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Zimbabwe Dollar Takes A Huge Plunge
HARARE - The Zimbabwe dollar on
Friday plunged by more than 50 percent
in a space of 24 hours following the
unveiling of the Zd 10 billion note by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
†The Zimbabwe dollar, which was pegged at Zd 350 000 against
unit of the US dollar, on Friday shot to Zd 900 000, according to
The Zd 10 billion note, the highest bank
note in the world, is now
equivalent to only USd 10.
market is now the most realistic source of foreign currency
The unveiling of the notes has further pushed prices
upwards with a
single loaf of bread now costing Zd 1,2 billion up from Zd
350 000 on
Thursday while a one way trip on a commuter omnibus into the city
now Zd 500 000.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono on
Friday unveiled the Zd 1 billion,
Zd 5 billion and Zd 10 billion notes in a
bid to ease re-current cash
shortages in Zimbabwe which have been occasioned
by the world's highest
inflation of more than 230 million
The introduction of the new notes coincided with yet
review of bank cash withdrawal limits by central government,
which are now
pegged at Zd 10 billion.
†But the latest round of
cash withdrawal limits is exclusive to
Zimbabwean workers on production of
their December pay slips.
Ordinary Zimbabweans, who now eke out a
living through informal self
help projects, are only allowed to withdraw Zd
A week ago, the maximum cash withdrawal limits rose from
Zd 50 million
to Zd 500 million a week for individuals when the central bank
the Zd 100 million, Zd 200 million and Zd 500 million
Cash withdrawal limits have been criticized as they have
address the cash crisis which surfaced in 2003.
Pressure is mounting on the central bank to do away with its unpopular
withdrawal limits that have seen ordinary Zimbabweans, who own
dollars in their bank accounts, starving.
Successive upward reviews
this month followed a nationwide strike
early this month by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) which
called for the complete removal of the
Government felt the heat when hordes of uniformed soldiers
went on the
rampage at the beginning of December, looting shops in the city
beating up suspected foreign currency dealers whom they accused
wads of bank notes from corrupt and influential government
cash withdrawal limits pegged by the central
Demo highlights Christmas of desperation facing Zimbabweans
grim Father Christmas handed out presents of death and disease to exiles
from Zimbabwe protesting against its President today.
Dressed in a
Santa Claus suit, and wearing a Robert Mugabe mask, "Father
dispensed gifts labelled devastation, murder, death, and
Protesters outside Zimbabwe's embassy in London said the major
outbreak will not be stopped whilst Mr Mugabe remains in
The figure representing Mr Mugabe, who was claimed the disease is
control, told the gathering: "There is no cholera in Zimbabwe!"
demonstration was organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil, who have stood watch
outside the embassy in The Strand every Saturday for more than six years,
and says it will not stop its protests against the regime until
internationally monitored, free and fair elections are held in
Vigil spokesperson Ephraim Tapa, said: "The cholera situation
isn't going to go away as long as Mugabe is in charge. As long
President there won't be any change.
"The problem is now
nationwide. It's an emergency and it continues to spread
in the rural
"There is no medication and the health system is
"What we would want the international community to realise is
relationship between cholera and the political crisis. Unless the
system is dealt with then there won't be any positive
"When Mugabe says 'I have arrested the spread of cholera', we
We are here to expose that lie and to tell the international
the cholera epidemic is still alive and spreading. Urgent
action is needed."
As the symbolic presents were handed out protesters
shouted 'Mugabe must go'
and told passers by 'If you are in Zimbabwe this is
the only present you
get.' Yesterday Gordon Brown said conditions in
Zimbabwe were 'deteriorating
rapidly' and that the situation in the country
was 'a tragedy'.
The Prime minister urged Southern-African governments to
from Mr Mugabe, after the President insisted African
leaders were not 'brave
enough' to force him from
Power-sharing negotiations with the opposition MDC - widely
thought to have
won elections earlier this year - have ground to a
Meanwhile the cholera crisis has infected about 18,000 people and
worse as heavy rain threatens to spread the deadly disease, aid
An appeal to raise four million pounds has
been launched by Oxfam in an
attempt to provide clean water, sanitation and
food to more than a million
Mugabe's got to go
His people are dying, his nation withering, as he clings
Augusta Chronicle Editorial Staff
Saturday, December 20,
The long and tortuous political career of Zimbabwe President Robert
provides a perfect example of 19th Century British historian Lord
famous observation, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power
When the white minority regime of Zimbabwe,
then known as Rhodesia,
transitioned to majority rule in 1980, a Mugabe-led
socialist government was
elected. The new president was perceived as his
country's George Washington.
And for years, that's how he ruled.
white minority largely cooperated in integrating the long-oppressed
majority into the nation's booming economy. The landlocked nation
breadbasket of the region, exporting food products to its
Though there had always been underlying tensions between
Mugabe and his
political foes, matters turned seriously sour in 2000 when
farmland owned by whites and two years later Mugabe ordered
commercial farmers to leave their land without
That was the beginning of the end of Zimbabwe's prosperity.
The new owners
lacked the expertise to cultivate their land. Zimbabwe
plunged into chaos,
and Mugabe's response, in true Marxist fashion, was to
come down hard on all
his critics -- white and black.
years now he's been ruling with an iron hand -- fixing
and imprisoning his rivals and letting his country slide
chaos. With inflation running at a mind-bending rate of 230
Zimbabwe's currency is worthless.
