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SA facilitators leave, no progress in talks

by Own Correspondent Thursday 11 February 2010

HARARE - South African facilitators left Harare on Wednesday, but there was
no meaningful progress on the inter-party dialogue to end a power-sharing
dispute threatening Zimbabwe's coalition government, negotiators said on

The talks to iron out issues still outstanding from implementation of a 2008
power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party and
the two MDC formations have dragged on since the former foes agreed to join
hands last February in a coalition government that has been credited with
stabilising the country's economy to improve the lives of ordinary

No dates have been given on when the facilitators appointed by South African
President Jacob Zuma - the Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s
mediator in Zimbabwe - are scheduled to come back.

Elton Mangoma, deputy chief negotiator from Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC-T party confirmed the departure of the mediators but was
quick to point out that not much progress was made.

"The mediators left yesterday (Wednesday) but there was no movement (in
terms of progress)," Mangoma said. "I am not sure when they will come back
but there was no movement."

Although sources close to the talks said that there has been an increase on
the items on the agenda, Magoma said he was "not aware of that".

Welshman Ncube, chief negotiator of the Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara-led MDC-M party described the pace of the negotiations as slow.

"We are moving slowly, although some of us would have preferred to move at a
faster pace," Ncube said, adding; "The mediators left yesterday, there are
some new proposals on the table. I am not sure when the talks will resume."

He could also not be drawn into giving a time line when the talks would end.

"There can be no time line for national interests. National interests can
not be subjected to timelines."

ZANU PF chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa and his deputy, Nicholas Goche
could not be reached for comment.

MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti earlier this week said the current round
of talks has to be the last one - hinting at growing frustration within the
Prime Minister's party over the seemingly endless negotiations.

While analysts are confident the unity government will not collapse, they
say unending bickering among coalition partners could cripple the
administration and render it ineffective.

The MDC-T accuses Mugabe of flouting the global political agreement that
gave birth to the unity government after the veteran leader refused to
rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his allies to the key posts of
central bank governor and attorney general.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister and to appoint members of both MDC formations as
provincial governors.
On its part ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the power-sharing
deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to campaign for
lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwean security forces accused of poaching


By CHENGETAI ZVAUYA, Associated Press Writer Chengetai Zvauya, Associated
Press Writer - 2 hrs 6 mins ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe - The leader of a U.N. program to protect endangered
species on Thursday charged that Zimbabwean security forces are spearheading
poaching of elephants and rhinos in the troubled country.

At a news conference Thursday in Harare, Willem Wijnstekers,
secretary-general of the U.N. Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species, said security forces had killed about 200 rhinos over
the past two years, putting that population on the verge of extinction in
Zimbabwe. He did not give a figure on elephants.

Wijnstekers did not give details on the allegations against security forces.

"Questions are now being asked on whether the Zimbabwe government is doing
enough to protect its wildlife," Wijnstekers said. "This leaves us with no
option but to recommend that the country be brought before the CITES board
to explain the poaching. If they fail to do that they risk being banned to
trade in ivory."

Wijnstekers, who is on fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe, said he had briefed
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

"He expressed his concern and has said that those security agents must face
the law and be arrested as he does acknowledge the problem that is happening
in the wildlife sector," he said.

Zimbabwe's minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Francis
Nhema, said he has been briefed by police about security forces being
involved in poaching. Nhema says Zimbabwe is asking Wijnstekers's
organization, known as CITES, for help.

"There is a perception worldwide about breakdown of law and order in the
country," Nhema said, saying Zimbabwe needed vehicles and helicopters to
track down poachers.

Restoring the rule of law was one of the goals of a coalition government
formed last year between longtime opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
President Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai has made little headway in changing the
character of the government.

Mugabe, who has led the country since 1980, is accused of buying the loyalty
of his security forces by allowing them to engage in criminal activities,
then using them to trample dissent.

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Police officers arrested for ‘leaks to MDC’

February 11, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE – Two senior police officers and an ex-policeman have been arrested,
with the serving officers being summarily transferred to remote police
stations outside Harare, after they were accused of allegedly leaking police
information to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Police sources have revealed that Senior Assistant Commissioner Justice
Chengeta last week ordered the arrest of Superintendents Casper Nhepera and
another one identified only as Madiko for allegedly violating the Official
Secrets Act.

Chengeta had walked into an office which was being used by the two at the
Police General Headquarters to find them entertaining one Macmillan
Mukombachoto, whom Chengeta accused of being a secret MDC agent.

Chengeta, who has a declared incorrigible dislike for the MDC, was further
agitated by the fact that Mukombachoto had produced a computer flash disk
from which his former colleagues took delight in downloading music.

“Chengeta immediately ordered their arrest,” said a source. They spent the
weekend detained at Harare Central Police Station.”

As they were languishing in custody, their transfer papers were being

Nhepera was transferred to Nkayi in Matabeleland North Province while Madiko
was moved to Nyanga in Manicaland.

Mukombachoto is a former police officer who worked for over 20 years as a
lower ranking policeman.

For most of his service he worked as a photographer for Outpost, the monthly
magazine of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

The Zimbabwe Times could not readily establish when the accused are likely
to go on trial for the alleged offence.

Chengeta who is regarded with awe in the police force is among Police
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri’s top lieutenants. He has been at the
forefront of “cleansing” Zimbabwe’s heavily politicized police force of both
known and suspected MDC sympathizers.

Purging has routinely been used as a strategy by Chihuri to frustrate
professional police officers who have refused to follow orders from their
superiors to apply the law selectively.

One of such victims is the former officer commanding Harare Province, senior
assistant commissioner Emmanuel Chimwanda, who was forced to terminate his
service by Chihuri at the onset of Zimbabwe’s current political crisis 2000.

Chimwanda, now a director in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office, had
insisted on the arrest of marauding war veterans and Zanu-PF militants in
Masvingo who were committing crimes with impunity.

Chihuri, an avowed supporter of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, is among
service chiefs who have publicly declared they will never salute Tsvangirai.

He has further threatened to dismiss any police officer found to be
sympathetic to the MDC.

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Distribution staff charged with publishing falsehoods

By Staff reporter
11 February 2010

The staff of the UK based The Zimbabwean newspaper responsible for the local
distribution of the paper in Zimbabwe were on Thursday charged under the
Criminal Law Codification & Reform Act for publishing falsehoods prejudicial
to the State.

Wilf Mbanga, the editor and publisher of The Zimbabwean said the charge
follows several visits to the police station by the directors and staff of
their new distributor, Adquest. The first took place on January 17 when the
directors, Barnabas Madzimure and Fortune Mutandiro, were arrested in Mbare
while distributing The Zimbabwean. After answering questions for a couple of
hours and producing papers to show that the newspapers had been legally
imported they were released without charge.

On Thursday Madzimure and Mutandiro were charged with writing and publishing
false statements which were published in the January 10 edition of the
newspaper under the headline 'Mnangagwa plots fight back: talk of new
splinter group'.

