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Mugabe rival expelled as party faces paralysis

The Telegraph

By Byron Dziva in Harare
Last Updated: 6:46pm GMT 12/02/2008

The former Zimbabwe government minister planning to challenge Robert
Mugabe in the presidential election next month was expelled on Tuesday from
the country's ruling party.

Zanu-PF said that it was expelling Simba Makoni, a highly regarded
former finance minister, with immediate effect.

"The rules are very clear that anyone who tries to challenge an
elected candidate of the party stands expelled," said Nathan Shamuyarira,
the Zanu-PF spokesman.

Nomination papers must be filed for the election by Friday. The
expulsion will weaken Mr Makoni's resonance on the ballot paper as he cannot
use the party's name, which is iconic in Zimbabwe.

But it opens the way for a formal split in Zanu-PF, which has ruled
the country with Mr Mugabe at its head since independence in 1980.

The mismanagement of recent years has brought Zimbabwe to its knees,
with inflation officially at 26,000 per cent, basic commodities unavailable,
unemployment around 80 per cent, and millions in need of food aid.

Now, though, the party is deeply divided and Mr Mugabe has had to use
his vaunted skills as an arch-manipulator to their utmost to keep it

His chances of winning the presidential election on March 29 might
depend on how much of the party will stay loyal to him.

Control of the Zanu-PF machinery in the provinces is crucial to
election campaigning and, in a climate where rigging is common, election

Self-interest will be key, and if momentum builds behind Mr Makoni it
could become fatal for Mr Mugabe, 83, even though he declared yesterday: "I
am very raring to go and raring to fly."

Party insiders said that the atmosphere at its Harare headquarters was
tense, with the senior hierarchy unable to "trust each other any more".

Some were "sitting on the fence not knowing which direction the wind
will blow".

The anti-Mugabe vote could be split between Mr Makoni and the divided
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Mark Malloch-Brown, Britain's Africa minister, said that at present
"the odds are against" a free and fair vote.

He said that an estimated three million Zimbabweans outside the
country had been "essentially disenfranchised" and that an "apparatus of
intimidation and fear" surrounded Mr Mugabe.

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Odds against fair Zimbabwe elections-Britain


Tue 12 Feb 2008, 12:45 GMT

By Adrian Croft

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The odds are against Zimbabwe's elections next
month being free or fair despite South African efforts to mediate between
President Robert Mugabe and the opposition, Britain's Africa minister said
in an interview.

The 83-year-old Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in
1980 and is seeking another five-year term in the March 29 presidential,
parliamentary and council elections.

"We want to keep an open mind on this ... but the omens and early signs are
not good," Africa Minister Mark Malloch-Brown said, adding "the odds are
against" a free and fair vote.

Malloch-Brown said Mugabe had "bulldozed" aside the opposition's request for
a delay, there wasn't time to campaign adequately, three million Zimbabwe
citizens outside the country had been "essentially disenfranchised" and
there was an "apparatus of intimidation and fear" surrounding Mugabe.

Malloch-Brown said in an interview on Monday that the decision by former
Finance Minister Simba Makoni to run against Mugabe was "a very interesting
development". Makoni was expelled from the ruling party on Tuesday for
challenging Mugabe.

The polls take place against a backdrop of economic meltdown in what was
once one of Africa's most prosperous economies, with runaway inflation, mass
unemployment and severe food shortages.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has been mediating between Mugabe's
government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at the
urging of a regional grouping.

The MDC called Mugabe's election announcement last month a slap in the face
for the South African-mediated talks to hammer out a new constitution.


Western governments have accused Mugabe of gross human rights violations and
British relations with its former colony Zimbabwe have been particularly

Prime Minister Gordon Brown shunned a European Union summit on Africa
because Mugabe was attending. The Zimbabwean leader has described Britain's
leaders as "kids" and said their efforts to isolate the country were

Malloch-Brown said that Mbeki had won some significant changes in Zimbabwe
with the repeal of "some particularly ugly laws (and) on some other issues."

"But some of them won't even be implemented until after the elections and
those that have, have been implemented too late to really make a difference
in terms of campaigning," he said.

In a speech on Friday, Mbeki said the rival Zimbabwean parties had agreed on
the constitution, security, media and electoral laws -- with only the
"procedural matter" outstanding of the timing of the enactment of the new

Timing is crucial. The opposition says the new constitution must be in place
before the election to ensure a fair poll and Mugabe insists implementation
be delayed until afterwards.

"(Mbeki's) exercise was very important and very useful but he was mediating
in a situation where there was a president who had no intention of giving up
his absolute grip on power," Malloch-Brown said. (Editing by David Clarke
and Keith Weir)

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Tsvangirai robbed at gun point in Jo'burg

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 13 February 2008

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was last night
robbed at gun point in Johannesburg, South Africa, but escaped unhurt in the
latest high-profile case of armed violence to hit South Africa.

Tsvangirai's spokesman, George Sibochiwe, told ZimOnline last night that the
armed robbers pounced at the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party's regional offices in Braynston, northern Johannesburg.

Sibochiwe said the armed robbers took bags, clothing, cell phones as well as
laptops with sensitive information. The MDC leader was however not hurt
during the robbery.

ZimOnline could not get immediate comment from South African police last

Armed robberies and hijackings are common in Johannesburg which is
considered among one of the most violent cities in the world. - ZimOnline

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Worst violence predicted in Makoni’s home area

Zim Online

by Simplicious Chirinda Wednesday 13 February 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe faces a fresh upsurge in politically motivated violence in
the coming weeks, with the eastern Manicaland province - home to ruling ZANU
PF party rebel Simba Makoni - likely to see the worst violence, a local
human rights group said on Tuesday.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said combined council, parliamentary and
presidential elections that are one and half months away could turn out to
be the most violent in a decade, adding food aid was also increasingly being
used as a political tool with villagers being asked to produce ZANU PF
membership cards to get aid.

Politically motivated violence and human rights abuses have accompanied
Zimbabwe’s elections since the emergence in 1999 of the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party as the first potent threat to
President Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF’s stranglehold on power.

“The country’s usual political hotspots are likely to be as violent as they
have been over the years,” said ZPP national director Jestina Mukoko during
presentation of a report on political violence and rights abuses during
previous national polls in 2000, 2002 and 2005.

“We are going to have an upsurge of political violence especially in
Manicaland from where new political entrant Simba Makoni hails,” said
Mukoko, who largely blamed politically motivated violence on militant
supporters of Mugabe and ZANU PF.

Makoni, who was a member of ZANU PF’s inner politburo cabinet, last week
shook Zimbabwe’s political establishment to the core when he announced that
he would challenge Mugabe in the March 29 presidential poll to be held
together with parliamentary and council elections.

ZANU PF on Tuesday announced Makoni’s expulsion from the party while war
veterans have labeled Makoni a sellout and called for him to be beaten up.

The veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war are hardliner supporters
of Mugabe who he has used in the past to intimidate opponents. The war
veterans led Mugabe’s controversial farm seizure programme, beating and
killing several white farmers in a bid to force them to surrender their

Painting a deem picture ahead, Mukoko said the law appeared temporarily
suspended during election times with marauding bands of war veterans and
ZANU PF youths allowed to harass and intimidate suspected members of the

“It seems as if the law is suspended during election time,” said Mukoko.

“People are forced to chant party slogans and produce ruling ZANU PF party
cards before they can get food aid and people committing these heinous
crimes are doing so with impunity,” she said, adding that ZPP researchers
had also been subjected to violence as they carried out their work in the

In addition to Manicaland, the ZPP also singled out Masvingo and Midlands
provinces as the most volatile. The two provinces recorded the highest
number of assaults, rape, murder, destruction of property, torture camps and
incidents of civil servants harassment over the last three elections,
according to the group.

The ZPP spoke as Britain – which is Zimbabwe’s former colonial master, also
questioned the chances of the southern African country’ polls being free and

British Africa Minister Mark Malloch-Brown said the odds are against
Zimbabwe's elections being free or fair despite South African efforts to
mediate between Mugabe and the opposition.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Church’s human rights arm also voiced concern over the
polls, which it said were already marred by questions over the legality of
the government commission tasked to run the polls.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) said preparations for
the elections were hurried, while there was inadequate education of voters,
a situation it said has led to confusion and reduced prospects of truly
democratic polls. - ZimOnline

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Group demands new body to run Zimbabwe elections

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou  Wednesday 13 February 2008

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was not appointed in terms
of the law and should be disbanded and a new committee set up to run polls
next month, the Zimbabwe Catholic Church’s human rights arm said on Tuesday.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) said preparations for
the March 29 elections were hurried, while there was inadequate education of
voters, a situation it said has led to confusion and reduced prospects of
truly democratic polls.

"The appointment and composition of the electoral body, the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, is illegal after the amendment. We strongly recommend
that the old ZEC be dissolved with immediate effect and a new one be
appointed in terms of the new law," the CCJP said in a statement.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and human
rights groups say a constitutional amendment last September provides for the
creation of a new and independent ZEC to oversee registration of voters,
demarcation of voting constituencies and overall management of elections.