Today Zimbabweans are starving and
riddled with disease, including cholera
which has killed 575 people and
infected at least 12,700 more. Untreated,
cholera is deadly. But the disease
is easily cured when caught in time and
is altogether preventable by simply
making sure people drink from clean
In less than 10 years,
Zimbabwe has gone from being one of Africa's most
prosperous nations to
perhaps the most poverty stricken. The tragic
transformation staggers the
mind, yet strongman Mugabe still hangs onto
power. He blames not himself,
but Europe, the United States and other
nations that have tried to help by
sending his country money, medicine and
food -- all of which gets swallowed
up by the corrupt regime before it ever
reaches the people in
Indeed, there's no sense in sending any more aid at all -- not
Mugabe's gone. Neighboring African nations, especially South Africa,
force him out, but so far they have refused to do so, presumably
they don't want to set a precedent that someday could be turned on
But until African nations do take action, matters will only get
worse -- for
them as well as for Zimbabwe. The economic, nutritional and
catastrophe Mugabe is inflicting on his own people could soon spread
their countries, to which Zimbabweans are fleeing by the
The Kenyan and Liberian governments have already called for
ouster -- by force if necessary-- and their calls were recently
Desmond Tutu, South Africa's most distinguished cleric and peace
There are compassionate, conscientious and popular black leaders
to take over the reins of power in Zimbabwe, but without outside
can do nothing.
It will be up to the African nations, with
help from the West, to bring
about democratic change in Zimbabwe. It can't
happen too soon; thousands of
lives depend on it.
Saturday, December 20, 2008 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
Out for Zimbabwe - AVAAZ campaign
December 20th, 2008
AVAAZ are running another campaign for Zimbabwe:
The people of Zimbabwe are being ravaged by a spiralling cholera epidemic,
hunger, violence and the accelerating collapse of their country. Talks to form a
Government of National Unity facilitated by Thabo Mbeki have failed. Tensions
are rising, and spilling over to threaten the stability of Southern Africa.
Only the South African government has the power to make a difference and
secure a political solution, based on the will of the Zimbabwean people, behind
which Africa could unite.
If enough Africans appeal to him for action, President Motlanthe of South
Africa can act to resolve the crisis. So let’s send a thunderous message from
across Africa to the South African leader — click below to sign the petition and
then please forward this email to your friends and family…
Please sign the petition and then use the feature on the AVAAZ website to let
as many people as possible know about it.
Zimbabwean president hints at
Dec 20, 2:05 PM EST
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- President Robert Mugabe says his
party should be
preparing for early elections - and he wants no repeat of
his March loss.
Mugabe spoke Saturday at the close of his ZANU-PF party's
conference. He told about 5,000 party loyalists new elections would
if a power-sharing plan collapsed.
The unity government
agreement Mugabe signed in September with opposition
Tsvangirai has stalled.
Mugabe came in second to Tsvangirai in a March
election. Official results
did not give Tsvangirai enough votes to avoid a
run-off. Tsvangirai pulled
out of the June run-off because of
state-sponsored violence against his
supporters Saturday they should mobilize to avoid a repeat of
vows not to reverse Zimbabwe farm seizures
Sat 20 Dec 2008, 19:09
(Recasts with Mugabe speech)
BINDURA, Zimbabwe, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President
said on Saturday he would not allow a unity government to
controversial policy of seizing white-owned farmland and giving
Speaking at his ZANU-PF party's annual conference,
Mugabe said that while he
hoped the opposition would agree to form a
coalition government, he would
not compromise on policies such as land
seizures, which critics say wrecked
want a unity which is retrogressive," Mugabe told about 6,000
supporters at this town about 80 km (50 miles) north of the
"The biggest issue is of land ... the land has already been given
people, it will not be returned to whites."
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed three months ago to
coalition government after disputed elections, but the pact has
they fight over who should control key ministries.
has sunk deeper into crisis: hyperinflation means prices
double every day
and a cholera epidemic has killed more than 1,100 people.
threatened to form a government with or without the MDC, which
president is trying to relegate it to a junior role.
Investors hope a
unity government would wrest enough control from Mugabe to
policies they blame for the meltdown, and avert total collapse
Mugabe blames Western sanctions for the crisis.
Under the Sept. 15 deal, land that was seized from white farmers
lies dormant would not be returned, but would be redistributed to
farmers with the resources and skills to cultivate it.
sign of Zimbabwe's collapse -- and its potential -- the conference took
place in a town that once relied on mining for its economic lifeblood. Those
mines have recently been shut.
ZANU-PF officials earlier said the
party was likely to vote on a resolution
on Saturday urging Mugabe urgently
to form a government unilaterally -- a
move that would probably finish off
the power-sharing pact.
Resolutions were being discussed behind closed
doors and it was not
immediately clear whether the motion had been
In elections last March, ZANU-PF lost its parliamentary majority
first time since independence in 1980. Tsvangirai boycotted a
presidential vote in June, citing violence against his
Western countries and some African leaders have renewed calls
weeks for Mugabe, 84, to step down.
But, a day after vowing
never to "surrender", Mugabe railed against his
foes, saying the West wanted
to topple him.
"Mugabe must go before Bush is going?" he said, referring
to U.S. President
George W. Bush, who leaves office in January. "Is it a
ritual now that Bush
with his political death must be accompanied by some
African from Zimbabwe,
and that African must be the leader himself, and that
leader is Mugabe?"
