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Rights group: New crackdown on dissent in Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - President Robert Mugabe's regime has renewed
assaults on dissidents, a human rights group said Tuesday, even as he faced
more international pressure to step down amid a cholera outbreak that has
killed nearly 600 people.
The World Health Organization, meanwhile, said it was planning its response
on the assumption that as many as 60,000 people could be infected if the
situation worsens.

A stalled power-sharing deal has left Zimbabwe's leaders paralyzed - and its
people increasingly impatient. Last week saw demonstrations against the
collapse of the health system while soldiers who were unable to draw their
wages because of cash shortages went on the rampage.

Brian Raftopoulos, organizer of the Solidarity Peace Trust, said a number of
activists have been abducted and protests violently quashed by riot police.

"As long as the (political) stalemate continues we will see an increasing
crackdown," Raftopoulos told reporters Tuesday in South Africa. "The Mugabe
regime is presiding over the death of the nation of Zimbabwe."

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Zimbabwe court orders police to look for activist

(CNN) -- The High Court of Zimbabwe has ordered police to make efforts to
search for human rights activist Jestina Mukoko, who was allegedly abducted
from her home a week ago, a human rights lawyer said Tuesday.

Beatrice Mtetwa said High Court Judge Anne-Marie Gowora had ordered police
to advertise in the media and to search for Mukoko in all areas that police
have jurisdiction over.
"This was after the police said it is not holding her," Mtetwa said. "It was
hard to believe given that they have not gone to her home to record how she
was abducted."

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights made an urgent application to the
court after Mukoko, a human rights activist and journalist, was abducted
from her home in Norton about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Harare
last week.

She has not been found, and her two workmates at the Zimbabwe Peace Project
were abducted from their workplace Monday.

In a related matter, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said
Gandhi Mudzingwa, the former personal assistant to MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, was abducted Monday.

"He was abducted by nine gunmen in six vehicles ... and he has not been
found," Nelson Chamisa said in a statement.

Zimbabwe has had no Cabinet since the March presidential election that
started the current political impasse.
The once-prosperous nation's political troubles have aggravated its
humanitarian and economic crisis, including a cholera outbreak that has
killed close to 600 people since August and an inflation rate of 231 million
percent and rising -- the world's highest.

A national unity government failed to take off as Tsvangirai's MDC accused
President Robert Mugabe of violating their September agreement by keeping
all key ministries -- such as home affairs, local government, foreign
affairs, finance and defense -- for his own party.

If MDC leaders are not ready to join the national unity government, Mugabe
said, he would go ahead and appoint a Cabinet.

Tsvangirai won the most votes in the March election, but not enough to avoid
a runoff, according to the government's official count.

He withdrew from the June 27 runoff days before the vote, saying Mugabe's
supporters had waged a campaign of violence and intimidation against
opposition supporters.

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Tsvangirai's former aide abducted

By Violet Gonda
9 December 2008

The MDC reports that Gandhi Mudzingwa, a former personal assistant to MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was abducted on Monday while talking to a relative
in Msasa Park, Harare.

Mudzingwa was taken away by nine gunmen in six vehicles and 'eyewitnesses at
the scene of the incident said Mudzingwa was shoved into one of the Mazda
626 vehicles, which drove off towards the city centre.'

There are a growing number of abductions in Zimbabwe that have so far seen
the disappearance of 17 MDC supporters, including a two year old baby girl
abducted together with her mother Violet Mupfuranhehwe. Three civic
activists from the Zimbabwe Peace Project, including the group's director
Jestina Mukoko, have also been abducted and are still missing.

The MDC believes there is a systematic plot to decimate the MDC party
structures and leadership, and civil rights groups involved in compiling
dossiers on violence and human rights abuses. The party warned the continued
onslaught on the MDC and civic society threatens the dialogue process, as
the political rights and basic freedoms of citizens is guaranteed in the
Global Political Agreement.

However the lack of visibility from the MDC leadership is beginning to draw
criticism from Zimbabweans. Many are astonished by how much Robert Mugabe is
getting away, especially against MDC activists, and yet  MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has not been seen making public statements denouncing this
behaviour by the regime. Most of the MDC leadership is currently out of the
country and people are concerned that Mugabe has succeeded in silencing

One commentator who prefers to remain anonymous said: "Zimbabweans have no
idea what to do. And what is Morgan Tsvangirai doing? Is he in exile? Is
Tendai Biti in exile? Jacob Zuma has now re endorsed the GNU, so SADC isn't
going to do any more, and the AU remains, as ever, silent."

The commentator added: "No one is coming to rescue us, not the UN, not the
AU, no army or international policeman is coming. We are on our own. And we
are not at the bottom yet, there is no bottom!"

Another analyst said Tsvangirai does not necessarily have to be in Zimbabwe,
but he has to find a way of remaining visible, as people's anger and
frustration against the Mugabe can easily backfire against him.

After many attempts to try to get comment from the MDC, Tsvangirai's
spokesperson George Sibotshiwe told SW Radio Africa that the leader is in
Botswana working on a regional diplomatic effort to ensure that there is a
long lasting solution in Zimbabwe and to bring humanitarian relief.

Although Sibotshiwe said Tsvangirai was 'going underground until his work is
done,' he denied the leader was in exile. "He will be speaking to the press
tomorrow and I can understand that people have not heard from him for a few
days but he has been working on the crisis," the spokesperson said.

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Zimbabwe opposition activists abducted

Dozens of Robert Mugabe's opponents have been abducted in Zimbabwe.

By Peta Thornycroft, Zimbabwe Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:00PM GMT 09 Dec 2008

The recent disappearance of at least 28 people, most of them activists with
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has come during a
crackdown by President Mugabe and his supporters as they seek to cling to

The latest to be seized was Gande Mudzingwa, a member of the inner circle of
the party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr Mudzingwa's car was forced off the road on his way to what was described
as a "logistics" meeting about six miles south of the centre of Harare late
on Monday. He was taken to a waiting vehicle by nine men.

Senior opposition figures believe the string of disappearances heralds a new
move against the MDC by Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, even though a
power-sharing agreement was signed in September.

"It's going to get worse," said Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of the
smaller Mutambara faction of the MDC. "As long as there is a political
stalemate Zanu-PF will move into default mode and use the only weapon it has
left which is violence and coercion.

"It is in their nature. Killings, abductions and arrests are how they
conduct political struggle."

A judge in Harare demanded on Tuesday that police produce Jestina Mukoko, a
violence monitor abducted from her home in Norton, about 20 miles north of
Harare in a pre-dawn raid a week ago.

Mrs Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was still in her
nightclothes when a group of about 15 men in plain clothes grabbed her from
her house and drove her away. Three of her colleagues have since been

High Court judges had refused to hear the urgent application last week.

Nearly two weeks ago Mr Tsvangirai's director of security, Chris Dlamini,
was seized from his home by a group of men, believed to be police out of

"I have now found Mr Dlamini's family and I am going to court on their
behalf to demand his release," said Alec Muchadahama, an MDC lawyer. "We do
not know where he, nor any of the other missing people, or if they are still

Six weeks ago a group of 15 MDC activists were taken from their homes 60
miles north of Harare. They have not been heard of since.

The power-sharing government cannot be formed until a constitutional
amendment is passed, and although party negotiators agreed a text two weeks
ago it has yet to be approved by the political leaders, leaving the process
at an impasse.

With Zimbabwe in the grip of a cholera epidemic, Western calls for Mr Mugabe
to step down are mounting. "It is time for Robert Mugabe to go," said
President George W. Bush. "Across the continent, African voices are bravely
speaking out to say now is the time for him to step down."

But the African Union said it did not back tougher action against Mr Mugabe.

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400 WOZA members demonstrate in Harare

Breaking news - Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Tuesday 9th December - 3pm

400 WOZA members demonstrate in Harare today - theme: Human Rights of
Women - Human Rights for All: Universal Declaration for Human Rights 60
years after.