The government has rejected opposition requests to appoint a new commission
to run polls and merely tasked the old commission to carry out the new
functions stipulated under Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act Number 18.

Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, an ally of President Robert Mugabe who is
accused of manipulating the voters’ roll to ensure victory for the
government, has also continued registering voters despite the new
constitutional provision.

The CCJP said there was confusion among voters over voting procedures during
the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections that are
being held at the same time for the first time since Zimbabwe’s 1980
independence from Britain.

“We note with grave concern that there had been inadequate preparation and
voter education on the electoral process in the new harmonised elections
such that confusion continues to exist today as to the manner in which such
elections will be conducted," the CCJP said.

The group lamented the fact that barely seven weeks before voting, the
public remained in the dark over new boundaries for parliamentary
constituencies and council wards. It also remained hazy which political
parties would contest the elections or who the candidates would be.

The CCJP also raised concern over the fact that an estimated three million
Zimbabweans living and working abroad and all eligible to vote would be
excluded from voting because the government did not provide facilities for
exiled Zimbabweans to participate in the polls.

ZEC spokesman Utoile Silaigwana was not immediately available for comment on
the matter.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis critics blame on
misrule by Mugabe and that is seen in the world’s highest inflation rate of
more than 26 000 percent, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a
country not at war according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign
currency, food and fuel.

Analysts say truly democratic polls are a key requirement to any plan to
pluck Zimbabwe out of a deepening crisis. - ZimOnline

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Woza Surprise Police With a 'Valentine's Day' Demo in Bulawayo

SW Radio Africa (London)

12 February 2008
Posted to the web 12 February 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

Catching the police off guard, the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) conducted
their annual Valentine's Day demonstration on the streets of Bulawayo on
Tuesday. Coordinator Jenni Williams said she was pleased that about 600-700
members participated this year. They decided to hold the event earlier to
avoid any violent disruptions by the police.

The WOZA members distributed roses to the police and the general public, as
is their tradition, along with flyers urging Zimbabweans to take a stand on
issues affecting their children. Williams added: "We know things are tough
but we think this is the time for us to really defend the country's future
and stand up for our children."

Williams said there were some vehicles with senior police officials present
as the demonstration began. By the time riot police arrived the activists
had completed their route and were already dispersing.

The outspoken activist took the opportunity to criticise the amendments to
the Public Order and Security Act, that resulted from the SADC initiated
talks between the ruling party and the opposition. She said: "I think other
organisations and political parties should recognise that this new POSA
doesn't bring any change, any improvement in freedoms of expression and
assembly. Because we sprung a surprise and we were peaceful today, we
managed to live to fight another day."

The amendments to POSA were supposed to take away from the police the power
to ban public gatherings by civil groups and political parties. But the
changes have been criticised as being purely cosmetic. The police continue
to apply the law selectively, banning rallies by the MDC, the Zimbabwe
National Students Union and other organisations. Pro-government elements
such as the war veterans conduct public demonstrations without any police

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Group of Amnesty International's Irish Section, have
organized an action in Dublin on Valentine's Day, in solidarity with WOZA.
Coordinator Andrew Furlong said that on Thursday they would be distributing
460 roses imported from Zimbabwe, along with a flyer that raises awareness
of the human rights abuses Zimbabweans are facing at home and in the various
countries where they have settled.

The Amnesty Zimbabwe Group will also be performing their play titled "A
Footprint of Roses" on Friday. It tells the story of a group of WOZA women
who have been arrested and are in the police cells. Furlong said one of them
is pregnant and she begins to miscarry after she is kicked in the stomach by
a police officer. The play will be followed by a panel discussion on the
human rights issues raised in the play and those experienced by Zimbabweans
around the world.

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Kunonga Thugs Barricade Cathedral Once Again

SW Radio Africa (London)

12 February 2008
Posted to the web 12 February 2008

Lance Guma

The drama in the Anglican Church continues unabated with reports that thugs
aligned to ousted Bishop Nolbert Kunonga barricaded the main cathedral
Sunday to block a service by followers of new Bishop Sebastian Bakare.

A High Court order put in place a 90-minute separation between services led
by Kunonga and those led by Bakare, but so far Kunonga's camp is violating
that arrangement. St Mary's cathedral in Harare was once again the scene of
devilish behaviour as a rowdy mob of Kunonga 'parishioners' blocked a second
service that was supposed to follow soon after theirs. Police had to be
called in to restore order after Kunonga's people, led by Reverend Morris
Brown Gwedegwe, blocked Bakare's followers from entering the building.

Disregarding the court order Rev Gwedegwe vowed they would not open the
doors to the church. He told journalists, 'I told them we are not going to
open the church. If they want to share the buildings they can go to the
parishes, not the chief's place. For those who want to pray, services will
be held here every Sunday between 7:00 and 11:00am but under Bishop Kunonga.
We do not want people here. They wanted to force their way in, but we
stopped them. How can you enthrone a chief where there is already a chief.'
Meanwhile Bishop Bakare castigated Kunonga for his behaviour saying it was
damaging the image of the church. Speaking on our Behind the Headlines
series Bakare's said it was clear Kunonga has the backing of Zanu PF and the
police, given the impunity he displays; 'The politicians expelled Simba
Makoni for contesting as an independent yet the same politicians expect a
Bishop, who withdrew himself from the province, to remain a member of the

Last week 69 members of the 'Mother's Union' tried to evict a Kunonga priest
in Glen View. The women from St Andrews parish are accused of destroying
property at Rev Martin Zifoti's home. Bakare however says the women as
parishioners are the rightful owners of the rectory and had every right to
demand his eviction since he was part of Kunonga's breakaway and had no
legal right to use the property. Rev Zifoti also allegedly incurred the
wrath of the women after he threw their choir clothes outside the church.
Police moved quickly to arrest the women and Bakare says this shows their
double standards, because Kunonga who is blocking the cathedral every Sunday
has not been arrested.

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Thousands Rush to Check Voters' Roll As Deadline Looms

SW Radio Africa (London)

12 February 2008
Posted to the web 12 February 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

Thousands of people countrywide are rushing to meet Thursday's deadline to
register to vote in next month's general election, amid reports that many
registered voters have had their names deleted from the voters' roll.

A snap survey carried out by our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa in
Kuwadzana constituency in the capital on Tuesday, revealed that five out of
ten people who checked the voters' roll found out that their names had been
deleted after registering to vote last year.

'By coincidence some of the people who had their names missing had foreign
surnames but were born in Zimbabwe and are Zimbabwean citizens. These people
all voted in 2005 and they were shocked not to see their names on the
voters' roll. Others had Zimbabwean names but still could not find their
names,' Muchemwa said.

The government's Election Commission reported in December that over five
million people had registered to vote in the March elections, but the
opposition parties insist the voters roll is in a shambles. Muchemwa said
the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network has also reported that it
has received numerous complaints from individuals whose names do not appear
on the voters' roll.

'The voters' roll is widely believed to be in shambles. A detailed analysis
of only 3 constituencies' voters' rolls used in the presidential election in
March 2002 indicated that as many as 2 million voters out of 5 million on
the roll were either dead, not known at a registered address, or had
duplicate entries,' said Muchemwa.

He added that a check he did on the Kuwadzana voters' roll revealed as many
as 15 people residing in a single house. This is a system generally used by
Zanu-PF to rig elections. It is very rare for a family in the country to
have 15 adults of voting age to be living under the same roof.

'This is how Zanu-PF rigs the election. Because of stringent rules that
they've introduced, such as producing identity cards, a letter from a land
lord of you don't own a house, it is easy to register a bunch of people
under the same roof as long as you belong to Zanu-PF structures in the
area,' Muchemwa said.

Constitutional Amendment No. 18 signed into law last year, created an
additional 60 constituencies and brought the total representatives in the
House of Assembly up to 210, from 150.

The Zimbabwe Election Commission claims that 5,612,464 are registered to
vote. They divide this by 210 constituencies saying that this gives an
average figure of 26,726 voters per constituency.

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Maize Meal, Zimbabwean Staple Food, Hard To Find And Expensive


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      12 February 2008

Extreme shortages of the Zimbabwean staple food of maize meal in stores are
driving consumers into the black or parallel market where a 5 kilogram bag
of the commodity costs Z$10 million (US$1.50), compared with an approved
price of Z$145,000.

Officials at the Grain Marketing Board said the state grain monopoly has
imported enough maize to meet national needs, but cannot transport it to GMB
depots around the country. They accused some millers of diverting grain to
the black market.

Spokesman Richard Lee of the World Food Program's Southern African office in
Johannesburg said his agency is providing food aid to some 2.8 million
Zimbabweans and will try to reach the same number next month before scaling
down operations.

The agency estimates that some 4.1 million Zimbabweans need food aid.

