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MDC gets finance ministry but deal stays in limbo

October 16, 2008 Edition 2

Basildon Peta

Morgan Tsvangirai has been awarded the ministry of finance, but his
power-sharing pact with Robert Mugabe remained in limbo last night over the
coveted ministry of home affairs, which controls the police force.

Mugabe arrived two hours late for the talks yesterday after attending a
Zanu-PF meeting at which he was told not to give up any of the top 14
ministries the party is claiming.

Authoritative sources said Mugabe had agreed to let go of the ministry of
finance. He was nonetheless sticking to his guns on the important home
affairs ministry.

Tsvangirai wants the home affairs portfolio to overhaul Zimbabwe's biased
police service, which critics have repeatedly accused of behaving like an
internal security department for Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

Control of the home affairs portfolio would also enable Tsvangirai to
overhaul the voters roll, which has been Mugabe's centrepiece for stealing
elections, according to his critics. Zimbabwe's current voters roll, which
is administered by the registrar-general's office, has hundreds of thousands
of ghost voters.

Tsvangirai wants a completely new voters roll drawn up before any future
elections are held.

Options that were being discussed included a rotational system of control
between the MDC and Zanu-PF.

Tsvangirai was of the view that this was not a workable solution and
dismissed it as a "non-starter", sources said, adding that the arguments
over home affairs could be the "deal-breaker". Mugabe offered a more upbeat
assessment upon leaving the venue of the talks last night, saying he hoped
agreement would be finalised today.

Tsvangirai appeared more downbeat, complaining that the negotiations were
proceeding in a "circuitous" manner. If Tsvangirai gets home affairs,
sources say, his next strategy would be to gain control of foreign affairs
and the ministry of information or at least one of those two before he would
agree to be sworn in as prime minister and the new unity government would
become operational.

Tall order

But sources said this would be a tall order. Foreign affairs and information
are among the portfolios that Mugabe unilaterally gazetted in favour of his
party at the weekend.

The dialogue being mediated by former president Thabo Mbeki resumes today.

Top Zanu-PF officials said the party's heavyweights had held a meeting at
Zimbabwe House in Harare yesterday morning before Mugabe had attended the
talks. The heavyweights are said to have told the 84-year-old leader he
should remain steadfast in his demands as giving powerful ministries to the
MDC would be tantamount to destroying Zanu-PF.

"The heavyweights in Zanu-PF reiterated (their stance) and reminded Mugabe
that he should not accept anything except the ministries he gazetted last
week. They said anything else would be unacceptable and it would be better
for the deal to collapse," said a source.

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MDC says Zim power-sharing deal imminent

by Nokuthula Sibanda Thursday 16 October 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC party said on Wednesday it was close to
clinching a deal with President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party on how
to share key Cabinet posts in a unity government.

A confident MDC chief negotiator Tendai Biti told reporters at the close of
a second round of talks on Wednesday that with "hard prayers" overnight,
agreement could be reached when the talks mediated by ex-South African
President Thabo Mbeki resume on Thursday.

Asked by reporters when talks could be concluded Biti said: "History is
being made, mountains are being moved and things are happening. If we pray
hard tonight something will happen tomorrow."

Tsvangirai, appearing more confident than he has looked since the talks
began on Tuesday, told reporters as he left the talks venue; "The
proceedings have been going . . . we are continuing tomorrow, because there
are some matters still outstanding."

Arthur Mutambara, who heads a breakaway faction of the MDC, said the three
parties had had a "long and productive day", adding: "We are very close (to
a deal)."

Mbeki returned to Harare on Monday on an urgent mission to salvage a
historic power-sharing deal that he brokered nearly a month ago between
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

The deal had looked in danger of failing after Mugabe last weekend
unilaterally allocated the key ministries of defence, home and foreign
affairs, information, local government and provisionally finance to his
ruling ZANU PF before conclusion of negotiations with the MDC.

Tsvangirai reacted to the move by threatening to quit the deal if Mugabe
stuck to his decision to take all the key ministries. The opposition leader
said fresh elections would have to be called if the power-sharing deal

Mugabe told reporters as he left the Harare Rainbow Towers hotel, venue of
the talks, that negotiating parties had made progress in resolving their
differences and would finish talks on Thursday. "We made some progress. We
finish tomorrow (Thursday)," he said.

