accessible to average residents, like the Mbuya Nehanda in Kuwadzana and the Garikai scheme (which succeeded Operation Murambastvina) were allocated on partisan basis. All this is happening while some residents have been on the city of Harare housing waiting list for the past decade or more. The Combined Harare Residents Association remains committed to demanding quality, accessible and adequate service delivery on a professional and non-partisan basis and sustainable city development and planning. CHRA calls upon the responsible authorities to rectify the ills of Operation Murambatsvina as a matter of urgency.



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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JAG open letter forum - No. 571 - Dated 6 October 2008


Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

To subscribe/unsubscribe to the JAG mailing list, please email:
with subject line "subscribe" or "unsubscribe".
1. Cathy Buckle - Gangster State

Dear JAG,

In the three weeks since a power sharing deal was signed between the winners
and losers of Zimbabwe's election, nothing has happened except arguments. So
many of us had such high hopes but these are fading fast.

There is no sign of leadership, either from the old or the new, and all we
hear is bickering and whining about wanting more mediation when all we
really need is action. No one knows who is in charge, or who is going to be
in charge of what and while this vacuum continues we have virtually turned
into a gangster state.

The shortage of bank notes has reached critical lengths. People are queuing
outside banks from as early as 2 am in the morning in order to draw out
their daily limit which is not even enough to buy a single packet of soup.

No shops or businesses are accepting cheques anymore. Electronic transfers -
known as RTGS's - have been stopped by the Reserve bank in the last few days
and so with no cash, no cheques and no transfers, we are grinding to a halt.
For all the people who simply cannot fight their way to the front of bank
queues, which are literally thousands strong, there is real hunger,
suffering and despair. For others, there are vast fortunes being made in a
frenzy of illegal deals.

In a parking bay in the centre of a busy town and with literally thousands
of people milling around, a black market currency deal was being done in
broad daylight on the bonnet of a car. Thick wads of Zimbabwe dollars were
being counted out in exchange for a few US dollars. No attempt was being
made to disguise what was going on or conceal the illegal transaction and in
fact no one seemed to even care. This is a common sight and just one of many
deals going on in plain view of Police in uniform who mill around, stand in
bank queues, lean against walls and trees but do nothing to stop the

This week I've met pensioners, hungry because they can't pay for what little
food there is by cheque and can't get cash out of the bank. I've met middle
aged men desperate because they can't get enough money out the bank to buy
food for their families. I've met people from rural areas who say that
despite the propaganda being peddled every day in the State media, no food,
seed or fertilizer has arrived in their villages yet. I've met nurses who
say that despite news reports they still have no drugs for their patients.
I've met shop owners whose businesses are collapsing as their employees are
in queues at the banks, and so are their customers. I've met parents in
total despair as their children are still not in school a month into the
term because teachers are on strike.

The walls are falling down around us very fast now and still we baby-cry
about mediators. Shame on us. Until next time, thanks for reading, love
cathy.cCopyright cathy buckle 4th October 2008.
2. Eddie Cross -  Chaos in Zimbabwe
Today I went from one meeting to another using the main streets in Harare
it was pure chaos. The City had no electricity, the traffic lights at all
intersections were not working and the traffic was gridlocked. The Police
were nowhere to be seen and even as we sat in the traffic a police car drove
past  ramped the pavement and drove though the intersection paying no
attention to what was going on around them.

At the Reserve Bank it was the same. They are printing money and creating
money in other forms so fast that the inflation rate is no longer
calculable. What we do know is that the RTGS rate - that is the rate at
which foreign exchange is exchanged in the open market for money transferred
by electronic means is moving by the hour. At the beginning of August it was
7 to 1 against the US dollar (after we dropped 9 zeros) and yesterday it was
2 000 000 to 1. Quite a change in 8 weeks! At this rate it will be no less
than 10 million to one by next weekend.

