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ZCTU presses ahead with strike

Zim Standard

  By CAIPHAS CHIMHETE

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has vowed to press ahead
with this week's stayaway in defiance of police intimidation.

Security forces, including the police, last week started intimidating
labour leaders and human rights activists ahead of the stayaway.

The pending job action has unsettled the government because of the
restive mood among workers in almost all sectors of the economy, all driven
by extreme poverty.

Their plight was exacerbated by the recent government freeze on pay
rises.

ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe yesterday vowed to press
ahead with the stayaway.

He said workers would not be intimidated any more.

"The poverty in workers' homes is the force behind all this," he said.
"The government should know that we are not going back unless the workers
are well-fed. Our structures have been mobilized (for strike action)."

Chibebe said the police had interrogated union leaders in Bulawayo,
Masvingo, Plumtree and Mutare.

"They were later released but in all cases the police were demanding
flyers which we are supposed to distribute to the workers," Chibebe said.

In Masvingo, the ZCTU regional officer Elliot Muposhi and the union's
legal officer Tafara Tavengahama were interrogated for several hours before
being released.

Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general
Raymond Majongwe said state security agents had visited teachers, ordering
them to go to work on the proposed days of the stayaway.

He said the police had visited PTUZ offices in Harare on Monday, and
several schools in the country.

"Security agents are stalking teachers and we are saying that will not
stop us from demanding our rights," he said. "We will press ahead with our
demands."

Last week, teachers declined a 100% salary increment offered by the
government, effective next month.

"The government offered to pay teachers salaries below the 18 June PDL
(Poverty Datum Line) figure of $11m. The lowest paid teacher was going to be
paid $6.9m inclusive of transport and housing allowances effective on 1
October. This is unacceptable," said the PTUZ.

Only yesterday police arrested 60 members of the Combined Harare
Residents Association (Chra) in Harare who had offered to bury a victim of
Operation Murambatsvina, who died in Mbare suburb.

The deceased, Memory Jenajuru, was now staying at a squatter
settlement in Mbare and had no relatives to bury her.

The police reportedly deflated tyres of the truck that was carrying
the body and mourners before locking up the group at Harare Central Police
Station.

Human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama, who is representing the group,
said the Chra members were being charged for riotous conduct under section
41 (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

"It's surprising that they have been arrested because so far I don't
see a case against them. Most of them are women," Muchadehama said.

On Friday police in Harare brutally broke up a peaceful march by
Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHRZim) and arrested 11 members of
the organisation who were demonstrating against a worsening economic crisis.

They were demonstrating in protest against the deteriorating economic
conditions, food shortages and state repression.

ROHRZim is a new human rights organisation formed five months ago and
it trains and educates people about their socio-political and economic
rights. ROHRZim vice president Stendrick Zvorwadza yesterday vowed to press
on with protests spreading them to high density areas.

"The police have become so senselessly ruthless and angry," said
Zvorwadza.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment.


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Sadc to tackle poverty: another damp squib

Zim Standard

  By Bill Saidi

THE Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) may not be the
impotent Big Shot Talkshow that some critics have called it, or the Southern
Africa Dictators' Club, the sobriquet preferred by detractors.

But it cannot be faulted for its lofty ambitions. Since 1980, when it
was formed, it has scored notable successes, particularly in advancing the
prospect of creating a powerful political and economic alliance in the
region.

Its political agenda is to forge democracy in all the 14-member
states. Critics say this would be acceptable only if the meaning of
"democracy" were so liberal as to include countries which pay only
lip-service to the concept.

In Greek, demos means "people"; a democracy would be "a government of
the people, by the people and for the people".

Among some Sadc leaders, that is so Western a concept, they view it as
part of a plot to recolonise the region.

There are monarchies, such as Swaziland, where King Mswati III will
not give his people a meaningful role in government.

Lesotho is a kingdom too. Its description as a "modified
constitutional monarchy" has not earned it the "democracy" tag so far.

Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have
panel-beaten the concept to suit their peculiar, blood-spattered
circumstances.

Zimbabwe, ruled by one party and one man for 27 years of political and
economic decline, is not the democrat's ideal model of a "people's"
democracy.

South Africa is still struggling to match its vast material wealth
with its equitable redistribution among the population: opulence sits cheek
by jowl with abject poverty.

But the heads of state's next summit in Mauritius next year could be
its most ambitious yet. It will focus on poverty eradication.

The venue is highly significant, according to many civil society
leaders.

Mauritius has few of the glaring signs of a down-at-the-heel African
country. Tourism tops the list of its major economic performers, followed by
textiles and food processing. Sugarcane is its chief export crop.

Forty-nine percent of its 700 square miles is arable. Its Gross
Domestic Product was once estimated at US$11,7 billion for a population of
less than two million.

Yes, there is poverty in Mauritius, according to the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, International Trade amd Regional Cooperation, Madan
Murlidhar Dullco.

But it is nowhere near the deprivation you would find in the shanties
of Zambia, the DRC or Angola - certainly not in present-day Zimbabwe.

The last summit in August in Lusaka received "mixed reviews" in terms
of its results, but the Sadc Civil Society Forum, held simultaneously only a
few kilometres away was dubious of the leaders' commitment to the
eradication of poverty, or to other problems in the region.

Civil society in general is critical of the heads of state summit
concept itself. It is known that the leaders themselves are suspicious of
civil society. Not surprisingly, they are said to feel civil society is "too
pro-Western" to be taken seriously.

The secretary-general of the Sadc Civil and Non-Government
Organisations, Abie Ditlhake, focused on "one important issue" in his
"Reflections" at the third Civil Society Forums in Lusaka.

"This is the exclusive nature of the heads of state regional project.
Transformation and restructuring is urgently needed at the Heads of State
Summit or Government level. We have to ensure that regional integration is a
people-driven project, that ordinary citizens of the region are a driving
force behind this project.

"This requires that our Presidents are having clear mandates from
their countries, and thus are accountable to national institutions such as
parliaments in their declarations at the regional level."

The final communique of the forum called on the heads of state to:

refrain from putting in place restrictive civil society legislation
that will constrain the operating environment for civil society;

Put in place legislation that promotes and enables civil society
participation and existence rather than restrict and hinder them. We
specifically call upon the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments to withdraw
NGO Bills currently under consideration but held in abeyance; and instead
guarantee the involvement of civil society in any processes that seek to put
in place regulatory and legislative frameworks;

Guarantee the effective participation of civil society at the SADC
national and regional committees;

Take immediate measures to institutionalize civil society involvement
in key decision-making processes.

To prepare for the Mauritius summit, civil society debated a graphic
display of poverty in the region: poor people representing themselves at the
summit, speaking of their poverty in their own languages.

A forum resolution called on the SADC Secretariat and member states to
ensure effective participation of civil society in the upcoming SADC Poverty
and Development Conference in Mauritius, and a review of existing poverty
eradication initiatives.

This may be tantamount to "whistling in the wind", some of the more
than 200 delegates at the forum complained. They spoke vociferously of the
lack of action on previous resolutions on poverty eradication.

"It's so hopeless," said one delegate. "They (Heads of state) talk and
talk but do nothing."

Statistics on poverty caused alarm among delegates. In one instance, a
country independent for 40 years, had 68 percent of its population still
classified as poor.

This left many delegates wondering if the Mauritius conference would
be different from other summits which had dealt with poverty, or other
"bread and butter" issues..