Under the September 15 power-sharing agreement Mugabe will remain president
while Tsvangirai becomes prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister.
The agreement allots 15 Cabinet posts to ZANU PF, 13 to the Tsvangirai-led
MDC and three to Mutambara's faction.

However the pact is silent about who gets which specific posts and the rival
parties have since the signing of the agreement wrangled over who should
control the important ministries of home affairs, finance, local government,
foreign affairs.

Analysts have criticised Zimbabwe's leaders for bickering over Cabinet
positions, while the country was plunging deeper into economic crisis as
shown when the government's Central Statistical Office released new figures
last week showing annual inflation had jumped to 231 million percent in the
month of July, the highest such rate in the world.

In addition to hyperinflation, Zimbabweans also have to also grapple with
acute shortages of every basic survival commodity and eight in 10 people are
out of employment. Shortages of water and electricity are common, burst
sewers flow unchecked in the country's cities while roads are littered with
potholes. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe to dominate Pan-Afrian Parliament session

by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 16 October 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's bloody June presidential election run-off and the
fragile unity government pact will dominate the 10th ordinary session of the
Pan-African Parliament (PAP) that kicks off in Midrand, South Africa, on
October 27.

According to the agenda of the 12-day session of the parliament,
Zimbabwe would come under intense debate for holding a sham one-man race
presidential run-off won by President Robert Mugabe after his rival Morgan
Tsvangirai of the opposition MDC party pulled out citing state-sponsored
violence against his supporters.

The parliament would also deliberate on the deal signed between
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara - the president of a breakaway
formation of the MDC - which ran into problems a few days after it was inked
a month ago.

"Pan-African Parliament will be meeting in Midrand, South Africa, as
from October 27 to November 7," read a notice from the house sent to
Zimbabwe yesterday from Midrand. "High on the agenda, amongst other issues,
is the Zimbabwean June run-off election and unity deal."

Tsvangirai withdrew from the race claiming that over 100 of his
supporters had been killed, plus 200 000 families displaced and more than 10
000 injured in political violence perpetrated by state security agents, war
veterans and ZANU PF militia.

However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission went ahead with the
run-off, saying Tsvangirai's pullout had no legal effect and Mugabe won the
election by over 85 percent.

Mugabe's victory was condemned worldwide, resulting in the Southern
African Development Community and the African Union resolving that Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and Mutambara should open negotiations to form a government of
national unity.

The talks, under the mediation of former South African President Thabo
Mbeki, culminated in the signing of a unity pact on September 15.

However, the deal ran into problems a few days after Mugabe, Mutambara
and Tsvangirai inked the pact.

Mugabe insisted on retaining key ministries, among them, defence, home
affairs, finance, justice, information and local government, a move the MDC
said would be tantamount to power grabbing, not sharing.

Mbeki is in Harare trying to resolve the impasse on the allocation of
the ministries.

Under the deal, Mugabe should have 15 Cabinet ministers, Tsvangirai 13
and Mutambara three. - ZimOnline.

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Hunger forces Zim children out of school into SA

by Tendai Hungwe Thursday 16 October 2008

JOHANNESBURG - Hungry Zimbabwean children are deserting school in greater
numbers and flocking to South Africa in search of food and employment, a
church bishop told ZimOnline.

Bishop Veryn - whose Central Methodist church in Johannesburg provides
shelter and food to homeless immigrants - said the church had seen an
increase in the number of children of school going age from Zimbabwe
arriving to seek shelter after trekking into South Africa on their own.

"Presently, my church is taking care of 150 children from Zimbabwe, who came
to Johannesburg on their own," the Bishop said.

Adult male Zimbabweans have over the years often trekked to South Africa in
search of employment on the country's sprawling farms, mines and factories
but an unprecedented economic crisis and political violence have over the
past decade seen nearly every other able bodied adult joining the trek down
south to look for better paying jobs.

Veryn said it appeared the trend was changing with schoolchildren also
joining the trek to South Africa despite new hopes for change in Zimbabwe
after the signing of a power-sharing agreement between President Robert
Mugabe and opposition leaders four weeks ago.

"This week alone, my church received 30 children escaping from abject
poverty in Zimbabwe," said Veryn, adding: "Despite the on-going
power-sharing talks, we still receive hundreds of Zimbabwe asylum seekers at
the church."

Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and its rebel faction led by
Arthur Mutambara agreed to form a unity government under a power-sharing
agreement brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on
September 15.