Desperate people are queuing for days at the banks and other financial
houses to try and get their money out of the system so that they can spend
it before it literally melts to nothing. In Gweru last week the main street
was almost closed by crowds at ATM¹s and banks. In Harare literally
thousands of people jam every cash outlet. The maximum withdrawal by an
individual is $20 000 a day worth US$ 0,001 cents.

The Reserve Bank, faced with the escalating consequences of their own
ineptitude are now printing money on plain local bond paper with no security
features. The mafia are having a field day and so many counterfeit notes are
circulating that people are refusing the new notes. Instead of adopting a
carefully crafted plan to overcome these problems and to correct the
fundamentals that are driving the system towards collapse, the Governor
today simply closed down the RTGS system and I understand even the inter
bank system; rendering the only alternative window for payments impassable.

It is illegal to trade in hard currency  you can go to jail for this if you
try, it is illegal to change money on the street, you cannot charge a market
price for what you sell unless you are willing to risk intervention or
worse. Even today there were reports of the government taking action against
retailers who were ³over charging². Business is unable to pay their staff in
cash, they pay them by bank transfer and then watch as half their work force
is absent all day standing in queues.

Non cash forms of payments are rampant  barter is common, the use of fuel
coupons with a face value of about US$30 each is also common tender. The BBC
carried a story this week of an auction in Harare where the bids were all
expressed in coupons. Most firms are now being forced to sell their goods
and services in hard currency  Rand or US dollars even though it is illegal.

Businesses do not bank the money because the Reserve Bank keeps a close
watch on any foreign exchange balances in the Banks and simply expropriates
them. Crediting the owner of these accounts with local currency at a
ridiculous rate of exchange and then using the flow of hard currency to
support the life styles of the small elite that is still in charge. At these
rates of exchange a luxury, top of the range car costs less than the price
of a local cigarette.

Here we are, 4 weeks away from the start of the wet season and we have 2 per
cent of our fertilizer requirements in stock. All other inputs are virtually
unobtainable. The Reserve Bank is handing out expensive farm equipment to
Zanu PF fat cats like sweets to a kindergarten, but they cannot provide fuel
or seed or fertilizer or chemicals. It's madness.

Remaining farmers  black and white are being evicted from their farms by
Zanu PF heavies such as a Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank and what is
left of the once world class tobacco industry is facing extinction. Dairy
farmers, pig farms and fruit estates are all facing illegal invasion and
disruption of activity. The Police simply respond to appeals for help by
saying that they cannot help because ³it is political².

Our retail chains are empty, many stores are closed, the wholesalers are no
longer functional and industry is running at 10 per cent of capacity. Power
supplies are down to about half of demand, fuel is in short supply and spare
parts are unobtainable. All basic foods are virtually only available in the
parallel market at very high prices. Although government schools have opened
their doors and the children have gone to school  no teachers are at work.

The universities will not open their doors this term  the final term before
vital exams. Business cannot fix prices or salaries  their normal activities
are simply frozen in their tracks.

In the midst of this chaos Mugabe went on a 10 day spree to New York to make
a speech. The cost of a 20 minute opportunity to denigrate the leading
nations in the world, the very people who have fed his population for 8
years, was the cost of taking a Boeing 767 to New York and back via Egypt.
The 54 member delegation must have cost at least US$2 million in allowances
and expenses while there.

Then on return he wastes another week with no action on the formation of a
new government  now 3 weeks since the SADC facilitated deal with the MDC was
signed. And remember we have not had a proper government since the 29th
March  nearly 7 months. Since Parliament was convened several weeks ago, we
have had no government at all. When confronted with the need to make a
decision on the allocation of Ministerial portfolios, Zanu PF has been
frozen in its tracks like a child confronted with a cobra. Simply not
knowing what to do and beginning to realize for the first time that the end
of the road is in sight for them.

