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African tribunal deals blow to Mugabe land seizures

Reuters

Thu 13 Dec 2007, 15:49 GMT

WINDHOEK, DEC 13 (Reuters) - A regional African tribunal on Thursday ordered
Zimbabwe not to proceed with the seizure of a farmer's land, dealing a blow
to President Robert Mugabe and threatening to draw his neighbours into a
heated land redistribution debate.

A three-person Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal
unanimously ruled in favour of Zimbabwean farmer Mike Campbell, who had
asked the court in the Namibian capital Windhoek to stop Zimbabwe's seizure
of his family's farm.

Mugabe's government, often accused of human rights abuses, stifling
political dissent and running Zimbabwe's economy into the ground, has seized
thousands of white-owned farms and redistributed the land to blacks since
2000. (Reporting by John Grobler; Editing by Paul Simao)


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Zimbabwe ruling party endorses Mugabe for 2008 vote

Reuters

Thu 13 Dec 2007, 16:44 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party endorsed
President Robert Mugabe on Thursday as its candidate in the 2008
presidential election, opening the way for the 83-year-old leader to extend
his rule for another five years.

"This congress is requested to declare Comrade Mugabe as candidate for the
2008 presidential election," Emmerson Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF secretary for legal
affairs, said moments before the motion was accepted by acclamation.

The motion was followed by cheers from delegates at the party congress in
the capital Harare. All 10 ZANU-PF provinces backed the endorsement which
had been expected after Mugabe said he was willing to seek another term as
leader.

Earlier senior party officials showered praise on Mugabe who has ruled
Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980. They described him as a
distinguished revolutionary who defended the rights of Zimbabweans and
Africans.

They did not mention the widespread accusations at home and abroad that
Mugabe's government has stifled political opposition, abused human rights
and turned Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy into one of Africa's poorest.

Speaking before his endorsement, Mugabe said the election would be held in
March and that political parties had time to campaign for the polls, which
analysts say the veteran leader is likely to win against a weak and divided
opposition.

"We shall hold that without fail. I want to emphasise that because we
started announcing that we will be having the elections in March in about
six months, our election processes are never by ambushes as they do in
Europe," Mugabe said.

"If some parties are not ready they have no one to blame. And we have given
them enough time, and we still have another three months or so to go," he
told delegates.

"STAY OUT"

Mugabe rejected accusations of rigging past elections and warned Britain and
the United States not to interfere in Zimbabwe's affairs. U.S. President
George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessor,
Tony Blair, have been critical of Mugabe and his government.

The Zimbabwean leader said he was being ostracised for defending the rights
of his people.

"Their welfare is my welfare, their suffering my suffering. They own
Zimbabwe. Mr. Blair, Mr. Brown, Mr. Bush, you don't belong, you are not one
of them. So keep out, keep out, keep out."

On Thursday thousands of supporters rallied behind Mugabe, wearing regalia
emblazoned with his image and holding placards denouncing Brown and hailing
Mugabe's leadership.

Although some senior ZANU-PF officials tried quietly to stop Mugabe from
extending his rule, analysts say they failed to win enough backing, and many
are afraid to confront Zimbabwe's long-time ruler under whose patronage they
have prospered.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is in talks
with ZANU-PF to end a deep political and economic crisis, accuses Mugabe of
hanging on to power through vote-rigging and repression.

Mugabe said the MDC was under pressure from the West to abandon the talks
mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The MDC says Zimbabwe needs radical reform to end a deep economic crisis
that has led to rising poverty, crippling food and fuel shortages and an
inflation rate of about 8,000 percent, the highest in the world.

Agricultural production has plummeted since 2000, when Mugabe's government
began its seizures of thousands of white-owned farms and distributing the
land to blacks.

A regional African tribunal, however, dealt a blow to the programme when it
ordered Zimbabwe to halt its seizure of a Zimbabwean farmer's land pending a
full hearing of the case.


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Don't interfere, Mugabe warns critics

iafrica.com

Thu, 13 Dec 2007

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe fired a fresh broadside at his Western
critics on Thursday, warning them not to interfere in his country and
stating he would only accept involvement of African nations.

"They should not interfere in our internal affairs, in our regional
affairs," Mugabe said in a speech at his Zanu-PF party's conference.

"We are an independent state. If we need any assistance, we have our own
neighbours to turn to. We have Sadc (Southern African Development
Community), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the
African Union."

Mugabe's comments come after he was roundly attacked at an EU-Africa summit
in Lisbon over the weekend when Angela Merkel led criticism of his human
rights record, accusing the Zimbabwean of undermining the image of Africa.

Gordon Brown, prime minister of Zimbabwe's former colonial power Britain,
boycotted the summit over the presence of Mugabe who is normally banned from
the EU for allegedly rigging his 2002 re-election.

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, criticised the British no-show,
saying that dialogue would have been useful if not welcome.

"We don't desire to talk to them," Mugabe told thousands of party members in
the capital referring to Brown's government.

"But there is an issue between us and them. How do they expect the issue to
be resolved?"

Mugabe regularly blames Britain for the economic woes of Zimbabwe where
annual inflation is now the highest in the world at nearly 8,000 percent.

He has demanded that Britain honour previous commitments to fund a programme
of land redistribution and the scrapping of sanctions such as a travel ban
which is meant to only affect Mugabe and his inner circle.

Mugabe (83), was speaking at the last Zanu-PF conference before next year's
general elections when he is hoping to win a sixth term in office.

AFP


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Mugabe warns against election violence

Mail and Guardian

Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe

13 December 2007 05:10

Zimbabwe's veteran President Robert Mugabe, accused of allowing
attacks on his political opponents, appealed on Thursday to his supporters
not to engage in violence in next year's elections.

In a keynote address at his Zanu-PF conference in the capital,
Harare, Mugabe also urged the party to remain united in the countdown to the
parliamentary and presidential elections.

"We don't want any violence during campaigns. Campaign
peacefully," said Mugabe, who is seeking a sixth term in office at the
polls, expected in March.

His comments come amid efforts by South African President Thabo
Mbeki to mediate between Zanu-PF and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, several of whose leaders were assaulted by members of
Mugabe's security forces earlier this year.

Parliamentary elections in 2000 and the presidential election in
2002 were marred by widespread violence that led Western observers to
conclude the ballots were neither free nor fair.

Mugabe (83) has been the subject of a string of Western
sanctions since 2002, and came under concerted attack at a weekend European
Union-Africa summit over his record on human rights.

During the speech, he also told party members not to be
distracted by internal divisions ahead of the polls. "We want unity and less
friction," he told supporters.

"It's not everyone who contests for candidature who succeeds,"
he added in reference to internal party battles to be selected as Zanu-PF
candidates for the elections.

"I want to check to ensure that candidates [in the primaries]
are chosen properly. It's a question of contest, and not everyone wins,"
said Mugabe in a rare reference to divisions within his party.

"If you lose, don't kick the ball out of the pitch in anger. Why
join the team in the first place when you kick the ball out of the pitch and
yet you can see the goalposts? We are for scoring goals, so we want real
unity. Let's keep together; let's remain united."

'Do not interfere'
During the course of his speech, Mugabe also fired a fresh
broadside at his Western critics, warning them not to interfere in his
country and stating he would only accept involvement of African nations.

"They should not interfere in our internal affairs, in our
regional affairs," Mugabe said. "We are an independent state. If we need any
assistance, we have our own neighbours to turn to. We have SADC [the
Southern African Development Community], the Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa and the African Union."

During the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon, Mugabe was accused by
German Chancellor Angela Merkel of undermining the image of Africa and was
also heavily criticised by the leaders of Denmark, Sweden and The
Netherlands.

Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe's former colonial power
Britain, boycotted the summit over the presence of Mugabe, who is normally
banned from the EU for the alleged rigging of his 2002 re-election.

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, criticised the
British no-show, saying that dialogue would have been useful, if not
welcome.

"We don't desire to talk to them, but there is an issue between
us and them. How do they expect the issue to be resolved?" Mugabe told
thousands of party members.

Mugabe regularly blames Britain for the economic woes of
Zimbabwe where annual inflation is now the highest in the world at nearly 8
000%.

