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No progress in talks, says Tsvangirai

ááááááby Jameson Mombe Thursday 27 November 2008

JOHANNESBURG - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday there
was no progress in power-sharing talks with the ruling ZANU PF party, in a
statement that appeared to signal the collapse of the latest effort to save
Zimbabwe's fragile power-sharing deal.

Tsvangirai blamed lack of progress on intransigence by ZANU PF and on the
incompetence of mediator, former South African President Thabo Mbeki who he
said should recuse himself because he did "not appear to understand how
desperate the problem in Zimbabwe is".

The opposition chief said his MDC party signed the power-sharing agreement
with ZANU PF two months ago in the hope that President Robert Mugabe's party
was ready to cooperate to end Zimbabwe's multi-faceted crisis.

"Sadly, their (ZANU PF) intransigence to date is making that appear
increasingly unlikely," said Tsvangirai.

The MDC leader said the party was not withdrawing from negotiations but
added that in the "in the absence of any progress in the talks," the
opposition would rather refocus attention to tackling Zimbabwe's worsening
humanitarian crisis.

ZANU PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa and Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni
Ratshitanga were not immediately available for a response to Tsvangirai's

Negotiators from ZANU PF, MDC and a breakaway faction of the opposition led
by Arthur Mutambara have since Tuesday been meeting with Mbeki to review a
draft constitutional amendment Bill that would allow Mugabe to form a unity
government outlined under a September 15 power-sharing agreement.

The power-sharing agreement has stalled as the Tsvangirai-led opposition MDC
party and ZANU PF fight over control of key ministries, distribution of
gubernatorial posts, ambassadorships and other top government posts.

Tsvangirai said Mbeki had failed as a mediator and accused the ex-South
African president of siding with ZANU PF in the talks.

"He (Mbeki) does not appear to understand how desperate the problem in
Zimbabwe is, and the solutions he proposes are too small," Tsvangirai said.

"He is not serving to bring the parties together because he does not
understand what needs to be done . . . in addition, his partisan support of
ZANU PF, to the detriment of genuine dialogue, has made it impossible for
the MDC to continue negotiating under his facilitation," Tsvangirai added.

The Zimbabwean opposition chief said he had written to chairman of the
regional SADC grouping, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe "detailing
the irretrievable state of our relationship with Mr Mbeki and asking that he
recuses himself".

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which tasked Mbeki to
mediate in Zimbabwe's crisis, is the guarantor to the country's
power-sharing deal.

The SADC ruled about three weeks ago that MDC and ZANU PF jointly control
the ministry of home affairs that had been in dispute and ordered the rivals
to immediately form a unity government.

But the MDC - which insists it should control the home affairs ministry that
oversees the police after ZANU PF retained control of the army - rejected
the ruling and accused SADC of siding with Mugabe.

The latest round of talks to break the political power-sharing deadlock
kicked off as outbreaks of cholera and anthrax hit Zimbabwe which is also
suffering an acute shortage of food.

The UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on
Wednesday that nearly 400 people had died of cholera out of more than 8 000
cases reported since the beginning of the outbreak.

"The cholera outbreak is not yet under control. Reported cases have reached
8 887, with 366 deaths as at 25 November. This is an increase of 1 604 cases
and 53 more deaths," said OCHA in a statement.

The outbreak of diseases highlights a worsening humanitarian and economic
crisis in the country that has begun spilling to neighbouring countries and
which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this week described as "desperate"
and likely to worsen in coming months.

In a statement on Tuesday, Ban urged Zimbabwe's political rivals to urgently
form a unity government to tackle the worsening crisis.

"The people of Zimbabwe cannot afford another failure by their political
leadership to reach a fair and workable agreement that would allow Zimbabwe
to tackle the formidable challenges ahead," the Secretary General said.

Analysts say a power-sharing government could help ease the political
situation and allow Zimbabweans to focus on tackling an economic crisis
marked by the world's highest inflation rate of 231 million percent, severe
shortages of food and basic commodities. - ZimOnline

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SADC fails to salvage Zimbabwe unity talks

Hopewell Radebe and Dumisani Muleya

IN SPITE of SA saying it would take a tough line in a weekend summit to
salvage Zimbabwe's power-sharing negotiations, the parties failed to put
aside their differences at heated talks in Sandton last night.

President Kgalema Motlanthe opened yesterday's proceedings expressing his
"disappointment" at the lack of progress, yet the parties still failed to
make any breakthroughs on the vexed question of the division of cabinet

SA was hosting the make-or-break summit of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders in its capacity as chair of SADC.

However, the SADC leaders failed to come up with a solution, except to
support a suggestion of having two home affairs ministers to break the
deadlock, which the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

The outcome of the meeting was bound to determine the fate of the faltering
agreement between Zanu (PF) and two opposition MDC factions signed on
September 15.

The parties have been fighting over the distribution of ministries and other
matters related to the implementation of the deal ever since.

The leaders wanted the parties to agree on ministries and go back home to
form a government and address outstanding issues later.

Motlanthe set the ball rolling with a strong opening address, a departure
from the usually indirect and mild approach by SADC leaders.

Motlanthe said it was "disappointing" to realise Zimbabweans leaders were
still haggling over ministries and other issues two months after the signing
of the agreement.

"The historic power-sharing agreement signed on September 15 remains the
vehicle to help extricate Zimbabwe from her socioeconomic challenges," he

"It is, however, disappointing that it is now two months since the signing
of the agreement and the parties have not yet been able to conclude the
discussions on the formation of an inclusive government."

Indirectly attacking President Robert Mugabe, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and the other smaller MDC faction leader, Arthur Mutambara, Motlanthe said
the leaders needed to show "political maturity" to resolve the issue.

"The political leadership in Zimbabwe owe it to the people of Zimbabwe and
the region to show political maturity by putting the interest of Zimbabwe
first," he said.

"We urge the three parties to build on the achievement made thus far and
reach an agreement on the outstanding issues, including the ministry of home

Apart from ministries, there was still the issue of sharing 10 provincial
governors' positions, the appointment of ambassadors and permanent
secretaries, the role, function and composition of the national security
council, the amendment of the constitution to facilitate the agreement, and
the arbitrary changing of the original agreement by Zanu (PF) under Mugabe's

Mugabe is said to have insisted on his position of having two home affairs
ministers shared between his Zanu (PF) and the MDC.

But Tsvangirai rejected this, saying he wanted "fair and equitable"
allocation of ministries based on "clusters and functions" of the

It is said Mugabe shook his head when Tsvangirai was making his
presentation, prompting SADC leaders to urge him to show respect to his

Mugabe argued he would not give home affairs to the MDC because the party
was allegedly training militias in Botswana to destabilise Zimbabwe.

Several MDC activists were arrested and detained last week in connection
with the issue, which the opposition says is a fabrication to divert
attention from real issues.

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SADC leaders lay down law to Zimbabwe rivals

Hopewell Radebe and Dumisani Muleya

IN A show of growing impatience with Zimbabwe's political deadlock, southern
African leaders last night insisted the rival parties accept a compromise on
a key ministry and implement a government of national unity without delay.

At a briefing in the early hours of this morning in Sandton, Southern
African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary Tomaz Salomao told
reporters the extraordinary summit had resolved that the contentious home
affairs ministry be co-led by President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF)
party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Neither the MDC nor its rival was available to comment on the apparent
agreement, which observers said was in effect being imposed by an
increasingly impatient region.

The outcome of the meeting came after SA said it would take a tougher line
on Zimbabwe, with SA's President Kgalema Motlanthe yesterday expressing his
"disappointment" at the earlier lack of progress.

SA was hosting the make-or-break summit of SADC leaders in its capacity as
chair of the regional organ.

After a full day of talks, however, it appeared a breakthrough remained a
distant prospect, as the two rivals continued to haggle over the
distribution of cabinet posts, apparently as far from each other as before
the summit began.

The parties have been fighting over the distribution of ministries and other
matters related to the implementation of the September 15 power-sharing deal
ever since it was signed.

Motlanthe set the ball rolling with a strong opening address, a departure
from the usually mild approach by SADC leaders.

Motlanthe said it was "disappointing" to realise Zimbabwean leaders were
still haggling over ministries two months after the signing of the

"The historic power-sharing agreement signed on September 15 remains the
vehicle to help extricate Zimbabwe from her socioeconomic challenges.

"It is, however, disappointing that it is now two months since the signing
of the agreement and the parties have not yet been able to conclude the
discussions on the formation of an inclusive government."

Indirectly attacking Mugabe, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the other
smaller MDC faction leader, Arthur

Continued on Page 2
Zimbabwe's lessons: Page 3

Mutambara, Motlanthe said the leaders needed to show "political maturity" to
resolve the issue.

"The political leadership in Zimbabwe owe it to the people of Zimbabwe and
the region to show political maturity by putting the interest of Zimbabwe
first," he said.