They wondered if it would not be another SADC damp squib, as its
initiatives on Zimbabwe have all turned out to be, so far.


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Hundreds may quit UZ studies

Zim Standard

  By Vusumuzi Sifile

HUNDREDS of new and returning students at the University of Zimbabwe
(UZ) could be forced to abort their studies after being denied residence on
the campus.

Most have failed to secure alternative accommodation in Harare and may
have to abandon their studies for the moment, at least.

The UZ recently announced it would not open the halls of residence for
students in compliance with the City of Harare Health Department, which
declared the halls unsuitable for habitation.

But the students believe they are being punished for their protests on
3-4 July over deteriorating standards at the UZ. Most affected are
first-year students, coming to Harare for the first time, and female
students, said to "have become vulnerable to abuse by financially
capacitated men who are willing to make available alternative
accommodation - at the right price".

Females occupied five of the eight halls of residence on campus. Some
males are said to have resorted to hard drugs "as a coping strategy".

So serious is the accommodation crisis the UZ Students Executive
Council last week petitioned the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Education to have their plight discussed in Parliament. They expected the
committee to take to task the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education,
Stan Mudenge and UZ Vice-Chancellor, Levy Nyagura.

A public hearing is expected any time this week.

The UZ-SEC and the Women Students' Network have written to Oppah
Muchinguri, the Minister of Gender, Women's Affairs and Community
Development, and the Women's Parliamentary Caucus "to come to the rescue of
the suffering students".

UZ-SEC president, Lovemore Chinoputsa, said on many occasions they
tried in vain to discuss their issues with Nyagura and ministry officials.

Chinoputsa said: "Nyagura refused to have an audience with us. We then
went to the ministry to meet the minister or the permanent secretary, but
Mrs (Martha) Muguti, the Director of University Education, refused to have
us meet them, saying she was the one to handle our case."

Muguti allegedly told the students the government had no funds for
"irresponsible and rowdy students" who were always on the rampage.

Chinoputsa said quite a number of students had already dropped out and
the few who returned spend most of their time loitering, looking for
accommodation or queuing for transport.

On Friday, Muguti refused to comment, referring inquiries to the
permanent secretary, Washington Mbizvo.

Mbizvo and the minister, Mudenge were said to be in meetings.

A number of students have sought refuge at the Harare railway station.

An undisclosed number of students, said Chinoputsa, were accommodated
at a church in Mount Pleasant, while many others are squashed in makeshift
cabins at a house near the campus, popularly known as KwaSekuru.

Others are reportedly commuting daily from as far as away as Marondera
and Bindura. Although there were no statistics immediately available, The
Standard understands more than half of the 5 200 students who were
accommodated -- and hundreds of others who were squatting - on campus are
still to be housed.

Even students who have managed to find accommodation are not happy.

Homeowners in suburbs surrounding the UZ have hiked rentals beyond the
reach of many students.

On Friday, UZ acting director of information and public relations,
Daniel Chihombori, said there had not been any drop-outs, and that lectures
were continuing.

"Traditionally, the university has been able to provide accommodation
to only one third of its student population, that is, with all the halls of
residence available to students. The remaining two thirds have always stayed
outside campus in rented or own accommodation," said Chihombori, adding that
"the closure of halls on campus will affect less than one third of the
student population".

But this was disputed by Chinoputsa and other students.

"Students are struggling and the situation is deteriorating every day,
but the university administration does not want to assist us," he said.

On when the halls were likely to be re-opened, Chihombori said they
were "still costing the damage to the halls of residence" and once that was
done, they would approach the government for assistance to renovate them.

The situation was tense at other state universities.

According to the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), there were
violent clashes on 10 September at the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo
between students and state security agents during orientation of new
students.

Student leaders Whitlaw Mugwiji, Ogylive Makova and Mukudzei Shoko
were arrested and detained at Masvingo central police station. They were
released on Thursday.


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Mbeki meets MDC leaders

Zim Standard

  By Our Staff

THE leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are
in South Africa for talks with President Thabo Mbeki on the situation in
Zimbabwe, The Standard confirmed yesterday.

Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara are understood to be in
Pretoria at Mbeki's invitation and are expected to discuss the progress in
the talks between the opposition party and Zanu PF.

The two are said to have flown to South Africa on Friday for the
meeting, expected to have started yesterday.

While the MDC leaders were expected to meet Mbeki yesterday, The
Standard understands the SA president's programme did not indicate he would
be meeting them, although Pretoria has always maintained a blanket silence
on the talks' progress.

After their meeting Mbeki was likely to meet President Robert Mugabe,
The Standard heard. This is the first time that Tsvangirai and Mutambara
will be meeting Mbeki since the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc)
assigned him the mediation task at their Dar es Salaam summit last March.

Last week the Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, briefing the
Zanu PF politburo, reported progress in the talks. Reports last week
suggested the party supported the on-going talks.

This would explain Mbeki's meeting with the MDC leaders. Until last
week, the talks had been handled by officials - Professor Welshman Ncube and
Tendai Biti for the two factions, with Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche for Zanu
PF.

South Africa's Safety and Security Minister Sydney Mufamadi chaired
the talks.

Recently, Mbeki was reported as saying he was positive next year's
elections in Zimbabwe would be free and fair.

There was no immediate comment from the South African Ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Professor Mlungisi Makalima, on the talks in Pretoria.


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Dumpsite fire raises fears of 'Bhopal'

Zim Standard

  By Davison Maruziva

MEDICAL sources last week said they were concerned that both the
government and the commission running the affairs of Harare had ignored the
potential harm the smouldering Pomona dumpsite poses to residents of the
capital.

There were fears that the lethargic reaction of the authorities could
trigger a tragedy on the scale of the Bhopal disaster in India in 1984.

A Union Carbide subsidiary pesticide plant in the heart of the city of
Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh released 40 tonnes of methyl
isocyanate (IC) gas, killing 3 000 people.

In Harare, more than three weeks after northern suburbs residents woke
up to a thick choking grey shroud, many people have sought medical treatment
with respiratory ailments.

Medical experts have now raised grave questions about just how safe it
is for residents to continue to inhale the toxic fumes.

Fire broke out at the Pomona dumpsite, sending a thick blanket of
suffocating smoke. City authorities in Harare were unable to contain the
fire.

Last week medical sources said there had been an increase in cases
linked to the toxic fumes from the dumpsite.

Residents of Mount Pleasant, Mount Pleasant Heights, Vainona,
Northwood, Emerald Hill, and Marlborough are the hardest hit.

"We are slowly being suffocated by the dense smoke from the
smouldering Pomona dumpsite," said a residents' representative in Mount
Pleasant Heights. "The pollution is so bad one can't breathe properly all
night.

"We try to plug areas around doors in order to prevent the fumes but
it does not help."

Businesses operating in Arundel Office Park and Emerald Hill complain
of the effects of the toxic fumes from the dumpsite.

A senior business manager with a Harare property firm said her
organisation was due to hold a board meeting when the fire broke out. Her
organisation was concerned about the effect of the thick smoke on those
attending the meeting. So she called the City's Environmental Health
Services for an explanation.

"I was told there was an uncontrollable fire at the dumpsite," she
said. "The fire brigade worked on it the whole night but failed to contain
it.

"The environmental people from the council were interested in where I
was calling from and the extent of the effects of the burning. So far they
have not phoned back."

That was about three weeks ago.

Efforts by The Standard to follow up the Fire Brigade and Town House
met with responses that were long on promises but short on delivery.