Denies Receiving Invitation Letters From Mugabe
HARARE, December 20,
2008 - THE two Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)† formations have denied
receiving letters of invitation for the
formation of an inclusive government
contrary to President Robert Mugabe's
claims last week that he had
officially invited them.
Mugabe told delegates at the Zanu PF
national people's conference held
in Bindura on Friday that he had sent
letters to MDC leaders Morgan
Tsvangirai and Authur Mutambara inviting them
to form the inclusive
But the two MDC formations have
denied ever receiving any letters from
the 84-year-old President, accused of
ruining the country's economy and
gross human rights violations.
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said: "We have not received any
communication from Mugabe or his office. The only communication we are
receiving are the abduction of our officials and supporters across the
He added, "In any case, the President (Tsvangirai) is not
country in circumstances caused by Mugabe himself. He needs his
MDC-M spokesperson Edwin Mushoriwa has also denied
that his party
received the letter of invitation from Mugabe.
have not received the letter as of now. It might be still on its
"In as much as we understand his (Tsvangirai) reasons of staying
of the country, it is imperative that he come back and we form a
as quickly as possible because people are suffering," said
Tsvangirai has threatened to suspend power-sharing negations
PF unless all its supporters and human rights activists abducted
in the past
two months are released or charged.
Tsvangirai said he
would withdraw from the Southern African
(SADC)-mediated talks unless all the abductees are
released or charged in a
court of law by the first day of next month.
He said there would be
no meaningful talks while Zanu PF was waging a
campaign of terror on his
"Therefore, if these abductions do not cease immediately,
and if all
the abductees are not released or charged in a court of law by
2009, I will be asking the MDC's National Council to pass a
suspend all negotiations and contact with Zanu PF," said
Tsvangirai in a
statement he delivered in Botswana.
more than 42 members of the MDC and civil society have
been abducted in the
past two months and their whereabouts are still
those abducted recently are former personal assistant to
Mudzingwa, the party's director of security Chris
Dhlamini and Zimbabwe
Peace Project (ZPP) director Jestina Mukoko together
with two workers from
Tsvangirai said the abductions were a clear signed
that Zanu PF did
not respect the Memorandum of Understanding and the Global
Agreement (GPA) the parties signed on September 15.
Chamisa said his party had raised the issue of abductions with the
Union and SADC, who are the guarantors of the talks. The MDC has
the issue with Zanu PF but has not received any response.
situation has become so precarious at the moment. We keep
of abduction everyday," said Chamisa
Zanu thievocracy knows no boundaries
Saturday, 20 December
Bindura- With Zimbabweans now poorer than they were in
1953, even the
privilleged Zanu executive members will resort to stealing
prepared for their next meal.
Most Zimbabweans are now
dependent on food aid from Western countries
that President Robert Mugabe
denounces at every turn.
On friday Mugabe saw for himself how the
hunger that has been stalking
large swathes of Zimbabwe has driven his own
executives who are normally
cushioned from it by an elaborate patronage
system to stealing from the
the delegates are
gathered in this mining town for their annual
Addressing the 7000 delegates, Mugabe warned against rampant
"There is lack of morality in the party. You stole
meat last night.
nine beasts were stolen. They were found today. Mealie-meal
had been stolen.
It's lack of morality. We must think of our grassroots. We
definite principles, binding principles," said an angry
He said most party members were seized by a self enrichment
at the expense of the people who voted them into
Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister Advocate
Dinha, who spoke before Mugabe, urged the 84-year-old leader to expel
corrupt officials from the party.
Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook Oct 2008 to Mar 2009
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS
- Progress on cereal imports by both the Government of
the humanitarian agencies from 1 April 2007 to 31 October 2008
that only a total of 316,000 MT of cereals (maize and small
grains) had been
imported, leaving a cereal harvest deficit for the 2008/09
at 666,000 MT. Available major cereals are just enough to
consumption up to the end of November 2008. There is,
therefore, an urgent
need for government and humanitarian agencies to
accelerate their cereal
- Cereal availability at the sub
national level is limited, and most
households have depleted their own
production stocks and are now heavily
relying on purchases and bartering.
Prices of maize grain have remained
high, twice above average, making it
very difficult for the poor households
to access adequate food. Trading of
grain and other basic foods in foreign
currency is widespread across the
country, but this has only benefited the
small proportion of households with
access to foreign currency.
- Availability of basic commodities on
the formal market has remained
limited, and these commodities are mainly
available on the parallel market,
where prices are very high. The
dollarization of the economy has resulted in
a limited improvement in the
availability of basic goods on the formal
market, which the majority of poor
households cannot access as they cannot
obtain the foreign currency to buy
the goods now legally sold in foreign
- In addition
to being continuously constrained by the hyperinflation
in the economy,
household purchasing power is also restricted by the cash
that has characterized the economy for the past two years.
wages for the few still formally employed are eroded by
locked up in the banking system as workers spend days
endless queues to access the maximum daily cash withdrawal,
which cannot buy
a loaf of bread. Zimbabwe is a cash economy; plastic money
has very a very
- Food aid is improving food access for many rural
households, and its
impact is likely to increase in December as the planned
expected to cover about 90 percent of the rural districts
and also target
vulnerable groups in the urban areas if these programs are
fully sourced and
implemented in full. However, coverage for the remainder
of the marketing
year is in jeopardy as a pipeline break is expected in
- The rainfall season forecast predicts increased chances
of normal to
above-normal rainfall during the first half of the summer
season over the
major cereal producing areas of the country, but increased
chances of below-
normal rains are expected over the same areas in the
second half of the
season, when cereal crops are expected to be in critical
stages. Limited availability of key agricultural inputs
fertilizer) is likely to delay planting (which will in turn make
crops more vulnerable to moisture deficits in the second half of
season), reduce area planted, and reduce yields.