He has demanded that Britain honours previous commitments to
fund a programme of land redistribution and the scrapping of sanctions such
as a travel ban, which is meant to only affect Mugabe and his inner circle.

Mugabe was speaking at the last Zanu-PF conference before next
year's general elections. He is expected to be confirmed as his party's
presidential candidate later in the conference. -- Sapa-AFP


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Zanu PF splashes scarce forex on new election campaign vehicles

New Zimbabwe

By Albert Makoni
Last updated: 12/13/2007 23:41:03
ZANU PF has splashed over US$10 million in scarce foreign currency on 220
new vehicles for party officials ahead of crunch elections next year.

The vehicles which were handed over to President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday
will be dolled out to Zanu PF women and youth league officials in the
country’s 10 provinces as the ruling party gears up for crucial presidential
and parliamentary elections in March 2008.

Politburo member and Zanu PF secretary for finance David Karimanzira who was
in charge of the purchasing of the vehicles said officials in the war
veterans’ association as well as war collaborators and ex-detainees were
among those in line to receive the new vehicles.

Sources said the vehicles were imported through a local car dealer,
Amalgamated Motor Industries (AMC), owned by Zanu PF stalwart and
Mashonaland East governor, Ray Kaukonde.

The vehicles are being purchased at the cost of slightly above US$40 000
each for the single cabs and US$46 000 for the double cabs coming in Nissan
and Toyota models.

The vehicles will be distributed to all the provinces through the party’s
transport and social welfare department.

Matabeleland North governor and Zanu PF secretary for transport Sithokozile
Mathuthu said the new vehicles were part of the ruling party’s protracted
preparations for next year’s harmonised elections.

“They were bought by the party to assist in party duties throughout the
country especially now when we are facing crucial elections next March,”
said Mathuthu who showered President Mugabe with praises for giving the nod
to buy the cars.

Thirty two of the cars were on display at the Zanu PF headquarters for
viewing by central committee and politburo members of the ruling party
before the start on Wednesday of the ordinary session of the central
committee at the party’s headquarters in Harare.

Briefing President Mugabe during the hand over ceremony which was marked by
song and dance by members of the women’s league, Harare Metropolitan
Province governor Karimanzira, said the new fleet of the all-terrain
vehicles was composed of 110 single cabs and another 110 double cabs.

He also revealed that the vehicles were still being delivered to the party
by the company mandated with procuring them.

Karimanzira said the women and youth leagues would each receive 30 vehicles,
with the war veterans association as well as the war collaborators and
ex-detainees organisations sharing 20 cars, while the remainder of the cars
would be given to provincial party organs throughout the country.

During the brief ceremony, Vice President Joice Mujuru and members of the
women’s league including cabinet minister Sithembiso Nyoni broke into song
and dance praising President Mugabe.

The main beneficiaries of the new vehicles, the women’s and youth leagues as
well as the war veterans, have been pivotal in canvassing support for Mugabe’s
controversial candidature ahead of the ruling party extraordinary congress
this weekend.

In recent weeks, war veterans led by Jabulani Sibanda have been organising
pro-Mugabe solidarity marches around the country to drum up support for
Mugabe’s presidential candidature.

Zanu PF members of the women and youth leagues joined the solidarity marches
by war veterans which culminated in the so called million man march on
November 30 in Harare.

Zanu PF sources say an increasingly paranoid Mugabe, who is facing
unprecedented opposition from dissenting party members who are eager to see
him relinquish power, has convened the congress to silence his opponents
once and for as he is confident he will secure a unanimous endorsement from
party members.

Two factions, one led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and another by Joice Mujuru,
have emerged within Zanu PF with the aim of succeeding Mugabe who leads the
third faction.

Mugabe spawned a fierce succession battle within Zanu PF by indicating that
he would retire as state president after the conclusion of the chaotic land
reform programme, but has turned around to launch a spirited bid for another
term in office.

The extra-ordinary congress opened Thursday with the endorsement of
President Mugabe expected to top the agenda.

After Mugabe’s endorsement the congress is expected to deliberate on the
agricultural mechanisation programme, the state of the economy,
Constitutional Amendment No 18 and the harmonised elections.

Zanu PF sources say there are intentions by the Mnangagwa faction to push
for constitutional amendments to the party constitution in order to do away
with the provision that makes it mandatory for the party to have female vice
president as one of the two party vice presidents.

The sources say Mnagagwa, a cabinet minister, is contemplating a
constitutional palace coup against rival faction leader Vice President
Mujuru who has been a beneficiary of this constitutional provision.

The ruling party’s youth and women’s leagues, sources say, are also planning
to push for a quota-system for all contested posts during the forthcoming
harmonised elections. War veterans are also reported to be trying to use
their current closeness to President Mugabe after the successful million man
march to push for more representation in local councils and parliament
through another quota system.

But the congress’ highlight will be President Mugabe’s endorsement with
analysts saying Mugabe is certain to be endorsed by the extraordinary
congress.

The extraordinary congress was called after Zanu PF delegates to the party’s
annual conference in Goromonzi, in Mashonaland East Province, last December
blocked President Mugabe’s bid to push harmonised elections to 2010 thereby
extending his term in office.

President Mugabe also unsuccessfully tried to push the endorsement of his
presidential candidature for the 2008 election during the same conference.


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New Zimbabwe currency seen before Christmas-c.bank

Reuters

Thu 13 Dec 2007, 8:58 GMT

HARARE, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank will launch its planned
new currency before Christmas to help end a severe cash shortage and let
consumers cope with high inflation, Governor Gideon Gono said on Thursday.

Shortages of cash in the struggling southern African nation worsened this
week, obliging customers to crowd into banking halls in a desperate bid to
get money as they prepare for the Christmas period.

"A practical solution is on its way. Very soon and before the festive
season," Gono told the official Herald newspaper in an interview.

"There will definitely be a Sunrise 2 (new currency) coming anytime from
now, mainly to deal with the cash shortages, as well as administering a
decisive deterrent blow on speculators."

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a chronic economic crisis, marked by the world's
highest inflation rate, surging unemployment and shortages of foreign
currency, fuel and food.

Gono, who last month said a new currency was imminent, accused some bankers
and shops of working with illegal foreign currency dealers to siphon cash
out of the formal banking system.

He said out of the ZW$58 trillion in circulation as of Nov. 15, only ZW$1
trillion was accounted for by banks, meaning that the rest was "floating
somewhere out there".

Analysts say a foreign currency crunch has propelled a thriving black market
where the Zimbabwe dollar trades 50 times weaker than the official bank rate
of ZW$30,000 to the U.S. dollar.

The change in notes follows a similar move last year, when the central bank
lopped off three zeroes from its currency and phased out old notes within
three weeks in a programme dubbed "Sunrise". (Reporting by MacDonald
Dzirutwe; editing by Gordon bell and Tony Austin)


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Central bank intervention, Zim-style

Financial Times blog Central bank intervention, Zim-style

From the Couldn’t-Make-It-Up department - a statement from Dr G Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. No less. On THE IMMINENT LAUNCH OF SUNRISE 2.

This speech was seemingly made on November 21, but we’re not sure whether it has yet been implemented.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Zimbabweans, we meet at a point in time when as a Central Bank we have been impelled to now take stern and unprecedented punitive measures against the dark forces of parallel market trading and financial disintermediation. It has become more than evident that, left to their own whims, the blossoming cash barons, smugglers and other illicit dealers will threaten the stability of our National Payment Systems.

As Monetary Authorities, we have closely trailed the recent trends and studied the avenues through which cash is being kept outside the formal systems, and time has come now that swift measures be taken. As part of a tactical move to entrap these disruptive dealers,I had recently announced that Sunrise 2 was postponed to a later date.

Just as was expected, the cash barons, with total complicity of some banking institutions and bulk cash handling corporates swang into full gear with their illicit dealings, resulting now in ARTIFICIAL cash shortages that are inconveniencing innocent rural folks and other law abiding citizens. The purpose of this Statement is to lay out in no uncertain terms the state of preparedness of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to now launch Sunrise 2. 2.

THE LESSONS AND EXPERIENCES UNDER SUNRISE

Our swift operations under Sunrise 1, launched on 1 August, 2006 gave us the following key lessons:

Some banks were allowing cash barons to deposit parallel market cash in excess of set daily limits. This time around, those hoarding cash will burn their fingers as new stricter surveillance systems have been devised.

