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Jailed politician refuses Zimbabwe amnesty deal

February 18, 2009

From Nkepile Mabuse
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- Officials in Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe's ruling party have offered to release imprisoned opposition leaders
in exchange for a promise of amnesty covering the party's nearly 30-year
rule, one jailed politician's wife said Wednesday.

Roy Bennett, who had been slated to be sworn in as deputy agriculture
minister before his arrest last week, has refused the deal -- "and I think
every single Zimbabwean would want him to," Heather Bennett told CNN.

Roy Bennett was arrested Friday on terrorism-related charges before he could
take his new post in the unity government that took office last week in
Harare. He is a longtime Mugabe foe who served as treasurer of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Heather Bennett would not identify which members of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party
offered the deal, but she said the party wants a blanket amnesty for any
crimes committed between Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 and 2009. Cabinet
ministers in the new government have either denied the amnesty-for-release
allegation or refused to comment.

Roy Bennett has been charged with illegally possessing firearms for the
purposes of trying to commit acts of insurgency, banditry and terrorism and
to illegally leave the country, his lawyer said Tuesday.

"Roy is a thorn in their side, and they know that with Roy in government,
it's not going to be an easy ride for them," his wife said. "He's going to
be checking them all the time by doing this, and I fear that they are going
to try and put him away for a long time."
Bennett's arrest strained the first meeting of a Cabinet assembled under a
hard-won power-sharing deal between the Zanu-PF and MDC, an agreement aimed
at ending the lingering impasse from last year's disputed elections. The
deal puts MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the newly created post of prime
minister, and Heather Bennett said Tsvangirai's inability so far to free her
husband has left the party looking weak.

If Tsvangirai "acts decisively and has Roy released, that may bring back a
shred of respect to the MDC," she said. "But at this stage, they are looking
like they lack leadership."

Zimbabwe's new leaders are grappling with a massive humanitarian and
economic crisis. Many civil servants -- including teachers, doctors and
nurses -- have been on strike since September, demanding higher pay as
Zimbabwe's currency has plummeted in value. That has caused many schools to
close and exacerbated a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 4,000 people
and infected about 65,000 people since August.
Bennett's next court date is set for March, but his lawyer plans on lodging
an application for bail on Thursday. Heather Bennett said she is not holding
out any hope her husband will be released anytime soon.

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Women activists to appear in court today

by Lizwe Sebatha Thursday 19 February 2009

BULAWAYO - Four Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activists who on Wednesday
refused to pay admission of guilt fines following their arrest during a
peaceful march last Saturday will appear in court today facing charges of
disturbing public peace, their lawyer said yesterday.

"Police said they will take them to court tomorrow (Thursday) morning to
face charges of disturbing public peace," said Kossam Ncube who is
representing the WOZA activists.

Bulawayo police on Saturday arrested 12 WOZA activists for taking part in a
peaceful march to mark Valentine's Day and "spread the word of love during
the country's political crisis".

Ncube said police have since Monday failed to take the activists to court
because they had no solid case against them, prompting the police to beg the
activists to pay admission of guilt fines.

"Police failed to lay a clear solid charge against the WOZA activists and on
Tuesday and Wednesday begged them to pay admission of guilt fines so that
they can be released," said Ncube

"Eight of the activists paid the ZW$20 guilt fine for disturbing public
peace and were released but four others refused because they saw no reason
why they should pay it since they had not committed a crime."

The WOZA activists who were marching, distributing fliers and leaflets were
arrested a day after President Robert Mugabe swore in a power sharing
Cabinet that is faced with the tough task of reversing the country's
decade-long economic crisis.

Their arrest followed the arrest of Roy Bennett, a top official of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party who is set to assume the post of
deputy agriculture minister, in what the party said is a covert move by
hardliners in Mugabe's ZANU PF party and military chiefs to derail the new
unity government.

Meanwhile On Wednesday, Amnesty International urged the African Union and
the United Nations to send monitors to investigate human rights violations
committed by Zimbabwe's security forces during the current transitional

"A number of events that have taken place since the swearing in of a new
government in Zimbabwe suggest that there is a force within the Zimbabwean
security forces, that continues ordering violations of human rights as a
method of dealing with people they do not like," Amnesty International's
Zimbabwe Researcher, Simeon Mawanza said.

The country's security chiefs last week boycotted the swearing in of
Tsvangirai whom they have said they will never salute. - ZimOnline

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Zanu PF hawks trying to torpedo deal

February 18, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has accused President Robert
Mugabe's top officials within Zanu PF of working tirelessly to torpedo the
newly formed unity government with his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Tsvangirai cited last Friday's arrest on terrorism charges, of his party's
national treasurer and agriculture deputy minister-designate Roy Bennet, an
incident which many see as a demonstration of insincerity by Mugabe's party.

The new Zimbabwean Premier said this ran counter to current efforts to
restore international confidence on Zimbabwe and instigate a parallel
process aimed towards economic recovery.

He warned the arrest and continued detention of Bennet would further dent
the image of Zimbabwe internationally.

"To arrest Bennet today is actually undermining the whole process of
economic recovery," Tsvangirai told guests Wednesday at a function held at a
city hotel to launch the 10th anniversary of the MDC.

Tsvangirai said the continued detention of 30 human rights and MDC activists
on charges of banditry also compromised efforts to unlock much needed
economic assistance to Zimbabwe.

The international community, led by America and Britain, maintains it wants
to see evidence of political reforms in Zimbabwe before it can disburse
funds to help resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy, battered by years of unbridled
corruption by President Mugabe's top officials.

"I was telling this old man (Mugabe) that look, you are doing everything to
ruin the credibility of this government," Tsvangirai said.

"All our efforts of trying to make sure that people believe in this process
are being undermined by people whom we have budgeted for resistance."

Tsvangirai said his party was wary of Zanu PF hawks who are toiling to
destroy the unity government.

Although Tsvangirai did not single out anyone, it is widely believed that
the country's military chiefs are silently resisting the arrangement which
has left Tsvangirai among their bosses.

"It's not everyone who is saying 'hallelujah there is a unity government',"
he said.

"Don't ever fool yourselves. We are not going to be naïve to believe that it's
going to be smooth. This is a transition and there are transitional
obstacles that you need to overcome. And overcome we will. Step by step we
will make those incremental gains."

Tsvangirai once again defended his decision to enter into a unity deal with
Zanu PF.