Mbanga said the statements, which are alleged to be false, related to a
meeting held on Christmas day between Emmerson Mnangagwa, Jonathan Moyo, and
other senior ZANU PF officials, and indicate that this was reminiscent of
the infamous Tsholotsho incident.
The editor said the charge is 'ludicrous,' and calculated to harass and
intimidate the distributors of the newspaper.

Madzimure and Mutandiro denied the charges, and in their warned and
cautioned statements stated that they had nothing to do with the
distribution of the newspaper of January 10, which was actually distributed
by the newspaper's former distributor, Publications Distributors. They
further denied that they had written the article or had anything to do with
the editorial content of the newspaper, and advised that the newspaper was
produced outside Zimbabwe.

Mbanga also accused the former Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo of
being behind the harassment of his staff members, as he had been referred to
in the story which gave rise to the charges.
Mbanga said the Tsholotsho MP was clearly aggrieved by the article because
within days he had launched several scathing attacks on The Zimbabwean, via
ZANU PF websites, and had allegedly made a number of personal threats
against him.


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Tsvangirai to assess food situation in Matabeleland and Midlands

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 February 2010

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is to conduct a quick three-day assessment
of the food security situation in the two Matabeleland provinces, as well as
the Midlands province, his office said on Thursday.

The country has experienced a serious deficit in food production, which has
declined considerably due to disruptions in the agricultural sector since
the fast-track land reform exercise was launched in 2000.

Only last week, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the country needs to
urgently import 500,000 metric tons of maize to avert food shortages
following an extended dry spell that has adversely affected crop production.
But critics of the former ruling ZANU PF party say the seizure of most
white-owned farm land has decimated agricultural production leading to the
food shortages.
Tsvangirai's spokesman James Maridadi told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that
the Prime Minister will visit the three provinces - all in semi arid regions
prone to droughts - to apprise himself of the situation.
"He's leaving Harare today (Thursday) to visit the three provinces until
Sunday. He will also seek to reassure people during the visit of government's
support to help them overcome the food crisis," Maridadi said.
Simon Muchemwa, our Harare correspondent said while excessive rains
persisted in the last couple of months causing flooding on some low lying
areas, several provinces have been facing prolonged dry spells since
December. This, he said, will affect the maize growth and yields which are
due to be harvested in May and June.

He said shortages of maize will result in massive hunger unless the country
imports 500,000 tons as a matter of urgency. In addition to weather-related
difficulties, Muchemwa said farmers have faced shortages of key inputs,
including fertilizer, seed, fuel, and tillage power this season. Fertilizer
in particular has been in short supply.

Farmers in most of  the country's 10 provinces have indicated that maize,
potato and bean crops have all been affected by intermittent drought. Robert
Mugabe blames Zimbabwe's economic crisis on years of drought and a plot by
western countries to bring down him down because of his land reform
programme. But his critics say he escalated the economic collapse by seizing
the white-owned farms. The inclusive government said it needs at least $10
billion to rebuild the shattered economy but has struggled to raise funds to
finance its needs.

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MDC-T dismiss entire Chitungwiza council

By Lance Guma
11 February 2010

The National Executive of the MDC-T on Wednesday endorsed a decision to fire
the entire Chitungwiza council over corruption allegations. Party spokesman
Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel that after the executive made the decision on
Wednesday, party President Morgan Tsvangirai and other leaders on Thursday
took the matter to over 3000 supporters and members of the residents
associations. He said the meeting unanimously supported the decision to fire
the council members.

Last year the party suspended former mayor Israel Marange, and the entire
Chitungwiza executive, over allegations of corruptly selling residential
stands. At the same time the MP for Zengeza East, Alexio Musundire was
suspended over charges he organised violence against fellow party members. A
dossier forensically outlining corrupt transactions and property deals
involving members of the council was recently handed to Tsvangirai.

"We have put the interests of the people first. This is not the end, it's
the beginning. We are going to uproot the tree of corruption," Chamisa said.
He explained that although the councillors had been fired from the party
they would not necessarily lose their seats since they were voted in by the
electorate. He however said the next step was for government to remove them
from their positions, and he was confident the Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo would not protect 'bad apples.'

Chamisa said the punishment was a clear message that the MDC was different
from other political parties and would not tolerate corruption. "This is not
a Tsika Mutanda drive (witch hunt)," he said adding that there would be no
'sacred cows in the party.' He said the MDC-T would be announcing new
measures to deal with corruption within its ranks.


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MDC calls on GNU to reverse controversial Indigenisation Bill

By Violet Gonda
11 February 2010

A showdown is looming between ZANU PF and the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai,
over the passing of a controversial bill that requires all foreign investors
to cede 51 percent of their investment to 'indigenous' people.

According to the gazette, the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment is
meant to benefit 'indigenous' Zimbabweans who were disadvantaged before
independence in 1980. But economists and the business community have
castigated the move saying, like the shambolic land reform programme, the
regulation will scare away much needed investors.

In a strongly worded statement issued on Thursday, the MDC called upon the
inclusive government to reverse all such destructive policies and withdraw
the gazette in the national interest. The MDC did not mention how they are
going to apply pressure to ZANU PF to do this. Ever since the inclusive
government was formed in February last year ZANU PF has largely gotten away
with making controversial decisions, in spite of the MDC constantly
complaining about the former ruling party making unilateral decisions.

The Indigenisation bill was passed by the previous Parliament in 2008, when
the former ZANU PF government had a majority. The MDC described the
regulation as a 'unilateral ZANU PF Bill' which was clandestinely gazetted
last week, in an attempt to undermine the country, which is in desperate
need of investment.

"Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, whose Ministry is yet to explain how it
illegally foisted 13 000 ZANU PF youths on the government payroll, has
decided to railroad controversial, anti-investment regulations without the
knowledge of Cabinet and the Head of Government, the Prime Minister," read
the statement.

"ZANU PF simply wants to create a new arena for looting and abuse. The
so-called 'indigenous people' who are set to benefit from this criminal Bill
are not the ordinary man and woman, but the well-connected elite and the
ZANU PF chefs."

We were not able to reach Minister Kasukuwere for comment.


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EU gives Zimbabwe $13 million for smallholder farmers

Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:21pm GMT

* Fund to help revive declining agriculture sector

* 80,000 households to benefit from donation

HARARE, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The European Union on Thursday announced a $13
million fund to help thousands of Zimbabwean smallholder farmers, in a bid
to revive the southern African country's agriculture sector after years of

A former regional bread basket, Zimbabwe has suffered persistent food
shortages since 2001, when President Robert Mugabe began a drive to seize
white-owned commercial farms to resettle landless blacks.

The EU's food security co-ordinator in Zimbabwe, Pierre-Luc Vanhaeverbeke,
told a news conference that 80,000 households would benefit from the $13
million donation through training and farming inputs such as seed and

"We strongly feel that the stabilisation and eventual resuscitation of
agriculture is crucial to the overall economic development of Zimbabwe,"
Vanhaeverbeke said.

"This project is part of the EU's initiative to see Zimbabwe moving from
food aid to food security."