ahead into the period from January to March 2009, the
majority of urban and
rural households are likely to be moderately food
insecure. While food
access will be very difficult, most household are
expected to still manage
through purchases, food aid, remittances, and
various expenditure, income,
and consumption strategies to meet their
minimum calorie requirements. From
February 2009, meager green harvests of
maize, cowpeas, beans, and pumpkins
will complement the other food sources,
particularly in areas where food
assistance coverage is expected to be
least. However, some households will
fail to meet their minimum calorie
intake, resulting in acute malnutrition
levels for children under five of
between 3 and 10 percent.
On the other hand, if food assistance programs are poorly resourced,
government food imports do not improve or are scaled down from current
levels, the green harvest is much less than currently projected, and the
economic decline accelerates faster than the current pace, households across
the country could become highly food insecure, and malnutrition rates could
rise to levels rarely seen in Zimbabwe.
- In both scenarios,
water, sanitation, and health services will be
inadequate, which could
trigger the spread of waterborne diseases, including
cholera, and result in
reduced food utilization.
official refuses to hand over vehicle
December 19, 2008
MASVINGO - Zanu-PF was forced to resort to strong-arm tactics to
luxury vehicle from a disgruntled party official after the former
provincial chairman refused to hand over the truck.
major Alex Mudavanhu lost the provincial chairmanship to former Gutu
legislator Lovemore Matuke last month but held onto the vehicle,
that the twin-cab Isuzu 4◊4 truck was fair compensation for services
rendered to Zanu-PF during his stint as party chairman.
argued that the vehicle was a benefit after his tenure of office.
policemen accompanied an unidentified party official initially but
empty-handed after they failed to persuade the former provincial
surrender the truck.
The officer commanding Masvingo, senior assistant
Tanyanyiwa says he intervened by writing a letter to
Mudavanhu to appeal to
him to return the vehicle to Zanu-PF but the former
chairman had stood his
In an undated letter to Mudavanhu,
Tanyanyiwa wrote: "Please be advised the
following party elections in which
you lost, you are now supposed to return
the car in your
"Zanu-PF officials have advised us to impound the car but we
hope you will
understand and hand over the property.
"(If you fail)
to do so, we will use all means at our disposal to ensure
that the party
retains its car".
Heavily armed police officers then raided Mudavanhu's
farm on the outskirts
of the city and demanded the car. They managed to
recover the truck and
handed it over to Matuke who is the new Zanu-PF
"I refused to hand over the car because the party has to thank
me for the
time I was the chairman," said Mudavanhu.
"If they had not
used armed policemen, I was not going to return it because
the party cannot
just fire me like that after years of hard work and
Mudavanhu and members of his executive lost the
elections which insiders
allege were engineered to ensure that candidates
loyal to retired army
commander Solomon Mujuru would be
During the recent Zanu-PF restructuring exercise throughout the
election candidates aligned to Mujuru's rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
regarded as the successor to President Robert Mugabe, were voted
influential posts amid reports that the minister was now seriously
positioning himself for a take over from Mugabe.
body pleads with Mugabe over missing Zimbabwe journalists
(Zimbabwe) The World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC), an umbrella
body of 45
media rights groups, has written to Zimbabwe's President Robert
protesting at the worsening media environment in the country
spate of abductions of journalists this month, APA learnt here
In the letter dated December 19, WPFC executive member
expressed concern at the continued threats to media freedom in
citing the unsolved cases involving the disappearances of
Jestina Mukoko and Shadreck Manyere.
Mukoko, who now
heads a church-based non-governmental organisation which has
documenting human rights abuses by Zimbabwean government officials, has
missing since December 3 when she was allegedly abducted by police
from her home near the capital Harare.
The police have denied knowledge
of her whereabouts after a court ordered
been missing since last Saturday when men claiming to be police
came looking for him at his Harare home. He was not at home but
returned or made contact with his family since that day.
President Mugabe to guarantee the safety of journalists,
employed by independent media houses and foreign news
"Mr President we urge you to put the necessary
measures in place to
guarantee that the members of your country's
independent media, both
national and international, can fulfil their duty to
keep the public
informed without any fears for their safety or their lives,"
Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba earlier this week
threatened to ban
the accreditation of all members of the foreign media,
accusing them of
"playing little gods" on the country's affairs and of
having embarked on a
propaganda assault on Zimbabwe.
organisations of WPFC include the Committee to Protect Journalists,
Commonwealth Press Union, the Inter-American Press Association, the
International Association of Broadcasting, the International Federation of
the Periodical Press, the International Press Institute, the North American
Broadcasters Association and the World Association of Newspapers.
Soldiers, Police Mount Road Blocks
MASVINGO-Soldiers with the millitary
police together with traffic
police mounted roadblocks along the country's
major roads seaching for guns
in the wake of a recent shooting on Air Force
Commander Prence Shiri.