The agreement, which retains Mugabe as president while Tsvangirai becomes
prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister, allots 15 Cabinet posts
to ZANU PF, 13 to the Tsvangirai-led MDC and three to Mutambara's faction.

Crisis-weary Zimbabweans had hoped a power-sharing government would
immediately begin work to reverse an economic crisis that plumbed new lows
last week when the government Central Statistical Office released fresh
figures showing annual inflation at 231 million percent, the highest such
rate in the world.

But the deal has stalled over the allocation of key Cabinet ministries of
home affairs, finance, local government, foreign affairs between the three
parties prompting Mbeki to travel to Harare to try to salvage the pact.

The Johannesburg Central Methodist church accommodates 3 500 refugees and
asylum seekers mostly from Zimbabwe with an estimated average of 100 to 200
new arrivals per week.

"Some, who would have stayed here for long are released to go elsewhere in
search of employment opportunities upon acquiring asylum permit papers
whilst creating space for the new arrivals," Veryn said.

Madodana Nyathi, a 16-year-old boy from Zimbabwe's second biggest city
Bulawayo said he left home because he had stopped going to school as he
could no longer afford school fees, adding that he had entered South Africa
illegally and was struggling to cope in Johannesburg where he was not

"I had no option but to quit school. The fees were unaffordable. In
addition, going to school has become worthless as jobs are scarce. However,
I have hopes of going back to school one day, hopefully in South Africa if I
get the money," said Nyathi.

However, some youths are brought to South Africa by their parents - some of
who were displaced during the violence that preceded the widely condemned
June 27 elections - who fear for the welfare of their children in Zimbabwe
where the economic situation continues to deteriorate by the day.

"I am seeking asylum together with my children. It is better that I suffer
with them here than for them to experience hardships in Zimbabwe," said a
single mother of two, Judy Marava.

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) executive director Gabriel Shumba said the
power-sharing deal offered Zimbabwe a new platform to begin work to end an
economic and humanitarian crisis that had forced millions of citizens to
flee abroad.

"The situation in Zimbabwe is untenable. It should not be left to Thabo
Mbeki alone to try to remedy the impasse. Justice for crimes against
humanity is also needed for lasting peace," said Shumba.

"The way forward for Zimbabwe is, of course, to make the deal work in a
substantive way and that is to clear all hurdles as well as to agree on how,
what appears to be two centres of power will operate. There will be no
second chance after this in my opinion, and only disaster and catastrophe
loom if this fails."

In addition to hyperinflation, Zimbabweans also have to grapple with acute
shortages of every basic survival commodity and eight in 10 people are out
of employment. Shortages of water and electricity are common, burst sewers
flow unchecked while roads are littered with potholes.

Critics blame Mugabe for inheriting a jewel economy at independence from
Britain in 1980 and running it down through controversial policies such as
an often-violent seizure of commercial farms from whites that has plunged
commercial agriculture and lately the threat to seize foreign-owned
companies, including mines.

Mugabe denies ruining the economy and instead blames sanctions imposed by
Western countries on his government. - ZimOnline

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Mbeki pushes Zimbabwe rivals to seal power-sharing deal

Yahoo News

by Godfrey Marawanyika Wed Oct 15, 3:09 PM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Former South African leader Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday pushed
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his main rival to settle their feud
over disputed cabinet posts under a faltering power-sharing deal.

In a second day of lengthy talks, Mbeki was believed to be mediating between
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to reach an agreement on who
would control the finance, home affairs and defence ministries in a unity

Tsvangirai threatened to pull out of the agreement after Mugabe last weekend
announced he would award key ministries to his own party, leaving the
84-year-old leader with a firm grip on the military, police and other
security agencies.

Mbeki, who brokered the deal signed one month ago, flew to Harare on Monday
to try to rescue the pact that had raised hopes of an end to months of
deadly political unrest and might allow Zimbabwe to drag itself out of
economic ruin.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai told reporters Wednesday they were hopeful the
deadlock would be broken, though few details of their talks have emerged.

Under the deal, Mugabe retains the presidency while Tsvangirai takes the new
post of prime minister. But disputes over how to form a cabinet threaten to
sink the entire arrangement.

The state-run Herald newspaper said the negotiations centred on which party
would control the finance ministry, a critical portfolio in a country
grappling with the world's highest rate of inflation, last estimated at 231
million percent.