Affirmative Action Group National Vice President Sam Ncube told reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the agency should
review the official price of maize, which he said has contributed to the

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That's a shock: the power's on

The Times
February 13, 2008

Harare Notebook: in Zimbabwe even the dogs have to be careful when the
electricity's off
Jan Raath
There was a large explosion like a mortar bomb at 9.15am. The power went
off. “That is now the sixth time,” said Stanford the gardener.

It is a decaying old 11kV cable just down the road that keeps on blowing.
Most of the suburb is in darkness for about a week until the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority sends someone to reconnect it and bind it up
with brightly coloured insulation tape. It lasts until the next rainstorm
when water seeps in and the join short-circuits spectacularly. It should be
bonded with an impermeable jointing kit, but Zesa has no money to import

I walked over to have a look. A ditch has been dug around the fault and the
cable rests on two stout branches. Zesa had to dig out the cable next to the
corner of a concrete wall that has half-collapsed into the ditch. A metre or
so of blue plastic ribbon had been draped on to the cable as a warning but
was now covered in mud and the words “danger electricity” were barely

The blasted ends of the join looked like a pair of charred two-fingered
hands cauterised as they stretched to clasp each other. Beneath it, in a
puddle at the bottom of the ditch, was a black and tan young dog. It was
alive. It was trembling and breathing heavily, and its eyes were glazed.

I can only think that it was passing the ditch and lifted its leg on the
imperfectly wrapped cable and took the equivalent of a bolt of lightning in
a painful place.
The cable was still live, so I left the dog there. I went to report the
fault to Zesa and to pay my month's bill of Zim$3 million, which is worth
about 50p, and the reason why Zesa has no money to buy jointing kits. In its
determination to ensure the people have cheap electricity and vote for
President Mugabe, the Government has caused a functioning power utility to
wither, forcing the poor to rely on firewood and the better-off on
generators, both at enormous cost to their respective resources.

I returned to find the dog gone but a small gathering of neighbours around
the ditch. A young man emerged from over the road, asking if anyone had seen
his puppy. I described the animal that had been in the ditch. His face
clouded over in distress. But we agreed it could have been far worse than a
shaken dog.

After a year of worsening power cuts, we have learnt that it is pointless to
throw up our hands in despair. Dave from down the road took his pickup to
the nearby Zesa depot and collected a few technicians. They jumped in with
alacrity. When he fetched them after the last explosion, they got sadza (the
local staple, stiff maizemeal porridge) for lunch. I offered a couple of
rolls of insulation tape. Mrs Chikwine has been collecting money so her
husband can buy a jointing kit when he next goes to South Africa.

Only 30 hours later came the sound that brings a sensation close to ecstasy,
the thump and hum of the fridge as the power comes back on. Power to the

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Zimbabwe's inflation woes continue


    February 12 2008 at 02:45PM

Johannesburg/Harare - A shocking new range of price increases were
announced on Tuesday as Zimbabwe's world record hyperinflation spun further
out of control, with charges for mobile phone calls soaring by nearly 1 700
per cent.

The official National Incomes and Prices Commission said international
calls were up to Zim$1,2million from Zim$67 400 per minute, while local
calls shot up by 600 per cent from Zim$43 000 to Zim$300 000.

However, the new prices were accompanied by a sharp new fall in the
value of the Zimbabwe dollars on the illegal black market exchange rate
which is used exclusively in private trade and business.

The basic rate of the Zimbabwe dollar fell from Zim$5,5-million to the
US dollar at the end of last week to Zim$7,5-million being quoted on
Tuesday. It means a local mobile call will cost the equivalent of 4 US

This time last year, one US dollar was Zim$3 000.

The prices commission also announced that the price of a 50 kilogram
bag of cement had gone to Zim$88-million from about 4-million on the black
market in December, an increase of 1,200 percent.

Cement has been in critically short supply for months, because
factories stopped producing after the commission forced them to sell it at
less than it cost them to manufacture.

Commission chairman Godwills Masimirembwa said cement had become
available after the commission granted an increase in the price of coal used
in the production of cement. For months coal has been selling at the
equivalent of a couple of US dollars a ton.

Companies complain that the commission takes weeks to consider
applications for price increases and by the time it grants an increase,
inflation has taken the cost of production way beyond what they had asked

The ministry of finance in September last year barred its central
statistical office's monthly issue of inflation figures, but the central
bank announced last month that inflation at November stood at 26 000
percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that by the end of
last year it hit 150 000 percent.

Economists blame President Robert Mugabe's reckless economic policies,
chiefly his instructions to the central bank to print local currency to meet
any shortfall in state spending, and on price controls.

A new Zim$10-million note introduced last month now is just enough to
buy three copies of the state daily propaganda Herald newspaper.

Basic food commodities have also been hit there are times when
tractors are used to carry 10 crates of beer inflation, with bread rising
from Zim$1,5-million a loaf last month to 3,7-million now, the price hikes
compounded by a collapse in agricultural production triggered in 2000 with
Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms, which drove about 4$nbsp;000 farmers
and their families and about a million farm workers and their families from
the land.

Last year the regime launched a massive drive to resuscitate crop and
livestock output, promising ample supplies of seed, fertiliser and
pesticides, and also spending US$25-million on importing 2 125 tractors, 85
combine harvesters and other equipment for distribution among newly
resettled farmers.

It said the 2007-2008 summer cropping period would be "the mother of
all agricultural seasons."

However, the government has since admitted that seed and fertilisers
supplies were far short of demand. On Tuesday, minister of agricultural
mechanisation Joseph Made said the Government was "concerned" with the abuse
of the recently distributed equipment.

He said tractors were not maintained and many were being used as buses
to ferry people in rural areas, while others "spend their time parked at
beer halls.

"There are times when tractors are used to carry 10 crates of beer
when they should be used for work in the fields. I know there are transport
problems, but that is not a passport to abuse tractors," he said. - Sapa-dpa

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Mugabe 'raring to go' for elections

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

12 February 2008 10:47

       Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has said he is "raring to go"
in general elections next month despite the first challenge for 20 years
from within his ruling party.

      Mugabe -- who turns 84 years old next week and has been the
Southern African nation's sole ruler since independence from Britain in
1980 -- is seeking another five-year term in the March 29 presidential,
parliamentary and council elections.

      The veteran Zimbabwe leader, who analysts had predicted was
assured of victory against a weak and divided opposition, now has to contend
with one of his senior ruling Zanu-PF officials, former finance minister
Simba Makoni, in the presidential race.

      "I am very raring to go and raring to fly," Mugabe said in
remarks broadcast on state television on Tuesday, waving his trademark
clenched fists in a sign of defiance.

      Mugabe has said his party would secure a landslide election
victory to silence the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
and shame Western critics he accuses of funding his opponents to remove him
from power.

      But analysts say the entry of Makoni, a member of the ruling
party's decision-making politburo, shows internal divisions in the Zanu-PF
that could leave Mugabe weaker even if he wins.

      Makoni says he is backed by senior party officials who are,
however, yet to publicly show their support.

      The Zanu-PF politburo was expected to meet on Tuesday to
finalise a list of candidates for the elections and take an official
position on Makoni's move. The body also met on Monday but no decision was

       Some members of Mugabe's Cabinet have lost in the party primary

      Sabina Mugabe, the veteran Zimbabwe leader's younger sister who
has been a legislator for more than two decades, said she would not stand
for health reasons.

      Analysts say shortages of food, foreign currency and fuel, and
the world's highest inflation rate -- officially pegged at 26 000% -- are
the biggest challenge to Mugabe's rule.

      The MDC has failed to capitalise on Mugabe's failure to ease the
crisis and it remains to be seen if daily hardships will push Zimbabweans to
support Makoni.

      'Old wine in a new bottle'
      Meanwhile, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
confirmed on Sunday he would stand for president at elections next month.

      "I confirm myself, together with the comrades behind me, that we
are going to contest the presidential, parliamentary, senatorial and local
government elections," the MDC leader told reporters.

      "I want to confirm that I am going to be the presidential
candidate and what you see behind me is the team that I am going to work
with in the forthcoming campaigns," he added in a briefing attended by
lawmakers and top officials.

      Tsvangirai praised Makoni as a patriot but said he bore some
responsibility for the state of the country as a long-time member of
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF.

      "Dr Makoni has been part of the establishment for the last 30
years and has witnessed our country deteriorate to this unprecedented level.
He is equally accountable as Robert Mugabe for the omissions of Zanu-PF,"
Tsvangirai said.

      "I believe that what Dr Makoni is trying is to reform an
institutionalised dictatorship. That is not my agenda.

      "I am the leader of the MDC ... Dr Makoni is nothing more than
old wine in a new bottle."

       Tsvangirai lost to Mugabe in the last elections in 2002 in a
poll Western observers said was rigged. His party has since been riven by
divisions and he has been unable to persuade a splinter faction to unite
behind his candidacy.

      The MDC leader was confident his party would be the rightful
winners but sceptical that Mugabe would allow a level playing field at the
election. -- Reuters, AFP

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Voter Registration & Verification Extended In Zimbabwe - But Until When?


