The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe army restricts arms issuance

by Prince Nyathi  Friday 30 January 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe army commanders have put severe restrictions on
issuance of weapons, fearing possible mutiny by disgruntled junior soldiers
who have staged riots and looted property in recent months, sources told

Soldiers going on national assignments were now being vetted
thoroughly before they are issued with arms and ammunition, according to our
sources, who are senior officers in the army and spoke on condition they
were not named.

They said the decision to be extra-careful about who gets issued with
guns was taken last December soon after some disgruntled soldiers rioted,
looting clothes and cash in central Harare and demanding that their salaries
be paid in foreign currency.

"We are now being vetted before we sign for guns and sent for national
duty. They began monitoring the behaviour of individual soldiers after the
riots," said a soldier based at 2 Brigade Cranborne Barracks in Harare.

A colonel at Inkomo Barracks on Harare's northwestern border said: "It
has never been easy accessing arms from the armoury but with what is going
on in the army, it was decided that more stringent measures be put in place.
We don't want arms to fall into the wrong hands."

The colonel added that as an additional precautionary measure
commanders constantly rotated soldiers deployed on national duty to ensure
no group of soldiers stays together away from barracks for long enough to
plot any act of serious disobedience.

Soldiers deployed to flush out illegal miners at the Chiadzwa diamond
field in the eastern Manicaland province were rotated regularly, according
to the colonel.

Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Simon Tsatsi was not immediately
available for comment on the matter.

Unconfirmed reports say several soldiers have been held in military
detention on allegations of planning to topple President Robert Mugabe's
administration. Some of the soldiers are accused of having links with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

MDC secretary for security and intelligence Giles Mutsekwa said the
new vetting of soldiers showed that the military top brass no longer trusted
the ordinary trooper who is as unhappy as every citizen is over worsening
economic hardships in the country.

"I have heard of the vetting and once you don't trust your safety with
the people who are supposed to protect you then you have a serious problem,"
said Mutsekwa, himself a former soldier.

In the past few weeks, soldiers have looted shops and cash around the
country saying their salaries were too little to feed them. Soldiers have
joined teachers, nurses and doctors in demanding the government pays them in
hard cash.

Last week, a group of about 15 armed soldiers looted a shop belonging
to MDC legislator for Mkoba, Amos Chibaya, at Mabika Shopping Centre in
Chivi in Mlidlands province saying they were hungry.

This was after another group raided central bank Governor Gideon Gono's
farm in Norton and forcibly took 175 chickens valued at US$787.50.

Last month some soldiers looted clothes and cash in Harare and only
stopped after the army and police launched joint patrols in the city.
Soldiers are demanding their pay in foreign currency.

These incidents underline the deep discontent within Mugabe's of about
25 000 men and women that has also suffered massive desertion by soldiers
fleeing to neighbouring countries where they earn better working as security

Analysts rule out the possibility of well-paid top army generals
staging a coup against Mugabe. But they have always speculated that
worsening hunger could at some point force the underpaid ordinary trooper to
either openly revolt or to simply refuse to defend the government should
Zimbabweans rise up in a civil rebellion. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Abandons Price Controls, Promotes Currency Trading

By Brian Latham

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabweans will be able to trade in any currency
they choose and the government will abandon price controls with immediate
effect, acting finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said today.

Chinamasa, from President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front party, told parliament that price controls would be
abandoned because they had "unintentionally'' harmed businesses and added to
Zimbabwe's hyperinflation.

Zimbabweans will also be allowed to use "multiple currencies'' for all
business, including trading shares on the Harare-based Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange, he said, presenting Zimbabwe's national budget.

The country is in its 11th year of economic recession and has the world's
highest inflation rate, last estimated at 231 million percent in July 2008.
It faces almost total collapse of its health, education, power and water
facilities as Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for
Democratic Change spar over the formation of a power sharing government.

Chinamasa gave a bleak picture of the southern African nation's economy,
saying, "It requires a paradigm shift in terms of acknowledging that we
cannot eat what we do not have."

Most businesses have abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar, which is in short supply
because the central bank can't print money fast enough to meet demand.

Government employees will be paid allowances in vouchers which can be
converted into foreign currency "in line with the expected improvement in
foreign currency inflows," Chinamasa said on state radio and television.

The Zimbabwe dollar will not be abandoned. Instead it will operate alongside
foreign currencies like the U.S. dollar and the South African rand, he said.

A corn and wheat monopoly held by the state-owned Grain Marketing Board will
also be terminated, he said. Farmers and millers will be permitted to trade
without state interference, with immediate effect.

Separately, the United Nations' World Food Program today said that 6.9
million Zimbabweans out of the population's estimated 11 million people
require emergency food rations.

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Zimbabwe sidelines currency as economy collapses

January 29, 2009

Jan Raath in Harare

Zimbabwe sidelined its own near-worthless currency yesterday, declaring the
US dollar, the British pound and even the Botswana Pula as legal tender in
the country's rapidly collapsing economy.

"The Government is allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for
business alongside the Zimbabwean dollar," Patrick Chinamasa, the acting
Finance Minister, announced in a humiliating admission that the Mugabe's
regime's battle to prop up the national currency was lost.

From now on, shops, insurance companies, schools, state-owned utilities
could charge in foreign and local currency - though many of them will have
to be licenced. A range of taxes will also be payable in hard and local
currency. Mr Chinamasa's estimates of expenditure were presented in Zimbabwe
dollars, US dollars and Rand.

Private companies will able to pay employees in hard currency, but the
regime is risking serious unrest by effectively leaving out Government
workers, including the army and the police.

