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MDC faction begins congress amid serious bickering over presidency

Zim Online

Sat 25 February 2006

††††† BULAWAYO - A faction of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party opposed to Morgan Tsvangirai begins its congress
here today amid widening differences between senior officials over plans to
bring in former student leader Arthur Mutambara to head the faction.

††††† MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube, deputy president Gibson Sibanda
and deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire who together led the breakaway
from Tsvangirai have failed to agree on finding a new leader outside their
group with Chimanikire wanting to become leader of the faction.

††††† Ncube and Sibanda prefer Mutambara, apparently wishing to cash in on
his popularity from his days as a firebrand student leader and as well as
his impressive academic record. Mutambara is a robotics scientist and
respected businessman.

††††† A meeting of the MDC faction's national council yesterday appeared to
have failed to resolve the potentially damaging differences among the senior
officials, with Chimanikire accusing Ncube and Sibanda of "unprocedurally"
recruiting Mutambara to contest against him for the presidency of the
faction tomorrow.

††††† Chimanikire, who accused his colleagues of plotting his downfall by
roping in Mutambara, also charged that Ncube and Sibanda had "influenced"
other party members not to contest the posts of secretary general and vice
president which the two hold respectively.

††††† "This obviously does not augur well for democracy, but we just wait to
see what happens at the congress. Surely if the process was as democratic as
Ncube and his supporters claim, there must have been candidates to challenge
him for the post that he holds," said Chimanikire.

††††† Ncube and Sibanda were not available for comment but the spokesman of
the faction, Paul Themba Nyathi sought to downplay the differences, saying
this was normal in any situation where people were contesting for positions.

††††† Nyathi said: "We would not want to say much on that issue .. and I
wonder who tells Chimanikire that there are no challengers for the said
posts when nominations have not yet been done. As far as I know, submissions
(of names of aspiring candidates) will be done tomorrow and that means we
have no names to release as yet."

††††† Nomination of candidates will take place today while elections will be
conducted tomorrow.

††††† But Chimanikire is expected to battle it out with Mutambara for the
post of president, while insiders confirm that Ncube and Sibanda will not be
challenged.

††††† Midlands South provincial chairman Lyson Mlambo is expected to be
challenged by a member of the MDC national executive council Joubert Mudzume
for the post of national chairman.

††††† Treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube is expected to beat off a challenge
from Abednico Bhebhe, a former financial manager with the state-run Railways
of Zimbabwe (NRZ), according to insiders.

††††† The full list of candidates is expected to be released after
nomination today.

††††† The congress that is taking place at Bulawayo`s Amphitheatre will for
the whole of today focus on a variety of issues including the party's
constitution and the way forward after disagreements with Tsvangirai.

††††† The congress is seen as the first formal step to break up the six-year
old MDC into two rival political parties. The process will be completed when
Morgan Tsvangirai and his faction of the MDC hold their congress next month.

††††† Ncube, Sibanda, Chimanikire on one hand and Tsvangirai on the other
decided to go separate ways after failing to agree on whether to contest
last November's controversial senatorial election.

††††† Tsvangirai opposed participation saying there was no point in doing so
because the poll was going to be rigged by Mugabe. The MDC president also
argued that the senate election was a waste of money when more than a
quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans were starving.

††††† But Ncube and others insisted that the MDC should contest the election
because its national council had voted to do so and accused Tsvangirai of
being dictatorial by refusing to abide by the council vote.

††††† Political analysts noted the senate election only triggered a split
that was otherwise imminent with the MDC leaders unable to agree on the best
way to unseat Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.

††††† Tsvangirai has advocated for mass action by Zimbabweans to force
Mugabe to embrace democracy. His three colleagues say the only route to
defeating Mugabe is through elections.

††††† But analysts are unanimous that breaking the MDC into two smaller and
rival parties will only strengthen Mugabe's grip on power. - ZimOnline


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IMF says Zimbabwe's budget deficit to hit 60 percent

Zim Online

Sat 25 February 2006

††††† WASHINGTON - Zimbabwe's final budget tally for 2005 is expected to
show deterioration in economic performance, with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) forecasting that the country's budget deficit could approach 60
percent of Gross Domestic Product due to careless spending by the central
bank.

††††† The Bretton Woods institution this week warned that the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe's quasi-fiscal activities during the past two years could begin
to take their toll on an economy already tottering on the brink of collapse.

††††† Director of the IMF external affairs department, Thomas Dawson, said
official government figures that show the deficit at some 3 percent of GDP
in 2005 are "only a small part of the picture."

††††† "A truer picture of the public deficit is provided by the consolidated
deficit of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and central government, which is
estimated to have reached nearly 60 percent of GDP in 2005, up from 27
percent of GDP in 2004," Dawson briefed journalists on Wednesday.

††††† The IMF has repeatedly placed the blame for Zimbabwe's ballooning
inflation squarely on the shoulders of RBZ governor Gideon Gono who has
since his appointment in December 2003 dolled out large sums of money to
farmers and other sectors of the economy.

††††† The central bank's quasi-fiscal activities have competed with parallel
measures undertaken by other government ministries that have also given out
money to their constituencies.

††††† Harare's annualised inflation was pegged at 613.2 percent last month
amid projections by economists the rate could hit 1 000 percent by April if
measures are not taken to arrest the haemorrhaging in the economy.

††††† A team from the IMF that was in the country this month advised the
Zimbabwean authorities to implement sustainable macroeconomic policies that
comply with international best practice as well as guaranteeing property
rights and a return to rule of law.