APPROXIMATELY 400 members of WOZA held a peaceful demonstration in the
streets of Harare today calling for the immediate intervention of the
international community to address the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. The
peaceful protestors marched to the offices of the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) to hand over a petition declaring the so-called government
of ZANU PF incapable of dealing with the crisis and demanding that the
United Nations step in immediately to resolve the crisis in order to protect
the people of Zimbabwe. No arrests have been reported at the time of this

The protest also marks the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence and
the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights,
which was released on 10 December 1948.

As they marched, the peaceful protestors sang a Shona song that decries the
hunger facing all Zimbabweans and handed out flyers and copies of the
Declaration on Human Rights, which bystanders rushed to receive. Some
comments overheard from Zimbabweans reading the flyer were, 'these women
have a very good point. They are speaking the truth.' Upon arriving at the
UNDP offices, a representative attempted to enter the offices to hand over
the petition, when the doors were closed. Two representatives from the UNDP
came out to receive the petition however.

The group then dispersed before police arrived. A vehicle of riot police and
a water cannon were seen to respond to the scene after all protestors had

The protest started at the point where 14 members were arrested on 28 May
2008. They were denied bail and imprisioned for 6 weeks but on this occasion
have walked home free.

9 December 2008

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President Bush: it's time for Robert Mugabe to go

December 9, 2008

Nico Hines and Jenny Booth
President Bush today joined the international drive to end to Robert Mugabe's
Zimbabwean regime.

African and European statesmen have called for Mr Mugabe to be toppled in
the wake of a cholera outbreak that the World Health Organisation has warned
could kill 60,000 people.

President Bush today joined that group by demanding an end to the
discredited power-sharing government.

"As my Administration has made clear, it is time for Robert Mugabe to go,"
he said. "Across the continent, African voices are bravely speaking out to
say now is the time for him to step down.

"These leaders share the desire of ordinary Zimbabweans for a return to
peace, democracy and prosperity. We urge others from the region to step up
and join the growing chorus of voices calling for an end to Mugabe's
Britain has led the international condemnation of Mr Mugabe's 28-year rule
that has left the country in disarray. France, the EU and a handful of
African countries including Botswana and Kenya have also said Mugabe should
go, but most of Zimbabwe's neighbours have remained silent or backed the
floundering power-sharing negotiations.

Harare responded to the international condemnation today by accusing the
West of causing many of Zimbabwe's problems in the first place.

"I don't have kind words for all heads of state who have made utterances
against Zimbabwe, one by one, and I hope this is the last time they open
their dirty mouths on Zimbabwe," Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the information minister

"After squeezing and strangling the country with sanctions and contaminating
it with cholera and anthrax, the West is seeking to use the window of
opportunity provided by the disaster to justify military intervention."

He insisted: "The cholera situation is under control."

Earlier today the World Heath Organisation outlined a worst-case scenario in
which tens of thousands of people could become infected with cholera if the
epidemic continues.

The United Nations health agency estimates that 589 people have died of
cholera in Zimbabwe up to December 5, with 13,960 suspected cases declared.
These figures are, however, based on the number of people reporting to
health centres, which is rare in some parts of the poverty-stricken country.

Many health centres are no longer operational and the actual toll is likely
to be higher, the WHO said.

"The health-cluster assessment in a worst-case scenario is 60,000 cases,"
said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib.

The WHO said it was considering providing financial incentives for health
workers in Zimbabwe to return to their jobs in a bid to prevent the outbreak

The UN children's agency UNICEF said meanwhile it had moved to "full
emergency mode" and developed a 120-day emergency response plan focused on
relief efforts and the provision of basic social services, for which it
would need $17.5 million.

Cholera, an intestinal infection, is spread through contaminated food or
water. It is highly contagious and can lead to severe dehydration and death.
In normal circumstances the disease is both preventable and treatable, but
supplies of clean water have failed in many parts of Zimbabwe and the health
service has nearly collapsed. Many doctors and nurses have ceased work after
not being paid for months as Zimbabwe's economic crisis deepens.

Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs, said: "It is total chaos, three hospitals in Harare
are closed due to a lack of personnel."

Yesterday European Union foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels to discuss
the Zimbabwe crisis, heard the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner,
propose international intervention because of the health emergency.

Mr Kouchner hinted that a medical mission to Zimbabwe could be linked to
wider change in the country, where President Robert Mugabe has refused to
honour a power-sharing agreement signed in September to set up a government
of national unity to tackle Zimbabwe's many woes.

"Cholera is killing. We need international intervention for this matter, not
a military one, but a strong intervention to stop this cholera epidemic,
which could allow for other things," Mr Kouchner said, without elaborating
what "other things" could mean.

The French foreign minister's intervention was perhaps the strongest yet,
although Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for regime change even if
military force is required.

China, until now a patron of Zimbabwe, today appeared to be edging towards
international consensus by distancing itself from Mr Mugabe's regime and
urging him to co-operate in setting up a government of national unity.

Liu Jianchao, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said: "China, along with
the broader international community, expresses its concern with the current
constant deterioration of the economic and political situation in Zimbabwe.

"To help the people of Zimbabwe, China is actively considering providing
humanitarian economic aid, including food aid."

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Time's up for Robert Mugabe

Sen. Russ Feingold
Posted December 9, 2008 | 11:35 AM (EST)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and I don't always agree on the issues,
but when it comes to her take on crisis in Zimbabwe, I couldn't agree more.
Last week, Secretary Rice was right to call the June 27th election in
Zimbabwe, as well as the power-sharing negotiations to this point, what they
are -- a sham. European Union leaders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Kenyan
Prime Minister Raila Odinga among others have echoed this message. And with
Zimbabwe facing a severe humanitarian crisis, it's time now for all leaders
in the region as well as throughout the international community to join that
call and stand up to Robert Mugabe.

The elections held on March 29th of this year offered a chance to turn the
page on what has become a very tragic chapter in Zimbabwe's history.
Although it fell short of international democratic standards, observers
reported that the election expressed the general will of the people. Rather
than respecting that will, however, the Mugabe regime chose--as they have
done time and time again--to repress it. In the weeks after that election,
Mugabe's supporters launched a deliberate campaign of state-sponsored
violence against opposition leaders, supporters and their families. Mugabe
then unsurprisingly won the run-off presidential election on June 27, with
the opposition boycotting and the country in a state of fear.

In response to international pressure, Mugabe agreed to negotiations with
the opposition under the mediation of South Africa. In September, after
torturous delays, the parties signed a power-sharing agreement that paved
the way for a unity government with Mugabe as President and Tsvangirai as
Prime Minister, and control of the ministries split between the parties. Yet
once again Mugabe turned to manipulation and backtracking on commitments
including sharing control of key ministries and security agencies, which has
created a crippling impasse.

While Robert Mugabe continues to stall and uses bullying tactics to avoid
compromise, Zimbabwe has devolved into a full-fledged humanitarian crisis. A
cholera outbreak has already killed more than 500 people and nearly half the
country is facing starvation. The capital city of Harare is in disarray with
hospitals and schools closed, soldiers looting, and union activists being
beaten by police. If this deterioration continues, it could lead to a wider
humanitarian disaster that costs many more innocent lives and spills into
the surrounding countries.

To avoid such a catastrophe, leaders in the region and the international
community must take action now to ensure that clean water, food and
medication reach the most vulnerable populations in Zimbabwe, and to remove
any barriers to the importation of these necessities. It is important that
South Africa is sending a delegation to look at the humanitarian needs, but
those efforts, while critically important, are only a stopgap measure to
save lives. We cannot forget that Zimbabwe's humanitarian problems are the
direct result of the lack of a legitimate government, for which Mugabe is
responsible. Until he and his cohorts accept a negotiated solution that
fully respects the will of the people, Zimbabwe's nightmare will continue.

The tide is beginning to turn against Mugabe; regional leaders' patience is
wearing thin as this humanitarian crisis worsens. The challenge now, though,
is to translate public criticism into concerted pressure that raises the
stakes. Leaders in the region, working with the international community,
should together put forth a comprehensive package of incentives and punitive
measures to press Mugabe to step aside. This includes both new targeted
sanctions and a specific economic recovery plan that will be put into motion
as soon as Mugabe departs. We must finally put aside the distractions and
divisions that have hindered united action in the past. And in doing so, we
can make it clear to Mugabe once and for all that his time's up.