By Carole Gombakomba
11 February 2008

With just seven weeks to go to presidential, general and local elections in
Zimbabwe, there is considerable confusion among voters, civil rights
advocates and officials as to how many more days Zimbabweans have to
register and inspect the voters roll.

Civic organizations said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, already under
criticism for the way in which it redistricted to add 90 new elective
constituencies and its failure to make basic information on the delimitation
results widely available, has issued conflicting statements on the extension
of registration and inspection deadlines.

The government announced last week that it was putting off nomination courts
to give all political parties more time to select candidates, which legal
experts took to mean that related deadlines for registration and list
inspect would also be pushed off.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper on Monday quoted the ZEC as saying
voter registration, originally scheduled to end February 7, would run
through Wednesday, Feb. 13. But the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and
other civil society groups said voter registration should continue through
Thursday, Feb. 14.

Registration centers are supposed to be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Nomination courts are expected to sit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb.

National Coordinator Xolani Zitha of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which
is urging young people in particular to register, told reporter Carole
Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that that although the response
has seemed strong in urban areas, rural inhabitants have not received enough
information on the process.

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‘Zimbabwe action needed’

Religious Intelligence

Tuesday, 12th February 2008. 5:29pm

It is “incomprehensible” that the Government has been unable to bring
more international pressure on Robert Mugabe, the Bishop of Southwark has

The Rt Rev Tom Butler praised the bravery of people in Zimbabwe and
said the church offered some hope, during a debate on the troubled country
in the House of Lords last week.

He said: “Given the scale of suffering in Zimbabwe, and the total
collapse of the economy, it seems incomprehensible that it has been
impossible for Her Majesty’s Government to achieve more international
support for their efforts to bring pressure to bear on the Mugabe

“President Mugabe’s apparent ability to act decisively on land reform
has impressed many in Africa. We know that the short cuts taken to land
reform through violent farm seizures were disastrous, involving the transfer
of land to ZANU-PF supporters, regardless of their ability to farm, and
often on the basis of cronyism. “Agriculture has been devastated, which,
along with poor harvests and drought, has turned the bread basket of Africa
into an unproductive wasteland.” He said that in Zimbabwean churches people
“find the most essential human quality — hope for the future”.

Bishop Butler added: “Because the church is often the most extensive
and deeply rooted community-based network, it also reflects the tensions and
divisions of the world in which it is set. “Recently in the diocese of
Harare, there has been a tremendous battle for the soul of the church, with
a close political ally of President Mugabe, Bishop Kunonga, driving out
clergy who oppose him.

“The province acted and removed him from office. On February 3, a new
bishop was installed, with more than 700 people worshipping with him at
short notice. “The good news is that this demonstrates how the brave people
of Zimbabwe, given the opportunity, are more than ready to take
responsibility for governance. “What can happen at the heart of the church
can happen at the heart of Government,” he said. Please, God, may it do so
before too long.”

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WOZA  Caught  Police Unaware

The Zimbabwean

Tuesday, 12 February 2008 13:38

BULAWAYO:--Police were caught flatfooted this morning  in Zimbabwe’s
second largest city, Bulawayo by about 1500 Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
activists who took to the streets in commemoration of this year’s Valentines
Day which is on Thursday.

The WOZA activists - who sang songs denouncing Zanu-PF led government
for plunging the country into an economic crisis - marched about six blocks
of streets of Bulawayo, distributing fliers demanding a better future for
the children.
No one was arrested during the lunch hour marches that brought
business to a halt and jammed traffic in the Bulawayo Central Business
District (CBD). Police who are known to brutally put down any street protest
were nowhere to be seen.
According to WOZA spokesperson, Jenny Williams, the march was in
commemoration of this year’s Valentines Day. Williams said the pressure
group was this year pressing for a better future for the country’s children
she said had been made bleak by the Zanu-PF led government.
“Every parent wants the best for their child. Yet in Zimbabwe of
today, our children are being sacrificed on the altar of political power by
a bunch of corrupt thieves. Our children expect us to defend their right to
a brighter future,” Williams said.
WOZA has been pioneering women's, children's and poor people's rights
and challenging undemocratic laws which the police were using to arbitrarily
arrest anyone who protests about the failings of government.
The march by the WOZA activists comes days after members of the
pressure group were arrested in Harare last Thursday for attending the
National Peoples’ Convention that started on Friday.
The police descended on the WOZA members in Africa Unity Square, where
they had gone due to delays checking into their hotel.
Riot police arrived in several vehicles and the WOZA women had their
bags  searched. Williams said the police found WOZA scarves and literature
and took the activists to Harare Central where the assaults took place.
Last month, police arrested MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai after the
opposition led formation called for a march to protest against Zimbabwe’s
economic crisis and to demand a new constitution before elections due in
The police, who arrested Tsvangirai over the march but later released
him without charge, initially allowed the march only to go back on their
decision, saying they were banning the march because the MDC had broken an
agreement reached at a meeting last week.

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Today's photo: Dam opens, southern Africa braces for widespread flooding

 USA Today


Mackson Wasamunu of Reuters took this photo after the spillway gates were opened yesterday at a large dam on the Zambezi River along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Deutsche Presse Agentur says water levels, which were already high in Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, are expected to rise in the coming days.

Kafue_amo_2008039Agencia de Informção de Moçambique, the state news agency, reported yesterday that 95,000 are homeless because of the flooding. AIM says 150,000 people don't have enough to eat. And the World Food Program estimates that it will have to help 258,000 people until March, at the earliest.

The Director of the Mozambican government's relief agency tells AIM that sanitation is far more important than food at this point. "Lack of hygiene kills many more people than hunger does," Paulo Zuculo is quoted as saying.

Reuters says military units are on alert in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

You can get a sense of the proportions of this catastrophe by looking at the satellite images to the right. NASA took the bottom photo in December and the top photo last week.

As you can see, the Kafue River now covers a large swath of land in Zambia. "The river, black in this image, balloons around its dry-season channel," the space agency says. "The flooded river is shallow, and a web of green vegetation traces through the flood. Scattered clouds overhead are light blue and white."

Voice of America quotes regional reports that suggest heavy rains may continue until early spring.

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Water in Short Supply Despite Rain

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Bulawayo authorities’ standoff with Harare over utilities takeover
aggravates shortage of mains water.

By Joseph Nhlanhla in Harare (AR No. 156, 12-Feb-08)

A young woman stoops by the roadside in one of Bulawayo’s poor, high density
townships where a huge water-filled crater extends into the road.

The sight of this woman scooping water into a pail highlights the plight of
many in this city of more two million, where mains water cuts have continued
this year despite the heavy rains that have been pounding Zimbabwe since
last year.

“I use the water for ablution purposes,” she said after another round of
heavy rains hit Bulawayo recently.

While motorists curse the coming of the rain because of the deep potholes it
leaves in its wake, the craters have become a lifeline, of sorts, for

Bulawayo is facing its worst water crisis in years, and the city authorities
say they are not about to lift the stringent system of water rationing, even
though heavy rains are now filling up the reservoirs which supply the city.

At the council-run boreholes, long queues have become the order of the day
and tempers flare. Recently a man was struck on the head with a beer bottle
as residents fought over who should get water first.

While families have resorted to using rainwater from standing pools, it is
too dirty to be used for drinking or cooking.

Officials say the shortages are caused not by the lack of water as such, but
by the lack of foreign currency needed to purchase purification chemicals.

The shortage of potable water in Bulawayo is closely connected with a
standoff between the city authorities and the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority, ZINWA.

ZINWA is a recently-formed agency which is supposed to be taking from
municipal authorities as the supplier of water to all urban centres in
Zimbabwe. However, its performance to date has been heavily criticised, and
Bulawayo City Council - controlled by the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, MDC - has resisted the takeover. The government in Harare has made
it clear that as long as the takeover is resisted, the local authority will
not get any assistance from the centre.

“This is unprecedented,” a councillor told IWPR, speaking on condition of
anonymity. “The council is now begging for money from companies so it can
purchase water purification chemicals. This is a local authority and rightly
should get a government grant to deal with such issues.”

Council officials say it is government departments based in the city that
are the major defaulters, having run up trillions of Zimbabwean dollars – or
millions of US dollars - in unpaid water bills.

The city is also under pressure from the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission to keep water charges low, as part of the price-fixing policy the
government imposed to combat inflation last summer. The authorities in
Bulawayo say the resulting low revenue levels have also affected their
ability to treat and deliver water.

Further highlighting the extent of the city’s water woes, Bulawayo council
clinics are now asking expectant mothers to bring their own water with them
when they come in to give birth.

“What has compounded the matter for the pregnant women is that they now
spend days detained at the clinics as they cannot be released to return home
without fully paying the clinic bills,” said a nurse in one the council
clinics situated in one densely populated working class suburb.

Hospitals and clinics in Zimbabwe have resorted to detaining patients who
have not paid their bills, as a way of trying to recoup their costs. But the
longer the patients spend at clinics with no running water, the more they
expose themselves to infection, which can lead to an even longer stay in
hospital, the nurse added.