Perence Shiri survived an
assasination attempt early this week while
driving to his farm outside
Harare, state media reported on Tuesday. He
suffered a bullet wound on the
hand and was said to be recuperating at
Manyame Airbase millitary
While the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the
incident is linked to ZANU PF sucession battles, president Mugabe
was the opposition bandits allegedly trained in Botswana that are
But Botswana and South Africa rejected the alleged
as baseless, saying president Mugabe wants to use the
declare a state of emergency in Zimbabwe.
Sources within the army said the millitary police had been deployed
the country's major roads to search for weapons which they believe
imported by the MDC to topple the Mugabe regime.
"Most of our
collegues will not be going for the X-mass holidays as
they are mounting
roadblocks along the country's major roads seaching for
roadblock issue heightened following the shooting of Perence
soldier at Manyame airbase told Radio Vop.
Radio VOP witnessed
numerous roadblocks where cars and people were
seached. Along the
Harare-Masvingo highway, there were four roadblocks,
leading to traffic
congestion along the way.
From Masvingo to Beitbridge, a journey
that usually takes around four
hours, took longer due to the the
The same situation was also said to be prevailing along
Masvingo-Bulawayo road, and Masvingo- Mutare highway.
However political analysts think the attack on Shiri was a job within
Zanu PF party since there are factions.
WHO Says Better
Monitoring of Cholera Needed in Zimbabwe
By Lisa Schlein
20 December 2008
The World Health Organization says
it hopes to have a surveillance system in
place soon that can accurately
track cholera cases as they occur in
Zimbabwe. WHO says it is difficult to
know which parts of the country most
need help in treating and containing
the epidemic without accurate
The United Nations reports
cholera in Zimbabwe has claimed more than 1,100
lives and more than 20,000,
people have become infected with this deadly
But, the World
Health Organization warns cholera cases could soar to 60,000
action to contain the disease is not taken. In fact, WHO says it
there already are more cases than the official figures
Coordinator of WHO's Disease Control in Emergencies, Dr.
has just returned from Zimbabwe.†† He was there to help
set up the United
Nations Command and Control Center for the Control of the
He says the UN hopes to have a surveillance system in
place in a few days.
He says this is absolutely crucial in monitoring the
course of the epidemic.
"We are setting up with implementing partners, a
system of daily reporting
of cases," said Dr. Legros. "We got clearance from
the government to get
these figures from the periphery to the central level
persons in the CTC's [Central Treatment Centers] and CTU's
Treatment Units] in the main cities and the main towns so that we
immediate, if you wish, updates and alerts for new outbreaks occurring
Dr. Legros calls this absolutely critical.
Until now, he says, the
surveillance system has been too slow for health
workers to respond to
While in Zimbabwe, Dr. Legros was
part of a WHO delegation that visited two
cholera treatment centers in the
capital, Harare-the Budiriro Cholera
Treatment Center and the Beatrice Road
Infectious Diseases Clinic.
Approximately half of the cases have been
recorded in Budiriro, a heavily
populated suburb on the western outskirts of
Harare. Other major
concentrations of cholera cases have been reported along
the borders with
South Africa and Mozambique.
Dr. Legros says the
quality of health care has to improve if lives are to be
Unfortunately, he says the health facilities are in terrible shape.
staff was basically not going to work because of the lack of salary or
small salary with regard to the expenses," said Dr. Legros. "I have seen
hospitals, which were basically empty, like sort of ghost hospitals because
no material, no staff, etc. But, some staff resumed working for the cholera
outbreak and I have staff from the government working in the CTC's and
CTU's, cholera treatment units, cholera treatment centers."
Legros says efforts must be made to quickly fix the discrepancy in
between government workers, who are badly paid and staff working
non-government organizations, who command higher salaries. He says this
would act as an incentive to get health care workers back on the job.
Oxfam launches £4 million appeal to help millions of Zimbabweans facing
growing cholera and hunger crisis
Date: 17 Dec 2008
Oxfam today launched a £ 4 million public appeal to address the lethal cholera
and hunger crisis that is rapidly deteriorating across Zimbabwe. Oxfam will be
providing clean water, sanitation and food to over one million people and is
calling on the public and international donors to support the emergency appeal
as it substantially scales up its efforts in the country.
More than 5 million Zimbabweans now need food aid, in some locations only 1
in 10 farmers have seeds to plant for the coming growing season and many people
are being forced to take increasingly desperate measures such as selling
livestock and engaging in prostitution in order to survive. A shortfall in
donations from the international community to the World Food Programme has
forced Oxfam to cut the food rations each person receives by fifteen per cent.
Jane Cocking, Humanitarian Director of Oxfam said:
"The rapid deterioration of the situation in Zimbabwe makes this an extremely
grave humanitarian crisis which could deteriorate even further in 2009. While
the international community battles for a political solution in the country,
millions of Zimbabweans are going hungry. Oxfam is able to get clean water and
food through to people who need it most. We need to respond now, there is no
time to lose."
In order to stem the growth of cholera, Oxfam is currently distributing
hygiene kits, which include water purification tablets and soap, to 620,000
people as well as providing food rations to 250,000. A further 425,000 people
are being helped through urban public health programmes such as drilling
boreholes to provide clean water supplies.
Cholera, a water-born disease, continues to rise with the latest figures from
the UN showing that it has infected 18,000 people and killed about 800 with many
more deaths and infections are believed to have gone unrecorded. Cholera is now
affecting nine out of Zimbabwe's ten provinces and is likely to spread further
if, as expected, there are more heavy rains in the next month.