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Zimbabwe slams 'dirty mouth' calls for Mugabe to quit

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's information minister on Tuesday slammed the "dirty
mouths" of foreign leaders calling for President Robert Mugabe to quit, and
accused the West of plotting a military invasion.

"I don't have kind words for all heads of state who have made utterances
against Zimbabwe one by one, and I hope this is the last time they open
their dirty mouths on Zimbabwe," information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told

"After squeezing and strangling the country with sanctions and contaminating
it with cholera and anthrax, the West is seeking to use the window of
opportunity provided by the disaster to justify military intervention," he

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Mugabe rejects Western pressure to quit

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Date: 09 Dec 2008

by Godfrey Marawanyika

HARARE, Dec 9, 2008 (AFP) - President Robert Mugabe on Monday rejected
mounting Western pressure for him to resign, even as his health minister
called for more international aid to battle a deadly cholera epidemic.

European nations Monday tightened their sanctions on Mugabe and his inner
circle, as French President Nicolas Sarkozy joined the growing chorus
calling for the 84-year-old to step down.

Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba accused Western countries of seeking to
bring Zimbabwe before the UN Security Council by claiming that a cholera
epidemic and food shortages had incapacitated his government.

"The British and the Americans are dead set on bringing Zimbabwe back to the
UN Security Council," he said in the government mouthpiece Herald newspaper.

"They are also dead set on ensuring that there is an invasion of Zimbabwe
but without themselves carrying it out. In those circumstances, they will
stop at nothing," he said.

"We would not be surprised if they spring a 'mission' involving the UN," he

Former colonial power Britain has led the international calls for Mugabe to
resign after a 28-year rule that has left the country's economy in shambles
amid a political deadlock after controversial elections earlier this year.

The United States has also said Mugabe should go, but most of Zimbabwe's
neighbours have remained silent or backed floundering negotiations aimed at
forming a unity government.

South Africa's ruling party boss Jacob Zuma and Namibian President
Hifikepunye Pohamba said Tuesday that they still backed the regional effort
to mediate a power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki brokered an agreement for Mugabe
to form a unity government with the opposition in September, but the deal
has faltered over disputes about how to divide control of powerful

Among Zimbabwe's neighbours, only Botswana has taken a tough line against
Mugabe -- even suggesting that the region cut off fuel shipments to Zimbabwe
to force him from power.

Zuma brushed off the tough talk, saying African countries should not judge
each other's foreign policies.

"There is a problem in Zimbabwe, it would be going too far if we judge what
Botswana says," Zuma said after meeting with Pohamba in Namibia.

But the cholera epidemic has raised alarms across southern Africa, with some
tests detecting the disease in the waters of the Limpopo river, which flows
across the region.

Nearly 600 people have died in Zimbabwe with more than 12,000 cases
detected, and hundreds of patients have crossed the border searching for
treatment in South Africa, where at least eight have died.

Doctors say the death toll in Zimbabwe could be much higher, while the UN
children's agency UNICEF has warned that 60,000 cholera cases could emerge
in the coming weeks.

Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency and appealed for international
aid to fight the disease.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa praised donors and non-government
organisations for giving drugs and supplies, but said more help was still

"Donors and NGOs have also responded positively although the assistance is
not enough and we still need more," he said in the Herald.

The country also faces crippling shortages of food, with nearly half the
population expected to need emergency aid next month, according to the
United Nations.

The once-vibrant economy has been shrinking for nearly a decade, and is now
hammered by the world's highest inflation, last estimated at 231 million
percent in July.

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Foreign governments calling for Mugabe to resign are 'racist', says Info Minister

Article published on the 2008-12-09 Latest update 2008-12-09 19:11 TU

The foreign governments calling for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to
resign are 'malicious' and 'racist', Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu
told RFI late Tuesday. "Those countries can say this to a black government.
Why don't they call on John Major (sic) to step down because there is a
failed economy in England?" Ndlovu said.

"I don't know on what basis does the president of France, the European
Union, the foreign minister of Belgium in Brussels, is calling for our
president to step down," Ndlovu said.

US President George W. Bush also called for an end to Mugabe's "tyranny" on
Tuesday and has urged African leaders to join the Western powers calling for
him to leave office.

Only neighbouring Botswana has taken a hard line against Mugabe, and has
suggested that the region should cut off fuel shipments to Zimbabwe to force
him from power.

"What authority does he [Bush] have to do so? It is totally unacceptable,
and obnoxious, and is an insult, not only to Zimbabwe, but all African
people and all African governments," said Ndlovu.

"That is a colonialist, racist attitude, which should never have found its
ugly head in Zimbabwe, or in any African country," he added.

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Zimbabwe says taking measures to counter threats


Tue 9 Dec 2008, 16:13 GMT

HARARE, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The Zimbabwean government said on Tuesday it was
taking serious measures to counter threats against it and would not agree to
peacekeeping forces entering the country.

"I will not tell you what ... but the Zimbabwe government is taking serious
measures to offset any threats and any further sanctions on the people ...
We won this country through the barrel of the gun and we will defend it the
way we won it," Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told reporters in
Harare. (Reporting by Nelson Banya, editing by Tim Pearce)

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Commonwealth Urges International Action On Humanitarian Crisis

Commonwealth News and Information Service (London)

8 December 2008

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today expressed grave concern
at the dire humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe and called on Commonwealth
member countries to give their strong support to the appeal launched by the
United Nations to assist the country.

The Secretary-General met with a cross-section of Commonwealth organisations
on a response to the Zimbabwe crisis. Last week Zimbabwe appealed to the
international community for assistance to tackle its challenges. Earlier,
the United Nations launched a global appeal to help Zimbabwe.

"It is deeply disturbing that nearly six million people require emergency
food aid and that the outbreak of cholera has killed hundreds in Zimbabwe
and now spread to its neighbours. I am concerned at the collapse of
essential services, such as health, sanitation and education. The
Commonwealth's priority is to ensure that urgent relief is made available to
the people of Zimbabwe," Mr Sharma said.

"We applaud the work of humanitarian charities and Zimbabwean local
authorities in their response to the crisis and hope that they will receive
the urgent support they need," he added.

The Secretary-General renewed his hope that the parties in Zimbabwe would
speedily find a way forward that overcomes the current political impasse.

Mr Sharma said the Commonwealth had a particular interest in the welfare of
the people of Zimbabwe. The situation in that country is also impacting on
neighbouring countries - all of which are Commonwealth members.

"The Commonwealth stands ready for further engagement to ameliorate the
grave humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe," the Secretary-General concluded.

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AU rejects tougher Zimbabwe action

December 9, 2008

HARARE (Reuters) - The African Union has rejected tougher steps against
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe  after demands from Western leaders and
some African statesmen that he quit over the growing humanitarian crisis.

The death toll neared 600 from a cholera epidemic which Mugabe's government
accuses Western powers of exploiting to try to force his departure. The
World Health Organisation said cholera could affect as many as 60,000 in a
worst case scenario.

The African Union made clear Tuesday it did not back calls for much tougher

"Only dialogue between the Zimbabwean parties, supported by the AU and other
regional actors, can restore peace and stability to that country," said
Salva Rweyemamu, spokesman for AU chairman and Tanzanian President Jakaya

Rweyemamu said sending peacekeeping troops or removing Mugabe by force, as
proposed by prominent figures including Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga
and Nobel peace laureate and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, were not

"We have a serious humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. We have cholera. Do they
think that we can eradicate cholera with guns?".

Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai reached a power-sharing deal
brokered by regional mediator Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's former president,
in September. But they are deadlocked over how to implement it.

The spreading cholera, food shortages and economic collapse in the once
relatively prosperous southern African country have prompted new demands
from Western countries for Mugabe to quit.

Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said the West was using the cholera
outbreak to try to bring down the veteran leader. "The British and the
Americans are dead set on bringing Zimbabwe back to the U.N. Security
Council, they are also dead set on ensuring that there is an invasion of
Zimbabwe but without themselves carrying it out," state-owned newspaper The
Herald quoted Charamba as saying.

In a sign that Mugabe's traditional ally China may be distancing itself,
Beijing stressed the call for the formation of a unity government between
Mugabe and the opposition.

"We sincerely hope that all concerned parties in Zimbabwe will truly focus
on the interests of the country and its people and soon form a government of
national unity," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in

China offered aid, saying it was concerned about the deteriorating political
and economic situation.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the number
of cholera cases stood at 13,960 with 589 deaths. The World Health
Organisation (WHO) said up to 60,000 could catch cholera if the epidemic
gets out of control.

The disease is preventable and treatable under normal circumstances, but
Zimbabwe's health sector is near collapse.

"It is total chaos, three hospitals in Harare are closed due to a lack of
personnel," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the U.N. Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The WHO said it was considering
financial incentives for unpaid health workers in Zimbabwe to return to
their jobs.

Mugabe blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe's hardship, while his critics
accuse him of increasingly authoritarian rule.

Basic foodstuffs are running out, prices of goods are doubling every 24
hours, and the 100 million Zimbabwean dollar a week limit for bank
withdrawals buys only three loaves of bread in the once relatively
prosperous country.

South Africa, receiving hundreds of desperate Zimbabweans seeking treatment
for cholera, is due to give details of an aid package to Zimbabwe later this
week. At least eight people have died from cholera in the Limpopo province
bordering Zimbabwe.

South African Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Tuesday
the country will not increase border controls despite concern Zimbabwe's
crisis could lead to more illegal immigrants.

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Zimbabwe accuses West of "contaminating" it with cholera

Africa News
Dec 9, 2008, 17:16 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on Tuesday
accused the West of causing the cholera epidemic that has claimed nearly 600
lives in order to justify military intervention in Zimbabwe.

'After squeezing and strangling the country with sanctions and contaminating
it with cholera and anthrax, the West is seeking to use the window of
opportunity provided by the disaster to justify military intervention,' said
Ndlovu. 'The cholera situation is under control.'

'We have enough chemicals to purify the water. We have got enough foreign
currency to buy (new water) pipes,' Ndlovu told a press conference.

Ndlovu lashed out at world leaders who have attacked President Robert Mugabe
over the cholera outbreak, including US President George W Bush, British
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

'I don't have kind words for all heads of state who have made utterances
against Zimbabwe one by one,' he said.

His remarks followed similar allegations by Mugabe's spokesman in state
media Tuesday that the West is pouncing on the cholera outbreak to plot a UN

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Zimbabwe Min Says Cholera Outbreak "Under Control"

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Zimbabwe's information minister insisted Tuesday
that a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 600 people was "under
control," despite the latest grim assessments by the World Health

"The cholera situation (is) under control," Information Minister Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu told reporters.

"We have enough chemicals to purify the water. We have got enough foreign
currency to buy pipes" to mend sanitation lines, he said.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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UN seeks 17.5 mln dollars to tackle Zimbabwe cholera


The United Nations children's fund said Tuesday it needed 17.5 million
dollars (13.6 million euros) to tackle cholera in Zimbabwe amid warnings
tens of thousands of people could contract the disease.

"Zimbabwe is grappling with a cholera crisis of unprecedented levels,"
UNICEF said in a press briefing.

"During the past eight weeks the crisis has rapidly deteriorated as the
basic service delivery system collapsed. Schools and hospitals are closing,
patients cannot access health care, teachers, nurses and doctors are not
able to come to work," it said.

The UN estimates that 589 people have died of cholera in Zimbabwe as of
December 5 with 13,960 suspected cases declared.

However the world body's chief humanitarian aid body stressed that these
figures are based on the number of people reporting to health centres in the
poverty-stricken country -- and that as many health centres are no longer
operational, the actual toll is likely to be higher.

"Three public hospitals in Harare are closed because of a lack of staff.
There are no more surgical operations, the obstetrics services and surgery
are also shut which means there are silent deaths occurring that we cannot
count," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN's Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The World Health Organisation said that in a worst-case scenario, up to
60,000 people could become infected -- in line with a previous forecast by
UNICEF's top official in the country.

"The health-cluster assessment in a worst-case scenario is 60,000 cases,"
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told journalists.

UNICEF said it had moved to "full emergency mode" and developed a 120-day
emergency response plan focused on relief efforts and the provision of basic
social services, for which it would need 17.5 million dollars.

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Criticism shows growing frustration with Mugabe

By CELEAN JACOBSON Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press
Dec. 9, 2008, 1:17PM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Renewed criticism against Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe amid a cholera outbreak shows growing international outrage at
the suffering there, but action to oust his regime will be harder to come

U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and
French President Nicolas Sarkozy have called in the last week for Zimbabwe's
84-year-old leader to go.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told National Public Radio that
humanitarian conditions are "horrifying" in the southern African country,
and that "the Mugabe government is so corrupt" only material goods - not
cash - should be sent to help the country's people, according to an
interview posted Tuesday on NPR's Web site.

Some African leaders have again voiced frustration with Mugabe, transcending
their usual practice of saying nothing against the man who is considered a
hero among African freedom fighters and has ruled his country since its 1980
independence from Britain.

But the West says the burden of action rests with Zimbabwe's neighbors, and
main regional power South Africa said Tuesday it would not send troops.
South Africa also maintained that the answer for Zimbabwe was power-sharing,
not ousting Mugabe.

"There should be no political point scoring and games played when what is
really needed right now is support," South African Foreign Ministry official
Ayanda Ntsaluba told reporters. He said Zimbabwean leaders needed to work
across the political divide to solve the country's problems.

Zimbabwe, once the region's breadbaskets, as seen its agricultural sector
collapse under Mugabe. There are chronic shortages of food, fuel and cash.
The health system has collapsed and a cholera outbreak has killed 589 people
and spread to Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique.

Botswana has called for Zimbabwe's neighbors to isolate Mugabe by closing
their borders while Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu said military force
should be used if the leader refuses to relinquish power.

"We urge others from the region to step up and join the growing chorus of
voices calling for an end to Mugabe's tyranny," Bush said in a brief,
strongly worded statement.

The European Union added 11 names Monday to its list of more than 170
Zimbabwean officials banned from traveling to the bloc and froze their
assets. The EU also has blacklisted four companies linked to Mugabe's
regime. The bloc - one of Zimbabwe's major donors - has frozen aid projects
and imposed an arms embargo.

But Mugabe's aides have responded to the calls for his ousting by accusing
the West of trying to use the cholera crisis as an excuse to topple the

At a news conference Tuesday, Zimbabwe Information Minister Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu claimed "the cholera issue has been used to drive a wedge among us,"
that the deaths were due to Western sanctions and the disease was "under

He dismissed leaders including Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who have called for Mugabe to step down,
saying: "I don't want to hear their dirty mouths."

Zimbabwe also refused to allow a visit last month by former statesmen and
humanitarian advocates from a group called "The Elders" - including Carter
and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan - who had wanted to survey the
situation on the ground.

Carter told NPR on Tuesday that "Mugabe had made every effort, successfully,
to conceal the fact that there's an absolute, total humanitarian crisis in
his country."

He said Africa's other leaders should push Mugabe to step down.

"Maximum pressure by his own peers is what is necessary to bring him down,"
Carter said. "I think that if South Africa and the other 13 nations would
demand that Mugabe step down, he would have to do it."

Elinor Sisulu, a Zimbabwean activist based in South Africa, believes there
is little substance behind the calls for Mugabe to be removed other than
"anger, impatience and desperation" at the situation. She disagrees with
calls for military action, saying it would only fuel tensions.

Such intervention would be unlikely, though, as U.N. and African
peacekeeping resources are over-stretched.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for troops to move into Zimbabwe
to end the humanitarian crisis or for the African Union to allow the U.N. to
send soldiers. But AU spokesman El-Ghassim Wane said Tuesday "the commission
would not like to be seen as concurring or taking sides with member states."