A city council spokesman said he was not aware that women were being asked
to bring their own water.

The lack of water has only compounded the power cuts that have caused chaos
at the city’s health institutions. There are reports that the outages have
proved fatal for patients at the city’s largest state-run hospital after
life-support machines have ground to a halt.

Zimbabwe imports electricity from countries like the South Africa,
Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and owes substantial sums
in back-payments to these countries.

In January, ZESA started supplying electricity to Namibia, aggravating the
power shortage on the national grid. It might seem strange that an export
contract should take precedence over domestic need, but the authorities
point out that the Namibians are investing large sums of money in
refurbishing Zimbabwe’s Hwange coal-fired power station, and the country
badly needs this foreign currency injection.

As the energy crisis deepens, both ZINWA and ZESA have refused to accept

In other cities where ZINWA has taken over mains water and sewerage, it
blames the shortage of electricity for its failure to maintain the
waterworks. For its part, ZESA says it has its own problems, including
vandals damaging substations.

Wherever the blame lies, Bulawayo’s residents are experiencing deprivations
that many say are the worst they can remember. It is something of a vicious
circle – with no electricity or fuel, many opt to cook meals outside on open
fires. But with the downpours continuing, it is often impossible to light a

As one resident told IWPR, “We cannot afford paraffin that would enable us
to prepare meals, so for us the power blackouts mean long hours without
eating anything as we do nothing but wait for the rain to stop.”

Joseph Nhlanhla is the pseudonym of an IWPR reporter in Bulawayo.

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Money sought for flood victims

JOHANNESBURG, 12 February 2008 (IRIN) - After barely recovering from last
year's floods and only halfway into the current rainy season, rivers have
spread far beyond their banks and predictions of more rain have led aid
agencies to call for US$89 million to keep four Southern African countries

Unusually early and heavy rains have destroyed the homes and the livelihoods
of nearly 450,000 people in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and
that number could rise to 1.3 million by April when the rain finally lets
up, said a UN Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP), launched on Monday.

"Regional forecasters predict above normal rainfall across most of Southern
Africa until April 2008, and national forecasters in all four affected
countries agree. We are also likely to experience cyclones before the
conclusion of the season. We therefore expect further flood related
displacement and damage," Kelly David, head of the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in southern Africa, told IRIN.

The international community has commended Southern African governments and
disaster management agencies, but acknowledged that the affected countries
were now being overwhelmed.

"Governments and their international partners were far better prepared this
year to respond to the floods. This is because we worked closely together
throughout 2007 to prepare for exactly this eventuality. As a result, relief
items had already been placed in areas likely be flooded and this enabled a
quicker response," David said.

"The governments have done an excellent job, and they urgently need the
support of the international community to ensure that all those displaced by
the floods receive the food, shelter, water, medicine and other basic
necessities they require to survive," said John Holmes, UN
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief

"Despite the scale of these floods, the governments and the international
humanitarian community have so far prevented this crisis from becoming a
catastrophe." Holmes warned that "Without additional funds, we might not be
able to cope if the situation does get worse - and that would leave large
numbers of people at greater risk."

A regional response

Mozambique has been hardest hit. The CAP appealed for over $35 million to
address the needs of more than 680,000 Mozambicans currently affected or at
immediate risk of floodwater. A statement released by OCHA noted that
"90,000 hectares of crops have been swamped, destroying the livelihoods of
many subsistence farming families."

"In Malawi, international partners are seeking about $17 million," OCHA
said, adding that flooding had hit 15 of the country's 28 districts,
affecting more than 152,000 people; over 700 cholera cases have been
reported so far and the situation would likely worsen in the coming weeks.
In Zambia $18.5 million was requested to assist 20,000 people, and in
Zimbabwe $15.8 million would be needed to help a further 15,000.

Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia have also experienced heavy rain that has
affected thousands but governments have not sought international assistance.
Parts of Madagascar, hit by Tropical Cyclone Fame earlier this month, have
also been flooded.

Ready for the rain

"We are only halfway through the rainy season and with more heavy rain
expected we must be able to assist potentially hundreds of thousands more
people," said Holmes.

The CAP document, titled Southern Africa Region Preparedness and Response
Plan, Floods 2008, which accompanied the appeal, pointed out that national
and regional meteorologists had predicted continued heavy rain and a
deteriorating humanitarian situation.

"This appeal, which is unusual in that seeks both to meet immediate needs
and also to manage the risks we face in the coming weeks from the continuing
rain, is a result of that cooperation and planning," David said.

"This plan seeks to change the pattern of previous appeals by seeking
funding before humanitarian needs are already acute and large scale. It
aruges that prevention is cheaper than remedy, and will help avert
suffering," she commented. In previous years appeals tended to be launched
after floods had peaked and humanitarian needs were extensive and immediate.

"There is an urgent need to prepare for this known and imminent threat and,
more important, [aid agencies] will be more effective in averting suffering
and deepening of vulnerability that would set back the region's development
agenda again," the CAP document said.

The funds would be used to provide vital food, water and sanitation
supplies, shelter, family kits, medicines and education materials. The
development of emergency preparedness, response and recovery measures,
including the pre-positioning of food and supplies, would be critical.

The flood-affected regions in the four countries have some of the highest
HIV prevalence rates in the world. According to the OCHA statement, "The
displacements and losses caused by floods will therefore have deeper
consequences on HIV-affected households by disrupting HIV services and by
undermining the ability of families to cope with the disease."

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

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Forty (40) families evicted in Glen View Plot One

12 February 2008

More than forty families in Glen View plot one, are set be homeless as they
have been given notice to vacate premises. The families who have been living
on this land for eight years will be homeless come May 2008. The plot which
was owned by their employer was sold two years ago and the new owner wants
to develop land for other business and residential purposes.

The date for the lapse of the notice falls on May, the month in which CHRA
and other progressive forces will be commemorating 3 years since Operation
Murambatsvina in which over 700 000 families were left homeless. The CHRA
information team talked to about 20 residents who gave the notice of
eviction to the Association. "If nothing is done to help us we will all be
homeless", said one old man as he shed tears. The letter written by
D.Munetsi investments asked the embattled residents to vacate the premises
by the end of three months. The Association has been working with this group
of residents to try and highlight their plight for shelter and basic social
services. Last year CHRA sourced a donation of food, blankets and pots for
the forty families.

The Association has developed and a will be facilitating a program on
Sustainable Dialogue for Community Development focusing on victims of
Operation Murambatsvina in order to allow them to drive the process for
their own development. It is hoped that this group will also have its own
dialogue platform where it will drive its programs and invite various
stakeholders of their choice who can assist them.

The Association will explore legal routes to try and assist the residents of
Glen View. The Association will also mobilize other stakeholders so that a
practical solution is found before the lapse of the notice. A protest march
is being organized as other solutions are being worked out. CHRA urges all
stakeholders to respond to the plight of these residents. The Government
cannot be expected to do anything as it has failed to assist people who were
affected by Operation Murambatsvina


Farai Barnabas Mangodza
Chief Executive Officer
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
145 Robert Mugabe Way
Exploration House, Third Floor
 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912638401, 011443578, 011862012 or email, and

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Zimbabwe - Choices

Mens News Daily

February 12, 2008 at 12:40 pm

In life you get to make choices - many of which are not really dramatic and
some that will change your life and circumstances for a long time. You do
not choose where you are born and raised - that is your parent's choice, but
thereafter those sorts of choices will come up from time to time for each of

I chose a career in agriculture and economics - not a real hard decision for
me as I had always wanted to work in agriculture - did not have the money to
farm so did the next best thing and became an economist and a commodity
specialist. I must say I have enjoyed working in this field and it has done
me well. I worked internationally and had several opportunities to leave the
country and work abroad. In 1976 I thought that Ian Smith would never give
in and that we faced a future where the small white community would be
beaten into the ground and the country burned and destroyed by a war we
could not win.

Many friends said to me that it was OK for me to choose to stay - but what
about our children? They did not have that choice - we were making it for
them. We decided to look at a job abroad and to do so we took a family
holiday in Europe. After this trip we came home and talked it through and
decided that Zimbabwe was home and we would stay. We are Christians and my
wife and I had prayed about the choice and both felt very strongly that our
leading was to remain in the country and tough it out.

Now we all have another choice to make - its decision time again for all
adult Zimbabweans who live here. We have several choices this time - the
main ones are the status quo (Mugabe and Zanu PF), Tsvangirai and the MDC;
and now the "Third Force" that has got everyone so excited and is made up of
a really motley crew - led by Simba Makoni with the backing of Ibo Mandaza,
Jonathan Moyo, Mujuru, Zinovashe and Mutambara!