The United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) will coordinate
the EU agricultural facility, as the bloc continues to shun direct
cooperation with the government under sanctions imposed in 2002 over
electoral fraud and rights abuses.

Mugabe, who formed a power-sharing government with former opposition rival
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last February, accuses the West of
undermining his rule as punishment for his land reforms.

Smallholder farmers have traditionally produced about 80 percent of
Zimbabwe's staple maize, but a combination of seed and fertiliser shortages
and limited access to funding have seen a sharp decline in output.

Zimbabwe, which requires at least 1.8 million tonnes of the staple grain
annually, produced 1.2 million tonnes in the 2008/9 season.

The government -- which initially projected a 2.5 million tonne yield this
year -- and farmers' unions have warned of a dip in output in the current
season due to a lengthy mid-season dry spell.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made last week called for the immediate
importation of 500,000 tonnes of maize as a strategic grain reserve.

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Trapped panners die, others recovering

By Thembani Gasela

Published: February 11, 2010

Gwanda   -   Four of the six gold panners who were trapped in the disused
Antenior Mine on Thursday last week, just outside Gwanda town, have been
rescued by their colleagues while two have been declared dead.

The relatives of the two - Jabulani Gomba, who comes from Mberengwa and
Sabelo Ngwenya, from the Bengo area of Gwanda district - are now holding a
funeral wake at the scene of the incident.

The four who were rescued on Tuesday at about 10pm are Nephat Dube (23), his
younger brother Mkhululi (20), both from Gwanda district, Amen Mahlangu (21)
and his cousin Bhekimpilo Ndebele (20) from Lupane district.

They were rescued by a team made up of fellow gold panners and are now
recovering at Gwanda Provincial Hospital.

One of the panners, Nephat, said he sustained some cuts on his left arm when
he was being pulled out of the mineshaft but the rest were rescued without

The six were trapped in the mine on Thursday morning last week.

Relating their ordeal at the hospital grounds, the quartet said they were
working underground when the tunnel they were working in suddenly caved in.

They were about 45 metres underground when the ground caved in with soil and
rocks blocking their way out.

They said for the six days they spent underground they never slept as they
were fighting hard to try and get out.

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Mutumwa Mawere's Empire Crumbles Further

11/02/2010 06:11:00

Harare, February 11, 2010 - Fugitive business mogul, South African-based
Mutumwa Mawere's empire is now collapsing as Shabani Mashaba Mines (SMM)
face closure, Radio VOP can confirm.

Senior SMM management have, however, asked the Government of National Unity
(GNU) to forgive Mawere and allow him to return to Zimbabwe.
Last year Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, who is a signatory to the
GNU, pleaded with President Robert Mugabe to allow Mawere, a one-time Zanu
PF henchman, to return scott-free.
Mawere fled Zimbabwe after his mining empire was taken away from him by
President Mugabe's Zanu PF government in 2004.
He was accused of among several other issues, owing the State huge sums of
money and being a sellout.
However, Mawere maintains that he was being victimised by Zanu PF goons who
were "trying to grab" his mining empire.
Now more than 1 000 workers at SMM have been sent on forced leave until
further notice because management claims "the mining empire has no money and
is facing viability problems due to low asbestos prices and huge electricity
Gaths Mine, the largest underground mine in Mashaba, is failing to settle a
US$1 million electricity bill.
SMM is Zimbabwe's largest asbestos producer.
"You are advised that with effect from 1 February, 2010, you are all advised
not to report for work due to viability problems," read part of the letter
sent to cash-strapped workers on January 25, 2010.
"Persistent power cuts and lack of funding have affected the company
resulting in serious cash flow problems."
Management have appealed to the Government of National Unity ((GNU) to
forgive Mawere and allow him to return to Zimbabwe and continue running his
"We are appealing to government to look for investors to chip in or just
allow former owner Mutumwa Mawere to come back,"a senior manager said.
"Under funding, low asbestos prices and power cuts have affected business."
The senior SMM manager confirmed that half of the workforce had been sent on
forced leave until "the situation improves".
Government-appointed administrator, Alfias Gwaradzimba, has remained
tight-lipped on the issue.

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MDC slams abuse of judicial system to settle old scores with Botswana

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's former opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party on Thursday condemned what it said was the abuse of the
judicial system to settle old scores with Botswana in the aftermath of a
two-week standoff between Harare and Gaborone over detained game rangers.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party condemned the manner in which
Zimbabwe's law enforcement authorities handled the issue of three Batswana
rangers who were arrested on 19 January allegedly for unlawful possession of
weapons and illegal entry into the country.

The rangers were only released on February 8 after payment of US$100 each as
fines for violating immigration laws.

MDC deputy legal secretary Jessie Majome said the delay in resolving an
issue that appeared straight-forward, coupled with the substandard and
deplorable conditions the Botswana rangers faced in Zimbabwean police and
remand facilities, raised suspicion of the abuse of the legal process.

"The law and its system of administration should not ever be used to settle
scores whether real or perceived. To do so would be to subvert the rule of
law and indeed to undermine the confidence of the local and regional public
in the justice delivery system of Zimbabwe," she said.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana have been sour over the past decade
over clashes between Harare and Gaborone on governance issues.

Botswana President Ian Khama is the only African leader brave enough to
publicly condemn Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe over his government's
human rights track record.

Khama has recently called for the holding of internationally supervised
polls in Zimbabwe as the only solution to Harare's protracted political

Mugabe in turn accuses Khama of being a puppet of the West.


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National Park beefs up security to fight poaching

11 Feb


National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe representatives have joined forces with the Bumi Hills Anti Poaching Unit to provide them with armed back-up, the right of arrest and much needed manpower during their patrols of the Bumi region.

Poaching in Zimbabwe, like anywhere in the world, is an ongoing social and economic problem.  As a result the safety and welfare of the wildlife in Zimbabwe's Parks has been severely threatened.
The added support of the National Parks' scouts during the Unit's patrols over the last four months, has led to the retrieval and disposal of over 1000 snares.  The initial threats of beatings and death issued to the Unit by some local poachers have also subsided.

In an effort to curb the brutal business of poaching, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge has dedicated time, money and every other available resource to saving the wildlife in the area.  One of the Bumi Hills Anti Poaching Unit's senior scouts, Edmore Kapandura, proudly states that since the Unit's inception in 2009, they have already seen noticeable signs of a reduction in poaching activities, and an increase in the animal population in the area. "In the past we used to find more snares and fewer animals, but now we can spend a week or more without finding snares or signs of people moving through our area.  This makes us happy because we are directly contributing to the protection of our wildlife", he says.   Although mindful of the fact that poaching may never be totally eradiated, the Bumi Hills team is optimistic about the future of the wildlife in their area, and it's through their hard work and increasing levels of tourism that there will be a dramatic decline in the poaching levels.