"We urge the three parties to build on the achievement made thus far and
reach an agreement on the outstanding issues, including the ministry of home

Apart from the ministries, there was still the issue of sharing 10
provincial governors' positions, the appointment of ambassadors and
permanent secretaries, the role, function and composition of the national
security council, the amendment of the constitution to facilitate the
agreement, and the arbitrary changing of the original agreement by Zanu (PF)
under Mugabe's orders.

Mugabe is said to have insisted on his position of having two home affairs
ministers shared between his Zanu (PF) and the MDC.

But Tsvangirai rejected this, saying he wanted "fair and equitable"
allocation of ministries based on "clusters and functions" of the

It is said Mugabe shook his head when Tsvangirai was making his
presentation, prompting SADC leaders to urge him to show respect to his

Mugabe argued he would not give home affairs to the MDC because the party
was allegedly training militias in Botswana to destabilise Zimbabwe.

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Police violently disperse NCA peaceful protesters in Harare

By Violet Gonda
26 November 2008

Scores of NCA activists took to the streets of Harare Wednesday, to call for
the setting up of a transitional government to address the urgent needs of
the population. The activists also want a people driven constitution, that
will pave the way for a fresh elections.

The pressure group said 700 people heeded their call to participate in the
peaceful protest. Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said he saw protesters
marching from the city's Nelson Mandela Avenue and Leopold Takawira Avenue,
towards parliament. They were singing and holding placards but were
violently dispersed by anti riot police when they reached parliament.

NCA Chairperson Dr. Lovemore Madhuku told us several people were seriously
injured, while at least two activists were arrested.

After the protesters were forcibly dispersed they regrouped along First
Street and started marching towards the Reserve Bank, where they addressed
crowds in cash queues and at food outlets.

The demonstrations were supposed to be held in the country's four other main
cities but the NCA says this time around they invited their 'commanders,'
who mobilise people in other towns, to take part in the Harare
demonstration. The pressure group says it will continue holding peaceful

Meanwhile political analyst Professor John Makumbe believes if these protest
marches are to have any positive impact, thousands of people have to take to
the streets, and not just a few hundred.

Ironically while the NCA activists marched for a better standard of living,
most people remained watching from their bank queues. Makumbe said
unfortunately people are busy scavenging for food and will not drop
everything for street protests, when they feel they have to survive first.

He said: "Secondly the organisers of street demonstrators have to first of
all convince the people that it is right to be killed, it is right to be
injured, it is right to be locked in a nasty cell in Matapi. And if you don't
convince people mentally along those lines you will not mobilise them."

The NCA and Women of Zimbabwe Arise have been at the forefront of street
protests, but it's rare to see the general public and other civic groups
coming out in solidarity.á Professor Makumbe said unfortunately at the
moment there is no organisation in Zimbabwe that has been able to
successfully convince the masses of a sustainable, non-stop confrontation,
against the despotic regime.

He said civil society is lacking the capacity to organise and that the
management in spreading information to the public is currently very poor.
The outspoken analysts said this is in spite of 13 non governmental
organisations coming together recently, to say they will work together, but
they have failed to mobilise the people.

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Botswana says Mugabe can be brought down by closing borders

By Tichaona Sibanda
26 November 2008

One of Robert Mugabe's fiercest critics, the Botswana Foreign Minister, on
Wednesday launched a stinging attack on the ZANU PF leader, suggesting that
the Southern African region should close its borders in an attempt to bring
him down.
As pressure mounted on Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai to agree to form a unity
government to avert the humanitarian catastrophe, Phandu Skelemani told the
BBC that SADC nations have failed to move Mugabe with mediation and they
should now impose sanctions.
In the strongest language ever used against Mugabe in the SADC bloc,
Skelemani said leaders should tell him to his face 'look, now you are on
your own, we are switching off, we are closing your borders.' He added that
if no petrol went into Zimbabwe for a week, Mugabe would be gone.
Leaders from Botswana and Zambia have been lonely voices in the region
against Mugabe's regime and Botswana's President Ian Khama, has emerged as
one of Mugabe's harshest critics in Africa. The regime has hit back at
Botswana, accusing Khama of interference and of training MDC insurgents to
destabilise Zimbabwe. A claim strongly denied by Botswana.
Skelemani also said his country would be willing to shelter Tsvangirai, if
he ever asked for protection. He added; 'Anybody who comes to Botswana
saying that they fear for their life, from their own country, we would not
chase them away because, if we did, what do we want to happen? For them to
be killed first? And then do what?'
New talks to try to bridge the gap between the feuding parties resumed in
South Africa on Tuesday, mainly to agree on the wording of the
constitutional amendment that would form the legal basis for a unity
government which would catapult Tsvangirai to the position of Prime
A source in Johannesburg told us both sides spent the whole of Tuesday
failing to agree on what to discuss.á The MDC are reportedly pressing for
the withdrawal of mediator Thabo Mbeki, the ousted South African President,
whom they accuse of favoring Mugabe.
Tsvangirai also revealed in a statement on Wednesday that the negotiations
have been hampered by the attitude and position of the facilitator. He said
Mbeki does not appear to understand how desperate the problem in Zimbabwe
is, and the solutions he proposes are too small.

'He is not serving to bring the parties together because he does not
understand what needs to be done. In addition, his partisan support of ZANU
PF, to the detriment of genuine dialogue, has made it impossible for the MDC
to continue negotiating under his facilitation,' Tsvangirai said.

He added that his party had written to the chairman of SADC, South African
President Kgalema Motlanthe, detailing the irretrievable state of their
relationship with Mbeki and asking that he recuses himself.
The draft of the constitutional amendment that Zanu PF sent to Mbeki,
contains a clause which the party's chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa,
admitted he had altered after the political agreement was signed in the
public ceremony on September 15. This clause was never agreed to by either
Tsvangirai or Mutambara, and it allows Mugabe to appoint nine more senators
to the upper house, where Zanu PF already have a majority.
The draft also allows Mugabe to cancel the power sharing deal at any time,
if he feels it's no longer possible, for any reason. Mugabe would then issue
a proclamation that any changes brought in were cancelled, including the
Prime Ministership of Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe would revert to an
executive presidency, with Mugabe in total charge, again.

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SADC must admit failure

From AFP, 26 November

London - Botswana's foreign minister suggested in an interview on Wednesday
that his country would be prepared to allow Zimbabwe's opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai to operate there as leader in exile. Foreign Minister
Phandu Skelemani also told BBC World News that regional powers must admit
they had failed to resolve the deadlock between Tsvangirai and President
Robert Mugabe and should now bring economic pressure to bear. Asked whether
Botswana would offer Tsvangirai a safe haven if power-sharing talks
collapse, Skelemani said: "Anybody who comes to Botswana saying that they
fear for their life, from their own country, we will not chase them away."
Pressed about what Botswana would allow Tsvangirai to do from its soil, the
minister said he would not be permitted to launch a military attack on
Zimbabwe from there, but could possibly lead a democratic resistance
movement. "That would be the lesser of the two evils, which is probably,
taking up arms and getting innocent people killed," Skelemani said.

Botswana's President Ian Khama is one of the few African leaders to openly
criticise Mugabe, saying his re-election in June was not legitimate. The
foreign minister also said the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
regional bloc must admit that its mediation efforts have failed. "The
international community, SADC first of all, must now own up that they have
failed - which we have said, that we as SADC have failed. The rest of us
should now own up and say yes, we have failed," Skelemani told the BBC.
After that, it should "call upon the international community and tell Mugabe
to his face, look, now you are on your own, we are switching off, we are
closing your borders, and I don't think he would last," he said. "If no
petrol went in for a week, he can't last." Negotiators for Mugabe and
Tsvangirai met in a new round of talks in South Africa on Tuesday over a
stalled power-sharing deal, that calls for Mugabe to remain as president and
Tsvangirai to take the new post of prime minister. Tsvangirai won a
first-round presidential election in March, but pulled out of the run-off
accusing Mugabe's party of orchestrating deadly attacks against his

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Zim police beat medics as cholera toll grows

ááááNovember 26 2008 at 07:36PM

Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwean riot police beat striking doctors and
nurses at a Harare hospital on Tuesday as they ran for cover in wards,
witnesses said, as reports emerged of dozens more dead in a fast-spreading
cholera outbreak.

South Africa, meanwhile, indicated that it would help infected
Zimbabweans arriving in the country.

Health Minister Barbara Hogan said in Pretoria that authorities would
not stop those arriving at the Musina crossing point and would offer medical
help in what is an increasingly serious situation.

The Zimbabwe protest was at Parirenyatwa General Hospital where about
200 doctors and nurses, including some from Harare General Hospital, were
demanding better pay and equipment.

Witnesses said they saw police carrying assault rifles, tear gas and
batons beating some of the protesters who were carrying placards saying: "We
want drugs in our hospital" and "Enough is enough!"

Parirenyatwa, the country's largest hospital, and Harare General are
both effectively closed because of a long strike over pay and conditions.