The RURAL AREAS need special consideration, given that logistically, some terrains are not easily accessible. This time around, the vehicles and personnel to be deployed to rural areas will be more intense. We would like to assure our rural area parents, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons that a special programme will be put for them to make sure that no-one loses a dollar from Sunrise 2. They, therefore, need not worry. Equally, measures are in place to ensure that they are not used as escape hide-outs by fraudsters.

That some cash barons and bulk cash handling companies were splitting their stampede deposits using runners they picked from the streets. This time around, questions will be asked on all bulk cash deposits to certify source. Where noconvincing proof is rendered, the money will be frozen in zero interest Anti-money Laundering bonds for a minimum period of 5 years pending further investigations.

Some dealers rushed to rural areas and dumped their dirty cash to unsuspecting rural people by buying off livestock indroves. This time around, the Zimbabwe Republic Police will be strict on issuance of livestock movement certificates inand out of rural areas.

Some had bulk-shipped cash in neighbouring countries and some as far as Europe in search of foreign exchange in the parallel market. This time around, there will be tight collaboration with ZIMRA and law enforcement arms to ensure that no such cargo of returning cash will re-enter scot-free.

SUNRISE 2

Armed with the above lessons, the general public, as well asthe financial sector are hereby forewarned that Sunrise 2 isnow imminent. The Reserve Bank has now put in place all the machinery in place, to enable the implementation of a short and precise change-over programme, which would be completed in a matter of a few days, as opposed to the longer time accorded under Sunrise 1. In order to guarantee maximum impact in terms of penalties to the destructive forces of parallel markets, the imminentactual date for Sunrise 2 shall remain undisclosed.

SINCERITY IS SUBJECT TO PROOF

In case there are those die-hards who think the Reserve Bankcould be bluffing, the following systems have been put to the public’s eye as proof that indeed Sunrise 2 is upon us:

- The actual notes of the new currency have been circulated to the banking system, the media fraternity and the businessrepresentative leaderships;

- The Reserve Bank has already assembled country-widefueling depots complete with the logistical maps, to powerSunrise 2. These maps are open for viewing;

- All the vehicle muscle, by province and by district has been aligned and is ready to go;

- The entire country’s bank branch network has been clustered, with comprehensive teams all now set for deployment.

- Already, the entire Zimbabwe Republic Police machinery has been alerted to be ready for the imminent Launch of Sunrise 2.

NEED FOR PREPARING I.T. SYSTEMS

The swift and far-reaching implications of Sunrise 2 demand that all Bank and Non-bank Financial Institutions immediately gear their systems up for the change-over. As Monetary Authorities. we advise that such preparation includes simulations for the removal of 1, 2, 3 or even 4 zeros from the current set of legal tender, as the actual change-over will be done with no advance warning. The Bank Supervision and Surveillance arm of the Reserve Bank will be, with immediate effect, moving around banks to certify their state of preparedness. Any defaulters will face appropriate corrective measures. It is imperative that Audit firms and the entirety of the corporate sector also ensure that their systems are ready forthis swift surgical operation.

NEUTRALITY ON PRICES

As Monetary Authorities, we also wish to highlight to the corporate world, including wholesalers and retailers that this change-over should not translate into underlying price increases as happened under Sunrise 1. 3.12 The Reserve Bank will work closely with the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) to make sure that members of the public are not short-changed.

DEPOSIT PERIOD

With a total of $58 trillion in cash currently in issue and in circulation, the current shortages are principally a result of underground parallel market trading activities. 3.14 With immediate effect, therefore, all holders of excess cash must deposit same back in the formal system in order to avoid serious and perilous losses when their hoarded loot turns into useless manure. The cut-off date for acceptance of current bearer cheques will be announced imminently along with the actual launch date.

CONCLUSION

Fellow Zimbabweans, time has come that we say no to self-destruction of our economy by a few bad apples among us whilst the rest watch. 4.2 As Monetary Authorities, we say NO to this callous path, and hereby declare total war against the illegal dealers who are causing havoc in our markets. 4.3 This time around, those who do not take heed will never recover financially, as a definite ultimate blow is being set on them.

To the Rural folk, we say, please do not panic as special tailor-made conditions are being put in place for yourconvenience. Thank you. DR G. GONO GOVERNOR RESERVE BANK OF ZIMBABWE

  1. 14:51 Posted by Carlomagno [report]

    Priceless!


    “As Monetary Authorities. we advise that such preparation includes simulations for the removal of 1, 2, 3 or even 4 zeros from the current set of legal tender, as the actual change-over will be done with no advance warning.”

    ROFLMAO! That should keep the IT “fraternity” busy… Y2K seems like a silly joke by comparison!


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MDC bruised but not yet beaten


HARARE, 13 December 2007 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) is in trouble: already split into feuding factions,
it now risks being deserted by its key allies ahead of next year's
elections.

Labour movement and civil society groups are concerned over the
'compromises' the MDC has made in low-key talks with the ruling ZANU-PF
party, and a growing intolerance within the opposition party, underlined by
reports of intimidation and violence against members, analysts say.

Since its formation in 1999, the MDC has presented itself as the democratic
alternative to ZANU-PF. Three lost elections later - the polls in 2000 and
2002 were widely condemned as flawed - and decidedly gloves-off treatment by
the authorities, have left it bruised, but not yet out.

In recognition that a political solution is required to help ease Zimbabwe's
economic and humanitarian crisis, the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) urged both sides into talks in March, mediated by South Africa. It
was the first time the MDC has won legitimacy from regional leaders, who are
concerned that Zimbabwe's meltdown represents a security and humanitarian
risk to its neighbours.

The problem for the MDC's erstwhile supporters is that it appears to have
made all the political sacrifices so far, analysts say. At ZANU-PF's urging
in September it accepted Constitutional Amendment No. 18, which potentially
extends President Robert Mugabe's term in office, but won no guarantees on
its demands to halt political violence and repeal legislation widely seen an
undemocratic.

And then there has been the MDC's internal politics. The party split over
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's handling of a vote by senior members of the party
to participate in senate elections in 2005; last month the labour movement
cut ties with Tsvangirai's faction after the popular leader of the MDC's
women's wing, Lucia Matibenga, was removed from her post.

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Tsvangirai faction, blamed fifth
columnists for stoking the unrest. "Zimbabweans should be aware of a
deliberate effort by ZANU-PF agents to soil and malign the image of [party]
president Tsvangirai and the MDC ahead of crucial elections," he told IRIN.

However, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general
Wellington Chibhebhe said there was a perception that the Tsvangirai faction
was trying to erase its labour origins. He told IRIN that "The removal of
Matibenga is the clearest sign that the party is no longer representing the
interests of workers."

Betrayal

Lovemore Madhuku, chair of the National Constitutional Assembly, a
pro-democracy non-governmental organisation, said that by endorsing
Constitutional Amendment No. 18 rather than wholesale reform of the
country's magna carta, the MDC had put the party first, ahead of the people
of Zimbabwe.

"As civic society, we felt betrayed by the MDC's endorsement of the
constitutional amendments without consulting us. We have always believed
that they were there for us," Madhuku told IRIN. "The MDC has always been
aware that as civic society we stand for a people-driven constitution, and
that we are against the piecemeal constitutional amendments which they are
now supporting."

The constitutional amendment voted for by MDC MPs harmonises presidential,
parliamentary and local elections. It could also extend Mugabe's term by two
years until 2010 - giving him far greater flexibility in choosing a
successor, an issue that has undermined ZANU-PF unity.

However, the Tsvangirai faction has questioned the purpose of continued
dialogue with ZANU-PF when it is unlikely that the ruling party will ever
deliver on the demands for electoral reform, and repeal laws that limit
proper campaigning. But the MDC risks being sidelined once more by the SADC,
should it boycott the talks, political analyst Eldred Masunungure told IRIN.

General elections are tentatively due in March, which Mugabe and ZANU-PF are
widely expected to win against a demoralised opposition. "The signs of voter
apathy are beginning to emerge around the country," said Rindai
Chipfunde-Vava, executive director of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
(ZESN), a civic organisation promoting democratic elections.

