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Tsvangirai Says Happy With Talks

Thursday, 31 July 2008 20:30

ZANU PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
negotiators are inching closer to a power-sharing agreement expected to be
finalised next week after an intensive round of delicate negotiations.

Informed sources said the talks - officially expected to end on Monday
although the deadline looks set to be extended - are taking shape fast and
edging towards a deal.

The parties are agreed on almost everything on the agenda except
details on the structure of the new government. This includes positions and
powers for key leaders, as well as transitional and implementation

While there is no deadlock on the issue, heated debate and
consultations are underway on what roles President Robert Mugabe and MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai should play in the new government. Tsvangirai only
hinted at some "sticking points".

Yesterday Tsvangirai said he was "fairly satisfied" with the talks.

"I am fairly satisfied, but there are, like in any negotiations,
sticking points that need to be unravelled," Tsvangirai told reporters in
Dakar after meeting Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade.

South African President Thabo Mbeki this week met Tsvangirai, Mugabe,
and the other MDC faction leader, Arthur Mutambara, to brief them on the
talks so far. Mugabe and Mbeki have also said the talks are progressing

Regional leaders were expected to meet today in Luanda to discuss the
Zimbabwe situation but there were doubts whether the meeting would take

Talks between Zanu PF and the MDC resume on Sunday, a day before the
deadline, likely to be extended until the end of next week.

"Two weeks may appear too short, but it is not inflexible and I am
sure that the facilitation will adjust as progress moves forward,"
Tsvangirai said.

It was becoming increasingly likely, sources said, that Tsvangirai
would become prime minister in the end, while Mugabe remains president in a
power-sharing pact.

Sources said if Tsvangirai had sealed a coalition deal with the MDC
camp led by Mutambara to take control of parliament in an unassailable way,
he would have been almost guaranteed the post of premier - head of
government - without problems, with Mugabe remaining as ceremonial head of

However, this was not done despite a coalition agreement after the
March 29 elections and thus parliament remains hung.

The sources said Tsvangirai's group had initially proposed that the
opposition chief should become prime minister with two deputies, one from
his party and the other from Zanu PF, while Mugabe becomes non-executive
president. The MDC wants a two-year transitional period and new elections

However, Mugabe and his party are not amenable to this because they
want him to remain as executive president over a five-year period.

The Zanu PF politburo met last week and resolved that Mugabe's
position was "non-negotiable", reflecting the attitude of party hardliners
and the Joint Operations Command (JOC) that brings together army, police and
intelligence chiefs.

Sources said Mugabe's diehards in the party and JOC do not want a deal
which gives some power to Tsvangirai, but Mugabe has told them concessions
are necessary and inevitable.

Negotiators say despite protests from hardliners nothing was
considered out of bounds at the talks.

Sources said there was a chance Mugabe could be a non-executive head
of state as he was no longer rigidly opposed to this now as he was at the

It was even probable Tsvangirai could be the president either now or
later down the line, they say.

"Don't rule out anything. Tsvangirai can be a prime minister or even a

It's a fluid situation; don't rule out anything because you will be
surprised," a senior official close to the talks said.

"There are different models and variations which were proposed. Debate
and negotiations are on the hybrid model which should be adopted.

The deliberations on these issues are intense, but there are no
disagreements or deadlock on anything. It's about finding the middle

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai - these days speaking the language of
compromise - said this week the talks were a give-and-take situation.

Mugabe said he wanted a "speedy conclusion" to the negotiations that
he understood were going on well.

"I understand the talks are going on well," Mugabe said. "We are still
negotiating, we want to succeed, negotiations are negotiations of course,
they are different from gambling.

"You find room for compromise, sometimes compromise is difficult and
you stand by your proposals as presented. You debate again and again and
reach a compromise." He said there would be "no winner or loser" in the end.

Tsvangirai said on Wednesday he could not say what role Mugabe and
himself would play in the new government because this was still being

"The role of Robert Mugabe and the role of Morgan Tsvangirai in the
envisaged co-sharing government will have to be discussed by the negotiating
parties. I am not in any position of defining what his role would be,"
Tsvangirai told Britain's Channel 4 News. "What I would hope is that it will
allow him (Mugabe) a process of an honourable exit."

By Dumisani Muleya

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'West a threat to talks'

Thursday, 31 July 2008 20:20

WESTERN powers now pose a new threat to the outcome of the on-going
talks for a negotiated political settlement between Zanu PF and the MDC by
insisting they will only recognise an all-inclusive government if it is led
by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Diplomatic sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the
result of the negotiations between Zanu PF and the MDC should reflect the
"will of the people" as shown by the outcome of the March 29 presidential

Tsvangirai outpolled Mugabe, but failed to garner the 50%-plus votes
to assume the presidency, prompting a run-off on June 27 which the
opposition leader boycotted.

South African president Thabo Mbeki is mediating in the Sadc-brokered
talks between Zanu PF and both formations of the MDC and expects a deal to
be clinched next week.

In a memorandum of understanding signed by Zanu PF and the MDC, the
parties agreed as part of the agenda to come up with a "global political

But the sources said any deal that failed to give Tsvangirai executive
powers as the head of a transitional government would be rejected by a group
of Western donor nations, commonly known as the Fishmongers Group, set up a
year ago at Britain's instigation.

The group includes the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Sweden,
Holland, Norway, Australia and Canada - countries which have since said
Mugabe was not legitimately elected.

"Whatever agreement the talks produce, Tsvangirai must head the
government," one of the diplomatic sources said. "The unity government must
have close ties with the Western donors and that can only happen if the
countries accept the outcome of the talks."

The sources said once the donors reject the agreement, sanctions
imposed on the country would remain intact and Zimbabwe's economic crisis
would worsen.

International media reports this week suggested the Fishmongers Group
had a "veto" over the negotiations and were waiting in the wings for the
outcome of the talks.

The US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, this week told the
Independent that Mugabe should respect the will of voters as expressed on
March 29.

"Ordinary Zimbabweans clearly stated a desire for change in the March
29 elections and the US wants to see the will of the Zimbabwean people
respected," McGee said.

He added that the US imposed fresh sanctions last Friday to pressure
Mugabe and his government to accept the outcome of the first round of the
presidential election.

Britain on Tuesday said the United Nations Security Council may have
to review its position on Zimbabwe if there was no progress in resolving the
country's decade-long crisis.

Karen Pierce, Britain's deputy UN ambassador, said the Security
Council had received a sober report on Zimbabwe's situation from the
multilateral organisation's special envoy to the crisis, Haile Menkerios.

"We wish those efforts well but it's clear that if we don't make
progress soon or don't see progress soon in Zimbabwe, that the council will
have to come back to this issue," Pierce said.

By Constantine Chimakure

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Kazembe Blasts Mandaza

Thursday, 31 July 2008 20:14
ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (ZEC) vice-chairperson Joyce Kazembe
yesterday blasted Sapes Trust chairperson Ibbo Mandaza for alleging that she
had taken part in rigging the presidential election in favour of President
Robert Mugabe.

Mandaza last week said Sapes Trust board members wanted Kazembe fired
from the organisation for her involvement in the alleged rigging of the

The former government permanent secretary said board members had
"written letters" that Kazembe be fired from Sapes.

But Kazembe yesterday said she had no memory of ZEC rigging the
election in any way to Mugabe's advantage.

"If I remember pretty well, there was a statement that we released as
a commission to address that issue of rigging the election in favour of
Mugabe immediately after the election," Kazembe said.

"We stated clearly that as a commission, we did not rig the election
as it was impossible for anyone, including (President) Mugabe himself, to
rig the election in his own favour."

She said no member of the commission or its employees had the capacity
to rig the elections.

"What Mandaza is saying about rigging the election by either myself or
ZEC is just far from the truth. It's just allegations that are being brought
about by an individual for reasons best known to himself. I have no clue on
how the election was rigged as alleged by Mandaza. I repeat and stress that
ZEC did not rig the election at all," Kazembe said.

Kazembe said she had not seen any letters from Sapes Trust board
members asking for his expulsion.

"I am the secretary to the board and an employee of the trust at the
same time. I have not set my eyes on any letter that Mandaza claims was
about my dismissal from the trust," she said.

"I only recall one letter, which was supposedly coming from Dr Mudenda
asking me to resign from the board. I questioned the letter as it was on a
different letter head from the usual Sapes Trust letter head which is used
when there is communication among board members."

Kazembe said the issue died down after she raised issues about the
letterhead and the fact that the letter was not signed.

By Nkululeko Sibanda

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Zanu PF Lifts 'Tsholotsho plot' Suspensions

Thursday, 31 July 2008 20:12
ZANU PF has re-admitted into its structures former chairpersons
suspended in 2004 for attending a meeting in Tsholotsho allegedly convened
to re-configure the party's presidium.

Sources in the party said the members' suspensions were lifted prior
to the March 29 harmonised elections.

Among those suspended were provincial chairpersons Mike Madiro
(Manicaland), Daniel Shumba (Masvingo), Themba Ncube (Bulawayo), Jacob
Mudenda (Matabeleland North), July Moyo (Midlands), and Lloyd Siyoka
(Matabeleland South). Shumba formed his own political party, the United
People's Party.

The six were suspended after they took part in a meeting held at
Dinyane primary school in Tsholotsho allegedly to discuss changes to the
party's leadership that could have seen Zanu PF strongman Emmerson Mnangagwa
becoming the party's vice-president, a post that went to Joice Mujuru.

President Robert Mugabe at the time said the meeting was called to
discuss a coup plot against the Zanu PF leadership.

The meeting had allegedly been convened by the then Information
minister Jonathan Moyo, now independent MP-elect for Tsholotsho North.

Zanu PF sources this week said the party realised that it needed the
suspended members to be part of its campaign and also to patch up divisions
in Zanu PF that resulted from those suspensions.

"Those people who were on suspension are back in the Zanu PF fold,"
one of the sources said.

"Most of them engineered Mugabe's victory in the election and there is
now unanimity that they should be re-admitted into the party structures

Zanu PF deputy secretary for information Ephraim Masawi while refusing
to fully acknowledge the return of the suspended members, said it was likely
that their suspensions were lifted.

Said Masawi: "I am yet to hear of a formal re-admission of the
suspended persons being referred to. What I can clearly say is that
provinces were requested to look at the behaviour of the suspended persons
and make recommendations on the way forward."

He added that their re-admission could mean the suspended members had
behaved well.

"If they did behave themselves well and in line with the provisions of
the party constitution, there will be nothing wrong in the provinces cutting
their suspensions and then re-admitting them into the party structures,"
Masawi said.

Asked whether there were provisions that enabled them to reclaim the
positions they held prior to their suspensions, Masawi said at present there
were people holding onto posts after they were elected.

"If they want their positions back, they can then contest in the
elections which are supposed to be held anytime soon," he said.

By Nkululeko Sibanda

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Sanctions, Land, Violence Sticking Points In Talks

Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:39
LIFTING of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, addressing the land question
and restoring the rule of law are some of the challenges a government to
come out of the on-going talks for a negotiated political settlement to the
country's decade-long crisis between Zanu PF and the MDC will face.

The agenda of the talks being facilitated by South African President
Thabo Mbeki has a number of issues the protagonists should find solutions to
before the negotiations' August 4 deadline.

These include the rule of law, which implies the need to stop the
prevailing culture of violence and impunity, upholding property rights and
free political activity, and reforming state organs and institutions.

Many of the state institutions have been militarised and the army is
now interfering with civilian affairs to the extent of threatening to refuse
to salute elected officials.

Respecting the principle of the separation of powers, including an end
to interference in the judiciary, would be a major challenge for the new

The new government would also have to address the chaotic land reform
programme which has sabotaged agriculture and precipitated the current
economic meltdown, while spawning starvation.

The new government would also have to stop the persecution of
political opponents, ethnic minorities and other weaker groups which have
borne the brunt of state brutality for years. Zimbabwe has been plagued by
repression, violence and corruption since 1980.

The sanctions by the United States and the European Union are linked
to these issues and they would be difficult to remove unless underlying
problems are first addressed.

Political analysts argued that it would be difficult for sanctions
imposed by the United States, Britain and European Union to be lifted
overnight even if a political solution to the crisis is found.

Sanctions, especially those imposed by the US, would take longer to be
removed because they were imposed by Congress through the Zimbabwe Democracy
and Economic Recovery Act of 2001. The Act would have to be repealed, the
analysts said.

In the memorandum of understanding signed between Zanu PF and the two
formations of the MDC, the parties agreed to find solutions aimed at
restoring economic stability, revisiting the land question, and promoting
equality, national healing and the rule of law.

They also agreed to find a solution on how to deal with institutional
reforms, among them the demilitarisation of parastatals and government

Most of the issues on the agenda, analysts observed, would take a long
time to deal with.

Meanwhile, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has denied instigating the
imposition of US sanctions on 17 Zimbabwean entities propping up President
Robert Mugabe's government arguing that the matter was a bilateral issue
between the southern African nation and the super power.

The US last week slammed Zimbabwean companies with sanctions, among
them parastatals, linked to Mugabe's regime.

Acting MDC spokesperson Tapiwa Mashakada said his party neither played
a role in the imposition of the sanctions nor benefited from them despite
Zanu PF accusations that they were behind the embargoes.

Tsvangirai however has been on record as supporting targeted sanctions
against top Zanu PF officials and supporters.

Mashakada said: "The MDC is a political party and the sanctions are a
government to government affair. The MDC has nothing to do with that, the
sanctions are a dispute between two independent governments and it's up to
them to solve the disputes.

"If we were in government we would have a say in as far as sanctions
are concerned, but we are not. Zanu PF has blamed us on the sanctions but
that is just propaganda."