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner expressed exasperation when
speaking Monday to reporters at the end of EU foreign affairs ministerial
meeting in Brussels.

"How can we find a solution? Sanctions? Sanctions - yes - against whom,
against him? Not against the Zimbabwe people," he said.

The only viable solution for Zimbabwe may be for the parties to make a
reality out of a unity government deal stalled since September over the
allocation of Cabinet posts.

Independent analyst Brian Raftopoulos said Mugabe and his party were
insisting on keeping the security and defense ministries, "because clearly
it is around their capacity to arrest, harass and kill that they place their
major emphasis, not on the capacity to protect and provide services."

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"Dead people are better off": Zimbabweans on their fate

By Clare Byrne Dec 9, 2008, 14:54 GMT

Johannesburg - 'Dead people are better off. They don't need water or sadza
(maize porridge). They're just lying there nicely in their graves.'

Sitting on the stone floor of her bare home in Harare, a Zimbabwean woman
poignantly expresses the desperation of millions of Zimbabweans stalked by
starvation and disease.

Dinner for this woman, whose name is not given in the 15-minute film on
Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis screened by Solidarity Peace Trust
non-governmental organization in Johannesburg Tuesday, is a sachet of juice.

In another scene, a mother holds aloft a wailing baby, its eyes swollen
shut, the skin peeling off its stubby legs. The baby is severely

The images in the film entitled Death of a Nation, which record the slow
strangulation of a population by a government hell-bent on retaining power,
were taken between September and November this year.

They show a failed state where women in rural areas pick through withered
trees for berries to keep their families alive because they can no longer
afford a bag of maize meal.

And families telling of how they spent the day holding up a drip in an
overcrowded clinic for a relative infected with cholera only to watch them
die for lack of medication.

Over half Zimbabwe's population of 12 million cannot adequately feed itself,
stratospheric inflation means a tub of margarine costs 9.65 US dollars and
hundreds are dying of cholera, an easily preventable disease.

'The biggest threat to the lives of Zimbabweans is now the state itself,'
Brian Raftopoulos, director of research and advocacy for Solidarity Peace
Trust, told reporters at the screening.

Instead of trying to protect its citizens, the government of President
Robert Mugabe is focused on maintaining its capacity 'to arrest, harass and
kill,' Raftopoulos charged.

Several MDC members and civil society activists have disappeared in recent
weeks, either after being detained without charge by police or abducted by
unidentified armed agents.

The only short-term solution to the crisis, according to Raftopoulos, is the
implementation of the unity government to which Mugabe and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed in principle in

The deal has become bogged down in bickering, with the MDC accusing Mugabe
of trying to force it into the role of junior partner.

'The only place where the parties are engaged is around that mediation,'
said Raftopoulos. 'There are no realistic alternatives to that,' he added,
dismissing calls by the West, Kenya and Botswana for Mugabe to step down as
wishful thinking.

While the recent rioting by a group of soldiers in Harare has fuelled
speculation that Mugabe could also face a military coup, Raftopoulos warned
against wishing for such an outcome.

'It (a coup) will take us into an even worse position than we have

But another prominent Zimbabwean activist, Elinor Sisulu of the Crisis
Coalition of Zimbabwe, warned the MDC against buckling to pressure from
Zimbabwe's neighbours to 'play the game' and sign up to Mugabe's terms for
sharing power.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations has been which party would
own the home affairs ministry, which controls the police. The MDC is
demanding it, in return for letting Zanu-PF retain the army. Zanu-PF is
pushing for shared control.

'If (Tsvangirai) doesn't control home affairs, and people still get hammered
(by police) then he will quickly lose his legitimacy and popularity,' Sisulu

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First AIDS, now cholera: Zimbabwe's newest orphans

Health Features
By Columbus Mavhunga Dec 9, 2008, 6:03 GMT

Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe - In Chitungwiza, a sprawling township about 30
kilometres south-east of Zimbabwe's capital Harare, a group of women and
girls are lining up with tin cans to fetch water from a shallow well near a

It's a scene common in southern Africa but rare in urban areas, where piped
water is usually available in homes or at a communal tap.

But the taps have been running dry for months now in Zimbabwe, forcing
people to scrounge water from unprotected sources like these, by rivulets of
raw sewage and festering mounds of uncollected garbage.

It is here that the cholera outbreak that has claimed nearly 600 lives began
in August before spreading to nine of the country's ten provinces.

Although children are particularly vulnerable to cholera, some have lost
their parents to the disease yet themselves survived to face an uncertain

Among them is 17-year-old Juliet Shayanewako (not her real name). The 19
month-old baby slung across her back with a piece of cloth is not her son,
but her younger brother, Raphael.

Juliet was thrust into the role of surrogate parent after losing both her
mother and father to cholera in September. The two died within three days of
each other.

Balancing the water on her head, Raphael bobbing in time with her gait,
Juliet leads the way to her home - a single room in a four-room house.

'Me and my sister (age six) were in the rural areas when they fell sick and
died,' says Juliet, gingerly setting down the baby and water. 'By the time
we returned, they had been buried.'

After the funeral, Juliet's maternal grandmother looked after the children
for about two months before returning to her rural home.

'We now stay alone - the three of us,' Juliet says. 'Relatives have been
coming with food but they are no longer coming as frequently as before.'

Raphael is receiving assistance from non-governmental organisations in the
form of infant milk formula and cereals. 'But at one time they ran out
because we had also started feeding on them - our maize meal had run out,'
she says. 'Now, I make sure that we do not take his food.'

No-one knows yet how many children have been orphaned by cholera, the latest
crisis to hit a once prosperous nation that has been run into the ground by
populist policies.

Over half the population of 12 million is in need of food aid, making them
weak and vulnerable to disease.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest rate of orphaned children. Over 1 million
children have lost one or both parents, mostly from HIV/AIDS (16 per cent of
adults are infected with the virus), or poverty-related diseases.

Nine-year-old Bongani and his six-year-old brother Sibanengi (also not their
real names) from Budiriro township about 30 kilometres west of Chitungwiza
lost a parent to each HIV/AIDS and cholera.

Budiriro is one of areas worst affected by the cholera outbreak. The boys'
mother died on Saturday at a nearby clinic set up to specially for cholera
victims. Their father died of AIDS last year.

'The good thing is that cholera is likely to be a thing of the past now
since the United Nations, Britain and other big organizations are going to
assist,' their uncle says, referring to the unusually frank appeal by
Zimbabwe's government last week for international aid over the outbreak,
which it termed an emergency.

But experts point out that, while the call for a help was an important first
step, much more needs to be done to prevent cholera deaths shooting up into
the thousands.

'There are a lot of things that need to be done before victory (over
cholera) is proclaimed. For example, the supply of safe drinking water and
proper disposal of garbage and sewage has to improve quickly,' says Dr
Marcus Bachmann of Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)
medical NGO.

Although some children have outlived their parents, the United Nations
children's agency UNICEF says children are the most vulnerable to cholera.

'Children in Zimbabwe are on the brink, and everyone's focus must now be on
their survival,' UNICEF acting country representative, Roeland Monasch,

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Grim Reaper Stalks Zimbabwe

12-09-2008 16:48

By John J. Metzler

UNITED NATIONS ― The Grim Reaper is stalking Zimbabwe. Famine, disease and
economic collapse have turned this once prosperous land into a morass of
failed socialist policies, corruption, and entrenched authoritarian rule
from which the only escape remains death or exile in neighboring South

Now months following a presumed power sharing accord between longtime
dictator Robert Mugabe and his political rivals, the country seems no closer
to delivery, but much nearer to total collapse.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has voiced alarm that the fast-eroding
humanitarian situation will worsen and nearly half the country's population
would need U.N. food assistance!

While approximately six million out of Zimbabwe's population will need
foreign food aid, this grim statistic belies a wider point; Zimbabwe was
formerly one of Africa's agricultural breadbaskets, and a major food
exporter to much of the continent. Today the breadbasket has tragically been
turned into a humanitarian basket case.