ZESN is holding nationwide community workshops, where "questions on how
political parties can deliver democracy at national level, if they cannot
ensure democracy in their political parties, have been raised often."

Madhuku said the MDC could wind up being abandoned by its original
constituency. "We [civic society] are going to reorganise and realign all
the democratic forces in the post-election period. We know Mugabe will still
be in power next year, and we have to be ready to face him after the
elections."

Zimbabwe is stuck in a seven-year recession, triggered in part by the
economic fallout from the government's controversial land-reform programme
and disputed elections in 2000.

Its inflation rate is the highest the world, eight out of 10 people have no
formal employment, nutrition levels are deteriorating, and food, fuel and
electricity shortages are commonplace. The government blames western
"sanctions" for the crisis, as part of a deliberate policy to unseat Mugabe.

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


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Time to put Tsvangirai to the political sword?

New Zimbabwe

By Itayi Garande
Last updated: 12/13/2007 23:40:54
WELL, isn't that something? Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman
Nelson Chamisa is trying to trivialise the disgruntlement with Morgan
Tsvangirai within his faction of the party.

Chamisa reminds me of 'Comical Ali', Saddam Hussein's hilarious information
minister who once said: "I repeat, there are no Arnolds in Sacramento.
Never!"

He fooled himself by his own creativity.

While Zanu PF is conducting near forensic alteration of the electoral laws
of Zimbabwe over in the soi-disant political “real world”, we have seen the
latest defenestration of the MDC leadership, or more particularly, that of
Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai's MDC is struggling through a season of discontent, with the
March elections looming and assured.

There is nascent internal and external dissent against him, and far broader
frustration over his failure to bring the much-threatened change, and
resolve the intra-party dispute over the Lucia Matibenga affair and troubles
in the MDC’s UK provincial executive.

But the sense of decline in any political party; especially before
assumption of power, is often painful, and many see it in sharper focus now
as Tsvangirai gets wearied and speculation on his loss at the next election
becomes the country's favourite gossip.

And nearly every political setback or intra-party argument is read as a
further sign of the party's diminished standing or, worse, the party's
inability to navigate crises.

A man well known for his longevity in opposition, many wonder whether
Tsvangirai will ever rule Zimbabwe. This is a man who made his reputation on
bold moves that sometimes led to success and sometimes to unmitigated
disaster. He had no clear ideology or vision for the party, much that after
two election defeats, he was wearied and not sure which direction to go.

If he loses the 2008 election, Tsvangirai will be credited by history as the
opposition leader who served the longest and lost the most times. And he
dreads this.

His challenges are more today than in 2000 or in 2002. If we believe the
exaggerated estimates of conspiracy theorists, three million Zimbabweans
have left the country, most of them forming the constituency that
Tsvangirai's seeks to rally support from. So his demise is almost
guaranteed.

Zimbabwe is a far cry from the country that led Tsvangirai to win so many
ballots.

The talks in South Africa have given rise to a paradox: The more freedom
given to the MDC to negotiate, the more its weaknesses are exposed. MDC's
timid steps to liberalise politics in Zimbabwe have, in the end, revealed
the opposition's structural and strategic weaknesses.

Leaders of the opposition MDC have begun to reconsider what they can gain
from Zimbabwe than bring to Zimbabwe. At first, many said they believed that
confrontation would unleash a new dynamic, drawing supporters into their
ranks and altering the geopolitical terrain in Zimbabwe.

Now they speak more soberly, with mindless caution -- an admission that
years of confrontation achieved little. Aside from their protests, there
remain few means to articulate the frustration in Zimbabwe today.

A man once imbued with the optimism of a reformer, (or was he?), Tsvangirai
exhibits all signs of tiredness and frustration -- a cocktail of disaster at
the next election, unless fundamental changes are made immediately.

I think we are entering a new phase in Zimbabwe, a new phase where the old
traditions, people and practices are fading away. At the moment, the two
live side by side, but I think the old has started to fade as it fails to
articulate a 'vision for our future'.

Should Tsvangirai fall on his sword for the good of his party, and more
importantly, and implicitly, the good of the MDC party?


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It could have been me

New Statesman

Brian Haw

Published 13 December 2007

Parliament Square protester Brian Haw on Jenni Williams and the Women of
Zimbabwe Arise group - in association with Amnesty

When Amnesty International interviewed Jenni Williams about the attempts of
the authorities in Harare to silence Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza), the
peaceful protest group she heads, Jenni told them: "They will not be able to
criminalise freedoms of expression and assembly, unless they take away our
mouths and our ears and our eyes."

How uncanny. We had a portrait of the "three wise monkeys" - "speak, hear,
see no truth" - in our Westminster United Nations Heart Gallery, our
45-metre manifestation right in the face of the British parliament.
Politicians couldn't bear it and sent 78 police to pinch it. Now, thanks to
God, Mark Wallinger and the Turner Prize, its expression is even more
awesome.

So we're with you, Jenni and your sisters in Zimbabwe. You've been forced to
put your lives on the line. But don't give up, not even when the government
sends police to attack you. And then you win, as dear Gandhi said so well.

Since 2003, Woza has been mobilising women in Zimbabwe to demonstrate for
political, economic and social rights. Even though Woza is dedicated to
peaceful protest, motivated, as Jenni puts it, by "love for our country",
its members have been arrested, beaten and threatened. In March, two of them
were taken from their homes at gunpoint by the police. They were
interrogated, assaulted and left in the bush. In June, Jenni and others were
detained following a protest where several were beaten. Jenni was held for
three days and forced to sleep on the floor of a concrete cell. A bucket of
water was thrown in each day to increase the women's discomfort.

Jenni says the reaction of the authorities to their protests was initially a
shock: "We started off thinking that as mothers, as women in Zimbabwe, we
would be allowed to go out in the street and say, 'Come on, leaders, it's
time for us to love again, it's time for us to end this hatred.'" Sadly, in
Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, even peaceful protest is not tolerated.

Likewise in Bush's America and Blair/Brown's Britain: here too, we are
attacked by police and government agents, yet here too, thankfully, we have
our loving lionesses defending the cubs, our kids and our future.
Grandmother Ann Clancy and mother Maria Gallestegui on 1 August 2005 to
mention but two.

Aussie mum Babs Tucker on Easter Sunday 2006 was dragged away by ten figures
in yellow jackets. They called her a "Serious Organised Criminal" (a new law
in 2005) for wearing her pretty pink "Peace, Love and Justice for All"
banner. It's real, it's happening, and it's really bollocks. We won't accept
it, just like Jenni and our sisters around the world.

The fact that Jenni and others in Woza are women has led to further abuse.
Zimbabwean human rights defenders are often women, in part because they are
often worst hit by the economic crisis as they try to find food and pay for
schooling for their families. The police response has been brutal: women
with babies are arrested, beatings are common. One pregnant woman was kicked
in the stomach by a police officer.

I started our Peace Campaign for the whole world. It began outside
parliament on 2 June 2001 (www.parliament-square.org.uk), yet its roots go
further back. After the havoc wreaked by the US and UK in Afghanistan, Iraq
was the last straw. I'm a Christian, dad, human being, responsible British
citizen: we're all responsible to different degrees. Thankfully, so many
joined me. We number billions - we are not alone!

Like us, Jenni and Woza refuse to cower despite being intimidated and
assaulted at every turn. Bravo! Keep going; we will win. It takes courageous
individuals like Jenni Williams and the others to defend liberties by
protesting and teaching others that these rights cannot be taken away from
them.

When she last visited London, Jenni brought with her a Woza banner. It read:
"Beaten, jailed, but still determined to be free."

Brian Haw has been demonstrating outside the Houses of Parliament since
2001. Amnesty is asking people to send a message of solidarity to Jenni and
Woza as part of its Greetings Card Campaign


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Global Zimbabwe Forum Statement

zimbabwejournalists.com

13th Dec 2007 09:26 GMT

By GZF

THE just ended historic first ever Zimbabwe Global Diaspora Conference has
been hailed by many of its delegates and organisors as a huge success. The
event was held at the Braamfontein Recreation Centre in Johannesburg, South
Africa.

