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Harare expected to unveil new currency next month

Zim Online

Thursday 14 December 2006

      HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono is next month
expected to introduce a long promised new currency for the economically
troubled southern African nation, banking industry sources told ZimOnline.

      The sources, who declined to be named for professional reasons, said
Gono had already hinted in a December 12 memorandum to banks and other
financial institutions that he would lay out the next phase of his monetary
reforms dubbed Project Sunrise Two when he announces the monetary policy
review statement in January 2007.

      The introduction of a new currency, a move meant to help shore up a
Zimbabwe dollar that at the moment is shedding value more than any other
currency in the world, will see the country doing away with the use of
promissory notes that are known as bearer cheques and are used in the same
way as cash.

      "As was announced to the public recently, broader issues on monetary
policy will be covered in the January 2007 Monetary Policy Statement which
will also deal with issues pertaining to Project Sunrise Two," read part of
Gono's memorandum to banks, a copy of which was shown to ZimOnline.

      It was not possible to get immediate confirmation from Gono's office
whether the memorandum was an advise to banks that he would be launching the
new currency in January. But the chief executive officer of one of the
country's largest banks said industry players had understood the governor's
memo to mean new money would be introduced next month.

      "We understand the governor to mean that barring unforeseen changes
then he would be introducing new currency in January as well as laying out
the other monetary reforms he has long promised," said the banker.

      Gono last August told journalists and business executives that the
final leg of the currency reforms he launched in July would be implemented
with little notice of less than 24 hours.

      The majority of Zimbabweans no longer keep money in banks but stash it
at home where it can be easily accessed to pay for goods or to finance deals
on the parallel market, which has virtually supplanted the formal market.

      But many lost millions of dollars during the first phase of currency
reforms after failing to move cash especially from remote rural areas to
banks to exchange it for new bearer cheques with less zeroes that were
introduced by Gono in the first phase off the currency reforms.

      Economic experts say Gono's currency reforms will achieve little,
adding the central bank chief is better served trying to convince his
principals in the government to abandon their controversial policies that
are the real causes of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown. - ZimOnline

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Rights activists demand end to state-sponsored torture

Zim Online

Thursday 14 December 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwean lawyers, human rights and pro-democracy activists
on Wednesday marched across Harare protesting against increasing human
rights violations and the use of torture by state security agents.

      The protesters numbering more than a 100 people and who demanded
urgent action to end human rights abuses and torture, handed a petition to
the Supreme Court, the country's highest court, that critics however accuse
of failing to stand up to President Robert Mugabe's government in defence of
Zimbabweans' rights.

      The registrar of the Supreme Court received the petition on behalf of
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku. But security personnel at Parliament
would not accept the petition, which also accused the government of blocking
international relief agencies from giving aid to starving Zimbabweans.

      "There are documented cases of the use of torturous methods and cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment by law enforcement agents and members of the
military, which have been publicly supported by the executive," the petition
read in part.

      This was in apparent reference to Mugabe defending and publicly
praising the police last September for brutally assaulting and torturing
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions leaders after they attempted to organise
anti-government protests by workers.

      Both Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba and Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa were not immediately available for comment on charges by the
activists that the government was sponsoring and abetting rights abuses and

      Human rights abuses have been on the rise in Zimbabwe as Mugabe's
government increasingly relies on the army to keep public discontent in
check in the face of an economic meltdown that has spawned hyperinflation
and shortages of food, fuel, essential medicines, hard cash and just about
every basic survival commodity.

      Prominent human rights lawyer Arnold Tsunga, who helped organise the
protest march, said the fact that Parliament could not accept their petition
showed the House had itself become an apparatus of repression.

      "The fact that we could not present our petition to Parliament shows
how that institution has turned itself into an extension of repression,"
Tsunga said.

      Some of the organisations that took part in the march and were
signatories to the petition included ZimRghts, the University of Zimbabwe
Law Faculty, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Justice for Children, Legal
Resources Foundation, Zimbabwe NGO Forum and the National Constitutional
Assembly of Zimbabwe.

      The police, who in the past have been only too eager to beat up and
disperse anti-government protesters, surprisingly did not do so, although
they kept an eye on the marchers from a distance.

      The United States, European Union, New Zealand, Switzerland and
Australia have imposed targeted visa and financial sanctions against Mugabe
and his top lieutenants as punishment for stealing elections, violating
human rights and failure to uphold the rule of law.

      Mugabe, who claims the sanctions are hurting the economy and ordinary
Zimbabweans more than himself and his officials, claims the West is out to
punish his government for seizing white-owned farmland for redistribution to
landless blacks. - ZimOnline

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Police evict villagers from farm, take over property

Zim Online

Thursday 14 December 2006

      BULAWAYO - Armed Zimbabwean police on Tuesday forcibly evicted 150
villagers from a farm near the second biggest city of Bulawayo which they
have earmarked for their projects.

      The villagers settled on Springs Farm, some 15km south of Bulawayo in
2000 with tacit approval from President Robert Mugabe's government during
the violent farm invasions.

      But the villagers' stay came to an abrupt end as hordes of armed
police officers descended on the farm in the early hours of Tuesday and
ordered them to immediately vacate the property.

      Mehluli Dube, one of the affected villagers, said the police had
ordered them to "go back where they came from" because they were taking over
the farm.

      "They ordered us out of our houses threatening to burn them down if we
did not comply. Some who delayed coming out were forcibly removed and
assaulted with baton sticks," she said.

      Another villager who refused to be named for fear of victimisation
told ZimOnline: "We have nowhere to go because this place had become our
home for the past six years. We had also ploughed our fields."

      Late last month, the police gave the villagers seven days to leave the
farm saying the villagers were not settled legally on the property.

      Police deputy national spokesman, Chief Superintendent Oliver
Mandipaka confirmed yesterday that the police had taken over the farm.

      "The farm has been allocated to the police and we have the powers to
evict the squatters if they refuse to leave of their own accord," he said.

      "We want to use the farm for our projects so they should move out . .
.  It is not our problem that they will not be able to plough their fields,"
he added.

      Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema said the villagers should go back to
their original land.

      "They should go back to their areas of origin immediately if they are
really concerned about ploughing because there is no other way," he said.

      Several powerful senior ruling ZANU PF party and government officials
have in the past few years been accused of evicting thousands of villagers
from farms they occupied during the government's chaotic land invasions.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and Western
governments say the land reform drive has only benefited a clique within
Mugabe's ruling elite, a charge the veteran Zimbabwean leader denies. -

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Harare Families Face Eviction By City; Political Motivation Alleged


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      13 December 2006

Some families in the Chizhanje section of Mabvuku, a populous Harare suburb,
faced eviction from their homes in a municipal housing development Wednesday
following the expiration of a seven-day eviction notice served on the
families last week.

Harare city officials have said they need the houses to accommodate city
employees, but critics said the eviction process is intended to pressure
opposition members. One tenant said she has paid her rent on time, so the
city has no cause to evict her.

The city council since last year has been pressuring the tenants to move
out, but the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights defender group has prevented
their eviction.

Spokesman Precious Shumba of the Combined Harare Residents Association told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his
organization suspects a political motive behind the city's effort to evict
the residents.

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A deep cancer - the collapse of Zimbabwe

Radio Netherlands Worldwide is broadcasting a half-hour documentary on
Zimbabwe today. The programme can be heard this evening at 18:27 UTC/GMT on
6020, 9895 and 11655 kHz. There's a repeat at 20:00 UTC/GMT on 7120, 11655
and 17810 kHz. At 22:29 UTC/GMT, it will air on SAfm. UTC/GMT + 2 hours =
Zim time. So, 22:29 is 00:29. There's another repeat on Friday at 19:00
UTC/GMT on 7120, 9895, 11655 and 17810 kHz. The programme can also be heard
by going to and
clicking on "Documentary".


Number:          1007713

Date:            December 13, 2006

Time:           29'30"



CD Ndega Zvangu - 3

Radio Netherlands Worldwide presents "A Deep Cancer - the collapse of
Zimbabwe". The programme is part of a series on failed states, produced in
collaboration with the Ford Foundation. The programme is presented by Eric



It has joined a number of failed states in Africa, something that definitely
shouldn't have happened to a country like Zimbabwe.

Gwanda-failed state?

At independence, this was the jewel of Africa. Democracy, freedom,
independence. You could feel and sense those. But they've been corroded.
They've been eroded over the passage of time.


The only thing that I believe that President Robert Mugabe has ever said
which is 100% factually correct was when he said never in history has any
country been placed in liquidation.

Urban resident

We are now fed up, absolutely fed up.

Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of southern Africa. Today it cannot feed
itself. It has the world's highest inflation rate. According to the
Zimbabwean government it's over 1000%. Unofficially it's said to be over
2000%. 80 percent of the population is unemployed. It also has the lowest
life expectancy in the world. It's a state teetering on the brink of
collapse. Nowhere are the consequences of this more evident than in the
public health system.


Mpilo is one of the two main hospitals in the southern city of Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's 2nd largest city. Walk inside and you'll see rundown wards and
outdated equipment. It's emblematic of the collapse of the health care
system. Debra Mabunda is a nurse in a nearby institution.

MABUNDA-how bad has it got?

The situation right now has deteriorated so badly, so much so that a lot of
patients are turned away from hospital, not because they cannot be
accommodated but because there is really no treatments, especially drugs,
human power, and at one point a few months back, patients who were admitted
to hospital had to take in their own bed linen, their own gloves, their own
drugs, and at times they had to actually pay a doctor in their private
surgery to come and see them in the hospital.

Staff moral has collapsed, says a male nurse. Like many of the people I
spoke to, he wishes to remain anonymous, fearing repercussions from the


We are no longer serving the patients as we were because three-quarters of
the time somebody is asking about money: any increases? Where do you get
mealie-meal? Where do you get sugar? Where did you buy whatever? What mode
of transport are you using today? Three-quarters of the time we are
discussing and nothing else. That means we are not productive at all. Have a
lot of your colleagues left as a result of the situation? Definitely.
Three-quarters, the majority have gone to greener pastures. Some have even
opted to leave and struggle elsewhere. They would rather leave their chosen
careers because it defies logic. Are you yourself thinking of leaving?
Definitely, definitely I am. If I strike a chance, I would. I will because
there's nothing that I'm working for. Would you go to a different country or
would you work in something else? At the present moment, working in the same
country does not even help because the situation is just the same. I may get
hundreds of millions but the inflation will erode everything. The best way
is to leave the country, and nothing else. What do you think is going to
happen in the future with the medical care system? It will collapse.
Definitely, it's heading towards collapse.