MDC critics have accused the party of "selling out" by signing a unity pact
with a party they find responsible for gross violation of citizens' rights
and economic mismanagement.

The MDC leader maintained the unity deal, which is expected to stretch for
two years pending the creation of a conducive environment for fresh
elections, was the only feasible route remaining to achieve change in

"This is a strategic decision of positioning a party in order to unlock the
tentacles that have spread around the whole country," he said.

"To democratize, cut those roots and create (favourable) conditions for free
and fair elections.

"Regrettably there are signs where it does not appear good. Some will say
but Roy Bennet has been arrested and so forth, I do understand that. We are
unlocking it. I can assure you that this is a process that is going to free
the people of Zimbabwe.

"I can stand up here and recall heroes and heroines of our struggle. But let
us continue to be focused on the goal. Never betray what those people died
to achieve and then we can stand up and say we did it.

"Without the firing of a bullet, we did it. Without losing the lives of
Zimbabweans deliberately, without violence, without other known African
conflicts, but we did it.

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The Mugabe regime has moved swiftly to stop all investigations into murders committed by Zanu (PF)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009
The Mugabe regime has moved swiftly to stop all investigations into
murders committed by Zanu (PF) agents, including the police, army and
militia, before during and after the March and June 2008 elections.
The MDC says more than 300 of its activists and officials were
kidnapped and murdered during this period. A further 500 people disappeared
and are presumed to have been murdered.
The order to drop all cases relating to murders committed during the
run-up to last year's June 27 presidential election came from Police
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri.
This is a clear indication that the reign of terror against MDC
supporters was sanctioned at the highest level of government, and the
perpetrators knew that they would never be punished - if indeed they were
ever investigated at all.
A circular to all provincial commanders dated February 10 has been
leaked to the media, in which Chihuri orders that all murder cases committed
during the run-up to the sham June 27 election. MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai pulled out of this run off, citing violence against his
Chihuri's circular reads: "Please be advised that all murder cases
committed during the run up to the presidential election run-off and have
not been finalised be dropped immediately.  The decision has been made in
the spirit of promoting national healing in view of the inclusive
It is not clear who took the decision to drop the murder charges -
whether instructions came from the politicians or whether this was done by
the cabal of military generals who are working feverishly to disrupt the
newly-inaugurated inclusive government.
Evidently this reprieve applies only to Zanu (PF members and not to
the MDC, whose secretary general and deputy minister of agriculture
designate, Roy Bennett, was kidnapped in Harare and driven to Mutare in
General Constantine Chiwenga's vehicle before being charged with a variety
of trumped up charges.
Chihuri has since dispatched deputy commissioner general Godwin
Matanga to visit all provinces and explain to senior officers the
implication of the directive.
Matanga yesterday confirmed that he was visiting provinces but denied
that he was on an assignment to push for the dropping of murder cases.
"I am visiting provinces so that senior officers are aware of the
developments taking place within the force as the new government takes
control", said Matanga.
However sources within the police force said Matanga caused a stir
when he visited Masvingo after he sought a meeting with court officials and
instructing them to drop all cases of murder committed between March and
June last year.
A court official who requested anonymity said that Matanga had
unsuccessfully tried to convince officials to drop the murder charges.
"We told him that we will not be pushed and that the law has to take
its course unless President Mugabe pardons them".
The country's main opposition MDC claims that over 300 of its
supporters were killed during the run-up to the one man presidential
election run off.
The opposition has since called for the prosecution of all
perpetrators of violence during the run-up to the election while Zanu-PF
says the perpetrators should go free.
Speculation is rife within the police force that Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and the MDC might call for the prosecution of all perpetrators of
violence, resulting in the arrest and prosecution of senior Zanu-PF

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Business as usual for Zanu (PF)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Zanu (PF) has sent a clear and unequivocal message to all and sundry -
it's business as usual. The two MDC's might be part of some so-called
power-sharing arrangement but that is not going to change anything. Zanu
(PF) has every intention of running the show as if nothing had changed.
The contempt of Mugabe and his junta for Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC
has been evident since the moment of the prime minister's swearing in last

The much be-medalled military chiefs who, bulging out of their
brocaded uniforms, attend every Zanu (PF) funeral, wedding or birthday, were
conspicuous by their absence from the swearing in ceremony.
The most un-gracious first lady refused to shake Tsvangirai's handed,
but extended her be-jewelled fingers to Arthur Mutambara after he was sworn
in as deputy prime minister.
In a clear demonstration of his utter contempt for the Constitution of
Zimbabwe, and the power-sharing agreement backed by SADC leaders, Mugabe
tried to swear in 22 Zanu (PF) ministers instead of the 15 allocated to his
party under the Constitution Amendment 19 and agreed with the MDC parties.
This ministerial inflation was craftily designed to give Mugabe an
unfair advantage in cabinet.
The amendment says Zimbabwe will have 31 ministers. But Mugabe tried
to wangle himself an extra eight ministers, rather than the minority of one
awarded him by the agreement and the amendment, by unilaterally creating
extra posts for "ministers of state".
If he had has his way, Zimbabwe would have ended up, yet again, with a
bloated cabinet which it cannot afford.
The incredible saga of Roy Bennett's kidnapping and subsequent
detention on frivolous charges, and the continued incarceration of Jestina
Mukoko and 42 other MDC and civil society activists, is yet further
testimony of Zanu (PF)'s bad faith. They are cocking a snook at the MDC,
SADC, Africa and the rest of the world.  And nobody seems able to do a darn
thing about it. Shocked disbelief and stunned paralysis are words that come
to mind.
They can't do that - we all say - oh yes they can!
Perhaps the most unbelievable act of all has been the unilateral
pardoning of all Zanu (PF) murderers, torturers and rapists involved in the
orgy of violence that left 200 murdered, 300 missing - suspected murdered,
and hundreds of thousands injured or displaced. This announcement was leaked
to the media via a communication from police commissioner Chihuri to his
provincial commanders, long before the new cabinet had even sat for the
first time.

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Tsvangirai meets business leaders

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is set to meet business
leaders today to find a lasting solution to the country's economic and
political woes that the country has been facing over the past ten years.