Right now the U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP) is feeding four million people
in the beleaguered southern African land. During October WFP distributed
29,000 tons of foods to vulnerable families, now for November the agency has
doubled the number of beneficiaries but the available supplies will not
increase significantly.

This WFP will be forced to feed more people with fewer resources, which
naturally means a cutback in rations for the most vulnerable people. The
group concedes that just to keep the humanitarian pipeline open, until the
expected peak of the crisis in March, it shall require $140 million in

The current crisis has been caused by a disastrous harvest, caused by both
weather and indeed the catastrophically callous government policies during
recent years. Among other things, Mugabe's socialist regime has confiscated
farmlands, many held by the minority white community, and has triggered a
deepening food crisis.

Beyond shortages, hyperinflation of 231 million percent has made workers
salaries and savings totally worthless thus forcing people to live on barter
and scarce supplies of U.S. dollars. A U.N. relief official states that only
20 percent of eligible students are now attending school.

As the summer rains begin, a cholera crisis has deepened with 9,000 cases
diagnosed so far. This epidemic, which can rapidly spread, threatens the
region given refugee flows.

Last March disputed presidential elections saw longtime ruler Robert Mugabe
returned to power. Yet after 30 years in control, since the independence of
ex-British Rhodesia, the ruling socialist party Zimbabwe African National
Union (ZANU) grudgingly agreed in September to power sharing with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as to defuse an impending
civil conflict.

The agreement would allow Comrade Mugabe to remain president and Morgan
Tsvangarai to become prime minister has yet to be implemented.

The political crisis has deepened and as Business Day newspaper of
Johannesburg concedes, ``This is why we concur with the African National
Congress president, Jacob Zuma, that Africa and the world must take drastic
action soon to reverse Zimbabwe's slide into anarchy. Inaction will be the
continent's and Zimbabwe's greatest undoing. Africa cannot continue
tolerating rapacious, intolerant and oppressive tyrants.'' So true.

Neighboring countries such as Botswana have ``upped the ante in its
intensifying diplomatic row with Zimbabwe by urging regional leaders to
squeeze President Robert Mugabe out of power to end the worsening political
and economic crisis,'' reports Business Day.

Sadly for too long the South African government has maintained a misguided
``African solidarity'' with the regime in Harare.

Though the United States and the European Union remain committed to
democratic political change and humanitarian assistance for Zimbabwe, the
real force for change rests with neighboring South Africa.

Indeed with more than a million of its refugees in South Africa, and with a
spiraling humanitarian and a deepening political crisis, Zimbabwe poses a
dangerous destabilizing force for all southern Africa.

While South Africa has mediated much of the political power sharing process,
the Pretoria government could with the flick of a feather tip the scales.
Given the humanitarian stakes, it must consider doing so.

John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and
defense issues. He is author of ``Divided Dynamism ― The Diplomacy of
Separated Nations; Germany, Korea, China'' (University Press, 2001). He can
be reached at

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China offers Zimbabwe aid, urges national unity

Tue 9 Dec 2008, 9:09 GMT

BEIJING, Dec 9 (Reuters) - China offered aid to cholera-stricken Zimbabwe on
Tuesday, calling for a national unity government to rescue the African
nation from a spiral of economic and political chaos.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao announced the aid plan at a
regular news conference and his bleak words suggested that Beijing was
distancing itself from increasingly isolated Zimbabwe President Robert

"China along with the broader international community expresses its concern
with the current constant deterioration of the economic and political
situation in Zimbabwe," Liu said.

"To help the people of Zimbabwe, China is actively considering providing
humanitarian economic aid, including food aid."

China has become one of the few states outside the region with relatively
close ties to mineral-rich Zimbabwe's government, and in the past Beijing
has provided economic aid and arms.

But Liu's comments indicated that while China would not join calls for
Mugabe to quit, it did not want to be seen sitting on the sidelines as
growing numbers of African leaders also warn that Zimbabwe faces a crisis of
disease and economic collapse.

Britain, France and the United States have urged Mugabe to go. South African
officials visited Zimbabwe on Tuesday to assess the crisis, responding to an
unprecedented appeal for international help from Mugabe's government.

The crisis has been exacerbated by political deadlock between Mugabe and
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai over implementing a Sept. 15
power-sharing deal brokered by South Africa.

Liu said that deal was the key to solving Zimbabwe's woes.

"We sincerely hope that all concerned parties in Zimbabwe will will truly
focus on the interests of the country and its people and soon form a
government of national unity," he said.

But China is averse to speaking out on other nations' domestic problems and
Liu did not join international calls for Mugabe to quit.

"Who serves as Zimbabwe's leader, and how to resolve the political problems
they now face, are an internal affair of Zimbabwe and China will not
interfere," Liu said.

Asked about concerns that the aid may not reach those most in need, Liu said
his government would "ensure that this aid is able to reach the hands of the
people of Zimbabwe". (Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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It's time for action, not words, to topple Mugabe

Published Date: 09 December 2008
By Kate Hoey
THE Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, made a bold call at the weekend for
Robert Mugabe and his henchmen to be removed from power in Zimbabwe. He said
that they must be brought before the International Criminal Court in The
Hague to answer for their crimes against humanity.
His brother archbishop, Desmond Tutu, also called last week for them to step
down - or face indictment for their gross violations of human rights. He
said that, if they refused, they should be removed by use of military force.
I agree with
them both.

These archbishops know what they are talking about. Both
have first-hand experience of fighting tyranny in the countries of their
birth - Uganda and South Africa.

In July, the parish church of House of Commons, St Margaret's Westminster,
was filled to overflowing with Zimbabweans living in the UK. They came for a
special service, arranged by Dr Sentamu, and I was invited to read the
lesson before he preached.

In a typically forthright sermon, he quoted the words spoken more than 20
years ago by Joshua Nkomo at the funeral of Lookout Masuku, who had been
imprisoned for allegedly plotting to overthrow Mugabe.

He quoted those words again in his newspaper article at the weekend: "We
cannot blame colonialism and imperialism for this tragedy.

"We who fought against these things now practise them.

"Our country cannot progress on fear and the false accusations which are
founded simply on the love of power. There is something radically wrong with
our country today and we are moving, fast, towards destruction.

"There is confusion and corruption and, let us be clear about it, we are
seeing racism in reverse under the false mirror of correcting imbalances
from the past. In the process, we are creating worse things.

"We have created fear in the minds of some in our country. We have made them
feel unwanted, unsafe. We cannot condemn other people and then do things
even worse than they did."

Last week, Gordon Brown renewed his call for robust and decisive
international action, particularly from within Africa, to save the people of
Zimbabwe from political tyranny, the threat of widespread starvation and
rampaging cholera.

Our Prime Minister deserves enormous credit for keeping Zimbabwe on the
international agenda. He has faced abuse and denigration for his efforts,
not only from Mugabe and his apparatchiks, but from those African leaders
such as former President Mbeki, of South Africa, who have spent years
shoring up a cosy buffer of protection around the ZanuPF régime.

The time for talking has now ended - there is no hope of a power-sharing
deal with a dictator who refuses to give up any power.

Yesterday, I spoke with friends in Harare. They told me that the situation
is dire. The rainy season has started. With the water filtration and
sanitation systems closed down, raw sewage is now running into the wells
from which people draw their water for drinking and washing. They told me
the numbers of dead are much greater than reported.

Yet when Gordon Brown pressed for a UN Security Council resolution aimed at
isolating Mugabe and his ZanuPF elite - and upholding the will of the people
of Zimbabwe as expressed in their election of March 29 - it was blocked.

In a shameful move, South Africa led China and Russia in opposition. If the
resolution had been adopted, we might already be helping to rebuild the
economy and institutions of Zimbabwe.

As the outgoing US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said last Friday:
"There has been a sham process of power-sharing talks, and now we are seeing
not only political and economic total devastation ... but a humanitarian
toll of the cholera epidemic."