††††† On the issue of the source of funds used to pay off Zimbabwe's arrears
to the IMF, Dawson noted that the explanation by Harare of the sources of
payments to the Fund was not inconsistent with the revised reserves and
balance of payments data given to the team that visited the country
recently.

††††† "But we are unable to independently verify the data and explanations
provided, and we have urged the authorities to improve the reporting of
Zimbabwe's international reserve position to the Fund and balance of payment
data, as well as the transparency of the central bank's financial statement
disclosure framework," he said.

††††† Earlier this month, Zimbabwe cleared its longstanding arrears on the
IMF General Resources Account and Gono attributed the high inflationary
pressures to the printing of large amounts of local currency to pay foreign
exchange.

††††† "We cannot reconcile the numbers that the Governor cited with the
information previously provided by the authorities on the sources of
payment," said Dawson. -† ZimOnline


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Mugabe birthday protesters released from police custody

Zim Online

Sat 25 February 2006

††††† HARARE - Zimbabwe police yesterday released 61 women who were arrested
on Thursday for protesting against President Robert Mugabe's birthday party
after they paid admission of guilt fines.

††††† The protesters were from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
pressure group that is fighting for a new, democratic constitution for
Zimbabwe. Mugabe, who turned 82 on Tuesday, is set to hold a birthday party
in the eastern border city of Mutare today.

††††† Alec Muchadehama, a lawyer representing the women said the protesters
were charged under a section of the Miscellaneous Offences Act after their
actions were deemed to have breached the peace.

††††† "Clearly there is no offence. We could have challenged it in court but
taking into consideration the conditions in the cells we had to pay the fine
of Z$250 00 for each person," said Muchadehama. "The cells are inhabitable.
They are overcrowded and are stinking."

††††† NCA chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, said his group had chosen to pay the
admission of guilt fines to avoid spending the weekend in the filthy cells.

††††† "We did not want them (the women) to spend the weekend in cells. So
many unpleasant things are happening in the cells.

††††† "But we remain defiant that there was a genuine reason to demonstrate
against the birthday party."

††††† The NCA protesters took to the streets earlier this week saying Mugabe
should not be allowed to feast when the majority of Zimbabweans were
starving. The NCA has held a number of successful protests over the past six
years against Mugabe's policies. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe opposition legislator dies

Zim Online

Sat 25 February 2006

††††† HARARE - Zimbabwe main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party Member of Parliament for Budiriro constituency in Harare, Gilbert
Mutimutema Shoko, has died. He was 44.

††††† Shoko died on Thursday night at the Avenues clinic in the capital city
after suffering from meningitis.

††††† "A founder member of the MDC, honourable Shoko was a committed
revolutionary who wanted to see genuine change in Zimbabwe," the MDC's
spokesman for Harare province Willas Madzimure said in a statement
confirming the death of Shoko.

††††† Shoko was aligned to the faction of the divided MDC that backs party
president Morgan Tsvangirai.

††††† The MDC has split into two rival groups with another faction co-led by
secretary general Welshman Ncube and deputy president Gibson Sibanda. Former
student leader Arthur Mutambara is however expected to be elected leader of
the Ncube/Sibanda faction at its congress beginning in Bulawayo today.

††††† Shoko's death brings to 40 the number of MDC MPs in the House of
Assembly against the 108 legislators in the House who either belong to or
are controlled by President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party.

††††† The MP's death also sets up the stage for a tough three-way contest
involving ZANU PF and the two rival MDC factions in a by-election expected
to be called to replace the late legislator.

††††† Political commentators have warned that the splitting of the MDC will
benefit ZANU PF and allow the ruling party to make a comeback in urban
areas, which in recent years have appeared an impregnable fortress of the
opposition. - ZimOnline


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European Commission allocates ?15.8 million to a new Vital Health Programme in Zimbabwe

European Commission Press Release

--------------------------------------------------------------------

††††††††††† Reference:† IP/06/229††† Date:† 24/02/2006

††††††††††† Gaborone / Brussels, 24 February 2006

††††††††††† European Commission allocates ?15.8 million to a new Vital
Health Programme in Zimbabwe
††††††††††† The European Commission and the Government of Zimbabwe signed
today an agreement for a new EU funded health program. The programme will
support of the vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe for a total amount of ?15.8
million. The 3-year initiative, entitled "Vital Health Services Support
Programme" (VHSSP), will be implemented in both rural and urban areas.

††††††††††† The ceremony was attended by the EU Commissioner for Development
and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Zimbabwe Dr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and the Minister of Finance Dr Herbert
Murerwa, and took place in Gaborone, Botswana, in the margins of the seminar
launching the programming of the 10th European Development Fund for SADC
countries.

††††††††††† The programme will provide essential drugs (including ARVs),
vaccines, medical supplies, training for human resources and measures aimed
to fix staff in remote rural public and mission health facilities.

††††††††††† Commissioner Michel said: "This programme is essential to
improve the health services for all Zimbabweans, but particularly the most
vulnerable people. The EU is already a key donor in supporting the health
sector in the rural areas. However, it remains the Government's
responsibility to ensure that the health services available to the
Zimbabwean population are sustained and improved."

††††††††††† The programme, funded by the European Development Fund, is in
line with the current EU policy towards Zimbabwe which since 2002 suspended
all assistance except for programmes in direct support of the population, in
particular in the social sector. As far as the 10th EDF is concerned, funds
will be made available only after a decision to resume full cooperation has
been taken.

††††††††††† All activities are in line with the National Policy of Zimbabwe
and will directly contribute to the fulfilment of three out of the eight
Millennium Development Goals, namely: combat HIV & AIDS and other diseases,
child mortality, and maternal health.