Last month, hundreds of soldiers went on the rampage over monthly pay of
several billion that then could buy a couple of loaves of bread. The
unpredictability of the army is seen as the most serious threat to President
Mugabe's continued stay in power.
Mr Chinamasa said that civil servants would continue to be paid in Zimbabwe
dollars but would also receive a monthly allowance worth a basket of basic
household goods in US dollar terms - in government-issued vouchers.

The Government began to pull back on its rigorous exchange control policy
late last year when it issued licences to shops - at US$ 20,000 a time - to
charge in foreign currency. Supermarket shelves that had been empty for over
a year were suddenly filled with imported goods, but police were still
arresting people dealing in hard currency outside the official system and
searching bus passengers for foreign banknotes.

MPs in the house of assembly roared their approval as Mr Chinamasa announced
the move that ends decades of Soviet bloc-type economic controls which have
steadily eroded what was one of Africa's most robust economies. He also
loosened a wide range of restrictions that have contributed to the economy's
ruin. "It requires a paradigm shift in terms of acknowledging the reality
that we cannot eat what we don't have," he said.

He cancelled price controls introduced in May last year that instantly
caused shortages of goods which surfaced again on the black market at
sharply steeper prices. The Prices and Incomes Commission, whose inspectors
put thousands of struggling businessmen in jail for "overcharging" and often
then looted their businesses, would be confined to "an advisory role," Mr
Chinamasa said.

The Finance Minister stunned MPs by accusing the country's central bank w of
fuelling inflation through "excessive money supply from unbudgeted
expenditure". Under its governor, Gideon Gono, the bank has adopted a
proudly declared policy of printing money as fast as it could to bail out
the Government's reckless spending. The bank's enthusiasm for printing money
has been the most important factor driving Zimbabwe's hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe's shambolic economic management was characterised by the way Mr
Gono marketed his autobiography when it went on sale in December. In the
state-controlled bookstore selling it, the book went for US$ 25 - the only
item in the shop charged for in foreign currency.

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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Inclined To Join Government, Faces Party Dissent

By Blessing Zulu
29 January 2009

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said Thursday it had
endorsed the proposal for political power-sharing offered earlier this week
by a summit of the Southern African Development Community, but the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change of prime minister-designate
remained to set the party's position on the deal.

Political sources said Tsvangirai's MDC formation was deeply divided on
whether to enter the proposed government of national unity under the terms
proposed by the regional leaders on Tuesday. The latest deal is not so
different from earlier iterations, but takes account of the outstanding
issues identified by Tsvangirai's party by establishing joint committees on
the appointment of provincial governors, ambassadors and other senior
officials, and the administration of the country's often-oppressive security

Tsvangirai has indicated that he wishes to join the government, and the
national executive council of his MDC formation - rival MDC formation leader
Arthur Mutambara has long been urging the formation of a government as a
moral imperative given the humanitarian emergency - was to gather on Friday
to reach a decision in the matter.

Returning Wednesday evening from the SADC summit in South Africa, the
opposition leader indicated his position to reporters at the Harare
International Airport.

"We have our position regarding certain decisions in that communiqué," said
Tsvangirai, who had earlier stated in newspaper interviews his inclination
to join the government.

"We however have a national council meeting where we will give a direction
as to how we hope to deal with the problems the people are facing. It is a
historic decision that we have to make and I hope that the party will be
united in ensuring that we respond to the needs on the ground and to the
expectation of Zimbabweans," he said.

But MDC sources said there was stiff opposition within the party to
Tsvangirai's position by those who believed he should have held out for
further concessions from Mr. Mugabe.

Botswanan Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani also objected to the deal,
dissenting with the communiqué issued by his SADC peers. He said it would be
better to hold new elections than form a government leaving major issues to
be resolved once it is in place.

The powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions issued a a joint statement saying the unity
government is no panacea for the crisis, urging the installation of a
neutral transitional government until elections can be held.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama had a telephone conversation with
South African President Kgalema Montlanthe, SADC's chairman, urging him to
resolve the crisis.

ZANU-PF information committee member Chris Mutsvangwa told reporter Blessing
Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party is hopeful the deal can

Tsvangirai said he hopes his party will have unity of purpose at this
potential turning point.

The combined MDC claimed a majority in general elections held last March,
and Tsvangirai beat Mr. Mugabe in the presidential contest but failed to
secure an outright majority by the official - and much-contested official
count. Post post-election violence mounted in the approach to a June run-off
from which Tsvangirai withdrew in protest, leaving Mr. Mugabe uncontested.

International protests and diplomatic maneuvering by SADC and the African
Union led to the power-sharing agreement signed on Sept. 15 but to date not

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MDC holds paper over cracks
JASON MOYO - Jan 30 2009 06:00

Morgan Tsvangirai is struggling to hold warring allies together and this week moved to win over critical Western diplomats ahead of a crucial decision by the MDC national council on the power-sharing agreement.

The MDC appears divided after a communiquè from Monday's Southern African Development Community (SADC) extraordinary summit said all three Zimbabwean parties had agreed to a time table to implement a unity government.

In a statement rejecting the SADC resolution an MDC spokesperson called the announcement "malicious". Tsvangirai was non-committal upon his arrival in Harare on Wednesday, but a senior MDC adviser added to the controversy by saying Tsvangirai would join "government next week".

The MDC'S economic adviser, Eddie Cross, said: "I have had a look at the agreement and think it goes a long way to meeting our requests. I think MDC will accept this deal and that MT [Morgan Tsvangirai] will go into government next week."

Spokesperson Nelson Chamisa was vague about what Tsvangirai had committed to at the talks. He said Tsvangirai did not "necessarily agree" with the SADC resolution. Ahead of Friday's meeting, Tsvangirai -- who faces internal resistance from a group led by his secretary general, Tendai Biti, and Roy Bennet, the MDC's treasurer -- scheduled talks with key allies and diplomats opposed to any deal with Robert Mugabe.In meetings with senior MDC officials this week Western diplomats put further pressure on Tsvangirai, saying they will not back any government that includes Mugabe.