The breakdown of public water systems and health services means help is vital
to protect people from cholera. Unchecked, it will to contribute to many more
deaths, and poses a particular threat to those with HIV, which is one in seven
Peter Mutoredzanwa, Oxfam Zimbabwe Country Director, said:
"The average Zimbabwean woman can only expect to live 33 years and the tragic
fact is that unless we respond now, many more people will not live to see their
30s. Zimbabweans are no strangers to food shortages but we have now reached
desperate levels. Some children only eat a meager portion of food once every
three days and people scavenge in rubbish dumps for anything they can eat."
Ways to donate:
Donate online now, or
Call 0300 200 1999, or
Donate at your local oxfam shop.
Zimbabwe Cholera Crisis - general information online.
Why can't African leaders see that Britain can
Christmas season should, and has been a time of goodwill, even
enemies in a kill-or-be-killed situation.
"On December 24,
1914, British and German troops at the dreaded Western
Front, near the
Belgian hamlet of St. Yvon, climbed out of their trenches,
no-man's land and, shook hands, sang Christmas carols and shared
"As their commanders watched, in disbelief, the soldiers
kicking around empty beef cans, and using their steel
helmets as goal-posts!
Like wild fire, the unauthorised truce quickly spread
along the 500-mile
frontline where more than a million soldiers on both
sides had died a few
hours, days and weeks earlier." (The Diary of Capt.
Fast-forward to Christmas season on December 10, 2008, in
the British House
of Commons, in London.
In his contribution to
Foreign Affairs and Defence debate on the Queen's
speech, the Foreign
Secretary and potential future Prime Minister, Mr David
"There is unanimity across the House on the cause of Zimbabwe's descent
ruin", he started.
"I hope there can also be unanimity today in
honest explanation to the
British public of the following points: that there
can be no solution in
Zimbabwe without the engagement of neighbouring
African countries; that we
should remain committed to offering our support
for a broad-based government
reflecting the March election
He was speaking as much to his colleagues in the House as to
enemies in the African Union (AU). Why?
For a decade, Britain
and its former African colonies have been locked in a
diplomatic war of
attrition, over Zimbabwe.
As Britain relentlessly led a sustained camping in
the European Union, the
G8 and the United Nations, calling for a regime
change, the AU have
consistently said no, never!
During the heated
Commons debate, several MPs, led by the Labour MP for
Vauxhall, Ms Kate
Hohey, demanded, "Why do so many southern African leaders
and the African
Union ruling elite keep asking what the minimum is that they
have to do to
get UK aid flowing back into Zimbabwe?"
It is time for us to stop trying
to be nice to those African countries that
continue to recognise, talk to
and support Mugabe. If they do not do what
they should do, we must ensure
that we punish them, too."
However, Mr Miliband who knows something about
collective punishment, thanks
to his Jewish immigrant parents Ralph Miliband
and Marion Kozak, replied:
"In seeking to tackle the cause of the current
death and destruction, we all
have to weigh up whether or not we are
ourselves willing to cause death and
destruction to completely innocent
people. That is something we have not
been willing to do."
almost palpable humility, he apologetically said in conclusion, "I have
tried the House's patience for a long time and I have tried to be generous
in answering questions, so I think I should finish my speech on this note
then allow others to speak." "The precedents in respect of military action
[in Zimbabwe] are not auspicious, and I think that that discussion should be
left for the moment."
Given the irredeemable breakdown in the
power-sharing talks, the horrendous
suffering of innocent Zimbabweans, and
reported planned invasion from
Botswana and the assassination attempt on Air
Chief Marshal Perence Shiri,
why can't the AU get out of its trenches and
engage with the British in a
Christmas goodwill compromise to avert the
escalating tragedy in Zimbabwe?
Just as Mr Miliband has recognised that
"there can be no solution in
Zimbabwe without the engagement of neighbouring
African countries", the AU
should also recognise that Zimbabwe will never
receive the international
support it desperately needs without British
Britain may be small, geographically, but it strides
the world like a
Collossus, politically, financially and militarily.
is an influential member of the Commonwealth, the European Union, North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation
in Europe, the UN Security Council, and a major shareholder in both the
World Bank and IMF. The AU must recognise their historical disadvantage, and
accept that Britain is a part of the solution to the Zimbabwe
If Germany and Britain, which fought two world wars are now
together, promoting their common interests, why can't the AU work
Britain to save Zimbabwe?
But why can't the AU use this Christmas to
unveil their alternative plan to
rescue Zimbabwe, if they will not engage
How many more Zimbabweans must die before such a plan is
right to a functioning government
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the
United States, said "that
government is best which governs the least..." But
he also acknowledged
"great societies cannot exist without government".
Certainly, living a safe
and prosperous life is difficult if you don't live
under a working
People throughout the world are
struggling to have leadership that meets
their needs, but in some places,
having a government at all would probably
be better than what they've got
The people of Zimbabwe are experiencing life
without a functioning
government. Since disputed elections earlier this
year, the country has been
in a free fall.
The president of Zimbabwe,
Robert Mugabe, has been in power for decades.
He's been accused of ruining
the economy, torturing political dissidents and
rigging elections to keep
his ZANU-PF party in power. The head of the
opposition is Morgan Tsvangirai
and since the election, both men have talked
about forming a coalition
As their negotiations keep stalling, the country is
figures are so high that they've become meaningless -
231 million percent is
one estimation. Stores are empty of food and
recently, cholera outbreaks
have been reported across the land.