But a medical doctor warned last week that the short-term effects
would see many people seeking treatment for respiratory conditions.

"The long-term effect, however," he said, "is that people have been
inhaling this toxic matter. It will be far worse than the short-term because
people are breathing these toxic fumes for days on end and you know what it
does to the lungs."

On average, roughly one person in Bhopal dies every day from the
effects. More than 120 000 continue to suffer from the effects of the
disaster, such as breathing difficulties, cancer, serious birth-defects,
blindness, gynaecological complications and other related problems.

The majority of deaths and serious injuries were related to pulmonary
edema but the gas caused a variety of other ailments.


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Canada helps meltdown victims by our staff

Zim Standard

 

MASVINGO - As the economic crisis deepens, millions of Zimbabweans
have been displaced or forced to migrate to neigbouring countries such as
South Africa and Botswana illegally in search of greener pastures.

But scores of them end up playing a cat-and-mouse game with the police
and other security agents in those countries as they are illegal immigrants.

Thousands are deported every week. Some are detained and subjected to
inhumane conditions in holding camps before being sent back home.

Touched by their plight, the Canadian embassy in Zimbabwe donated
CAD$350 000 to help "mobile and vulnerable populations of Zimbabwe" to be
channelled through the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Unveiling the donation last week the Canadian ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Roxanne Dubé said the project would assist vulnerable Zimbabweans who are
victims of the economic meltdown and help struggling urban families rendered
destitute by the crisis. Victims of such destructive government actions as
Operation Murambatsvina would also benefit, she said.

"These funds will help alleviate some of the stress felt by those most
in need living in urban communities by providing support to meet basic human
needs, including health care," Dubé said.

Canada, using the guiding principle that all internally displaced
persons have the right to food, water, basic shelter and other essential
needs, would continue to support affected families.

Dube said the programme would run until the end of the year. Canada,
through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has so far
contributed CAD$700 000 for emergency assistance to the mobile and
vulnerable populations in the country.

On the same day in Masvingo, the Canadian Embassy also launched a
CAD$172 000 project to assist women and girls in promoting and preserving
their rights. The programme is in collaboration with the Girl Child Network
and the Zimbabwe Women's Coalition.

"The project stems from the recognition that awareness and knowledge
about these issues is critical to the development of the girl children and
contribute to the elimination of discriminatory social and cultural
practices that subordinate and marginilise them," said Dubé.

The project will benefit over 10 000 under-18 girls through clubs and
train 3 000 club coordinators, 2 000 religious and traditional leaders and
100 law enforcement agents and at least 5 000 community leaders.


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MDC accuses Chombo of meddling in Nkayi RDC

Zim Standard

 By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused the
government of imposing Zanu PF activists to monitor the operations of the
opposition-dominated Nkayi rural district council.

The opposition party says the move threatens to throw the council's
operations into disarray.

Last month, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, Ignatious Chombo, allegedly wrote to the council ordering them
"to work" with the unelected Zanu PF activists.

The MP for Nkayi, Abednigo Bhebhe (MDC), claimed Chombo was
"desperately trying" to unseat the popularly elected council.

He said the move "undermines" the democratic right of citizens to
elect their own representatives".

"The unelected Zanu PF activists were put into council last month. It
is a vote-rigging strategy," Bhebhe said.

Nkayi has 25 councillors, 15 from the MDC and 10 from Zanu PF.

Chombo has removed from office popularly elected MDC-dominated
councils in Harare, Mutare, Chegutu and Chitungwiza, replacing them with
government-appointed "commissioners".

Bhebhe alleged in Nkayi the move was part of Zanu PF's election
strategy in what is considered an opposition stronghold.

The hand-picked commissioners, who attend full council meetings, are
Tshatha Mguni (Zanu PF district co-ordinating committee chairman), Elias
Nene Mpofu, Stars Ndlovu, Joane Ncube, Angeline Ndlovu (all Zanu PF ex
councillors) and Chief Sikhobokhobo.

Efforts to get a comment from Chombo last week were fruitless as he
did not answer his mobile phone.

Nkayi council chairman Bongani Mpofu was said to be away in his ward.

Meanwhile, MDC councillors in Lupane say they have been barred from
buying maize for their wards from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) by Zanu PF
activists.

They say this has resulted in severe food shortages in their wards
where most villagers did not harvest any crops.

Ward 10 councillor, Andrew Tshaka claimed he was chased from Lupane
GMB depot by Zanu PF youths.

The MP for the area, Njabuliso Mguni of the MDC confirmed receiving a
number of reports from councillors being denied access to the maize by
ruling party supporters.

But the GMB manager for Lupane, Knight Chiyongo, insisted the
parastatal sold "maize to everyone regardless of their political
affiliation".


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Betty Makoni up for another award

Zim Standard

 By Bertha Shoko

ZIMBABWEAN child rights activist, Betty Makoni has been selected as
one of The Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of the World Programme, Junior
Chamber International (JCI) which "formally recognizes young individuals who
excel in their chosen fields and exemplify the best attributes of the world's
youth".

Founder and director of Girl Child Network Makoni, together with nine
others, will be honoured at the 2007 TOYP Ceremony on 6 November during the
62nd JCI World Congress in Antalya, Turkey.

A statement from the JCI said previous honorees of the TOYP have
"represented the heights of progress in numerous human endeavours" while
many others have gone on to even "greater achievements" and have "continued
to serve humanity in a variety of ways".

For this year, the JCI received a total of 157 entries for the TOYP
programme from 42 national organisations and countries and that were,
according to JCI, "carefully" evaluated by the judges. "The international
panel of judges was composed of JCI President Scott Greenlee, Anheuser-Busch
Senior Director of Community Outreach Tony Jones, International Chamber of
Commerce Secretary General Guy Sebban, and Member
of the Turkish Parliament Murat Mercan," said the JCI statement.

"The role of the judges was difficult because the nominees were all
extraordinary young people. Many of them had been selected as outstanding
individuals, first at the local level and then at the national level.

"The judges had to choose, however, the ten young people that best
exemplify the optimum qualities of today's youth."

Others who were chosen for this prestigious honour include Tarvi
Martens from Estonia, in the field of Scientific and Technological
development, andMari Johanna Ivaska from Finland, in medicine.

Lo Chay from France and Sayaka Murata from Japan are into humanitarian
and voluntary work.

Said JCI: "By recognizing these young people, JCI will encourage them
and
others to continue seeking excellence and serving others. Thus, JCI
contributes to prepare better leaders, who will create better
societies.

"The TOYP Ceremony in Antalya will highlight each winner's career in
narrative form and provide a stage from which the honorees will inspire
young people from around the world."


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Overthrown play to launch protest group in Bulawayo

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - Fed up with government interference in their works,
artistes in Bulawayo have started a "big protest movement, which will keep
the police and the Censorship Board on their toes".

The movement will include Zimbabwean artistes in the Diaspora.

This year alone police have controversially banned the staging of two
plays, The Good President, written and directed by veteran playwright, Cont
Mhlanga, and Everyday Soldiers, by Raisedon Baya.

The reason for the ban in both cases was that the plays were
"political". Mhlanga took his fight to the courts, but later agreed to an
out-of-court settlement with the police.

But the state security machinery might soon be having too much on its
hands with the launch of the protest movement.

Already, a play rather ominously titled Overthrown is to be staged at
the official launch of the movement on 12 October at Amakhosi Theatre.