This message was further shored up by fresh European sanctions and suggestions of a tougher American stance on Mugabe under the new Obama administration. Susan Rice, Obama's UN envoy, was reported to be planning a new bid to bring Zimbabwe to a Security Council vote.

Although many in the opposition fear that serious divisions within the MDC could undermine its stand against Zanu-PF, there is doubt the conflict could lead to a new splinter movement from the party; the poor fortunes of a faction that split from Tsvangirai in 2005 would likely discourage any rebellion. While the original MDC constitution would have seen Tsvangirai's second and final term end at this year's March party congress -- which will mark the MDC's 10th anniversary -- his allies argue he received a fresh mandate at a special congress in 2006, extending his term until 2011.

But while the focus has been on reported pressure from regional leaders on Tsvangirai, the SADC communiqué suggests Mugabe was pressured by his peers into yielding some significant ground. Key positions taken by SADC effectively demand that:
  • A "Joint-Monitoring Implementation Committee" be appointed immediately.
  • The two parties immediately agree on a "new formula" for the distribution of provincial governors, a central demand of the MDC.
  • The government of national unity review the disputed appointments of the governor of the Reserve Bank and the attorney general.
  • A National Security Bill, proposed by the MDC, is "considered immediately". The Bill aims to ensure joint monitoring of Mugabe's security apparatus.

Mugabe said he hoped the agreement would "open a new chapter in our political relations in the country and in structures of government". Outstanding issues raised by the MDC would be "looked into" by the new government, he said.

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Get tougher on Zim, Obama tells Motlanthe

January 30, 2009 Edition 2

Southern Africa should get tougher on Zimbabwe, US President Barack Obama
told President Kgalema Motlanthe on the phone yesterday.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said Motlanthe, who is also the
Southern African Development Community chairperson, explained that the
international community's role was to "nudge" the Zimbabwean parties to
implement the full agreement reached this week.

Obama emphasised the importance of SA's leadership role as a "strong and
vibrant" democracy in Africa, the White House said.

Motlanthe told Obama that a global political agreement among Zimbabwe's
political parties was the basis for the resolution of the Zimbabwean

"In this regard it's critical for the Zimbabwean political parties to
implement the full provisions of the political agreement," said Mamoepa,
relaying Motlanthe's comments.

Motlanthe told Obama that the main political parties in Zimbabwe had
committed themselves to full implementation of the political agreement,
including meeting the deadlines agreed to.

Obama said he was looking forward to working with Motlanthe on global
financial issues at an economic summit in London in April.

The US yesterday indicated it was looking to the United Nations to break the
political deadlock in Zimbabwe, as it expressed growing frustration over the
mediation of Southern African nations.

"My understanding is that, again, there wasn't any positive outcome from the
meeting that recently took place, the SADC meeting," the State Department's
acting spokesperson, Robert Wood, said.

According to a SADC statement on Tuesday, Zimbabwe's parliament should be
urged to pass Amendment 19 to the September power-sharing agreement by
Thursday, followed by the swearing-in of Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister
and Arthur Mutambara as deputy prime minister by February 13. Robert Mugabe
would remain president.

Meanwhile, Cosatu yesterday said Motlanthe was no different from former
president Thabo Mbeki in his stance on Zimbabwe.

"We are not quite excited by the take of our current government, led by
comrade Motlanthe, on the issue," general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said.
"It is disappointing, to say the least." - Sapa

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China sells Africa arms for minerals and food

Published: Jan. 29, 2009 at 1:39 PM

HONG KONG, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Increasing quantities of Chinese-made military
equipment have been finding their way to Africa, traded for oil, mineral
resources and even fishing rights. Zambia has used its copper resources to
pay China in a number of military deals, for instance, and Kenya has been
negotiating with China to trade fishing rights for arms.

Among the most popular Chinese military exports to Africa are the J-7, K-8
and Y-12 aircraft, which are relatively inexpensive and easy to operate.
China sees those countries already armed with the K-8 and J-7 aircraft as
potential customers for its new FC-1 fighters.

Sources from the Russian and South African military industries have told UPI
they are now keeping an eye on China's FC-1 fighter sales. The Russian
military believes the FC-1 is inferior to its Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 SMT
and its Sukhoi Su-30 MKA. But the Russians cannot match China's deal-making
ability, as the Chinese are accepting oil and minerals in lieu of cash to
pay for their equipment.

A delegation from the Nigerian air force told the author at the Cape Town
Air Show in South Africa last September that their country was negotiating
with China to purchase K-8 trainer aircraft. The country imported Chinese
J-7 fighters in 2006 and has expressed an interest in the FC-1.

Zimbabwe's air force delegation told the author they were negotiating the
purchase of one squadron of FC-1 fighters from China. Zimbabwe is already
equipped with K-8 trainers and J-7 fighters. In August last year one
Zimbabwean K-8 trainer crashed because of pilot error, the air force
representative admitted.

The current problem lies in how Zimbabwe will be able to pay for the
purchase of FC-1 fighters. A source from the South African military industry
says China is interested in Zimbabwe's zinc and aluminum mines.

In recent years, a large number of Chinese companies have been involved in
the development of mines in Angola as well. Military observers in South
Africa told the author there are many Chinese workers in Angola, and China
already has become the largest importer of the country's crude oil.

A source from the Angolan military said the country was very interested in
Chinese arms. He said the Angolan air force needed entry-level trainer
aircraft, and therefore was discussing a deal to import Chinese aircraft.
The Angolan air force also intends to acquire new-generation advanced

A source from the South African military industry said Angola has at least
eight Sukhoi Su-27 fighters. Since Russia denies having exported these
planes to Angola, they are believed to be secondhand Sukhoi Su-27 fighters
from Ukraine or Belarus, both of which have good military ties with Angola.