Over 150 delegates drawn from all over the Zimbabwe Diaspora community
across the world attended the conference. These included delegates from such
countries as the USA. UK, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Botswana, Zimbabwe and
South Africa, among other countries.

The keynote address was given by the conference's guest speaker, Professor
Ken Mufuka who is a veteran Zimbabwean academic based as the Lander
University in South Carolina, in the USA.

There was also an array of inspirational papers on several topical issues
affecting the 3-4 million Zimbabweans that are now living outside their
homeland. These included among others speakers such as Grace Kwinjeh,
Basildon Peta, Gabriel Shumba, Mandla-akhe Dube, Luke Zunga, Daniel Makina,
Immanuel Hlabangana, Khethani Sibanda, Themba Shoniwa, Gardener Rusike,
Tamuka Chirimambowa, Samukeliso Dube, Canaan Mhlanga, Violet Mariyacha, to
mention but a few.

Solidarity messages were also received from several other speakers as Bishop
Paul Verryn from the Johannesburg Central Methodist church and Patrick
Baleni from the Western Sahara Solidarity Forum.

The conference also adopted several resolutions on the critical issues
related to all Zimbabweans now living abroad.

These included among others the following issues:

The launch of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Chamber that is going to be
registered in South Africa as an investment facility for all those
interested in setting up their own viable companies.
The launch of the Zimbabwe Global Scholarship Fund to promote the human
resources development capacity of all Zimbabweans now based in the Diaspora
The launch of the Zimbabwe Global Merit Awards that shall seek to appreciate
and celebrate the efforts of all institutions and personalities that have
consistently brought fame and dignity to the Zimbabwean nation especially
within the Diaspora communities.
The launch of the first ever international network of all the Zimbabwean
institutions and NGOs that are based in the Diaspora to be known as the
Global Zimbabwe Forum. The new Forum is expected to set up its international
Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.
An Interim Committee of the Forum was also set up for a year tenure and
consists of the following persons:

Ms. Grace Kwinjeh – Chairperson
Mr. Mandla-akhe Dube – Vice Chairperson
Mr. Luke Zunga – Treasurer
Mr. Daniel Molokele – Co-ordinator
Ms. Violet Mariyacha – Committee Member
Mr. Canaan Mhlanga – Committee Member
Mr. Simbarashe Chimombe – Committee Member
Mr. Tamuka Chirimambowa – Committee Member

For more details, please feel free to contact the Global Zimbabwe Forum
through Mr. Daniel Molokele on +27 72 947 4815 and Ms. Grace Kwinjeh on +27
79 434 4508


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Building a Lasting Legacy! - New diaspora organisation launched

zimbabwejournalists.com

13th Dec 2007 09:30 GMT

By Grace Kwinjeh

“Zimbabwe-Dangers of elite transitions lessons from Kenya
& South Africa,”- “Nothing for us – without us.”

I WOULD like to start by expressing my most sincere gratitude to the
organizers of the Global Diaspora Forum, for according me this opportunity
of be part of this historic process, in Zimbabwe’s Diasporan politics. Yes,
we Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have organized ourselves in various ways,
formations and structures, since the attainment of independence, but this is
the first time that our diverse views, energies and agendas, have been
pooled together, in an endeavor to find a way forward in our articulation of
the crisis bedeviling our dear country Zimbabwe. The problematical today, in
terms of the economic, political and social crisis is of great concern to us
Diasporans, because the longer the struggle, the longer we will also be
stuck in the Diaspora, some of us voluntary some of us not.

Comrades, I take great pride as a feminist to have been asked to speak on a
topic I feel passionate about, ‘elite transitions’, and thank the organizers
that they have placed this appropriately under the thematic area on;
‘Citizenship and Political Participation’.

I would like to raise the issue of citizenship first and what it means for
us as black women in the Diaspora and in general. Citizenship entails
belonging, identity, nationality, issues that have boggled us as women for a
long time even in our own countries of origin, and so it becomes a toll
order to discuss this here as a foreigner, in a different, political
context. Feminist, Patricia Macffaden, says, “For me a citizen is one who
has legal, social, cultural rights and entitlements through the formal
recognition of his/her personhood within a specific geopolitical space which
is called or named a country. The physicality of an individual therefore
should be the least important aspect in terms of accessing and exercising
these rights and entitlements. What I look like, my physical form and my
color should be merely incidental. But this is not the case because rights
and entitlements are gendered, they are sites of contestation and
citizenship plays itself out physically in terms of two major constructs:
gender and race.

And so then can we link citizenship or identity politics to political
participation and ‘elite- transitions’ ? Comrades, I want to argue that the
essence of democracy is participation, an avenue for people to earn their
citizenship is through full franchise, in political processes.

It is in this context that I will go further to say that if in the struggle
your franchise, identity, or belonging, conferred by citizenship has not
been recognized then there is no participation to talk of popular or
otherwise. Already in terms of national politics we are disenfranchised, the
fact of the matter being that we have been left out important political
processes. The worst being the denial of our right to vote. Thus, the
relevance of this forum.

How can we learn from the Kenyan and South-African experience that what ever
deal or solution is modeled on our behalf as a citizenry in our capacity as
absentee citizens -- now numerically estimated to be at least 4 million
people outside Zimbabwe’s borders will have no political relevance or
legitimacy, as it will lack our popular participation.
The clarion call for many in the global social movement over the past years
of organized resistance against the right wing insurgence, and its global
capitalist agenda, driven through neo-liberal policies as advanced, by
International Institutions, such as the Bretton Woods and the World Trade
Organisation, that have devasted our livelihoods, has been 'Nothing for
us-without us'.
That is because comrades for a long time, our national elites, working in
cahoots with the global capitalist class have left us out of important
political, economic and social processes in making major decisions such as
the adoption of the much criticised Structural Adjustment Programmes,
(SAPs). The ill effects or impacts of which have been agonizingly felt as
much by we Zimbabweans as our other comrades in the remainder of the Third
World.

And so can we agree here that the major post-colonial problem for us
Africans has been a democratic deficit, characterized, largely, by a lack of
our participation on issues to do with economic and political governance? I
want to advance here that the leadership crisis, accompanied by a democratic
deficit, characterized by high levels of corruption, both economic and
political, is a result of the democratically inimical neo-liberal regime
which advances, top-down methods of economic and political administration,
and is so tolerant of corruption to the exclusion of participative
decision-making in these matters. Unfortunately, as I will argue later in
the paper, this model or framework, is replicating itself even in our
broader democratic movement.

How can this forum benefit from lessons in political processes in Kenya and
South-Africa and how can these help us in mapping a realistic way forward?

We meet days before SA or rather the ruling African National Congress, (ANC)
holds its 52nd National Conference, an event that relates to us in many
ways. When SA gained her independence against the apartheid regime, I
remember as a young excited journalist writing on the ‘winds of change’
blowing across southern Africa. The new democratic Constitution, more women’s
representation in political structures especially the legislature, media
freedom, I saw this as a conclusion of our liberation process in the region.
I thought SA would lift the rest of the continent with her.

So what then went wrong? Why is there a big debate going on in SA today, on
many fronts, social, political and economical, why are South Africans not
satisfied with their democracy? SA has one of the highest number of social
demonstrantions, in the world, today, per person per square kilometer.

Activist, Trevor Ngwane writes, ‘The South African workers movement was
atypical in that in the 1980’s when most workers’ movements were under
attack and in retreat in the world, it appeared to be moving strongly ahead,
making history by overthrowing the formidable apartheid regime. However, the
moment of triumph proved to be a ‘defeat in victory’ as the price for
getting rid of apartheid was paid in one of the biggest political and
ideological somersaults as the new government of liberation embraced
capitalism and chose the neo-liberal path. The ANC government and its allies
proceeded to demobilize and deactivate the workers movement and its dream of
socialism and a better life for all.’

And so today, here in SA, there is an apparent war raging between, the left
and the right characterized by an ideological rapture, among the alliance
partners, COSATU, SACP and the ANC, which seems to have found expression in
the ANC succession battle.