National Parks and the Bumi Anti Poaching Unit (dressed in Green) from left to right: Danny Mukonka, Anusa Majomba, National Parks Representative, Osman Mabhechu, National Parks Representative and Edmore Kapandura

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Sanctions debate continued

listeners and readers' feedback

11 February 2010

Last week on the programme Hot Seat Violet Gonda asked a number of
Zimbabweans for their views on the controversial issue of s anctions and
whether it's time the measures were removed. ZANU PF has warned there will
be no more GPA concessions until the sanctions imposed by Western countries
are removed. Parliament has seen heated discussions on this topic with ZANU
PF insisting that the MDC should demand the removal of the restrictive
measures. Click here to find out what those interviewed had to say:

And below is some of the feedback received from listeners and readers:

I refer to Violet Gonda's interviews on sanctions:

It is obvious that there would be no unanimity on this issue considering the
fact that Zanu-PF has not given-up on brainwashing up people through the ZBC
and the Herald/Sunday Mail.

Furthermore, what else would beneficiaries of the Mugabe's racist land grab
circus say other than just throw a tantrum and hot air about the sanctions?

Amid reports that Mugabe spent about US1.5 million on his recent trip to
Italy and paid some CIO chaps about $5000(five thousand dollars) per day
each when back home a school teacher gets only USS120 per month.

All the sanctions must stay until full reform is evident to all at home and
abroad in the form of human rights, the rule of law, freedom of the press,
respect for property rights, genuine trials of those who murdered innocent
people in the name of Zanu-PF, full compensation of victims of Zanu-PF
instigated murders and violence.

The institutions which were slapped with sanctions had a case to answer.
There should be no confusion about that. You only need to analyse the role
of Mugabe's cronies at the goings on at Chiadzwa in order to understand the
absence of transparency in the mining and sale of Zimbabwe 's diamonds.

Why should the institutions be cleared of wrongdoing with news that a
private airport is being constructed at the Chiadzwa diamond mine, police
has raided and taken away 20 kgs of diamonds from RBZ to an unknown
destination etc?


Job hello?!? Why can't God give us normal people. Job in the bible was a
wealthy and righteous man . The Zim Job sucks. "My name is JOB SIKHALA : I'm
leading a formation of the MDC that has dumped Arthur Mutambara after
realising that he has been supporting Zanu PF through and through." Your
point Job?


My name is Dr. Paul Muchena and I work for Pioneer Overseas Corporation
which is an American company. I am a Zimbabwean based in Kenya . I am not on
the OFAC SDN list but when I sent US$ 2,500.00 on 26th November, 2009 from
my Barclays account in Kenya to my Standard Chartered account in Zimbabwe
the money only appeared in my account in Zimbabwe on 19 January, 2010 . I
had no money for Christmas and I had to borrow money for my daughter to
return to school because Barclays was holding on to my money because of the
so called targeted sanctions. When I was desperately trying to follow up for
my money I was told a lot of innocent people were being affected by these
targeted sanctions if you have a similar surname to someone who is on the
OFAC SDN list. I was told some people in the end never receive the money. In
my case it took almost two months for me to receive the money after lots of
correspondences with Barclays. I have no doubt if I had not fought for my
money, I would have lost the money. It should take about two days at most to
verify whether someone is on the OFAC SDN list. The reason for sending this
message is to highlight that the so called targeted sanctions are affecting
innocent Zimbabweans because of poor implementation of the targeted


I followed this debate and i must say i appreciated your proficiency in
journalism. This issue of sanctions has been most abused by Zanu PF and this
sort of debate has allowed people to express the views that are not
presented in the media in Zimbabwe .

Let me declare my interests before making this suggestion. You know that a
lot of Zimbabwean entrepreneurs have lost their assets and businesses
largely through political victimisation and also through abuse of office by
some people appointed into influential offices. A rational mind says that
these entrepreneurs should not reinvest in Zimbabwe because they cannot
repeat the same mistake and risk their assets again - however, Zimbabwe
needs them because every country needs a local breed of entrepreneurs as
anchors in the development process. I would like to know what the Zimbabwean
public / analysts think should be done to address this issue.

On a personal note - my efforts to engage my entrepreneurial skills in
Zimbabwe will largely depend on how these issues are resolved because i cant
risk my future businesses in an environment where i have lost so much. I
would have Zimbabwe as my country of birth and not necessarily the place i
will do business because of past experience. Sad as it may sound but that is
reality for a number of Zimbabweans that could really assist in pulling out
Zimbabwe from the current mess.


I see there are a lot of opinions around this issue but the bottom line is-
Sanctions are real and they are hurting everyone.  Those who say they should
stay are the same people who are better off anyway and can afford to drive
across the borders to buy some food.  They should stop talking on behalf of
the suffering masses. Just look at the profile of those who are responding
to this debate, they earn decent incomes be they salaries or consultancy
fees and they are the same people who want sanctions to stay when in fact
they only spend part of the year in Zimbabwe while the rest of the year is
spent gallivanting across the continent doing consultancy work.  I am deeply
disappointed by such sentiments from people whose life is not impacted by
sanctions in any way. Sarah


I thank you greatly for availing this discussion to Zimbabweans. My question
to all Zimbabweans is that have they not seen that those targeted have
become filthy richer and more evil? As much as I wish somebody got punished
for murders and property looting, the punishment is not being met through
sanctions, sadly. Evil has continued at an accelerated rate, corruption has
become more rampant and the targeted are reported to be owners of multiple
farms, companies and have since built some 50+rommed homes. I say,
Zimbabweans must loot the targeted companies and vent their anger on the
individuals who put us where we are now, than expect some foreigner to do it
for them. Imagine if Gono's farm were visited by hungry Zimbabweans! To deny
Mugabe to travel freely and shop at Harrods is no punishment for the death
of the Tonderayi 5 or Chiminya or the torture that Jestina Mukoko suffered
at the hands of evil. Let us mobilize and confront evil ourselves as
Zimbabweans, than expect Brown to do it for us. So, please remove sanctions
immediately, whatever they are, maybe poor Zimbabweans might get the
remnants of leftover food from rich tables. Doug


Thanks Violet for an innovative way of tackling a question that has left the
MDC running all over the place in its disjointed response to a simple and
straight forward question. Keep up the good work. Tabani


We can see who is who, like Manhanga who, as we know, has already thrown his
lot in with Satan. Ignorant fool...there are sanctions against entities in
Pakistan Afghanistan etc etc. He has no interest in justice or
accountability but in personal aggrandisement.
Sanctions are hurting Zanu PF; they wouldn't bleat about them so much if
they weren't! But more importantly, sanctions are against those who are
accused of gross human rights violations and should stay until the
individuals have been cleared of all charges by an independent court in a
democratic and free Zimbabwe . Chete! Sanctions are not a bargaining chip to
be tossed aside when it is expedient to do so. Mike