He said instead of looking at the sanctions, people should think
broader and find out why they were imposed.

"The debate should focus at the causes of the sanctions. These need to
be looked at and solved. We are not beneficiaries of the sanctions but we
want to be beneficiaries of a functional government."

US President George Bush last Friday signed a new Executive Order that
expanded sanctions against the "illegitimate government" of Zimbabwe which
he said perpetrated politically-motivated violence.

The US passed a sanctions law on the country in 2001, the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA).

The objectives of the ZIDERA were to support the people of Zimbabwe in
their struggle to effect peaceful democratic change, to achieve broad-based
and equitable economic growth and restore rule of law.

The Zimbabwe government argued that the sanctions were hurting
ordinary people and were meant to effect regime change in the country. US
ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee this week said the US had nothing against
the ordinary people and that the recent sanctions were meant to force Mugabe
to respect the will of voters as expressed in the March 29 elections.

Tsvangirai out-polled Mugabe in the presidential election but failed
to garner the required votes to assume the presidency.

The opposition leader withdrew from a presidential run-off that was
set for June 27 in protest at escalating political violence against his
supporters, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission went ahead with the poll
arguing that his pull-out had no legal effect.

"Ordinary Zimbabweans clearly stated a desire for change in the March
29 elections and the US wants to see the will of the Zimbabwean people
respected," McGee said in written responses to questions from the Zimbabwe
Independent. "Pursuant to that goal we have sanctioned those people
responsible for thwarting the will of ordinary Zimbabweans."

McGee said the new sanctions built upon existing embargoes put into
force in 2001 and 2003 against more than 100 individuals in the inner-circle
of the Zimbabwe government who have contributed to the undermining of
democratic processes and institutions in the country.

"These are targeted sanctions that focus on the regime and its
supporters not on the people of Zimbabwe or the broader economy. American
businesses are free to do business with any Zimbabwean, individuals or
companies that are not on the sanctions list," McGee said.

"The US is committed to provide humanitarian assistance for as long as
it is needed by the people of Zimbabwe," he said. "In addition to this
assistance, the US government committed up to $2,5 million from the US
emergency refugee and migration assistance fund to assist Zimbabwean
refugees and asylum seekers who have been displaced due to the ongoing
violence in the country."

The 17 entities designated on July 25 by the US Department of the
Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) include the Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation, the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, the Agricultural
Development Bank of Zimbabwe, the Industrial Development Corporation of
Zimbabwe Ltd, the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimre
Holdings Ltd, ZB Financial Holdings Ltd, ZB Bank Ltd, Intermarket Holdings
Ltd, and Scotfin Ltd, among others.

By Wongai Zhangazha

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Ex-Zapu Members Uneasy Over GNU

Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:03
THERE is growing uneasiness with the on-going talks between Zanu PF
and the MDC among former PF Zapu members in Matabeleland who fear an
agreement will dilute their influence in the region.

The former PF Zapu members, according to sources, fear that they would
be shunted aside by the MDC which will use its dominance at the polls to
bargain for the leadership of the three Matabeleland provinces.

The Zimbabwe Independent yesterday established that the two factions
of the MDC want their members to be appointed governors in the three
provinces by virtue of their domination at the polls.

"There is serious apprehension in Matabeleland over the talks and that
is the reason why the Zanu PF leadership in Matabeleland has not been coming
out in support of the Sadc-led talks," one Zanu PF source speaking on
condition of anonymity said.

"The language that they are using is denigratory of MDC leader Morgan

"However, their worst fear is that they will lose the positions that
have been reserved for them since the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987."

The source said the PF Zapu leadership in Matabeleland also wanted
guarantees that they would get a ministerial quota in cabinet even if they
did not win seats in the March 29 elections.

People who have benefited from the unity quota in the past are
Vice-President Joseph Msika, John Nkomo, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, and Sithembiso
Nyoni and who have been appointed to cabinet without winning elections.

Governors Sithokozile Mathuthu of Matabeleland North, Cain Mathema of
Bulawayo and Angeline Masuku of Matabeleland South have also benefited from
presidential appointments.

The sources said the MDC was keen to have its members appointed
governors in Matabeleland North and South and in Bulawayo.

President Robert Mugabe was unlikely to appoint any losers from the
Matabeleland region as he juggles about who to maintain in his cabinet as he
only has five non-constituency senators whom he can appoint.

The sources said Mugabe had limited choices because he still has to
appoint Tsvangirai and ArthurMutambara as non-constituency senators to
enable him to accommodate them in cabinet.

He also needs to accommodate Msika and trusted lieutenant Patrick
Chinamasa who lost his seat in March.

The Matabeleland leadership is divided over the issue of allegiance.
Two weeks ago Msika accused politicians in the region of de-campaigning
their colleagues.

He further alleged that some politicians were going behind his back
straight to Mugabe seeking ministerial positions.

Meanwhile, the decision to confine the on-going talks to the MDC and
Zanu PF has irked smaller political parties and civic organisations, who
fear any agreement between the two would be similar to the 1987 Unity

The parties include the United People's Party (UPP) and the
Dawn/Mavambo/Kusile project which have lashed out at what they termed
"elitist" talks between the MDC and Zanu PF.

Leaders of the Federal Democratic Union (FDU) and the Progressive
Union of Matabeleland (Puma) Paul Siwela and Leonard Nkala respectively,
said they were disappointed at the discriminatory nature of the
Sadc-brokered talks.

Siwela said the two MDC formations should be wary of being used to
endorse the perpetuation of Mugabe's rule through the talks as happened with
PF Zapu in 1987.

Siwela said South African President Thabo Mbeki, the talks mediator,
should lead to a process that is inclusive of all political parties.

"In South Africa all political parties were involved in the process of
dismantling apartheid and if these talks succeed, it is clear that they will
result in a miscarriage of political expediency," Siwela said.

"The talks will produce a hung-back democracy which shall remain an
albatross for this country and a source of discomfort for many years to

He said the problems facing the country were not between Zanu PF and
the MDC, but ranged from abuse of human rights, corruption and diplomatic

"The talks are beyond Zanu PF and the MDC, but are a strategy to
maintain some individuals in power," Nkala said.

"It is the same strategy that was adopted in 1987 to keep and prolong
some people's stay in power. The talks will not solve the country's

He said the talks should embrace other political parties, which
include UPP, Puma, FDU and Zanu Ndonga.

The party leaders are unanimous that issues to do with killings during
the current elections, genocide in Matabeleland, human rights abuses and
corruption should form part of the agenda of any talks to chart the country's

By Loughty Dube

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Police Recruits Asked To Pay For Upkeep

Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:01
THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is now asking recruits to pay for
their upkeep during their six months training.

Police sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that it was a new
requirement for cadets to pay for their meals to ease the strain on the
force's budget.

Cadets, the sources said, were last Friday each asked to deposit $700
billion into the ZRP bank account to cater for their food.

Wayne Bvudzijena, police national spokesperson, yesterday confirmed
that recruits were supposed to finance their upkeep, adding that it had been
the norm in the force.

"It is a basic requirement that every recruit pay for his own
feeding," Bvudzijena said.

"This is not something new as during my time as a recruit we used to
pay for our food.

The recruits need to be physically and emotionaly fit during their

He said the payments were being done to ease pressure on the police

But some of the cadets told the Independent that this was the first
time the force had requested them to finance their upkeep since embarking on
training early this year.

"Our group started training early this year and last Friday was the
first time we were told to pay for the food we eat," one of the recruits who
declined to be named said.

"We were told to transfer $700 billion from our salaries into a ZRP
CBZ account."

The recruits said they often received inadequate supplies of food
resulting in them having to eat once a day.

The ZRP is currently faced with a serious shortage of uniforms and
cadets were also being asked to contribute money towards the sewing of new

As a result, there is disgruntlement in the force, which at times
results in increasing number of officers absconding from work without
official leave.

Last year, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri told a
parliamentary committee that he was frustrated by the government's perennial
under-funding of the police.

Chihuri said there were no funds to implement a computerisation
programme within the force, roadblock equipment, vehicles, accommodation and
enough firearms or adequate uniforms, among a host of other requirements.

By Lucia Makamure

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MDC Claims 9 MPs Forced Into Hiding

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:57
NINE MDC MPs have reportedly gone into hiding claiming that their
lives were in danger from state security agents, Zanu PF militia and war

According to the party, the lawmakers sought sanctuary before the June
27 one-man presidential election run-off.

Tapiwa Mashakada, the MDC deputy secretary-general, told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week that the party was not aware of the whereabouts of the
legislators and was worried that parliament may be inaugurated in their

The MPs are Shepherd Mushonga (Mazowe Central), Elijah Jembere
(Epworth), Pearson Mungofa (Highfield East), Naison Nemadziwa (Buhera
South), Broadwin Nyaude (Bindura South), Costin Muguti (Gokwe Kabuyuni),
Pineal Denga (Mbare), Edmore Marima (Bikita East) and Tabitha Khumalo
(Bulawayo East).

"These MPs have been on the run since the period before the June 27
run-off election after they were threatened by Zanu PF youth militia, war
veterans and even state security," Mashakada, who is the MDC acting
spokesperson, said. "I am sure they are still afraid of being harassed,
which can either be forceful arrest or physical abuse and psychological
harassment. There are others who are wanted by the police, but ran away
afraid that if they got arrested they would not get fair justice because of
the lawlessness that prevailed."

Mashakada said the party wanted the MPs-elect to return in time for
the swearing in of parliament.

President Robert Mugabe is yet to gazette the date when the sixth
parliament will commence business awaiting the outcome of the on-going
Sadc-brokered talks between Zanu PF and the MDC meant to culminate in an
all-inclusive government.

"If the MPs don't turn up, the MDC will not have a majority in the
House of Assembly to elect a speaker of their choice. This will be to the
benefit of Zanu PF. I am sure the security concerns of the legislators must
be addressed in the on-going talks between MDC and Zanu PF."

Zanu-PF for the first time since Independence in 1980 lost its
majority in the House of Assembly to the MDC in the March 29 elections.

Asked if the MPs' disappearance was not a betrayal of those who voted
for them, Mashakada said the people in their constituencies were actually
sympathetic to their lawmakers.

Earlier, the MDC had complained of a police crackdown on its members.
It said over 1 500 of its activists were arrested on allegations of
perpetrating political violence, while Zanu PF members accused of the same
offences were not being nabbed.

However, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena
denied the crackdown saying the police would not hesitate to arrest anyone
who committed crimes regardless of which political party they were aligned

By Wongai Zhangazha

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Matombo/Chibebe Trial Month-end

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:53
THE state has set August 27 as the trial date for Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions president Lovemore Matombo and secretary-general Wellington
Chibebe who are facing charges of spreading falsehoods prejudicial to the

Matombo and Chibebe appeared in court on Wednesday before Harare
Magistrate William Bhila who remanded them out of custody to the trial date.

The militant ZCTU leaders' charges of inciting public violence and
making statements considered prejudicial to the state arose from the
addresses they made at Dzivaresekwa Stadium on Workers Day.

The pair were arrested on May 8 and spent eleven days in custody
before they were granted $20 billion bail each by the High Court.

Matombo and Chibebe are also being charged with "inciting the public
to rise against the government".

It is the state's case that Matombo told the workers that the ZCTU had
received information that Zanu PF supporters had killed two teachers at
Kondo School in Guruve, Mashonaland Central. It is also alleged he then
urged the workers to avenge them.

According to the state, the utterances were false and calculated to
incite the workers to revolt against President Robert Mugabe's government.

The trial was postponed last month because there was no trial
magistrate and state prosecutor. Tawanda Zvekare was said to be away on
business. No reason was given why the trial magistrate was not present.

As part of the conditions for granting bail, the two accused were
barred from addressing any political gathering until their cases were
finalised. They were also ordered to reside at their given home addresses
and not to interfere with state witnesses.

By Lucia Makamure

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Weak Response To Monetary Policy

Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:13
THE stock market responded weak to the half year Monetary Policy
statement on Wednesday as the benchmark index only rose 14,18% to close at
243 284 252 308 732 points from 213 065 606 668 288 points.

The mining index also rose marginally by 18,99% to close the day at
282 604 004 481 835 points

Market analysts however said the market will in the short term
maintain a broad-based rally that drove it to historic levels as the market
was offering better returns compared to other investment vehicles.

The major movers were Halogen, Border Timber, Medtech, Pelhams and

The least performers were Old Mutual whose share price is largely
determined by the movement of the exchange rate on the parallel market.

Other companies that performed least were Natfoods, Afdis, Nicoz
Diamond and Phoenix.

With 78 counters trading, which are involved in activities such as
manufacturing, agriculture, mining, banking and retail, the stock market has
been providing investors with returns that are in line with runaway

Momentous movements have not been experienced in the market for a

After making history as the world's second best performing bourses in
2006, political events weighed heavily on the stock market early this year.

Protracted bearish spells have occasionally dragged the market's
performance below inflation.

The central bank said it was determined to assert its role as the
lender of the last resort keeping key interest rates unchanged at 8 500% for
secured borrowing and 9 500% for unsecured overnight accommodation,

Reserve bank governor Gideon Gono said the rates were 'high enough to
restrict banks to the interbank market for the financing of end of day cash

However, given the market conditions in the country, interest rates
can only be attractive if inflation goes down

The reserve bank has this week announced it will drop 10 zeros off its
currency, turning $10 billion into $1 during a policy which drew mixed
reaction from business and economic analysts.

Decidedly, business leaders felt the policy was much of a "currency
reform statement" as it left untouched fundamental economic problems like
inflation, money supply and production.