Observers said the city's health services are now non-existent as the
country's economic disaster worsens.

The medical staff want to be paid in foreign currency instead of the
near-worthless Zimbabwe dollar. They also want basic equipment levels to be

Stocks of syringes, surgical gloves - even toilet paper - are low or
finished at hospitals across Zimbabwe whose outbreak of cholera has spread
south to the South African border town of Beit Bridge where 36 people have
died in four days, according to a local doctor.

The border crossing into South Africa is the busiest in Africa,
thronged daily by thousands of poor Zimbabweans either fleeing hardship or
stocking up on basic commodities such as soap and cooking oil which is no
longer available at home.

The town's hospital has removed all other patients to make the
institution a cholera treatment centre; 431 people have been admitted and
more deaths are expected, The Herald reported.

Independent medical organisations have been warning for years that
Zimbabwe, racked by hyperinflation, food shortages and a breakdown of basic
services, is sitting on a "cholera time-bomb".

More than 150 people, it is estimated, have died of cholera this
year. - Sapa-DPA

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Mbeki echoes Mugabe's view of Zimbabwe opposition

The former South African president Thabo Mbeki has echoed Robert Mugabe by
accusing Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change of being more
interested in Western support than African views.

By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent
Last Updated: 5:29PM GMT 26 Nov 2008

President Robert Mugabe frequently brands the MDC as "puppets" of the West,
and the comments reveal a remarkable similarity in outlook between the two

Critics have long claimed that Mr Mbeki, who is mediating Zimbabwe's
political negotiations, has been too soft on Mr Mugabe, 84, who has led
Zimbabwe to ruin over his 28 years in power.

The MDC reacted with fury, saying that there was now an "irretrievable"
breakdown between it and Mr Mbeki, even as talks continue with Mr Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party over a constitutional amendment to put power-sharing into

In a 10-page letter to the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Mr Mbeki said that
as the parties seek to resolve the deadlock, political leaders "have
absolutely no need to refer to their external supporters for approval,
whoever they might be and however powerful they might seem.

"It may be that, for whatever reason, you consider our region and continent
as being of little consequence to the future of Zimbabwe, believing that
others further away, in western Europe and North America, are of greater

The MDC's rejection of a regional ruling that the home affairs ministry be
shared "might earn you prominent media headlines", he added. "However, I
assure you that it will do nothing to solve the problems of Zimbabwe."

In a statement Mr Tsvangirai said that Mr Mbeki's "partisan support of
Zanu-PF, to the detriment of genuine dialogue, has made it impossible for
the MDC to continue negotiating under his facilitation".

The party is not walking out of the discussions, but is instead talking
directly with Zanu-PF and demanding that a new facilitator be appointed, as
agreement is unlikely to be reached without one.

Several figures, including the statesmen of the Elders, have called for the
inclusive government to be formed as soon as possible to tackle the
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, where hundreds of people have died of

But the economy suffered a long-term setback yesterday when Gideon Gono, the
reserve bank governor widely blamed for its astronomic hyperinflation and a
key Mugabe ally, was a re-appointed to a new five-year term.

The row comes as Botswana, Mr Mugabe's most vocal critic in the region,
called for direct action.

Phandu Skelemani, its foreign minister, said that Mr Mugabe would fall if
Zimbabwe's neighbours closed its borders.

"If no petrol went in for a week, he can't last," he told the BBC's Hardtalk
programme, adding that the region should admit mediation had failed.

The country was willing to offer Mr Tsvangirai a refuge, he said.

"Anybody who comes to Botswana saying that they fear for their life, from
their own country, we would not chase them away because, if we did, what do
we want to happen? For them to be killed first? And then do what?"

South Africa meanwhile said that it would keep its borders open to
Zimbabwean cholera patients, victims of an epidemic which Harare has sought
to cover up. Hundreds of Zimbabweans have crossed the frontier to seek
treatment and five have died in South African to date.

"We are facing a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe," said the South African
health minister Barbara Hogan. "Under no condition will we stop entry of a
person that is ill. We all realise that the situation is dire in Zimbabwe."

Mr Tsvangirai said that Zimbabwe's many problems amounted to a "humanitarian
crisis" that "represents the greatest threat ever to face our country".

He added: "While millions face starvation in the coming months, the death
toll from cholera is now sitting at over 50 people per day and will increase
dramatically now that the rainy season has begun in earnest."

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Zimbabwe opposition says Mbeki should step down as mediator

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Wednesday that
former South African president Thabo Mbeki should step down as the mediator
in Zimbabwe's political crisis.

"He does not appear to understand how desperate the problem in Zimbabwe is,
and the solutions he proposes are too small," Tsvangirai said in a statement
issued as Mbeki chaired a new round of mediation talks.

"He is not serving to bring the parties together because he does not
understand what needs to be done."

Mbeki brokered a power-sharing deal signed by Tsvangirai and President
Robert Mugabe two months ago, but the plan to form a unity government has
run aground over disputes on the balance of power between the two parties.

Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said he had
written to South African President Kgalema Motlanthe "detailing the
irretrievable state of our relationship with Mr Mbeki and asking that he
recuse himself."

The statement appeared to signal the end of two days of talks presided over
by Mbeki in South Africa aimed at saving the deal.

The MDC leader said he remained committed to the unity accord, but accused
Mbeki of siding with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in the negotiations.

"His partisan support of ZANU-PF, to the detriment of genuine dialogue, has
made it impossible for the MDC to continue negotiating under his
facilitation," Tsvangirai said.

"The Mugabe team negotiates as though their priority is to cover up the
problem rather than solve it.

"Mugabe would prefer that the suffering that he and ZANU-PF have caused, and
continue to cause, remains in the dark," he added.

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Police, war vets , harass cross border traders

Wednesday, 26 November 2008
JOHANNESBURG - Some members of the Zimbabwean police and war veterans
of have been accused of harassing cross border travellers and bus operators
in the southern parts of the country confiscating scarce basic commodities
from them.

Due to the persistent food shortages, caused by hyper-inflation and an
economic collapse, most Zimbabweans with access to foreign currency have now
turned to neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana for their
monthly groceries.
Bus crews and cross border traders told The Zimbabwean at Johannesburg's
Park station long distance bus terminus this week, that the police and war
vets were harassing them at roadblocks, set up along the Francistown -
Bulawayo, Beitbridge-Bulawayo and the Beitbridge-Masvingo highways.
The police roadblocks are said to have been in place for the past two
months, while war veterans set up theirs beginning early last month.
"There are more than four police and one war vets roadblocks on each
highway. At each of them, our passengers are forced to open their bags and
spread their goods on the ground, which will then be checked against the
receipts that the passengers will be carrying.
Those who cannot produce receipts are accused of smuggling the goods,
which will then be confiscated by the police or the war vets," said one bus
The conductor said that the police officers were only targeting
travellers carrying the scarce basic commodities, in an apparent indication
that they are just after the scarce food stuffs, which they can neither
access nor afford in the country's shops.
The bus crews said that to avoid spending long hours at each
roadblock, they are now being forced to buy basic foodstuffs, which are
specifically set aside to bribe the police, or give them money so that they
can be spared the ordeal.
"Every time we leave here, we make sure that we buy such commodities
like sugar, flour, cooking oil and maize meal, which we hand out to the
police officers. Failure to do so usually means trouble for our passengers
and us. Things are now tough in Zimbabwe I tell you," said another bus
conductor, who said that the police officers are not ashamed of demanding
the basic commodities even in the full view of the public.
Some travellers also confirmed this Wednesday that the police were
demanding receipts for even the smallest things that the travellers would be
"They do not consider that we work hard to get the money that we use
to buy these goods, all they want is to get them for free. They demand
receipts even for refreshments and small items like biscuits, which they
know that we do not keep. I think this is just meant to put one in a tight
corner so that one will be left with no choice but to pay a bribe. If you
are not prepared to part with bribes, they just take away some of your goods
and tell you to bring the receipts, knowing that you would decide against
coming back, as this would be a waste of more money," said Taurai Moyo, a
cross border trader from Bulawayo.
The war veterans are said to be targeting mainly cross border traders,
whom they accuse of selling goods on the illegal parallel market.
"They accuse us of being the main force behind the flourishing black
market and vow that they will stop this. They usually demand cooking oil,
sugar and maize meal. You cannot reason with these people because their
aggressive approach. They are also usually armed with axes and knobkerries,
threatening to attack if one shows stubbornness," said Mehluli Moyo, also
from Bulawayo.
No comment could be obtained from the police.

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Zimbabwe Won't Declare State Of Emergency Over Cholera - Min

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Zimbabwe won't declare a state of emergency
following a cholera outbreak which has claimed more than 360 lives as the
situation is under control, the deputy health minister said Wednesday.

"The situation is under control. There is no need to declare it," Deputy
Health Minister Edwin Muguti told AFP, reacting to calls to Harare to
declare a national health emergency.