The play is the work of Stanley Makuwe, a Zimbabwean living in New
Zealand, who is among a number of local artistes who have signed up to the
movement.

Overthrown is about cadavers at an overcrowded mortuary who get so
angry for being kept too long without burial they decide to go to State
House to stage a coup.

"We want to encourage the police to beef up their ranks because we are
going to keep them busy with protest posters, theatre and music," said
Amakhosi founder, Mhlanga, who is part of the initiative.

"The Censorship Board would be well-advised to recruit more staff
because they will be flooded with our scripts, some of which might make The
Good President look like child's play."

Mhlanga said the official launch would be followed by a run of The
Good President, which was banned by the police.

Heavily armed riot police prevented Mhlanga from premiering the play
in Bulawayo after its successful run in Harare, alleging it was "political".

The Good President asks tough questions about President Robert Mugabe's
suitability to lead the country, especially after the "bashing" of opponents
while in police custody and his role in the massacre of 20 000 civilians in
Matabeleland and the Midlands during Gukurahundi.

The play features two of Zimbabwe's best actors, Mandla Moyo and
Thembekile Ngwabi.


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Ready market for illicit brews in Gweru

Zim Standard

 by Rutendo Mawere

GWERU - The shortage of both clear and opaque beer has created a
lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs in Gweru to plunge, albeit
temporarily, into the beer-brewing market.

Thousands of drinkers, their throats parched, can now quaff home-made
beer in the high-density suburbs. Enterprising residents of Mkoba, Mambo and
Mtapa are making a killing from selling "Seven Days" and "chiOne day"
(otherwise known as skokiaan, home-made brews popular in rural areas.

Although the brewing and sale of home-made beer in urban areas is
illegal, it is rapidly gaining popularity because of the shortage of opaque
and clear beer in retail shops.

One brewer, Martha Mnindwa, confirmed her "business" was thriving.

She said she started brewing beer only to quench her husband's and his
friends' thirst but other drinkers detected the whiff of alcohol from afar
and soon descended on her house, when bottle stores ran out of opaque and
clear beer.

"I decided I would brew beer, taking advantage of the increased
demand," she said.

A regular bottle store patron at the Mkoba 1 Shopping Centre, Zibusiso
Sibanda, confirmed he had turned to the home-made brew.

"It is difficult for a regular drinker like me to abruptly stop
drinking, for whatever reason," he said. "This is why some of us are turning
to the home brew."

While most bottle stores in the city have dried up, the few that have
the beer are selling it at steep prices.

"Most bottle stores are empty, but the few that still sell beer are
using the parallel market rate," lamented Oscar Ndlovu. "Imagine a quart
going for more than $300 000, instead of the gazetted $70 000. Most of us
cannot afford that."

Villagers from as far as Masvingo have taken advantage of a passenger
train that plies the Gweru-Masvingo route to ferry the home-made brew to
Gweru for sale.

The beer is sold in containers varying in size from one to 20 litres
at a vegetable market in the city.

A visit to Tongogara shopping centre in Shurugwi, a few kilometres
outside Gweru, revealed that most young people shun the home-made brews,
preferring the "hard stuff", spirits.

The young drinkers consume much of the liquor "straight with no
chaser".

Home-made beer is popular in most of the country's rural areas.


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Zimbabwe needs Jesus, - CZI chief

Zim Standard

  By Jennifer Dube

ZIMBABWE needs Jesus," the head of one of the most influential
business organisations in the country, said last week. "I call upon all
Zimbabweans to pray that God bails us out of the problems we are facing.

"Only Godly solutions will heal this economy, otherwise if man's
solutions were what we needed, we would have recovered by now."

Callisto Jokonya was not addressing a born-again congregation, but
speaking to Standardbusiness on what he saw as the next strategy to economic
recovery after the prices and income turbulence of the last few weeks.

Jokonya, the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries,
said only "Godly solutions" would be potent enough to ameliorate the
economic meltdown, triggered by the 2000 land reform programme and the
economic and political fallout that ensued.

A staunch supporter of the government's economic policy, Jokonya was
asked for the CZI's assessment of the impact of the 20% mark-up regime for
prices imposed by the government in the past two weeks.

Last July, the government forced business to reduce prices by 50% - to
where they were on 18 June. It publicly accused them of colluding with the
West in plotting a "regime change", which business rejected out of hand.
This was followed by a blanket freeze on all price hikes.

At the onset of government's pricing campaign, CZI hailed the measure,
urging all companies to guard against offending the government.

Their acquiescence was widely criticised by economic and political
analysts, who predicted - accurately, as it turned out - that it would lead
to immense survival problems for the companies who complained of being
forced to do business at a loss.

In one of its policy U-turns two weeks ago, the government allowed
business to increase prices by 20%.

A snap survey by Standardbusiness showed no significant impact of the
20% mark-up as shop shelves remained empty while more companies, especially
in the baking industry, closed shop, citing uneconomic prices.

Last week, Jokonya refused to answer questions relating to the
economic "fruits" of both the 20% mark-up regime and the recently unveiled
budget.

But he insisted the country needed to pray. "I have no answers to
that. All I have to say is that everybody in business, the government
sector, civil society and labour should ask God for solutions to this
country," he said.

Even the Tripartite Negotiating Forum was incapable of coming up with
solutions to the problems, the CZI boss said.

"I believe God is the only one who can save us from the challenges we
are facing. Please write that. Also tell (Trevor) Ncube to write that in his
Mail and Guardian newspaper because I have to encourage all Zimbabweans in
this regard," he said.

In a written response to questions from Standardbusiness, the
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe said they were "happy" that the
government had finally come to the realisation that the arbitrary prices
they had set were not helpful in the restoration of business viability which
should result in a supply side response for goods and services in the
economy.

"Employers are happy with recent developments but are sad that in a
lot of cases it is coming a too little, too late.

"After the losses suffered from the Price Control Regulations, most
businesses have not yet recovered sufficiently to get back into full
production," the statement said.

They said although the price blitz was in contravention of some of the
provisions of the TNF protocols signed on 1 June 2007, they believed social
dialogue would finally yield answers for the country's economic woes.

 


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GMB accused of starving villagers

Zim Standard

 BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE

CHIMANIMANI - The Grain Marketing Board is alleged to be preventing
poverty-stricken villagers in Chimanimani district from sourcing enough
maize to feed their families, The Standardbusiness heard last week.

The GMB allows a person to bring in only a single bag of maize from
farms in Chipinge or Chimanimani, a distance of 100km.

Among the most affected areas are Hotsprings, Nyanyadzi, Gudyanga,
Tonhorai in Chimanimani as well as Maunganidze and Birchenough Bridge in
Chipinge district, where most of the villagers did not harvest any crops
last season due to drought.

Most villagers buy maize or exchange old clothes for maize in farms
near Chimanimani and Chipinge towns, where commercial farmers managed to
harvest surplus maize.

The restriction of maize movement is now forcing villagers to make
weekly trips to Chipinge or Chimanimani, draining the little financial
resources the poverty-stricken villagers have.

One of the villagers from Tonhorai village, Amon Sithole, said it did
not make sense for the GMB to limit the amount of maize a person was allowed
to bring home when there was serious food crisis in the area.

Sithole urged government to lift the restriction, saying he looks
after about 15 dependants and a single bag of maize could not last two
weeks.

"I make at least two trips to Chipinge in a fortnight to buy maize for
my family because the GMB only allows us to bring in one at a time, which is
not enough," said Sithole.