KM Financial Solutions chief executive Kenias Mafukidze said the
meeting was designed to build a better working relationship between the
newly-formed inclusive Government and the business community.
Among issues to be tackled will be the liberalisation of the economy,
dollarisation and funding challenges faced by the business community.
Mafukidze said the event would provide a forum for business leaders to
digest the full impact of the 2009 National Budget and the Monetary Policy
"The recent developments on the business and socio-political front
need serious consideration hence the need to have an event of this nature.
Zimbabwe is gravitating back into the global economic scene through
dollarisation and liberalisation. Businesses need to prepare for this
 phase," said Mafukidze.
It is hopeful that the event will encourage the consummation of deals
with a number of international financiers who had pledged to invest in the
Local industry can't compete
HARARE - Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman,
Tafadzwa Musarara has said that while the government's decision to suspend
import duty on selected basic commodities had brought relief to consumers in
the interim, it was important for policy makers to implement measures that
would ensure the resurgence of local industries to spur economic growth.
Local industries were finding it difficult to compete with imports
because of higher production costs brought about by a number of factors.
Suffocating local producers would in the long run hinder economic
revival efforts with precedent showing that successful economies the world
over were anchored on high local production.
"While providing immediate relief to consumers, the unrestricted
importation of finished basic commodities has had a negative impact on local
manufacturers whose production costs are not competitive because of
variables beyond their control. For example, standing legislation forces
local millers to import high quality grain than GMO varieties used by
foreign millers. Imported brands are made of low cost and heavily refined
GMO grain and are being sold at an average price of US$5 per 12,5kg bag. We
are landing 10kg of organic maize at US$4 and our selling price after
factoring all production and ancillary variables is over US$6,50. Clearly we
cannot compete under such circumstances and these are some of the things
that should be looked into," said Musarara.
Cheap meat products from South Africa, Brazil and Uruguay, where
stock-fed prices were cheaper, have also affected local industries.
Farmers make threats
BULAWAYO - Farmers in Matabeleland are have threatened not to deliver
their harvest to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) but will instead sell
directly to millers in protest over alleged corrupt activities at the
Farmers have said they lost confidence in the GMB's ability to
distribute grain transparently following a spate of allegations of
"This season we are expecting a much improved yield compared to the
one we had last year and because of the corruption at GMB which saw some
officials channelling maize to the black market while most people were
facing starvation, we are not going to sell our harvest to them. We want
them (GMB) to come to us and beg because we feel it's high time we generate
some income through the sale of our crops in foreign currency in an open
market,'' said WFA Bulawayo provincial chairperson,  Morage Dube.
Support local companies
HARARE - Zimbabwean companies have been urged to aggressively
implement strategies to boost production to ensure their survival when
Economic Partnership Agreements come into force in 2013.
Africa Institute for Policy Analysis and Development director, Dr
Medicine Masiiwa said failure to boost production could turn potential
opportunities into threats for the local companies.
"The opening up of markets is going to subject local companies to
competition from EU products but then the question is will we be in a
position to compete? What is needed is massive support for local companies
in terms of finance, new skills and technology as well as good
infrastructure so that come 2013 we will be able to compete. If that does
not happen, then we are going to face a threat from the European Union,"
said Masiiwa.
Air Zimbabwe hopeful
HARARE - National airline Air Zimbabwe is set to re-open regional
routes as it pins its hopes on the formation of the historic all-inclusive
The company's chief executive officer, Peter Chikumba, believes that
the new political dispensation will open new markets that will necessitate
the re-opening of such routes as Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania.
"Once the economy recovers, we will be opening some flights that we
had suspended. We hope the new political order will bring in new
opportunities," said Chikumba.
Skepticism over voucher system
HARARE - Government has maintained that civil servants will be
remunerated through the voucher system over and above salaries in local
Authorities said the vouchers will be in five FX units (each worth
US$20) that will be securitised, redeemable, tradable and can be cashed.
Put simply, a recipient of these instruments can readily change them
for cash at specially designated shopping centres that are participating in
the arrangement. However, the names of the shops in this scheme have not yet
been made public.
There has been mounting skepticism from some civic leaders who have
interpreted the move as an attempt to covertly print foreign currency and an
inconvenient payment method.
Analysts last week said although the voucher system was not the
government's preferred payment method, it is the most practicable under the
current circumstances.
"It is utmost critical that the vouchers that will be issued by
Government gain the confidence of both the recipients and the retailers who
will be part to the scheme, and in this regard there is need to ensure that
these instruments are easily tradable and convertible. Also retailers that
will volunteer and be selected in the programme have to be generating sound
cash flow so that they are able to anticipate and seamlessly guarantee
convenient transactions,'' said a research analyst with a local financial
institution. "Any hiccups might put the system into disarray."
Cholera deaths tripled in January
JOHANNESBURG - The number of Zimbabweans who died due to the Cholera
epidemic, which is still ravaging the rural areas, more than tripled during
the last two weeks of January, an international aid agency has reported.
Matthew Cochrane, a spokesperson for the Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies, told the media in Johannesburg that about 400 Zimbabweans
succumbed to Cholera nationwide, during the last two weeks of January, as
under-resourced local health facilities failed to compliment the work being
done by the international community.
"The death figures tripled during that period, especially in the rural
areas, where access to health care is still a challenge to most people,'
said Cochrane. "We had the nationwide death toll reaching 400 people,
compared to about 100 during the previous month."
He said that, although there has been a slight improvement in the
treatment of the disease in both the capital Harare and the Zimbabwe-South
Africa border town of Beitbridge, the less than 1 per cent decrease in the
number of deaths therein was still not satisfactory.
"The international community, including the Red Cross, is doing
everything to stop both the spread and effects of the disease, but because
all the help has to come from outside, as Zimbabwe is going through an
economic meltdown, there are still some challenges that we are facing."
While distancing himself from Zimbabwean politics, Cochrane was
optimistic that the government of national unity, formed by President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu (PF) and the MDC last week, would help solve the humanitarian
crisis in the country.
Residents say no to forex charges
HARARE - The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has
expressed concern over reports of residents in high density areas who are
being forced to pay rates in foreign currency.
Residents have complained that the City of Harare is already affecting
the forex charges that were outlined in the budget that is still yet to be
announced. Moreover, residents were shocked to discover that the City of
Harare actually intends to announce the budget which was drafted without
even consulting residents.
The then defacto Acting Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, said
that residents in high density areas would have the option of paying their
rates in ZW$ and yet Council is said to be rejecting the local currency.