á (END) Dow Jones Newswires
á 11-26-080427ET

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Cholera: Zim asks for body bags

By Michael Hamlyn, I-Net Bridge
Published:Nov 26, 2008

Zimbabwe has asked for supplies of body bags to deal with the people who
"are dying in numbers", according to the World Health Organisation
representative in South Africa, Stella Anyangwe.

And according to Barbara Hogan, the health minister here, the statement from
Zimbabwe that there is no crisis there cannot have come from the government,
since there is no government there. "It only comes from one section," she

Anyangwe and Hogan were speaking in Pretoria today at a media briefing on
the cholera epidemic.

The body bags which Zimbabwe has asked for were among a list of medical and
other supplies needed to fight the epidemic there. The long list of supplies
includes tents for temporary hospital wards, cholera beds with a hole in the
centre of the mattress, torches and batteries and gas lamps, because of the
absence of electricity, latex gloves to help protect the medical staff, and
buckets with lids to try to keep water supplies clean.

According to Anyangwe, the total cost of the list of supplies requested in
Zimbabwe amounts to US$117,600.

Minister Hogan said that this country has a comprehensive and coherent
strategy to deal with the outbreak on this side of the border - which she
emphasised is not at crisis level. However a nine-point action plan has been
adopted by a multi-sectoral committee together with a national outbreak
response team.

The plan stresses the need to revise and strengthen South Africa's plan to
deal with cholera, and to deal with cases of cholera in high-density areas
such as Johannesburg, with hospitals informed of the need for admission of
anyone with severe symptoms.

In the meantime the Home Affairs Department is dealing kindly with sick
Zimbabweans, allowing them in for treatment. "There is a need to ensure we
do not drive people with symptoms of cholera underground," Hogan said, "but
that they are able to seek and receive treatment."

She added: "We must treat anyone with a communicable disease. We cannot say
this person is not local and therefore should not be treated. By treating
those with symptoms of communicable diseases we will protect everyone in the

The military health service has also been called in to lend a hand in Musina
where most victims of the outbreak are hospitalised.

But the minister also stressed: "We don't have a problem in South Africa
widespread enough to stretch our resources." She said that this country is
prepared to help Zimbabwe in anyway that is needed.

Zimbabwe itself has handed over responsibility for dealing with the outbreak
to the World Health Organisation, which is coordinating the response of
other partners there.

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Cases of abductions and victimization increase

Reports reaching us are to the effect that 2 MDC activists were recently
abducted from Harare's Budiriro high density suburb by suspected state

A third activist is in hiding after the assailants raided his home in his

Another case is of a senior member in the MDC's security department who was
also abducted last night and his whereabouts still unknown.

The wave of recent abductions come in the wake of fresh deliberations being
held in South Africa to try and break the deadlock between Zanu PF and the
two MDC formations and on the heals of a deadly cholera epidemic.

An MDC Member of Parliament and an activist were yesterday victimized by
suspected state agents after they came across them parked by the roadside
and transferring boxes of fliers headed for Mutare from one truck to the

The 3 men, driving an infamous double-cab truck, asked them questions
relating to what they were doing and went through the boxes. The MP then
showed them his identification particulars and told them that they were
doing party business, questioning them on the legality of the search and
that was when they let them go.

But the men later followed the activist headed for Mutare, forced him off
the road, embarked into his truck and forced him to drive off course, headed
for Beatrice while threatening him with the prospect of assault and arrest.
They proceeded to search his wallet, confisticating US$150 of the US$350 he
had on him before letting him go.

This entry was written by Freedom Writer on Wednesday, November 26th, 2008
at 4:39 pm

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Zimbabwe police tighten security against 'mystery' bombings

Harare, Zimbabwe - Police in Zimbabwe said Wednesday they have tightened
security around their establishments after a series of bombs hit their
camps, and offered a reward for information to unravel the 'mystery'

A police camp was bombed last week in the capital, Harare, the second such
incident in the city in months.

No one was killed or injured in both attacks, but the bombings left the
country deeply shocked.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena declined to say how much was being offered
for information leading the arrest of the bombers.

However, the country's police chief, Augustine Chihuri, said after the first
bombing that it looked like an inside job.

"We are offering a substantial cash reward for information that will lead to
the arrest of the perpetrators of the bombings of the Criminal
Investigations Department Headquarters and Harare Central Police Station,"
said Bvudzijena.

Harare - 26/11/2008


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UN urges world aid for hungry Zimbabwe

Wed 26 Nov 2008, 18:51 GMT

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 26 (Reuters) - The United Nations appealed to rich
countries on Wednesday to be generous in funding a $550 million appeal for
aid for crisis-stricken Zimbabwe, assuring donors the assistance would get

The appeal, part of a record $7 billion worldwide humanitarian appeal for
2009 announced in Geneva last week, is the highest ever for Zimbabwe and
compares with just under $400 million sought a year ago.

A chronic economic crisis, including hyperinflation, has led to what U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called a "desperate" situation in
the southern African country. Zimbabwe is also paralyzed politically, with
rival parties so far unable to agree on the make-up of a unity government.

Catherine Bragg, U.N. deputy humanitarian chief, told reporters some 60
percent of the Zimbabwe appeal was for food.

"We do encourage and appeal to donors for the generosity, and continuing
generosity, to deal with this very serious situation," she said. "We assure
donors that the aid is going through. We are able to reach the 3 million
beneficiaries who are in need of aid at the moment."

Bragg said the 2008 appeal had been three-quarters funded by donors, but due
to increasing needs during the year was likely to face a shortfall of $180
million to $200 million.

The United Nations has been warning for months that the food crisis in
Zimbabwe is likely to peak between January and April, with up to 5 million
people hungry.

"Without massive international assistance this situation is going to get
much, much worse," Bragg said.

She said the high mortality rate of a cholera outbreak that so far has hit
nearly 9,000 people and killed 366 was because communities had no clean
water due to a lack of chemical treatment, and because the health service
had collapsed.

The World Health Organization is procuring emergency stocks to run cholera
treatment centers for one month, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas told a
separate news briefing.

(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; editing by David Wiessler)

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Health alert northern suburbs

If people thought they would be protected from cholera and other disease by living in the northern suburbs of Harare, they are wrong.á Apart from cholera travellling via water (and rainwater!) and food all over the place, the filth piling up in Avondale, Sentosa-Strathaven and even Emerald Hilláis a serious hazard.
Here are photos taken at the weekend behind Avondale shops (just three blocks from Parirenyatwa Hospital), Sentosa-Strathaven and Emerald Hill.
(Pix available in larger format if required.)
Trudy Stevenson

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Rice says Africa must do more on Zimbabwe mess

The Associated PressPublished: November 26, 2008

WASHINGTON: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is urging African
states to take stronger action to prevent Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
from seizing more power.

Rice told reporters Wednesday at a briefing that Mugabe appears to be
"pulling as much power into his own hands as he possibly can," and it is
"shortsighted for the region to allow Mugabe to do this."

Rice says "the region has the capacity to put enough pressure on him to get
a reasonable power-sharing arrangement."

She says a proposal by Botswana's foreign minister that Zimbabwe's neighbors
should close their borders in an attempt to bring down Mugabe "would be
very, very difficult."

She warns that if circumstances in Zimbabwe deteriorate further, South
Africa is going to suffer "because you have a lot of displaced" Zimbabweans
living in South Africa.

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This is Genocide

Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Many years ago, Didymus Mutasa said that they (Zanu PF) would be quite
happy if the population fell to 6 million people who would then support the
Party in its ambitions. At the time the population was probably just over 12
million and most thought these were the remarks by someone who did not have
any idea of just what he was talking about?

Today we are rapidly moving towards that target figure of national
population. Some people say that our population is no more than 8 million. I
personally am comfortable with 9 million. In 1980 when we gained our
independence as a State, the population growth was about 3,4 per cent per
annum and expected to double in 17 to 18 years. It should therefore have
been 17 million in 1997 when the madness that has gripped the country since
then was initiated by the government.

So when we talk of the population now being only 8 or 9 million we
have to ask what has happened to 8 or 9 million people. At least 4 million
now reside in South Africa, a further 1 million live in other parts of the
- probably most in the UK, followed by the USA and Canada and
This leaves an unexplained gap of 3 to 4 million people. Remember that
is half the population of London or Paris or Gauteng.

We need to understand this number in terms of individuals - people
with families, children and parents. Real people with real relationships
that have been smashed by a system that has been deliberately created to
sustain the grip on power of a small elite of perhaps 2 000 individuals at
best (or worst).