Simba is an old friend and is one of the more decent and reasonable of the
Zanu PF stable of leadership. He has a nice smile, looks young although he
is well into his 50's and has been in the leadership of Zanu PF since
Independence. He does not have a very productive CV. He was fired twice as a
Minister, unusual for Mugabe, and was Secretary General of the SADC for 10
years during which not a great deal was achieved and he succeeded in
remaining silent while genocide was being committed at home.

The singular contribution that Makoni has made is to break the myth of Zanu
PF solidarity and hegemony. Since his nomination, Zanu has been is a state
of shock and disarray. It has broken the whole electoral process wide open
and nothing will be quite the same again. But is he really a choice?

Neither Makoni nor Mutambara offer a real alternative that can form a new
government and this is the central issue confronting all voters. Do we stay
with what we have, or do we choose change? The answer is obvious, but
somehow the personalities involved and the media who all punt their own view
of the future and the choices we must make, confuse the debate.

Makoni is obviously a front for powerful interests in the Zanu PF camp. Why
Mutambara has decided to throw his weight behind him is a mystery to me. It
would now seem as if Mutambara is not going to run as a Presidential
hopeful, a wise decision, but the decision to back Makoni makes no sense in
terms of the fundamentals and smacks of opportunism.

The MDC under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai will run as the MDC
(Tsvangirai) and this will be shown on all our documents and ballot papers.
We will put up candidates in all seats (I hope by Friday we will have all
RDC seats covered) and next week we will unveil our policies for a new
Zimbabwe. Team change is in place and is flat out in the campaign and
getting ready for the most crucial election since 1980.

We face an uphill battle - the regime has carefully gerrymandered the
constituencies - 70 per cent are in the rural areas where there is only 35
per cent of the population, 24 per cent are urban seats where there is 65
per cent of the population and 6 per cent are mixed urban and rural. They
have manipulated voting rights by maintaining a voters roll that has 50 per
cent "ghost" voters and disenfranchised many hundreds of thousands who, in
any normal democracy, would be voters.

There is no press freedom and they jam incoming foreign radio stations. No
international media is allowed and we will have no credible poll watchers
from abroad. The ZEC has been staffed from the Registrar Generals Office and
is loaded with security apparatchiks and others. Urban voters will have
difficulty casting their votes - remember the long queues in 2000 and 2002
and the security forces will again vote under supervision behind closed
doors. Food and all traditional leaders will be closely controlled and used
to support Zanu PF in the elections.

Mugabe feels supremely confident that he has done enough to win this
contest; at least that is what he says. I personally feel that we would not
have the opportunity of an election if he did not feel so confident. The
question is - is he right in this assessment?

The great risk and threat for the MDC is apathy and a sense that voting is a
waste of time. Makoni has helped and given the whole process greater
credibility. People now think that we may have a real choice at long last. I
think they are right. I think that the security establishment has now
accepted that we can no longer travel the road that Zanu PF has put us on. I
think the majority now want change - the question is who can deliver and
how? Only the MDC has offered that information. In a detailed and
comprehensive review it sets out its policies developed over the past 15
months by teams of experts and activists. It gives a clear alternative to
present policies that have failed to deliver what they promised.

Is Tsvangirai the man who can deliver? He is the only man with the trust of
the people and with their true interests at heart. He is not a front - what
you see is what you get. He is a man of integrity and principle, has a great
wife and family. He is self educated, intelligent and well read. Quite
frankly I have had enough of a government that is made up of PhD graduates
with few principles and no ethics. We have no future under the present crew
who are totally corrupt and live only for themselves. On Sunday I watched
with pride as our future Members of Parliament and the Senate came into the
hall in Harare from every quarter of the country. Many ordinary farmers and
small business persons. All had to pay their own way, many had left their
homes early in the morning and had not eaten. They came, they heard the
briefing and made their commitment to a new Zimbabwe and then returned
home - we could not even give them lunch and they now have to fund their own

They are committed to this struggle, whatever it costs; they have and are
sacrificing everything they have to give the country a chance for real
change. What a privilege to be part of that in a secular and cynical world.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 12th February 2008

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Zimbabwe's Ruling ZANU-PF Party Perplexed By Makoni Upstart Candidacy


By Blessing Zulu and Chris Gande
11 February 2008

Senior leaders of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party gathered late Monday to
decide a response to the presidential candidacy of former finance minister
Simba Makoni, which is said to have eroded confidence in President Robert
Mugabe's re-election bid.

Members of the politburo of Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front said tension was running high in the ruling party
despite assurances from the Central Intelligence Organization that members
won't defect en masse to Makoni.

ZANU-PF officials backing Makoni were said to include party Chairman John
Nkomo, retired army commander Solomon Mujuru - husband of Vice President
Joyce Mujuru - ex-army general Vitalis Zvinavashe and top politburo member
Dumiso Dabengwa.

But party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira called such reports mere speculation.

Sources meanwhile said Makoni was in southeastern Masvingo Province on
Sunday trying recruit politicians from the opposition as well as the ruling
party who had lost in their respective party primaries, inviting them to
join his upstart movement.

ZANU-PF has ordered reruns of primaries in Masvingo following the defeats of
senior party officials including Claudius Makova, Kennedy Matimba and
Charles Majange.

But dissatisfaction was brewing among junior members at reports that
Masvingo East legislator Shuvai Mahofa was declared unopposed though the
seat was sought by two hopefuls including Zimbabwe Football Association
acting CEO Henrietta Rushwaya.

Members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction led by
Morgan Tsvangirai were also unhappy because former ruling party member of
parliament Pearson Mbalekwa, who defected last year, has been declared

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya told reporter Chris Gande of Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that while Makoni may be moving to recruit the losers of ruling
party and opposition primaries, many of these politicians could draw strong
popular support.

Former Mirror newspaper publisher Ibbo Mandaza, a mainstay of Makoni’s
campaign, told reporter Blessing Zulu that Makoni’s organization will run
candidates in most constituencies seeking seats in both houses of parliament
and local councils.

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MDC President Tsvangirai Speaks on Elections and Makoni

The Zimbabwean

 Tuesday, 12 February 2008 13:16

HARARE - Last week our National council took a decision to contest in the
forthcoming elections. l confirm myself together with the comrades around me
that we are going to contest in the presidential, parliamentary, senatorial
and local government elections.

For the last few weeks l have been around the country on a listening tour. I
have been there under a tree, in small little huts, at the dip tank and in
the various communal fields. What the people have been saying to me is that
they are having to walk for many miles because of the unavailability of
transport. They are having to go for days without eating a single meal.On
this listening tour l have been witnessing unprecedented cases of deepening
poverty, collapse of general infrastructure and the desperation with which
people have tried everything possible in order to survive. I was touched by
the sincerity of their desperation.Ironically people were not talking about
parliamentary seats, senatorial seats or an opportunity to go to the state
house. l agree with them, that the focus of this campaign and indeed the
ideals of our struggle is how we can solve the peoples problems. We intend
in the next two weeks on the 23rd of February 2008, to unveil our manifesto
and our plans to reverse the current decline that is a product of ZANU PF
misrule in the last thirty years.The Movement for Democratic Change was born
out of the failure by ZANU PF to implement the ideals of the liberation
struggle, in particular the extension of freedoms to all as well as economic
emancipation of Zimbabweans.The working peoples convention of February 1999,
laid the foundation for our historic movement and placed in our hands the
peoples mandate to deliver change and usher in a new government that is
accountable to the people. The recent people's convention has reaffirmed the
desire of the people of Zimbabwe for meaningful rather than cosmetic change.
We are with them.Since then we have been in the trenches of this democratic
struggle. We have relentlessly pursued and continue to pursue every peaceful
and democratic avenue available in order to find a solution to the crisis
our country has been plunged into by ZANU PF.Following months of the SADC
led negotiations between us and ZANU PF, we still have not found conditions
sufficient to guarantee a free and fair election. Mugabe and ZANU PF have
never been sincere in the pursuit of democracy in this country, instead
choosing to defend power at all costs.We believe the election scheduled for
the 29th of March 2008, however uneven the playing field may be, presents
Zimbabweans with a fighting chance, to remove this dictatorship. The people
won in the election of 2000, they won in the election of 2002 and in that of
2005. The people will win in the election of 2008 and should Robert Mugabe
choose to steal their victory he would have consumed that last shred of
legitimacy left for his dictatorship in the region and in the world.The
people of Zimbabwe are desperate for change. They have endured years of
suffering in abject poverty. Inflation is soaring at 25 000 percent, further
increasing the scourge of poverty. Unemployment is now above 90% in
particular the urban and rural working poor have now been excluded from this
economy.The air in our country is dense with the stench of poverty. Our
health sector has collapsed and death has come sooner for our young people
due to the scourge of the AIDS pandemic.1.5 million children are not in
school. The people of Zimbabwe, are looking to us to deliver them to a new
Zimbabwe. A new Zimbabwe will give them an opportunity to make a new
beginning. We are the agents of change. Indeed we provide the dawn of a new
era. What this country needs is a fresh start. This country needs
transformation, that is, a total paradigm shift from the culture of ZANU PF
that has been institutionalised and entrenched in our society. A reform
agenda will not deliver us as a people, it will simply perpetuate the status
quo where the elite in ZANU PF continue to plunder the country's meager
resources while we the people suffer.Our people need hope. Our people need a
leadership that will never betray them, a leadership that will include them
and consult them and not make elite pacts as a way of resolving this
crisis.Our people need a leadership they have worked with since the
beginning of our democratic struggle. We are that leadership and we wish to
take this opportunity to renew our covenant with the people and commit
ourselves to the ideals and aspirations of every Zimbabwean.Together we can
deliver a new Zimbabwe. Now is the time.