Since Angola has rich oil resources -- and combat capability is not a top
priority in its choice of fighter aircraft -- there is a good chance the
country may trade its oil for Chinese-made fighters.


(Andrei Chang is editor in chief of Kanwa Defense Review Monthly, registered
in Toronto.)

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Doctors, nurses end strike

Friday, January 30, 2009

Herald Reporter

JUNIOR doctors and nurses who downed tools in November last year demanding
that their salaries be pegged in foreign currency have returned to work.

The medical professionals officially returned to work on Monday after the
Government promised to offer them allowances in foreign currency.

The money, according to the employees, was supposed to start reflecting in
their bank accounts this week.

A survey conducted yesterday indicated that the majority of nurses and
junior doctors were at work since Monday, although most departments had not
fully resumed services.

At Chitungwiza Central Hospital, nurses were busy setting up the outpatients
department, which was closed last year owing to the strike.

The hospital's Chief Executive Officer Dr Obadiah Moyo confirmed that most
nurses had returned to work.

"We expect that by next week all services would have been resumed since
indications have proved that all nurses have returned to work," Dr Moyo

At Parirenyatwa Hospital, both junior doctors and nurses were slowly
returning to work.

The hospital's chief executive officer Mr Thomas Zigora echoed Dr Moyo's
sentiments saying business had not yet normalised but striking staff were
returning to work.

"They are coming back since Monday. It will, however, take time before all

that had been halted are resuscitated," Mr Zigora said.

Officials from Harare Central Hospital could not be reached for comment as
they were said to be out of office the whole of yesterday.

However, Zimbabwe Doctors' Association president Dr Kudzanai Chimedza
confirmed that they called off the strike.

Dr Chimedza, however, threatened to down tools on Monday if the promised
foreign currency was not reflecting in their bank accounts.

"According to the agreement we had with Government, we were supposed to get
our money on Tuesday but up to now we have not yet received anything.

''We are willing to go back to work even though the money is too little but
Government is letting us down," Dr Chimedza said.

He said they were trying to engage the officials in dialogue over the issue,
but their concerns were falling on deaf ears.

"If we don't get anything, on Monday people will be forced to walk out
because our members are now suspecting that we (association executive) were

On the contrary, Zimbabwe Nurses' Association President Mrs Doreen Choruma
refuted claims that nurses had returned to work.

Speaking from Ingutsheni Hospital in Bulawayo where she is based, Mrs
Choruma said the situation had not changed.

"Those who are working stay close to hospitals where they are stationed
maybe that's why they reported for work, but otherwise the situation remains
the same.

"No one has received the promised foreign currency and there is no way we
can return to work," she said.

Government, in conjunction with various health partners, promised to offer
health workers foreign currency incentives ranging from US$50 to US$650 on a
monthly basis, on top of their monthly Government salaries.

The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa could not be
reached for comment yesterday over the delay in payment of the incentives.

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McGee rubbishes Gono's job offer claims

January 29, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - US ambassador James McGee on Thursday dismissed claims by Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono alleging that the envoy had
played an active role in attempting to recruit him to join the World Bank.

Gono claimed at the private launch of his book, "Zimbabwe's Casino Economy:
Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Challenges" in December that former
US President George W Bush had endorsed a proposal to appoint him to a
senior position at the World Bank.

He claimed he was forced to turn down the job offer as the World Bank's
Senior Vice President because of his closeness to President Robert Mugabe.

Gono said the offer was approved by then US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice, who sent the US ambassador McGee to hand him the letter.

But breaking his silence for the first time since Gono made the astonishing
claim in pulic, McGee said he had no authority to make such a job offer.

"I work for the US government and the World Bank is a separate entity,"
McGee said in response to a question by The Zimbabwe Times.

"I have no authority and ability to recruit anyone to work at the World

Gono claimed that the job offer was made at the time when he was being
dragged to the UN to be put on the list of Zimbabwean people who are
restricted from traveling to the US.

Both Gono and Mugabe, together with a list of more than 100 government
officials, are subject to a travel ban to the United States for human rights
violations in Zimbabwe.

"When I was being taken to the Security Council to be slapped with more
sanctions," said Gono, "that very same week I was receiving an offer to
become the second most powerful man in the world of finance that is being
vice president of the Worlds Bank based in Washington."

Gono claimed the World Bank had become so impressed with his services that
they were prepared to remove Mugabe and his government officials from the
American sanctions list.

He said he was puzzled over what qualities the world's most powerful
financial institution intended to harness from him, given the intensity of
criticism that had been targeted at him from the same quarters.

Gono claimed he steadfastly refused to accept the job offer even after the
World Bank had convened three meetings to convince him to take it.

Said Gono; "To them, I am supposed to be the worst governor that this
country has ever had. I said but I am on sanctions. They said the sanctions
would be lifted.

"I said what about my compatriots, my workmates. 'You know that I am very
close to President Mugabe, he is my mentor, he is my friend. What is going
to happen', they said that's not a problem."

Gono was appointed by Mugabe to head the country's central bank in 2003.
Mugabe recently renewed his term of office to last until 2013.

However, Gono's appointment to serve another five year term is one of the
factors the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has cited as an obstacle to
the power-sharing deal signed with Zanu-PF.

The MDC says it should have been consulted before the appointment of Gono
and other senior government employees. Critics blame Gono for fueling the
country's agonising economic crisis through the administration of wrong
economic and monetary polices

The controversial central bank chief is being criticized for his apparent
failure to stem the world's highest inflation.