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Zimbabwe Finance Minister Biti Unveils US$100 Supplement to State Workers

By Thomas Chiripasi & Blessing Zulu
Harare & Washington
18 February 2009

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Wednesday announced his first
major policy step in announcing that the government has begun paying civil
servants ranging from soldiers to teachers a US$100 monthly supplement to
their nearly worthless Zimbabwe dollar wages.

Biti's move represented a down payment on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
promise in his inaugural speech one week ago that the government would start
paying state workers in hard currency as of the end of February. It soon
emerged that Mr. Tsvangirai had not lined up the estimated US$40 million to
US$50 million needed to fully dollarize state wages.

Biti is secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change formation
headed by Mr. Tsvangirai, who founded the former opposition party in 1999
and after years under heavy pressure from the ruling ZANU-PF party of
President Robert Mugabe led the combined MDC to victory in the March 2008
general elections, garnering a parliamentary majority.

Organized labor was not impressed with the US$100 stipend. General Secretary
Raymond Majongwe of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe denounced the
"allowance" as an insignificant sum compared with the US$2,200 monthly
minimum his striking members are demanding as a condition to returning to
public classrooms shuttered for months.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from
Harare on the finance minister's news conference and the displeased response
by teachers.

Expanding on his monetary approach, Biti in an exclusive interview with
Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu said he'll maintain the present
multi-currency monetary regimen rather than adopting the South African rand
as the official currency, as some have proposed, and described the US$100
payments as a stimulus to boost consumption and output.

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MDC detainees badly hurt, say protesters

18 Feb 2009
Sharlene Packree

 Disgruntled members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) protested
outside the Durban City Hall to voice their concern over what it called the
"unlawful" arrest of its members in Zimbabwe.

Dressed in white T-shirts, 15 protestors handed over a memorandum to city
officials outlining their concerns, which include the detention of 27 MDC
members at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare.

The detainees include MDC Treasurer and deputy minister of Agriculture, Roy
Bennett and Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko.

Other prominent detainees are three activists said to be in serious need of
medical attention due to injuries sustained in prison - Fidelis Chiramba,
Gandhi Mudzingwa and Kisimusi Dhlamini. The three are alleged to have
recruited teenagers to undergo military training or bombed police stations.

Chiramba is the chairman of an MDC branch in Zimbabwe and is suffering from
a serious heart condition. Mudzingwa, a personal assistant to MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, was abducted in December and has high blood pressure.

Dhlamini's legs may have to be amputated after the soles of his feet were
beaten, a popular form of torture with Zimbabwean police, said the

Nhamo Chikowore, an MDC member in KwaZulu-Natal, said the protesters demand
the immediate release of all opposition political detainees in line with the
agreement leading to the formation of the government of national unity,
which was sworn in last week.

He said the abductions and the unlawful detention of MDC members are taking
place daily.

"We are here today to make sure that our message goes to world leaders so
that we can resolve this matter peacefully," he said. "We want his agreement
to come to fruition."

The protestors dispersed after an hour. No incidents were reported.

Protests are also planned in Johannesburg and Cape Town later this week.

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Police searching for Zimbabwe National Army(ZNA) bandits

Wednesday, 18 February 2009 19:48
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in Masvingo is hunting for four
soldiers who assaulted villagers at Mushandike Irrigation Scheme and got
away with more than 1 000 Rands over the weekend.

According to police report, five soldiers sneaked from a group which
had gone for training in Mushandike area last week. The five went at
shopping center in Village 17 where they found villagers drinking beer.

The five soldier clad in army full regalia started to beat the public
for no reasons. After beating villagers, the five then searched them and
managed to get an approximate figure of 1 000 Rands from them.

However, cheeky villagers teamed up with neighbourhood watch members
and followed the soldiers. When the soldiers discovered that villagers were
ready to fight back, they ran away.
Luck ran out of one of the gunmen Felix Muleya who was caught and
thoroughly beaten by the public. After being beaten, Muleya was taken to
Masvingo Central Police station where he is assisting police with

Police Provincial spokesperson Inspector Phibion Nyambo said the
police is now looking for the remaining four.

"We have a problem with soldiers who are beating people and looting
their property. As I am speaking Felix Muleya who was arrested by
Neighbourhood watch committee is detained for similar acts. Soldiers are
thinking that they are above the law. As police we will never stop to arrest
any criminal regardless of background or social standing," said Nyambo.

Last week more than five soldiers were arrested when they looted
property and harassed members of the public in Masvingo.

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Zimbabwe journalists urge new minister to improve media environment

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's largest journalists' organisation on
Wednesday called on newly appointed information minister Webster Shamu to
improve the media environment and address working conditions for workers in
the country's public media.

The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) said Shamu should work to restore
the integrity of the journalism profession by helping to "diffuse
polarisation and help bring down hate speech that has become the hallmark of
our media\".

"We also hope that his term will lead to the opening up of media space and
therefore the creation of job opportunities for hundreds of journalists who
were displaced by a crackdown on the media which started in the year 2000
when Professor Jonathan Moyo was appointed the Minister of Information and
Publicity," ZUJ president Matthew Takaona said.

Moyo is blamed for the dismissal of scores of journalists from the public
media as well as changing the media landscape from that of a relatively free
one to the current oppressive environment.

It was during Moyo's time as minister that Zimbabwe's public and private
media started to openly take positions in support of the government or the

The polarisation has been blamed for some of Zimbabwe's economic and
political problems as reporting by journalists was based on which media one
worked for.

Takaona said he also hoped that Shamu would look into the working conditions
of journalists in order to "arrest the high staff turnover of between 30 and
40 percent that is being seen in the newsrooms".

Zimbabwe has one of the world's toughest media environments, where
journalists can be jailed for up to two years for failing to register with
the state-appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC).

More than 16 journalists were arrested last year alone for operating without
MIC licences as required under the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA).

  JN/nm/APA 2009-02-19

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MDC's first of many celebratory rallies

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is set to have an emotional
public reunion with his supporters this weekend at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru.
It is the party's first in a series of countrywide 10th anniversary
celebrations lined up until the grand celebration at White City Stadium in
Bulawayo on September 11, the day the party was formed 10 years ago.