A surgeon, who also wants to remain anonymous, is also seeing a steep
decline in health care.


Frankly speaking, I don't know how my colleagues cope. How do you look after
a patient who's diabetic when you don't know what their sugar is? And you've
got no insulin. It's very difficult indeed. How much further will it take
things to collapse completely? In one sense, it's a bit impossible to
answer. In another sense, it's already collapsed.

Even aspirin is unavailable in health clinics and hospitals. Ambulances
cannot go out to pick up patients because fuel is in such short supply. As a
result, says this doctor, fewer and fewer people are turning up for

DOCTOR-Hospitals empty

The fact that people are not coming is symptomatic that the health service
isn't able to provide. In the past, the hospitals from the districts brought
patients on a regular basis. Tuesdays and Thursdays, there was a queue of
ambulances at outpatient departments. They're just not there. So of course
it's transport. It might also be the fact - of course, I'm a surgeon so that
many of these folk are sick with HIV disease and therefore don't come - but
the medical wards are also empty. There's a misconception that's commonly
touted in newspapers that the hospitals are overflowing and stuff. It's
absolutely not true.

The frustration of doctors and nurses is understandable. The consequences
for patients too, particularly the most vulnerable: children. Anna is a
16-year-old orphan. She was working as a maid when, one evening, as she was
leaving church, she was attacked by a group of 6 young men posing as police
officers. She was gang raped. She finally managed to escape and a motorist
took her to the police. They made her wait for hours but since they were
short-staffed, they sent her home, telling her not to wash herself. They
were supposed to pick her up the following morning, but they didn't have a
vehicle. So she had to walk 1.5 kilometres on her own to the hospital.


I was feeling sick. My thighs were sore and I was swollen, my feet were
swollen and where they were hitting me over the body, I was feeling pain,
and I was feeling soreness in the throat where they had put something so
that I could not shout. What happened when you arrived at the hospital? The
doctor examined me and took some specimens from my private parts, and then
the doctor afterwards ordered some medication that I was to be given. But
there was no medication at the hospital. And then they also took some blood
specimen. / The blood specimens were taken and the police were supposed to
go with me to take the results but nobody came so the results were not

Fujia eventually discovered that she had syphilis and probably also has
AIDS. She wanted an abortion, but she wasn't able to get the drugs. She's
now 4 months' pregnant with a child she doesn't want.


I don't know what to say I'm pregnant when I am so small, and I have no one
to look after me. And I don't know, if I were to give birth to this child,
how I'm going to look after this child without any support from anyone?

Today's Zimbabwe is full of personal tragedies. There are too many stories
to tell. Yet when Zimbabwe achieved independence in 1980, it was a beacon
for other nations in the region. President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF
party were going to lead the country to a more prosperous future, free of
discrimination. But things started going radically wrong in the late 1990s,
when the government decided to give compensation to the war veterans of what's
known in Zimbabwe as the "liberation war".


Frankly the issue at the time wasn't whether they did deserve the
compensation or didn't. The issue was that government couldn't afford to
give that compensation.

Dr. Eric Bloch is an economist and financial consultant.


The result was an immediate crash in the Zimbabwean dollar. It was
recognised that to be able to pay that compensation, there would have to be
recourse to major printing of money, and that that would fuel immense
inflation. On the 13th of November 1997, the Zimbabwean dollar crashed 75%
in 4 hours. And that was the first trigger to the collapse.

A few months later, the situation deteriorated even further, and people went
out onto the streets to protest against hikes in food prices. To placate
people, President Mugabe's government approved the Land Acquisition Act,
giving huge parcels of land to the black majority. But in fact, the
government, behind the scenes, had already been encouraging the war veterans
to illegally invade farm land. The invasions destroyed the foundation of the
Zimbabwean economy: agriculture. Most of the land though did not go to poor
peasants. Instead it was given to Mugabe's cronies, and the Zimbabwean
dollar continued to plummet.


Government has tried to maintain a fictitious value by regulating the
exchange rate. But the consequence of that has been only to worsen the
economy further and create an even greater scarcity of foreign exchange
because by an illogically created exchange rate, the possibility of exports
has diminished even further.

Zimbabwe's economy is still deteriorating. The International Monetary Fund
estimates that the inflation rate will reach 4000 percent by the end of next


A local businessman explained to me the difficulties of operating a business
in this type of hyper inflationary environment.


Certain companies that I know of close their businesses for a week if
exchange rates are moving just to manage the costs of their goods. Since the
inflation has been escalating, previously people would have repriced their
goods monthly. Now people in the market are talking about repricing their
goods weekly, according to the parallel market rate. I think it's known
generally that most companies that aren't exporting and aren't
self-sufficient as far as foreign currency is concerned purchase their
foreign currency off the illegitimate or parallel market or informal market
or whatever you want to call it, and they price their goods according to
those values. So when the exchange rate is running because there's a
shortage of money on the market, those guys are repricing their goods weekly
and that's the reality on the ground. I don't think any officials or anybody
else can deny. Everybody knows that's what's happening.

For companies that don't export, it's extremely difficult to make any


You're living from hand to mouth on a day-to-day basis. I think that a lot
of businesses that have relied on foreign currency input just to remain in
trade are pretty much going to 3-day weeks because they can't get the
foreign currency at whatever price. And secondly the lack of margin catches
up with you. If you make one error as far as your pricing is concerned you
make a loss. And quite often you find that you have quantum leaps in the
actual basket of goods that they use for inflation on a month to month basis
because the perception may be that it's settling down. So the pricing is
done incorrectly and it doesn't settle down. The following week or the
following month, the businesses and the trades work on it as a
straightforward financial calculation and try and recover all of those costs
that they may have lost the previous week or previous month. So that then
has a quantum leap. You'll see in our statistical figures I think for March
and April, you'll see that March inflation dropped and in April it spiked
because that was everybody catching up because of the lack of perception as
far as the business was concerned. So yeah, it's not an easy task and I
think it's all guess-work to be perfectly honest with you.


Because of Zimbabwe's shortage of foreign currency, fuel is also in very
short supply. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people have to walk up to
20 kilometres to get to work. At petrol stations, you can see dozens of
buses lined up to purchase government fuel. They often remain there for
days. For private motorists, it's even more difficult to get gas.


You're listening to "A Deep Cancer" from Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

In June of last year the situation for millions of Zimbabweans deteriorated
even further when the ZANU-PF government launched Operation Murambatsvina or
"Clean up the Filth". Zimbabweans refer to it as their tsunami. The
dwellings of 700,000 Zimbabweans were destroyed and the stalls of hundreds
of thousands of informal traders, who are essential to the Zimbabwean
economy, were knocked to the ground, explains a local human rights activist.


The government's propaganda position is that it was about getting rid of the
filth, the filth being crime, being dirt on the streets, that they needed to
clean up the informal sector which was unregularised and not performing in
terms of government bylaws. But in actual fact, this wasn't true. Many of
the vendors organisations were completely licensed. They were operating out
of regular sites which the government went and demolished. They demolished
areas which had been allowed by the city council and built with council
money. On the housing front, 86% of dwellings in Bulawayo which were knocked
down were actually robust structures built out of brick and mortar and with
corrugated iron roves. These were not shacks and this was not slum clearance
as it has often been referred to. So I think the real reason was it was a
way of punishing urban voters for the fact that over the last six years,
they have repeatedly and convincingly voted against ZANU-PF, and they had in
fact just done so in March 2005 in the elections, and then in May, June,
July along came the demolitions.


This is Killarney, a suburb of Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo.
Suburb is actually the wrong word: it begins where the paved road and the
beautiful, spacious houses end. You need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to manage
the dirt roads taking you into dry bush.


Three teenagers are pounding rock-hard earth, hoping to extract some gold
dust to pay for a meal and perhaps a drink. Around them are hundreds of
dwellings, all of which have been destroyed. The house of 27-year-old
Ncedisani Mpofu and her four children has been demolished 8 times in the
past year and a half. The first time was in June of last year.


They come by 5 o'clock. In the morning? Yes, in the morning. They say go
out. So I took all my children. When I was taking my children, they asked
the matches. I gave them the matches, so they was burning the house. So
nothing kept outside, only burnt in the house. Did you have a lot of
possessions? Yes, a bed, materials, tools, my wardrobe. They burnt all
blankets. Yes. Did they explain to you why they were doing this? They said,
go away, go away to where you came from.


She and her children spent four months living in the bush. Time and time
again, she built new shacks, all of them around 2 metres by 3 metres. There
are holes in the roof, so when the rainy season comes, she and her children
are unprotected. The wind blows dust in to the family's scant possessions.
Mpofu doesn't know why her government has done this, nor what will happen


I don't know what they are thinking to do. Otherwise they come. It was
raining. They said, go out. They destroyed houses. I don't know where we are
going. Yes. It's pretty horrible. Yes, [laughter].

In urban areas too, police destroyed sheds that people had built in their
backyards, despite the fact that they had permits. This woman, who wishes to
remain anonymous, is now living with 18 relatives in a tiny house in a
high-density suburb of Bulawayo. Like many, she is angry with Robert Mugabe,
who she refers to simply as "he".


We are fed up because he has always got false promises. He always say come
and they register us and all those who were affected by Murambatsvina. You
should come and register, so that we can give you other houses or build
other houses for you. But there's nothing since that time until now. And you
have registered? Yes I did. So many times. Even on Friday, we registered.
They came here and wrote our names with out IDs. We don't know whether we
are voting by registering those names. We now don't know because he's clever
and there's nothing we can do because he's always cheating us. How many
years are we going to sit like this waiting for something which is not going
to come? He took over the country. We wanted to be free. But we are not free
because we are starving, more starving than what our forefathers were doing.

It's a sentiment you hear frequently in Zimbabwe, among both the old and the
young. People feel that the ZANU-PF government has turned not only against
the main opposition party, the MDC, but also against its own people, driving
this once prosperous nation into collapse. It's a view shared by the United
Nations. According to the UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland, "when life
expectancy goes down from more than 60 years to just over 30 years in a
15-year span, it's a meltdown". It's a meltdown that's affecting all sectors
of Zimbabwean society, including the judiciary, says Mary Ndlovu, a human
rights activist.