Shop shelves are empty and there are chronic shortages of everything
almost everything including medication, food, fuel, power and water.

Eighty percent of the workforce is estimated to be unemployed and many
who do have jobs do not earn enough to pay for bus fare the whole month.

Zimbabwe is suffering from the curse of hyperinflation -- extremely
rapid growth in the supply of "paper" money.

Cutting zeros off is one way of trying to tame hyperinflation -- it
was tried in Germany in the 1920s when people shopped with wheelbarrows full
of money -- but other measures need to be introduced as well.

Germany, the most frequently cited example of hyperinflation finally
got to grips with the problem when it produced a currency, the Rentenmark,
backed with American gold.

In 1924, the US' Dawes plan, named after the American banker Charles
Dawes, set realistic targets for German reparation payments and gave Germany
a $200 million loan.

Germany, however, did not suffer from the worst case of hyperinflation
in history. That dubious honour goes to Yugoslavia in the early 1990s when
it was sliding towards war and disintegration.

Yugoslavia's inflation in 1993 reached 2% an hour, with retail prices
doubling every two days.

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Domestic Debt Soars To $790 Quadrillion

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:46
ZIMBABWE'S domestic debt soared by 7 417,5% inside four months to
$790,6 quadrillion ($79,6 million new currency) on July 15 from $10,5
quadrillion ($1 500 000) recorded during the first week of April, official
figures revealed this week.

The new debt levels mean that with an estimated population of 13
million, every citizen owes $61,2 billion (US$6) to local banks and
financial institutions.

"The stock of government domestic debt by mid July stood at $790,6
quadrillion, reflecting an increase of 7 417,5% from $10,5 quadrillion,"
Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, said on Wednesday.

Government is also sitting on a US$4 billion foreign debt.

The rise in government domestic debt levels, which over the years was
sparked by huge interest payments, has been ballooning due to the Reserve
Bank's advances to government, largely for the March 29 harmonised and June
27 presidential run-off elections.

The mismatch between fiscal revenues and expenditures also opened a
significant funding gap resulting in government utilising the overdraft
window at the Reserve Bank, while at the same time borrowing from the
domestic debt.

"Cumulatively, since the beginning of the year government raised
365-day treasury bills amounting to $211,5 quadrillion ($21 150 000) of
which 995 or $210,3 quadrillion ($ 21 030 000) was raised between April and
July," Gono said.

The RBZ advances to government have over the past five years accounted
for about 80% of total debt, a situation bank economists say is evidence
that government was broke and had no other source of revenue than the
domestic market.

Figures from the RBZ show that the solvency of government was already
seriously compromised with the current interest rates, and technically
government finances will not be better with even a 1% rise in interest

The increasing government debt stock raised fresh fears of renewed
turbulence in the crisis-strapped economy, battling with high inflation
currently at 2,2 million percent.

The surge in domestic debt was the result of high interests on the
market which were in line with the inflation rate.

Government has also been forced to rely on domestic borrowings because
their tax revenue base has dwindled due to company closures which have led
to retrenchments. This means that in real terms, the government is
collecting less revenue through corporate and income tax.

"The monetary sector remained the major holder of government domestic
debt at 95% or $751,5 quadrillion, ($75 150 000)," Gono said.

Analysts say the debt stock was likely to rise further on increased
borrowing by government to finance the import of wheat and maize,
electricity, civil servants salaries and sustain the Basic Commodities
Supply Side Intervention (Baccosi).

"Commercial banks accounted for about $750,7 quadrillion ($750 700
000) or 99% of the monetary banking sector's holding of domestic debt. This
is attributed mainly to bank's active participation in Open Market
Operations," said Gono.

The major effects of rising government debt would be an escalation of
the inflationary rate due to increased recourse to the domestic market for

With inflation at 2 200 000%, the government's huge appetite for cash
is also likely to spur increased money printing, pushing money supply growth

The fact that Zimbabwe has no access to international capital has only
aggravated the worse.

"The figure has a huge bearing on the returns that investors will be
getting from the money market. The money market is bound to continue issuing
investors with negative returns in the short-term to minimise the harmful
effects of the huge interest cost component on the debt figure," an
economist with the central bank told businessdigest.

Money supply (M3) growth continued on an upward trend, increasing to a
new record of 420 867,4% in April from the December figure of 64 113% it
also emerged this week.

According the RBZ annual broad money supply growth has maintained an
upward trend reflecting the inevitable Reserve Bank's intervention to
stimulate the supply side of the economy in the absence of external support.

"Resultantly, broad money supply growth increased from 64 113% in
December last year to 420 867,4% in April," the bank said.

Money supply is the total supply of money in circulation in a given
country's economy at a given time. It is considered an important instrument
for controlling inflation.

The continuous rise in money supply would further trigger inflation.

Economists said the money supply figure would be over 600 000 percent
by August, due to expansionary fiscal and monetary policies being
implemented by the government and the central bank.

On an annual basis domestic credit grew by 482 460,9% in April,
largely driven by growth in credit to the private sector - 412 919,7%,
credit to government - 734 013,7% and claims on public enterprises - 216

"Credit to government has largely been from domestic banks due to the
drying up of external lines.

The bank said inflation had led to an increase in cash holdings for
day to day transactions. Resultantly on an annual basis, currency in
circulation grew further fueling inflationary pressures in the economy.

Economic commentator, John Robertson, said lenders in the domestic
market no longer had the capacity to meet the needs of government.

"Government has slowly been pinching away the nation's savings through
very low interest rates, well below inflation," Robertson said.

"They are their own victims. No one has enough money to meet their
borrowing needs," he said.

By Paul Nyakazeya

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Much Ado About Nothing

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:44
ZIMBABWEANS have become quite an expectant bunch.

The rumour-mill is probably always ready to provide the nation with
some new gossip about where we are all heading. And despite previous
disappointments, it looks like that hope never really fades.

For many, such a feeling should have been heightened this past
Wednesday morning when bankers, business executives and ordinary citizens
alike were all waiting for the half yearly monetary policy statement (MPS)
from the central bank governor. The scene was set, with the governor looking
ready to announce a comprehensive economic rescue package. The initial delay
and then the eventual arrival of the head of state must have caused its fair
share of speculation. Expectations were high.

For the most part it ended up seeming like less of a full scale policy
statement than an announcement of a change in currency.

The removal of zeros ushered in a new currency while cash withdrawal
limits were also increased.

The motivation behind getting rid of the bearer note system before
addressing the fundamentals is indeed baffling. At this point the only good
to come from removing zeros is to improve the convenience of transacting.

In any case most businesses had already unofficially removed several
of them to keep their internal systems going. Even coffee shops had long
adopted the use of thollars (thousand dollars) quite a while back. A return
to a standardised measure was needed. So what was the point especially if we
will have to go through it again a few months down the line?

Again, if the point was to increase convenience for consumers then
surely converting $1 trillion into the new dollar is probably easier than
working with a $10 billion conversion rate.

This would have had the added advantage of actually making the new
family of coins worth something.

I can hardly think of anything I can buy for the new dollar. In
addition, having the new dollar set at a trillion would have increased its
longevity given the inflation level we are currently experiencing.

An interesting observation is that if cash withdrawal limits have been
increased to $2 trillion (or 200 new dollars), who is going to be able to
access the new $500 note? Would it by implication be illegal to have it?
Maybe it is meant for those who kept their old coins and are hoping to have
enough to reach the new $500.

It would all seem like there was no point to this exercise at all.

Or perhaps there is some order in chaos. The new notes seem to have
"Harare 2007" imprinted on them (if the RBZ posters going round are anything
to go by). Would this be a batch from that botched attempt at currency
reform at the end of last year?

Conspiracy theorists would have had a go that the monetary authorities
might have some insider info on the political developments. After all since
a new batch of currency is said to be sitting somewhere in Germany, making
use of the money already on hand might just make sense.

The idea would be to increase convenience while, knowing fully well
that a similar operation would be necessary in the not too distant future
(hopefully when foreign direct investment starts trickling in).

The problem, however, comes when the exercise keeps happening over and
over again. A change in currency normally goes hand in hand with a further
deterioration in the perception of any currency.

For as long as an active drive towards stimulating an increase in
actual production is not undertaken then any policy statement would be of
little effect.

The supply side remains largely ignored (with the decrease in
retention ratio doing little to encourage production). The status quo should
remain largely unchanged with inflation expected to gallop away at an even
faster pace.

Many expect this move alone to have an inflationary impact but one
would think we are past the stage where rounding up prices would make a
significant contribution to inflation figures. Give it a few months and
expect fresh calls for another round of zero slashing.

The point here is not so much that this exercise was an unnecessary
one but more so that it would be pointless without the requisite
preconditions to support the economic rejuvenation.

Zimbabwe needs to address issues around production and foreign
currency generation as a means to sorting out the hyperinflationary
environment we are in.

For all the pomp and fanfare created ahead of the MPS a currency
reform was on many levels not expected to be the highlight of Wednesday's
statement. Far from it. At most it should have perhaps been as a supporting
addition to a more encompassing solution.

Then again, as the governor quite rightly put it, everything hangs on
a resolution to the political quagmire we are currently in. And perhaps for
as long as a second round of handshakes does not happen then anything beyond
chopping off of zeros is a bit too much to expect.

For any comments and suggestions please contact Tich via email on

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Basic Food Prices Rocket Out Of Reach

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:40
PRICES of basic commodities increased by an average of 1 300% in July
because of high inflation, depressed production and profiteering by some

The increase means a family that spent $1,723 trillion on July 1 needs
$6,8 trillion ($680 revalued) for the same goods as at July 30.

The same family could probably need about $8 trillion ($800) by the
end of next week.

This also means the increase in the price of basket essentials surged
by an average of 67% every week during the month or about $1,2 trillion
($120), according to the Zimbabwe Independent cost of living index.

The rate at which prices increased during the month jumped alarmingly
from 9,5% in January, a 570% rise inside seven months.

There is now a countrywide crisis over supplies of basic commodities
and affordability of the few that is available in shops.

Salaries have failed to match the rate at which prices are rising due
to increased production and operational costs which has resulted in some
companies either reducing staff and working hours or closing down outright.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto Jokonya said
manufacturing industry capacity utilisation averaged 18,9% in 2007, down
from 33,8% registered in 2006.

Two litres of cooking oil now cost above $900 billion ($90) this week
from $250 billion on July 1.

A loaf of bread if available costs $250 billion ($25) from $30 billion
during the same period.

Two litres of mazoe, which is no longer affordable for most
households, this week cost above $1 trillion ($100) from $120 billion.

Transport recorded the biggest increase during the period under review
to $70 billion ($7) from $5 billion.

Economist Tony Hawkins described the price increase as "very sad for
everyone" adding that nobody wants to hold Zimbabwe dollars because it was
increasingly losing value as a result of the very high rate of inflation.

During the 2008 mid term monetary policy review on Wednesday,
President Robert Mugabe warned the country's business sector to stop
profiteering or face emergency measures.

"If you drive us more than you have done we will impose emergency
measures, and we do not want to place our country in a situation of
emergency rules, they can be tough rules you know," Mugabe said.

"We want to leave you with the freedom, the flexibility to make
decisions . . . You (businesses) need to be rewarded for your efforts,
customers also need a fair price not ripping them off," he said.

National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) chair Goodwills
Masimirembwa said prices being charged were not justified.

"The rate at which prices are rising is a major cause of concern which
needs to be addressed," he said.

Masimirembwa said business has been ignoring prices which have been
set by the commission.

The prices being approved by NIPC are way out of sync with the real
prices that are already prevailing on the market.

A survey conducted by businessdigest this month showed that by the
time the NIPC approves a price, the actual price on the market will be
almost three times higher.

Most consumers are performing what appears to be carefully
choreographed dance routine: pick up, sigh, put down and move on if not out
of the shop.

In supermarkets across the country, the activity along the shelves is
the same. The young and old wander the aisles confused and baffled as the
assortment of goods $3 trillion ($300) can buy.

The rise in the prices of most basic commodities has been blamed
largely on speculative tendencies in the country's frail economy now in its
ninth year of recession.

But economist said the dwindling production levels on the back of
increased money printing and a weak currency has resulted in too much money
chasing too few goods.

This has been worsened by an acute foreign currency shortagewhich has
triggered a run on the Zimbabwe dollar on a thriving foreign currency
parallel market.

By Paul Nyakazeya

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Implats Zimbabwe Assets Ready To Fire?

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:38
THE correction in platinum shares might be a healthy one, but Impala
Platinum -- down a third since June -- may have its long-standing investment
in Zimbabwe finally pay dividends.

That is if Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu PF party is able to share power with
the Movement for Democratic Change.

According to Neill Young, a fund manager at Coronation Fund Managers,
Impala's Zimbabwe platinum operations have a lot going for them. Cash
margins are high, they are shallow and easy to mine, and the resource is
big, equal to about 40% of Impala's total.

"So there clearly is significant potential to scale up beyond the
current expansion plans," he told

"But this would clearly require political stability and a far more
conducive investment environment."

Impala operates two mines in Zimbabwe: Zimplats in conjunction with
Aquarius Platinum, a London and Johannesburg listed firm, and Mimosa which
produced 78 200 ounces of platinum last year. Zimplats delivered 96 500

Capital expenditure has been approved to increase annual production to
160 000 by 2010 at Zimplats which is estimated to have as much as 184,3
million tonnes of ore in platinum group metals (PGM).

According to another analyst, very little value has been attributed to
these assets in Impala's share price. But should political stability be
achieved in Zimbabwe: "a positive differentiating factor for the group".