Even though Thabo Mbeki is no longer the power broker he was after his
removal from the Presidency in South Africa, they are terrified of his visit
to sort out the impasse because they know that their arguments for a
disproportionate share of Ministerial portfolios are not defensible. They
cannot hold out for much longer and Mbeki is on his way.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 4th October 2008
3. Rob Gass

Dear JAG,

The letters of October 5 from Cathy Buckle and Eddie Cross are instructive.
They detail in heart wrenching clarity the unbelievable extent to which the
whole Zimbabwean system has malfunctioned.

The situation they describe is surely the fulfilment of the prediction made
by the previous United States ambassador to Zimbabwe when he predicted the
inevitable collapse of the economy, the state and its system.

As painful as it is for all of us to witness these events and to hear them
detailed and described, we must ask ourselves if there is not an
inevitability in this process of events.

Of course we all admire Cathy's outrage and passion when she demands
immediate action she says quote "The walls are falling down all around us
and still we baby cry about mediators. Shame on us!" I would simply say to
Cathy: The MDC conceded way too much in the initial agreement considering
that they won an overwhelming mandate in the election. The fact is that the
MDC cannot afford any further concessions or they go down the road of Joshua

We have been fortunate in recent years to have a correspondent who possesses
insight and the ability to summarize the complex issues of the day in such
clear and straightforward terms and that is Eddie Cross. Eddie closes his
letter on a note of optimism when he says (regarding the intransigent ZANU
PF negotiators) quote: "They cannot hold out much longer and Thabo Mbeki is
on the way".  Well much as I admire and respect Eddie Cross I have to say
that he expresses more faith in Thabo Mbeki than the man's performance
deserves. Let's remind ourselves that this is the same Thabo Mbeki who for
all these years has known that the people of Zimbabwe have voted
overwhelmingly against tyranny and corruption and yet has never uttered one
word of comment or condemnation about the subversion of democracy and the
theft of elections.

Rob Gass
4. Gerry Whitehead

Hi All at JAG,

Morgan has been forced to deal with the devil after winning the
Parliamentary Elections and I am sure the Presidential Elections. Mugabe's
forces took over the counting process manipulated it for over a month and
came up with a win for Morgan, but not enough to prevent a run off, giving
Mugabe another chance.
The signing of the so called historic power sharing deal is worthless and
will only prolong the agony of the people in Zimbabwe. You can not deal with
the devil; he has no compaction or scruples.

Gerry Whitehead
5. Pat Mangwende

Dear JAG,

I refer to the letter of response from Stu Taylor to Kay. I don't, for one
minute, think that Stu meant what Kay thought in her response. I hope that
Stu's letter to Kay clears up this matter.

Whilst we are on the subject of women, I would like to add something.

In the history of Zimbabwe, if ever there was a time to say "now is the
hour", this is the crunch point. If ever there was time that people could
see the imperative to take to the streets and demand freedom and democracy,
now has to be the hour.

I ask many Zimbabweans why direct street action is not happening and all I
get is excuse after excuse. It is quite incredible how the excuses roll off
tongues. However, my question is always followed by another - "Well why is
it that the women of WOZA can pull 600 women (and a few men) onto the
streets?" Sadly, there is no answer to this question. There is only silence.

The truth of the matter is that it is the women of our country who have the
balls. Zanu PF have emasculated many of our men.

Our collective entrapped paralysis is almost like hara-kiri. It provides a
clear signal to zanu-pf to carry on and do whatever they want to subjugate
our people and rape our country.

If ever the world spotlight was on Zimbabwe and if ever our democratic
leadership needed people power on the streets, now is the hour. It's all
about pressure. It's all about saving our country. It's all about sending a
loud unequivocal message to zanu-pf and the world that we demand our
freedom, we demand our rights and we demand the people's mandate. It's up to
us all to do this!

The question now is - are we going to join WOZA in the streets or are we
going to let them carry this heavy burden on our behalf?