The judiciary as an institution has been undermined by deliberate actions by
government, pronouncements of government undermining the integrity of the
judiciary, threats and intimidation against judges who give rulings that
they don't like, appointment of people as judges that they think will toe
the line for government and give them rulings that they like. And then for
those who don't, sometimes quite alarming reactions from government. We've
even had violence against specific members of the judiciary mainly from the
sort of government affiliated institutions such as war vets or party youth
or militia, where courtrooms have actually been invaded. It's also become
quite corrupt and it's heavily understaffed.

Many of the judges, magistrates and prosecutors have joined the huge exodus
from Zimbabwe. It's estimated that over 4 million Zimbabweans, out of a
population of 15 million, have left the country to find work abroad. Like
the rest of Zimbabwean society, the judicial and penal systems are
collapsing. Mary Ndlovu cites an example.


Recently I came across a report and this is just one corner of the whole
system, a report on juvenile justice. It was absolutely horrifying. There's
no juvenile diversion system. Most of the juveniles who come to court as
offenders are not represented by anybody. The social workers in the system
who should attend to the juveniles are simply not there. They've mostly
emigrated so you can't call on them. You get magistrates saying well, what
can we do? We have to sentence them to prison. So you've got 15 year olds in
maximum with adults in the same cells, brutalised, traumatised. Not only
boys. Also girls who are being brutalised by older women. I mean this is
horrifying. It's totally unacceptable. And then they say, oh well, but we
have no juvenile prison. Nobody seems to be bothered.

Indifference is endemic today in Zimbabwe. It's each for himself: those at
the bottom of the ladder are simply trying to survive, while the friends and
allies of the government live in plush houses and drive around in luxury
cars. They and President Mugabe are determined to try and keep their grip on
power, says this human rights activist.


What we see is a dictator in his dying years, and like all dictators what
Mugabe is trying to do is to control more and more and more of Zimbabwe. And
that's why more and more aspects of the nation are being militarised for
example. Grain distribution has been militarised for years. Fuel has been
militarised for years. Most of the parastatles are run by army generals or
ex-army generals. So at a certain level, there's this desire to control. We
see laws passed, draconian legislation controlling private schools,
controlling prices of commodities. But they're a government which is also
splitting at its heart. They're a divided party. And they're a party without
resources. They're broke. They literally don't have the diesel to go out and
steal food from the villages although that's what they've said they're going
to do. So simultaneously you see more legislation, more attempts to control
but actually more and more, there's kind of large parts of the nation that
are more or less just anarchy.


One of the most recent examples of Zimbabwe's growing militarization is
Operation Taguta, which means Operation Eat Well. It was launched last year
to gain control over food production in the country. It places agriculture
partially under the control of the Zimbabwean Defence Forces in places like
this, an irrigation scheme 2 hours southeast of Bulawayo. It's a wealthy
area: people used to grow the staple food, maize, as well as cash crops. The
scheme was created in the 1960s and worked well until recently, when because
of a lack of foreign currency, farmers could no long buy fertilizers.
Production dropped dramatically. But local people, like Oziah Matutu, don't
understand why the government sent in the army to boost production: after
all, he says, the soldiers have no knowledge of agriculture.


They did not learn for farming. They learnt for killing people. You can't
work something you have never learnt for. The farmers must be the farmers.
They must be back to their barracks, not here.

The army is forcing the farmers to plant maize year-round and preventing
them from planting cash crops. The troops are also forcing them to buy seeds
and fertilizers from them and to pay for government tractors, even though
these farmers used to use oxen. They are also deliberately humiliating local
people. Trustee Bhebhe for example had two donkeys which wandered into the
irrigation scheme. By law, he had to pay a fine to get them back. But that
was not all.


They told me to go to the pens and look for the donkeys. I ran to the pens
and found the donkeys. Then I got back and told them the donkeys were there.
So they ordered me to get into the canal and swim. I went into the canal and
came out. They ordered me to roll outside. Then they ordered me for the
second time to go back to the canal. Then come back again. I did so and I
rolled for the second time. Then they told me to roll towards the pen to
collect the donkeys. But why did they force you to get into the canal and
then to roll on the ground? I don't know actually. It was not supposed to be
like that. I was only supposed to pay a fine. So it was just to humiliate
you? Yes because it was before the public because it was a public place.
Yes, I was humiliated indeed.

Bhebhe's case is not unique. It highlights another way in which Zimbabwean
society is collapsing, says Mary Ndlovu.


People decide to use violence to solve their problems, and this is not only
encouraged. It's celebrated by government who rather than using the law,
they use violence. I mean, you take for example the evictions last year,
Murambatsvina. There was a legal way of doing that if they really thought
people should be evicted. But no, we don't use it any more. We prefer
violence. It's in the family environment. It's in the schools. It's in the
training of police officers, where I was actually told by a recruit, of
course they beat us. They tell us we're beating the civilian out of you. So
there's this belief that violence is useful. It forces people to do what you
want them to do.


Walk into any market in Bulawayo or out on the streets, and you will see
little violence or anarchy. In fact, Zimbabwe's 2nd largest city simply
looks like a sleepy rural town. But I was here a decade ago, and Bulawayo
was a bustling place. That is the tragedy of Zimbabwe's collapse, says Paul
Temba Nyathi, the director of elections for the MDC party.

TEMBA-failed promise

Unfortunately people would tend to compare it with other states that have
failed drastically. They would compare it with the Democratic Republic of
Congo. They would compare it with Sierra Leone, for instance, which I think
is an unfortunate comparison. Zimbabwe shouldn't be where it is now because
it started off extremely well. It was a beacon of hope in the region. We
inherited an economy, which functioned reasonably well. We have a highly
educated population. The skills were there. So we have no reason to be where
we are at the moment. What we have at the moment which a lot of people
believe represents a reasonably functioning state is the result of 26 years
of mismanagement.

How much further Zimbabwe will sink is anybody's guess. But how can a
government inflict so much suffering on its people? It's a question I put to
Pius Ncube is the Archbishop of Bulawayo.

PIUS-STATE of Zimbabwe

This is a devilish government. They no longer have any idealism or any
patriotism. They don't worry about their people. All they worry about is to
line their pockets with people's money and to stay in power. Now they even
want to extend Mugabe's power to 2010. They've no morality. They're evil.
Mugabe thinks that he's the owner of Zimbabwe. We are not owned by him. It's
mere repression. It's mere dictatorship. It's mere cruelty.

So is Zimbabwe a failed state? It's a question I would have liked to put to
the government, but Zimbabwe imposes draconian restrictions on foreign
journalists, and I travelled to the country undercover. So instead I put the
question instead to Thandeko Zinti Mkandli, a former academic and MDC
member, who is the mayor of Gwanda, in the south of the country.


Yes, I would say it's a failed state because if all organs of the state seem
to be sinking, when everything seems to be on a freefall, where the rule of
law, never mind what the central government says, is at the beckon call of
individuals, when there is no manufacturing to talk of, yet you need forex.
What else would we need to have a failed state?

The opposition MDC party like the rest of Zimbabwean society is divided and
unable to challenge the rule of President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. Foreign
countries too have been powerless to stop the nation from going from being
the breadbasket of southern Africa to one of the world's basket cases.
Depressing as it may seem, in some cases, state failure may simply be
inevitable. But that's scant consolation for the victims of Zimbabwe's

SHARI-How can Mugabe?

No one really knows what to do. We've had Robert Mugabe in power for the
last 26 years. He doesn't want to leave power. He's doing everything he can
to remain in power, including destroying the lives and livelihoods and
well-being of his own nation. And no one really knows what to do about it.


"A Deep Cancer" was presented by Eric Beauchemin. It's the fourth and final
programme in "The Abyss", a four-part series on failed states produced by
Radio Netherlands Worldwide in collaboration with the Ford Foundation.

If you have comments on this or any other Radio Netherlands' programme,
please write to us at English Language Service, Radio Netherlands, P.O. Box
222, 1200 JG Hilversum in Holland or e-mail us at

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Guilty of genocide: the leader who unleashed a "Red Terror" on Africa

From The Times (UK), 13 December

Jonathan Clayton, Africa Correspondent

Ethiopia’s brutal Marxist dictator, known as the African Pol Pot, became the first fallen leader to be found guilty yesterday of genocide in his own country after a 12-year trial. Mengistu Haile Mariam, the former President, who fled to Zimbabwe in 1991, was accused along with top members of his military Government of killing thousands during his 17-year rule. The period was marked by vicious crackdowns on opponents, disastrous wars with neighbouring countries and rebel groups and devastating famines in which starvation was used to force peasants into submission. "Members of the Derg [Government] who are present in court today and those who are being tried in absentia have conspired to destroy a political group and kill people with impunity," the presiding judge, Medhen Kiros, said. The genocide verdict, which carries a death sentence, was passed two votes to one by the three-judge panel. Human rights groups welcomed the verdict, although President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has made it clear that he is not prepared to entertain any extradition requests. "Verdicts such as this build up pressure and send the message that leaders who are bloodstained must not be allowed to retire in comfort," Peter Takirambudde, Africa head of Human Rights Watch, told The Times. He stressed that Mengistu would find it impossible to travel to neighbouring countries, even for medical treatment, without facing the danger of arrest. "This man and his followers committed monstrous crimes against humanity, and international justice demands he be brought to face justice. The cycle of impunity must and will be stopped," he said. Charles Taylor, the former Liberian President, was in exile for many years in Nigeria, but was arrested this year and will go on trial next year in The Hague.

The Soviet-backed revolution that brought Mengistu and a group of other young army officers to power in 1974 ended the feudal rule of Emperor Haile Selassie, treated as a deity by millions of dirt-poor people in Africa’s second most-populous country. The court was told how the ageing Emperor was suffocated to death with a pillow and his body buried under a lavatory in the royal palace, where he was under house arrest. Mengistu and other hardliners had decided that his presence was an obstacle to rural peasants making the leap from feudalism to Marxism without a process of industrialisation and creation of a proletariat. Mengistu’s henchmen devised a "Red Terror", modelled on the Chinese Cultural Revolution, to bring the reluctant populace into line. Hundreds of thousands were killed. Others fled into exile or joined rebel movements. In the mid-1980s it was not uncommon to see students, suspected government critics or rebel sympathisers hanging from lampposts each morning. Ordinary people were too terrified to talk to Western reporters. Other people were executed in the notorious state prison on the edge of the capital, Addis Ababa. Families had to pay a tax known as "the wasted bullet" to obtain the bodies of their loved ones. At the height of his power, Mengistu himself frequently garrotted or shot dead opponents, saying that he was leading by example.