Said Young: "Zimplats is listed in Australia and has a market cap of
about US$1bn. Impala own 87% of it, so one could make the argument that
about 5% of the Impala share price reflects its holding in Zimplats."

"The problem with the argument is that the Zimplats share is not very
liquid, so one can question how realistic the share price is." This figure
also excludes any contribution from Mimosa, Young said.

Not all agree. Liston Meintjes, chief investment officer at Lion of
Africa Fund Managers said Impala's SA assets were better value than the
Zimbabwean assets.

"The Zimbabwean mines are quality assets but the real benefit will
only be seen when the operating environment that they are working in
improves." Meintjes said there was room for improved operating margins at
these mines.

Political interference has become a way of life for business in
Zimbabwe and this threat hangs over mines in the region.

The Zimplats operations were recently the subject of an audit by the
Zimbabwean central bank. -- fin24

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Two Listed Companies Slapped With Sanctions

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:36
THE United States government has paralysed any future plans by two
listed companies -- ZB Financial Holding and Zimre Holdings -- to invest in
Atlantic markets for allegedly supporting President Robert Mugabe's

This development comes at a time when most local companies are
diversifying their portfolios to regional markets in an effort to escape the
country's operating environment which has been hostile over the last eight

But what does this mean to the investors and the company?

Analysts who spoke to businessdigest this week said the immediate
danger the companies might face was having their "wings clipped" when
dealing with American companies or trying to expand in regions that
Americans dominate.

"Developments like (sanctions) will in the long term result in a
number of investors being reluctant to invest in the company, for a bank it
could send the wrong signal which might affect deposits and the banks
liquidity," an analyst told businessdigest yesterday.

Some analysts said investors would ignore the sanctions as they were

"Listed companies' main objective is to make money and when such sad
developments happen one wonders the real motives (behind the move) and which
companies where government is one of the major shareholders could be next,"
a bank economist said.

Government has shareholding in Zimre Holdings of 44,5%, in the
National Social Security Authority (NSSA), it has 19,89%, Spencer Colby
Investment 9,82%, Nickdale Enterprises 9,15% and other minor shareholders.

ZB Financial Holdings major shareholders are NSSA (45,87%), Government
of Zimbabwe (28,68%) , Old Mutual Life Assurance (6,58%) and Zimre Holdings
(3,96%). The two listed companies traded differently to news of these
sanctions which were revealed last Saturday.

ZB gained $45 billion ($4,5) this week to close at position 13 up from
last week's drop of 56. Zimre on the other hand only gained $2 billion (20c)
for the week ending on yesterday. The reinsurance group closed at position
59 down from 35.

Other unlisted companies included on the sanctions are loss-making
parastatals- Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, Zisco, Agribank, Industrial Development Corporation
of Zimbabwe which handles a number of projects and Infrastructure
Development Bank of Zimbabwe.

Analysts warned that the inclusion of public companies on the latest
round of sanctions would result in "catastrophic ripple effects."

"The Reserve Bank which has become the redeemer of loss-making public
enterprises will face the biting consequences of these sanctions," said a
financial analyst at a local bank.

"These effects could put thousand of jobs on the line and local
investors alike will fell the pinch."

The central bank, which is currently overstretched through its
quasi-fiscal undertakings, aimed at mitigating effects of a bruised economy.

The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control
(OFAC) said it was imposing sanctions on the seventeen entities for their
alleged support for President Mugabe's administration which they accused of
"undermining the democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe."

"In light of the continued intransigence of the brutal Mugabe regime,
the US is imposing further sanctions against this regime and its
supporters," said OFAC director Adam J Szubin.

"These actions send a clear warning to those who would protect Mugabe
and his assets at the expense of the Zimbabwean people." The MDC claims that
more than 120 of its supporters have been killed with thousands displaced
during and after last month's polls.

Other analysts said the new sanctions were "ideal political tactics"
by the super-power to question Mugabe's sincerity on the talks.

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono criticised sanctions on listed
companies as misplaced.

"That inclusion provides the clearest evidence to date that these
sanctions do indeed seek to cause the suffering of ordinary people who have
nothing to do with the conduct of the politics of the day in the country,"
Gono said.

He said the trade blockade would negate the "path breaking
negotiations" adding that the central bank would respond to these sanctions
through collected calmness.

Acting World Bank country representative Mungai Lenneiye this week
said the country's lifeline could only extended if her creditworthiness
improved. An earlier report by the institution indicated that there is more
business risk in Zimbabwe than in strife-torn Iraq.

"The government of Zimbabwe is still a member of the World Bank,"
Lenneiye said. "We still continue to wait for the Zimbabwe government to
come up to discuss its economic management strategy."

By Bernard Mpofu/Paul Nyakazeya

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As Political Violence Subsides, The MDC Alleges New Cases

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:23
IN the countdown to the June 27 presidential election run-off some
parts of Epworth -- a sprawling township outside Harare -- were turned into
"war zones" with alleged Zanu PF militia convening regular night vigils
where perceived opposition supporters were routinely assaulted.

Their crime? Supporting MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who outpolled
President Robert Mugabe in the first round of the presidential poll on March

Apart from the 2000 referendum, this was Mugabe's first ever defeat in
any poll since Independence in 1980.

His continued stay in power was in danger and his party decided to
embark on a "military like" campaign to win the run-off for him.

Epworth, like many areas throughout the country, became a battleground
to win the hearts and minds of voters.

State security agents and war veterans allegedly aided Zanu PF in the
campaign of violence widely condemned by the opposition and the wider
international community.

"Epworth was turned into a war zone soon after the March 29 election,"
recalled a resident who requested anonymity. "Zanu PF militia rounded up
residents for reorientation meetings which started daily at 9am and ended at
5pm. From 10pm until the following morning residents were forced to attend
night vigils (pungwes)."

During the night vigils, the resident recalled, suspected MDC
supporters were savagely assaulted and tortured and ordered to surrender
party regalia in their possession."

"Despite Tsvangirai withdrawing from the presidential race, the
beatings and torture continued until the eve of the run-off," the resident
added. "After the results of the run-off were announced, bases established
by the Zanu PF militia were disbanded while some perpetrators of the
violence were arrested."

As in Epworth, violence has reportedly gone down throughout the
country with the police claiming that no fresh reports of political violence
had been reported since the run-off.

Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said: "We do not have new reports
of political violence since the presidential run-off. There is peace
throughout the country."

The police could not reveal political violence statistics since the
March polls or reveal how far investigations into the alleged murder of MDC
activists, among them, Tonderai Ndira, have gone.

However, the MDC this week alleged that low-level violence was taking
place in some parts of the country.

The Tsvangirai-led MDC claims that 122 of its supporters were killed,
over 10 000 injured and about 200 000 internally displaced by state security
agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans in politically-motivated violence
since the March 29 polls.

The party claims that after the signing of the memorandum of
understanding (MoU) on July 21 between Zanu PF and the two formations of the
MDC, at least two of its supporters have been killed.

This, the MDC said, was despite that the MoU, among other things,
stated that violence should come to an immediate end.

Each party, the MoU read, would issue a statement condemning the
promotion and use of violence and call for peace in the country and take all
measures necessary to ensure that the structures and institutions it
controls are not engaged in the violence.

"The parties are committed to ensuring that the law is applied fairly
and justly to all persons irrespective of political affiliation," read the
MoU. "The parties will take all necessary measures to eliminate all forms of
political violence, including by non-state actors, and to ensure the
security of persons and property."

The parties also agreed that, in the interim, they would work together
to ensure the safety of any displaced persons and their safe return home and
that humanitarian and social welfare organisations were enabled to render
such assistance as might be required.

But observers said the parties were yet to issue statements condemning
violence and that humanitarian aid was yet to commence despite the signing
of the MoU.

Reports from throughout the country indicate that the level of
violence had reduced considerably with most militia bases allegedly
established by Zanu PF youths and the military in the countdown to the June
27 presidential election run-off dismantled.

In a statement this week, MDC deputy secretary-general Tapiwa
Mashakada said in spite of the Sadc-initiated talks, Zanu PF supporters had
murdered two of their party members last week.

Mashakada, the acting party spokesperson, said its activist Fungisai
Ziome was abducted in Glendale, Mashonaland Central, on July 23 by Zanu PF
supporters who allegedly "mutilated, burnt and dumped" her body, which was
discovered three days later.

"A report was made about the murder to the police, but no arrests have
been made," Mashakada said.

He also alleged that a police officer, Kingsley Muteta, died at Harare's
Avenues Clinic on July 27 from injuries he sustained after he was assaulted
by Zanu PF supporters at his parents' homestead in Mudzi, Mashonaland East.

Muteta, Mashakada claimed, was based in Harare and was attacked by the
mob for allegedly visiting his mother who was a known MDC activist.

"The MDC has asked Zanu PF to show its sincerity to the dialogue
process by stopping violence, disbanding all militia bases and prosecuting
all perpetrators of political violence," Mashakada said. "The deaths show
that there is no sincerity on the part of Zanu PF."

However, human rights monitors said the scale of violence had gone

In Buhera, Manicaland, human rights monitors said there were 25
paramilitary bases controlled by Zanu PF youths that were still operational.

In other districts, bases continue to be dismantled.

The monitors claimed there were a few places in Mashonaland East,
Manicaland and Mashonaland Central where curfews were still in place.

Last week, police arrested the Midlands regional manager of Civic
Trust for allegedly peddling "falsehoods" to the international media that
political violence was escalating in the country after the one-man run-off.

Peter Muchengeti was arrested for allegedly authoring a document
claiming that Zanu PF was still perpetrating violence in the Midlands.

Police reportedly recovered diskettes, one recorder with two
microphones and cassettes when they arrested Muchengeti.

The document, titled "Blood by Tracks in Rural Midlands as Violence
Continues", was allegedly sent to the Voice of America's Studio 7 and
alleged that bodies of six people from Matshekandumba Village were recovered
near a railway line 30km from Gweru.

This, the police said, was unfounded and the purported village was

The police also claimed to have found another document in Muchengeti's
office which alleged that more than 600 people in Gokwe were assaulted by
Zanu PF youths and the Minister of Special Affairs responsible for Land and
Resettlement Florence Buka.

The police said they also found an exercise book in which Muchengeti
further alleged that 184 people had been murdered by Zanu PF youths and
security agents since March 29.

By Constantine Chimakure

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National Cake Share Remains Unbalanced

Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:20
ZIMBABWEAN politics has since December 1987 when PF Zapu and Zanu PF
signed the Unity Accord been riddled with ethnic balancing in the corridors
of power.

The accord was aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the country
after civil disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces after
independence from colonial rule in 1980.

It was not peace, stability, and tranquility alone which were the
major objectives of the pact, but to a larger extent, the issue of equitable
development, given that PF Zapu represented the greater Matabeleland and
Midlands regions and Zanu PF the Mashonaland provinces.

But over the years most parts not effectively represented in the top
echelons of power have remained relatively less developed, including
Matabeleland. Road networks and other infrastructural developments in
Matabeleland have largely remained the same as they were at the attainment
of independence.

The lifestyle of dwellers in the two provinces (Matabeleland North and
South) has remained largely unchanged, with infrastructure such as dams,
schools, clinics, remaining in their old state.

Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) remains another pipe-dream
despite the project having been mooted in 1912.

Prospects of the project taking off the ground continue to dwindle
further given that funds for the project, like many other project in the
country, continue to be scarce.

An array of examples can be cited that point to the imbalance, in
developmental terms, that has been witnessed since the attainment of

Analysts have said lack of development in the province should be
blamed on the fact that very few politicians from the two Matabeleland
provinces have been appointed to substantive ministerial posts, with most of
them being forced to take up deputy ministerial appointments.

Cabinet ministers work hard, including at times, using their political
muscle to ensure that development gets to their areas.

Some of the water projects mooted way after the MZWP have taken off
the ground and have been providing water to the dwellers in those parts of
the country.

Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe said while the Unity Accord managed to bring peace in the
Matabeleland provinces which had been hit by dissident activities, there
were problems with other aspects of the accord that needed to be attended

"The Unity Accord was an elite pact between politicians in PF Zapu and
Zanu PF. It brought an end to political disturbances that had rocked the
Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

"PF Zapu officials benefited from the pact but the effects of that
pact are yet to transcend to the generality of the people in Matabeleland,"
he said.

He added: "Matabeleland is still lagging behind and these are the
issues that make the people in these provinces feel they are not part and
parcel of the unity accord."

Masunungure said the proposal by some politicians to have a rotational
presidency was not practical as there was bound to be resistance from those
that have benefited from the current political processes.

Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, information and publicity minister, blamed the lack
of development in the Matabeleland provinces on some officials who sit back
and wait to be given things by central government.

Said Ndlovu: "If you look at the other parts of the country, they are
developed because people there are proactive.

"They approach the minister of finance and give him their plans for
their provinces.

"Some of us sit back and wait for funds to be released from central
government," said Ndlovu.

"The problem therefore is that government will not allocate funds for
a project that has not been advocated and lobbied for. There is need for
people in the provinces to reach out so that the government realises the
need for development of their provinces," he added.

He said the issue of rotating the presidency could only be discussed
in the confines of the Zanu PF congresses and annual conferences, as it was
a constitutional matter that needed to be discussed first at party level.

"Anyone who has a strong feeling towards the rotation of the
presidency from one province to the other so as to realise the development
as suggested should put the proposals in writing and they will be discussed
at the level of the party congress. That person should provide strong
arguments on the issue and not just waste people's time with baseless
arguments," he said.