The MDC president, sworn-in as Zimbabwe's Prime Minister last week,
will present a keynote address. Celebrations are scheduled in one of the 12
MDC provinces every month until September, according to spokesman Nelson
"The MDC has achieved a historic milestone in its 10 years of
existence. This is a time for the party to take stock of its achievements
and mourn its fallen heroes. The 10th anniversary comes hard on the heels of
the party's victory in Parliament on August 25 when chairman, Lovemore Moyo,
was elected Speaker of Parliament," said Chamisa.
The anniversary will also provide an occasion for the much-belated
celebration of the MDC's victory in Parliament on March 29 as well as
Tsvangirai's own victory over Mugabe on the same day and his subsequent
elevation to the position of Prime Minister after a "painful compromise."
MDC officials expect thousands of Zimbabweans to throng Mkoba Stadium
to celebrate the anniversary under the theme: "Together to the end;
celebrating the people's victory."
The MDC was launched on September 11, 1999 at a colourful ceremony
attended by representatives of the workers' movement, church organisations,
the student movement and other civic partners. The MDC has become the new
ruling party by virtue of its slim but crucial parliamentary majority; its
position being boosted by the support of the 10 Mutambara MPs as happened on
August 25.
"We are a party of excellence," said Chamisa. "As we celebrate our
10th anniversary this year, we know our national obligations and
responsibilities. We have no doubt that the people's project is firmly on
course. We shall forever walk together."

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Teachers dismiss US$100 vouchers

February 18, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE -The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on Wednesday
described as ridiculous the announcement by the minister of finance Tendai
Biti that all civil servants would be paid monthly allowances of US$100

Raymond Majongwe, PTUZ secretary-general, told journalists at his union
offices in Harare that teachers affiliated to his organisation were going to
continue with their strike for better pay.

"That's ridiculous," said Majongwe  on the allowances. "We did not say we
want allowances; we want salaries and the US$100 that they are offering us
is nothing considering that we were demanding US$2300.

"The US$100 is only enough to buy food for you and your wife, what about the
children's food and school fees.

"We hear that they have already bought new cars for the new ministers and
they tell us that they don't have money. Where is that money coming from?

"If they say they don't have money they should give us a figure of what they
have then we negotiate on that amount. Until they pay teachers decent
salaries, the fight for better salaries will continue.

"Teachers will not go back to school."

Asked if he doesn't have a concern for children who have lost schooling time
for more than a year now, Majongwe said: "As far as we are concerned schools
have not been opened and they will not be opened until the teacher's
grievances are met."

Majongwe also had a meeting with the new minister of education, David
Coltart, at his offices to discuss teachers' grievances.

Speaking after taking his oath of office last Wednesday, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai pledged to pay health workers, teachers, soldiers, police
officers and civil service professionals in foreign currency from the end of
this month.

On Wednesday, Biti told journalists that his ministry was to start with the
allowances of US$100 to all civil servants.

Last week, Tsvangirai asked schools to be re-opened after making the pledge
to pay civil servants in foreign currency.

"Our public service has ground to a halt as many of our patriotic government
employees can no longer afford to eat, let alone pay for transport to their
place of work," Tsvangirai said.

"Hard currency salaries will enable people to go to work, to feed their
families and to survive until such time that we can begin to sustain
ourselves as a country."

His pronouncement was questioned by many who wondered where Tsvangirai had
obtained the foreign currency.

Asked at Wednesday's press conference where they were going to source the
money to pay civil servants, Biti, said: "Takakiya kiya (we looked around
for the funds)."

Meanwhile, the members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) who were
supposed to be paid on Tuesday started receiving their allowances in foreign
currency denominated vouchers Wednesday at their respective barracks.

A member of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) confirmed that he had received
his voucher at One Commando Barracks which he converted to cash at the Post
Office Savings Bank (POSB) in Harare.

"We were given vouchers today and I have already cashed mine at POSB without
any problems," said the soldier, showing the money.

"Here is my US$100. We have been told that we will receive salaries at a
later stage but we are happy with this new government," said the soldier.

Another civil servant who works at the Ministry of Education Headquarters in
Harare also confirmed that she had been paid using the voucher system and
had also cashed her voucher at the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ).

"I received my US$100 voucher today and I have redeemed it at CBZ and I am
now going to the supermarket to buy food for my children like other
Zimbabweans," said the ministry of education employee.

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COSATU attacks Mugabe

February 18, 2009

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - A South African workers' federation has criticized President
Robert Mugabe's government for its continued detention of opposition
officials and human rights activists, describing this as an indication that
the octogenarian leader is not committed to the newly-formed national unity
government with the opposition.

In a statement released to the media Wednesday afternoon, the Congress of
South African Trade Unions (COSATU), lambasted Mugabe for the continued
detention of Roy Bennet, the treasurer of the mainstream opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, Jestina Mukoko, the national director of a
Harare-based human rights organization - the Zimbabwe Peace Project and some
opposition activists, some of whom have still not been seen since they went
missing late last year.

"The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly condemns the continued
detention in Zimbabwe of MDC Treasurer and Deputy Minister of Agriculture
(designate), Roy Bennett, Zimbabwe Peace Project Director, Jestina Mukoko,
and other MDC activists, on trumped-up charges," said COSATU spokesman,
Patrick Craven in the statement.

Mukoko and the MDC activists were abducted late last year by armed men
suspected to be state security agents, on different occasions in and around
Harare, tortured and then brought to the police for detention.

They are facing charges of training bandits in neighbouring Botswana, in an
alleged bid to topple Mugabe from power.

Various court orders to have them released have been ignored by the state,
while attempts to have those who abducted and tortured them arrested have
been blocked by Mugabe's government, citing "national security" issues.

Bennet (52), who was arrested last Friday, was Tuesday formally charged for
taking part in a plot involving terrorism and insurgency.

He was also charged with banditry and violating the Immigration Act for
leaving and returning to the country illegally and now faces charges of
possessing weapons for the purposes of insurgency and banditry.

When he was first arrested on Friday at an airport outside Harare as he was
preparing to leave for South Africa for the weekend, police said he faced
charges of trying to leave the country illegally.

The charges against Bennett, which the MDC says are all cooked-up, and which
they blame on some members of the military that are opposed to the unity
government, relate to the discovery in 2006 of weapons near the eastern city
of Mutare, where he is being held.

COSATU, a key member of the African National Congress (ANC) - a tripartite
alliance currently ruling South Africa, accused Mugabe (84) of using the
arrests and detention of the opposition members to try and destroy the
newly-formed all-inclusive government, which was brokered by the regional
Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc after Zimbabwe's
ill-fated elections last year.