The Soviet Union poured $18 billion in military support into Ethiopia as President Mengistu built up what was then black Africa’s largest standing army. With the collapse of communism, it was clear that the bankrupt regime would not last. It had already received worldwide condemnation for its role in creating and prolonging the 1984 Tigray famine, in which at least a million people died. For months before the scale of the famine became known, President Mengistu denied its existence and flew in planeloads of whisky to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the revolution. Eventually a coalition of Tigrayan and Eritrean rebel fighters crushed an army disillusioned by numerous purges of its best officers and marched on Addis Ababa. In a deal brokered by the United States, President Mengistu fled ten days before the city fell - sparing it a much-feared bloodbath. Mr Mugabe, who was then lauded by the West, accepted Mengistu, who has since spent much of his time at home, where he is rumoured to drink vast amounts of whisky and beat his wife and members of his entourage. He was found guilty along with 73 others, including Fikre Selassie Wogderesse, the former Prime Minister, and Fissiha Desta, the former Vice-President. About 40 officials are in jail, while 27 were tried in absentia. A few have died since proceedings began in 1992, and the trial formally started in 1994. "Mengistu sought to right the wrongs made by his feudal predecessors but in the end he committed far greater wrongs than they did," Ephraim Zwede, a businessman, said. The dictator and other former officials face sentencing this month. They could be given the death penalty.

Fallen despots

Idi Amin - Dictator of Uganda from 1971 to 1979, an estimated 400,000 killed under his rule. He cultivated a bumbling personality and once reputedly sending the Queen a telex saying "Dear Liz, if you want to know a real man, come to Kampala." After being forced out of power by Tanzanian troops he fled to exile in Saudi Arabia where he died in 2003.

Charles Taylor - Led one of the factions in Liberia’s 1990s civil war, before winning a 1997 presidential election using the slogan "He killed my ma, he killed my pa, I vote for him." In 2003 a rebellion forced him into exile.

Jean-Bédel Bokassa - In 1976, ten years into his rule over the Central African Republic, Bokassa decided he needed a coronation. The resulting ceremony cost the country’s annual GNP. In 1979, after a massacre of civilians, the French ousted him from power. He was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1988, but released in 1993. Died of a heart attack three years later.

Mobutu Sese Seko - For 32 years Mobutu Sese Seko was the extravagant president of Zaire. He issued bizarre edicts about permitted clothing and reputedly kept leopards as pets. Deposed in 1997 by Laurent Kabila, he died from prostate cancer a few months later in Morocco.

Hissène Habré - Leader of a Chadian rebel group. He seized power in 1982 and wielded control using a feared secret police and underground torture chambers. After being deposed in 1990 a commission established that there had been 40,000 political murders. He is currently under house arrest in Senegal.

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Zimbabwe hails Mengistu's role in liberation


          December 13 2006 at 03:52PM

      Harare - "As a comrade of our struggle, Comrade Mengistu and his
government played a key and commendable role during our struggle for
independence and no one can dispute that," William Nhara, a spokesperson for
President Robert Mugabe's government, said.

      "The judgment is an Ethiopian judgment and will not affect his status
in Zimbabwe. As far as we know there is no extradiction treaty between
Harare and Addis Ababa."

      An Ethiopian court on Tuesday found Mengistu guilty in his absence of
genocide for atrocities committed under his Marxist regime, after a 12-year

      Mengistu, who was ousted in 1991 and took exile in Zimbabwe, faces the
death penalty.

      Nhara said Mengistu helped train Zimbabwean guerillas in Ethiopia and
provided arms during the war against British colonial rule which culminated
in the country's independence in 1980.

      "After independence Comrade Mengistu's government provided training
for our air force pilots and not many countries have shown such commitment
to us."

      Nhara said Mengistu was persuaded to leave Addis Ababa following his
ouster by the governments of Britain and United States as there were fears
of bloodshed if he remained in Ethiopia.

      He said Mengistu had initially intended to settle in Kenya but later
decided it was too close to Ethiopia.

      Zimbabwe's acting information minister Paul Mangwana has said the
verdict on Mengistu would not change Zimbabwe's position on the former

      "Comrade Mengistu asked for asylum and he was granted that asylum.
That position will not change," Mangwana said on Tuesday.

      The charges against Mengistu and his co-accused relate to atrocities
committed during the 1977-78 "Red Terror" period when tens of thousands of
people were killed or disappeared in his bid to turn Ethiopia into a
Soviet-style workers' state.

      He and his former top aides were also accused of the murders of
Ethiopia's emperor Haile Selassie, who claimed descent from the Queen of
Sheba. The emperor was toppled in a 1974 coup.

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Hot Seat Interview : Masamvu, Prof Stanford Mukasa (FINAL)

SW Radio Africa Hot Seat Transcript
Part 3:  Journalist Violet Gonda continues the discussion with Sydney
Masamvu, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group in South Africa
and the political commentator Professor Stanford Mukasa in the USA .
Broadcast on 12th December 2006
See Part 1 - Broadcast 31 November, 2006
See Part 2 - Broadcast 05 December 06