In the 10 years that have followed 1997, the population should have
grown naturally by another 8 million had historical birth and death rates
been maintained. So we are talking about unnatural deaths in the order of 12
million people. One feature of this abnormal death rate is that life
expectancies have fallen by half since 1990, from 60 years to about 30 years

It is not difficult to establish how these millions of people have
been dying - HIV/Aids kills over 100 000 a year. Malaria another 30 000,
tuberculosis perhaps 60 000, malnutrition and hunger perhaps another 60 000,
mainly the elderly and the young. What we do know is that whereas in the
Smith era, live births exceeded deaths by a 4:1 margin. The ratio today is
perhaps 4:5 - a rise of 5 times in the natural death rates pre 1980.

Some aspects of these huge changes are particularly poignant - the men
who were displaced by Murambatsvina and died of heartbreak when they could
not protect or sustain their families, they just quit and died.á The numbers
of people displaced or traumatised by this regime since 1980 are
All data are estimates as official statistics are either not available
or just plainly dishonest.

It started with Gukurahundi - a 6-year campaign to destroy Zapu and
entrench Zanu PF hegemony over the whole country. This campaign was kept
secret until the Legal Resources Foundation and the Catholic Bishops
Conference published a partial report on the atrocities. Their conclusion
was that over 20 000 people hade been murdered and hundreds of thousands
displaced. What is not appreciated from this first attempt at securing
control is that many of those affected elected to move to South Africa. The
breadwinner going first followed a short while later by the rest of the

Between 1987 when Zapu succumbed and 2000 there was no campaign of
dislocation and intimidation as such, but the war against any form of
opposition continued unabated. The Centre Party, ZUM and the Forum Party all
became victims. Their leadership hectored and brutalised - leaders such as
that gentle intellectual, Enoch Dumbutshena, former Chief Justice and leader
of the Forum, hounded into liquidation and disgrace.

Many leaders even in Zanu PF who attempted reform found themselves
vilified and even killed. How many died in this secret war will never be

Then came the defeat in the 2000 referendum and the near defeat in the
election that year. In a fury, Zanu PF turned on their perceived enemies -
farmers had played a key role and when the votes were counted it was
discovered that the 2 million people on commercial farms had in fact swung
the vote. The State turned on this community - savagely beating and even
killing any who opposed their will. Thousands of farms were illegally
confiscated and at least 1,5 million people were displaced.

When it became clear that a majority of the population now lived in
the urban areas - the hard core of MDC support, the State launched
"Murambatsvina" - "clean out the rubbish". In the view of the UN special
investigator 300 000 homes were affected, 700 000 people displaced and 1,4
million people lost their livelihood and shelter in a period of three

Again an understated effect of these state managed interventions was
the flight of millions to the nearby states of Botswana and South Africa.
Completely understated is the number of people who have died in these
campaigns. A common feature of each new campaign has been the ruthless
application of State power.

Despite these massive manipulations of the population and the complete
disregard for the welfare of the people, the population of the urban areas
still expanded - a process actually impelled by the dislocation of the rural
economy. In addition the flight to South Africa and other destinations

In political terms this meant that the objective of the ruling elite
still eluded them - MDC became stronger, not weaker and they were faced with
a steady escalation of pressure from the global and regional community. In
desperation the State turned on the MDC and its structures in a manner that
resembled the Zapu campaign 20 years before. Hundreds of thousands were
beaten and tortured, their homes and businesses destroyed and families
harassed. Hundreds were killed or disappeared.

But they were up against a very different antagonist in the form of
the MDC.
Its leadership understood what Zanu PF strategies were, they used
every means open to them to publicise what was going on. They refused to
give the regime the excuse to use its military power. They maintained a
strong political base in the urban areas and even managed to penetrate the
rural areas. In consequence, when minor reforms of the electoral system were
adopted in 2008, Zanu PF went into the elections in March and lost the

We know, without any doubt, that there was widespread rigging on top
of intimidation and violence let alone the total distortion of the national
media and the control of food and traditional leaders. We also know that
despite desperate effort to over turn the result, Zanu eventually had to
admit it had lost control of Parliament and that Morgan Tsvangirai had won
the Presidential contest. What they did not do was to publish the actual
results of the poll - with the deliberate connivance of the South African
President; they simply published a fictional result that gave Mr. Tsvangirai
less than the required 50 per cent.

Even so, they then launched a campaign they called Mavhoterapapi or
"where did you vote". 2000 militia camps were established with military
- thousands were beaten and tortured. Hundreds died. Now we understand
they are about to launch another campaign called "Ngatipedzenavo"
or "lets finish them (MDC) off".

Today, besides the direct victims of Zanu PF's genocidal activities
over the past 28 years, we have perhaps 6 million people without food and 98
per cent without medical attention or services. Schools are closed and
Universities dysfunctional. Can anyone describe what I have set out above as
anything other than a form of Genocide? A lot of publicity is being given
right now to the situation in the Eastern Congo - but the death toll there
is tiny by comparison to the death toll here. There can be few situations in
the world, even in recent history, where a small country like Zimbabwe can
go through a period of its history seeing a full third of its population die
in state sponsored violence and dislocation.

Where else in the world has a State overseen a crisis during which
half of its total population has died by natural and unnatural causes in a
short space of three decades - under conditions where there was no national
civil war or conflict. In the past century we have seen two genocides -
Cambodia and Rwanda. In both the mortality was less than that through which
Zimbabwe has gone in the past 28 years. But because the universal eye (the
camera) was not present and because we were not killing each other - it was
the State killing its people, our genocide has not been understood or

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 25th November 2008

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Operation Finish Them Off
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
With the talks dragging on and Zanu PF showing no commitment and honesty we must expect the worst.á The signs are all there and as we know, ZPF are totally predictable:

They accuse the MDC:-
  • of sabotaging the talks and therefore preventing peace and prosperity in Zimbabwe
  • of sending people for military training in neighbouring countries
  • of working with the imperialist west to impose (targetted) sanctions
the list is endless.

This then leads to:
  • spurious charges being laid against leaders within the MDC of treason, sabotage etc.á
  • Abductions and disappearances of key MDC activists/members
  • beatings and torture
  • murders and rapes
ZANU PF "code" name their Operations.á Operation Mavhoterapapi "where you put your vote" retribution post 29th March elections.á Thousands of MDC members lost their homes, animals, granaries to the state sponsored and perpetrated violence. Over 300 lost their lives.á An estimated 200 are still missing, presumed dead.

Operation Elimination post 27th June one man Presidential run off - where the cycle of retribution and violence continued. The people had spoken and voted for Morgan Tsvangirai for President on 29th March, and they have been and still are being severely punished or killed.

Now we have Operation Ngatipedzenavo (Lets finish them off) which is gearing up.á Our 14 activists abducted (including a 2 year old child) three weeks ago and despite High Court orders, the CIO have not produced these people.

Last night around midnight one of the MDC's main Security men was abducted from his home and his whereabouts are unknown. It is reported that there was another abduction last night but the identity of the victim is yet to be established.

Zimbabweans and all organisations dealing with Victims of Political violence, humanitarian issues and IDP's (internally displaced people) must be prepared for another round of violence and victimisation of the people of Zimbabwe.á


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Dr Douglas Gwatidzo: Patients ask, but there is nothing we can do

The doctor's view

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

There are a few clinics still open and accepting patients, but they are not
coping at all, because of the large number of patients who go there. So
there is no way you can say the medical profession in the country is coping.

It is not just the medical profession that one has to look at - there are
many other factors. For example, there is raw sewage flowing on the streets,
and this issue is not being addressed. There are suburbs where there has
been no running water from the taps for more than a year. Where I live, we
have not had tap water since February.

This is the kind of lifestyle that everybody in Zimbabwe is having to deal
with. It is a life of uncertainty, and a life of insecurity. As a doctor it
is very upsetting because you know what you are capable of doing. You know
the kind of care that you can give to patients, but because of all these
problems, you find yourself in a difficult situation. I do not blame those
practitioners who decide not to work, because it is very difficult when a
patient asks you for help, but you know you cannot help them. Then, one by
one, they die in front of you. It is not easy for anyone to deal with that,
day in, day out.

I think the disaster is going to get worse. This afternoon, the rain was
pouring down in Harare, and one can imagine the sewage that has been washed
into the rivers. Also, the shallow wells that have been dug to get water are
going to get contaminated, yet they will still be used. I have seen a number
of cholera cases, even where I work, in a private hospital. It is affecting
everybody. I remember telling somebody that one thing people forget is that
cholera, like any other killer disease, doesn't need a passport; it doesn't
need a posh car; it doesn't need a visa; it doesn't need any form of special
document. It can visit you anywhere by any means of transport.

Dr Douglas Gwatidzo is chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
Human Rights

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Special Hot Seat interview: SW Radio Africa journalist Violet Gonda interviews former US President Jimmy Carter


SW Radio Africa Hot Seat Transcript

Monday 24 November 2008

Jimmy Carter: Hello Violet this is Jimmy Carter. How are you doing?

Gonda: Hello President. How are you doing?

Carter: Just great

Gonda: My guest on the programme Hot Seat is former President of the US Jimmy Carter who is also a member of the globally respected group of Elders. Thank you for agreeing to talk to us Mr President.