Gorden Moyo is Executive Director for Bulawayo Agenda, a civic society
organisation that works with the community in Zimbabwe's second city,
Bulawayo. He says there's no government at all:
"The country is merely
rolling on its own down the doldrums, deeper into the
malaise of economic
meltdown. It is a miracle that Zimbabweans are surviving
government. But I don't think we will manage - we have hit rock
The people of Zimbabwe have tried everything, Moyo says.
They voted against
Mugabe in the last elections, they protested in the
streets, they appealed
for help. But still, he says, Zimbabweans are
responsible for their own
livelihood and reconstructing a government.
From Timothy Scarnecchia, Jocelyn Alexander and 33
For a number of scholars, Mahmood Mamdani's 'Lessons of Zimbabwe'
further response, given Mamdani's stature as a scholar and public
intellectual (LRB, 4 December 2008). Some aspects of his argument are
uncontroversial: there was a real demand for land redistribution - even the
World Bank was calling for it in the late 1990s as the best way forward in
Zimbabwe - and some of the Western powers' original pronouncements and
actions were hypocritical. There is a real danger, however, in simplifying
the lessons of Zimbabwe. It isn't just a matter of stark ethnic dichotomies,
the urban-rural divide, or the part played by 'the West'.
One of the
more difficult tasks for scholars working on Zimbabwe is to
working on other areas of Africa to look more deeply at the
crisis and not
to be fooled by Mugabe's rhetoric of imperialist
victimisation. Mamdani has,
unfortunately, fallen in with this rhetoric by
history and politics as fundamentally a battle
between what he sees as an
urban-based opposition, supported by the West,
and a peasant-based ruling
party besieged by external forces. This flight of
fantasy portrays Mugabe
and his Zanu-PF cronies as heroes of a landless
peasantry (which is how they
see themselves) and the state - backed up by
the paramilitary violence of
war veterans and others - as the vanguard of a
peasant revolution. We
suggest that Mamdani acquaint himself with the large
body of Zimbabwean
scholarship, which is easily available, rather than
selectively using the
arguments of scholars such as Sam Moyo and Paris Yeros
on land reform, and
Gideon Gono, Mugabe's Reserve Bank governor, as his
source on sanctions.
Citing Gono is rather like using Milton Obote's
writings as a source for
conditions in Uganda in the 1960s and 1970s. A
starting point for more
informed scholarship is the recent Bulletin of the
Association of Concerned
Africa Scholars, found at http://concerned
Mamdani's portrayal of Zimbabwe's opposition
politics is insulting to those
who continue to endure so much in their
struggle to build a better Zimbabwe.
He argues that urban trade unions have
always been marginal to the
nationalist movement because of their supposed
'Ndebele leadership', and
that the current opposition follows in this 'weak'
trade-union tradition as
well as being in thrall to Western interests. What
he doesn't mention is the
trade unions' hard-fought battle against
repression before and after 1980.
There were many challenges to overcome,
among which ethnic politics was
hardly the most prominent. That leaders such
as Morgan Tsvangirai managed to
reshape the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) from what had been a
pro-Zanu organisation into a viable
political opposition by the early 1990s
reflects an Africa-wide and
Africa-based phenomenon that Mamdani apparently
missed. By accepting
Zanu-PF's argument that the MDC is primarily limited to
urban areas and is
the product of the West, Mamdani's account loses
has also sugar-coated his portrayal of political violence in
fails even to mention that many 'peasants' in Shona-speaking
strongholds turned against Mugabe and major Zanu-PF leaders in the
2008 elections. It was this reversal that sparked a new round of
state-sponsored violence against the same Shona peasantry that Mamdani cites
as the beneficiaries of Mugabe's benevolent dictatorship. In addition,
during the months preceding the run-off election (April-June 2008), food
relief was denied to rural areas, leaving the World Food Programme and other
groups to scramble to re-establish supply to the Zimbabwean peasantry
Mamdani suggests are at the centre of Zanu-PF's concern. Repressive
legislation and actions by Zanu-PF activists are magically transformed by
Mamdani into acts of generosity to outsiders. After noting discrimination
against farm workers in gaining access to land on the grounds they or 'their
elders' came from another country, Mamdani adds that 'some were given
citizenship.' Yet he omits the fact that just before the 2002 presidential
election the Zanu-PF government removed citizenship from many farm workers
and other Zimbabweans whose parents or grandparents had non-Zimbabwean
citizenship rights. The disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of perceived
opposition supporters disappears in Mamdani's analysis.
contention that the West, not Mugabe and the Zanu-PF government,
responsible for the current crisis is as dangerous as it is wrong. By
selectively citing instances over the past eight years when the West has
cancelled donor funding, Mamdani gives the impression that the West has not
been involved in sustaining life in Zimbabwe. The reality is that there are
whole sections of the Zimbabwean population that the Zanu-PF leadership
would rather punish with starvation than allow to support the opposition.
'We would be better off with only six million people, with our own [ruling
party] people who supported the liberation struggle,' Didymus Mutasa, one of
the key insiders in Zanu-PF, said in 2002, when drought again threatened to
kill thousands of rural Zimbabweans. 'We don't want all these extra people.'
Western food aid has been a lifeline for 'these extra people' - when the
state has allowed access.