††††††††††† The EU is currently the biggest donor to Zimbabwe's public
health sector, providing at least 60% of the available essential drugs. It
has also assisted in ensuring safe blood availability by providing support
to the National Blood Transfusion Services.

††††††††††† The new programme builds on the foundations of the current
2000-2006 EU Health programme. It also aims to work in close coordination
with other support provided by EU Member States, international donors and
NGOs.

††††††††††† Zimbabwe currently faces a critical health situation. In the
past five years life expectancy has dropped, maternal mortality has
dramatically increased and although HIV prevalence has recently declined,
HIV still infects about 20% of the adult population. More than 50% of the
positions for doctors and 90% for pharmacists are unfilled.

††††††††††† The Government of Zimbabwe has committed itself to inject funds
from the National Budget into the decentralised Health Services Fund, on a
quarterly basis. Furthermore, the re-capitalisation of NatPharm will
continue, mainly through increased government allocation of foreign currency
for essential drugs and supplies. The budget allocations to the health
sector as a share of the total national budget will have to be maintained or
increased to sustain the health services in Zimbabwe.


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Hard maths

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 23 February

More on money. It consumes us, across class race, age and sex. Even
President Robert Mugabe has recently noticed that money is a problem in
Zimbabwe. I needed some fuel yesterday (Wed) as my fuel coupons bought with
US dollars from the government in December have been withdrawn. A friend who
runs a small engineering company helps me out from time to time in a crisis,
if he has fuel. It is a crisis. I have to travel to eastern Zimbabwe today.
Hooray, he had fuel. While in his office in the shabby industrial areas he
showed me his latest cheque for salaries. For February, he had to find
Z$1,375,426,618. I think that is about 1.3 billion Zimbabwe dollars, or
about £4705 for staff salaries and workers' wages. He is in trouble over
cheque books. Barclays Bank has not yet produced cheque books with a column
for billions. Standard Chartered Bank has.

So he had to write out the figure in the Barclays Bank check in the column
labelled tens of millions of dollars. And he had to fit in three words to
get the right amount in that little space. With official inflation recorded
at 613 percent, but the real figure nearer 1,000 per cent, the highest in
the world, my friend is worried that the banks are going to make a mistake
in their print order for new cheque books. He said they should be printing
new cheque books with the first column being trillions, not billions.
Billions will be insufficient next month he said. For people who do not have
an easy relationship with noughts and decimal points this is a difficult
time. Even my friend, a chartered accountant, struggles to do his sums these
days.

We talk about money all day and every day in Zimbabwe. It is the main
conversation in shops, with friends, and among street traders trying to
scratch a living, between siblings and couples. My latest cell phone bill
arrived this week with stars instead of figures for some charges. About a
fifth of all calls on the bill are stars. So to calculate the cost of those
calls is almost impossible without knowing the cost of each unit. I phoned
my daughter in South Africa on Jan 24, in the afternoon, and we spoke for
542 units and the cost of the call is a line of stars. If the cell phone
company's system worked better I would phone its accounts department to find
out the cost of a unit. I know costs went up earlier this month but
absorbing daily increases when inflation is powering ahead towards 1,000 per
cent per year is too daunting. Obviously costs for some calls produce too
many figures for the automated billing system which can only produce seven
figures, i.e. Z$98,535.15.

How silly. We don't use change in Zimbabwe, like cents, or pennies. We
haven't seen coins for about three years. At present change is given to the
nearest Z$500, if the teller has got those notes in his till. Otherwise both
sides abandon change, even up to $5,000. Econet is the only privately owned
cell phone company in Zimbabwe. It is much more efficient than the state's
NetOne, and its owner is a nice man, but his network is strained by lack of
foreign currency. So sometimes it takes 10 calls to get one sentence of
information exchanged. Calls die, mid sentence. All the time. Every day.
Every minute almost. My bill was $32 million and some change. Today, (Feb
23) that is about £188 at the official rate of exchange. On the parallel
market, (the polite word for the black market) it would be £106. How will I
ever find out how much I spent calling my daughter, probably whingeing,
bending her ear, yet again, about the difficulties of living and working
here?


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Zimbabwe opposition reaches crossroads as pro-senate MDC faction


prepares for congress

††††† By Violet Gonda

††††† 24 February 2006

††††† All roads are leading to Bulawayo this weekend as those who support
the MDC pro-senate faction gather for their national congress. The group's
spokesman Paul Temba Nyathi said Friday saw delegates arriving from all 12
provinces for the accreditation process. Several diplomats, churches, labour
and civic groups including the main body of students ZINASU and the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) represented by Dr Lovemore Madhuku are
reported to have made the journey as well.

††††† Nyathi said, "We have in the past few weeks been surprised by the
turnaround in the thinking of some of these groups. We have certainly
received recognition from a number of civic groups. Others have said they
don't particularly support us but would like to be present to show
solidarity."

††††† As the first of two separate congresses planned, this one may finally
seal the split in the MDC.

††††† Nominations for the candidates are expected to be announced late
Friday but it's widely expected that former student leader and robotics
scientist Professor Arthur Mutambara is going to be elected President when
elections are held on Sunday.

††††† Other names tipped for top leadership positions are;

††††† Gibson Sibanda Vice President, Gift Chimanikire chairman, Professor
Welshman Ncube Secretary General and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga Deputy
Secretary General.

††††† Critics have said this particular group seems to be more intellectual
than practical and have no rural appeal. But Nyathi said, "What is important
is that there is no single leader in this group that doesn't hail from a
working class and rural background. I believe they are representative of the
mosaic that pins together Zimbabwean society."

††††† The opposition party, which was widely seen as the only serious
challenge to Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF, split into two factions when party
President Morgan Tsvangirai defied a National Council vote on October 12th
on whether to participate in the senate elections.