Carter: It’s a real pleasure to be with you and all your listeners around the world

Gonda: Can you start by telling us the latest situation on your humanitarian mission to Zimbabwe?

Carter: Well Graša Machel who is a women’s activist and also the wife of Nelson Mandela and former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan and I represent the Elders here. Ever since the formation of our group we have been looking very closely at Zimbabwe and we came here on a strictly humanitarian mission not to get involved in the detailed political negotiations which are under the auspices of former president Thabo Mbeki and SADC, but to understand what is going on in Zimbabwe.

Our plan was to go into Zimbabwe and meet with the humanitarian workers and government leaders to see what we as former political leaders could do to help to publicize the plight of the suffering people of Zimbabwe and to marshal more assistance and to try and work out better accommodations between the government of Zimbabwe and those who are trying to help the suffering people. But to our dismay and surprise the government of Zimbabwe has refused to permit us to enter the country. We had understood in advance that if we went to the airport in Harare from Johannesburg we would be granted visas, but when we arrived in South Africa and met with former president Mbeki he relayed a message to us from President Mugabe that we would not be welcome and we would not be issued visas and not be given any cooperation if we tried to come into Zimbabwe.

So what we have done is to have some extremely fruitful meetings of exactly the same kind that we would have had if we were in Zimbabwe. We have met with Zimbabwean leaders who go back and forth between here and their home country in business, finance and so forth. And we have arranged for a large number of Zimbabweans to come from Harare to Johannesburg where we have been meeting now for the last two days and we continue to meet today and tomorrow and it has been a very enlightening and satisfying experience for us. So that is what is going on with us.

Gonda: I don’t know if you have received these reports but the Zimbabwean government actually denies barring you, saying you have been advised to reschedule the trip to a mutually agreed date in the future. What’s your take on that?

Carter: I don’t understand that. That is not the information we received. Maybe sometime in the distant future is their plan but they knew three weeks ago for instance that I was coming. I applied in the normal way in their embassy in Washington and let them know that we were coming. I think Kofi Annan and Graša Machel had the same information we had. Our staff is here under the leadership of the Elders CEO Chief Executive Officer, Mabel van Oranje and they have been in Zimbabwe making plans for our trip in the last few days before we arrived.

Gonda: We talk to Zimbabweans daily and they say the situation is now uncontainable. You know, especially with the spread of the cholera epidemic that has killed scores of people countrywide and the authorities are not dealing with this crisis at all. Now people want hope. What can you as the Elders practically do? What urgent measures do you think you can take?

Carter: Well we don’t have any authority. What we can do is bring the world’s attention to the horrendous situation that has evolved throughout Zimbabwe particularly in the last few weeks. The situation is getting worse by the day and apparently the government has very little concern for the suffering of the people but obviously their number one goal is to remain in power. We have become thoroughly familiar with the power sharing agreement that was negotiated and signed on September the 15th which seems to be fair and they are working now on a constitutional amendment that will establish the office of Prime Minister for the first time to be held by Mr Tsvangirai.

Apparently there has been no indication on the part of President Mugabe that he has any intention of sharing any real authority with anyone from the opposite political party, which is contrary to the will of the people. There is very little doubt in my mind that Tsvangirai actually won the election back in March, and even after a five week delay the election authorities - controlled by Mugabe - revealed that Tsvangirai got a minimal vote. But then with the intimidation of the people and the political punishment of Tsvangirai and his party members the run-off became impossible. So it is an illegitimate government imposing their will on the people of Zimbabwe and they made 4 million Zimbabweans leave the country.

Some are going back and forth across the border, they have elite status within the government. They can exchange currencies at very beneficial rates and they are becoming extremely rich on the plight of the poorest people.

And of course with the schools basically closing down, the hospitals are closing down there are confrontations within the streets between doctors and nurses who want to serve their patients and police who are trying to control them. Most of the health centres are closed and everyday the inflation rate continues to go up at an astronomical rate. People are being deprived of food. Many teachers are being paid less that US$1 per month. They can’t even afford transportation costs to go to and from school. And now most of the students who are going to school – and there are very few of them – they go to school only to receive something to eat.

So the entire situation in Zimbabwe is getting worse and worse. In the meantime the other African leaders in the Southern part of Africa under SADC have not taken any bold action. They won’t even use their influence to encourage Mugabe to comply with the agreement that he himself signed back in September.

Gonda: Do you see a connection between the humanitarian crisis and the political crisis in Zimbabwe and can one be resolved without the other?

Carter: Well the political crisis is the key to it but the results of course is a humanitarian disaster that is taking place there. The lack of political progress is causing the humanitarian disaster. There is no question that the two are intimately connected and inseparable.

Gonda: So if it is clear that this humanitarian crisis cannot be resolved until the political crisis is solved - and you stated earlier on that you will not get in the way of the talks – now if putting political pressure is not your mandate then who can?

Carter: The ones that can of course are the other African leaders who have this responsibility but make no effort to deny that. But they have been completely ineffective and very timid in encouraging or forcing Mugabe to accept the results of the negotiations that he, himself approved back in September. So he has retained complete power - and there is no indication from any of the leaders who have come out from Zimbabwe to talk to us, including Ambassadors of major nations that he has the intention to doing so. So I think that quandary in the political situation is what’s causing the continued escalation of the humanitarian crisis.

Of course the key to the SADC power and influence is in South Africa and former President Thabo Mbeki has not performed that duty as an interlocutor or negotiator or an expeditor – he has several titles. We have met with him and I don’t think he has shown any inclination or desire to put real pressure on Mugabe.

Gonda: And obviously you have formed this highly regarded and globally respected group that is trying to bring some sort of moral correctness in this world but what measures can you as the group of Elders actually take considering the political mess in Zimbabwe and considering that the regional leaders – as you said – are completely ineffectual and very timid?

Carter: Obviously the Elders don’t have any political authority ourselves, but what we can do is bring attention to the continued plight of the people. To let the people of Zimbabwe know that we are here and paying attention to them and we understand their plight. We are doing whatever we can and when we return to our different homes - in our communication with our own people and those who are providing donor assistance - we will continue to strengthen the supply of food and medicines that are very much needed in Zimbabwe and to strengthen the determination of the Zimbabwean people to let them know that the outside world cares very much about them.

And so we will continue to stay involved in the process and of course write op-ed pieces and do interviews of this kind. But the main thing that we wanted to do was to come here and get to know the Zimbabwean people and what their developing catastrophe is and we will continue to do everything we can about it. But the political responsibility still rests upon the leaders of these countries, the nations in Southern Africa - particularly those that are contiguous to Zimbabwe.

Gonda: And how do you respond to accusations by the Mugabe regime that you have partisan interests.

Carter: We don’t have any partisan interests, our only interest is in the people in Zimbabwe who are suffering. We don’t have any ties to any political group.

Gonda: How do you respond to people who say perhaps you should have defied the regime and actually gone to Zimbabwe rather than wait until a later stage, when people are currently suffering - because you would imagine that if the crisis was this catastrophic where people are dying on a daily basis they would have actually allowed you in but they didn’t?

Carter: Well it’s impossible for any average citizen to go into a country when the President of a country and his regime is determined that you cannot come in and you cannot get a visa, you can’t get a pass, you can’t get any sort of protection when you get there and you don’t know what’s going to you from the regime itself. So it was a waste for us to go in after President Mugabe decided that we could not come in and that was his decision.

And I think this is further proof that the regime is much more interested in retaining political power and of course some of them are profiteering enormously financially by manipulating the currency and so forth and benefitting from the catastrophe of their fellow citizens in Zimbabwe.

So we will continue to try and maintain interest on the humanitarian plight of the people of Zimbabwe and hope that they can understand – through your own broadcast and other means that we genuinely care about them and that the outside world has not forgotten about them. And we will continue to work on this problem until they have the freedom and an end to the abuse that’s being imposed upon them and the deprivation that is being caused by their own political leaders.

Gonda: You did meet with the Prime Minister designate Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai. What did he have to say about this?

Carter: Well, he is very concerned about the people there. He was hoping that we could go into Zimbabwe and he is very eager, according to what he says, to comply with the agreement of September the 15th and to get Amendment no.19 passed that would establish the office of Prime Minister, which he expects to occupy in accordance with the agreement that Mugabe accepted back in September.

Gonda: You said at your press conference in South Africa that you have never been refused a visa to undertake a humanitarian mission. So do you feel you were snubbed by the regime?

Carter: (chuckles) Well I don’t feel that. It doesn’t hurt me. Obviously it does hurt the ability of all of us Elders to report first hand on what’s going on in the streets, homes, in schools and in the hospitals and the food lines and so forth of Zimbabwe. All we can do is report what we have been told by the people who have come to meet us from Zimbabwe. We were able to get a number of visas approved and to get aeroplane tickets for people to fly from Harare to Johannesburg and back. So we have learnt everything we could but unfortunately it is second hand. But I think the information we got is accurate.