Sanctions cannot excuse the callous
disregard for human life Mugabe and his
associates have shown, dating back
to the Gukurahundi between 1983 and 1986
(which Mamdani glosses over as a
brief bout of violence following from the
tension between Zanu-PF and the
'Ndebele unions' in 1986), or the repeated
land seizures which have been
going on since the 1980s, the forced removals,
violent reprisals, and the
withholding of food aid. Furthermore, Mamdani's
suggestion that the fall in
direct investment in Zimbabwe is the result of
sanctions is dishonest. There
are no sanctions against direct investment in
Zimbabwe, as shown by Anglo
American's willingness to invest $400 million in
Zimbabwe during the summer
of 2008 to protect access to platinum mines.
There have been large
investments from South Africa, India and China, as
Mugabe has bartered away
the nation's resources for short-term interests. It
is the kleptocracy and
violence fostered by Mugabe and Co that has scared
off other investors, not
At a time when thousands of people in Zimbabwe are threatened
by a cholera
epidemic - in part at least as a consequence of Zanu-PF's
replace MDC municipal officials with Zanu-PF 'urban governors' -
international donors are scrambling to help deal with the collapse of
health sector and widespread hunger, intellectuals such as Mamdani
display more responsibility and less posturing in their attempts to
meaningful lessons from Zimbabwe.
Timothy Scarnecchia, Kent
State University, Ohio
Jocelyn Alexander, Linacre College, Oxford
Arrington, University of Arkansas
Michael Bratton, Michigan State
Bill Derman, Michigan State University
William J. Dewey, The
University of Tennessee
Matthew Engelke, London School of Economics
Freeman, Carleton University
Petina Gappah, Zimbabwean writer and
Kenneth Good, RMIT University Melbourne
David Gordon, Bowdoin
College Amanda Hammar, Nordic Africa Institute
David McDermott Hughes,
Diana Jeater, University of the West of England
King, University of the West of England
Bill Kinsey, University of
Norma Kriger, Cornell University
Todd Leedy, University of
JoAnn McGregor, University College London
Mavhunga, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Showers Mawowa, University of
David Maxwell, Keele University
Donald Mead, Michigan State
John Metzler, Michigan State University
David Moore, University
Shylock Muyengwa, University of Florida
John S. Saul, York University
Richard Saunders, York
Anne Schneller, Michigan State University
Vrije University of Amsterdam
Colin Stoneman, JSAS Editorial
Blessing-Miles Tendi, Oxford University
Wendy Urban-Mead, Bard
Elaine Windrich, Stanford University
Christmas Message from MDC-T Sec. for Welfare
Saturday, 20 December
When I wrote a Christmas letter at the end of last year, I
believed that the year 2008 would be worse than the previous year.
starvation, violence, torture, rape, murder, abductions, looting and
would be a state sponsored and perpetrated part of almost every
lives, particularly those in the struggle for peaceful and
The resilience of Zimbabweans is
legendary.† This year has been no
exception. Some call it patience and
resilience, others call it cowardice.
Who is to judge?
There are many loyal Zimbabweans who have stood up against the evil of
regime now for over ten years. Peaceful demonstrations have always been
with state brutality, arrest and in many cases torture in detention. Yet
core group from the opposition, unions and civic society have continued
the struggle through peaceful democratic resistance.† Many have lost
The retired South African Generals who came up to Zimbabwe
of the Mbeki government) to assess the violence during the pre
election period said " We have not seen such brutality outside of a
situation".† That sadly sums it up in a short sentence.
disgusting, how tragic, how criminal and immoral that a President
government that was democratically voted out of power, by the people,
visit such retributive atrocities on its own brothers and sisters,
and fathers, and the children of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans will not be
going home to kumusha/ekhaya this Christmas
for a joyous celebration with
their families - there is no money, no food,
no fuel. There are no medicines
and little clean water - cholera and
HIV/AIDS stalks every citizen.† Instead
they will, no doubt, be praying to
their Almightly God for deliverance from
the pervading evil.
Zimbabweans go into this supposedly joyful
festive season with heavy
hearts. Over 300 people are still missing, having
been abducted pre and post
elections. Over 220 have been brutally murdered
in the same period of time.
30 more have been abducted since 15th September
and are still missing.† The
pain in their families hearts is unimaginable.†
We must keep them in our
As a salute to those who have
died (and are missing) and those who
continue the peaceful struggle, I want
to end with a few lines on courage
written by an amazing woman, Aung San Suu
Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps
more precious is the courage
acquired through endeavour,
that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear
Courage that could be described as "grace under
Grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh,
May God enfold our beloved country in His
shining white light and
through His divine intervention raise it from the
Secretary for Welfare,
for Democratic Change.
swimming sensation crowned Zimbabwe's top 2008 sportsperson
(Zimbabwe) Olympic swimming gold medalist Kirsty Coventry was on
night crowned Zimbabwe's Sportsperson of the Year following her
performance at the Beijing Olympics in August.
The United States-based
Coventry beat a strong field that included world
doubles women's tennis
champion Cara Black to scoop the top award during the
2008 Zimbabwe Annual
National Sports Awards held in the capital Harare.
Coventry impressed the judges with her outstanding
performance that saw her
win four medals at the 2008 Olympic Games, three
silvers and a gold in the
200m backstroke final.
US-based sprinter Brian Dzingai, who reached the
final of the 200m dash at
the Beijing Olympics, was named the Sportsman of
African junior tennis champions and Wimbledon quarter-finalist
Garanganga won the Junior Sportsperson award.