Well, well, well, 99.9% of the interviewees here share the same sentiments
as mine, I am so glad.  Actually, Mugabe and his regime, vana Chiwenga,
Sekeramayi, Mnangagwa and the lot, MUST lift the sanctions they imposed on
us Zimbabweans before they can worry about visiting the Harrods and the
like.  We are not suffering because of the travel ban imposed on them
because of their evil doing, but because of their stupid legislation crafted
by the cocoa nut head, spin doctor Jonathan Moyo and brainless people like
Bright which should actually be (Dull) Matonga and George Charamba nana
Mahoso.  The security forces are running this country and they claim that
sanctions are causing suffering to the Zimbabwean people, yet its Mugabe and
his zealot. I hope that the EU will consider our (Zimbabweans) sentiments on
the issue of lifting targeted sanctions on ZANU (PF) lot.  I support the
notion that Mugabe must not set his foot in any of the western countries
until he dies because he has no business in the "Imperialists" countries
like he calls them.  Bona must do all her education in her father's friends'
countries "the east" its good for her.  There must not be any London
University , Harvard University , UoA, etc., for her because I am sure Grace
is really dying to send her daughter to one of the western countries
universities.  Our children can't get even decent primary education here
because of Robert Gabriel and Grace Mugabe nemaZANU (PF) avo.  Please
Violet, you people out there please send the message to EU, Britain and all
the other countries that might be considering relaxing the travel conditions
for Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) officials not to even dare waste their time on
these people because they are not worth even a pinch of salt.  They have to
reform chaizvo zvatinobvumawo tose kuti vapfidza matadzo avo then may be,
may be we might consider lobbying for them to be pardoned.  Vanhu ava
ndavanaSATAN Violet they don't deserve anyone's pity!! Sekai


All this talk about "sanctions" is a propaganda victory for the "ruling
party" and the government they still control. There are no sanctions in the
sense that we had United Nations trade sanctions against this country (still
called " Rhodesia " at the time) cutting the country off from all trade,
export and import . By using the word "sanctions" the state media make all
the world believe that we suffer from the same massive outside interference.
That is not true. By promoting this discussion about "sanctions" they make
all the world believe that sanctions, or their removal,  are key to the
economic recovery. That is not true either. This discussion diverts
attention from the fact that we still have no rule of law, no media freedom,
no respect for human rights, no security of property and no environment in
which the economy can be rebuilt. Here just one example concerning the rule
of law: Mr Kunonga, the ex-communicated former Anglican bishop of Harare
used by the ruling party as their home-grown "bishop", and the police are
banning the rightful Anglican Church under Bishop Chad Gandiya from church
premises, against a ruling of the High Court which has given a temporary
order for the Kunonga faction and the Anglican Church proper to share the
premises. This is unlawful action by the forces of "law and order".  This is
just one example among many. Zimbabwe can only rejoin the community of
nations when it abides by universally accepted standards. This is what we
ought to talk about and publicize worldwide, not "sanctions" which are not
the cause of our misery. Fr Oskar Wermter SJ. Jesuit Communications.


Violet the issue of sanctions  on Zimbabwe is not a negotiable issue if i
may prefer to call then restrictive measures yes restrictive measures. These
restrictive measures should stay and i was of the opinion that if i was
possible to have a referendum on the subject would be a very noble idea. But
i personally feel the restrictive measures must remain in tact, then maybe
economic sanctions maybe removed affecting the general population. I am
surprised Tsvangirai is asking for the lifting of sanctions when he really
know he is dealing with hardliners who will never repent right now Mugabe
has ordered all ministers not to report to the Prime minister already
violating the GPA, this is a good indication how canning ZANU PF can be.

The next thing after removing these restrictive measures  we won't be
surprised to wake up in the next morning and here the Herald saying GPA is a
none entity  says ZANU PF after consulting its highest decision making body
despite the guarantors etc. etc. And you know how difficulty it is going to
have those sanctions in place again that is another 30 yrs or so . ANONYMUS


In my view, I believe the issue of sanctions/restrictive measures is not an
issue which can be resolved over-night. There are certain steps which we
need to follow before those who put the sanctions in place agree to remove
them. However, there are issues in the GPA which we can deal with on our own
and have control over. I see no reason why we can not agree and finalize
them. Once we deal with issues within our control, I am quite certain that
the issue of sanctions will fall away. In my own observation, the living
standard of ordinary people in the country has improved during the time of
GNU as compared to the period before despite that sanctions are still in
place. Our lives are affected more by the actions of our political leaders
than the imposition of sanctions/restrictive measures by a third party.


First of all; many thanks to you all at SWRadio for all your hard and great
work. Keep it up. Our prayers and support are with you as always. ZANU PF
dislike SW intensely because somehow you have always been able to
communicate the truth into our nation that has been sorely deprived of free
media. In their dreams that you will go off the air!!! I am emailing to
comment on your interviews regarding the so called sanctions. I, like most
Zimbabweans, have pondered over this matter at length and would like to make
the following points;

1) The targeted sanctions/restrictions are totally deserved by those under
them for gross human rights abuses. Their hands drip with blood and the
destruction and plunder of this nation rests on their shoulders. The
restrictions, truly speaking, should have been much wider and deeper. The
West should have implemented these measures a long, long time ago. ZANU PF
have absolutely no right to demand their removal. We still live under the
same controlling, dictatorial abuses that have been going on for 10 years.

2) Secondly-the funds that are tied up in western and other nations. Where
do they come from and how were they gained??? Big question! If justice were
to be truly done those funds should be used to compensate Zimbabweans for
destroyed and stolen homes/property/livelihoods/state funds and much more.

3) Thirdly. For the good of the nation. Maybe they could be lifted in
exchange for some compensation that will eventually free this nation of an
evil regime. For example:- the security chiefs should step down/retire and
be given some sort of immunity in exchange for a lifting of their targeted
restrictions and for telling the truth and confessing in a truth commission.

 In the end I am thinking of the people of Zimbabwe who have suffered untold
atrocities and loss. "Vengegence is Mine, saith the Lord." Nanette


My name is Peter and l was an MDC youth treasurer for mash west and l am in
the Diaspora after l fled the country for my dear life since the so called
top six sponsored by Bro Saint Phidza were passionately looking to devour me
with the full support of the CIO . Wright the issue of sanction is a no
issue because in the first place these are self imposed, if you remember Sir
Robert Mugabe said, 'I don't need any help from the west and Zimbabwe can do
without the west' after that they announced that Zim was out of the Common
Wealth. It's not MDC who brought these sanctions it's actually Zanu Pf asked
for the sanctions hence they need to face there music. We need more of
targeted sanctions and wish they could be restricted to the extent of not
even going out of the country. These terrorists are really enemies of the
people. Please MDC don't lose your focus, sanctions are not your business
and you have nothing to lose because the people have already seen that you
can do this thing. Come elections Zanu will have only votes from Chinotimba
and Chinamasa because even Mugabe will vote MDC . I agree very much with the
prodigal son Job Nkala (stop tribalism and come back home you don't belong
where you are man, come back to winning team Mdc T) he said that Mugabe
imposed sanction on Zimbabwe, that's very true.


Violet all these comments are from MDC sympathizers. The sanctions must go
like yesterday. There is nothing to debate about. If they were meant to
target individual, then I might say it has missed the target because
Zimbabweans are suffering big time. The monster must go now. Zimbabwe is on
an irreversible path and those who think thinks may turn around and the so
called pig skinned people might come back is day dreaming. I am sorry to say
pig skinned because to me they are not white.