Comrades, our struggle is more intensely fierce than we act it out to be.
The political discourse here in SA, however has many lessons for us
especially on how not to run a peoples struggle or revolution and the
intended product. What the comrades on the left or the social movements here
are saying in terms of the deal that saw the demise of apartheid and their
experience there-after, is that it was an elite deal that did not change the
structural or economic reality that existed before apartheid. Thus today SA
suffers from a Colonialism of a Special Type, (CST).

Speaking at a COSATU Central Committee meeting, SACP Secretary General,
Blade Nzimande made a no holds barred presentation on the state of the
National Democratic Revolution (NDR). In a paper titled, The revolution is
on trial (2): Decisive working class intervention is of absolute necessity,
Nzimande gave four points threatening the revolution the first point being;
“Firstly, despite the many important and welcome advances made by our
revolution over the last 13 years, the fundamental problem remains that we
have not succeeded in changing the colonial character of our economy. In
other words, ours is a revolution with some (significant), working class
buttressed political power, but without economic power. This means that much
as the national liberation movement has ascended to political power, but
economic power still remains in the hands of the same old white (monopoly)
capitalist class as under apartheid. Despite some black economic empowerment
and advancement, this has largely benefited a small, and highly dependent
and parasitic black section of the capitalist class, without any fundamental
change in the ownership of wealth in our country, nor any significant
changes in the character of South Africa‘s workplace. This poses a serious
threat to the consolidation of the national democratic revolution.”
South Africa suffered what Professor Patrick Bond and others termed an elite
transition, a source of much of the current contention between the ruling
elites and the masses. The neo-liberal agenda or project has been able to
reproduce itself with the tacit support of the black elite.

Turning to Kenya comrades, my heart bleeds again, for many reasons, the main
being I was once again amongst you, who celebrated Daniel Arap Moi’s demise,
when the National Rainbow Coalition, (NARC) made it into power in 2002.
NARC made many electoral promises, chief among which was the end of
corruption and the adoption of a new democratic Constitution. To date Kenya,
has achieved none of the above. What lesson then is there in the Kenyan
experience, just like in the above SA experience?

As Kenya prepares for another General election, on the 27th of December, the
issues remain the same, development, corruption and a democratic
Constitution, with the political terrain being contested around these three
issues. “Thus, it was the promise of a comprehensive political and economic
change that swept NARC (National Alliance Rainbow Coalition- an amalgamation
of political parties) to power in late 2002. At that time, Mr Mwai Kibaki,
the then leader of the coalition, was escorted around by a jubilant crowd
singing, "Yote yawezekana bila Moi" (All is possible without Moi). This time
round as Kenya goes to elections; he is the one under siege, facing the
stiffest challenge of his political career so far. Those who were with him
in 2002 — Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Mrs Charity Ngilu — will
be playing a different song. Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)
and his former ally Mr Musyoka (of ‘Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya’- a
breakaway faction of the ODM) are Mr Kibaki and his PNU’s (Party of National
Unity) primary challengers in this year’s general elections,” writes Ronald
Elly Wanda .

The above scenario comrades, of political factionalism, oiled by corruption,
lack of accountability, is once again unfortunately residual of the Moi
culture. Kenya got rid of Moi but not Moism. Thus the battle against Moism
continues today.
On corruption an alarming example, comes form the controversial Kroll
Associates report part of which reads, of Moi’s sons Phillip and Gideon, “It
is understood that Philip has an estimated wealth of approximately $770
million and controls more hidden cash than Gideon, even though significant
attention has been directed at the latter. Whether by design or otherwise,
the media more commonly associates Philip with motor vehicle tax fraud and
other low-down economic vices. Therefore, unlike Gideon who would mainly
wait for government-funded projects to broker deals, Philip's money machine
was continuously churning out liquid cash on daily basis. At a local level
there is no single company in which Philip holds shares directly. He uses
proxies who range from low key Asians and houseboys who know little about
the wealth in their names.”
Again, one would not need to go into the John Githongo, report on
corruption under the Kibaki administration, which saw the siphoning of
billions of Kenyan shillings, from Government into none existent companies.
After losing the 2005 referendum for a new Government sponsored
constitution, Kibaki fired his whole cabinet, of his decision he said,
"Following the results of the Referendum, it has become necessary for me, as
the President of the Republic, to re-organise my Government to make it more
cohesive and better able to serve the people of Kenya."
It is there-fore important at this juncture, that I want to go into our own
Zimbabwean scenario. Comrades, I truly believe that for our Social
Liberation Movement, to wage the struggle against the dictatorship’s
tyrannical rule, to its logical conclusion, with all the intended benefits,
based on tenets or values of social democracy it is important to revisit
some of these concepts. In view of the above topic, to do with a meaningful
people centred participation that will produce meaningful results, one that
we had set out to achieve in the first place.

One that scores have lost their lives for, thousands arrested, many
tortured, with the displaced well represented here today.

Sadly, comrades, I want to advance that our activism, or opposition politics
that is in the broader political Movement, is haunted by the three headed
beast of – race, class and gender, carrying with it the real danger of
reproducing the above historic mishaps.

Comrades, I would like to advance that unless these are dealt with, through
a proper soul searching, and reflection process, then our struggle too like
the examples we have witnessed above might not be worth it.

Our struggle was initiated and driven on the basis of very utopian and
idealistic, goals which were based on the notion that it was possible to
bring together different interests groups, workers, farmers, bosses, women,
men, youth, on a collective agenda that would equally benefit all players.

However, comrades, the state of our Movement, clearly shows that, our
agendas are in constant contestation, thus some of the tensions and
fractures we are witnessing today.

Comrades, social democracy has succeeded in some western countries because
of their levels of political maturity, accompanied by economic success and
progress, however in a poor third world country such as ours, the double
scourge of dictatorship and poverty makes this almost impossible.

Thus, participation in the different aspects of the social liberation
movement, has to be scrutinized, in terms of changing dynamics over the
years since, the inception of the two broad based mass movements, one for
constitutional reform, led by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and
the political movement led by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
without excluding other civic players, such as those, in the women’s,
students and labour movement.

All components to be defined in this paper, as the Movement, made up of
people and groups, that at the time felt disenfranchised, with a common
desire for freedom, justice and democracy.

The three headed beast was first nurtured by our initial denial that the
Movement, should be operated on the basis of ideological aspirations, based
on what the components of the Movement had been agitating in their
individual programmes, over the years.

In a prophetic writing on the fault lines that were beginning to show in
the Movement, in 2003, Lawyer and Activist, Brian Kagoro wrote, “When the
MDC was created, the actors were bound together by the possibility of
dislodging Mugabe through an electoral process. The thinking was that issues
of ideology and participation would be negotiated once this was
accomplished, although in fact much was done to avert clashes of interests
between the doves and the hawks, the leftists and the conservatives, the
young and the old, patriarchy and feminists; the list is endless. The
post-presidential election period requires the MDC to define a new set of
values (inspirational and strategic) that will keep the bond intact. There
are evident cracks, with some sectors calling for mass uprising whilst
others prescribe negotiations and international intervention. Feminists
within the party are beginning to demand more gender-sensitive policies and
workers are now more vocal about their interests. The lines of synergy are
being increasingly blurred.”

Secondly, our failure to anticipate a long struggle whose terrain would be
prone to change, given the political and economic circumstances, such as
increased violence, State terrorism in all its forms and economic decline,
sees us today faced with fresh dynamics altogether. We did not anticipate
catastrophic unemployment levels, high inflation, empty petrol tanks and the
rapid collapse of our education and health systems.

The face of activism has changed, it is now about jobs, creating what others
are now dubbing a ‘struggle aristocracy’, so whether you are the Director of
an NGO, or the leader of a certain movement, you are forced to navigate the
struggle around safer waters, that ensure your own stability and survival.
This group is also not open to change, around contested areas, mainly to do
with popular participation, internal democracy, accountability and
succession issues. And corruption a by product.

Thirdly, dire poverty has resulted in the creation of a structure of
dependency especially, among another exploited disenfranchised group the
youth, and the ‘mudhara’ fashion. ‘Mudhara’ the patriarch in his many forms,
is a source of small funds to the youths, creating another culture of
patronage and dependency. That again compromises the youths participation in
political processes.