††††† Tsvangirai felt the senate did not represent the desires of the party's
grassroots and was a waste of much needed money while his colleagues felt
that as a political party they needed to participate in the political
process and did not want to lose ground to ZANU PF. Tsvangirai was accused
of being a dictator, which subsequently led to the group seeking a High
Court application to suspend him. The application was thrown out by the
courts.

††††† As the pro-senate camp was preparing for its congress, Morgan
Tsvangirai's lawyers Dube, Manikai and Hwacha were releasing a statement
which said among other things that the congress was taking place in breach
of the party's constitution, and in defiance of the logic and principle of
the High Court judgment.

††††† "Your clients have repeatedly published, yet falsely, that our client
Mr M. Tsvangirai is suspended or dismissed from the party. In defiance of
the judgment, your clients have also purportedly organised meetings in the
name of the M.D.C. Your clients have now also published adverts calling for
"An MDC Congress" to be held in Bulawayo on the 25th and 26th February
†2006."

††††† The statement went further to say the conduct of the leaders was not
authorised by the National Council and is therefore unconstitutional. "The
court made it clear that Mr G. Chimanikire and any others could not act in
the name of the MDC without lawful authority. Such authority rests in the
National Council. The High Court did find that the National Council which
confirmed the unlawfulness of Mr Tsvangirai's suspension was lawfully
constituted."

††††† Paul Temba Nyathi rejected this statement saying plans for the
Bulawayo congress were properly constituted and they will go ahead with the
preparations. He said, "Our legal team says our congress is constitutional
and if this group is aggrieved they can avail themselves to any legal
process. The time has come for us to move on . we hope after this congress
we will be talking about how to get rid of Robert Mugabe."

††††† The two day congress will be held at the Amphitheatre at the park in
Bulawayo.

††††† SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Bread now Z$ 65,000 as food prices increase daily



††††† By Tererai Karimakwenda
††††† 24 February 2006

††††† Teachers, soldiers and civil servants received their salaries on
Thursday but none of the month-end joy of having cash in the pocket was
visible on their faces. This month, payday coincided with another drastic
increase in food prices, making compensation for their hard work
meaningless. Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa reports that people
woke up to "earth shattering" price increases Thursday morning, making
Wednesday night's earthquake a source of humour for many desperate families
in the country.

††††† Muchemwa said a loaf of bread is now between Z$ 65,000 and
††††† Z$ 75,000, up from Z$ 45,000. Cooking oil went up to Z$ 710,000 from
Z$ 560,000 and a 1kg packet of surf detergent now costs Z$ 400,000. He said
The Consumer Council had pegged 1 family basket for the month at Z$ 25
million for the last 2 months, but he estimates it now to be close to Z$ 50
million. With salaries not increasing to keep up with this runaway inflation
rate, every increase takes away much more from a population that now relies
on money from relatives abroad, for those who have them.

††††† And no-one is exempt from the effects of the economic crisis. Muchemwa
said he spoke with 2 Central Intelligence Officers who said their duties
have increased due to massive government layoffs. But they expressed
resentment at top officials who are benefiting from the crisis, while their
salaries do not reflect the extra time, effort and sacrifices they are
making doing the "dangerous ground work". Muchemwa said even the CIO agents
now have to pay Z$ 82,000 for a small bag of tea leaves, and Z$ 300,000 for
one of powdered milk.

††††† As Zimbabweans were trying hard to adjust to these sudden increases,
the MDC faction led by president Morgan Tsvangirai released a statement
criticising the extravagant amounts being spent on Robert Mugabe's birthday
celebrations. Part of the statement read: "In typical medieval fashion,
Robert Mugabe at the weekend will once again turn his birthday into a grand
state occasion with lavish feasting and hype while the nation is in the
middle of starvation." Muchemwa said this hit home for many people, and has
been the subject of many discussions. The statement goes on to say: "The
real story of Zimbabwe is not the birthday of an 82-year old, but the
massive starvation in our communities, the corruption in Zanu PF that has
ground the economy to a halt and worsened the already collapsing education
and health sectors.

††††† SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Statement On the Attack of the Financial Gazette's 'Mavis Makuni' By the Herald



Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

PRESS RELEASE
February 23, 2006
Posted to the web February 24, 2006

* The article referred to in the statement is attached.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe and the Media
Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) would like to express shock at the
outrageous, chauvinistic comment targeted at The Financial Gazette columnist
"Mavis Makuni" in The Saturday Herald's issue of February 18, 2006.

Nathaniel Manheru's opinion piece: "The Other Side entitled Muleya/Makuni
The deep scar of colonial enslavement, misgovernance", was a dehumanising
and blatant attack which went beyond the right to freedom of expression and
opinion.

Mavis Makuni in the Financial Gazette of February 16 - 22, 2006, wrote an
article entitled: Mbeki's failure only prolongs our misery. The article was
based on a personal opinion of Mbeki's quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe's crisis.

In response to Makuni's article, Manheru claims that Makuni's opinion is "a
case of P.M.T. (pre-menstrual tension) senselessness" and that Mbeki should
not be bothered by comments made by "one menopausal 'Mavis Makuni'". Such
comments are not only unethical but expose Manheru's bigotry, which is
unacceptable in a civilized society.

These are natural processes that every woman goes through and should not be
used as a basis for judging one's intellect and mental syntax.

Manheru has a right to his own opinions but he should address the issues
raised by Makuni instead of the unprofessional and unwarranted attack on the
personhood of the author. It is such biases and prejudices that entrench
negative stereotypes of women as lesser and incapable beings.