I am a seventy year old citizen of Britain and a committed Christian. I have
visited Zimbabwe and have supported its citizens both directly and
indirectly for some years.

As far as I am concerned Robert Mugabe and his gang of profiteers will
never, ever be welcome in my home, my country or my continent - so the
travel ban is fine.

 If Mugabe and company are honest men (and women), they will not have any
overseas bank accounts or assets gained by their crooked dealings, so
sanctions cannot possibly be effective against them. It would be a better
idea if they simply publicly signed instructions to their overseas bankers
to forward any balances held on their behalf or on the behalf of any company
in which they have an interest to the Minister of Finance's offices in

    Only when they do this simple thing will I, and probably the rest of the
world, accept that they are even slightly honest or patriotic.

If they cannot do it, let them go rot.

My prayers for the suffering and oppressed people of Zimbabwe continue.


While I do not believe that there are sanctions and am of the view that they
are restrictive measures applied to the protect Zimbabwe from its own
rulers. Blah, Blah, Blah. There are a hundred versions and they all carry
some weight.

However the way I see it.

What of the Sanctions against MDC on the airwaves?

What of the sanctions on the MDC in the papers?

What of the sanctions on MDC in the police force?

Etc, Etc, etc.

I mean what is wrong with everyone. They just sit back and allow the one
sided story to be told!

Come on. If you do not confront the lies then they will be told so often
with such passion that people begin to believe it.


They speak with one voice - except the Bishop who imitates the voice of his
master RGM exactly. I'm glad Ms Sisulu puts right the erroneous belief that
the IMF issue is another area of sanctions. Too many people have forgotten
what all that was about.


My take is that ZANU has no right to tell us that they will keep burning
their family house until the sanctions are lifted. What is difficult for
Zanu to stop oppressing us first then see what whoever imposed sanctions do
in response. What ZANU seems to say is they want the sanctions to go just so
they can cling to power.

These sanctions have actually made it slightly possible for Zanu to relent
in their mission to rule at all cost. So sanctions should remain until ZANU
allows us the freedom we need. We still have torture camps ready for
election time so ZANU should actually be banned even from SADC and AU.


The restrictive measures ("sanctions") must stay and should only be lifted
after the country has successfully held free and fair elections under a new
people driven constitution and under international supervision and when
power has been transferred to the winner, which obviously would be anyone
other than Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe and his bootlickers have killed over 20000 Zimbabweans between 1980
and today. The latest recorded such murder was of an MDC activist, Peter
Magombedza, at Tsungai in Nembudzia, Gokwe on 25th December, 2009 i.e. less
than 2 months ago.

Mugabe lost presidential elections in March, 2008 and ZANU PF lost its
parliamentary majority in parliamentary elections of the same period. Mugabe
would not hand over power. Instead he doctored the results and caused a
re-run of the presidential election of June 2008 in which he became the sole
candidate after the withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai. Between March 2008 and
June 2008 he deployed the army in the countryside to set up structures from
which they terrorised the people into voting for him. Gruesome murders were
committed. To this date, those structures are in place, ready to be set in
motion again whenever Mugabe deems it expedient. In the past 2 weeks some
villagers in Manicaland  were forced to flee their homes after coming under
attack from ZANU PF militia and being forced into attending overnight vigils
where they would be "lectured" into supporting the Kariba Draft during the
constitutional outreach process. We are made to understand there are now
some Rwandese refugees who have been enlisted by ZANU PF and are part of the
militia causing the terror in the countryside. Now this adds a very
frightening dimension considering these Rwandese participated in a genocide
in their own country before fleeing to Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai and Mutambara are indeed part of a GNU but it is a sad fact that
they have no power at all, not in the least over the army nor the militia.
Therefore, fact is nothing has changed at all on the ground. The nominal
improvement in the economy is nothing to write home about. The real issue is
human rights violations and these are continuing unabated. Ask WOZA, ZINASU,
ZCTU, NCA, HRW, ROHR, NGO's and most church organisations and they will
confirm this position.

Worse things are going to happen when the next round of elections is
necessitated by whatever circumstances. Mugabe will never give up power. He
knows the heinous crimes against humanity he committed warrant prosecution
and the only way he can be insulated against prosecution is not only to be
in Government, but to be the custodian of power in Government: Panyika
Anselm Karimanzira


My name is George Ncube and I do not buy this sickening sanction propaganda
by Zanu PF. People of Zimbabwe are not suffering because of sanctions or
whatever these are called. Western nations do not represent the world and if
they do not trade with us it does not necessary mean that we should suffer.
We are now allowing Zanu PF to bully the International Community as it did
with us, the SADC and AU. Who is going to benefit from the lifting of these
measures? We surely know that its Zanu PF thugs and their beneficiaries.
Zimbabwe is suffering because Mugabe decided to completely destroy the
Agriculture sector which was well developed and completely strategic for our
economy. Even if we are allowed to borrow, we will be borrowing for the
purposes of trying to enrich those who benefited from destruction of our
economy. I know that the Ian Smith government had really sanctions from all
over the world not from just few western countries; but was able to hand
over to Mugabe a vibrant economy which the dictator started wasting by
engaging in endless wars including the war against agricultural producers.
If Mugabe had not destroyed agriculture,  no amount drought would affect
Zimbabwe because the irrigation system was well developed and fully
functional until they uprooted all the pipings and are still keeping these
pipes at their houses. So whatever measures are in place these must remain
until Zanu PF behaves. Lets not reward these small concession by Zanu PF, we
need full reform. We must not be apologetic to Mugabe; if they want the
current state to remain then let the election be the answer.


well my name is Tongai Mandude and i am a renowned academician .The issue of
sanctions or restrictive measures is a non event and it can only be used by
Zanu pf apologist as an excuse for every thing which was done by Zanu .This
in cludesruption, abductions, cholera, shortages of cash and the allocation
of resources to the few including farms, tractors and other farming
implements. There is no need for debate because the ZANU PF reserve bank
governor was printing paper using bond paper and that money was not
accessible to us the working class but to only the top ZANU PF thugs who
could go to the reserve bank either to have their applications approved to
hood cash. Were these really sanctions or they were move made in order to
punish the majority of the Zimbabweans.

These same people were restricted from travelling the USA and to the EU
because they will be spending money which they acquired through corrupt
activities such as the diamond mining activities in Marange. Targeted
sanctions should only be remove is there is fully implementation of the GPA
.Moreso sanctions are not the reason why the economy collapsed but it was
because of corruption. Why are these people interested in going to the USA
and EU, they should spend their stolen money hear, they should invest here
in agriculture for example and develop this economy. Let me hasten to say
you have never seen either Blair or Bush in Zimbabwe but why are these
individuals crying to go where they are not wanted.

The Zimbabwe economy has improved without the removal of these so called
sanctions and will continue to do so since they are people who are now in
government and are people centred in terms of their policies. ZANU PF should
shut up and see how things will be given time with those travel restrictions
being there. This is the reason why they send their kinds to HONG KONG while
the UZ has no water and the halls of residences are closed since 2006.Are
these sanctions or no one in ZANU PF cares especially Nyagura. We hold
qualifications from these institutions but they are no longer  as valuable
because of the so called restrictive measures. Companies which are linked to
ZANU should not be allowed to trade and this does not affect the people of
Zimbabwe at all.