For those of us who have long been calling for international action to
support the brave and peaceful democratic struggle of Morgan Tsvangari and
his Movement for Democratic Change, it is heartening that some of the
strongest voices calling for action are at last coming from within Africa.

On Sunday, Kenya's Prime Minister called on the African Union to deploy its
troops and intervene to bring an end to the crisis. Botswana wants the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) to put an embargo on petrol
and diesel exports to Zimbabwe. It believes that this could dislodge Mugabe
from power in little more than a week. Zambia has also expressed support for
his removal.

But all the Southern African countries need to accept that it is time to
uphold the will of the people of Zimbabwe. Some of them still don't, and
their silence has been shameful. Mozambique, bordering Zimbabwe, has done
nothing. Nor has Malawi.

Sadly, we have been prepared to let them get away with their destructive
stance for too long and have continued to pump taxpayers' money to them,
despite their support for tyranny and corruption. This must stop - and the
Prime Minister should say so now.

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Ambassador McGee honored with Diplomacy for Freedom Award

Harare, December 9, 2008: Ambassador James D. McGee received the 2008
Diplomacy for Freedom Award for his extraordinary commitment to promoting
democracy and defending human rights in Zimbabwe.
The award was presented by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on
Monday at a function held annually to mark International Human Rights Day in
Washington, DC.
The Diplomacy for Freedom Award rewards a Chief of Mission for engagement
and activism in support of developing host country capacity to advance
democracy and strengthen democratic institutions including civil society, as
well as protect human rights.
McGee developed a mission strategy to give a voice to Zimbabweans working to
promote democracy, to highlight human rights abuses, and to support
elections that are relatively free and fair.
In the aftermath of the presidential election in March and in anticipation
of the run-off vote in June, the Zanu PF government unleashed a reign of
terror against the political opposition and barred most international media
from Zimbabwe. Ambassador McGee personally led teams of diplomats from
like-minded countries and Embassy personnel to rural hotspots to talk with
victims and witnesses of persecution and violence. These missions were not
incident-free. On several occasions armed people stopped the visits and
threatened or verbally abused participants.
Congratulating McGee, Rice said that "McGee's strategy helped to establish a
truth that could not be ignored and contributed to mounting international
pressure on Mugabe and his party to enter into a power-sharing arrangement."
"Ultimately, you are make life better for the Zimbabwean people
and we deeply hope that that will soon come. It will come only, though, if
there is a concerted international response, especially by the countries of
the region.and you are leading that effort internationally," said Rice.
# # #

Issued by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section, December 9, 2008

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British minister to hold Zimbabwe talks this week

 Posted : Tue, 09 Dec 2008 15:27:22 GMT
 Author : DPA

 London - The British Foreign Office minister responsible for
Africa, Mark Malloch-Brown, will travel to South Africa later this week to
discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe, the government in London said Tuesday. A
Downing Street spokesman said it was clear that Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe could no longer protect the population of his country and that the
international community needed to show the people of Zimbabwe their support.

 Measures to halt the current cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe would
be central to the talks.

 The Foreign Office said the international economic crisis would
also be on Malloch-Brown's agenda during his tour later this week. No
further details were given.

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Zimbabwe ruling ZANU-PF postpones national congress

     + - 22:00, December 09, 2008

 Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF has postponed the party's National
People's Conference, which was scheduled for Bindura beginning on Tuesday,
to next week because of the death of Elliot Manyika, the Herald reported on

 ZANU-PF national political commissar Elliot Manyika who died in
a car accident on Saturday, has been declared a national hero. Manyika, who
was also the Minister Without Portfolio, will be buried at the National
Heroes' Acre on Thursday.

 Speaking after an extraordinary Politburo meeting at the ruling
party's headquarters on Monday, Zanu-PF deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi
said the meeting had agreed to accord Manyika national hero status.

 "The Politburo unanimously agreed that Manyika should be
accorded national hero status. We are, however, going to meet members of his
family for the final program for his funeral and burial on Thursday," he

 "The People's Conference has been pushed forward and would start
with a Politburo meeting on Tuesday, December 16, in Bindura," Masawi said.

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Council Conclusions on Zimbabwe

Council of the European Union (Brussels)

9 December 2008

press release

Brussels - A meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council
(GAERC) of the European Union, a monthly meeting that brings together 7 EU
foreign affairs ministers, the European Commission, and the
Secretary-General of the Council, adopted the following resolution on
December 8:

1. The Council reiterates its deep concern at the deteriorating humanitarian
situation in Zimbabwe, particularly as a result of the cholera epidemic and
the continuing violence against supporters of the MDC. It reaffirms the
European Union's commitment to the Zimbabwean people through a substantial
and long-standing programme of humanitarian aid.

It shares the opinion expressed by the "Group of Elders" in their statement
on the crisis in Zimbabwe. It considers unacceptable the decision to bar its
members from even entering Zimbabwe. The Council demands respect for the
principles of humanitarian aid and, in particular, respect for the principle
of impartiality and equal access to humanitarian aid for the entire
Zimbabwean population.

2. The Council notes the conclusion of an agreement in principle between the
parties on constitutional amendment number 19, the entry into force of which
is one of the prerequisites for the implementation of the political
agreement of 15 September. It nevertheless regrets the long standoff in
negotiations since the agreement was signed and hopes that an agreement
satisfactory to all parties can be reached soon.

Eight months after the elections and almost three months after the initial
power sharing agreement was signed, the Council recalls the importance of
reaching a fair and viable power sharing agreement without delay. It calls
for the cessation of unilateral decisions, such as the decision to confirm
the appointment of the Governor of the Central Bank, which contradict the
spirit of the agreement.

The Council stresses the need for all parties to acknowledge that, if it is
to be both lasting and democratic, the outcome of negotiations must reflect
the will and choice of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in the 29 March

3. The Council underlines the importance of the SADC, the African Union and
the UN remaining actively engaged vis-à-vis the parties in order to reach a
lasting and equitable solution. The Council emphasises the importance of
remaining vigilant in relation to the possible consequences for the region
of a continuation in the deterioration of the humanitarian situation and
destabilisation of Zimbabwe.

4. The Council has decided to update the list of persons subject to EU
individual restrictive measures, in particular by adding to the list names
of persons actively engaged in violence or human rights infringements.
5. The Council reaffirms that the European Union stands ready to support the
economic and social recovery of Zimbabwe once a government reflecting the
will of the Zimbabwean people has been formed and shows tangible signs of a
return to respect for human rights, rule of law and macroeconomic

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Red alert as cholera crisis spreads to Zimbabwe's neighbours

Kiran Randhawa

ZIMBABWE'S neighbouring countries were today on red alert as the cholera
epidemic continued its devastating rampage across their borders.

The death toll has risen to 589 and hundreds of Zimbabweans are leaving the
country in a desperate attempt to escape the disease.

As a result, the outbreak has spread to bordering countries. Eight people
have died in South Africa alone. In Zambia, one has died in the town of
Chirundu, which borders Zimbabwe.

Zambia's authorities have imposed health controls at all three of its shared
borders with Zimbabwe, screening anyone entering or leaving Zambia.

Medical teams have been sent to Mozambique's border areas and local health
authorities are reportedly on "maximum alert" against a possible cholera
spread. In the country's Changara district 169 cholera cases have been
reported and most of the victims are said to be Zimbabweans.

Botswana too is said to be on high alert as one Zimbabwean is being treated
for the disease.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs revealed the
number of cholera cases in Zimbabwe stood at 13,960. A nurse said the crisis
was now "beyond control".

Although official figures for the death toll stand at 589, it is believed
the true figure is much higher.

One patient, at a hospital in Harare, said: "For every 10 patients who die,
they report four." The woman, who did not want to be identified, said the
hospital was filthy, with no clean water and patients lying next to buckets
that were being used as lavatories.

The epidemic has been caused by the collapse of basic infrastructure of
water and sanitation in Zimbabwe, and exacerbated by the crisis in the
country's health service. The two main hospitals in Harare have closed
because of a shortage of drugs and staff.