"Their arrest and detention prove that Robert Mugabe is doing everything he
can to destroy the Government of National Unity.

"It demonstrates the correctness of the joint COSATU/ZCTU statement of 29
January 2009 which pointed out then that 'the police are still under the
control of ZANU-PF, abducting, detaining and torturing political opponents
of the ruling elite," added COSATU.

The federation which, just a few weeks ago, held joint press conference with
its Zimbabwean counterparts - the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU),
then declared that the Zimbabwean unity government would not work, repeated
the same statement again Wednesday.

"As the federations warned, the GNU will never work while one party -
ZANU-PF - has sole control over the police and judiciary, and uses that
control to frustrate the whole GNU project and retain power in the hands of
the party who lost the elections on 29 March 2009," said COSATU.

Meanwhile four women belonging to a Bulawayo-based pressure group, the Women
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who Tuesday refused to pay fines had still not been
taken to court Wednesday afternoon, after police allegedly altered charges
against them, according to their organization.

"When they presented themselves at Bulawayo Central Police Station this
morning, they were informed by the Investigating Officer, Constable Masawi
that the charges against them were being changed and so the paperwork would
need to be prepared from the beginning," said WOZA in a statement released

"They spent the morning at the police station being processed for the fresh
charges and have been informed that they will be taken to court tomorrow

The four are now out of custody, after they were released Tuesday night.

They are now facing new charges, under Section 46 2 (v) of the Third
Schedule to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for employing
"any means whatsoever which are likely materially to interfere with the
ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section
of the public, or does any act which is likely to create a nuisance or

They had previously been charged under Section 37 (1b) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act - " . performs any action, utters any words or
distributes or displays any writing, sign or other visible representation
that is obscene, threatening, abusive or insulting, intending thereby to
provoke a breach of the peace."

WOZA says that former detainees say that they were subjected to horrific
conditions while in police custody.

"The cells are filthy with overflowing toilets and on the first night, they
were severely overcrowded. Food bins are not emptied regularly so maggots
can be seen crawling in the bins," said WOZA.

"The women were also subjected to invasive strip searches every day. One
woman on anti-retroviral treatment had to fight for access to her tablets
every day by demanding to see the officer-in-charge as police tried to deny
her access to her life-saving medication - on one occasion, she was actually
denied her ARVs.

"Two of the women have had to seek medical treatment for bad rashes
developed from the filthy conditions."

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Family torn apart by Zanu-PF 'abduction'

PORT ELIZABETH Thursday February 19, 2009

Guy Rogers

THE distraught family of incoming Zimbabwean deputy agriculture minister Roy
Bennett are struggling to deal with his "abduction" by the Mugabe government
and have lost hope of his being released any time soon.

Speaking from Johannesburg, where she and her family have been living in
exile, Heather Bennett, 46, said her husband was being held hostage by
Mugabe's government "as a lever to control the MDC".

She said he had travelled to Harare last week to be sworn into the fledgling
Zimbabwe power-sharing government.

"There was a delay in the proceedings and he called me on Friday to say he
was coming home for a few days.

"The next I heard, he had been apprehended by these guys. They flung him
into the back of a vehicle and drove at 150km/h to Mutare. Roy's MDC
colleagues tried to follow, but could not keep up.

"It was an abduction. Roy demanded to know who they were, but they wouldn't
answer him."

Heather has not managed to speak to her husband since then and can
communicate only through his lawyer, George Lock. "He was fine initially,
but it's six days now and he's probably starting to lose morale.

"This has happened before and we know the longer he stays in there, the less
chance there is of his getting out quickly."

Zimbabwean police on Tuesday announced terrorism and weapons-related charges
against Bennett, a prominent official in the MDC party of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, who has called the case an attempt to derail Zimbabwe's
unity government.

Elected an MDC MP in 2002, Bennett, 52, became the party's treasurer-general
in 2004. He was jailed a year later for pushing the justice minister during
a heated debate about Mugabe's "land reform".

Heather said the power- sharing agreement signed in Zimbabwe a week ago
appeared to have delivered no better leverage to see justice done.

"It feels just the same as before when Roy was imprisoned - as if Mugabe and
his followers can do what they want to.

"The South African government should intervene and force Mugabe to release
this man immediately.

"This charge against Roy is a total political fabrication. At the very
least, he should be released on bail. He was about to become a deputy
minister. He's not going anywhere."

The MDC also needed to act firmly and show leadership on the matter, she

"As it is, it seems as if Roy is being held hostage, as a lever to control
the MDC. His imprisonment is a litmus test to see how much Mugabe and Zanu-
PF can get away with."

Besides having had to suffer through Bennett's previous incarceration,
Heather was herself held hostage in 2000 by Zanu-PF militia on the family's
Chimanimani coffee farm, in the east of the country, with the farm
management and labourers, during the height of Mugabe's land-grab campaign.

Pregnant at the time, she protested when the invaders started beating up the
labourers, and was restrained with a panga at her throat. She subsequently
lost her baby.

The Bennetts fought their eviction in the High Court and won the right to
return to their farm but, in 2003, they returned from holiday in Mozambique
to find it had been "shut down" by the Zimbabwean military, and they have
been unable to return.

Heather said yesterday her daughter Casey, 21, and son Charles, 23, were
struggling to deal with the latest situation with their father.

Bennett appeared in court in Mutare yesterday where the magistrate ruled
that he be remanded.

Lock said Bennett had not been harmed, but conditions were "not very nice".

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Zimbabwe must admit aid workers

February 19, 2009

More must be done to aid humanitarian workers in their efforts with the
health crisis in Zimbabwe
Sir, In October 2007, while I was visiting Gweru hospital in the heart of
Zimbabwe, a doctor pulled me aside to make an urgent plea for soap - the
hospital supplies had run dry. Since then the country's already
deteriorating health system has all but collapsed.

The cholera outbreak here is only one manifestation of a massive health and
humanitarian emergency. Empty hospital beds across Zimbabwe are signs of a
ruined system that was once a standard bearer for the continent.

Many hospitals have closed because of a lack of staff and supplies; others
remain open but are charging exorbitant fees beyond the reach of most

Médecins sans Frontières, which has helped to treat more than 45,000 cholera
patients to date, faces frequent restrictions and enforced delays in its
work. In a country where one in five people is HIV positive, it is
inconceivable that so many sick people are dying needlessly because they can't
get treatment.