Feedback can be sent to

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Reasons to be cheerful about Zimbabwe

To sideline those blocking democratic change in Zimbabwe, the world should
embrace the unity government

          o Donald Steinberg
          o, Thursday 11 February 2010 19.00 GMT

One year ago, Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) allies took the political risk of their
lives and joined a unity government with president Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party. At the time, most analysts predicted Tsvangirai would become the
latest victim of Mugabe's "divide, rule and destroy" tactics. And although
there have been many fits and starts over the past year, the people of
Zimbabwe are better off for the MDC's decision.

In February 2009, Zimbabwe was an international pariah, wracked with
multitrillion per cent inflation, and facing a devastating cholera epidemic.
Hospitals and schools were closed, security forces ran amok, and civil
society activists were terrorised. The global political agreement (GPA)
negotiated by the Southern African leaders and signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai,
and MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara in September 2008 seemed designed
simply to entrench and prolong Mugabe's rule.

Fast forward to today. The unity government is functioning, after a fashion,
and civil servants are back at work, being paid a small stipend. The
Zimbabwe dollar has been shelved in favour of stable foreign currencies, and
goods have returned to shops. Human rights activists report a dramatic
decline in abuses, especially in urban settings. An ambitious yet pragmatic
reconstruction programme was generally well-received by foreign donors and
the Bretton Woods institutions.

After an initial "wait-and-see" period, donors are starting to provide
reconstruction assistance through transparent mechanisms. Better still,
reformers and moderates on all sides are getting credit for the changes,
isolating the hardliners and extremists.

But the path to democratic governance in Zimbabwe has been difficult, and
the road ahead is going to be rougher still. Major threats could still
derail the process, including resistance of senior security officials;
fractious political in-fighting, especially within Zanu-PF; a growing gap
between the political class and civil society; a battered economy unable to
address 90% unemployment and meet expectations of a peace dividend;
continuing seizures of farms; and the capricious and ever-dangerous Mugabe.

Four key challenges lie ahead.

First, the parties must complete the remaining GPA steps, including
appointing MDC governors, conducting a land audit, ensuring the functioning
of a new national security agency, and reforming repressive public security
regulations. Zanu-PF in particular has been resisting movement.

Second, the constitution must be reformed, ending absolute executive power
and strengthening the legislature and judiciary. The committee preparing the
draft will need to ensure a transparent consultation process to secure broad
support for the new constitution.

Third, there must be preparations for new elections. Discussions are
underway to delay them perhaps until 2013, taking politics out of the
equation for now. Most MDC leaders want more time to build a record in
government, and they are concerned over the military reaction to a potential
MDC victory. Most in Zanu-PF worry that their party would be swept aside in
new elections, with support now in the teens in recent polls.

Finally, the top securocrats, whose power and sinecures are threatened by
change, must be brought to heel. Many Zimbabweans, including human rights
activists who have suffered their wrath, believe these generals and their
allies have a veto power over the transition and must be eased out through
soft landings.

Zimbabwe has a long tradition of granting amnesties to turn the page on
difficult periods, but any amnesty should be as limited as possible and
revocable should recidivist behaviour emerge.

While the primary tasks rest with Zimbabweans themselves, the outside world
has a vital part to play. Southern Africa must take its role as guarantor of
the GPA seriously. The activist posture of South African president Jacob
Zuma is welcome, conveying the message that the region will abide no
alternative to the current process. He must continue to press Mugabe on
outstanding GPA obligations, respect for rule of law, and an end to
repression and farm seizures.

The broader international community should support these moves through
carefully calibrated assistance and sanctions. This should include new
support for health, education, rural development, women's empowerment, and
good governance through transparent mechanisms, and new engagement from the
IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank.

While targeted sanctions should remain against hardliners, the international
community should recognise and encourage positive steps. For example, the EU
and US should lift sanctions on selected entities, such as Zimbabwe's
agricultural bank, that help revitalise key sectors without overly
benefitting the hardliners. Restoring Zimbabwe's voting rights at the IMF
would also be an important sign.

Some worry that a strategy of engagement would prematurely reward Mugabe and
his cronies or reduce pressure on them. In truth, a policy of targeted aid
and targeted sanctions would strengthen the moderates and make it more
difficult for the extremists to again seize power. To sideline those who are
thwarting the democratic transformation in Zimbabwe, the world should
embrace the unity government now.

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Zimbabwe a nation with little to celebrate

On the anniversary of historic coalition deal between reformists and Mugabe,
few of the changes it promised have come through


JOHANNESBURG - From Thursday's Globe and Mail Published on Thursday, Feb.
11, 2010 12:00AM EST Last updated on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010 6:51AM EST

A year after a historic coalition government was formed, most Zimbabweans
are in no mood to celebrate today's anniversary. Civil servants are on
strike, reforms are stalled, farmers are under attack, and the autocratic
Robert Mugabe still controls most of the levers of power.

The coalition, which allowed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to become
the Prime Minister, has staggered through a rough year. The economy has
improved, but the government is paralyzed by internal feuding and fierce
resistance from Mr. Mugabe's allies. And it faces the risk of collapse if
the squabbling persists and foreign donors remain unwilling to help.

Mr. Mugabe, still President at the age of 85, is showing no signs of
surrendering power. He has stubbornly blocked the political reforms that
were supposed to flow from a breakthrough 2008 agreement between the
opposition and the ruling ZANU-PF party.

That agreement, which led to the coalition government that was sworn in a
year ago, is now "becoming a joke," according to Eddie Cross, a senior
member of Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.

Only 12 per cent of the agreement has been put into effect, Mr. Cross
estimates. A top MDC leader, Roy Bennett, is still being prosecuted on
charges widely believed to be trumped up. Many other MDC members have been
arrested or harassed. Deadlines for reform have been repeatedly ignored, and
commercial farmers are still losing their farms to invading thugs.

Mr. Mugabe and his supporters are increasingly hardline, refusing any
concessions unless Mr. Tsvangirai persuades foreign governments to lift
targeted sanctions that prevent Mr. Mugabe and his cronies from travelling
to Europe or North America. Meanwhile, all negotiations are deadlocked.

Mr. Mugabe has "made a complete fool" of the regional leaders who brokered
the coalition deal, Mr. Cross said on his website. "While they fiddle -
Zimbabwe burns. No progress with health and education or economic recovery
and investment. No reduction in political violence and human rights
violations. No change in the media and the daily outpouring of propaganda."

He compares Mr. Mugabe to a wounded bull, still dangerous to its pursuers.
The MDC is willing to finish the fight, but this might leave it fatally
wounded, too, he says. "The region will have to decide whether to leave the
old bull to die on its own and simply let Zimbabwe slide back into chaos ...
. We could be back at square one."