While MISA-Zimbabwe and the MMPZ uphold the principles of freedom of
expression, it is our considered view that Manheru's comments go beyond the
bounds of decency and fair comment.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe entitles everyone to enjoy freedom of
expression and opinion regardless of their biological dispositions, age and
political affiliation.

Such spur of the moment utterances by Manheru expose a mindset that is
demeaning of women and their status as equal to men. It goes against the
very grain of government's policy of empowering women and elevating them to
positions of authority.

The progressive world frowns upon such statements as gender insensitive and
retrogressive particularly at a time when African women are proving their
mettle by assuming positions of authority as exemplified by our own Vice
President Joice Mujuru, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa and Africa's
first elected female Head of State Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

We hope The Herald and Manheru will realise the serious impact of such
gender insensitive journalism manifesting itself in one of the country's
leading newspapers and apologise to Mavis Makuni and the women of Zimbabwe
as a whole.

Muleya/Makuni: the Deep Scar of Colonial Enslavement

The Herald (Harare) OPINION February 18, 2006

Nathaniel Manheru, Harare

I have made repeated references to one of William Shakespeare's last plays,
The Tempest. Alongside its time peers, this play rides above the traditional
tragedy/comedy distinction, to yield what critics have termed tragic-comedy.

To those familiar with the works of this English bard, this straddling
drama-genre suggests a matured Shakespeare, himself beginning to come to
terms with the hard reality that life is never a neatly cut dichotomy of the
good and the bad; the ugly and the beautiful; the serious and the humorous;
the tragic and the comic, but often yields these contrary states in ways
deeply unpredictable, complex and often confounding. Indeed, this is life's
quick: the fact of its dramatic shifts, twists and turns; of its high and
low amplitudes.

And often, these polar opposites manifest themselves as a complex medley,
which is why every cloud is said to have a silver lining. So, by emerging
with a drama which was neither a purely tragedy or a pure comedy, but one
where these two states interacted in a much complex way, Shakespeare was
exhibiting a deeper understanding and grasp of the complexities of real
life, which is why his last plays have tended to be more enduring, engaging
and better candidates for verisimilitude.

Of Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano

I make reference to the Tempest, specifically to three characters: Caliban,
Stephano and Trinculo. There is something in the way Shakespeare developed
the character of Caliban which makes Caliban a real cousin, a formidable
claimant to my being as a native African. He tags my navel in the primeval
sense of belongingness.

He represents the native who originally deservedly inherited his universe
from his forbears, in this case represented by Sycorax his mother, which
universe he is soon to lose to a "higher", stronger and more aggressive
invading being and culture, in this case represented by Prospero who
incarnates western mercantile expansionism and its later version, colonial
plunder and occupation.

And of course, because of this traumatic encounter which transforms Caliban
from being a sovereign owner of his universe to being a degraded drawer of
water and hewer of wood, Caliban's character is a complex study in tragic
symptoms of enslavement and racist misgovernance, and of course an
illustration of highly mutable and mobile forms of resistance by the
wretched of the earth.

Stephano and Trinculo on the other hand, are closer to the imperious
Prospero and the "higher" western universe he incarnates. Like Prospero and
his daughter Miranda, they are the human debris of a shipwreck, flung ashore
by the fury of the oceanic waters.

Or better still, a slice of western decadence which the vast waters of the
turbulent ocean finds too foul even to cleanse or bury, and thus
vomits/disgorges it ashore, right onto Caliban's island. Of all their
earthly possessions stricken on the ship, the two characters worry only
about and succeed in redeeming bottles of sack (deadly brew and intoxicant),
by which action they dramatise their base and decadent taste that drives
their universe.

Hi! Ho! Caliban has a new master!

But cleverly, Shakespeare uses them to demonstrate a despairing
psychological facet emerging from long years of enslavement and
incarceration. Really fed up with the indignities of enslavement and
dispossession at the hands of Prospero, Caliban is in a foul, rebellious and
defiant mood where he no longer fears or cares about Propsero's gnawing
goblins by which he is kept in awe, restraining terror and under tight
leash.

Having tried unsuccessfully to kill Prospero; rape his daughter Miranda and
having attempted many other acts of resistance, he, by chance runs into the
two drunken castaways, busy "hihowing" from stone drunkenness.

Initially he mistakes them for Prospero's goblins, and in self-defence falls
flat on the ground, hoping the goblins would spare him their wrath.

But the "goblins" find him, for all their drunkenness, and conclude he is a
"man-monster", itself a hint at why Shakespeare calls him Caliban (a play on
Cannibal?). And man-monsters generated fabulous monies for early explorers
who charged curious Europeans ready and able to pay enormously to see varied
grotesquery from far away lands! So Trinculo and Stephano resolve to carry
the monster to Europe so they can spin big money from a Europe wrapt in
exoticism.

In their drunken exchanges, Caliban picks English words, a far cry from the
terrifying shrieks of attacking goblins, and he is greatly relieved.

He responds in English, astonishing the two drunks who do not expect the
"man-monster" to speak their language. And once both sides recover, Stephano
and Trinculo decide to share a few drops of "sack" with the man-monster,
hoping alcohol would cure the fever they think afflicts it.

Caliban likes the taste of decadent Europe, and will do and say anything to
have more. And the first thing he does is to transfer his loyalties to the
two drunks whom he now considers generous gods that grant celestial waters,
once deferred to. And in a gratuitous display of a complex of acute
servility, he catapults himself into the stratosphere, rejoicing: "Hi, ho!
Caliban has a new master!" It is a cry of a happy and satiated slave, and
one deepened by every sip of Trinculo's ale.