Violet Gonda: Thank you for joining us for the final segment of a
teleconference discussion with analysts Professor Stanford Mukasa and Sydney
Masamvu. In this last episode we dig deeper to see if Robert Mugabe can be
an agent for change. Many people have said life under ZANU PF has become an
unbearable daily struggle. So I first asked Professor Mukasa if it's
realistic to think a solution can come from the same regime that is said to
have brought so much misery and repression.
Professor Mukasa: Life under ZANU PF has been intolerable, as you just
stated. The fact of the matter is, life under ZANU PF is intolerable and the
question that people are asking now is that 'is it ZANU PF now that is going
to make changes?' That's why I said last time that the leopard does not
change its spots, but it can wear a jacket. There's a great deal of
deception that is taking place with Mugabe trying to fool the world into
thinking that he is doing something to improve the situation when exactly
the opposite is the case. Now the question now that we really want to look
at by way of answering your question; I think your question should be
answered by another question. And, this other question is simply by asking
what the opposition should do right now - is to look whether there are any
precedents at all. Namely, what have similar situations in the past, how
have similar situations in the past been resolved, been taken care of.
Because, what is happening in Zimbabwe today is not unique in Zimbabwe . You
know incidences of repression have been taking place around the world but
somehow they have been resolved. So, what the opposition movement should do
now is to look at the past, not only in Zimbabwe but in other countries as
well. The MDC; not necessarily the MDC; the opposition movement should have
a very strong Research Department that should look at the way similar
situations have been addressed and resolved in the past, not only in
Zimbabwe but in other countries as well.
Now, when we look at Mugabe, and I agree with Sydney here, he cannot be a
factor for change, he cannot be a reason for change, changing the situation
that he has created himself. One would expect him to do that because Ian
Smith did that exactly in 1979. He became an agent for change. The
Nationalist Movement worked with Ian Smith and Muzorewa and at Lancaster
House, in 1979, they reached an accommodation. The same thing also happened
with PW Botha, well, he died, but his successor De Klerk; he became an agent
of change even though he was managing this oppressive apartheid regime. So,
in the case of Mugabe obviously, to answer the questions 'to what extent can
he be an agent of change' well, one is looking at people like the ruler of
Yugoslavia who never changed at all.
Violet: Milosevic.
Professor Mukasa: So, to that extent, we need to look at models, you know,
how have similar situations been resolved in other countries. To what extent
can what happened in other countries be replicated in Zimbabwe ? You know, I
get very tired with people who keep on saying 'well, Zimbabwe is different,
it cannot be like Madagascar, it cannot be like Togo, it cannot be like
Kyrgistan, it cannot be like Haiti, it cannot be like Brazil, it cannot be
like all these other countries where people have actually gone to the
streets. Well, if Zimbabwe cannot be like any of those countries, what is
Zimbabwe like? That becomes my question.
Violet: Now also, let me go back to Sydney , and this is again on the issue
of the International Community supporting moderates in ZANU PF. Does this
mean that the International Community doesn't have time and energy to invest
in the Zimbabwe democratic enterprise?
Sydney Masamvu: Time and energy. Time; you see Zimbabwe is fighting, you
know, competing for attention with other global conflicts or hotspots. The
International Community had time, in Congo , and, we have a result; the
election and Congo has move on. The International Community is seized to the
neck with Darfur , there's Iraq , there's Afghanistan . They should look at
both leaders of the two super powers, the UK , you look at the US . They are
about to exit from office and they are more concerned with their legacies.
And also, you are looking at a new breed of leaders coming through being
handed over the Zimbabwe sort of unfinished agenda. One would then look at,
you see, the international, the world of the international political system;
it moves on, say 'what is the best way forward?' You end up with going with
a 65% sort of 'yes' in terms of saying 'let's give the benefit of the doubt'.
That's the mode the international community will be pushed into if
opposition forces who can bring wholesale, fulsome, democratic change in
Zimbabwe do not get their act together. People will then have to be forced.
As Zimbabweans we will then also have to make do with what is there.
Believe you me, there's a growing sentiment and feeling, even within the
Southern African region, that anyone other than Mugabe, and we've heard this
from quite some good authority, anyone, other than Mugabe would be better
for Zimbabwe . That's the mood, which, not only the International Community
as well as the region are saying 'anyone other than Mugabe will push
Zimbabwe forward'. So you see, and once it subtracts an individual and it
leaves the field open, it means the world is ready to move with anyone. And,
it's not given to the MDC; it's not given to whatever Opposition faction,
that we have the support of the rest of the world. The rest of the world
right now is ready to move on with any situation, which arises which gets
Mugabe off the plate and working towards democratisation in Zimbabwe . There
is fatigue. There is tiredness. There is now a sense that if you get Mugabe
out, that's the starting point of trying to move the process in Zimbabwe .
And, they take it as a step, and that's the danger of saying when people are
tired, because there are competing interests within the continent where
really there are scales.
In Zimbabwe there are issues of governance, the humanitarian situation; but,
when you look at issues like Darfur , there is the whole world sort of
transfixed on that issue. And Zimbabwe then looks like a child's breakfast,
but it's really quite critical issues; issues of governance where the
repression is going on. But now, the leaders of the world have come a full
circle to say 'anything which helps to push us forward will do. And, the
situation is not helped by the split.
Professor Mukasa: If I may jump in there? There are two major issues that
people must consider when it comes to strategies for resolving the situation
in Zimbabwe . One is, to what extent is Zimbabwe an international security
Sydney Masamvu: Right.
Professor Mukasa: I mean, to what extent is the situation in Zimbabwe likely
to spill over and destabilise the world? That's point number one. Point
number two is: to what extent is the situation in Zimbabwe a truly
humanitarian crisis? Those are two sorts of factors that one should be
taking into account when you consider international intervention. Now, in
the case of Zimbabwe , the International Community does not see Zimbabwe as
an international threat. It sees Zimbabwe more like a humanitarian case, but
at a lower level relative to places like Darfur and Congo and places like
that. To what extent is Zimbabwe an international threat? Economically
speaking, Zimbabwe has no resources that could be seen as a strategic
economic interest and that's why you see involvement in Iraq and in Sudan .
Sudan has got oil reserves that are likely to compete, in terms of capacity,
with those of the traditional Middle East countries.
And so, Zimbabwe is neither a large-scale humanitarian case nor a major
international threat in the sense of resources. Because when we talk about
threats, we are not only talking about armed warfare and things like that,
but we are also talking about things like resources. So, to that extent,
Zimbabwe keeps on sinking lower and lower in terms of world priorities. And,
quite frankly, the formula that the International Community appears to have
adopted on Zimbabwe is, the level and the extent of the international
intervention in Zimbabwe will be directly proportional to the level and the
extent of the people's initiative in redressing their own situation.
One thing you can be sure about, and you can take it from me, is, if there
was to be massive protests in the streets, and if Mugabe's army started
firing on people (and, I'm not suggesting that people should just sacrifice
themselves as cannon fodder to Mugabe's forces), but, what I'm trying to say
is if the situation reaches that proportion where there is massive popular
protest against Mugabe with it's attendant consequences of Mugabe's army
shooting back, you can be sure that the Security Council will be called in,
it will have an Emergency Session. You can be sure that Zimbabwe would be on
the front page of every major newspaper around the world. You can be sure
that the International Community would quickly raise Zimbabwe up the scale
of priorities around the world. The ball is now in the court of the
Zimbabweans; their degree and level and extent of protests will, to some
extent, determine the level and degree of the international intervention. It's
unfortunate that it has to happen this way, but that is the geo-political
economic reality of the world as we speak right now.
Violet: And Sydney , what are your views on this? What can we realistically
expect from the International Community in forcing changes in Zimbabwe ?
Sydney Masamvu: I think they have really done a lot, they have really
pushed. Actually when you look at it, the sum effect, I think the
International Community has made much more noise, much more advocacy in
pushing for change in Zimbabwe . And, as I stated from the outset of this
interview, we Zimbabweans have to do the heavy lifting and above all, we
have to have a decisive leadership within the Opposition Party which above
all is ready to take risks. And, anything short of that, I think the
International Community will just sit and wait and sort of wait for the
earliest opportunity which moves the issue forward. If Mugabe's exit and
reconfiguration in ZANU PF comes first before democratic forces in Zimbabwe
take over, then, as the mood stands, or is right now, and the feeling, they
will take the first bus and try to sort of control the gears from within.
Professor Mukasa: If I can jump in there. We need to define what we mean by
the International Community. The International Community is not a monolith.
The International Community falls into two basic categories. There is the
world international community, in the world community sense and by this we
are talking about obviously the superpowers, the West, Industrialised
countries. But you also have got the International Community in the regional
specifically African sense. Here we are now looking at the African Union; we
are looking at SADC and other regional organisations in Africa . And, the
problem that has arisen is that the African Union, SADC and other African
regional organisations are now beginning to tell the International community
in the world sense that African problems must be resolved by people of
Africa . So, it is within that context that SADC and the African Union have
told actually the Western Industrialised countries that 'look, leave it to
us to resolve the Zimbabwe situation'. So, whether Mkapa was real or not
real in terms of his mission or mandate on Zimbabwe, but, Mkapa becomes the
statement from Africa saying look we don't want emissaries from the United
Nations, we don't want intervention from America or from the UK, let us do
things our own way. We can talk to Mugabe, we can resolve this issue'.
So the strange thing, ironic as it might be, but not surprising, is that the
regional organisations; the African Union, have actually shielded Mugabe
from the International Community. Because each time the World community want
to increase pressure on Mugabe, guess who complains? It's Mbeki! Guess who
complains, it's AU or SADC! They are saying 'look, don't do that, you are
going to make the situation in Zimbabwe worse'. What can be worse, worse in
Zimbabwe than what is there right now? So the people who have let down, or
the groups who have let down the people of Zimbabwe are SADC and the African
Union because they are actually shielding.
Look there was a resolution at the United Nations Commission for Human
Rights, which was aimed at condemning Mugabe for Human Rights violations.
Guess who stood in support of Mugabe? It was Nigeria , it was South Africa .
Thabo Mbeki. So, this brings confusing signals to the world community. You
know, on one hand you've got a group of Zimbabweans in the opposition
movement who are saying 'look, we are suffering here; we need the
International Community's intervention'. And yet, SADC and the African Union
are saying 'look, leave it to us we are going to handle it, we are going to
take care of it'.
Right now, as I am speaking, the US policy on Zimbabwe is that SADC should
be involved? And why is US deferring to SADC? Simply because SADC has told
the US that 'look, leave it to us, Mugabe is our own, we will reason with
him, we will talk him out of it.' And, when is that going to happen? Well,
they say in Africa time is not of any essence at all, let things take their
own course and go on and let the people be repressed forever, but we are
still talking about it. This is the tragedy of the African regional and
continental organisations. Sort of becoming now a shield for this kind of a
blatant dictatorship. And, as I said earlier, we should look at the past and
see whether there is any precedence. When Idi Amin was butchering people of
Uganda , guess what? He was the Chairman of the OAU! So the African
leadership also bear a large amount of blame in terms of this lack of
resolve in the Zimbabwean context.
Violet: And Professor Mukasa, you know, on the issue of Robert Mugabe not
showing any signs that he is leaving any time soon, in your view, what is a
more feasible proposition then, between regime reform and regime change?
Professor Mukasa: Well, the desirable path would be regime change but to be
realistic one is now looking more at regime reform. Not because one wants
that, but one is looking at that simply because the fact that Mugabe might
retire. We don't know if he will retire in 2008, even if he stays on until
2010, we don't know if he will actually retire. Look what happened to Julius
Nyerere. When Julius Nyerere stepped down he still was a political force.
The government that came in after Nyerere had stepped down, they could not
make any decisions without consulting Nyerere for quite a long time until
Nyerere just got tired of it. So, regime reform is the most undesirable
method of resolving the situation in Zimbabwe , but, at this point, it looks
like this is what one can expect. So, we have got a kind of an aim at the
heavens to reach to the mountaintop, sort of scenario. You are aiming at
regime change, but ultimately what you are going to get is regime reform.
Violet: And Sydney, finally, in seeking either regime reform change, who are
the key actors within or outside Zimbabwe that have the capacity to
precipitate reforms or changes.
Sydney Masamvu: Indeed, one cannot look far beyond South Africa as being key
in any set up. You don't have to underestimate the influence of South Africa
or indeed SADC as the neighbour to Zimbabwe and a key economic partner. So,
one would look at how South Africa will really be key in how events or how
the regime will sort of reconfigure itself from within. And, I want to
believe that most of these Southern African countries, they are more for
regime reform than regime change. I mean, that's the unfortunate thing which
is obtaining now. It's more looking likely towards regime reform rather than
regime change. And, by extension, countries like SADC may even go on behalf
of Zimbabwe to lobby too. You see, what Mukasa was saying, Zimbabwe has sort
of been left in the hands of SADC. And, what SADC will endorse, if they
endorse, SADC and South Africa, if they endorse a regime reform in Zimbabwe,
chances are, that the International Community; that's the world community,
will buy that arrangement. Which now brings the key elements, that's South
Africa and SADC, what they endorse will be taken by the rest of the
International Community; the US, the EU and so on. So really, no wonder why
you can see now that the focus, the Zimbabwe issue, is now being played
multilaterally by South Africa by SADC. And, what SADC recommends to the
rest of the world, that's the one which is going to take root at the end of
the day. So really, we are looking at, realistically, as Mukasa said, but
undesired; we are looking in the immediate short period regime reform rather
than regime change which is a situation which is likely to be obtained in
the immediate short term.
Violet: And the key actors within Zimbabwe?
Sydney Masamvu: Within Zimbabwe, definitely ZANU PF as the incumbents, as
the party in power will be a key actor. Indeed, the Opposition, whether
united or split, and you should take note of this. The two factions will be
key because most likely, and as it happens, the regime reform will come
through Parliament if the dynamics in ZANU PF are anything to go by with the
extension of the harmonisation of the elections, the creation of a Prime
Minister's post and a ceremonial President, we are going to look at
Parliament will become the battleground. And, as it is currently configured
we are looking at both factions of the MDC, whether united or split, they
will be a factor, the ruling ZANU PF as the ruling party or within the
traditional factions. And, by the way, you should know that there are three
factions; the Mujuru faction, the Mnangagwa faction and the Mugabe faction.
Parliament will be the battleground which will yield a regime reform
Violet: And Professor Mukasa, last word?
Professor Mukasa: Ya, I would see on the path to regime reform, I can now
see all the interested parties, all the stakeholders, internally we are
looking at both factions of the MDC, the Church leaders and we are also
looking at representatives of different factions within ZANU PF.
Incidentally, the factions within ZANU PF may well be instrumental in the
weakening of the hard-line position taken by Mugabe. Why? Because, within
ZANU PF you've got the Old Guard, and we also have got the new so-called
'Mafikizolo', and they probably have got different political interests, so
we see those being instrumental in the path towards regime reform.
Regionally, yes I agree with Sydney that South Africa, SADC and the African
Union, I think they can be instrumental and hopefully effective in
negotiating the accommodation of all the political parties. Of course,
internationally, you're looking at the United States which has been a
proponent for this regime reform. But, on the path to regime change, I am
looking at the regional civic organisations, you know like COSATU and the
civic society in the region. I think those can form very strong groups to
agitate for eventual regime change.
I can see regime change coming in two steps. First, the accommodation among
the different political parties stakeholders leading to regime reforms. And
then later on, a much more consolidated effort towards regime change, maybe
through elections. I can see here that if an agreement can be reached in the
meantime, in the short-term, for some regime reform that will lead to a
process of elections; free and fair elections hopefully internationally
supervised and monitored maybe that would put the people on the path to
regime change.
Violet: No, thank you very much Sydney Masamvu and Professor Stanford
Both: Thanks very much.
Feedback can be sent to


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WOZA declare a victory after successfully launching the Peoples's charter at Parliament in Harare

MORE than 800 members of Women Of Zimbabwe Arise and
Men Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA) from all over
Zimbabwe marched today to Parliament in Harare to
launch the Peoples' Charter.
Two groups started at different locations in central
Harare, converging on Parliament at the same time.
Upon arriving at Parliament, the two groups were met
by riot police and arrested.