The only area of definite progress is the economy. By abolishing the
Zimbabwe dollar, the government halted the hyperinflation that was
devastating the country. Food shortages have eased, shop shelves are stocked
again, salaries are being paid, and the economy grew by an estimated 4.7 per
cent last year - the first growth in a decade, after a catastrophic
60-per-cent decline.

But much of last year's growth was due to good rains and a decent harvest.
This year the rains have been sporadic, crops are failing and a poor harvest
is expected. By the end of 2010, as many as three million Zimbabweans could
again be dependent on food aid. Zimbabwe still needs an estimated
$10-billion (U.S.) to reconstruct its economy, yet donors are reluctant to
help unless Mr. Mugabe relinquishes power.

Jim MacKinnon, the Southern Africa manager for Oxfam Canada, agrees that the
Zimbabwe situation is gloomy, but he argues that it is still "eons" better
than it was at the end of 2008, when schools and hospitals were closed for
lack of money. He notes that Zimbabwe has avoided a repetition of the
cholera epidemic that killed thousands of people in 2008.

Mr. MacKinnon is lobbying the Canadian government to begin restoring some of
the aid that was terminated after Mr. Mugabe's crackdown on his political
enemies. Without some kind of additional foreign aid - perhaps loans from
financial institutions, or support for civil society groups, or salaries for
public employees - there is a risk that the coalition government could fall
apart, he warned.

"The international community should be a lot more engaged," Mr. MacKinnon
said. "They're still in a wait-and-see mode. If they don't engage, this
government will fail. It's a hard pill for the international community to
swallow, but there's a bigger chance of the government falling apart if we
just sit back and watch."

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Little to celebrate after a year

Photo: Flikr/Umsoto
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agree to the formation of a unity government
HARARE, 11 February 2010 (IRIN) - A year after a political pact was forged in the hope of answering Zimbabwe's myriad social and economic problems, the country remains trapped in the same quagmire, with few signs of progress.

On 11 February 2009, with nearly 7 million people dependent on food aid and a cholera epidemic that had killed more than 4,000 and infected nearly 100,000 others sweeping across the country, bitter political rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to form a Government of National Unity (GNU). They have since agreed on little else.

The deal, facilitated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki and guaranteed by the Southern African Development Community, was touted as a new beginning for the once prosperous nation, but in reality simply moved the animosity from the street to the cabinet. Constant bickering has become the order of the day, and poverty and food insecurity are the nation's constant companions.

Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980 and is leader of the ZANU-PF party, retained the presidency; Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was appointed Prime Minister; Arthur Mutambara, leader of an MDC break-away party, became Deputy Prime Minister.

Tsvangirai claims Mugabe is failing to abide by the Global Political Agreement (GPA) - signed in September 2008 - which constitutes the basis of the unity government.

Mugabe has unilaterally appointed ZANU-PF stalwarts as attorney-general and governor of the Reserve Bank, but has refused to appoint five MDC provincial governors.

He has also refused to swear in MDC treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister. Bennett has been in a long-running legal battle, in which a variety of charges have been levelled - and then dropped - including sedition and a conspiracy to assassinate Mugabe.

In turn Mugabe claims that Tsvangirai has failed to persuade the US and European Union (EU) to lift targeted sanctions against him and more than 200 other ZANU-PF members.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said after a recent meeting of the party's Politburo that there would be no concessions from ZANU-PF until "Tsvangirai and his Western allies remove their sanctions so that children can go to school, the sick can be attended to in hospitals, people can find jobs and farmers produce."

''There should be a land audit to bring sanity and order to the farming industry, but there are continued invasions and disruptions on farms''
Tsvangirai has routinely said that the decision to lift US and EU sanctions, which include travel restrictions and the freezing of bank accounts under their jurisdiction, rested with those that had imposed them.

However, a recent statement by Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, that the removal of sanctions would be determined on the advice of the MDC, is seen as undermining Tsvangirai's stance.

The MDC won a parliamentary majority in the 2008 elections but Mugabe won a run-off presidential poll unopposed when Tsvangirai withdrew in protest over the political violence; the run-off was declared unfree and unfair. ZANU-PF has been accused of ongoing violence and intimidation.

In 2000 Mugabe launched the fast-track land reform programme, in which white-owned farms were seized and redistributed to landless blacks. The chaotic programme led to the collapse of the agricultural sector and contributed to the dire food shortages in Zimbabwe during most of the past decade.

Farm disruptions

"Two of the key provisions under the GPA are that there should be a land audit to bring sanity and order to the farming industry, but there are continued invasions and disruptions on farms," said Morgan Komichi, the MDC's deputy organising secretary.

There have been persistent allegations that farms were being given to senior ZANU-PF members and high ranking officials in the security services. "Those with multiple farms are probably behind the chaos, as they have violated the principle of 'one person, one farm'," said Komichi.

"Another key provision is the constitution-making process, which has again been stalled. ZANU-PF fears that a new constitution would make them lose power. We believe a new people-driven constitution is part of a democratisation agenda."

The unity government ended hyperinflation, which was being measured in the quintillions of percent, by abolishing the Zimbabwe dollar and allowing the US dollar, South African rand and Botswana pula to be used as currency.

After a year, "Other than the cosmetic changes that you see, whereby people are generally free to meet in some areas, and a slight improvement in terms of the availability of goods ... we have no currency of our own," said Wellington Chibhebhe, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the country's largest labour federation.

"What that means is that only a few can afford those goods, which is why the entire public workforce has gone on strike. There are people out there who have never handled a US$20 bill. Our industries have not been revived, so we are essentially a supermarket economy where goods are brought in from South Africa," he told IRIN.

''The two main political parties have benefited immensely from the marriage of convenience''
"The two main political parties have benefited immensely from the marriage of convenience. The GNU helped to resuscitate ZANU-PF, which was on the verge of extinction, while the MDC has benefited from the visibility that comes with being in the inclusive government, which they were denied in the past," Chibhebhe commented.

In a bid to kick-start the ailing economy and salvage public services, the unity government lured civil servants back to work with an across-the-board hard currency salary of US$100, which has increased incrementally over the year.

In February 2010 public servants began an indefinite national strike, demanding a monthly salary of $502. They have been offered an extra $17 on their current $160 monthly salary.

Beasts of burden

"Why do we, as teachers and other civil servants, have to sacrifice all the time? We are told that we have to be patient because the economy is not performing well," said Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.

"We are tired of this, because we also have bills and rentals and transport costs. We are therefore not going back to work until there is seriousness on the part of the government in terms of giving workers realistic salaries," he told IRIN.

Pedzisayi Ruhanya, programme manager of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a non-governmental organisation advocating human rights and democratisation, told IRIN: "Certainly, there are measures of success in that before the GNU, schools had closed while hospitals had also closed, but they were revived following the GNU."

He told IRIN: "As a transitional government we should have been moving towards a new democratic culture with new institutions, but that has not happened. The constitution-making process has been stalled at each and every opportunity, media reforms have not been undertaken ... [and] the security forces continue to operate from ZANU-PF's armpit as a partisan force."


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

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