The new coalition Government faces enormous challenges. From our
humanitarian and medical perspective, tackling the country's health crisis
is critical to stop people dying now. The Government must lift restrictions
on medical supplies and humanitarian personnel going into the country, allow
independent assessments of needs and guarantee that aid agencies can work
wherever those needs are identified.

Donor governments and UN agencies must also respect the distinction between
the humanitarian imperative to save lives and the pursuit of broader
government reform in Zimbabwe, to ensure that Zimbabwean men, women and
children are not sacrificed for the political objectives of tomorrow.

Marc Dubois

Executive Director

Médecins sans Frontières UK

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Let's sit down and talk about this

Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Since the harmonised elections, the turmoil in Zimbabwe has continued.
Our leaders are trying to work together and sometimes they move forward.  We
hope they will succeed, but it will be difficult because tensions are high
and there is little trust.  So the different parties are haggling, not

It seems as though all of us in Zimbabwe are looking to other cultures
in matters of politics.  Some are looking West others are looking East but
it does not matter because both East and West, in their different ways,
treat politics as a confrontation.  Are we forgetting what our own culture
has to offer?  If our politics were African, it would be a dialogue.
Our problems are too big to be solved by calling each other names but
if we talk - really talk - perhaps we can find a solution.
Perhaps we can find a way to help our leaders work together.  If we
understand the problems of all concerned, perhaps the true path will come
out in the light.
Through dialogue we could help to create a new constitution that would
allow us to elect future governments that are truly representative and
accountable to the people. Perhaps the ideas and plans proposed by experts
and future governments will be tested against our values and, most of all,
against common sense.
Let's consider some of the things that make us proud to be African.
In traditional African culture, politics is a constructive dialogue
based on mutual respect.  If our democracy were African, voters would be
choosing representatives to contribute to the dialogue.
In the Western model of democracy, parties compete for control. It is
possible for a party to gain control even if nearly half (sometimes, much
more than half) of the people disagree.  The winners impose their will on
the rest of the people.
The Eastern Socialist model does not give the people any say in the
matter.  The elite, who believe they know what is best for the people,
impose their will.
In traditional African culture, justice means putting things right.
All involved are responsible for making this work: those who have done harm,
those who have been harmed and also their relatives.  The harm must be
healed and forgiven so the community can stay whole.
Neither the Western nor Socialist models of justice are about healing.
In the Western view, justice means punishing those who do harm, both
to discourage them from wrongdoing and because they "must pay for their
crimes".  Too often, Western justice becomes equated with revenge.  When
people say they want justice, they mean they want the offender to suffer.
The Eastern Socialist view of justice is even colder.  For Socialists,
justice means punishing offenders to maintain order.  If it is felt that
punishments have to be very harsh to maintain order, then that is considered
In traditional African culture, the individual and the community have
equal importance.  Every individual contributes to the community, caring for
and taking responsibility for other members of the community.  Every
individual is an integral, cherished part of the community.
In the Western view, the individual is more important than the
community.  A high value is placed on each individual's freedom to do as
they please, so long as they do not actively harm other members of the
For Eastern Socialists, the community is more important than the
individual.  Individuals are readily sacrificed for the sake of the "greater
If we want to establish a dialogue, how can we do so?  In Zimbabwe
today, people are suffering.  Much harm has been done; angry words have been
spoken.   Dialogue requires respect, humility, forgiveness and trust.  In
our hurt and our anger, many of us are not ready to offer these things.
Zimbabwe's story
So we are telling the story of Zimbabwe.  It is the story of who we
were before the colonials came.  It is the story of the colonial period and
what it did to us.  It is the story of what came after independence: the
decade of hope, when we achieved so much; the years after that, when things
began to unravel; the violence that has haunted us since the liberation war.
It is the story of where we have been and where we are today.  It is
for all of us to decide what we will do tomorrow.

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Open letter to Tsvangirai

Wednesday, 18 February 2009
PRIME MINISTER - The decision to form a unified government in Zimbabwe
has created a welcome opportunity to address oppressive government decrees
and media laws that have long stifled press freedom. Your party, the MDC,
has long made freedom of the press a central policy and you have repeatedly
stated your aspirations to privatize the state-controlled media.