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US Envoy Tours Zimbabwe Clinic to Assess Cholera Epidemic

29 January 2009

U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee (r) and unidentified American Embassy official tour a cholera clinic in Harare, 29 Jan 2009
US ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee (r) and unidentified American Embassy official tour a cholera clinic in Harare, 29 Jan 2009
The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee Thursday visited a government clinic where western aid is helping cure people of cholera, an epidemic which is the worst the continent of Africa has ever seen. The ambassador's visit was the first time journalists have been allowed into medical facilities treating cholera patients since the disease began its rapid spread last November.

James McGee visited the Harare government clinic in the western Harare township of Budiriro Thursday to check on progress in treating the disease.

The clinic is staffed by nurses from non-governmental organizations and a handful from Zimbabwe's ministry of health, who are paid by the United Nations. All medical materials available at the clinic for treatment and diagnosis of cholera are provided by western nations.

Recovering patients are in a large tent outside the clinic and most are due to go home in the next day or two, but they all said they were hungry and some were visibly weak.

One, a bookkeeper at a Harare company, who was on a drip for five days, said he, like so many others got cholera from drinking water from a well during a period when suburb had no municipal water for two weeks.

He said he had arrived at the clinic very ill.

"I nearly died," said the man. "At least now I am better because at least I can talk, when I came here I couldn't talk, and I couldn't walk properly. But now I am a little bit better."

The United States has already contributed nearly $7 million in drugs for Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic since it peaked early last November.

More than 3,000 Zimbabweans have died, and over 50,000 have been infected by cholera. The United States is the top donor to humanitarian programs in Zimbabwe and has given $264 million mainly in food and health programs since October 2007.

McGee said that cholera is an easily preventable disease; adding that the Zimbabwe cholera crisis is the worst he had seen in 27 years of diplomatic service, 10 of which he has served in Africa.

"We know what the health system is like here in Zimbabwe, it has totally fallen apart," said Ambassador McGee. "Until we have something by the government, to assist the people of Zimbabwe, I don't see this crisis abating."

New cholera and water experts from U.S. aid arrived in Harare Thursday.

McGee said the United States would wait and see what happened if a unity government in Zimbabwe is sworn in, in the next two weeks.

MDC leader and prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai faces the national council of his party Friday to persuade them to vote for participation in an inclusIve government with ZANU-PF led by President Robert Mugabe.

In a unity government, the health and education ministers will be members of the two MDC factions.

Both sectors are paralyzed by consequences of the ever-deepening crisis in Zimbabwe. Most hospitals are closed, few teachers are at work, and there is a growing numbers of civil service strikes. Government workers say they can no longer afford to be paid in worthless Zimbabwe dollars when all goods and services are now sold in hard currency.

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Worldwide fast to show solidarity with Zim

    January 30 2009 at 05:41AM

By Nompumelelo Magwaza

Human rights activists have called on people around the world to
participate in a one-day fast on Sunday to show solidarity with the people
of Zimbabwe.

The fast has been timed to coincide with an African Union meeting on
Zimbabwe in Ethiopia.

According to a statement from global campaigning organisation Avaaz,
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Graca Machel will join the fast, and
anti-apartheid activist Kumi Naidoo, has already embarked on a hunger

Tutu has vowed to fast once a week. Naidoo is on the 10th day of a
21-day hunger strike.

Naidoo on Thursday described the situation in Zimbabwe as a passive
genocide and warned that the cholera crisis in that country could pose a
threat to the 2010 World Cup should it spread in southern Africa.

Naidoo said he had recently visited Zimbabwe and was appalled that
education and health services had collapsed because teachers and nurses
could not afford to get to work on the salaries they earned.

"Teachers and nurses earn far less than their transport fares cost,"
he said.

Naidoo appealed to religious leaders from all dominations to support
the Save Zimbabwe Now campaign.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Mercury on
January 30, 2009

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Jester is not the villain in Zimbabwe

30 January 2009

Aubrey Matshiqi

SOUTH African president and chairman of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) Kgalema Motlanthe, as we say in Zulu, ugan'unwabu. In the
language of amagqobhoka (educated Xhosa anglophile Christians), he is
married to a chameleon.

This literal translation has nothing to do with scurrilous media reports
about the marital status of our head of state, but has a lot to do with his
feelings towards Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, after another attempt by SADC to broker a solution to the
Zimbabwean crisis. When we say a man ugan'unwabu, we mean he is extremely

According to media reports, Motlanthe and SADC mediator Thabo Mbeki are
livid because they thought the MDC was in support of Monday's decision by
SADC to have the contentious ministry of home affairs co-chaired by Zanu
(PF) and the MDC, and to have the Zimbabwean parliament resume its sittings
in the second week of February. But Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders invited
the ire of the usually calm Mbeki and Motlanthe when they announced that the
SADC resolution still had to be ratified by the party's national council
this weekend.

I must say that I am extremely surprised and perturbed by this attack of
emotions on Motlanthe and Mbeki.

Where was this anger when Robert Mugabe stole election after election and
repeatedly showed his middle finger to SADC? All of a sudden, these South
African leaders remember where they had stashed their tongues and are now
waving them boldly at Tsvangirai. What is even more depressing is how it
seems they have duped those who think their willed naivete is a sign of
strategic thought into believing that Tsvangirai, not Mugabe and his
generals, is the problem.

TSVANGIRAI, and not the despot who has very few rivals when it comes to
negotiating in bad faith, is now the villain, whose obstructionist behaviour
is responsible for the continuing cholera crisis in Zimbabwe. In case you
missed it when I said it last December, "the so-called leaders of this
continent . are the solid waste that is floating in the cholera-infested
waters that are killing Zimbabweans".

In my view, Tsvangirai is not the villain. He is just a clown who seems to
think that playing golf with South African business leaders and dining in
elitist establishments will somehow deliver Zimbabweans from the yoke of

He seems to think that words with seemingly unimpeachable moral content will
save Zimbabwe even if these words are not supported by a coherent political
strategy. Tsvangirai may be a clown in my and others' eyes , but this does
not take away from the fact that he got more votes than Mugabe in the
presidential poll and that his party won the parliamentary majority in the
elections of March last year.