Police held the group of approximately 350 people, who
were sitting peacefully, for more than an hour in
front of the Parliament buildings before unexpectedly
releasing them. Several people, including
parliamentarians, came out
of the Parliament Buildings to observe the proceedings
and to read the WOZA placards and many took copies of
the Peoples' Charter.

After the brutality with which police attacked WOZA
members in Bulawayo two weeks ago, members had braced
themselves for a similar
response. They were surprised however upon being told
that they could go back to their homes after being
warned that they were demonstrating illegally and that
they were not allowed to walk or even sit like they
were doing! What was even more surprising was that
Jenni Williams, WOZA's National Coordinator, was
invited to address the group before they dispersed.

At one stage a senior police officer asked the group
who the leaders were and when he was told everyone is
leader, he then took five members from the main group,
including two men and an elderly woman on crutches,
loading them onto the back of a police vehicle and
taking down their names. A Human Rights lawyer who was
on site questioned this and some time later the five
were made to rejoin the rest of the group.

The response to the Peoples' Charter from Zimbabweans
all over the world has been overwhelming and today was
no different. Pedestrians in downtown Harare rushed to
receive copies of the Charter from the marching groups
and in fact, the only WOZA items that remain in
custody tonight is the Peoples' Charter and placards
including those calling for 2008 Parliamentary and
Presidential elections.

The reaction of the Zimbabwe Republic Police today was
a victory for WOZA's non-violent strategy and for the
power of social justice. The WOZA leadership would
like to commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police for
showing that they are human beings also requiring
social justice in their lives. However WOZA would also
like to warn them that if they are turning over a new
leaf it should be apparent every day, not only today
but also in the future.

Having successfully launched the Charter in Harare and
Bulawayo, WOZA is now planning to roll out launch
demonstrations across the country.

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WOZA to launch countrywide protests, stayaway tomorrow

Hello Zim Journalists, And Fellow Zimbabweans
For all the latest news on what happening in the Zimbabwean Media log on or YAHOO ZimJournalists Arise
Mass StayAway Tomorrow???

ZimJournalists Arise understands there have been e-mails and sms messages
together with fliers circulating in Harare and Bulawayo. Our sources tell us
that an e-mail from is doing the rounds urging
people not to go to work today. Fliers are slo being distributed in Harare.
No-one has claimed credit for this. The Save Zimbabwe Campaign has not been
available to confirm or deny responsibility for this. Other sources within
civic society say it is the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai that is behind
this, but party official deny this. But whatever the real story, we need to
keep our eyes open today to see what happens.
Posted by ZimJournalists Arise at 12:11 AM

WOZA To Roll Out Countrywide Protests

MORE than 800 members of Women Of Zimbabwe Arise and
Men Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA) from all over
Zimbabwe marched yesterday to Parliament in Harare to
launch the Peoples' Charter.
Two groups started at different locations in central
Harare, converging on Parliament at the same time.
Upon arriving at Parliament, the two groups were met
by riot police and arrested.

Police held the group of approximately 350 people, who
were sitting peacefully, for more than an hour in
front of the Parliament buildings before unexpectedly
releasing them. Several people, including
parliamentarians, came out
of the Parliament Buildings to observe the proceedings
and to read the WOZA placards and many took copies of
the Peoples' Charter.

After the brutality with which police attacked WOZA
members in Bulawayo two weeks ago, members had braced
themselves for a similar
response. They were surprised however upon being told
that they could go back to their homes after being
warned that they were demonstrating illegally and that
they were not allowed to walk or even sit like they
were doing! What was even more surprising was that
Jenni Williams, WOZA's National Coordinator, was
invited to address the group before they dispersed.

At one stage a senior police officer asked the group
who the leaders were and when he was told everyone is
leader, he then took five members from the main group,
including two men and an elderly woman on crutches,
loading them onto the back of a police vehicle and
taking down their names. A Human Rights lawyer who was
on site questioned this and some time later the five
were made to rejoin the rest of the group.

The response to the Peoples' Charter from Zimbabweans
all over the world has been overwhelming and today was
no different. Pedestrians in downtown Harare rushed to
receive copies of the Charter from the marching groups
and in fact, the only WOZA items that remain in
custody tonight is the Peoples' Charter and placards
including those calling for 2008 Parliamentary and
Presidential elections.

The reaction of the Zimbabwe Republic Police today was
a victory for WOZA's non-violent strategy and for the
power of social justice. The WOZA leadership would
like to commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police for
showing that they are human beings also requiring
social justice in their lives. However WOZA would also
like to warn them that if they are turning over a new
leaf it should be apparent every day, not only today
but also in the future.

Having successfully launched the Charter in Harare and
Bulawayo, WOZA is now planning to roll out launch
demonstrations across the country.
Posted by ZimJournalists Arise at 12:07 AM

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Mugabe's future under microscope at party gathering

New Zimbabwe

By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 12/13/2006 23:41:43
THE explosive succession issue which has serious divided Zimbabwe's ruling
Zanu PF will feature prominently during the five day annual People's
Conference which got underway in Goromonzi Wednesday.

Sources said rival camps that have been jockeying for President Robert
Mugabe's job have mobilised support from all the provinces to include the
issue during the Any Other business session.

"The issue will be discussed. Never mind what you have been told. The party
wants to know the direction it's going to take before the next Presidential
elections," a source told New

Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu PF Secretary for Administration said the succession
issue was not on the agenda but could be discussed.

Said Mutasa:"The succession issue is not on the agenda but could arise as
any other business as part of the resolutions. The issue (succession) can
not be said to be the main topic of the conference."

Mutasa said contrary to media reports that the Conference will make Mugabe
Life President of the party, the people will discuss the economy and other
presing issues.

He said: "You cannot ask me what you have read in the newspapers. I am not
responsible for what newspapers write but I can tell you there is no issue
of Life President.

"It is not any issue at all. That one is also not on the agenda."

Sources say the camp backing Vice President Joice Mujuru wants the
succession issue resolved during the conference.

However, they say Mugabe has been angered by the impatience of the Mujuru
camp and instead is prepared to scuttle their drive.

But Mujuru is said to have lobbied provinces to push for the tabling of the
issue before the delegates.

"The Mujuru camp is keen to have the issue discussed. There is a feeling
that Mugabe no longer favours Mujuru. His recent remarks on succession where
he called the rivals witches, was aimed at Mujuru," said a source.

Mujuru's rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has kept a low profile since the 2004
Tsholotsho debacle but is seen as wielding influence through his Ministry of
Rural Housing which gives him access to grassroots politics.

Recently Mugabe was in Mzingwane District, Matabeleland South, where he was
launching the Rural Housing project which many observers believe it is a
sign of confidence in Mnangagwa after the 2004 fall-out when he was accused
of plotting a coup.

The Goromonzi Conference, said Mutasa, will look at the state of Zanu PF,
Economy, Land Reform and Agriculture, Social Services, Science and
Technology, Committees, Co-option of Central Committee members and any other
business before conluding the five days of deliberations.

Mugabe, 83 next February, has said he wants to retire when his term expires
in 2008, but there are others who want to extend his term to 2010 to bring
the presidential elections in line with the parliamentary congress.

At least six of the 10 provincial structures of Zanu PF are said to have
resolved to support the two-year extension which, however, requires a
constitutional amendment.

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Zim opposition official charged


          December 13 2006 at 11:58AM

      Harare - A top Zimbabwe opposition official has appeared in court on
charges of trying to persuade soldiers not to obey President Robert Mugabe
or his government, it was reported on Wednesday.

      Paul Themba Nyathi, who belongs to a breakaway faction of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) now led by robotics professor Arthur Mutambara,
was remanded out of custody on Tuesday on free bail by a magistrate in the
southern town of Gwanda, reports the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

      Nyathi is being charged under Zimbabwe's Criminal Law Act for
distributing subversive literature.

      He is alleged to have taken a batch of leaflets to the MDC's offices
in Gwanda and ordered them to be distributed in the streets of the town.

      The Herald said the leaflets carried messages aimed at causing
dissatisfaction between the police and the armed forces.

      Separate reports say the message read: "They (security forces)are
struggling to pay for food and health and education because they are poorly
paid." If convicted Nyathi could face a two-year jail term.

      Zimbabwe's soldiers are among many in the country who are paid far
less than the poverty datum line. Unconfirmed reports say the security
forces were recently awarded large Christmas bonuses in
      what critics said was an attempt by the authorities to ensure their
loyalty as Zimbabwe's economy dips deeper into crisis. - Sapa-dpa

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Mugabe Loses Touch with Reality

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Mugabe sweeps through Harare in a gas-guzzling limousine and has his own
ambulance, while ordinary people are ferried to hospital in pushcarts and

By Promise Gondo in Harare (AR No. 87, 13-Dec-06)

"Eish! Here come Bob and the Wailers," laugh Harare wits as President Robert
Mugabe's massive motorcade approaches.