If a villager is caught with more than one bag, the rest are
confiscated and sold at the nearest GMB depot, where it fetches very little
money, he said.

"I had managed to secure five 50kg bags of maize in Chipinge but four
of them were seized at a roadblock. The officers gave me receipts and said I
should come and collect my money at Chipangayi depot," said another
villager, Mrs Detserai Mukono of Tonhorai village.

The GMB public relations manager, Muriel Zemura, could not be reached
for comment.

But GMB loss control department maintained that no maize could be
moved from one area to the other without their written authorization.


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ZIMRE eyes CFI Holdings

Zim Standard

  BY NDAMU SANDU

DIVERSIFIED financial services group Zimre Holdings Limited (ZHL) is
on the verge of taking up a third of CFI Holdings issued shares to become
the single largest shareholder in conglomerate, Standardbusiness heard last
week.

ZHL had paid $200 billion as part of the payment in its bid to get
over 170 million shares in CFI held by SMM Holdings and will settle the
balance by January next year according the agreement, say people familiar
with the deal.

At the consummation of the deal, ZHL will have 33% shareholding in
CFI, says people familiar with the development.

The value of the transaction could not be ascertained last week but
Standardbusiness was reliably informed that the deal would hit the $1
trillion mark.

Using Thursday share price of $14 000 for each CFI share, 170 million
shares cost a staggering $2.3 trillion.

SMM appeared as the largest single shareholder in CFI on the share
register seen on Thursday.

CFI will become an associate company of ZHL with the financial
services group entitled to appoint at least two directors on CFI board, say
people familiar with the development.

An associate is a company in which a group of companies has a
substantial stake, but not outright control. This usually means more than
20% but less than 50%.

CFI is the parent company for a group involved in manufacture of
animal feed, flour, maize products and irrigation equipment, retail trade
and property management.

Arafas Gwaradzimba, SMM administrator confirmed last week that ZHL had
bought some shares.

"A certain number of shares were sold and paid for by ZHL,"
Gwaradzimba said.

When asked whether ZHL would buy more shares Gwaradzimba said: "I will
only know their intentions when they do it."


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Recovery from economic hole: stop digging

Zim Standard

  IT'S déjà vu as another round of
talks have yielded nothing.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the largest labour
grouping last week called for a two-day stayaway starting next Wednesday.

This time it will be in protest against the freezing of salary and
wage increments and the failure of the Supplementary Budget to put in place
a tax-free threshold linked to the $8.2 million Poverty Datum Line (PDL).

By contrast, the Fiscal Policy review announced a tax-free threshold
of $4 million.

The ZCTU said they would not attend the Tripartite Negotiating Forum
(TNF) "until the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act had been
clarified by the government".

President Robert Mugabe order-ed the pay freeze under that act.

The ZCTU said the stayaway "is a warm-up as more forms of protests are
in the offing".

Statutory Instrument 159A of 2007 [Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures) (Amendment of National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act and
Education Act) Regulations 2007] promulgated by the government decreed a
salary increment freeze as well as a freeze on service charges for a period
of six months.

ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo told a press conference the measures
decreed by the government were "illegal, unconstitutional and violate
Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining" of the
International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The face-off between the government and labour is a blow to the Social
Contract touted as the road map to economic recovery.

In June the social partners - labour, business and the government
signed the Incomes and Pricing Stabilisation Protocol.

Business, the government, the Apex Council and the Zimbabwe Federation
of Trade Unions (ZFTU) signed two other protocols - on Restoration of
Production Viability and Mobilisation, Pricing and Management of Foreign
Currency. The ZCTU said it would inform its constituency.

The protocols aimed to achieve a 25% inflation rate by the end of this
year while the government budget deficit would come down to 10% of the Gross
Domestic Product.

For a social contract to be effective, there is need for trust,
transparency, open-mindedness and a shared vision among stakeholders.

The social contract is often preceded by a Declaration Of Intent,
which suggests that the parties are serious. The Declaration Of Intent is
meant to diffuse tensions and build trust among stakeholders.

Zimbabwe's history shows that similar attempts to foster a common
understanding among all social partners have been made in the past but all
have failed.

In January 2001, the social partners signed a "Declaration Of Intent
Towards A Social Contract" with the sub-theme "Together We Can Make Zimbabwe
Great".

It was seen that as a basis for concluding specific protocols under a
social contract there was need to create a conducive and tolerant
environment.

But after the signing of the Declaration, ZCTU withdrew from the
negotiations citing, lack of government commitment.

In the wake of the 70% increase in fuel prices of June 2001, the ZCTU
organised a two-day stayaway in July 2001, which resulted in the reconvening
of the TNF.

Before the parties had inked the negotiations the government came up
with Statutory Instrument 307A on Minimum Wages and 307B on Price Controls
undermining the spirit of smart partnership.

The social partners reconvened, coming up with the Kadoma Declaration
of November 2001, highlighting the need to restore relations with the
development partners. The Declaration was not signed following
misunderstandings between the government and labour over continued violence,
and especially the facilitation of the formation of ZFTU by government.

In his 2003 National Budget Statement, the then Finance Minister,
Herbert Murerwa, observed efforts to protect the consumer from spiralling
prices were being undermined by price controls that focused mostly on the
final product, ignoring developments affecting inputs into the production
process.

In a move that contradicted the budget statement, the government
published Statutory Instrument (SI) 302 of 2002 on Control of Goods (Price
Freeze) Order on 15 November 2002. The freeze was for a period of six
months.

Analysts say Zimbabwe has to take a leaf out of Ireland's solution to
similar problems. The Irish managed to pull out of the mess after involving
all stakeholders.

Ireland developed a National Economic and Social Consensus, involving
the government, employers, trade unions, farmers and other interested
groups.

The Irish model was premised on a process of social partnership that
entails consultation, negotiation and bargaining. It paid off for Ireland:
real Gross Domestic Product growth averaged 9.9% compared with the EU
average of 2.5%.

Analysts say the Zimbabwe government's unilateral move had all but
killed the social contract, bringing economic recovery to a dead end.

"It was abrogated by the government," said economic analyst Dr. Daniel
Ndlela, "when it took a unilateral move to freeze prices without consulting
partners."

So is there another way to recovery?

"In the art of recovery, if you are in a hole the first thing is to
stop digging," said a labour expert.


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A government committed to ignoring reality

Zim Standard

 Comment

THE proposal by government to take over companies it suspects of not
performing is most perplexing because it has its own companies that are
perennial under-achievers about which it is doing nothing.

In this category would be the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, the National Oil Company, Air
Zimbabwe, and the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, to cite only
a few.

The University of Zimbabwe has opened with several halls of residence
condemned as unfit for occupation by students - the majority coming out of
Harare and therefore desperate for accommodation.

The country has made much out of its intention to benefit from the
Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup due to be hosted by South Africa but very little
is being done and we are setting ourselves up for another missed chance.

Other countries in the region are taking the soccer extravaganza very
seriously. Zambia, for example, has an airport in Livingstone that can take
very large aircraft. It has new hotel facilities and is renovating a stadium
in the border town. Anyone can actually see the progress being made while
Zimbabwe is still busy on rhetoric but short on implementation.

The latest project is to parcel off private companies, for whatever
reasons, under the guise of safeguarding the interests of the people. The
government will vouch commitment to solving the water crisis in Bulawayo, if
only it can find the money.

However, the same government will encounter practically no problems in
mobilising resources to "buy out" companies it is threatening with
takeovers.