In fact, we are in no position to be haughty given the fact that our own
country has its fair share of clowns who, in the next election, will still
receive our electoral support. So, the choice facing Zimbabweans is between
a despot and a jester. But this is certainly no excuse for SADC to spit at
the will of ordinary Zimbabweans or to continue abdicating its moral
responsibility with its false indignation towards Tsvangirai.

As for Tsvangirai, he must grow up and stop being a celebrity victim because
he has a party and a people to lead. The leaders of the MDC must decide
wisely and strategically this weekend. If they do not, the cleavages between
the different factions within the party will widen - to the advantage of
Zanu (PF). If they decide to accept this week's SADC resolution, it must be
in return for unequivocal support from SADC and Zanu (PF) for a time-table
and roadmap that includes a programme for the creation of a climate for free
political activity, transitional arrangements and a date for new elections.

Aubrey Matshiqi is senior associate political analyst at the Centre for
Policy Studies.

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Committee names and shames small fish

January 29, 2009

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - A threat by government to name and shame officials accused of
abusing farming inputs and implements turned out to be a damp squib after no
high-profile government official or Zanu-PF legislator was named in the

Several reports published in various media publications, both print and
electronic, have indicated a gross abuse of inputs under government's
Operation Maguta/Inala programme.

The reports have on occasion named the officials said to have abused the
scheme for their personal benefit.

Last week, the head of the programme, who chairs the Maguta/ Inala Inputs
Mobilization Committee Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba threatened to
expose the Zanu-PF and government officials whom his committee found to have
abused inputs under the programme.

Nyikayaramba said at the time, that government had discovered some
"malcontents" who had diverted to their own use inputs meant for the
programme, with most of the inputs finding their way to the parallel market.

However, his turned out to be a hollow threat as only a few low-ranking army
officials and foreigners were named as culprits.

In a statement issued exclusively to the government-controlled press,
Nyikayaramba said government, would, in the coming week, implement the name
and shame operation.

"We have started legal proceedings against these people and some of them
have already appeared in court while the names of the senior Government
officials will be exposed by the end of the week," said Nyikayaramba.

"There are eight members of the House of Assembly who have been summoned by
the police and their names will be made public as soon as the police have
finished working on their dockets."

According to the list released the police were currently dealing with about
21 cases of diverted farming implements - cases most of which were committed
by civil servants and army officers.

Renson Gasela, the secretary for Lands, Agric and Natural Affairs in the
breakaway Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the threat would never
become reality.

Said Gasela: "I believe that the threat made by the Maguta/ Inala Inputs
Mobilization Committee shall always remain a threat because Zanu-PF cannot
expose itself.

"This is a ploy aimed at hoodwinking the people of Zimbabwe into believing
that Zanu-PF is now a sincere party with transparency in the conduct of
national affairs. They are simply trying to pull wool over people's eyes so
that people do not recognize what Zanu-PF stands for, that is looting
national resources."

Gasela suggested that should the "name and shame" threat become a reality,
it would mainly expose those he said were unwanted elements within President
Robert Mugabe's administration.

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A Way Forward for Zimbabwe

JANUARY 29, 2009, 5:13 P.M. ET

By JOHN MAKUMBE | From today's Wall Street Journal Europe
HARARE, Zimbabwe

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change is set to decide today whether
to join a unity government for Zimbabwe. Yet most progressive Zimbabweans
have welcomed the pledges by both the U.S. and the U.K. not to support a
government that emerges from an agreement between the MDC, led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, and Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. There is now a general
understanding that this compromise -- brokered last summer and reinforced
last week by Zimbabwe's neighbors in the Southern African Development
Community -- was fatally flawed all along.

The majority of Zimbabweans view with suspicion any political arrangement
that leaves Mr. Mugabe snugly in power as head of state and
commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The fact that the deal has not been
implemented since it was signed on Sept. 15 attests to its defective nature.
Its flaws were further confirmed by the fiasco of the talks last week in
Harare between Messrs. Mugabe and Tsvangirai, even if at a meeting in
Pretoria this past Tuesday the SADC leaders recommended once again that it
be enforced.
That the agreement was a compromise should be obvious since it enabled Mr.
Mugabe, who lost the March 29 presidential election, to retain virtually all
the executive powers that he has wielded for the past 28 years. Mr.
Tsvangirai, who won that poll, is once again denied the opportunity to lead
Zimbabwe out of the social and economic quagmire that Mr. Mugabe dragged it
into through his iron-fist style of governance.

Instead of simply leaving Mr. Mugabe in power, civil society groups in
Zimbabwe -- including human-rights organizations, trade unions, student
movements and others -- continue to advocate the creation of a transitional
authority to manage national affairs for a set period, say 18 months. During
this time, this transitional authority would oversee the drafting and
adoption of a democratic constitution, after which democratic and
internationally monitored elections would be held. The transitional
authority would then hand over power to the legitimate winner of that

The civil society groups proposed that the transitional authority be as
inclusive as possible, with representatives of civic groups, churches,
businesses, selected professional bodies and political parties, and youth
and women's groups. Importantly, it was to comprise individuals who had no
intention of standing for the proposed elections after the adoption of the
new constitution.

Yet the SADC resisted this proposal and again this week backed the agreement
between the arch-rivals Mugabe and Tsvangirai that was facilitated by South
Africa's then-president, Thabo Mbeki. The international community must apply
pressure on the SADC to abandon the ill-fated agreement from four months ago
and try the national transitional authority as soon as possible.

Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF will obviously resist such a move because they
know that they can never win a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. They are
fully aware that handing over power to anyone, even a transitional
authority, would be tantamount to committing political suicide. The leaders
of Zimbabwe's neighbors would have to apply political pressure on him to
secure his agreement.

The 18 months of transitional governance of Zimbabwe would provide a
desperately needed window of opportunity through which regional and
international assistance could alleviate the multifaceted humanitarian
catastrophe in Zimbabwe. More and more people are infected with cholera, and
at least 3,000 have died of the disease during the recent, continuing
outbreak. Over 80% of the population is poor and most cannot afford three
meals per day.

Almost all schools and hospitals have closed due to lack of money to pay the
teachers, nurses and doctors, and a lack of clean water, electricity and
medicine. Six of the seven state universities have remained closed since the
winter vacation last May. In other words, there is a whole generation of
young people whose future now lies in real danger, if not in ruins, and all
because of Robert Mugabe.

The MDC is slowly realizing that a bad deal -- such as the one they signed
after being cajoled, if not coerced, by Thabo Mbeki -- is worse than no
deal. The recent abductions and illegal arrests of MDC activists by the
notorious Central Intelligence Organization agents, coupled with flimsy
allegations that the MDC operates militia training bases in Botswana, are
clear indications that Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF are not negotiating in good

The bottom line is that Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF have no intentions of handing
over power to the MDC, except under severe political pressure from both
within and outside Zimbabwe. The next few weeks will further demonstrate
ZANU-PF's desperation to stay in office at all costs.

Mr. Makumbe is professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe.

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The darkest hour is always before the dawn

January 29, 2009

By Geoffrey Nyarota

OVER the past year the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led
by Morgan Tsvangirai has committed a number of serious errors of judgement.

Among those mistakes two have stood out as blunders of colossal proportions.

The first major error dates back to April 2008 when, in the aftermath of the
harmonised March 29 elections, the party stood by and watched as the Zanu-PF
election machinery literally stole an MDC victory and converted it over a
three-month period of violent blood-letting, into electoral success for
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party.

The error committed by the MDC in this case was to somehow assume that they
were dealing with opponents motivated by goodwill and national interest.
History has proved the MDC misread the situation and has paid heavily for

In the period after the June 29 run-off election when Mugabe won his largely
fraudulent landslide victory the MDC engaged Zanu-PF in negotiations which
culminated in the signing on Monday, September 15, of an agreement which had
been reached between the two parties on Friday, September 12. In between the
two dates the crucial document had been artfully doctored by the Zanu-PF
chief negotiator at the talks, Patrick Chinamasa.

The so-called Global Political Agreement, which was signed by Tsvangirai on
behalf of the MDC, fell far short of satisfying the expectations of the MDC
and the generality of the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans, MDC supporters
included, started to ask pertinent and legitimate questions about the
political acumen of the MDC leadership. Meanwhile, negotiations continued.

Today the MDC is poised on the verge of committing yet another mistake to
complete their hat-trick of monumental blunders. The pending error, if they
proceed to commit it, has the potential of becoming their last before the
MDC relegates itself to the annals of Zimbabwe's turbulent post-independence

That error will also stand out as a tribute to the political shrewdness of
President Mugabe and his Zanu-PF acolytes as political strategists. Mugabe
will have achieved the distinction of destroying in three decades an
astounding number of political rivals. He dispatched of the United African
National Council (UANC) of Bishop Abel Muzorewa, the Patriotic
Front-Zimbabwe African Peoples' Union (PF-ZAPU) of the late Dr Joshua Nkomo
and Rev Ndabaningi Sithole's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), the
forbearer of Mugabe's own party.

Mugabe also claimed the scalps of Edgar Tekere of the Zimbabwe Unity
Movement (ZUM) and of Margaret Dongo, founding president of the Zimbabwe
Union of Democrats (ZUD).

The MDC leadership cannot escape the sure fate that awaits it or the harsh
judgement of history, should it commit the blunder on Friday January 30 of
joining hands with President Mugabe in a government of national unity. A
leadership transmutation in the party is by no means the solution to the
challenge that faces it now.

The MDC can only join hands with Zanu-PF in the forlorn hope that Mugabe
will now be motivated by goodwill and genuine concern for the welfare of the
long-suffering people of Zimbabwe. That is a risky chance to take, given his
track record.

Mugabe has done absolutely nothing to justify the apparent faith new of the
MDC in the good qualities of Zanu-PF. He could at least have started by
releasing Jestina Mukoko from continued incarceration on spurious charges.
The MDC submitted that as one of its conditions on Monday. The SADC
communiqué makes no reference whatsoever to this heart-wrenching case of
abuse of basic human rights by Mugabe.

In any case, it does not make much sense that MDC supporters are currently
languishing in jail on spurious charges of allegedly plotting to put
Tsvangirai in power yet Mugabe is pleading with the same Tsvangirai to share
power with him.

Mugabe has deceived the MDC on a number of occasions over the past few
months. There is no evidence that he has now changed. Once ensconced in the
trappings of the government of national unity the MDC will completely lose
the leverage it has enjoyed so far in the negotiating process.

Before sitting down to write this article I took the precaution of phoning
four people in Zimbabwe whom I regard as citizens of sober mind and sound

The first is a relative in Mutare whose profession I will not mention for
her protection. The second is a lawyer living in Harare. My third contact
person is a retired headmaster in the city of Bulawayo while my fourth
consultant is a once prosperous businessman, also resident in the city of

The four are among people that I consult from time to time when I need to
measure the mood on the ground with regard to political, social or economic
developments in Zimbabwe. I find this process necessary to safeguard myself
against accusations that I assess the situation in Zimbabwe through the
jaundiced eyes of an arm-chair analyst in far-away Massachusetts.

I put the same question to all four persons: "Should the MDC national
executive decide in favour of joining the proposed government of national
unity when it meets in Harare on Friday."