It is a play on Jamaican reggae group Bob Marley and the Wailers, much
admired by Zimbabweans, and the ironic nickname, Uncle Bob, they give to the
octogenarian head of state.

You can hear Bob and the Wailers approaching from three kilometres away.

First there is the screeching of the sirens of police outriders on
high-powered motorcycles. They drive at break-neck speed ordering everyone
to move out of the way - quickly! "The driver of every vehicle on the road
on which a state motorcade is travelling shall halt his vehicle," state the

Then the first fleet of cars follows - more than a dozen of them, lights
flashing - driving ahead of Mugabe's official armoured limousine, a
seven-tonne Mercedes-Benz S600L Pullman, the wags call the "Mugabemobile".

Mugabe's S600L, as powerful as a Ferrari, was custom-built in Germany at a
cost of 550,000 US dollars. Its armour is able to withstand AK-47 bullets,
rocket-grenades and landmines. Because it eats up about a litre of fuel per
km, it has to be followed on anything but short journeys by a tanker-full of
gasoline. The S600L was ordered before the European Union instituted
sanctions prohibiting this sort of trade with Mugabe and his cabinet.

Behind the Mugabemobile and the tanker come another dozen vehicles,
including an ambulance resembling the "Popemobile" Pope John Paul II brought
to Zimbabwe on his visit in the 1980s. Then there are trucks and sports
utility vehicles packed with soldiers and bristling with guns.

Top-of-the range Mercedes Benzes, numbering up to fifteen, carry the elite
Presidential Guard and plainclothes agents of the much-feared Central
Intelligence Organisation. Depending on the occasion, there can be anywhere
between 25 and fifty vehicles in the motorcade as Uncle Bob moves around

Anyone seeing this display of unfettered authoritarian power for the first
time must feel a sense of awe and shock - much as a child is amazed at
seeing its first fireworks display on a dark night. The procession leaves
State House and sweeps at high speed along to the ruling ZANU PF party
headquarters, the airport, or Mugabe's new multi-million dollar palace, a
controversial folly financed by the Chinese and Malaysians.

Police motorcycle outriders beat up old people who are not nippy enough to
get out of the way of the Mugabe parade. And the sheer noise and
extravagance of it leaves ordinary Zimbabweans with a feeling of disgust. In
a country with a severe fuel crisis spanning almost a decade, the amount of
petrol and diesel used by the presidential motorcade in a single trip is

Most Zimbabweans do not remember when they last bought fuel from the pump.
The fuel they get is mostly purchased from tins and plastic containers on
the black market.

The ambulance is a reminder not only of Mugabe's mortality but also of how
this former liberator has completely lost touch with reality.

He and his family have an ambulance to themselves. This in a city of nearly
three million, where there's a maximum four working ambulances are available
at any one time. Too make matters worse, they charge hefty fees - around a
sixth of the average monthly salary. Consequently, many people are taken to
hospital in crude pushcarts or wheelbarrows

Mugabe is 83 next February - the life expectancy of Zimbabwean women has
dropped to 34, the lowest in the world. In 1975, five years before
independence, they could have expected to live to 56, and in the late
eighties women's life expectancy had reached 63. For men current life
expectancy, according to the World Health Organisation, is 37.

Between three and four thousand people die from AIDS-related illnesses every
week. There are not enough anti-retroviral drugs to go round. The majority
of people suffering from full-blown AIDS have drifted back to rural areas
where the cost of living is lower but from where they cannot afford monthly
trips to the cities to replenish supplies of life-prolonging drugs.

Nor is there enough food, thanks to the destruction of commercial
agriculture, as a consequence of the chaotic spur-of-the-moment land reform
programme launched by Mugabe in 2000. Families are increasingly faced with
the choice between using all their meagre resources to care for one ill
member while the rest starve, or feed the rest and let the sick person die

The sad thing at funerals these days is not the passing away of a relative
but the tragedy of the numberless other relatives who are terminally ill and
who have come to witness the burial as if to assure the dead person that
they will be together again soon enough. "Azorora", which means the dead
person has rested, is now a common saying.

Doctors in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, went on strike in November to
protest against deteriorating health services characterised by widespread
shortages of drugs, food and equipment, including ambulance provision. "It
has become very difficult to work with basically nothing to use in all
departments; it is disappointing to watch patients deteriorating in a
hospital, as no help can be given to them," said doctors at the city's two
main hospitals, Mpilo Central and United Bulawayo, in a joint statement.

"Doctors took an oath to save lives, and do not want to continue lying to
patients that they can do something for them when they know very well there
is nothing they can do, as the hospitals can no longer function."

The striking doctors said they were also concerned about the quality and
quantity of food being given to patients, and claimed that malnutrition was
rampant in government health institutions. At least five patients at the
Ingutsheni Mental Hospital in Bulawayo died in November after allegedly
being diagnosed with malnutrition. Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti
confirmed the five deaths at the hospital, but said the authorities had yet
to establish the cause.

Meanwhile, as the country collapses around him and its citizens die in
droves from hunger, disease and neglect, Mugabe and his Mugabemobile
continue their daily motorcade show of force. And God help you if you risk
even the slightest hint of protest as the Big Man and his entourage sweeps
past - the Mugabe government has passed laws that make it a crime to gesture
rudely or curse at his convoy, although it is hard to understand how the
president can see or hear anything from behind his tinted, bullet-proof

When frustrated motorists unable to get fuel at a petrol station shouted
recently at the passing Mugabe parade to do something about the shortages,
heavily armed Presidential Guards stopped and beat them up.

Zimbabweans wonder what the late Marley would make of Uncle Bob's behaviour.
At independence celebrations in 1980, the reggae star and his band were
guests of honour and sang "Zimbabwe", dedicated to the liberation struggle.
More than 26 years later, Marley's dream for Zimbabweans has still yet to
come true.

Promise Gondo is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.

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Pro-democracy protestors commend police for non-violence

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 13 Dec 2006 (IRIN) - More than 300 protesting Zimbabweans were
arrested on Tuesday, but as they braced for a repeat of the police crackdown
at a similar gathering two weeks ago, the group was unexpectedly and quietly

Over 800 members of Women Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and Men Of Zimbabwe Arise
(MOZA) marched on Parliament in the capital, Harare, to launch the 'People's
Charter', a declaration of political and economic rights, but were met by
riot police as they approached the parliament buildings and held.

"We intend to launch the charter in every city across the country in the
coming months," Jenni Williams, WOZA's national coordinator, told IRIN.

Carrying signs calling for Parliamentary and Presidential elections to be
held in 2008, WOZA and MOZA members from all over Zimbabwe, including the
second city, Bulawayo, in Matabeleland North Province; Mutare, on the
Mozambican border in the eastern province of Manicaland; Chegutu in
Mashonaland West Province; Gweru in Midlands Province, and some rural areas,
marched along Harare's streets handing out copies of the charter, which
calls on the state to provide affordable housing, education and healthcare.

According to a statement released by WOZA, police surrounded the
demonstrators as they sat peacefully in front of the parliament buildings
for more than an hour, "whilst riot and uniformed police were seen
conferencing and seemed to be in a dilemma as to what to do with the group."

Protestors feared the police would again turn violent: WOZA organised a
march two weeks ago in Bulawayo to bring attention to the charter, but a
crackdown by police brought the protest to an abrupt end. The demonstrators
were allegedly beaten and six were taken to a public hospital in need of
medical attention, including a woman who reportedly had her leg broken.

This time the marchers were happily surprised when the police let them off
with a warning. "After being warned that they were demonstrating illegally,
and that they were not allowed to walk or even sit like they were doing, the
group was dispersed and asked to go home," the women's group said.

WOZA interpreted the mild police action as a success, saying, "The reaction
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police today was a victory for WOZA's nonviolent
strategy and for the power of social justice," and commended the police for
"showing that they are human beings also requiring social justice in their

Since its formation in 2003, members of the women's rights organisation have
repeatedly been arrested for taking part in peaceful demonstrations to
protest the worsening social, economic and human rights situation in
Zimbabwe. Unemployment levels have risen above 70 percent, annual inflation
is around 1,000 percent, and there are chronic shortages of foreign
currency, fuel and basic commodities. The government blames sanctions
imposed by the West for its economic woes.

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Zimbabwean crisis worsening: civic society


December 13, 2006, 07:00

Members of the Zimbabwean Civic Society Movement say the situation in
Zimbabwe is worsening. They were speaking last night at a public forum on
the Zimbabwean situation held at the Cape Town's Center for the Book.

They were all outspoken about their opposition to the government of Robert
Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president. They say life for ordinary Zimbabweans is
a daily struggle in a country where the inflation rate is hovering over 1
000%. The movement said there are over 400 people who are in urgent need of
ARVs in Zimbabwe where over one million people are HIV positive.

Irene Petras, a spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said
there is need to bring perpetrators of political violence to book in
Zimbabwe in order to stop a culture of impunity. She said regional leaders
also need to speak out against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean government was not represented at the public forum.

Organisers say the seminar was aimed at encouraging members of the civil
society movement in Zimbabwe to speak out about their country's problems and
how they think they could be resolved.

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Illegal gold panners arrested in Zim


          December 13 2006 at 02:31PM

      Harare - Zimbabwean police have arrested more than 9 000 gold panners
in a countrywide blitz to curb leakages of the mineral onto the illegal
market, reports said on Wednesday.

      In a statement police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said almost three
kilograms of gold had been seized during police raids launched
      three weeks ago.

      Since the start of the operation to date, we have arrested 9 123
people and 2,7kg of gold have been recovered, Mandipaka said in a statement
quoted by the state-controlled Herald newspaper. More than 300 000kg of gold
ore were also recovered, the statement said.

      As Zimbabwe's economy spirals downwards, more and more desperate
people are turning to illegal mining in the hope of striking it rich.

      Last month Zimbabwe's Finance Minister said gold deliveries to the
state-run Fidelity Printers the official buyer of the country's gold had
declined by 24 percent over last year's deliveries.

      The decline is attributed to leakages of the precious mineral onto the
illegal market, where it fetches a higher price than the one set by the

      Police spokesperson Mandipaka said since the launch of the police
operation, deliveries of gold to Fidelity Printers had improved.