So the powerful intoxicant cast him deeper and deeper into servile deference
and loyalty to these two mere drunks. Even in decadence, Shakespeare tells
us, there is a racialised hierarchy, Shakespeare seems to be saying.

In comes Zimbabwe's Calibans Why recount this side of political Shakespeare?
Well, for the simple reason that his lessons to us post-colonials seem
timeless. The streak he dramatizes in Caliban haunts us as post-colonial
Zimbabweans, a real deep affliction. Take this week's Independent and the
Financial Gazette, Dumisani Muleya and Mavis Makuni (a.k.a. Edna Machirori
of ex-Sunday News) to be specific. Both wrote elaborately on the so-called
Mbeki initiative on Zimbabwe, whatever that means.

And both from contrasting standpoints, or so they believed. But on closer
reading, one meets a disturbing streak which reveals a part of our national
psyche. Forget about Machirori's inane perorations; zoom in on her writhing
conclusion: "As a long-suffering and economically impoverished Zimbabwean, I
cannot forgive Mbeki for prolonging my misery over the last five years when
he dithered and equivocated behind the wall of ineffectual secrecy with the
fancy name of "quiet diplomacy". Goodness me! Edna is quite a senior citizen
of this country, in fact too old to be "a midnight child" in the Rushidian
sense of a generation born on the eve of our Independence. She studied in
colonial Rhodesia, saw the war, albeit from the safety of colonial citadels.
She is not one of Muleya's generation: too old to have been born into
independence, but too young to have witnessed the processes, some of them
quite bloody, which gave us our Independence.

President Mbeki, will you invade us please!

The question that begs is what makes her so bitter with Mbeki? What should
Mbeki have done for her? As who? And on what basis? How does Mbeki - a South
African - owe her anything as a Zimbabwean? What is she asking Mbeki to do?
Invade Zimbabwe? Depose the Zanu (PF) Government by which action Edna feels
liberated?

Just what? Do people really understand themselves when they write? Or is it
a case P.M.T. senselessness? A whole full blown woman, a once-upon-a-time
editor of the Sunday News, plaintively accosting Mbeki to be imperial and
intrusive with our sovereignty! What rank madness from a full grown woman!
And President Mbeki, himself a freedom fighter, is supposed to be bothered
that one menopausal "Mavis Makuni" will not "forgive" him for not adopting
an intrusive foreign policy in respect of Zimbabwe? For not being a Tony
Blair, a George Bush of Southern Africa?

What has gotten into the head of this woman, this so-called Mavis? What has
she eaten? Apart from a convoluted sense of herself (exemplified by the
belief that the wields and dispenses vital forgiveness to the rest of
humanity), Makuni's affinities are clearly with the declined politics of the
MDC which, Caliban-like, leaps to say Hi!ho! Caliban has a new master.

These are politics which cannot visualize a self-governing, a
self-determining Zimbabwe, but one always shaped by dynamics induced from
without. And of course to such a mind, the model leader is the Afrikaner
John Vorster whom Mbeki must ape, and whom Zimbabwe must suffer, the same
way Rhodesians suffered Vorster.

Wishing, cheering invasion

And then you have Muleya's pretentious piece on Mbeki. Swinging between
inaccurate description and drawing large but false political verities, the
article believes itself penetrative, but exhibits in a more brazen fashion
the same kowtowing streak abundant in Makuni. You have a Zimbabwean writing
thus: "A country may have economic, military, and political leverage over
the other but if these cannot be deployed effectively, its diplomacy does
not work. That was Mbeki's dilemma, among numerous others".

What is this young boy saying in essence? What does it mean for Mbeki to
"deploy effectively" his "military leverage" against Zimbabwe? What is Mbeki
being asked to do in respect of Zimbabwe? And is the person asking him to do
that a Zimbabwean? And further down Muleya writes: "Mbeki also failed to
articulate the most basic issue: his objective. What did he in the final
analysis want to achieve in Zimbabwe? Did he want a reformed Robert Mugabe
and Zanu (PF) to remain in power or did he want the MDC to get into power or
both?" Why should Mbeki want to achieve all that, or anything, in Zimbabwe?
What is his stake in the Zimbabwean scheme of things? And assuming what he
"wants" is achieved here, whose country will Zimbabwe be? Muleya proceeds,
more or less in the mould of Meldrum and his International Crisis Group
hare-brained scenarios, to lash out at Europeans and Americans for not
coordinating actions against Zimbabwe: "The result of all this was a
disjointed and incoherent campaign around Zimbabwe whose lack of systematic
structure could not have possibly produced a positive outcome‚-oe." What
would have been "the positive outcome"? A true Zimbabwean national bemoaning
the failures of machinations against his own country, and not celebrating
the defeat of such machinations? It is really staggering.

A persistent servile psychosis

For the past two weeks, I have emphasized that the demise of the opposition
MDC has created a real quandary for the vast infrastructure the British
developed here for purposes of achieving regime change. I made reference to
plaintive calls for unity between the two factions of the MDC; the receding
into the twilight world of anti-establishment NGOs; the retreat to the old
and battered theme of constitutionalism, itself an attempted escape from the
ballot. What I did not make reference to is this more brazen way of
accosting foreign powers to intervene and invade Zimbabwe, but all disguised
as a dig at "quiet diplomacy". At one level it is a recognition of the
impotence of the MDC, indeed the futility of the anti-nation campaign it has
pursued since its birth in 1999. At another level, it is, in the deep
anthropological sense, a disturbing inability to break with our servile
colonial past which appears to psychologically predispose us to depose and
surrender our right as sover eign actors responsible for shaping this divine
polity of Zimbabwe, in preference of the outsider. It is a very disturbing
servile psychosis, and one which apparently persists even after the people
have shown their disavowal of it through their rejection of the MDC.