Morgan Tsvangirai

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MDC should back Makoni

Business Day

12 February 2008

One thing about Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad is he’s always good for a
laugh. He claimed that President Thabo Mbeki’s mediation efforts with Zanu
(PF) and opposition parties to clear the way for elections were “a great
success”. You could have fooled me.

In Zimbabwe, there is no sign of the “agreement” the parties concluded being
implemented — and the elections are set for next month!

Pahad added: “The only outstanding matter was whether the agreed new
arrangements for the elections would be put in place before or after the

Robert Mugabe, of course, has no intention of making the changes before the
event. What comes to mind is that old saying — the operation was a success,
but the patient died.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe continues to go down the tubes. According to the
International Monetary Fund, year-on-year inflation has reached 150000% and
no one has told the police to stop beating and detaining political
opponents. State media, TV/radio and the Herald newspaper, go on with boring
pro-Mugabe propaganda. The present electoral roll contains thousands of
“ghosts” who always vote for Mugabe.

However, there may be a gleam of light on the horizon. Zanu (PF) polit-buro
member and former finance minister Simba Makoni has thrown his hat into the
ring to stand against the tyrant. He’s indeed a brave man and I wish him

Mugabe may find it more difficult this time round to rig the election as
Makoni may win a landslide victory because the povo (masses) are sick and
tired of the present failed regime, the widespread hunger, unemployment,
disease and poverty.

I suggest that both wings of the Movement for Democratic Change opposition
party allow Makoni to fight his campaign as the only contender against
Mugabe and join him in this opportunity to get rid of the present regime.

Ivor Davis Sandton

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Makoni - All But a CIO Sketch

The Zimbabwean

 Tuesday, 12 February 2008 06:56

Oh what a dream! Or actually a joke! All this is another CIO scam just to
delude the already battered masses of Zimbabwe. Makoni comes up claiming to
have consulted widely within Zanu PF and is sure that he has a good backing.

 How on earth did he manage to escape the sniffing nose of the CIO only to
come up as a challenger of Mugabe. It’s unbeliveable that somebody who had a
meeting with Muabe a few weeks ago and agreed to put his CV to represent his
home constituency should come up challenging his boss after failing at his
home. When did this man manage to conduct his extensive and wide
consultation? I call on Makoni to stand up like a man he claims to be, and
answer the nation on the following questions:You are standing an independent
candidate, who is going to fund your campaign? Who are going to be your
activists? How do you intend reaching out to the rural voters and even some
urban voters? Use TV and Radio, not in the time of regular power cuts. We
don’t a repeat of National Alliance for Good Governance(NAGG) of 2002 man
who ended up campaigning in busses and trains.What are your policies, how
did you form them and who are your advisers. The only person I have heard
who has put himself in the lime light is Major General (MG) Kudzai Mbudzi.
This man is a retired army officer, do you mean you want to remove a
dictator by replacing him with military rule in our country? Who is MG
Mbudzi anyway, his credentials as a former and intelligence member and
soldier are very questionable. I don’t deny he was but what interests does
he have to protect that he must publicly despise his colleagues in the
intelligence and disown his fellow comrade Mugabe to support a civilian?
Where was Mbudzi when MG Zvinavashe said the army will not salute, serve or
support anyone who has not fought the liberation struggle? Which part of
Makoni district did you fight the war doctor or Manicaland? It’s public and
international knowledge that Mugabe is backed by war veterans and they vow
to do anything to keep Mugabe there just as they have recently affirmed by
promising to deal with you harshly. How then do you intend to deal with
them? The CIO are all over the world, they have no national interest at all,
a bit of party interests and their greatest interest is in keeping Mugabe on
his seat, what would you do with them if you win? Sack them all? How then
would you run the country as an independent with no structured intelligence
system?You promise to form a government of national unity. Who has told you
that unity is what all want? Dr Makoni, have you not read that papers that
even the opposition MDC has failed to resolve their difference to be a
united party? Were you not around when Mbeki’s attempts to bring Zanu PF and
MDC to a round the table discussion failed? How do you intend to form a
government of unity using warring parties’ members? Imagine the leader of
defence being from Zanu PF and of police from MDC. Basically, you have
created a ripe environment for a civil war because you have armed two
different and warring parties. They both have access to fire arms and what
do you think will happen if a fight breaks up in parliament?I know Simba
means power and I need to consult my dictionary on what Makoni means. But
tell us: Have you ever killed a man doctor? Have you ever used a gun Makoni?
Or rather, what do you do for a living Simba that makes you so brave? Have
you forgotten some of your brothers who just passed away without a clear
explanation as to their circumstances except that they ended up in heroes
acre? Who are you to step in where Joyce Mujuru stepped back from, with the
support of many Zanu PF heavyweights including own husband a retired Major
like Mbudzi?Suppose you drop down dead after winning the election but before
taking office, what do you think will happen since you have no leutnants of
your own, no party, no shadow cabinet, only fragmented supporters from all
parties. At least if you had party, your deputy would take over or may be
your shadow speaker of parliament. Can I volunteer to shoot you then I’d
tell you what later happened when we meet in the afterlife?Man if your
intentions were surely genuine and your bravery is well founded, how come
you never formed a party from your well given support and during the time
you had to consult? This is nothing less than a wholly planned CIO sketch in
which  Mugabe is the artist, and Makoni a real comedian and the plot is very
daft and worth the bin. Muagbe and his CIO have been around for quite
sometime, his politics is tried and tested. For a long time he has used
opposition politics, constitutional changes and re-drawing constituency
boundaries to stay in power, now he is just using internal politics because
no one has any more faith in opposition politics. Mugabe knows he has some
rebels within his party and has decided to use Makoni just to uproot them
that’s all. No wonder why there is now re-vetting of those who will
represent the party in constituencies. So be clever and read between the
lines, next month’s election is already determined, just forget about
Makoni. VaMakoni makoniwa.

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Crunch Time for Makoni Election Bid

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

A promising contender has thrown his hat into the ring, but the danger is
that those who encouraged him will be too scared to back him publicly.

By Hativagone Mushonga in Harare (AR No. 156, 12-Feb-08)

The Makoni project – the palace coup that aims to oust President Robert
Mugabe as the ruling ZANU PF party’s candidate in landmark elections next
month – has reached a crossroads.

It either falters irrevocably this week or gathers unstoppable momentum,
depending on the backing that Mugabe’s would-be replacement, former finance
minister Simba Makoni, is able to gather.

Will disgruntled members of ZANU-PF come out of the shadows and openly
support the rebellion? Or will they melt away - as has happened in the
past - leaving Makoni on his own to face Mugabe’s wrath?

Several past attempts to challenge Mugabe have faltered because conspirators
were cowed at the eleventh hour. The most recent, in 2004, involved an
elaborate plot hatched in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland, and resulted in the
participants scampering for cover while Mugabe sacked six provincial
chairmen from the party.

At a February 7 press conference, Makoni urged his backers to come out
publicly, but so far none has dared to speak out.

“Let me encourage those others in ZANU-PF who have been, and still are,
working with us in this project for national renewal to remain steadfast and
not to be intimidated,” he said. “I offered myself to my party and my
country. I have a deeper faith and loyalty to my country than to my party.

“I stood up myself and I expect and hope that those who have been working
with us will do the same.”

With a few days to go to the review of nominations for the crucial March 29
presidential, parliamentary and local government elections, the question on
everyone’s lips is whether the powerful figures believed to be backing
Makoni will be brave enough to leave ZANU-PF and join him in his campaign.

The other option, according to a senior ZANU-PF official secretly supporting
Makoni, is to try to convince Mugabe to withdraw his name from the
presidential race.

This source told IWPR that negotiations with Mugabe would be initiated by
Zimbabwe’s two vice-presidents, Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru, before the
issue of him stepping down was aired at the next ZANU-PF politburo meeting,
scheduled for two days before the nomination court sits on February 15.

“There are efforts to talk to the president about him stepping aside and
allowing Makoni to stand on a ZANU-PF ticket,” said the source. “They want
to appeal to the president to prevent the party from splitting. But you know
ZANU-PF – no one might even raise the issue without worrying about the

The Zimbabwean opposition has called on senior ZANU-PF figures to publicly
come out and support Makoni, arguing that this would give him credibility as
a candidate.

Makoni is expected to unveil his manifesto and campaign plan shortly. The
plan, according to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, would outline the
creation of a new party – possibly to be called the Patriotic Front – which
would recruit reform-minded members of ZANU-PF and other parties, as well as
from wider society.