Many doctors and nurses have abandoned their posts because their monthly
salaries do not cover the cost of their bus fares to work. One nurse said
there was a critical shortage of basic medical supplies in the few hospitals
that are still operating and overflowing with cholera patients. "The staff
cannot cope, people are dying even before they are being attended to," he

Most of the population, weak from hunger, are easy prey for what should be a
preventable and treatable disease.

Basic foodstuffs are running out, prices of goods are doubling every 24
hours, and the 100million Zimbabwean dollar-a-week limit for bank
withdrawals buys only three loaves of bread in the once relatively
prosperous country.

The spreading cholera, food shortages and economic collapse country have
prompted new demands from Western countries for president Robert Mugabe's
resignation. Mr Mugabe blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe's hardship.

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Zimbabwe minister's death ignites renewed inter-party violence

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Political violence has rocked Zimbabwe's northwestern
Mashonaland Central Province amid counter-accusations by rival parties
following the death of a cabinet minister Elliot Manyika who was a key
figure in the region, APA has learnt here.

The Monday skirmishes left several houses damaged after they were
petrol-bombed on Sunday night, according to sources in the area.

Both the ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) accused the other party of masterminding the attacks against
their respective members in the mining town of Bindura.

Manyika was the MP for Bindura North in Mashonaland Central province.

ZANU PF provincial chairperson Dickson Mafios said suspected MDC activists
had allegedly petrol-bombed ruling party youths who planned to march in the
town in solidarity with the family of the late minister without portfolio,
Manyika, who was killed in a car accident on Saturday.

Two children were allegedly injured by the suspected opposition activists,
Mafios said.

\"The youths were preparing to march in solidarity with the bereaved family
when one of the houses was petrol-bombed. We condemn such behaviour,\" he

The MDC instead accused ZANU PF militias of petrol-bombing houses belonging
to opposition supporters.

  JN/nm/APA 2008-12-09

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ZANU-PF govt. orders retailers to reduce prices

Tuesday, 09 December 2008 17:28

Grappling with a runaway hyperinflation, retailers in Zimbabwe have no
recourse but to increase prices. Tuesday, the ZANU-PF government, which has
stood by with folded arms as RBZ governor Gono printed money day and night,
ordered  retailers across the country to reduce prices of basic commodities.

"The latest price increases are not cost based," Goodwills Masimirembwa,
head of the government's price control board, said on state television.
Masimirembwa, a ZANU-PF appointee, chose to blame the retailers for the
price increases instead of telling Gono and ZANU-PF to do the right thing.

"The Incomes and Pricing Commission has ordered business to revert to prices
obtained on December 3," he said. In the recent past, the introduction of
price controls has been blamed for the shortage of goods across Zimbabwe,
something the ZANU-PF goverment hasn't learnt from.

On Thursday last week central bank chief Gideon Gono blamed retailers for
the nation's crushing inflation, last estimated at 231 million percent in
July, after introducing a 100 million dollar note.

When the bill was released, it was worth 50 US dollars, but its value has
already crumbled to just four dollars on the black market, where most people
are forced to trade currency.

The release of the new bank note sparked a wave of price increases, and a
200 million dollar note has already been announced for this week.

Once described as a model economy and a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe's
economy has collapsed over the past decade and there are now shortages of
basic foodstuffs like sugar and cooking oil.

Last year, some 3,000 retailers and manufacturers were arrested after
government ordered prices of all goods and services to be halved.

Manufacturers must raise their prices several times a day in order to keep
pace with the world's highest inflation rate, and complain that
government-imposed prices mean they are unable to cover their costs.

The price crackdown last year led to many shops being left empty while
thousands of employees lost their jobs.

This year the government has licenced almost 600 shops across the country to
sell their goods in foreign currency, although most Zimbabweans have little
access to it.

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Gono Claims World Bank Offered Him Job

HARARE, December 9, 2008 - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
governor, Gideon Gono, claims the World Bank (WB) offered him a job as
senior vice president of the Bretton Woods institution despite putting him
on the European Union and United States of America (USA) targeted sanctions

Gono made the revelation on Monday evening during the launch of his
book entitled 'Zimbabwe's Casino Economy: Extra-ordinary Measures for
Extra-ordinary Challenges'.

He said the idea to write the book was conceived while on a plane from

"Just as I was being dragged to the UN security council to be put on
the sanctions list, I was offered a job by the World Bank as senior vice
president with the full blessings of none other than George Bush himself,"
Gono told the 200 guests who attended his book's launch at Rainbow Towers.

Gono said he had written a lengthy letter to the World Bank in reply,
inquiring what would happen to his being listed under sanctions.

"They said they would remove me from the list and promised that they
would see what to do with my friends already on the illegal sanctions list,"
he said.

The WB letter offering him a job as senior vice president and his
response to their offer are both contained in the book Gono is selling for
US$45 a copy.

"In my humble book that we are here to launch, I dwell not so much on
my personal history but mainly on shedding light on the deep philosophical
drivers that shaped the orientation and conduct of the RBZ's monetary policy
programme under my watch over the past five year," said Gono is his speech.

"As I rolled my sleeves to get down to work from 1 December, 2003, I
was to be confronted by the sobering realities of our economy degenerating
into a literal casino, driven by individual and in some instances collective
greed, indiscipline, corruption, deceit and general lack of unity of purpose
among stakeholders.

The past five years have opened my eyes and conscience to the ugly
face of double standards. Smear propaganda, conspiracy and incomprehensive
betrayal of the Zimbabwean people's interests by some in the international
community," said Gono.

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Amendment 19 not yet endorsed by party principals

By Tichaona Sibanda
9 December 2008

ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and faction
leader Arthur Mutambara have yet to meet to endorse the wording of
constitutional amendment 19, which was agreed to by their negotiators two
weeks ago.

Professor Welshman Ncube told Newsreel there was an apparent lack of urgency
by the leaders, who need to meet to endorse the amendment before it can be

'As negotiators our work has been done as far as the amendment is concerned.
The text was referred to the party principals for endorsement but as you are
aware, last week all the principals were out of the country. They need to
meet as a group and give the final word,' Ncube said.

The state media reported that South African facilitators to the inter-party
talks were due to fly into Zimbabwe on Tuesday, to try to find ways to
expedite the formation of the inclusive government.

In terms of the constitution, the Bill would have to be publicly scrutinized
for 30 days before it was introduced in parliament for debate and passage
into law. This means the country would not have a new government until
January. The Bill creates the posts of prime minister to accommodate
Tsvangirai and deputy prime ministers for Tsvangirai's second-in-command,
Thokozani Khuphe, and Mutambara, the leader of the smaller MDC faction.

The Bill says cabinet would take decisions by 'consensus, and take
collective responsibility,' something which would be difficult to achieve
given the different political and policy positions of Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Most analysts now agree that the constitutional amendment is an extremely
flawed document and will not solve Zimbabwe's problems. As the humanitarian
crisis worsens there are increasing international calls for Mugabe to be
removed from office. Botswana and Kenya were two African countries who have
also called for Mugabe's removal. But these calls were blunted on Monday by
Jacob Zuma, the African National Congress leader, who urged further
mediation, despite the power-sharing impasse in Harare.

Zuma was speaking to Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, during official
talks between the ANC and SWAPO at State House in the capital Windhoek.
Zuma, who has been more vocal in his criticism of Mugabe than his ANC
predecessor, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, called on the
'Zimbabwean leadership to act hastily' and to 'ratify amendment 19 of the
constitution and pave the way for a unity government.'

Zuma emphasised dialogue to solve the crisis and gave his full support for
Mbeki, who is mediating in the talks, to get the deal off the ground.
The African Union has also rejected tougher steps against Mugabe. On Tuesday
African Union chairman and President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, made clear
it he did not back calls for tougher action.
He also said only dialogue between the Zimbabwean parties, supported by the
AU and other regional actors, can restore peace and stability.
So once again most African voices remained quiet and distanced - while
Zimbabwe dies.

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