From UPM to "former Zanu (PF) MP".

I told you a long time ago that the so-called UPM of Jonathan Moyo and
Pearson Mbalekwa would come in quick march, only to disappear with less than
a farcical whimper. What gave it an illusion of consequence were those who
were wrongly rumoured to have been behind it, starting with Emmerson
Mnangagwa, uncle to Mbalekwa. Attempts were made to interpret misdeeds and
shifts of puny players like Mbalekwa as turning points in Zimbabwe's body
politic, as acts of cosmic consequences. And I kept telling the media
Mbalekwa was as close to the pith of Zanu (PF) as his Nigerian garb was
closer to the national dress. A real midget in ill-fitting gowns of giant
politics. I also said outside State machinery, Jonathan Moyo shrinks into an
indiscernible bundle of debilitating nerves, a frail non-actor divested of
that aura Zanu (PF) had loaned him in good faith. Beyond occasional "sharp
farts" in unread papers, he stands firmly politically mothballed, a
weather-beaten, mossy limb of the sepu lcher. I notice Sunsleey has just
realized the same, albeit belatedly.

A chuckle from raker

But I had a bit of a chuckle from the gentleman who ignores the celestial
beckon, wishing instead to remain raking the muck. Thinking I am Charamba,
he wonders where I have picked courage to attack Jonathan, the man he
believes I used to adulate only yesterday. Amazing how he cannot read what
his own paper published. I wonder whether this raker of muck, who for so
long was used to showering gratuituous praise to Tsvangirai, can tell us
where the rain started beating him? Why is he now denouncing a man he gave
to his readers with the stature of Deity? Or why that nasty realization of
misplaced faith and loyalty did not help him stay clear of Jonathan Moyo,
freshly flung from Zanu (PF), and bound headlong for perdition?

Interestingly, the Independent introduces Mbalekwa as "a former Zanu (PF)
MP", not as UPM! So much about the opposition and their media. Relevant
Links Southern Africa Zimbabwe

Playing bhora nebango

This boy called William Bango, where did he learn his politics, his
communication? Cardiff? Cannot be, I say! On Tuesday, he squeezed out all
letters in the Herald to place what pretended to be a clever defence of the
limping villager. Hoping to tap into the football craze, he built his
meaning on an anti-homeric simile drawn from the pitch, hoping to profit
from some association with this fascinating round rubber. Except far from
presenting his principal as the star player - his real hope - he gave him to
us as the hot ball, buffeted and befuddled by too much kicking from all
twenty-two, boosted by referee Zvayi! And the Pole had the temerity to ask
Zvayi questions he himself should have answered, once placed to him by the
press. Why did he dodge? Why did he refer the press to Chamisa when in fact
the enquiries related to the conduct of his "president"? And he ended up
giving out more, leaving all communicators convinced the best way to draw
out the MDC is by attacking it. I s that how he wants to fashion his
communications? It was a pathetic show which made the MDC become the
political amateur we have always known it to be. As for William himself, he
came across as a little worse than a character from the reporters' pool he
deserted for political stipends. In the meantime the Herald has consolidated
its position as a truly national organ to which all turn for the space to be
heard. Icho!


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Fuel Scam: Politicians Quizzed



The Herald (Harare)

February 24, 2006
Posted to the web February 24, 2006

Mutare Bureau
Harare

CHIPINGE South MP Cde Enock Porusingazi and Zanu-PF Central Committee member
and businessman Cde Isau Mupfumi and nine other people have been questioned
by police over allegations of abusing fuel meant for farming.

This comes amid reports that some conmen have been going around Manicaland
Province stealing fuel from people claiming it was for Vice President Joice
Mujuru's motorcade. Cde Mupfumi and Cde Porusingazi were at the weekend
called to account for the fuel they had received from the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim).

Government has intensified its anti-corruption drive following reports that
some farmers, who got fuel at cheaper prices under a facility aimed at
boosting agricultural production, diverted the scarce commodity to the
illegal parallel market.

There have been reports that some officials have also been acquiring maize
or maize-meal from the Grain Marketing Board and either selling it on the
parallel market or smuggling it outside the country.

Besides the two high ranking politicians, a Central Intelligence
Organisation officer and a police officer in Chiredzi were also under probe
for allegedly conniving with five other suspects to dupe people into
releasing thousands of litres of diesel purporting that it was for Cde
Mujuru's motorcade.

Farmers' Enock Saidani and Lucia Mbetsa have since appeared in court in
Mutare. Saidani was remanded in custody while Mbetsa is out on $5 million
bail. Saidani allegedly received 17 600 litres of diesel from Noczim but
never ploughed his field.

He allegedly sold it on the parallel market while Mbetsa is alleged to have
converted 2 995 litres of the 4 000 litres she received to other uses other
than farming.

Cdes Mupfumi and Porusingazi were quizzed last Saturday and Sunday and have
since declared their innocence, saying all their transactions were above
board. The Officer Commanding police in Manicaland province, Senior
Assistant Commissioner Ronald Muderedzwa, confirmed the questioning of the
two politicians.

Said Snr Asst Comm Muderedzwa; "Police questioned the politicians on their
dealings with Noczim. We wanted to know whether the fuel they received from
the parastatal was put to good use or not because some of it was intended
for Zanu-PF business and the other for farming activities.

"We are investigating all people who received fuel from Noczim with the
intention of laying charges against all those who are found on the wrong
side of the law. We are working closely with the Public Service Commission's
Inspectorate Agency and as of now, our members are on the ground
investigating."

Cde Mupfumi confirmed that he was summoned by police and was able to produce
all receipts for the diesel he bought.