By Nkululeko Sibanda

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Dialogue To Enshrine Ethnic Minority Rights

Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:52
WRITING in an online newspaper last week, president of the MDC, Auther
Mutambara, underscored the need for a national constitution that we can all
be proud of as Zimbabweans.

He also rightly observed that such a constitution must be borne out of
an all-inclusive process of national dialogue.

While this expression of political will from one of the potential
leaders of our country is certainly encouraging to civil society and
ordinary citizens, it is imperative to stress that this perceived
participatory process must also give all citizens an opportunity to open up
and freely articulate their fundamental and deep seated concerns peculiar to
them as a gender, race, ethnicity or even region so as to avoid a vicious
circle of conflicts caused by inequalities deliberately created by
visionless ethnocentric state policies.


While some of these issues have been addressed in various ways in the
past, Zanu PF's 28 years of monolithic and polarising politics has rendered
the last two taboo topics which one cannot raise without risking a bolt of
lightning of intolerance from some fellow citizens.

This is why all fair-minded Zimbabweans hope that the current talks
will yield an honest, deep and introspective national dialogue that will not
only be an opportunity to test our political maturity as citizens and
fledgling democracy, but also a chance for the nation to boldly confront and
address those deeply entrenched historical and political problems
wholeheartedly exacerbated through word and deed by the colonial and
post-independence political leadership.

The fact of the matter is that as Zimbabwe today tries to deal with
the challenge of bridging political polarisation caused by the ruling elite
in the last ten years, there is another threatening political undercurrent
of potential ethnic polarisation which urgently demands the attention of all
responsible and well meaning citizens.

While this problem has been mischaracterised in various ways by some
radical writers and activists, it is clearly an ideological construction
rooted in Zanu PF's politics of sectarianism.

This brand of politics then found eloquent execution in the state
policies of ethnic cleansing, economic marginalisation and internal
colonisation with the overall aim of undermining the economic independence
and cultural identity of minorities.

Yet the debate for most progressive citizens is no longer about
whether ethnic minorities were undermined by Zanu PF's politics, but about
what pro-active measures the nation needs to take to solve this problem and
help the state to wake up and catch up with its citizens who have always
stood for the politics of tolerance, equity, empathy, and inclusion.

Specifically, the following need to be addressed by the new Government
of National Unity (GNU) as part of its agenda of reforming the state and
restoring individual and group rights of all citizens in Zimbabwe, including
those of ethnic minorities.

In his article, Professor Mutambara talked about the need for healing
the wounds of the last four months.

However, it is public knowledge now that the wounds of some minorities
or sections of our society go far beyond the recent political cleansing that
characterised the last presidential poll.

The nation cannot afford to sweep the Gukurahundi atrocities under the
carpet because they represent an unprecedented and unforgettable darkest
hour in our history and politicians must awaken to the fact that their
continued avoidance of the matter poses serious threats to the peace and
stability of the nation for future generations.

The atrocities cannot be treated as "any other business" in the item
list of issues that face the nation today.

Lost opportunity

If the issue is avoided again in the prospective national dialogue,
this will have been a lost opportunity for all Zimbabweans.

Any meaningful national dialogue has to be thematically deep, wide and
diverse in order to eliminate all areas of potential conflict in future.

For minorities, national dialogue must yield a constitution that
clearly recognises their right to political participation so as to be able
to form associations and political parties that articulate their unique
problems without being demonised as ethnic enclaves by the state or other
competing groups.

It must be a constitution that also protects their rights to language
and cultural identity so that the media and other cultural industries will
be mandated to develop organisational policies that address their needs in
terms of employment, content production and public participation. Last but
not least, it must be a constitution that empowers the state to adopt
appropriate legislative and institutional measures not only in the promotion
of minority identities, but also their participation and proportionate
representation in parliament, public bodies, the army and police force.

These demands are not far fetched or misplaced.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to international laws that obligate states to
protect their minorities such as International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (Article 27), International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights (Article 1) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Ethnic and Linguistic Minorities (1992).

Minorities in Zimbabwe therefore have a right to lobby for the respect
of their rights in the national constitution so that their participation in
national institutions is prioritised by all future governments.


For minority Zimbabweans, a good constitution must create a rock solid
foundation for parliament to enact laws that prevent their discrimination in
land and property ownership, government loans, education opportunities,
employment in key government sectors, housing, and key public media jobs.

The government must be able to pass laws that create independent
ethnic and race equality bodies modelled along the Equality Commission for
Northern Ireland or the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity

Such a body must obviously have very effective investigative,
regulatory, and enforcement powers so that in can arbitrate on cases of
ethnic discrimination by anyone including the government itself.

With appropriate laws and institutional mechanisms, Zimbabwe will be
the first African country to have a bloodless revolution that will confront
state engineered tribalism and mitigate the impact of this social evil on
meritocracy and national development.

It will also be one of the first countries to implement constitutional
and legal reforms that amount to long term conflict prevention mechanisms.

This will also help the country to avoid situations like Darfur,
Rwanda, Somalia and Tibet where state marginalisation of ethnic minorities
culminated in ethnic clashes and national despair and underdevelopment.

In Durfur, years of discrimination have failed to prevent the Fur,
Zaghawa, and Masalit minorities' to launch armed resistance that has
undermined peace and stability in Sudan whereas in Somalia tribal war lords
operating clan based militias have undermined the state and the rule of law.

Recently, we saw Tibetans run amock and destroy businesses owned by
the Han Chinese ethnic groups who where targetted as beneficiaries of the
Chinese government policy of ethnic discrimination.

All these problems had been left by the respective governments to
ferment and create political fissures that are now threatening to tear those
nations apart.

In some of these cases, minorities are beginning to call for
secession, a problem that could have been avoided had the governments
implemented non-discriminatory and inclusive policies for all their people.

Countries that do not fear democracy have even granted autonomy to
their minority groups in their constitutions.

Instructive cases include Australia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and

Autonomy is increasingly per-ceived not in terms of full independence
or secession, but internal democratic arrangements within the nation-state
so that ethnic minorities enjoy some level of freedom from the centre.

This minimal independence is meant to butress bottom-up initiatives in
governance and development as opposed to the top-down trickling of leftovers
from central government.

Countries that have experimented on this, have proved that autonomy is
not a threat to national unity, but instead a foundation to peaceful
co-existence and unity in diversity of the citizens.

*Dr Last Moyo writes from Wales, UK. He can be contacted at

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Political Settlement Should Cater For All Interests

Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:46
FROM the liberation struggle to post-independent Zimbabwe, the country
has witnessed rampant human rights violations that include killings,
abductions, rape, arson, kidnappings, forced disappearances, and extra-legal
and extra-judicial killings.

These issues have not been resolved and unless there is justice for
those who suffered and continue to do so, the talks in South Africa will be
a charade.

In this article, I want to examine two critical issues that in my view
are not addressed by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Zanu PF
and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change.

The first one is the failure to acknowledge the murderous nature of
one of the parties to the negotiations and the abuses that Zimbabweans have
suffered under President Robert Mugabe since he assumed office in 1980 and
his disdain for citizens' civil and political liberties. Secondly I would
also want to examine the disdain of the role of civic society and other
small political parties that has been shown by the parties to the

A society that is built on the injustices of the Midlands and
Matabeleland massacres, the 2000 and 2002 parliamentary and presidential
election abuses respectively, and the post-29 March violence against
ordinary citizens for expressing opinions different from those of the ruling
elite will not stand the test of time.

What is saddening is that the MoU signed by both formations of the MDC
and Zanu PF which sets the framework for negotiations between these two
political foes does not acknowledge that this country has suffered a lot of
injustices under the leadership of President Mugabe. I am not saying that
the MoU should not address the substantive issues to the talks but critical
issues such as transitional justice matters should in my view be part of the
negotiating framework.

The situation has been worsened by the fact that the international
community, particularly Sadc and the African Union (AU) and most importantly
the MDC and Zanu PF as well at the facilitator President Thabo Mbeki of
South Africa, have sought to dichotomise Zimbabweans as either belonging to
the opposition or the ruling party.

In my view, any understanding or purported resolution of the crisis in
the country that does not acknowledge and seek to deliver justice to those
who lost their dear ones during the Midlands and Matabeleland disturbances
will not be a legitimate outcome. This country cannot continue with business
as usual while others including the victims of the post-Gukurahundi
disturbances such as the post-Constitutional Referendum victims to date
continue to wait for a justice that is eluding them by the day.

It is my contention that Zimbabwe cannot one day find itself as a
democracy by covering up its past history, or by denying justice to victims
of state-organised acts of injustices. In the same regard people who faced
injustices under the present leadership of Zanu PF cannot be proud
Zimbabweans when those who murdered their relatives continue to roam the
streets, continue to run the affairs of the state and more so continue to
abuse human rights.

In short, all Zimbabweans should feel safe and be treated equally
before the law. This cannot happen when some people among the ruling elite
think that they can maim and kill people without any recourse to justice.
The cornerstone of any democratic and civilised nation is the respect for
law and order and the prevalence of justice. There cannot be justice in
Zimbabwe when the institutional framework is weak and when the political
culture in the country lacks morality.

It is my argument that the crisis in Zimbabwe cannot be resolved by
celebrating and rewarding impunity. The recent electoral sham has shown some
of us that the people cited or accused of masterminding the Midlands and
Matabeleland killings were at it again during the post-March 29 violence.

The political leadership in Zimbabwe, particularly President Mugabe
and his group should simply appreciate that the country cannot continue to
be ruled through fear and violence and that those who lost their loved ones
deserve justice. One way of doing so is to accept responsibility by the top
political leadership and engage the victims as the first step towards
national healing. Denying and continuing to abuse human rights will not
assist to resolve the crisis in the country.

Zimbabweans should appreciate that the struggle for power is not
necessarily a struggle for democracy. Not all people who seek power are
democratic. People seek power for different reasons including getting power
to abuse it as Zanu PF has shown for the past three decades. This brings me
to the tragedy that the current talks that involve only political parties

Why the search for the resolution of the national crisis is being
limited to two political parties without the broadening of the negotiators
to include other political parties and civic society organisations boggles
the mind. It seems that in the limited view of the negotiators, Zimbabweans
are either Zanu PF or MDC. Civil society organisations are not appendages to
either Zanu PF or the MDC. Other political parties, no matter how small,
while disagreeing with how Zanu PF is running the affairs of the state are
not necessarily in agreement with the two formations of the MDC.

Those who are facilitating the talks are failing to understand that
the resolution of the crisis in Zimbabwe requires national efforts by all
stakeholders and that the outcome of the process should be acceptable to the
majority of Zimbabweans not political parties and politicians alone.

Zimbabwe is not a country of politicians but of every citizen
political or not. The settlement that should therefore come out of the
negotiations should not satisfy Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Mutambara and their
political parties but the generality of Zimbabweans. If it doesn't as I am
sure it will not, then that pact will not stand the test of time and there
is no need for Zimbabweans to accept a power sharing pact at the expense of
building national consensus that will lead to the creation of the Zimbabwe
that most citizens will be proud to be part of.

With all due respect, I find this demeaning, shallow, parochial and
downright insulting to Zimbabweans.

While I understand Zanu PF's revulsion against civic society's work on
insisting on non-compliance as one way of creating a democratic society, I
find it appalling that the two formations of the MDC for the second time
around fail to insist that they cannot enter into negotiations that are
discriminatory of other stakeholders that have played fundamental roles in
the democratisation agenda for the past decade.

The two formations of the MDC, the AU and Sadc, as well as Zanu PF if
it bothers to listen, should understand three critical roles that advocacy
networks such as the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the National
Constitutional Assembly, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, Bulawayo Agenda and others play in the
democratisation process in our country.

For the past decade, civil society organisations in the country have
put the norm-violating regime of President Mugabe on the international
agenda in terms of moral consciousness and awareness. This has led the
international community and of late members of the AU and Sadc to condemn
and refuse to do business with the Harare regime on the basis of human
rights violations and the holding of bogus elections.

The world came to this position because of the advocacy work of civil
society organisations. To then deny these groups a chance to be part of
resolving the national crisis boggles the mind. It also exposes the two
formations of the MDC as power-seekers who are not interested in the
institutional, structural and governance changes in the country.

It strengthens worries that the two formations want to author the
country's constitution without involving the majority of the citizenry
through a people-driven process.

The challenge now lies with civil society organisations. They must
stand firm and refuse to endorse a pact by the elite to share power without
dealing with the fundamental issues of institutional and governance renewal
pinned on a democratic constitution crafted through a people-oriented
process. Nothing more, nothing less.

Human rights scholars further argue that civic groups empower and
legitimise the claims of domestic opposition groups such as the MDC against
norm-violating governments like Mugabe's administration. Moreover civic
groups also protect the physical integrity of opposition groups and
activists from governmental repression.

This work has been done with integrity by organisations such as
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights among others. It is therefore important
for the MDC formations to realise that civic society organisations have
played crucial roles in mobilising domestic opposition, social movements and
NGOs in targeted countries to speak against repression in Zimbabwe.

By Ruhanya who is a Human Rights Researcher at the University of
Minnesota, USA.

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Will Sanctions Produce The Desired Outcome?

Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:26
ON Friday, July 25 2008, while the representatives of Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition were in
the midst of negotiations facilitated by South African President Mbeki,

United States President George Bush signed an executive order to
expand sanctions against individuals and organisations in Zimbabwe
associated with what he calls the "illegitimate" regime of Mugabe.

After 28 years of Independence, a precedent that many never thought
possible in post-colonial Zimbabwe has been set whereby the outcome of an
electoral process does not count for much other than to reduce the will of
the people to a negotiating room with six individuals tasked with making
decisions for about 13 million citizens.