The economic decline has also exposed the Movement, to exploitation, by
elites with political interests, thus the centre for activism and leadership
renewal, has rapidly changed from mass based zones, the shop floor,
High-fields, Budiriro, to elite zones, as political power becomes an
obsession, versus social liberation. The issue is now more to do with what
can be secured politically other than what can be obtained, through mass
movement organization and reform of the Zanu political culture. The way the
political ship is being navigated is around certain interests and not
sacrosanct principles, take the vote for Constitutional Amendment 18 for
instance, in September, which was done without prior consultation or popular
support.

The “revolutionary aristocracy” leadership has clearly shown us that our
Movement is in trouble comrades, we are operating ironically in the
framework set by nationalists in post-colonial Africa embracing all its
characteristics we had painstakingly sought to defeat in the first place.

As Frantz Fanon prophesied of the national middle-class after independence,
"In its beginnings, the national bourgeoisie of the colonial country
identifies itself with the decadence of the West. We need not think that it
is jumping ahead; it is in fact beginning at the end. It is already senile
before it has come to know the petulance, the fearlessness, or the will to
succeed of youth.”

This marginalization of many of the social partners, from centres of power
and decision-making and activism, is not coincidental, or accidental, thus
as we are informed each day of President Thabo Mbeki’s, SADC mandated
mediation process, as a people whose future is being prepared for not as
legitimate stakeholders of the process, a situation equivalent to the 1979
Lancaster House Conference. In the sense that the previously
disenfranchised groups are still, Othered, in Feminist lingo, and fighting
for space to be recognized, take the Feminist movement for instance, writing
in the Mail and Guardian, feminist, Everjoice Win said, “Whatever "deal" is
worked out to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis, women and their rights should be at
the centre of it.

We want feminists -- women who care about the rights of other women and who
are prepared to rock the patriarchal boat -- to be in leadership positions
and to be there when the deal is made. Women want a new and comprehensive
Constitution that guarantees their rights. This includes a provision which
clearly states that customary law and tradition must not violate
international human rights, norms and standards. We want to see a complete
overhaul of a political system that has seen women reduced to political
cheerleaders, or worse, sex workers with few economic prospects and the
lowest life expectancy in the world.”

Wins vision of a complete reconstruction of our gender and class relations,
through economic transformation is further elaborated by Horace Campbell, on
the contradictions in the nationalist struggle, “the principal contradiction
of the nationalist struggle was the failure to address patriarchy and
masculinity as integral components of the struggle against oppression and
injustice.” The same contradictions are there in our Movement today.

Going further, on the connection between nationalism, liberation and
transformation, war veteran, Wilfred Mhanda, said in an interview with
Swradioafrica : As far as I am concerned, Mugabe is a nationalist. I'm not a
nationalist and I was never a nationalist. Nationalists were just fighting
against colonialism to substitute colonial regimes with themselves. The
political movements like the ANC of South Africa, ZANU, ZAPU, the ANC of
Zimbabwe, they were all nationalist movements which later transformed into
liberation movements. Being a liberation movement is qualitatively higher
than being a nationalist movement. Structurally, the goal of nationalism is
not very progressive. It doesn't aim and it doesn't have as its goal - the
transformation of society to serve the people's needs. It just has at its
goal the elite; the black elite; stepping into the white elite. That is the
problem we have had in Africa which has ended up in re-enforcing neo
colonialism. So, I really don't subscribe to the notion of nationalism.”

The other issue that we have been afraid to talk about that needs
demystification is the race issue. It is fundamental to the discourse on
where we want to go because, comrades, Feminist critique has it that our
racial relations, are still embedded in the same old notions of white
superiority, in which we as black women are often the most exploited and
marginalized group, in political processes – as compared to black or white
males. Because of the way Mugabe, a beneficiary of white capitalism has
played this card, you cannot call for racial equality in our struggle
without seeming to be playing into his hands. I say let us talk about it, as
it is necessary in the transformation of our political culture.

Lastly, just as the contestation here in SA is also around, economic justice
matters, Zimbabwe’s struggle now seems to be rooted in two contradictory,
notions, the first being the nationalist doctrine, ‘seek ye first the
political kingdom, the rest shall follow,’ or the Thatcherite, TINA dictum,
There is No Alternative, to the global neo-liberal agenda, to what is being
placed on the table for us. Both notions once again do not recognize popular
participation.

Comrades, these have been my own reflections on elite transitions and the
dangers we are faced with in the future political dispensation, should we
not seek ourselves to change the way we are carrying out the business of
liberating our country. The quandary that we are in is real and calls for a
proper transformation of our Movement, it calls for aggressively cutting off
each of the heads on the beast.

I want to end by saying there is an alternative, comrades, one that we can
all work on, one that we can make to work. That alternative is based on us
saying Never again, shall we as a people go through what Zanu PF has put us
through. As we chat a new way forward, into a new era, of peace and
abundance comrades I want to say that the struggle has not been in vain, but
there is hope. This important process here of the Global Diaspora Forum
should be part of that process of engendering I thank you.


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Investment Dwindles in the Face of A Defiant Government

IPSnews

By Ignatius Banda

BULAWAYO, Dec 13 (IPS) - Recent international reports show Zimbabwe’s
economic decline hastened by continued capital flight, with the troubled
country cited as one of the worst investment destinations in the world.

Economic analysts say the continued injection of foreign direct investment
(FDI) largely depends on the reversal of the Zimbabwean government’s
controversial political and economic policies.

These policies have adversely affected the country’s economic performance,
leaving it with record inflation chasing the 10,000 percent mark.

Despite this crisis, the country has enacted controversial legislation that
forces foreign-owned firms to ‘‘indigenise’’ ownership, a move which could
further alienate potential investors.

The Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, which was passed in the second house
of parliament two months ago, is aimed at increasing black Zimbabweans’
economic participation with a view to reaching at least 51 percent
‘‘indigenous ownership’’ of businesses.

This comes amid reports that many foreign-owned firms have already closed
shop after President Robert Mugabe’s controversial price-cuts which saw
massive shortages of basic requirements.

South African retail chains have been affected by the government's price
freeze, including South Africa’s largest clothing retail company Edgars,
which re-opened its doors because of government demands. The continued
operation of South African companies Shoprite and Makro may also be hanging
in the balance.

According to government statistics, FDI stood at more than 400 million
dollars in 1998 on the eve of the country’s economic woes.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) found in its
annual World Investment Report issued just more than a month ago that FDI in
Zimbabwe fell from around 103 million dollars in 2005 to 30 million dollars
in the year prior to the report’s release.

This came shortly after the World Bank and its International Finance
Corporation announced in their Doing Business Report 2008 in September this
year that Zimbabwe is one of the worst countries in the world to do business
in. The World Bank survey analyses the conditions put in place by
governments to encourage and facilitate business investment.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe figures show that the country only attracted 5.4
million dollars in foreign direct investment in 2001. This was during the
height of the violent land invasions which claimed the lives of both farmers
and farm workers as veterans of the country’s 1970s war of liberation
unleashed a terror campaign on white-owned farms.

However, foreign-owned businesses still remained untouched at that time,
possibly because of legal intricacies.

This has changed with the introduction of the Indigenisation and Empowerment
Act which will lead to a reduction in foreign ownership in multinational
companies doing business in the country. This means the expropriation trend
is being extended.

The measures announced by the government also target major foreign exchange
earners such as mining companies at a time when the country is battling
acute foreign currency shortages. A cloud hangs over the continued
operations of mining concerns such as Zimplats, Anglo Zimbabwe, Bindura
Nickel Corporation and Falgold.

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono has warned that the proposed ‘‘takeover’’
of foreign-owned firms will cause further haemorrhage in the tottering
economy. He has also expressed concern that the undermining of property
rights and the ‘‘indigenisation’’ drive will have unintended consequences,
such as deterring FDI.

A Bulawayo-based economist, who spoke to IPS on condition of anonymity, says
the regime ‘‘imposed sanctions on itself’’ by refusing to respect principles
such as property rights.

‘‘The Zimbabwean government has been belligerent for a long time. The
language the officials speak is not the kind that encourages investment.
Gross domestic product has shrunk and the only thing to encourage economic
growth is resumption of trade through the reversal of these controversial
economic policies,’’ he said.