The outcome was three to one against the MDC joining the GNU. The three were
unequivocal in their rejection of the proposal. Two were incensed by the
very suggestion. The lawyer surmised on the other hand that if the MDC did
not make itself part of the government led by President Mugabe within the
time-frame stipulated by the SADC extraordinary summit in the small hours of
Tuesday that would become the kiss of death for the party. He said the
people of Zimbabwe had suffered enough and now was the time for compromise
with Zanu-PF in the national interest.

Strangely, the three who voiced concerns against the GNU, also pronounced
that if the Tsvangirai-led MDC joined President Mugabe in this political
experiment that effectively would be the beginning of the end of the party
as it has been known over the past 10 years. The headmaster was quick to
invoke the demise of Dr Joshua Nkomo's once thriving PF Zapu whose downfall
was brought about by the unity agreement that he signed with Mugabe in an
act of desperation in December 1987. Nkomo lived to rue the day he decided
to trust Mugabe in the face of evidence mitigating to the contrary.

"What ever MDC decision is acceptable to Zanu-PF and Mugabe cannot be a
decision good for the people of Zimbabwe," said the woman with what sounded
like simple yet practical common sense.

"MDC should therefore apply a simple test when they decide: "Will Zanu-PF
welcome our decision?'"

The former businessman expressed concern that the MDC even found it
necessary to discuss the SADC proposal. He describes himself as an MDC
activist of many years.

"People have become very skeptical of the negotiation process.  We fear MDC
will be neutralized if it goes into the GNU with Mugabe. Already people are
losing faith in Tsvangirai.

"We have suffered for a long time. Let us suffer some more until final
salvation. The MDC should not rescue Mugabe after the people rejected him."

My own view - the darkest hour is always before the dawn. The MDC should
steer clear of this so-called government of national unity. Mugabe needs the
MDC, not as genuine, respectable partners, but to use them for his own
political ends.

Much as Tsvangirai's heart may be in the right place, he is nevertheless not
a heart-surgeon. He does not have the capacity to transplant President
Mugabe's to the appropriate part of his chest, especially at 85. Neither
does he have the capacity to persuade the international community to support
Zimbabwe in the context of a marriage of convenience between him and Mugabe.

Zimbabwe seeks a deal that has intrinsic in it potential for lasting
sustainability in terms of alleviating the plight of a nation subjected to
an extended period of suffering and denial.

Above all, now is not the time for members of the MDC leadership to engage
in strategies to advance their own personal interests or ambitions. It is
most regrettable that fissures have emerged in the fabric of the MDC.

A divided MDC cannot withstand the challenges ahead. The challenges require
unity and cohesion beyond the confines of the Tsvangirai-led MDC. If Arthur
Mutambara, Simba Makoni, Dumiso Dabengwa, Daniel Shumba and Jonathan Moyo
have the genuine interests of the people at heart let them join hands with
the MDC in leading the people in their march to new freedom.

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Zimbabwe cricket head Chingoka refused entry to Australia


January 30, 2009 03:38pm

THE head of Zimbabwe Cricket has been refused entry into Australia and will
be absent from a Perth meeting of the sport's world leaders tomorrow.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will hold a two-day board meeting
without ZC chairman Peter Chingoka, who is banned from entering the country
because of his links with the regime led by Robert Mugabe in his homeland.

It is unclear whether Chingoka applied for a visa to enter Australia,
however it is understood Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
(DFAT) would have refused his application.

Chingoka and ZC chief executive Ozias Bvute are among a DFAT list of 254
Zimbabweans not permitted entry into Australia because of their
relationships with the Mugabe regime.

The ICC has confirmed Wilfred Mukondiwa will represent ZC at the meeting in
place of Chingoka.

Despite Chingoka's absence, Zimbabwean cricket will be one of the items
discussed at the meeting, following the presentation of a report made by a
fact-finding delegation to the country last year.

Other items to be discussed include fixturing from 2012 onwards,
preparations for this year's scheduled Champions Trophy and the Indian
Cricket League's bid for recognition from the ICC.

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Comment from a correspondent

A comment on the extract below:

The key point is:
'How is it possibly any worse for Western nations to directly intervene in
Zimbabwe than it is for poorly trained, ill-equipped, ill-educated troops
African nations to invade?'

Recently reading Robert Fisk's (correspondent in the Middle East for 30
much of that for the Independent, London) 'The Great War for Civilisation',
was struck by his observation that Indian and some African contingents were
closer to the people of Lebanon and Palestine than the recent western troops
'sorted out' Iraq. He adds that, in the earlier years, when Ireland was
comparatively poor, Irish troops showed the same sympathy for poor Arabs,
whom the over-equipped, over-fed American and Nato troops in Iraq and
Afghanistan seem to see only as part of a picturesque landscape which they
done irreparable damage to with their indiscriminate use of high-tech
And their failure to relate to the principal victims of everything from
uranium to the destruction of water supply structures in Iraq. Not to
their capacity to employ the methods of Saddam Hussein and some of his
torturers to 'restore democracy'.

I hold no brief for Malcolm Fraser, but insensitive, culturally isolated,
western forces are the last thing the poor of Zimbabwe need,to trample on
little is left of their life support systems - and culture.

I see no hope in the South African government or army, but a Third World
solution would be the best way to go. It is not white faces, but Western
styles which make Western soldiers inappropriate. Impractical as it may
the UN might be the best to organise it - if the AU can't act quickly now.
that the past two chairmen of the AU, Kikwete and Kufuor, were critical of
Mugabe regime - Museveni may be less so - but I suspect that, just as the 15
September agreement was put together to assure the chairman of FIFA, then
visiting South Africa, that they could go ahead with the 2010 World Cup in
the latest 'agreement' could be designed to keep Zimbabwe off the AU agenda


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