The role of the international community in promoting or undermining
democracy in Zimbabwe will continue to occupy the minds of many people not
only in Zimbabwe but throughout the world.

After 28 years of Independence, Zimbabwe's standing in the world has
significantly diminished under the watch of Mugabe.

By global standards, Zimbabwe is too insignificant to attract the
attention of the world and yet its crisis continues to occupy the minds of
not only the G-8 countries but the entire United Nations.

This unprecedented spotlight on Zimbabwe has assisted Mugabe in making
the case that the political and economic crisis is a direct result of the
land dispossession of white Zimbabweans and the threat of the so-called 100%
black economic empowerment thrust.

What is the causal link between the targeted sanctions and the
economic meltdown in Zimbabwe? Is it correct to conclude that were it not
for the imposition of economic sanctions, the prospects of the economy would
be brighter? Would an agreement on the political questions between the
negotiating parties be sufficient to incentivise the West to lift sanctions?

In announcing the new raft of sanctions, Bush said that the action was
meant to send a strong message that the US will not permit individuals
closely linked to Mugabe to operate in its financial markets.

A view shared by many and confirmed by Mugabe during the elections is
that the will of the people of Zimbabwe does not matter and the calls by the
international community for the restoration of the rule of law and respect
for property rights can be ignored with no consequences.

The March 29 elections were held in an atmosphere that cannot be
regarded as free and fair and yet the message from the people was that they
wanted a change of direction and leadership.

While it can be legitimately argued that the results of the March
election largely reflected the will of the people, it cannot be denied that
the outcome could have been substantially different in favour of the
opposition had the state been under the control of a neutral person.

The March presidential election did not produce a conclusive outcome,
leading to the controversial run-off election whose timing and legality will
continue to occupy legal and political minds for years to come.

However, the vote that has been condemned by the West and boycotted by
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai produced an outcome that now gives
Mugabe a locus standi in the Sadc-facilitated negotiations that have now
been elevated to party talks rather than focusing solely on the presidential

By putting the screws on Tsvangirai and using the state machinery to
deny him any media, financial and logistical support, the outcome of the
run-off was as predictable as the agenda for the Sadc-mediated talks.

What does the EU and US governments know about the current talks that
are not in the public domain? Why would they impose sanctions when the talks
seem to be on track? What is it about Mugabe that makes the West suspicious
of the outcome?

If the sanctions are targeted at stopping politically motivated
violence, why would they take the form of an assets freeze? What is so
special about the 17 enterprises that have now been included in the targeted

One of the principal reasons that motivated Tsvangirai to withdraw
from the run-off elections was the violence that polluted the electoral
atmosphere and environment.

The mere fact that the new sanctions are linked to the violence issue
suggests that the West's agenda is no more than trying to assist helpless
Zimbabweans against state-sponsored violence.

However, it is not at all clear how targeted financial sanctions will
incentivise the state to stop using violence and intimidation as a weapon to
whip people into line.

In response to the humiliation of March, Mugabe whose intelligence
must have told him about the causal link between the activities of the NGOs
and the electoral success of the MDC, stopped suspected NGOs from being
involved in providing humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable people of

What the EU and US governments are not saying is that they have come
to the inescapable conclusion that Mugabe represents values, principles and
morality that is inimical to the West's shared values.

Unless the talks can produce an outcome that will remove Mugabe, it is
clear that no change will take place in the approach of the West to the
Zimbabwean crisis.

By giving an ambiguous position, as quoted below, on what is at stake
in the current Zimbabwean crisis, Bush is setting himself up to an
embarrassing and untenable position in the event that Tsvangirai agrees to
serve in Mugabe's cabinet:

"Should ongoing talks in South Africa between Mugabe's regime and the
Movement of Democratic Change result in a new government that reflects the
will of the Zimbabwean people, the United States stands ready to provide a
substantial assistance package, development aid, and normalisation with
international financial institutions."

What precisely is meant by the will of the Zimbabwean people? Should
the Zimbabwean people through the three negotiating parties agree to form a
government of national unity (GNU) just like South Africa's former apartheid
government agreed with the African National Congress (ANC) and others to an
interim constitution providing for a GNU, what would be the position of the
EU and the US? Should sanctions not automatically be lifted?

How do targeted sanctions assist the cause of freedom for the
suffering Zimbabwean masses? It is evident that the West has been pushed
into a corner from which it is difficult to argue that were it not for the
onslaught on white property rights by the Mugabe regime, the West would not
have a case to stand on.

Surely, Africa has many examples of violent elections that have not
produced the same outrage from the West leading many to question the motives
behind the sanctions thrust.

Will the sanctions produce the desired outcomes? What really are the
outcomes sought?

It should be sufficient for the West to make the case that the views
held by Mugabe about the role of the state in nation-building are offensive
to their own values and principles without seeking to hide behind the
violence issue that has been taken up by Tsvangirai in the face of brutal
attacks by a partisan state.

To what extent are the views held by Mugabe different from those held
by the labour movement from whose womb Tsvangirai emerged?

At the core of the land reform programme is a belief, strongly held by
Mugabe and his colleagues, that it is an appropriate role of the state to
become an active participant in resource allocation and productive

The contestation for political power is really between the labour
movement and intellectuals with the business community taking the role of

The business community is obviously silent because the risks inherent
in challenging the political elites in government and the opposition are too

Having been one of the most significant black victims of undemocratic
processes using state institutions, I find myself with no choice but to
support the view that unless the rule of law is restored and property rights
are respected, the West is justified in maintaining pressure on the
negotiators to focus on what the country requires to move forward.

Last Friday, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign
Assets Control (OFAC) designated 17 entities, including Zimre Holdings Ltd,
an investment and reinsurance entity that was mine until the promulgation of
decrees and laws that allowed Mugabe's government to expropriate my
shareholding in the company with no compensation.

I challenged the actions of the government of Zimbabwe in the
Zimbabwean courts and regrettably Justice Rita Makarau ruled that a
specified person has no constitutional right to challenge the state from
enjoying the benefits of its own actions.

As at September 6, 2004 when a state-appointed administrator took
control of all my Zimbabwean companies as a consequence of the operation of
the State Indebted Insolvent Companies Act, I was the controlling
shareholder of Zimre with a combined stake of 46,6%.

In January 2005, Zimre proceeded to hold a rights issue whose effect
was to allow the government to follow the rights of my companies resulting
in the government becoming the largest shareholder.

I do hope that by targeting Zimre, a window exists to expose the true
nature of the operations of the government of Zimbabwe in undermining the
rule of law.

*By Mutumwa Mawere : Zimbabwean-born businessman based in SA.

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Erich Bloch: Zanu PF Realism A Must For Recovery

Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:38
ALMOST all Zimbabweans await the outcome of the inter-party talks with
very mixed emotions and sentiments.

Some are driven by political considerations, by bitterness and
resentment, and like factors. However, foremost in the minds of most are
economic issues, in anticipation that a resolution at the talks is a
prerequisite for Zimbabwe to embark upon a much needed, grossly overdue,
economic upturn. The magnitude of the hardships and sufferings which are
borne by the vast majority of the Zimbabwean population is so great that
none can focus upon anything other than the struggle for survival. In
consequence, their only political thoughts are deep-seated and intensifying
resentment of those who rule Zimbabwe.

Most perceive them to be the catalysts of the appalling economic ills.
A minority do not go to the extent of blaming the ruling politicians for
creating Zimbabwe's disastrous economic circumstance, but do blame them for
their total failure to address and heal the ills. As a result, all await
anxiously the outcome of the talks, in recognition that only a substantive,
workable agreement between the negotiating parties can create the anxiously
awaited fulcrum for economic recovery.

That recovery has to address inflation which now substantially exceeds
ten million percent per annum, and is sustaining geometric growth. It has to
address employment creation, for more than four-fifths of the employable
population are without formal sector employment. It has to address a
pronounced scarcity of foreign exchange critically required to fund
absolutely essential needs of agriculture, industry, commerce, and the
population as a whole. It has to address the grievous scarcities of food, of
medications, and of diverse other essentials. It has to address a horrendous
near-total infrastructural collapse. And it must address much else if
Zimbabwe and its population is not to continue to wither and die.

To an overriding extent, achieving such a Zimbabwean metamorphosis is
dependent upon those engaged in the negotiations applying unreserved realism
of the needs and measures necessary to attain the desperately awaited
metamorphosis, and being willing to abandon long-held, self-centred policies
and objectives. They have to be willing to sacrifice heretofore rigidly held
stances, and place the needs of Zimbabwe ahead of all else.

It is therefore of extreme concern that many media reports intimate
that although Zanu PF has agreed to engage in the negotiations, and to
target at a new political framework for Zimbabwe, it has specified some
allegedly entrenched preconditions for any agreement. In particular, the
reports allege that Zanu PF has emphatically stated that wholly
non-negotiable are the issues of Zimbabwean sovereignty and of the land
reform programme. If these reports are well-founded and based upon fact,
then the talks are assured of failure, and the Zimbabwean decline will not
only continue, but will accelerate.

None can credibly contest Zimbabwe's right to be an independent,
sovereign state. However, that sovereignty must be preserved and implemented
without breach of international norms of good governance, respect for human
and property rights, absolute compliance with policies of international
bodies such as the United Nations, and adherence to law founded wholly upon
the fundamental principles of justice. Regrettably, Zanu PF appears to
suffer from an intense belief that former colonial powers, and their allies,
are determined upon a re-colonisation of Africa in general and of Zimbabwe
in particular. This belief is ludicrous in the extreme. Not only have those
colonial powers spent most of a half-century vigorously striving to divest
themselves of their colonies, and of the attendant responsibilities for
those colonies, but it defies all rationality to believe that they have any
wish to recolonise and thereby become responsible for very immense

Those who have hallucinatorily deluded themselves into themselves into
believing the re-colonisation theory base their beliefs upon contentions
that the developed countries wish for unlimited access and control of
primary product wealth of Africa in general, and especially of Zimbabwe's
vast potential resources of platinum nickel, diamonds, chrome, coal and
much, much else. But the developed countries can access those resources
readily by investment and collaboration, without being burdened with a
responsibility for millions of under-nourished, homeless and near-destitute

Of as great a fixation is that the international community, and those
with whom Zanu PF are negotiating, are set upon a reversal of Zimbabwe's
land reform programme. This fixation is also ill-conceived. None of Zimbabwe's
negotiating parties have called for the programme to be halted and reversed,
and all are agreed that the Zimbabwean people must be accorded the
opportunity of having land. What is demanded is that, on the one hand, the
programme be constructively restructured so as to assure its success, in
contradistinction to its current almost total failure. They seek a programme
which respects property rights, honours bilateral investment protection
agreements, is administered with unequivocal justice, and which is

Zimbabwe has proven, over many decades, the gargantuan viability and
potential of its lands. For a very extended period of time, Zimbabwe was
effectively the breadbasket of the region, but now it is unable to feed its
own people. Agriculture was the foundation of the economy, representing more
than a third of gross domestic product, generated most of Zimbabwe foreign
exchange needs, and provided employment for over 300 000, over and above
being a major fuellant of the downstream economy, and a substantial direct
and indirect revenue source for the fiscus. Today agriculture is an
emaciated skeleton of its former substance, and this is almost entirely due
to the obdurate, counterproductive manner of implementing land reform

Thus, all public indications are that whilst none of the negotiating
parties, and none of the international community, contend that there should
not be land reform, and none are seeking total rescission of the programme
which has been so disastrously pursued, nevertheless they do seek reversal
of injustices and ills, and programme restructuring to meet international
norms, and those
of justice and equity, and to assure restoration of a viable and
successful agricultural sector.

If Zanu PF is incapable of moving inflexible positions of absolute
rigidity on the issues of sovereignty and of land reform, and is unable or
unwilling to address those issues with realism, then not only can the talks
not succeed, but in addition the total collapse of Zimbabwe and the
suffering of its people is indisputable. If it does not apply such realism,
it may extend its period of national rulership, but it will be ruling the
dead. Realism is a must!

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Muckraker: Don't Cry For Me Zimbabwe

Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:32
THE official press appears to be grooming Grace Mugabe for high

A fawning piece appeared in the Herald on Monday comparing "Amai
Grace" to the biblical Deborah who led the Israelites when confusion reigned
among the children of God.

She toured the country assisting the "victims of barbarism", we are
told. "And while taking the opportunity to help the victims, Amai Mugabe
became one of the first national political leaders to condemn violence."

Really? We thought she spent her time condemning Morgan Tsvangirai.

"Amai Mugabe took the message of peace to the people of Zimbabwe,
stressing the need for unity against the common enemy."

MDC members may be forgiven if they have difficulty recalling the
First Lady's generosity towards them. Donations in Mayo appeared to be aimed
at the victims of alleged opposition violence!

"Amai Mugabe, like a true mother figure, gently chided the nation and
reminded Zimbabweans that this was their country."

"Gently chided"? We remember a shrill partisan voice. As for
Zimbabweans writing to the Herald urging her to take charge of President
Mugabe's campaign, this looks suspiciously like a well-orchestrated campaign
of its own. Shades of Eva Peron here.

The wife of Argentina's 1950s Fascist dictator, Juan Peron, Eva
(Evita) was a populist demagogue who liked nothing better than appearing
before her adoring fans on the balcony of the presidential palace. She
helped to introduce labour reforms while her husband ruthlessly suppressed
speech and press freedoms. Evita, encouraged by a servile media, harboured
ambitions of becoming vice-president when her husband stood for reelection
but the army put its foot down, or rather its boot.

movie starring Madonna in the role of Evita featured the song "Don't
cry for me Argentina" as she made her farewell address to distraught

Describing Grace as "articulate, smart, and an asset to both her
husband and women voters" by one Herald reader, columnist Sydney Kawadza
agreed saying Zimbabwe needs "proactive and principled leaders to complement
President Mugabe's formidable campaign".