If there are funds to "buy out" companies, they should be availed to
firms in Bulawayo that have either closed or drastically scaled down their
operations, so that they can avoid total shut down and save thousands of
jobs already lost.

The reason why the government is gazetting a law that will enable the
State to seize ownership of companies is really the latest scheme by the
country's political elite to further enrich themselves in a manner
reminiscent of the way they invaded and then occupied commercial farms in
the name of correcting historical land injustices. We now know who the
beneficiaries of the land looting are.

Talk of compensation is a ploy to mask the naked seizure of other
people's properties and is intended to distract attention from the violation
of property rights. But anyone who still believes government's word can be
honoured might themselves been in need of psychiatric counselling.

Farmers who lost their properties during the past eight years have not
all been fully compensated, so where will the new resources be coming from
when outstanding issues continue to remain unresolved.

The ultimate intention of the political barracudas leading this
country is to create pyrotechnics, which will enable them to move in and
eventually become owners. Zanu PF preaches socialism but practices
capitalism. A look at the beneficiaries of the so-called land reform
programme will confirm this contradiction.

If funds to support ailing companies exist, why are distressed
companies unable to benefit? Why is the government not redirecting resources
to meet industry's requirements? The Ministry of Health is unable to stock
hospitals with drugs; is it proposed that this will also be taken over? The
government should start by clearing up its own mess.


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How to survive life in a queue

Zim Standard

  sundayopinion by Bill Saidi

IT wasn't until a woman in front of me barked angrily "What did you
say? Women are responsible for all the hell we are going through? I am a
woman. How am I to blame for all this male-made nightmare? How many women
are in the Cabinet? Is the president a woman?"

Until then, I had not realised I had either been hallucinating or
daydreaming or speaking in tongues - or something. I had been standing in
the queue - I am not sure for what - for ages.

Time had lost meaning, like the country itself.

The sun, unrelenting in its undeclared war on all who dare queue in
the sweltering heat without a sun hat or an umbrella or both, was frying my
brains to a stew.

Which must explain why I responded with: "I meant it's the women's
league." Which women's league? she barked again, moving menacingly closer to
me, like a nuclear missile. "The ruling party's women's brigade!" I yelled
in triumph.

"Are you from the CIO, trying to trap me into condemning the ruling
party? Or from the CIA or the BBC, with a microphone hidden in your crotch?
Your mustache is a dead give-away. You look as suspicious as hell."

"Herbert Chitepo said that to me too, years ago," I said, without
thinking. My brains had indeed been fried to a cinder. She stared at me as
if I was going bananas right in front of her eyes.

Herbert Chitepo said that to you? Do you know who Herbert Chitepo was
. . .?" Her pretty, chubby face saved her from looking absolutely insane:
eyes slits, voice a deadly hiss, lips chalk white.

It would take forever to explain. In Lusaka, Chitepo did say to me he
thought I was from "the security because of your mustache".

I asked the woman, now looking at me as if I had just turned blue:
"What do you think Chitepo would have done?" She was not too fat and carried
what weight she had with wisdom. Her clothes were not loud: no reds, blacks
or yellows, just neutral, dull blues and grays. She didn't belong in a
queue.

Neither did I. Nobody is born to join a queue. A queue is the ultimate
humiliation. It strips you of whatever you believe you are, into a cipher, a
zero, a number.

That's what we've been reduced to, as meaningless as the zeros in our
currency.

"If Chitepo had been here, he too would have fled." Now, her face had
darkened, as if the sun had surrendered to her.

I shut up. Since then I have sharpened my queue survival skills. I
invent interviews with important people, to regale my fellow queuers with
drama.

"Now, there I was interviewing the president the other day," I said
once to a group of enthralled fellow queuers, "Do you think Archbishop Pius
Ncube blames you and your people for his sacking by the Pope? Don't you feel
a little guilty about this whole mess? Any regrets?"

What did the president say?" asked one man eagerly. "Did he confess
his guilt?"

"No," I said. "He just said God works in mysterious ways. He was very
smug, as if he had just finished a conversation with the Good Lord Himself.
I had this eerie feeling that he had God on his side. . ."

"You make that sound as if it would be a terrible thing. . .for the
president to have God on his side?" asked a very slim, well-dressed girl,
wearing large designer sunglasses, a kingsize sun hat and one of those
blouses the president, incidentally, spoke about recently -the navel
exposers, he called them.

"Well, I would say. . ." Before I could finish, another man spoke up.

"We should be queuing outside State House itself. We should be
haranguing the president about everything. . .condoms, sanitary towels,
napkins. . ."

"What about food?" asked a very, very fat man.

"What about beer, whisky, gin. . .my husband is going bananas without
them. I am having no rest at all. . ."

"Marching to State House . . . that is a capital idea, isn't it?" I
didn't realise I'd said that. Once I recognised my own voice, I couldn't
stop myself. "Yes, we could go right up to the gates and tell the guards we
demand to see the president about these food shortages. . .I doubt that they
could shoot all of us in cold blood. . ."

"How many of you would there be, do you think. . .?" asked someone at
the back of the queue. It sickened me to realise he hadn't once referred to
"us". "One thousand. . .two thousand. . . 20 000? Haven't they too run out
of foreign currency to buy ammunition? That could level the playing field. .
."

Everybody laughed. We had survived the queue. - saidib@standard.co.zw


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A chronicle of government bias against Zipra cadres

Zim Standard

  sundayview by Judith
Todd

THE second letter was dated 8 September 1980 and was signed by Masuku
alone.

We have again decided to bring to your attention, as Prime Minister
and Minister of Defence our concern, resulting from a number of events and
pronouncements that complicate the process of fulfilling our duties. These
developments do not in any way assist us in our determined effort to mould
ONE NATION.

1.We have found out that ZANLA, the military wing of Zanu PF has been
sending people for military training outside the country. This is contrary
to the previously agreed position ie only those programmes already in
process prior to the start of the integration exercise should be left to
continue. ZANLA has been sending people for military training in Nigeria,
Ethiopia, Yugoslavia, Romania and etc.

2. As components of the Zimbabwe National Army we have not been
informed of the total of ZANLA comrades still outside the country undergoing
military training. On our part, with utmost sincerity, we have submitted
this data in an effort to alleviate suspicion created by Western news media
on the numbers of Zipra cadres and "their intentions".

3.We would Comrade Prime Minister, like to bring to your attention and
consideration the plight of the demobilised comrades. As a result of absence
of facilities provided for and means of livelihood for these comrades, many
have resorted to a number of anti-social activities like armed robbery etc.
We recommend that these comrades be absorbed into the army, firstly as a
method of bringing them under control and secondly to give the government
time to analyse the problem with a view to finding a lasting solution.

4. It is our observation that there is disparity in the provision of
facilities to the war-disabled comrades of Zipra and Zanla by the
authorities concerned. We have, for instance, only heard of Zanla disabled
comrades travelling to Britain and Tanzania for artificial limbs and none
from Zipra.

5. We would like to bring to your notice that despite constant appeals
there is no change on official bias against Zipra and its contribution to
the liberation of our motherland which we pointed out in our first
memorandum paragraphs three (3) and four (4). The ZBC and ZTV continue
projecting only Zanla's image vis-à-vis the liberation struggle. Only the
massacres of Chimoio and Nyadzonia are projected and nothing on the
massacres at Mkushi, Freedom Camp in Zambia and in Angola. This makes the
Zipra cadres question their very future existence in the Zimbabwe National
Army. We are aware, Comrade Prime Minister, that directives have been issued
to the staff of ZBC and ZTV to project Zanla's image only.