Is Mugabe right? He tells the world that we Zimbabweans are happy with our
lot. Does not our silence surely support his view?

God help and God bless our country - now is the hour!

Pat Mangwende
6. Wily Burt

Dear JAG,

It appears that the State Plunders are at it again - Listing more properties
in the Government Gazette and the Herald for the un-rehabilitate desperado
comrades to loot. One would think that the likes of JAG would be publishing
these new lists so that the real owners can track who is plundering their
properties now.

Wily Burt
7. Dawn Holtzhausen

Dear JAG,

As most of you are now aware, Bulawayo Polo-Crosse members (and special
friends to many of us), Ron and Margaret Sparrows' little girl - Courtney
Sparrow (9yrs), was attacked by lions last Tuesday

Her parents own a safari ranch in Masvingo and Courtney innocently went next
door, last Tuesday, with the maids when they went to clean the one partner's
house (he is away in Canada).  The partner, had brought up a couple of lions
and left them in the garden vicinity to look after the house and as a form
of protection as they have had a long on-going saga with war vets etc.

Courtney was inside the house, with the maids, and was standing next to a
window. The lioness put her paw through and got Courtney's arm and actually
managed to pull her through the burglar barred window.  The gardener rushed
and beat the lioness with a pole and Courtney managed to get away - she ran
to the gate only to find it was locked, she panicked and ran back to the
window - and on the way a young male lion then attacked her.

Margy, her mom, managed to beat the male lion with a pole and they got
Courtney away and out the enclosure.  She was air lifted to Avenues, Harare,
where there was absolutely nothing that could be done for her - fortunately
they managed to stabilize her enough and then Ron and Margy were able to
arrange to have her flown to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Her oesophagus had to be rebuilt and miraculously none of the puncture
wounds from the mauling damaged any internal organs and although the front
of her skull was bitten off - there is no brain damage. Her left eye was
pulled out the socket and the skin and bone on top damaged - but amazingly
her eye is intact and she has had an operation to repair the eye socket
using bone and skin from her hip.

Sadly with all the hassles the farmers have had here the last few years,
this families income has dwindled drastically to a point where, like most of
us Zimbabweans, they were already at a point of just making do (survival),
and were hoping and praying things would turn the corner soon with regards
to our economy.  I am led to believe that like most of us, they were unable
to afford the exorbitant cost of external Medical Cover and now they have
been left in the devastating position of having to fund these unbelievable
medical bills.

 More than anything, this family - especially Courtney, desperately needs
your prayer, and if you can afford it and feel compelled to do so, a small
donation to help with the enormous costs incurred saving this child's life
and now her continued treatment which will include further surgeries.
 Although she is stabilized, and  off the respirator and breathing on her
own, she still has a long long road ahead as far as full recovery is
concerned and already, one week in,  the medical bill is sitting at R500 000
(half a million rand).

We are doing every thing we can here to try and raise money but as you can
imagine it is difficult in Zim....

If you would like to make a donation then please contact either myself,  Lynn and Leanne McBean  or Ron &

Lynn McBean together with Ron will be instrumental in setting up an account
for this purpose.

More than anything please be assured, as mentioned earlier: - your prayers
and support are far more valuable than dollars and cents and are VERY, VERY
much appreciated by the Sparrow family. (One can only begin to imagine the
trauma and desperation that they have been through).

Thanks and God Bless

Dawn Holtzhausen
023 751170/09 289666

Lynn McBean

Herewith all the Banking details you should need -

Account Holder:     MILPARK HOSPITAL
Bank:             NEDBANK
Branch Name:  FOX STREET  (82 Simmonds Street, between Fox and Main
Sts, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Account Number:   1908466545
Branch Code:  190805
Swift Code:    NEDSZAJJ
Current Account


If you would like to speak to someone at the hospital, please call their
Marketing Manager Amelda Swartz on 011 480 5686 or 082 783 8492 or email
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for

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