One "principle" that stands out was the refusal to allow Tsvangirai to
occupy State House if he won the run-off.

"The First Lady has evolved not only as the mother to her children,
but as a mother to the nation," Kawadza drools.

The Herald, as usual, doesn't tell us who this particular propagandist
is. But we know one thing: He easily gets our Sick Bag of the month award.
And by the way, it's official now. Grace is the lady of the house at Iron
Mask Farm, seized under the land reform programme several years ago but
allowed to go to seed since then. But we want to know more about the Amitofo
Care Centre for street kids whose relocation was the pretext for this
particular farm grab which dispossessed the elderly owners.

The Herald carried a story on Saturday about John Makumbe failing to
substantiate his claims of violence in the post-June 27 period. He made the
claims on the ZTV programme Zimbabwe Today, saying people had sought refuge
in mountainous areas.

Following the claims, police summoned him to furnish them with more
information, we are told.

"He only referred the officers who quizzed him to a hostile newspaper,
The Zimbabwean," police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka told the Herald, "and
said he had got some of his information from the pirate radio station run by
the "Voice of America."

Makumbe had "misled the nation", Mandipaka claimed.

"It is very unfortunate that a professor could go on national
television and make such allegations without any shred of evidence,"
Mandipaka said. "Such utterances are in our view calculated to cause
despondency and are alarming to the country," he said.

We must remind ourselves that causing alarm and despondency is an
offence in Zimbabwe only if the culprit is linked to the opposition. The
real authors of alarm and despondency go unmolested!

But should police spokesmen refer to certain newspapers as "hostile"
and radio stations as "pirate"? How appropriate is it to label media in that

Makumbe's offence was to suggest that violence persists following the
presidential election run-off. This would appear to be a politically
sensitive matter.

Makumbe had "misled the nation into believing that violence was still
prevalent, yet there were no cases of violence since the elections ended",
Mandikapa claimed.

Is that true? Have there been no cases of post-electoral violence

What about the refugees from Ruwa who were set upon when they
attempted to return home after their sojourn outside the US embassy? And why
are we having to make a distinction between violence before and after June

Is it any more acceptable that it took place during the run-off? What
progress for instance has been made in investigations into the murder of
Joshua Bakacheza, whose mutilated and burnt body was found in Beatrice just
a few weeks ago, or Tonderayi Ndira?

Why have those cases not been solved? And what about Ben Freeth and
his in-laws who were viciously assaulted during the occupation of their
Chegutu farm in the post-June 27 era?

The Herald's dubious informants have been pretending the victims faked
their injuries. This occasioned a statement by the family's lawyers.

Can you imagine being attacked by thugs masquerading as war veterans
who broke the bones of an elderly woman and almost blinded her son-in-law
and then being told that you were faking your injuries?

The assailants in that case were apprehended and their case is
currently before the courts. But it would be useful to know what direction
they had.

The Herald story last Saturday containing Mandipaka's statement on
Makumbe was a repeat of one that appeared on ZTV last Thursday night.

We are not sure what accounted for the 48-hour delay that made it a
very old story on Saturday. But Happison Muchechetere, who chairs the
dreadful Zimbabwe Today programme should understand his professional
responsibility to safeguard his guests rather than collaborate in their

If there is any conclusion to emerge from this episode it is that
Zimbabwean academics are interrogated for views expressed in a television
programme about the political situation just as talks get under way in South
Africa on a political settlement. What does this tell us about freedom of
speech in post-June 27 Zimbabwe?

If the talks are to succeed there must be absolute freedom of
expression and a professionally run public media so the public back home can
judge whether their interests are being properly served.

Another disturbing feature of all this was the role of the Centre for
Peace Initiatives in Africa joining the fray against Makumbe, telling civil
society to refrain from "provocative statements". This apparently includes
warning of the persistence of violence!

We heard Tafataona Mahoso on Sunday saying the media had let people
down by not placing the correct spin upon the MoU. We had failed to provide
a "historical context" so "genuine leaders" could protect national

He then lost 90% of his readers by wandering off to something that
happened in 1974. But what caught our interest was his claim that the BBC
Hardtalk programme had interviewed the "British Foreign Affairs Secretary"
in its edition of July 23.

He then referred again to the "British Foreign Secretary".

Why didn't he name him? David Miliband is the Foreign Secretary. But
Mahoso doesn't seem to know that.

We suspect he saw the Hardtalk interview with Mark Malloch Brown who
is a minister in the Foreign Office, of which there are several.

Did Mahoso write his column without knowing who the person being
interviewed was? Surely not!

A few weeks ago we saw Malloch Brown in the Herald being referred to
as a friend of Ian Smith. This will come as news to Malloch Brown.

One reason why Malloch Brown is a favourite bete noir of the Zanu PF
media is his refusal to give the nod to their chaotic land programme when he
was head of the UNDP.

All the regime had to do, he said, was produce a plan that could be
effectively implemented, maintain productivity and address issues of social

They failed to do so. Instead productivity collapsed and the poor got

All very inconvenient.

Delegates to the all-party talks near Pretoria have reached agreement
on one thing, the Sunday Times reports. They had to move to another lodge
because the one they were booked into wasn't posh enough.

This is a breakthrough. Zanu PF and the MDC were in complete
agreement. First of all they were unhappy that some rooms were larger and
smarter than others. And secondly, horror of horrors, there were no

The delegation left the Ingwenya Country Estate in Muldersdrift just
24 hours after checking in, we are told. The MDC delegates were flown in
separately by the South African airforce after they refused to fly with the
rival Zanu PF delegation.

The South African government had spent R750 000 on the venue which had
cancelled other bookings to make room for the Zimbabweans.

"They arrived here and demanded five-star service and accommodation,"
a source at the venue told the Sunday Times. "They brought in their security
to sweep the area and searched us and our offices."

The fact that not all rooms were the same size led to friction among
delegates who felt they were not being treated equally. The atmosphere at
the lodge was said to be very tense with delegates refusing to socialise
after the meetings or around the breakfast table.

But the tension did not stop the delegates from enjoying some of the
provisions available at the venue, the paper reported. "They only drank
expensive whisky like Johnnie Walker," an employee said.

They are reported to have left the venue last Wednesday night escorted
by police heading for a five-star guesthouse in Pretoria where they found
circumstances more to their liking!

Still with the talks, we were dismayed to read a report suggesting
Morgan Tsvangirai had been offered the post of third vice-president. Quite
understandably he refused it.

It would be downright insulting for the winner of the March poll to be
relegated to an already over-crowded portfolio. Isn't this a perfect
opportunity to retire Joseph Msika?

The ruling party claims it is upholding the Unity Accord by keeping
him on. According to this redundant logic the seat is being kept warm for
John Nkomo.

This of course takes no notice of the cost or usefulness of the post.
What exactly does Msika do? And why is Zanu PF maintaining the fiction of
the Unity Accord when the region voted solidly for the MDC in every election
since 2000?

We were interested in Munyaradzi Huni's response to the EU decision to
place him on their list of banned persons.

He said he was not surprised by the decision. "The EU is fighting
Zimbabweans," he said, "and I am one of them."

Shouldn't that have read "The EU is feeding Zimbabweans"?

Whatever the case, Huni remains defiant.

"If the idea was to instill fear in me, they should know that instead
I am inspired to defend my country from imperialism through the pen."

The pen? Won't Zimpapers buy him a computer?

And we were intrigued by Caesar Zvayi's reference in a Herald article
last Friday to Nathaniel Manheru as "my colleague".

Does this mean Manheru is now teaching geography in Botswana?

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Editor's Memo: 'Targeted' Sanctions Label No Longer Sticks

Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:23
THE inclusion of two companies quoted on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
on the United States sanctions list is an unprecedented development which
has far-reaching ramifications on Zimbabwe's political landscape.

It's now always going to be difficult for the West to label the
measures against Zimbabwe as targeted.

Diversified financial services counters Zimre Holdings and ZB
Financial Holdings have been added to the list of companies barred from
doing business with the US. They feature in a line-up which includes
parastatals Ziscosteel, Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation, Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Agribank and several other companies with
links to government or Zanu PF. The justification for the inclusion of the
organisations is that they have been propping up the government of President
Mugabe or abetted the violence that ensued after the first round of polling
in March.

"In light of the continued intransigence of the brutal Mugabe regime,
the US is imposing further sanctions against this regime and its
supporters," said US Director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets
Control, Adam J Szubin. "These actions send a clear warning to those who
would protect Mugabe and his assets at the expense of the Zimbabwean

There has been an attempt to situate the sanctions as an instrument to
ring-fence the talks between Zanu PF and the MDC. This is to assume that the
sanctions have the desired effect of bringing positive change to Zimbabwe
without hurting would-be beneficiaries. Sponsors of the regimen of sanctions
since 2002 have argued that the measures form part of the country's
democratisation process. The inclusion of public-listed companies,
parastatals and individual journalists however dilutes all mantras that
sanctions are designed to immediately bring democracy and human rights.

There is the argument that including journalists is an attack on
tolerance and diversity of opinion while including parastatals is clear
evidence that these sanctions seek to cause suffering to people other than
those perceived to be opponents. The collateral damage here is even greater
considering the thousands of Zimbabwean shareholders in ZHL and ZB whose
wealth is now at risk. It would be very hard for the US and EU to convince
these shareholders, the thousands of people employed by the affected
companies and communities they serve, that sanctions are being implemented
to achieve a common good. Can we say those shareholders constitute a group
"of those who would protect Mugabe and his assets at the expense of the
Zimbabwean people"?

This is not to ignore the fact that government acquired its stake in
ZHL through means which former key shareholder Mutumwa Mawere regards as an
affront to the rule of law and an assault on property rights. Nicholas
Vingirai can also surmise Finhold's (the forerunner to ZB) acquisition of
Intermarket in the same light.

Government controls 63% of ZHL and 68% of ZB. Part of the government
stock is held through NSSA which is a key investor on the stock exchange.
But individuals and institutions who have bought stock in the companies did
not do so in the hope of getting morsels of the ill-gotten wealth. Most, if
not all of them, are honest investors whose motivation is not instructed by
politics but by a need to create wealth for themselves.

Unless there are other issues at stake in determining the
blameworthiness of the two firms to warrant being put under sanctions, there
is a danger of making the devil look like a saint. Even in instances where
the companies affected have little business interaction in the United
States, this raft of sanctions can provide Mugabe's government with the fuel
to power his anti-US propaganda.

He can now go to the communities around Redcliff for example and drive
home the point that the US government wants to see the iron and steel plant
closed, which would result in unemployment and destitution in the town. Or
the government will one day ascribe the failure of agriculture to the
failure by Agribank to give loans to farmers. How would the US defend this

Also how would the US console punters with stock in ZB and ZHL when
the share prices of the counters start heading south? The real danger here
is that the sanctions can have the inadvertent effect of providing our
government with ready-made excuses for failure. Our rulers have as always
been searching for someone to blame for every obtuse move taken.

It is obvious that the choice of the organisations to place under
sanctions is being influenced by information provided by local sources.
These informants run the risk of becoming treacherous beings whose actions
are influenced by selfish ends and not the quest to achieve positive change
in this country. The MDC this week said they had nothing to do with the
current sanctions because they concern sovereign states.

Sanctions, the US and EU say, are intended to send a message that
electoral violence is unacceptable. That may be true. But they also give a
hostage to fortune.

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Comment: We Want Change Now

Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:10
THE presidential issue has been settled by the June 27 run-off, Zanu
PF secretary for Information Nathan Shamuyarira declared in the ruling party's
publication, The Voice.

"The question of power has been settled by the elections," he said.
"It should be stressed that executive power will remain with the elected

Disregarding the outcome of the run-off would be "tantamount to
disowning the people's will", the publication reported him as suggesting.

This is at the heart of the matter before the negotiators in Pretoria.
While we have no doubt that President Mugabe continues to exercise executive
power, whether he should be allowed to do so is a moot point. Certainly the
MDC, regional countries such as Botswana, and the wider international
community regard Mugabe's tenure as procured by systematic
state-orchestrated violence and therefore illegitimate. The people's will
was openly flouted.

Botswana's Foreign minister Phandu Skelemani said just a few days ago
that his country would not recognise Mugabe as head of state.

The complexion of any government of national unity or transitional
arrangement will thus depend upon the resolution of this point - the
structure of power.

Shamuyarira must not imagine for one moment that he can issue a
pronunciamento based on the discredited June outcome and expect the nation
to swallow it. Since its negotiators arrived in Pretoria the ruling party
has been attempting to lay down a number of conditions including the lifting
of sanctions. All this is wishful thinking. Any system that enables Zanu PF
to continue abusing power will be rejected not just by the overwhelming
majority of Zimbabweans but by the international community.

We had a good demonstration of the problem on Wednesday. Appearing at
Gideon Gono's monetary policy review, Mugabe warned business people that
they faced emergency measures if they continued to engage in behaviour he
described as profiteering.

It is now common cause that hyperinflation is the product of reckless
government expenditure and the printing of money, as well as a shortage of
goods. Gono would argue that he has no alternative to letting the printing
press run so long as we are deprived of balance-of-payments support. But
that decision by the Bretton Woods institutions is based firmly on the
absence of a workable economic reform package that addresses macro-economic

Threatening the business community when they attempt to recover the
costs of production will simply compound the crisis. Empty supermarket
shelves are testimony to government's economic illiteracy.