If Makoni became president, the party would form a government of national
unity, and would also introduce a new constitution via a referendum.

Before the former finance minister announced he was standing, Ibboh Mandaza,
one of the coordinators of what is known as the Makoni project, told IWPR
that he had the backing of the party in nine of the country’s ten provinces,
including Mugabe’s own Mashonaland West.

The only province that is divided is Midlands, home to former speaker and
housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is fighting tenaciously in Mugabe’s
corner. Mnangagwa is a bitter rival of retired army commander General
Solomon Mujuru, seen as the prime mover behind Makoni’s election bid.

As well as Mujuru, a majority of ZANU-PF politburo members, including
General Vitalis Zvinavashe and former ZAPU member Dumiso Dabengwa, are said
to want Mugabe out of the race. Most cabinet ministers also opposed Mugabe
as their candidate, according to Mandaza.

But the danger of betrayal looms large.

A member of the ZANU-PF Central Committee who is a loyal supporter of Mugabe
laughed off the idea that vice-presidents Msika and Mujuri would confront
Mugabe and ask him to stand down, or that the party’s politburo would
discuss the issue.

Speaking after Makoni’s press conference, the functionary said Makoni had
exposed himself and would be left to face Mugabe on his own.

Quoting the late Edson Zvobgo, an influential founding member of ZANU, he
said no one would be willing to go against Mugabe and face the consequences.

“Like what Zvobgo once said, you cannot leave ZANU-PF. Makoni is not
seriously expecting whoever his backers are to come out publicly and support
him, which will mean leaving ZANU-PF to join him,” said the central
committee member, who did not want to be named.

“I also don’t believe anyone will raise the matter in a forum with Mugabe.
You guys don’t know Mugabe and you don’t know how scared all those people
are of him. So Simba [Makoni] should not expect anyone coming out. There is
too much at risk if they leave ZANU PF. Remember, some of these people are
not ‘clean’ people,” he said.

This vacillation is exemplified by one former ZANU-PF member of parliament
who has been in the political wilderness for some time, and is now weighing
up whether to come out for Makoni or remain in the shadows.

He benefited personally from Mugabe’s controversial land reform, which saw
white-owned farms seized, ostensibly for redistribution to poor peasants but
more often than not ending up in the hands of rich and powerful regime

The politician fears he might lose his farm if he acts rashly, so he plans
to come out into the open only if and when the real heavyweights publicly
declare for Makoni.

“These people [in Makoni’s camp] just don’t know how much support they have
from ZANU-PF people in the lower ranks. At the moment there is just
speculation and no one wants to shoot themselves in the foot. The big guys
just have to display the same bravery as Simba [Makoni] has done,” he said.

“I am worried that if I join [Makoni now], they will take my farm.”

Hativagone Mushonga is an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.

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Makoni can have our support if he clarifies his position

12th Feb 2008 21:25 GMT

By Zimbabwe Youth Movement

IN ALL its deeds and engagements Zimbabwe Youth Movement is guided by five

1 - Zimbabwe is a sovereign state whose independence shall never be tempered
2 - Zimbabwe comes first, Africa second and the World third
3 - Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, everyone else is a brother
4 - Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe by virtue of its boundaries, history and culture.
5 - The voice of the people of Zimbabwe is the voice of God.

Sovereignty, independence, history, brotherhood, culture and democracy
define who we are as Zimbabweans. As a movement we respect these.

We have been clear that we are a political movement with an interest in
Zimbabwean politics. It remains our conviction that the youths are the
vanguard of democracy in Zimbabwe and as such players in the churning of a
democratic dispensation for the country.

We have never hesitated to join hands with those compatible people in the
political fray; likewise we have never hesitated to criticize those who have
chosen to put personal interest ahead of national interests.

The country is in a crisis. The country is in turmoil. Mugabe knows it,
Tsvangirai knows it, Mutambara knows it, and so does Makoni. Mugabe is doing
nothing about it, Tsvangirai and Mutambara despite our numerous pleas have
failed to put aside their ambitious differences: What more do they expect us
to do?

Simba Makoni has been part of the oppressive system but a devil that repents
is better than an angel that feasts in hell. Having become the first ZANU PF
person in recent times to openly challenge Mugabe, we are compelled to
believe that the strike of lightning has now turned Saul into Paul.

When he indicated in his first speech that he remains ZANU PF, we were also
compelled to believe that what he was trying to allude to is that he shares
the same vision that Leopold Takawira, Josiah Tongogara, Ndabaningi Sithole,
Joshua Nkomo, Lookout Masuku, J Z Moyo, Hebert Chitepo and many of our
heroes had when they built the foundations of Zimbabwe. This is the vision
that we share too as a movement.

As a gesture of our willingness to see an end to this, we as a movement
declare heretofore that if Mr Makoni shares the same values as us he can be
rest assured that he can bank on our unwavering support. It remains
therefore Mr. Makoni’s responsibility to clarify his position and align
himself with struggle of the common man.

Otherwise we salute him for his courage!

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Joe Thomas takes from starving, dying Zimbabweans

12th Feb 2008 20:22 GMT

By Rhoda Mashavave

JOE Thomas, the American musician left Zimbabwe more richer  courtesy of the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) whilst many children continue to starve in
the country.

Thomas got a whooping US$23 000 for a two hour performance in Zimbabwe. It
may be small change for him seeing as he comes from an industry of
multi-millionaires in US dollar terms but the money would have gone a long
way towards alleviating the suffering being endured by many Zimbabweans

Last year Luciano, a musician from Jamaica visited Zimbabwe at the
invitation of the ZTA and was paid lots of money to say “good” things about
Zimbabwe. I do not blame Thomas but the Zimbabwean government which
continues to splash money as if things are fine in the country.

That the 34-year old is an accomplished vocalist of smooth and sultry R&B
productions with occasional Hip-Hop beats, is not a secret. Joe Thomas, a
son of two preachers, has an extensive background in gospel music has
produced his albums as well as sing on them.

But the issue here is that the ruling Zanu PF government is turning a blind
eye on the important things children need in the country and turning to
getting musicians like Joe Thomas to come in and take away from the mouths
of the long-suffering Zimbabweans.

Children are the future people for Zimbabwe but on a daily basis their hopes
of getting a good education are diminishing by the hour as thousands of
precious US dollars are being paid to such musicians who turn a blind eye to
the real issues.

With inflation running at 26 000 percent and the government has the guts of
showering US$23 000 on an American artist in the name of sprucing up the
country's image.

There is no need for all that propaganda at all.

So Thomas’ visit to Zimbabwe will make more tourists travel to Zimbabwe? I
just wonder if this will ever work.

Is Thomas going to make our lives better in Zimbabwe? Is he going to provide
the much needed foreign currency, fuel, water, electricity and food on our

Many families can not afford three meals  per day or even a descent meal at
all. Children are starving in schools and some can not even attend classes
because of empty bellies.
Thomas - does he know the other story of Zimbabwe besides visiting the
Victoria Falls, Borrowdale Brooke, Mbare, Heroes Acre and the Kopje.

Does he know that some families were forced to leave their homes because of
the so called “Murambatsvina”?

Three years after the operation dubbed Restore Order these families are
still in the wilderness, they  still cry about their loses.  Dreams of a
better future and lives  were cut short especially for children from poor

To this day many families are still waiting for the “better” houses which
they were promised by Mugabes government.

Personally I think Joe Thomas should have done some homework before
embarking  on his “successful” trip to Zimbabwe.  The state-owned newspaper
Herald reported that Thomas said,

“We had a wonderful trip to the Victoria Falls and I would like to say that
all those who have not visited the resort town are missing. I saw a lot of
people from America and Britain and I want to come back to Zimbawe to visit
the Victoria falls in March may this year…..”

With less than two months before the elections I am sure  Zimbweans will
vote wisely. For eight years we have been living under harsh conditions with
shortages of food, Zimbabwean dollars, foreign currency, water, fuel and
list is endless.

These singers invited by the government continue to sap from the little
foreign currency available which can sustain lives of children who are
starving or not going to school, the pregnant mothers dying because they
have no access to health facilities, losing their babies because of
blackouts in the middle of giving birth or operations – the list is endless.

What of the millions dying because of illnesses connected to HIV/Aids - they
have no access to retrovirals and all. The ever depleting Zimbabwean herd
due to lack of dipping chemicals, the fertiliser shortage, the students
without books, computers. Think of the water problems in Zimbabwe and all
that could have achieved by putting money wasted on Thomas towards buying
water treatment chemicals.

Just imagine what the US$23 000 could have done for the poor ordinary woman
in Mbare, Murambinda and Goto.

My heart bleeds as I think about all the problems ordinary Zimbabweans are
facing everyday.

The fruits of this warpath propaganda are yet to be seen. I maybe wrong but
I feel there is no need to splash money in the name of  saying “Zimbabwe is
a safe destination”.

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