‘‘Balance of payments is eventually about encouraging foreign investment,’’
he added.

Paul Mangwana, the indigenisation and empowerment minister who is leading
the way on the law, maintains that ‘‘indigenisation’’ is a political
decision which will benefit all Zimbabweans.

However, industry and commerce federations have expressed concerns. The
minister has been accused of positioning himself, along with other ruling
party bigwigs, to take over a lucrative foreign-owned concern in terms of
the new law.

‘‘This does not bode well for the country’s efforts to attract foreign
investment,’’ Paul Lowani, an economics lecturer with a local university,
told IPS.

‘‘This is the last thing the country needs at a time when the injection of
foreign investment is most crucial.’’

Zimbabwean authorities cite the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act
passed by the U.S. Congress in 2001 as being part of an international effort
to put the economy under foreign ownership.

Mugabe accused the U.S. of imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwe by
allegedly discouraging American firms from investing in Zimbabwe.

Former colonial power Britain is also accused of discouraging British firms
from investing in Zimbabwe.

Opposition legislator Tendai Biti recently told international media that the
country’s economic woes needed a political solution, something which the
authorities were yet to commit themselves to.


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Zimbabwe music lovers in harmony

The Telegraph


There are still some positive things happening in Zimbabwe, says Michael Bullivant.
Last Updated: 12:01amGMT12/12/2007

There's not much good news that comes out of Zimbabwe these days - but there are still positive things happening here, especially in the musical world.

Derek Hudson was a musician who in the Sixties conducted some of London's major orchestras as well as working with Laurence Olivier at the National Theatre.

He then came to Cape Town, mainly for health reasons, to conduct an orchestra there, then to Bulawayo, where he made an immense contribution to musical life for 30 years as director of the Zimbabwe Academy of Music and conductor of the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Musical memories: a marimba band plays at the ceremony to unveil the bust of Derek Hudson and inauguarate the audio-visual centre at the Zimbabwe Academy of Music in Bulawayo

He gave the first Zimbabwean performances of Beethoven's Ninth (no mean feat considering that the Ode to Joy had been appropriated as Rhodesia's national anthem - the negotiations to secure permission were tortuous!) and perhaps the only African performance of the completion of Beethoven's Tenth.

To mark independence in 1980, he composed Prelude: Zimbabwe which incorporated a marimba band with full symphony orchestra.

He died in December 2005 and it seemed important to many that he should not be forgotten. So two ideas took root.

One was for a bust but before it could be commissioned from local sculptor Gillian Kaufman, she offered her services anyway. The other was for an audio-visual centre in the academy, which was sadly lacking up-to-date equipment.

I became involved through my links to the academy. I taught history at a government school in Bulawayo for 30 years and retired as deputy head at the end of 2005 but have been very involved in music and the performing arts in Zimbabwe for the whole of that time.

An appeal was launched earlier this year and the academy has so far acquired a DVD player and projector; a second DVD/CD player with full home theatre system; two turntables; two cassette players; two amplifiers; four pairs of speakers; two televisions, incorporating video; five Walkman CD players and four sets of headphones.

There is a room in Derek's memory which can be used as either a small cinema/lecture room or study base as it is equipped with fold-away work stations where individual students can listen to CDs, cassettes or LPs (the academy has over four thousand of the latter) or watch videos.

The first stage of the project was inaugurated in October. The bust was unveiled (by Derek's daughters, Joanna and Kate, who travelled from Johannesburg) and the room was formally opened. Musical performances (including a marimba band) preceded the unveiling.

Joanna contributed some memories of her father and concentrated on his particular attachment to Bulawayo, which he always regarded - with good reason - as a very special place.

There was a short concert which began with some of the academy's youngest students (ages range from seven to 78!), included the specially written Variations on a Theme of Handel by Deon Marcus, one of the academy's senior students and ended with guest pianist Libor Nov�cek playing Brahms and Liszt.

Subsequently guests adjourned to a local restaurant for dinner in the garden where, on a perfect evening with - despite Bulawayo's terrible water problems - a fountain playing gently in the midst, most felt along with Derek that Bulawayo is indeed a very special place.

Although a unique evening in one respect, it was by no means unusual in others for music continues to flourish in Bulawayo.

As well as a regular concert series with international musicians, there have been five major festivals in the past 10 years and a sixth is planned for May 2008.

The first in 1997 was possibly unique in that, after a week of music in Bulawayo, the performers and 150 festival-goers took a steam train to Victoria Falls where the final concert was given on the Zambezi - and no one who was there will forget the violinist Tamsin Little playing the Bach E major Partita to an entranced hippopotamus.

Among much else, the second was made memorable by an orchestral concert that deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records comprising as it did, a Mozart overture and four concertos.

Among the audience were the soprano Dame Felicity Lott and pianist Graham Johnson who had given the opening concert the night before.

A subsequent festival was arranged to coincide with the total eclipse of the sun in Matabeleland in December 2002 and the most recent in 2006 for the first time featured jazz, pop, gospel and African music as well as 20-plus classical concerts.

Plans for 2008 are equally ambitious, though some sponsorship is still required, and they include what will be only the third performance of Beethoven's Ninth ever given in Zimbabwe

Sadly, Bulawayo no longer has a large enough orchestra so this performance will be in Liszt's version for two pianos.

One of the pianists will be Leslie Howard who is in the Guinness Book for his incredible feat of recording Liszt's complete solo piano music on 99 CDs (and perhaps deserves another entry since this will be his 12th visit to Bulawayo in 16 years), and the other, Michael Brownlee Walker, is a former academy student now making a career in Britain.

The choir will largely be drawn from schools - and, as Schiller (and Beethoven) intended, they will hymn not Joy but Freedom; perhaps it may even have come to Zimbabwe by then.

Details of the Bulawayo Music Festival, 21-25 May 2008, from music@gatorzw.co.uk


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ECB chairman holds talks with Chingoka

From cricinfo, 12 December

Report claims Zimbabwe were offered cash to cancel tours

ECB chairman Giles Clarke held low-key talks with Peter Chingoka, the
chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, in Johannesburg last week where it is reported
that discussions took place about forthcoming tours between the two
countries and the ICC World Twenty20 scheduled to take place in England in
2009. Clarke's visit was very much below the radar and was not reported in
the UK media. That it happened at all only emerged when Zimbabwe's
Independent newspaper claimed that Clarke had offered to pay ZC 200,000 if
it withdrew from the proposed tour to England in 2009. Fears are growing
that the new hard-line approach of the British government towards Zimbabwe
in general and those believed to have links to the Mugabe regime in
particular could lead to a ban on all Zimbabwe players and officials.
Chingoka himself was barred from entering the UK in October, a major blow to
him as he has family in London, but there is no evidence that the government
proposes a wider ban. "He has been refused a visa because of the role he
plays within ZC as Mugabe's commissar and particularly because of the
financial irregularities that have occurred," a source at Westminster told
Cricinfo. "There is certainly no blanket visa ban on Zimbabwean sportsmen -
although there have been calls on the government to consider a general
sporting boycott."

The Independent report stated that Clarke made the financial offer -
ostensibly to go towards development - in return for Zimbabwe cancelling
their 2009 tour and agreeing to postpone England's return trip scheduled for
2012. It appears that Clarke is keen to avoid the almost non-stop issue of
England playing Zimbabwe which has dogged the board for several years. Ray
Mali, the acting ICC president, attended the meeting, although an ICC
spokesman told cricinfo he was there "only in the role of a facilitator". It
has also been rumoured that the ECB may lobby the government in a bid to get
Chingoka allowed into the country to attend next June's annual ICC meeting
which will be held at Lord's. He was initially barred from travelling last
summer but was eventually granted a short-stay visa. It was widely believed
the climb-down came after ECB officials asked Richard Caborn, the then
sports minister, to use his influence as it was felt Chingoka's absence
would have compromised David Morgan's ultimately successful bid to become
ICC president. Chingoka, meanwhile, insisted that ZC would not lobby to be
granted visas. "The FTP commits every member to host and be hosted as
scheduled," he told the newspaper. "It's our own right to have these tours.
Zimbabwe's players must be allowed to participate. We don't need to lobby
where we have rights, but the complications being created are for the ICC to
resolve."

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