Mugabe is widely seen as the author of the country's ills. No investor
will want to come into a country with such a toxic business climate and
where populist demagoguery substitutes for sound economic policy. The
"people's shops" are another example of how the local business community is
prejudiced by wayward politicians.

The talks currently underway will have to grasp this nettle of power.
If Mugabe and his followers cannot see the need for change and reform, and
they obviously can't, we are in for a complete collapse of the economy.

We are already getting there. As we illustrate on Page 3 of our
businessdigest section today, prices are punishing. A loaf of bread that was
$3 million in January is above $250 billion now ($25 revalued). A commuter
bus ride to town that was $1,5 million in January and $10 billion in July,
is now $140 billion ($14).

While there is undoubtedly an element of opportunism in some private-
sector hikes, who gives the green light for price hikes at Air Zimbabwe,
Zesa, Zinwa and TelOne? These problems will only be solved when there is a
change in government.

The people voted for change in March and their will was thwarted.
Shamuyarira's remarks echo a derelict regime shocked at the extent of their
loss and with no clue how to solve a crisis of their own making.

Shamuyarira's delusions are understandable. He lives in another world.
But we should not delude ourselves. The country cannot afford to have
executive power remain with those who are intent upon abusing it and who are
simply accelerating the pace of our national decline. That is the nub of the
talks in Pretoria which resume on Sunday.

There can be no more tinkering with vice-presidents as is reportedly
proposed. The last thing Zimbabwe needs is more useless and expensive
vice-presidents. We want wholesale national reconstitution.


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Candid Comment: We Desperately Need Leadership

Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:06
SOUTH Africa's elderly statesman Nelson Mandela recently commented
obliquely that Zimbabwe's persistent crisis reflected a "tragic failure of

It is a comment very fertile for abuse when in fact it should provoke
serious introspection among those in leadership positions, especially
politicians whose actions have a definitive influence on what happens to our
country as we have seen in the past 28 years.

Mandela's comments were opportune given that Zimbabwe is a country at
a crossroads between economic recovery and further decline depending on the
decisions the political leadership takes at the ongoing talks between Zanu
PF and the two MDC formations after the signing of the MoU on July 21.
Failure of leadership can mean only a long nightmare for the country.

We have already had our fair share of tragedy in the past decade, and
its effect has been to turn ordinary Zimbabweans from sceptics to cynics
about politicians.

Many people have commented on the memorandum of understanding signed
last week, especially its ability to get the country out of the current
morass. The drama started well before the MoU signed.

Was Morgan Tsvangirai going to attend? Once it was confirmed that he
was at the Rainbow Towers for the ceremony, the next question was whether he
would sign. That phase passed, and anxieties grew about whether he and
President Robert Mugabe would shake hands. That is when they did what was
unthinkable just a week earlier; a handshake between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
The prophets of Baal who had foretold another grim-faced embarrassment for
key mediator, Thabo Mbeki, were inconsolable.

Tsvangirai was saving Mbeki and Mugabe, both of whom should be
crucified. Mugabe was being insincere. Why the sudden climb-down to talk
directly to a puppet of the British and the Americans? No, all Mugabe wanted
was to gain political legitimacy and for the MDC to help him get
international financial assistance.

They said Mugabe must be left to stew in own soup for "stealing" the
June 27 elections; he should never be rewarded with a peace deal. This would
set a bad precedent for other dictators. (Nobody paused to tell us whether
Charles Taylor's extradition to The Hague or Saddam Hussein's execution had
had a salutary effect on other merchants of violence.) Since the signing the
emphasis in discourse has changed to cynicism about the success of the
talks. The MDC and Zanu PF are seen as poles apart ideologically.

I agree with those in civic society calling for broader
representation. It would be a travesty of justice for just six people and
their three leaders to come up with what they purport to be a democratic
constitution for a whole nation, which is what the two-week deadline for the
talks appears to presuppose.

Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah put it succinctly in the Mail &
Guardian when she observed that the mediation should have included civil
society "because the people who truly need watching over are not mediators
(Mbeki) but the politicians". She warned that politicians were prone to
compromise. Regrettably, compromise is a necessary evil in any genuine and
balanced negotiation process.

This is where leadership is critical for judgement. What do you
compromise on without sacrificing principle? How do you strike a balance
between the populist demands of supporters for humiliating conquest and
practical realities which move the process forward and limits further damage
to the object of dispute - economic recovery? How do you deal with the
personal prejudices and insecurities of advisors masquerading as the
national interest or the pursuit of social justice and moral obligation?

Supercilious inflexibility by the leaders to impress or spite alien
observers can be counterproductive too. I believe leadership is about being
able to manage one's ego at the very zenith of one's moment of apparent

Tsvangirai was well able to manifest extraordinary humility when he
noted at the signing of the MoU that Zimbabweans need to work together to
succeed. Many expected a lot of bluster from him after the "international
community" acclaimed him the ultimate victor on the basis of the March 29

Unfortunately it is the same international community which appears
keen to wreck the prospects for an immediate political settlement in

"We want a better Zimbabwe," said Tsvangirai of the talks. "If we put
our heads together, I am sure we can find a solution." That is what every
Zimbabwean is praying; a settlement and peace.

Said a senior MDC policy advisor, Eddie Cross, a few days later:
"There is absolutely no point in negotiating a deal that is not acceptable
to the people with money."

For money, one can safely substitute might. Cross's declaration was
endorsed with nodding approval from the authors of the story, whose echo was
blunter than the original voice:

"The MDC knows that any agreement must be acceptable to Britain, the
US and other Western countries, which want Mugabe to go," they said.

Everything about it is utterly foreign and unsolicited. Which begs the
obvious question: Are we free or are we not as a country? What exactly does
it mean when aliens declare that whatever our representative political
leaders decide is null and void simply because we have neither money nor
might? Under what UN statute do foreigners, whatever their money or might,
become putative custodians of an independent nation's sovereign will?

If theirs are indeed acts of altruism impelled by a perceived collapse
of central authority, shouldn't the DRC, where people actually live in the
mountains and sleep in the bush due to rebel raids, and Somalia, where aid
UN workers are fleeing violence and starvation, provide these world powers
with a fitting experiment in external intervention, so that, in the words of
American federalist lawyer Alexander Hamilton: "We may profit by their
experience without paying the price which it cost them?"

If we are a sovereign state, shouldn't it be our people who decide who
should be prosecuted for their crimes according to the laws of Zimbabwe?
Undue foreign intrusion smacks of purely retributive, punitive and primitive
instincts which conceived the Treaty of Versailles. Zimbabwe cannot hope for
enduring peace when we leave it to foreigners, no matter however rich, to
decide for us how we should move forward in disregard of what people's
representatives, no matter how few, propose.

We need aid indeed, but not aid which enslaves us to the base
interests of foreign powers. The longer we remain divided, the more room we
give to forces whose motives are inimical to our long-term interests as a

By Joram Nyathi

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Zim Independent Letters

'Men of the cloth' Did Speak Out
Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:20
I REFER to a letter in the last issue of the Zimbabwe Independent
(July 25-31) by Collen Ngundu who wrote:

  "I truly believe if these men of God had boldly voiced the economic
and social hardships...their voices would have been heard by the concerned

As a matter of fact, individual churches as well as all the churches
together have voiced their grave concern about the suffering of the people
many times.

I may only mention the Catholic Bishops' Pastoral Letter of Easter
2007 God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed and the working paper The Zimbabwe
We Want published by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Evangelical
Fellowship, and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference together.

There were many more such statements, even in recent months. Only in
their most recent joint statement the church leaders expressed their
conviction that the outcome of the most recent poll was not an authentic
expression of the will of the people.

It is also a fact that such statements, against Ngundu's naive
assumption, are not "heard by the concerned parties".

When the Catholic Bishops published their analysis of the present
situation in God Hears the Cry of the Opressed it was called "political
nonsense" and they were threatened because of their boldness.

Here is the decisive passage in that pastoral letter: "Because soon
after Independence, the power and wealth of the tiny white Rhodesian elite
was appropriated by an equally exclusive black elite, some of whom have
governed the country for the past 27 years through political patronage,
black Zimbabweans today fight for the same basic rights they fought for
during the liberation struggle.

"It is the same conflict between those who possess power and wealth in
abundance, and those who do not; between those who are determined to
maintain their privileges of power and wealth at any cost, even at the cost
of bloodshed, and those who demand their democratic rights and a share in
the fruits of Independence; between those who continue to benefit from the
present system of inequality and injustice, because it favours them and
enables them to maintain an exceptionally high standard of living, and those
who go to bed hungry at night and wake up in the morning to another day
without work and without income; between those who only know the language of
violence and intimidation, and those who feel they have nothing more to lose
because their constitutional rights have been abrogated and their votes

Fr Oskar Wermter SJ,


MDC Must Be Wary Of Unity With Zanu PF
Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:18
THE ongoing talks between Zanu PF and MDC in South Africa have raised
high expectations particularly among the economically battered and suffering
Zimbabwean masses.

The talks also stand on an unprecedented threshold of bringing
democracy not only to Zimbabwe but across all Africa. It is hence important
that the MDC treads very cautiously for history has shown that Mugabe is an
expert at Machiavellian manoeuvring in as far as maintaining power is

Throughout its history, Zanu PF and Mugabe have always been
preoccupied with outwitting and outflanking their opponents for power.
Mugabe probably believes deep in his heart that he and Zanu PF alone are the
legitimate heirs to power in Zimbabwe. That's why he is prepared to keep
power at all costs.

On the eve of Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980, Zanu and Zapu had
agreed that they would run for office as a united patriotic front under one
leader. Even in most interviews at Lancaster House, Mugabe pretended that he
was ready to play second fiddle to Joshua Nkomo for the sake of unity in a
new Zimbabwe.

However, behind the scenes Mugabe was just awaiting the opportune
moment to announce that Zanu was going it alone.

Mugabe was later quoted as saying: "We are not against unity with
Zapu, but the problem is about the leadership and the method of choosing the
leadership." After the elections in 1980, Mugabe formed a government of
national unity incorporating elements from both Zapu and the Rhodesian
Front. Although some Zapu cadres got full government minister's posts, these
were more for window-dressing than for real power because their deputies
from Zanu were in fact the de facto ministers.

In his book, The Story Of My Life, Nkomo vividly describes how Mugabe
has total disdain for the cabinet. He makes it clear that in the first
independent government, cabinet meetings were mere rituals whose decisions
were not worth the paper they were written on for Mugabe's Zanu central
committee is the one that had power.

This is the dilemma that confronts the MDC in the current
negotiations. The question to ask is whether the MDC will have any power
even if they are offered posts in the envisaged transitional or unity
government. In the light of the fact that the country is now being run by
the Joint Operations Command (JOC), what role will the envisaged new cabinet
have? Whose decisions will be implemented, JOC or the new government?

The MDC is in a tight corner. Obviousily Mbeki will flash a new
constitution presumably more democratic than the current one with such
sweeteners as presidential power limits and so on. Although a new democratic
constitution remains at the heart of Zimbabwe democratic transition, it is
not enough in itself.

The core is the challenge of changing an institutionalised culture.
For example, there is nowhere in the current constitution where the army is
said to be the extension of Zanu PF, but despite the clarity in the
constitution that soldiers should be apolitical, they have openly involved
themselves in politics.

Can the people of Zimbabwe and the world believe that Zanu PF and all
its institutions can be transformed overnight into a new culture of
tolerance, democratic inclinations and good governance because of
negotiations in South Africa and perhaps a new constitution?

The answer is an absolute no. However, the MDC must realise that they
have the upper hand. They can enter into these agreements but will need
tactical and strategic genius to outwit Zanu PF for the benefit of democracy
and the people of Zimbabwe.

Garikai Agenda Chimuka,


We Tried GNU Already And It Failed
Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:16
ZIMBABWE is clamouring for a GNU yet we were and are still in a failed
one! People, let's not be wrong again.

When Joshua Nkomo was threatened with anhilation he gave in to Mugabe.
"What is in a name?" he asked. Yes, that sealed the fate of his followers to
today. GNU is an elitist institute. Sudan, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria
are good examples of GNUs riddled with friction points that flare-up like

We have already experimented with it as a nation. It is simply
useless. It is time to abandon GNUs and aim higher.

We are at a stage where we need the will of a people to be expressed
not by the barrel as happened elsewhere but by simple democratic exercises.

We need a transitional authority to facilitate open, free and fair

We have experimented with de facto one party state, GNUs, and now it
is time for simple democracy.

Are we afraid of democracy after such a long history of political
trial and error?


Can NRZ Excuse Students?
Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:14
NATIONAL Railways of Zimbabwe should not penalise students for
boarding the train without tickets.

Boarders close school and have to travel home on the same day. By the
time they get into town the ticket office would have closed. They have no
choice but to board the train and buy the tickets on the train.

For example a journey from Mutare to Harare which costs $335 billion
in the economy class will cost double the amount which comes to $670
billion. Can't students in uniforms be excused from this punitive measure?

Would the NRZ also consider extra coaches specifically for students on
closing days?



It's Not The Zeros Stupid!
Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:11
IT is said that the definition of insanity is doing exactly the same
thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

In August 2006, RBZ governor, Gideon Gono  removed three zeros and
issued a new currency in order to fight inflation. He pompously called this
programme "Sunrise". It didn't work at all. Now in August 2008, Gono is
removing 10 zeros and issuing a new currency. The effect on inflation will
be absolutely nothing. The zeros are the result of inflation not the cause.

Dr Gono, the cause of inflation is bizarre policies. Removing all the
zeros will not work. Just keep watching how worthless the re-called coins
will be by this month-end.



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