We also learnt that the leaders of the donor nations and also the leaders of non governmental organisations like Save the Children, Care and World Vision and so forth have no relationship at all with the national government in Harare. They won’t even talk to them or acknowledge that there is an economic and humanitarian catastrophe in Zimbabwe. So they are isolated from Zimbabwe almost as much as we are.

Gonda: And a final word to the people of Zimbabwe?

Carter: Just don’t forget all of you who live in Zimbabwe and listen to this broadcast that not only the elders who couldn’t be permitted to visit with you but I think the leaders of many nations in the world and those who are in authority are increasingly concerned about your plight and we hope that this could be resolved soon and we are praying that your suffering will be alleviated.

Gonda: Mr President thank you very much.

Carter: I have enjoyed talking with you. Thank you.

Gonda: That was former US President Jimmy Carter one of the members of a group called the Elders which was created by former South African President Nelson Mandela to promote Humanitarian causes.

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RTGS Not Functional

HARARE, November 26 2008 - Despite assurances by Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, that Real Time Gross Settlement
(RTGS) was back no commercial bank is using the system, Radio VOP can

RTGS is a fast system of transferring funds internally or from one
bank to another.

Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe boss, George Guvamatanda, said South
Africans were allegedly refusing with their system which links the RTGS
system in Zimbabwe.

All commercial banks use this system in Zimbabwe.

He said the South African firm, which he refused to disclose, fitted
the RTGS system in Zimbabwe but pulled out after the country failed to pay
its bills on time.

The RBZ said it had begun using the new system last week but this did
not happen and clients are left wondering what is happening. The RBZ said
the RTGS system was back in place after it had been abused by citizens and

It was later suspended and then withdrawn by the RBZ and customers had
their cash confiscated by the central bank.

The new RTGS system is expected to become operational only early next
year after trial runs have been completed between Zimbabwe and its SA

Credit card facilities are also affected by the old system.

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Reserve Bank November 20 2008 Press Statement: Comments and Observations

The Reserve Bank Governor's continued reluctance to admit that market
distortions are likely to cause other market distortions appears to be
behind his latest intemperate attack on the business sector. To him, the
only acceptable explanations for anything are those that ensure that all the
blame is placed somewhere other than on the Reserve Bank or the government.

The Governor's latest efforts start with condemnations of media campaigns
that have tried to vilify the Reserve Bank, and of smear campaigns that have
argued that he is personally to blame for Zimbabwe's current hardships.
However, his entire defence is to argue that the "facts clearly demonstrate
how the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange had become the epicentre of economic
destruction". If the Governor's more colourful words are removed, the facts
presented are:

ěThe ZSE allowed some stockbrokers to bid up share prices, although
they had no money to pay for them;

ěThe profits made on selling the shares show up as high demand for
cash that is beyond the Reserve Bank's ability to meet;

ěThe Stock Exchange was deliberately indexing the entire stock market
to movements in Old Mutual share prices;

ěShare prices have frequently risen steeply even though none were

ěOld Mutual share price movements have shown no relationship with the
company's performance or conditions in the economy.

Dr Gono presents these facts as accusations of professional misconduct, but
most of them are no more than descriptions of normal market activity. The
circumstances in the market itself are far from normal, but the Governor's
only comments on that subject are intended to deflect the blame for all
distortions onto others.

Stockbrokers are usually acting on behalf of their clients, but whether
their buying or selling orders are for their clients or for themselves, the
buyers want what they have paid for and the sellers want to be paid. Buyers
and sellers work through the stock exchange, which is simply a market
through which deals are arranged and completed under rules designed to
ensure that transactions are carried out efficiently. What buyers, sellers
and stockbrokers might get up to is not the market's responsibility.

áThis makes the claim that this market has become the "epicentre of economic
destruction" absurd. Trying to buy something that can be sold later at a
profit is entirely normal conduct. If this profit becomes large because of
the scarcities of goods in the market and/or the scarcities of the foreign
currency needed to import them, the resulting price increases are not the
fault of the market, or the buyers or the sellers.

But buyers do have to work within the law: writing a cheque for an amount in
excess of the balance in a buyer's bank account is illegal. In terms of the
law, such a buyer becomes answerable to the seller, possibly through the

Sometimes the buyers' or sellers' conduct is chosen to reduce risks or to
prevent outright losses and yes, it is sometimes designed to extract the
best possible profits. If good profit prospects are then exaggerated by the
Reserve Bank choosing to add enormously to the Zimbabwe dollars that can be
spent, the fault does not lie with those who make the profit.

The fault lies entirely on the shoulders of those who created the
scarcities, anomalies and distortions in the first place. These powerful
forces so directly determine the conduct of buyers and sellers that any
policy choices that do not effectively deal with them will be no solution at

Scarcities account for most of the problems. For goods that used to be in
reasonably good supply, the reasons for each and every scarcity can be
traced back to some government policy decision. The loss of Zimbabwe's
large-scale farming companies caused reduced supplies of food as well as
most non-food agricultural commodities, and their lower production caused
lower deliveries to the manufacturers and retailers, lower foreign earnings,
lower employment, lower investment levels and lower tax revenues for

Falling export revenues did not only mean that Zimbabwe could afford fewer
imports. The country also could not afford to settle outstanding debt.
Potential lenders were quick to decide Zimbabwe could not be trusted to
settle new debts, and when the Zimbabwe government decided to cancel certain
property rights and to break the collateral link between farmers and banks
within Zimbabwe, the moves reinforced the external financiers' decisions to
keep their distance.

Several other linkages can be identified. When policy decisions caused
confidence to fall, the Zimbabwe dollar fell too, prompting government to
fix the exchange rate. At the fixed exchange rate, mining and manufacturing
exports became less profitable, so a whole new rash of falls affected
employment, investment and tax revenues.

And when government's rising borrowings to make up for declining tax inflows
became too expensive because of the rising rates of interest, government set
interest rates so low that savings were effectively confiscated. As savings
disappeared, investment fell even further, forcing the emigration of those
looking for work and of many who had jobs, but saw little future.

Just about every identifiable problem today can be shown to have their
origins in dubious policy choices. This remains true whether the challenge
is to account for electricity and water cuts, or the loss of nurses,
teachers, doctors, engineers and accountants, or the loss of access to lines
of credit from international banks or the loss of stand-by facilities from
international development agencies.

Price controls, justified by false claims against traders and enforced by
political violence, must be added to the picture, along with other forms of
intimidation that were intended to generate compliance and obedience.

By carefully redefining the word "sanctions" to include every risk-avoiding
decision taken by every individual, government or agency that has chosen not
to endorse economically damaging or unjust policies, Dr Gono has tried to
shift the blame onto anyone who dares to disrespect the sovereign status of
the country and the sovereign rights of its leaders.

Until a few days ago, that line seemed still to be working. SADC parroted
the cries for the removal of sanctions, the Pan-African Parliament passed a
resolution to the same effect, the impartial mediator in the power-sharing
negotiations, Thabo Mbeki, followed the same line and the African Union was
also persuaded that the lifting of sanctions would result in Zimbabwe's
economic turn-around.

But this week, the scene has changed. At home, the Zimbabwe currency has
become almost worthless, banks have been marginalised, production in every
sector has fallen to unsustainable levels, useful wages cannot be paid and
services are collapsing. Disease outbreaks are threatening thousands and
Zimbabwe is at last being seen as a threat to regional stability.

Regional leaders are losing patience and support for Robert Mugabe is being
far less readily offered. The major change has followed upon his displays of
arrogance and contempt for important people who have been trying to help.
The major effect so far has been a far greater concentration of criticism
than ever before.

As news of government's plans to strip the remaining resources out of the
pension funds becomes more widely known, as the need for alternatives to
Zimbabwe dollars turns into a threat to the welfare of millions of
Zimbabweans, as the efforts made to stifle activity on the stock exchange
gather momentum and as food supplies dwindle, the sheer impossibility of the
situation continuing will begin to develop its own dynamic.

At this stage, the re-appointment of Dr Gono as Reserve Bank Governor for a
second five-year term does not seem likely to make a difference. In his
latest statement he re-confirms his conviction that sanctions are the cause
of every one of the problems, so none of the measures needed to rebuild
Zimbabwe's capacity to produce, earn, export, attract investment or generate
tax revenues are yet being addressed.

Political, rather than economic policy changes are needed to make a
breakthrough. Hopefully the pressures will soon reach the levels needed to
bring about the necessary changes.