      The authorities are also fighting the rampant illegal mining and
selling of diamonds extracted from a rich source of the gems in the eastern
Zimbabwean district of Marange. - Sapa-dpa

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Launch of Independent Media Council Set for January

      By Nyasha Nyakunu

      HARARE - The launch of the envisaged independent, self-regulatory
media council is now cast in stone following a series of strategic planning
meetings and overwhelming endorsement of the project by publishers,
journalists, civic society organisations, political parties, church groups
and the business community.

      The self-regulatory body, which will be known as the Media Council of
Zimbabwe (MCZ), will be officially launched in Harare on 26 January 2007 at
a ceremony that will be preceded by the election of nominees into the
11-member media council and the five-member ethics committee.

      The nominees, 90 percent of whom have already accepted the nominations
were drawn from the judiciary, media, legal fraternity, civic society
organisations, church groups and the business community.

      Among the nominees are retired judges, renowned newspaper publishers,
professors, doctors, lawyers, journalists, editors and respected citizens
who have served Zimbabwe at the highest levels of integrity and credibility.
The publishers, editors and journalists have been drawn from both the
private and state media.

      The setting of the launch date comes in the wake of extensive
nationwide consultative meetings that were led by the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists (ZUJ) and MISA-Zimbabwe under the auspices of the Media Alliance
of Zimbabwe. MAZ comprises ZUJ, MISA-Zimbabwe and the Media Monitoring
Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ).

      Strategic planning and report-back meetings were also held with key
stakeholders, namely the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef), Zimbabwe
Association of Editors (ZAE), MMPZ and the Federation of African Media Women
in Zimbabwe (FAMWZ) as part of the consultative process which kicked off
with the first meeting in Bulawayo on 21 January 2006.

      Close to 400 signatories among them journalists, editors, publishers,
civic society organisations, representatives of political parties and
Members of Parliament from across the political divide endorsed the
principle of media self-regulation through the establishment of an
independent regulatory body as long overdue.

      The consensus among those consulted including the Ministry of
Information and Publicity and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Transport and Communications during a series of meetings held in Harare,
Bulawayo, Gwanda, Bindura, Mutare, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi, Marondera, Masvingo and
Gweru, was that MAZ should proceed with the establishment of the independent

      Special tribute goes to the now deceased Minister of Information Dr
Tichaona Jokonya for his support and the keen interest he maintained on
developments relating to the launch of the media council.

      The Acting Minister of Information Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana has also
been positively unwavering in his policy pronouncements pertaining to the
establishment of a self-regulatory media council.

      In a related development Margaret Chiduku, the Director of Policy and
Legal Research in the Ministry of Justice is on record advising the African
Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) during its session in Banjul,
The Gambia, in November this year, that the government had consented to a
self-regulatory mechanism for media practitioners in Zimbabwe.

      She told the Commission that the launch of the Media Council of
Zimbabwe would go a long way in addressing concerns pertaining to the
restrictive provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act which gave birth to the statutory Media and Information

      Chiduku confirmed that the government had also received in "good
 faith" a model Access to Information Bill which was submitted by
MISA-Zimbabwe to the government and Parliament of Zimbabwe, copies of which
were availed to the Commissioners of the ACHPR.

      She said the model had already been submitted to the Attorney-General
Sobusa Gula-Ndebele.

      Messages of support and encouragement have poured in from within the
region with the Media Councils of Eastern and Southern Africa whose member
countries such as Tanzania , South Africa , Kenya and Botswana have
successfully set up or are in the process of establishing independent
regulatory councils, leading the crescendo of calls for the establishment of
the envisaged independent body.

      Inputs from the consultative meetings have already been incorporated
into the proposed nationally-binding code of conduct and constitution of the
media council.

      The two documents will be presented for further endorsement and
adoption at the convention in January next year.

      This stage of advancement followed a strategic planning meeting held
in Kadoma in October this year where representatives of MAZ, Zinef, FAMWZ
and ZAE agreed to proceed as mandated during the consultative meetings and
in line with the regional and international declarations signed by Zimbabwe

      The 1991 Windhoek Declaration, for instance, stresses the need for
southern African countries to promote, free, independent, diverse and
pluralistic media while the 2002 Banjul Declaration on the Principles of
Freedom of Expression in Africa unequivocally states that self-regulation is
the best system of promoting high standards in the media.

      Tanzania, Zambia , South Africa , Mozambique and Botswana are among
some of the SADC countries with functioning codes of conduct and media
self-regulatory bodies in compliance with the two Declarations.

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Africa must prevent "colonial" China links - Mbeki


      Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:38 PM GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa must guard against sinking into a "colonial
relationship" with China as Beijing expands its push for raw materials
across the continent, South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Wednesday.

"It is possible to build... an unequal relationship, the kind of
relationship that has developed between African countries as colonies -- 
including this one -- and the colonial powers," the SAPA news agency quoted
Mbeki as telling a student congress in Cape Town.

"The African continent exports raw material and imports manufactured goods,
condemning (it) to underdevelopment, being only a supplier of raw
materials," Mbeki said.

"The potential danger, in terms of the relationship that could be
constructed between China and the African continent, would indeed be a
replication of that colonial relationship."

Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga confirmed the basics of Mbeki's
remarks, which came as part of a wide-ranging speech to the South African
Students Congress.

"He said there are potential dangers which both African leaders and the
Chinese leadership recognise, realise and are aware of," Ratshitanga said.

"That potential danger is one where Africa continues to be the supplier of
raw materials."

Beijing has repeatedly assured African leaders it wants to develop a
"win-win" relationship with the continent, which has seen a rush of Chinese
business interest focussed primarily on oil, metals and other commodities.

China has also emerged as an important source of aid and diplomatic support
for countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe which have rocky relations with the

Mbeki's government has strong relations with China which was a major
supporter of the African National Congress when it battled apartheid before
becoming South Africa's ruling party. Mbeki paid a state visit to China on
the back of last month's ground-breaking China-Africa summit in Beijing.

He said he believed that China's leaders understood Africa's concerns about
the relationship, and would do their part to lift the continent out of
poverty and develop its economic competitiveness.

"China cannot only just come here and dig for raw materials and then go away
and sell us manufactured goods," SAPA quoted Mbeki as saying. "Therefore
they (the Chinese) took a decision they must work with the African continent
in order to develop (its) manufacturing capability."

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Southern African states urged to step up fight against AIDS

Zim Online

Thursday 14 December 2006

      JOHANNESBURG - United Nations special envoy for humanitarian affairs
James Morris says southern African states must step up the fight against
AIDS if they are to register any significant development gains.

      Morris, who met Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Harare earlier
this week, said regional governments must ensure that millions of children
orphaned by AIDS receive good nutrition and care.

      Southern Africa has nine of the 10 highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates
in the world and more than 3.3 million orphans due to the virus, this
combination is straining government budgets for health care, social services
and food security.

      Zimbabwe is however the only country in the region to manage
significant gains against the deadly disease, managing to reduce HIV
prevalence from a high of 25 percent a few years ago to 18.1 percent this

      Morris said: "Until the HIV/AIDS pandemic is brought under control and
orphans have an environment in which they can put their lives back together,
southern Africa will continue to struggle to make long-term development
gains and break the poverty cycle.

      "Countries need also to embrace crop diversification, improve access
to clean water and sanitation, and improve the plight of women who are
disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and carry the burden of household
and farming responsibilities."

      Economic experts however say poor performing economies and state
misallocation of resources - many regional governments still spend huge
amounts on the military than fighting HIV/AIDS - would remain obstacles to
efforts to combat the pandemic.

      For example health experts fear Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis
could ultimately wipe away the gains achieved so far in reversing HIV

      The economic meltdown that critics blame on state mismanagement has
left the public health sector on its knees because of lack of funding. Most
state hospitals, the source of health services for more than 90 percent of
Zimbabweans, have nothing in their dispensaries except aspirin.

      And about 600 000 HIV-positive Zimbabweans require anti-retroviral
(ARV) drugs but the government's ARV programme only caters for 42 000
infected people. The rest have to source drugs from private pharmacies - if
they can afford the extortionist prices - or they simply waste away until
they die at a rate of about 3 000 people per week. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Rights Lawyers Petition Supreme Court And Parliament


      By Patience Rusere
      13 December 2006

Members of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the National
Constitutional Assembly and Women of Zimbabwe Arise, among other civic
groups, marched through Harare Thursday and tried to present a petition to
the Supreme Court and parliament expressing concern at what they say is an
increase in human rights violations.

Press reports said the group of marchers successfully handed over their
petition to the Supreme Court but that officials at the parliament refused
to accept the petition.

A number of reports slamming the Zimbabwean government have been released
this week to mark World Human Rights Day on Sunday. One was issued by the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, which pointed to the Zimbabwe Republic
Police as serious violators of human rights. The group also said violence
against women is rising.

Rangu Nyamurundira of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told reporter
Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for  Zimbabwe that although the level of
abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe cannot be compared that in Darfur, Sudan,
for instance, serious violations of human, cultural and economic rights are
taking place.

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UN Food Chief Morris Warns Harare Against Politicizing Food Aid


      By Blessing Zulu
      13 December 2006

World Food Program chief executive James Morris, completing a Southern
African tour before he steps down at the end of the year, told journalists
in Johannesburg that he warned Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that the
WFP would not tolerate political interference with its food aid programs or
official guidance on who to help.

Morris had meetings in Harare on Monday with Mr. Mugabe, Labor and Social
Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche, Health and Child Welfare Minister David
Parirenyatwa, and leaders of various civil society organizations.

Benedict Nhlapho of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from Johannesburg
that Morris said his organization has instituted safeguards against
political interference.

Opposition parties and civic activists have often accused Harare of
politicizing food by using its distribution to reward friends and punish
opponents. WFP food assistance is channeled through nongovernmental
organizations such as Christian Care, minimizing the risk of political
interference though government approvals must be obtained.

Elsewhere, the Grain Marketing Board urged wheat farmers to deliver their
produce to its depots regardless of its condition, amid reports that
persistent rains have destroyed most of the winter wheat crop. The GMB said
Tuesday it would resume payments to wheat farmers after an emergency
injection of Z$4 billion (US$16 million) by the Ministry of Finance into the
national grain monopoly's depleted coffers.

Political analyst Glen Mpani, based in Cape Town, South Africa, told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Harare is
purchasing sub-standard wheat to appease mostly ruling party supporters who
borrowed money to plant winter wheat.

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