"Yes, I received diesel from Noczim, but all transactions were above board.
I even went to the charge office on my own and presented everything before
the police. For my farm, I received 6 000 litres which was put to good use,
and 20 000 litres for my three buses, which ferried people to the Zanu-PF
conference at Esigodini in December last year. I bought the fuel using
commercial rates and there is nothing sinister about that. I know that there
are people working flat out to see my downfall and (they) acted as whistle
blowers," he said.

However, the probe against Cde Mupfumi took a new twist this week with the
businessman accusing the four-member team of the PSC's Inspectorate Agency
of having solicited for a bribe from his farm manager. "The inspectorate
team went to my farm on Sunday and asked for two pockets of potatoes from my
farm manager, which they received and shared among themselves. I have since
taken up the case with their bosses," he said.

Approached for comment, an official at PSCs Inspectorate Agency's offices in
Mutare, who requested anonymity, confirmed that Cde Mupfumi had lodged a
complaint against the team that went to his farm, but was quick to say that
would not stop them from continuing with their probe.

"As I speak, our members are on the ground and this case cannot stop us. We
are carrying out our own investigations to establish what happened, but the
reports we received from the officers that went to the farm indicated that
it was the manager who gave them the potatoes and is now turning against
them," he said. Cde Porusingazi confirmed that he had received 15 200 litres
of diesel, which he said were inadequate for his 250 hectares.

"Yes, I received the fuel and put it to good use. It is a noble idea for
farmers to be probed, but the investigating teams should be made of people
with a very sound knowledge of agriculture," he said.

The suspected conmen were arrested after attempting to extort 450 litres of
diesel from Cde Porusingazi. The suspects are alleged to have told Cde
Porusingazi that Cde Mujuru's motorcade had run out of fuel on its way back
from a tour of Nuanetsi Irrigation Scheme, in Mwenezi.

Police sources said a CIO officer, allegedly provided the truck that had
come to collect the fuel.

The source said Ngundu Wardens, whose proprietors are based in South Africa,
is understood to have been supplying the suspects with about 1 000 litres of
diesel per week after they were duped into believing that it was meant for
use by Vice President Mujuru.


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U.S. Urged to OK Plan for New U.N. Council

The Guardian

Friday February 24, 2006 12:01 PM

By EDITH M. LEDERER

Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United States came under pressure from key human
rights groups to accept a compromise proposal to replace the discredited
U.N. Human Rights Commission with a new Human Rights Council.

Ten advocacy groups sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on
Thursday urging the United States to support the proposal. They called it
``a concrete step in the right direction,'' even though it wasn't as strong
as they had hoped, and warned that trying to change it ``will not lead to a
better result.''

The letter was in response to comments from U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, who
questioned whether the draft resolution would keep human rights abusers off
the new council - a key U.S. goal - and raised the possibility of new
negotiations.

The Geneva-based Human Rights Commission has been widely criticized by
Western governments and human rights campaigners for allowing some of the
worst-offending countries to use their membership to protect each other from
condemnation or criticize others. In recent years, members have included
Sudan, Libya, Zimbabwe and Cuba.

But replacing the commission, an idea first recommended by Secretary-General
Kofi Annan in March 2005, has divided the 191-member U.N. General Assembly
and sparked months of contentious negotiations.

General Assembly President Jan Eliasson, who has been facilitating the
negotiations, called the resolution ``balanced, strong and workable,''
saying it strengthens human rights and toughens the criteria for membership
on the new Human Rights Council.

He urged the General Assembly to approve the resolution next week, saying
that ``while no member state has got everything it argued for,'' it was the
best compromise.

The proposal would replace the 53-member Human Rights Commission with a
47-member Human Rights Council that would be elected by an absolute majority
of the General Assembly's 96 members. Annan and human rights campaigners had
argued for a two-thirds majority requirement to help keep out countries
accused of abuses.

Every U.N. member state would be eligible for membership but the new draft
toughens the criteria. Council members must ``uphold the highest standards
in the promotion and protection of human rights, fully cooperate with the
council,'' and have their human rights records reviewed during their
three-year term. All 191 U.N. members would eventually face such scrutiny.

Under the new proposal, the General Assembly could also suspend a member for
``gross and systematic violations of human rights'' by a two-thirds
majority. Any country on the council, with the support of one-third of its
members, could also call a special session, a provision aimed at getting a
quick response to human rights emergencies.

Annan, who called last March for a small permanent human rights body to
replace the highly politicized Human Rights Commission, said ``it's not
everything we asked for, but it's a credible effort to move ahead.''

``I would suggest that the member states have had enough time to discuss, as
the issues are known, and now is the time for a decision,'' he said.

But Bolton said a lot of points the U.S. wanted weren't in the text.

``Based on conversations we've had with other governments, the strongest
argument in favor of this draft is that it's not as bad as it could be,'' he
said.

Bolton said it was time to consider whether to start negotiations between
nations, not with Eliasson as the ``facilitator.'' The United States will
study the draft, consult with other governments, and make a final decision,
he said.

``What we have been looking for is a substantial reform of the existing
human rights decision-making machinery in the U.N. and the question that's
still before us is whether this amounts to a substantial reform,'' Bolton
said.

In the letter to Rice, the 10 organizations said the decision to support the
resolution wasn't easy because they had pushed for ``a more ambitious
result.'' But they said they had concluded it offered ``a reasonable basis
to stay engaged and fight for making the council as effective as possible.''

The signatories were Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights
First, the Carter Institute, the International Crisis Group, the Open
Society Institute, Citizens for Global Solutions, Council for a Community of
Democracies, Democracy Coalition Project and Physicians for Human Rights.

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