John Robertson

November 26 2008

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Statement by the US President on Zimbabwe

Source: The White House
Published Wednesday, 26 November, 2008 - 15:23

Nearly eight months have passed since the Zimbabwean people voted for a new
president, yet they still are governed by an illegitimate regime that
continues to suppress democratic voices and basic human rights. In addition
to its disastrous economic policies which have forced half the population to
rely on food assistance, the Mugabe regime is now assaulting doctors and
nurses, denying citizens access to basic medical services, and stealing
donor funds intended for HIV/AIDS patients.
In October alone, independent organizations documented some 1,300 incidents
of politically-motivated violence and harassment by the regime. We call for
an end to the Mugabe regime's brutal repression of basic freedoms and for
the formation of a legitimate government that represents the will of the
people as expressed in the March 2008 elections.

In spite of the regime's aggressive actions against its own people, the
United States will continue to honor its commitment to provide emergency
humanitarian assistance, already totaling $186 million in 2008, and stands
ready to provide other forms of assistance pending the formation of a
legitimate government that represents the will of the Zimbabwean people

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Farmer's appeal rejected

á26 November 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an appeal by a Danish
farmer against the seizure of his property under President Robert Mugabe's
controversial land reform programme.

Kim Birketoft had challenged the government's seizure of his farm before the
country's highest court, arguing that Mugabe's regime had disregarded a
bilateral investment protection agreement signed between Zimbabwe and

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba rejected Birketoft's appeal, saying: "The
order being sought is hereby dismissed. Detailed reasons will be handed down
in due course."

About 4000 white-owned farms were expropriated by the state for resettlement
by black farmers. But many of the farms went to Mugabe's cronies. Critics
say the land grab destroyed the economy. Sapa-AFP

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Mwana Africa shuts its Zimbabwe nickel mines

Wed 26 Nov 2008, 8:24 GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - African mining firm Mwana Africa Plc said on Wednesday it
had shut down its nickel mines in Zimbabwe due to low prices and operating

Mwana Africa's majority-owned unit, Bindura Nickel Corp (BNC), has decided
to place the Trojan and Shangani mines on care and maintenance with
immediate effect, the company said in a statement said.

BNC is the only integrated nickel mine, smelter and refinery operation in

Under "care and maintenance", the infrastructure of a mine is kept up to
enable the operation to restart at a later date if conditions improve.

The smelter and refinery operations will be placed on care and maintenance
once its stocks have been depleted, the company said.

"Discussions with stakeholders are continuing, to put in place measures to
mitigate the effects of declining nickel prices, low production levels,
unfavourable exchange rates and periodic power blackouts, which have
undermined the viability of BNC's operations," Mwana Africa said.

Bindura was also looking into the possibility of resuming production at the
smelter and refinery by treating third-party material, it added.

BNC's own nickel production last year fell by 26 percent to 4,200 tonnes
while overall nickel production, including smelting and refining outside
feedstock, declined 17 percent to 7,422 tonnes.

The operation has a capacity of 14,500 tonnes a year.

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ILO to Investigate Zim Rights Abuses

By Matthew Takaona

HARARE, November 26 2008 - The International Labour Organisation, a
powerful arm of the United Nations has set up a three-member Commission of
Inquiry to investigate the Zimbabwe government's alleged violation of the
right to freedom of association and the right to organise as provided for in
international Charters.

Internationally respected Judge Raymond Ranjeva, a senior judge at the
International Court of Justice and conciliator at the World Bank
International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes will chair the
Commission, expected to arrive in Zimbabwe once formalities with the
Zimbabwe Government are completed.

Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Labour and Social
Welfare were fruitless.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has been lobbying for such
action for a long time and it was a "major victory when this ruling was made
last Thursday under item 19 of the ILO agenda last Thursday", said
Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU secretary general in an interview with the
Voice of the People.

"What this means is that Zimbabwe is now on the agenda of the United
Nations because ILO is an arm of the United Nations. ZCTU was represented at
that meeting by its vice-president and MDC Member of Parliament, Mrs
Matibenga," said Chibhebhe.

The Zimbabwe Government was also represented at the meeting where this
ruling was made.

The Eighth Supplementary Report of the ILO Director General under item
19 of the Agenda issued to ZCTU and representatives of the Zimbabwe
Government reads, "Observance by Zimbabwe of the Freedom of Association and
Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87), and the Right
to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98): Appointment
by the Governing Body of a Commission of Inquiry in accordance with article
26 (4) of the Constitution of the ILO".

The other members of the Commission are Mr Evance Rabban Kalula,
professor of Employment Law and Social Security, Deputy Dean of Faculty of
Law (Postgraduate Studies) and the Director of the Institute of Development
and Labour Law of University of Cape Town; chair of South African Employment
Conditions South Africa.

The third is Dr Bertrand Ramcharan, a member of the Permanent Court of
Arbitration, former acting High Commissioner for Human Rights and Assistant
Secretary General, former Commissioner of the International Commission of
Jurists; former Director of theá Office of the Special Representative for
the Secretary General in UNPROFOR, former Director of the International
Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, former Director in the United Nations
Political Department, focusing on conflicts in Africa.

This is one of the several international missions that have come to
investigate Zimbabwe since the political situation became fluid in 2 000 but
the first from the Labour Center.

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Hatred in the Time of Cholera

November 26, 2008 10:10 AM

Zimbabwe collapses as an epidemic sweeps the nation.

By Roger Bate

While Americans give thanks this holiday season, they warily
contemplate what the partial collapse of financial institutions means for
them. But for Zimbabweans, simply being alive is reason to give thanks. A
cholera epidemic is sweeping across Zimbabwe, with over 9,000 cases and 360
deaths, according to the United Nations. Local sources tell me these figures
underplay the seriousness of the problem.

The British charity Oxfam has called for a State of Emergency to be
declared in Zimbabwe, a plea that has predictably been rejected by the
despotic leadership of Robert Mugabe, which laughably blamed Western
sanctions as the cause for the outbreak.

At the town of Messina in the northeast tip of South Africa, seven miles
from the Zimbabwean border, hundreds of the sick refugees are stretching the
health facilities to the breaking point.Cholera was an ever-present threat
in cities like London until 140 years ago. At that time, the first real
epidemiological studies were undertaken by London doctor John Snow, which
identified poor sanitation - and a single down-river Thames-side water pump
in particular - as the cause of the spread of the deadly disease.

Today cholera can easily be controlled by maintaining simple sanitary
standards - but there is no running water in much of Zimbabwe today, and
sanitation systems have collapsed.

The disease can be treated simply, too - but Harare Central Hospital closed
three weeks ago, and Parirenyatwa Hospital was barely functioning at last
reports. The hospitals have no supplies and the only things in excess are
overflowing morgues. This leaves a few private clinics for treatment but if
you have no hard currency to pay for treatment you die.

While the steady stream of four million Zimbabwean refugees who have fled to
South Africa over the past two years did not move South African authorities
to act, the new leader of the African National Congress (and president in
waiting), Jacob Zuma, is now claiming that we cannot "wait and see . . . we
must act and act now." The first act of the ANC-led Government was to
withhold $28 million of aid to Zimbabwe until a representative government is
formed in Harare.

Negotiations for a Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement - between Mugabe and
opposition leader and Prime Minister-elect Morgan Tsvangirai - are ongoing
in South Africa. But the talks started three months ago and few expect a
swift outcome - after all, Mugabe has called his neighbor's bluff so often
over the past decade that he must think he can always and forever do what he
likes, ignoring their increasingly vocal calls to honor election results and
share power with Tsvangirai.

Continuing to do its part to sanction those trading with the Mugabe regime,
the U.S. government yesterday blacklisted and froze the assets of four
people it claims have provided logistical and financial support to the rogue
regime: John Bredenkamp, a Zimbabwean businessman; Muller Conrad "Billy"
Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean businessman; Mahmood Awang Kechik, a Malaysian
doctor; and Nalinee Joy Taveesin, a Thai businesswoman.

The BBC report that Botswana's foreign minister now argues that "mediation
to solve Zimbabwe's political crisis has failed [and] borders with Zimbabwe
should be closed to push Mr Mugabe from power." But closing the borders,
which South Africa might also contemplate, will only ensure an even faster
death for Zimbabweans. The United Nations and African Union, led by South
Africa's Jacob Zuma and Botswana's leader, Seretse Ian Kharma, must put an
end to the death. It is time they intervened militarily.

- Roger Bate is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He
is heading to the region and will be sending updates to NRO.

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Leave him in peace

Comment from ZWNEWS, 26 November

One of the people designated yesterday by the US Treasury is Dr Mahmood
Awang Kechik, a Malaysian urologist and "one of Robert Mugabe's business
advisors." Dr Kechik, says the US government, has been using his practice to
smuggle medical equipment (presumably sourced in the US) into Zimbabwe, and
has been "generating wealth" for Gideon Gono and Constantine Chiwenga. But
the connections may not be just business. Mugabe may have a very intimate
relationship indeed with the good doctor when he visits the physician's
consulting rooms in Selangor. For Dr Kechik offers a urological speciality.
He is listed on a Malaysian "Men's Health" website, boasting "16 million
satisfied customers", which offers help for dysfunctions of an, er,
"marital" nature. Grace, just leave him in peace.

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