6.We have observed with great concern the increase in inter-parties
rivalry, resulting in some cases in destruction of property and loss of
lives. We would like to inform you that some of the victims regrettably have
been members of Zipra on their way to or from leave. The following examples
serve to illustrate:

a) A Zipra cadre who was shot dead in Gatooma.

b) The attempted kidnapping of nine (9) Zipra comrades when trying to
board a bus for Mushumbi Pools at Harare.

c) The injury of three (3) Patriotic Front members at Seke.

d) The armed attack on the Administrative Secretary of the PF Zapu in
a Salisbury suburb.

e) Comrade Prime Minister, we are on record as having taken measures
against those of our ranks who have defied orders, by way of molesting
people. We now find it difficult to continue with the exercise without any
positive reciprocity from our counterparts of Zanla.

7.We wish to point out that some of these unhealthy developments are a
direct result of statements in our various mass media (newspapers, ZBC and
ZTV) or at meetings by members of the government. These developments violate
the spirit of reconciliation and the consequences thereof are too ghastly to
contemplate.

8. Finally, Comrade Prime Minister, we wish to recommend that a
meeting of the two major parties in the government be convened to discuss
these sad and serious developments. The objective should be to create peace
and stability and move forward with one spirit - a spirit to mould a strong
and unbending nation.

We remain determined to play our part to the full.

L K V Masuku

Commander (Zipra)

Joint High Command

Cc Minister of Home Affairs

Neither letter was acknowledged, let alone answered.

As Lookout's condition deteriorated, more and more high-ranking people
came to visit him. On Saturday 15 March, he dictated an outline of letters
to be properly rewritten and typed up for him to sign:

1.To Emmerson Mnangagwa. Thanking him for visiting me in hospital.
Thanking government for sending me to hospital. Thanking him for
recommending my release.

2.To Dr Sydney Sekeramayi. Thanking him for visiting me. Thanking him
for expediting the arrival of the necessary drugs for my treatment.

3.To Enos Nkala. Thanking him for message of sympathy he sent and for
his wishes for an early recovery. Thanking him for signing the revocation
order for my detention to be lifted.

4.To Eddison Zvobgo. Thanking him for the quick arrangement in sending
me to hospital when my condition was serious. Thanking him for visiting me
in hospital. Thanking the government for allowing my wife to go to the GDR
for treatment. Thanking him for looking into my problems while I was in
prison.

5. Army Commander Lt Gen Nhongo. Thanking him for visiting me and the
help he sent me after visiting. Batteries, fruit, toothpaste.

Now Lookout was getting tired and he dictated for only one more
person:

6. Air Force Commander Tungamirai. Same letter.

Mary Ndlovu came up from Bulawayo to see her husband Edward in
Chikurubi Maximum Prison and Bryant Elliot, whom I myself went to see.
Bryant thought it was unwise for Lookout to write any thank you letters.
Bryant really had his hands full. As I left his office, I bumped into
Shamiso Nyashanu. Lookout couldn't understand why Bryant didn't want him to
send letters. I promised to get Bryant to discuss the matter with him.

While I was with Lookout that day, the nurse gave him pills in a cup.
He said he knew two of them, but the other two were new, and he asked what
they were. "I may not be a doctor, but I can see." The new needle in his arm
was a long one, and causing more swelling. As I left, I saw Joshua Nkomo,
Isaac Nyathi and two others who were on their way in to visit Lookout.

On Thursday 20 March I was surprised to see that Lookout wasn't on the
drip. I asked about this, and he told me that the medicine had run out . . .
Both his other visitors and I were concerned. One of them said: "But doesn't
this disrupt the whole treatment?"

Lookout, full of equanimity as ever, shrugged, smiled and said: "Well
what can be done." He was making a statement, not asking a question. I had
been told the medicine was toxic, which was why it had to enter his system
slow drip by slow drip over many hours. An interruption in treatment would
surely be devastating.

Excerpt from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness; A Life
in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za.


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Breaking the curse of the demonic spirit in politics

Zim Standard

  sundaytalk by Priscilla Misihairambwi - Mushonga

THERE are two things that have prompted me to write this article, the
first thing is Judith Todd's book, Through the Darkness; A Life in Zimbabwe.
The second one is personal. It is a need to publicly acknowledge to the
colleagues I worked with during the earlier part of my political career -
Margaret Dongo and Kempton Makamure - that as a matter of fact, seven years
ago they were right and I was wrong.

Todd's book for me redefined the tragedy for Zimbabwe. It is not just
a tragedy limited to the institutions, the anti-poor and brutal government
that rules over us but rather the biggest tragedy is that the Zanu PF
government inherited the values, principles and institutions of the colonial
regime and has continued to perpetuate them.

The basis of the liberation struggle, contrary to that given by those
that seek to privatize it was to ensure that a human being irrespective of
race, gender or tribe was treated equally. The struggle was not about
majority rule, what inspired and angered those who participated in the
struggle was that the white regime believed that Africans were lesser beings
and hence the regime appropriated to itself the right to decide who would be
treated as first class, second class and third class citizens.

The reasons therefore for the bombings in Zambia and Mozambique were
primarily a show of what the master could do to those that refused to
submit. The same is true of opposition politics today.

In 2000 I could not understand why Margaret Dongo and Kempton
Makamure, who incidentally had been part of the behind-the-scenes
discussions before the MDC formation had become so averse to being party to
what I saw as the broader movement.

As a group of members from the civic movement - politicians then from
the Movement for Independent Candidates and the leaders from the trade union
had for sometime been involved in the discussions about the need for a broad
political movement. During these consultations the Zimbabwe Union of
Democrats was formed and the argument from my colleagues was that it was
clear that the agenda of our other partners in this discussion (the labour
movement) was not about creating a movement in which we all came in as
partners but that already others were defining themselves as the senior
partners.

I must admit that at that stage I was too seduced by the principle of
the broader movement that I failed to appreciate that there were players or
individuals that could not enter the processes unless they saw themselves as
masters.

At that moment one could not deny that the only individual, who
post-independence, had scored major political victory against Robert Mugabe
was Margaret Dongo and to seek to bring her in as a mere follower
demonstrated a Zanu PF mentality that sought to rewrite history that would
create a phenomenon that the struggle only started when Mugabe took over the
leadership.

Unfortunately I too failed to realise this point. In fact, I blamed
Dongo for failing to submit to the broader movement. I also failed to
realise that whilst we had 119 constituencies to contest, the MDC had no
shame in colluding with Zanu PF to destroy the first real opposition in
Harare South constituency. I am embarrassed that in 2000 I was part of that
movement. I am sorry.

The greatest revelation I have had through my recent experience in
politics is that, in born-again language, the demonic spirit that drives
Zanu PF just does not inhabit your body when you become a member of that
party. In fact, you can be driven by the same spirit to be a member or even
a leader of the opposition. That demonic spirit is prevalent in both the
opposition and civic society today. If they had the same military might that
Mugabe has, I have no doubt they too would have a Gukurahundi II.

The concept of parading those that have come back to the fold as human
trophies is much the same as Smith did with those that claimed defecting
from the "terrorists". It was embraced by Zanu PF when we saw people paraded
at rallies handing over T-shirts and party membership cards of the
opposition. It has been perfected by the opposition today, shamelessly, and
is abated and supported by a press that claims to be progressive.