The daily newspapers in Zimbabwe were put under state control in 1982
and the Zanu (PF) ruling party holds a monopoly on radio and television
broadcasting. The handful of independent weeklies that still exist are
stifled by high production costs as well as exorbitant customs duties on the
import of newspapers that have been printed outside of the country.
Right now, a freelance journalist, Shadreck Manyere, and former
veteran reporter Jestina Mukoko remain in police custody after being
abducted from their homes in December. They allege that they have been
tortured by police. You stated in December that you would refuse to
participate in a coalition government until these individuals and more than
30 others were released.
In January, a steep hike in accreditation fees for foreign and local
journalists working for foreign media outlets further curtailed independent
reporting in Zimbabwe. CPJ recorded 16 cases of journalists and media
workers facing harassment or arrest by the state last year for lacking
accreditation under the Access to Information and Personal Privacy Act
(AIPPA). These illegal arrests were carried out by the
government-controlled Media and Information Commission in direct
contravention of a January 2008 amendment to the AIPPA law signed by
President Robert Mugabe.
The current media environment remains hostile to the independent press
and will ensure partisan press coverage of any future developments made
under the auspices of the new power-sharing alliance. CPJ calls on the new
unity government to move swiftly to free the media from control by the
ruling party.
The Government of National Unity should take immediate steps to:
.    Release Shadreck Manyere and Jestina Mukoko immediately.
.    Abolish laws that require licensing of newspapers and
.    Allow the banned Daily News to recommence operations. The paper
was bombed
twice and eventually shuttered in 2003 for alleged violations of the
.    End jamming of foreign radio stations, including the BBC, VOA,
and the exiled stations Short-Wave Radio Africa, which broadcasts from
London, and Voice of Peace, in Capetown.
.    Permit all local and foreign journalists who have been deported,
banned, or
forced into exile for security concerns to return safely and without
.    Repeal special taxes that apply to foreign newspapers and
.    Encourage the set-up of community radio stations which are
allowed to operate under current laws but none have yet been granted
permission to broadcast CPJ believes that freedom of expression is an
essential part of a democratic economically thriving state.
We urge you to make press freedom a priority for the new Government of
National Unity.
Jestina Mukoko et al.
EDITOR - What about Jestina and the others? I understood that the
release (or formal charging) of all detainees was an absolute requirement
for the "unity" agreement.
The challenge
EDITOR - The past week has marked a significant shift in the direction
in which our country is going. It has been a disorderly process but a
beginning all the same. I am a sceptic and I believe that it is time for a
different approach to the problems in Zimbabwe. I am, however, prepared to
give this fledgling government a chance.
What people in Zimbabwe need to understand is that the MDC (in all its
forms) is a political party and not a liberation movement. It is driven by
the philosophy that change will come to Zimbabwe through peaceful means. We,
therefore, need to take this into consideration when we criticise them for
agreeing to go into the unity government without any major changes in the
Zanu (PF) murderous mentality. The options open to a political party hoping
to oust a dictatorship through peaceful means are limited. The only option
was to go into government and then try to change things from within. This
was a reasonable decision considering that almost 12 months after people
elected Morgan Tsvangirai President of Zimbabwe the people were still
suffering. It is well and good for armchair critics to sit in judgement and
condemn the MDC as traitors. Many of these critics say the MDC should have
held out for more. Would the people of Zimbabwe have had the patience to
wait with them? I do not think so.
  Now that the MDC has agreed to go into government it must not allow
Zanu (PF) to dictate the agenda. It is becoming increasingly evident that
Mugabe and his henchmen are planning on distracting the MDC from the
programme of change and economic recovery by putting spanners into the
works. Keeping the detainees in prison and the arrest of Roy Bennett can be
a distraction from the real agenda. I am not at all suggesting that this is
not a serious matter but that there is need to look at these problems in the
bigger scheme of things. Zanu (PF) wants MDC to walk out of the unity
government because they know that any successes will be credited to the MDC.
Whatever the challenges the MDC should not allow Zanu (PF) to force it
to walk away from the deal. They should stick it out to show the world, SADC
and AU that Mugabe is a criminal. The MDC and Zimbabweans should deny Mugabe
the joy of seeing the people's project fail.
My advice to the MDC is to hang in there and keep the focus on the
agenda for change and economic recovery. Let us play the game until things
start improving then those in the rank and file of the police and the
military will be willing to work with the government.
Dead wood
EDITOR - Robert Mugabe is un-reformed; the worst Zanu (PF) Cabinet has
been retained to resist change. There is no paradigm shift in Mugabe's
leadership, why is he so afraid to hand power to his cronies? Dr Sydney
Sekeramai, Joseph Made, Patrick Chinamasa, Emmerson Munangagwa,
Ignatius-Zhuwawo Chombo - all on targeted sanctions.
Zimbabweans should brace themselves for another wasted year. The new
crop of MDC Ministers is going to be handed over all the hidden corruption,
looting and murder. Politicians are politicians, what is the difference
between Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe?
SADC leaders by African standards have no standards of democracy. It
is all dog eat dog as SADC rewards those rejected by the electorate and does
not respect the wishes of the people.
Mugabe and all those who were rejected by the electorate are imposed
leaders and remain illegitimate. They represent SADC and AU, not we who
voted them out of Government.
The turnaround strategy is very clear - fire the CEO and his/her top
team for business to recover. The MDC's main objective should be that of the
development and production of a people driven Constitution within six months
and Presidential Elections in twelve months.
Hanging themselves
EDITOR - One big advantage about dealing with uneducated and
uninformed personnel like these JOC members is that they quickly tie a noose
around their own necks. Oh what a foolish move, but which is a blessing in
disguise for MDC & GNU! It was going to be very difficult to single this JOC
group members, now that they have initiated this blinder, it is up to GNU,
SADC, AU & UN to make sure these rogue elements are dealt with decisively
and emphatically. Whoever minister or Zanu (PF) member who is behind this
whole thing is now in trouble. What a stupid move.
The time of purging these notorious, uneducated, murderous personnel
is now or never. Now the ministers of Home Affairs (Giles and Kembo) should
respond; they should tell the country and whole world who arrested Roy
Bennett. Ministers of Security and Justice should cooperate towards bringing
these rogue elements to book. Here there is no escape or else the GNU is
dead on week one. The PM should summon these ministers and they should
explain what happened and what is happening.
Sad development
EDITOR - In response to developments that the Zimbabwe Military
Intelligence Directorate (MID) are behind Bennett's abduction I think that
it's a sad development that shows that Mugabe, despite all the bravado, is
not completely in charge of both Zanu (PF) and the army. This is the last
thing we need at the moment.
Zimbabweans can now see how Zanu (PF) has led us to a very insecure
position in its attempt to keep power. If Bob had not relied on his generals
to instil fear and win elections they would be respecting national consensus
This is a mini-coup and who knows what to expect next? Bob cannot
vindicate himself from this ugly event because he encouraged the soldiers to
disregard professional ethics when it suited his ends. This is a national
embarrassment as well as an indictment on Bob, Zanu (PF) and the Army. Now
the SADC should intervene because they and Bob wanted this hybrid thing to
exist more than any Zimbo. The generals cannot be allowed to hold the nation
at ransom, not now not ever! -

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From a correspondent

Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 8:37 AM

I want to shed some light on some recent events in Zimbabwe.

My Father, has had a bunch of illegal squatters arrive on his property
within the last 2 weeks, with false papers claiming that his land needs to
be re-allocated.

He has done everything he can following the legal system to try and argue
that the land is not land that has been aloocated for re-distribution, to
cut a long story short, he has been chased from him home on the strength of
these falsified papers, and has gone to court this afternoon to present his
case (he purchased the land with monies earned after independence from an
independant government) and has had to put up with not only being chased
from his home, but with all sorts of malicious propaganda associated with
the regime.

To Cut a long story short - the land is being illegally occupied by Mugabe
supporters, and My Father has been arrested since his court hearing this
afternoon. No one knows the whereabouts of my Father.

I want to know, when is this shit in Zimbabwe going to stop and when are
those responsible going to be held accountable? Every second that this sham
Government has control of this once productive and thriving country millions
of people suffer.


What are we as a Combined force going to do to stop this evil tyrant and his

I challenge you to go and find a Happy Zimbabwean outside of Robert Mugabes
Inner circle.

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