Mugabe and Zanu PF define anyone who disagrees with him as an enemy
(the pasi naye slogan). The opposition today, has much the same slogan
(muroverei pasi), if not more violent. Mugabe believes Zanu PF is the only
party that represents people's interests, likewise other opposition groups
believe that only they have the legitimate right to represent the people.

Zanu PF believes in the one party state mentality, in similar fashion,
the breakdown of coalition talks between the two MDC formations is driven by
the need to contest all and not share. Opposition leaders are now talking
about owning the struggle and political movements taking a leaf from Mugabe
who claims he is Zanu PF and he owns Zimbabwe.

Again in similar parlance, while Zanu PF believes because there were
arrested and tortured they have the divine and uncontested right to lead,
some opposition leaders now define their anointment by having been beaten,
even at times in dubious circumstances. Zanu PF believes Ndebeles by the
mere fact of their numbers should have less representation, today in the
opposition, any political party that has Ndebele people in influential
positions is demonised and called an Ndebele outfit.

What is therefore evident is that, the Smith curse (not in a thousand
years!), inherited by Mugabe and Zanu PF is being passed on to the
alternative movement and until we expose and destroy it - No change will be
real change! What is required in Zimbabwe today is a new value system, a
value system characterised by inclusiveness and sustainable development that
is based on substantive participatory democracy. What we aspire for is a
Zimbabwe where human rights, individual freedoms, property rights, non
racialism, women's rights, workers' rights are cherished and respected, the
very values that the liberation struggle was indeed fought for.

The real heroes of our generation will be those who will restore
Zimbabwe as a nation in which we can all be proud, a nation in which we do
not seek to gain unfair advantage over the other on grounds of ethnicity. We
must have a value system that is grounded in moral courage, a value system
that allows us to hold our heads high as a people among the community of
nations. We should not seek to replace what we are removing by something
whose value system is similar.

It is important that our political parties reflect a value system that
is rooted in principles of equity for all and has the aspirations of the
people. As we pursue a new value system we must reject political pretenders
both in Zanu PF and those newly born in the alternative movement who have
subverted the aims of the liberation struggle and the heroes who gave their
lives for the liberation of this country.

*Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga is MDC Deputy Secretary General and
MP for Glen Norah Constituency


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Zim Standard letters

Deportations: pay-back time for Zanu PF chefs
WHAT is all this fuss about Zanu PF chefs' children being deported
from Australia? Australia is probably the only country in the world that is
prepared to expose Zanu PF for what it really is - a bunch of braggadocios
playing a game of brinkmanship with the rest of the world in the hope that
they can get away with everything.

You only have to listen to the tone of false bravado from the George
Charambas, Sikhanyiso Ndlovus and even the President himself. Recently we
were told that Malaysia had cheaper and better facilities than Australia; so
why so much fuss?

For more than seven years Australians have been called all sorts of
names by President Robert Mugabe and his ministers - typical of the
emotional verbiage that has ruined this country, no forethought is given to
the consequences intended or otherwise of such utterances. How do utterances
of this nature sway public opinion in Australia?

There is a deeply flawed belief within Zanu PF that they can be as
abusive as they want without getting any reprisals - as if the world owes us
anything!

Now Morgan Tsvangirai is the target of their venom. How has he become
as powerful as to sway the Australian government's opinion when he is
supposed to be such a useless bankrupt politician?

It has not dawned on the emotionally unintelligent politicians in Zanu
PF that unlike in Zimbabwe where public opinion counts for absolutely
nothing to the government, democratically elected governments such as that
of Prime Minister John Howard listen very carefully to public opinion and I
can assure you the majority of Australians today will applaud the actions of
their government in deporting these children. Their presence there
represented a serious affront to their sensibilities.

It's the greatest source of irony that one of the most vindictive and
vexatious regimes in the world is failing to accept a reaction to its own
malicious and ruinous policies. The isolation of this country will only get
worse with all the consequences because a certain group of people has
decided to "die with our President". Talk of disaster!

Nervous Madekufamba

Avondale

Harare.

------------
 No sane investor can trust this thieving regime
RECENT media reports suggest that President Robert Mugabe has urged
"true and genuine friends" to invest in Zimbabwe's natural resources,
promising that their investments will be protected by his security forces -
not by proper lawful local constitutional rights or any other international
lawful standards.

He chose not to list his "extensive" schedule of assumed "genuine
friends! Perhaps only Comrade Thabo Mbeki remains?

Clearly, China has had enough of being embarrassed and looted by the
Zanu PF greedy cling-on regime.

What he apparently overlooked, in his usual waffling delivery of
hallucinatory and denial content that bear many falsehoods, is the proposed
"Indigestion" Law (that will strip from external and local investors of
their earlier and future commitments); how well his regime has "respected"
human and property rights and international law and how the state is now run
by his empowered light-fingered self-serving stooges, particularly in his
party, and the highly politicized Judiciary, and State-sponsored militia
organs.

Also suitably omitted was that his close radical Comrade Didymus
Mutasa has a racist agenda, and had earlier stated that the regime has no
intention of respecting government signed International BIPPA's.

He has been quoted in the past as saying that the international
agreements were not worth the paper on which they were signed.

Under Zimbabwe's Hitlerarian self-proclaimed "indigenous" moral
values, he did not mention how successful he was (not) being in prosecuting
his corrupt inner circle of wealthy stooges that we all know so well about.

Recent reports indicate that assets and property allegedly protected
by international BIPPA's are still being looted, stripped and acquired by
the regime's fellow criminally enabled and prosecution immune thieves.

In delusion, and in denial of the above, Zanu PF still shows signs of
their archaic and insane mental acumen.

In summary, anyone who believes that Zanu PF's Zimbabwe is worth
investing in is plain stupid, or has been promised (not guaranteed)
kickbacks by the crooks temporarily in charge of the nation.

The geriatric hero must by now and at last be tossing and turning
about his expected future demise and legacy. Only he and his
fellow-travellers have yet to come to terms with his inevitable demise.

That the head-honcho will be gone soon (one way or another) is no
longer in dispute.

What is relevant now is whether his dead-beat followers try to sustain
his enabling grants towards protected criminal conduct and self-survival and
looted wealth, or whether they will, in trepidation, capitulate and
surrender in the hope of immunity from future prosecution.

Brain-Dead Analyst

Bloemfontein

RSA

--------
 Will poll be free and fair? THE question uppermost in people's minds right
now is: Will we have a real fair and free election or a mockery of democracy
during 2008?

Voter registration, which saw the mobile voter registration exercise
being given much media publicity may be window- dressing for the world to
get the impression that nearly everyone, whatever his or her political
party, is enfranchised.

Only people on the voters' roll by a given day and date should be
allowed to vote. No voter registration should be allowed to go on
concurrently with voting on polling day.

Polling stations must be opened at 7AM and close at 7PM throughout the
country. During previous elections, some polling stations opened at 11AM.
All polling stations should be what they were like during 2000.

In 2002 Harare lost eight polling stations and rain was cited as a
contributing factor. Yet the country was in the grip of a devastating
drought. This was daylight robbery by the Registrar-General. It must never
be repeated.

No one should go into the election knowing in advance that he or she
has won the election. In other words, every contestant must go into the
polls ready and willing to accept any result.

In every election, there are two possible outcomes: One can win, or
lose.

WSBK

Mabelreign

Harare

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