Zimbabwe's stunning economic collapse has caused critical food shortages,
with nearly half the population needing UN aid, while leaving 80 percent of
the population unemployed.

Before the talks began, Tsvangirai said his Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) insisted on dividing control of the defence and home affairs

The Herald claimed Mugabe did not need to reach a consensus with Tsvangirai
on appointing the cabinet and could name ministers unilaterally.

"Government is formed by the president," the paper said, adding that the MDC
was not fit to oversee security agencies.

"We urge them to get into government, learn the ropes, and build trust," it
said. "It is time to move forward; we have spent too much time in one place
as it is."

The MDC has argued that it needs oversight of at least some security
agencies to reassure the party's supporters who were the targets of brutal
violence during election campaigning earlier this year.

Tsvangirai won a first round presidential vote in March, but pulled out of a
June run-off, saying the violence had left more than 100 of his supporters

Mugabe's victory in the uncontested runoff drew international condemnation,
and western nations have heaped pressure on his regime to make good on the
power-sharing deal.

The European Union has threatened to impose new sanctions on the regime if
the deal falls apart, while the United States accused him of violating the

But analysts say they have little hope for the deal, especially with Mbeki's
reduced stature after his own party forced him to resign as South Africa's
president last month.

"The deal was like a false dawn," said Heidi Holland, a biographer of
Mugabe. "Basically (Mugabe) has his own agenda and he will continue to do
what he wants."

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Despite Power-Sharing Process, Political Arson Alleged In Zimbabwe Province


By Jonga Kandemiiri
15 October 2008

Officials of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe's eastern
Manicaland province have accused militia loyal to the former ruling ZANU-PF
party of burning the home of the party's provincial treasurer in Makoni
South district last weekend.

The officials of the MDC formation led by prime minister-designate Morgan
Tsvangirai said the arson followed a rally in the area which was attended by
more than 2,000 people.

They said party treasurer Laina Mutape spent four months in hiding in
Mozambique after fleeing the political violence that seared the province
during the approach to the June 27 presidential run-off election, only to
resurface in late September after the signature of a power-sharing agreement
between ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations.

The MDC officials said that after her return she was summoned by a village
headman named Razemba who wanted to fine her for belonging to the
opposition, but she refused..

MDC Manicaland Welfare Officer Lloyd Mahute told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe he finds it disturbing that while national
leaders are talking about sharing power, ZANU-PF militants continue to
engage in violence.

VOA was unable to reach the ZANU-PF chairman for Manicaland, Tinaye Chigudu,
for comment on the MDC allegations.

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'End in sight' for Zimbabwe talks

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 22:10 UK
Riot police in Harare, Zimbabwe, 14 October 2008
Police patrolled in the capital, Harare, as parliament met on Tuesday

The chief negotiator for Zimbabwe's main opposition party has said he is hopeful a power-sharing agreement can reached with President Robert Mugabe.

MDC General Secretary Tendai Biti was speaking at the end of a second day of talks in Harare aimed at rescuing a deadlocked power-sharing deal.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating the discussions.

The country's leaders have yet to reach agreement over how key cabinet posts should be divided between the parties.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC - the Movement for Democratic Change - had threatened to pull out of the negotiations after Mr Mugabe gave key ministries to officials from his own party.

Mr Tsvangirai described the proceedings on Wednesday as "quite circuitous" and said there were still matters to be resolved.

As he left the talks, Mr Biti told reporters he believed a deal was possible and could come on Thursday "if you pray hard".

"History is being made and mountains are being moved," he said.

Mr Mugabe also said he believed progress had been made and that discussions would finish on Thursday.

'No conclusion'

The talks began on Tuesday as Zimbabwe's parliament held its first working session under opposition control since disputed elections earlier this year.

MPs heckled each other at the opening.

We have covered some ground
President Robert Mugabe

Mr Mugabe had earlier allocated the main ministries, including defence, home, foreign affairs, and justice, to his Zanu-PF party.

Mr Tsvangirai wants all cabinet positions to be revisited in discussions with Mr Mbeki.

But Zanu-PF says only one ministry - finance - is up for discussion.

According to the original deal - which allocates 15 ministries to Zanu-PF, 13 to the MDC and three to a smaller MDC faction - only Zanu-PF has a ministerial seat vacant.

Mr Mbeki is in Zimbabwe as a private citizen, trying to save the deal that he brokered shortly before resigning as South African president at the end of September.

While the power-sharing crisis continues, life for normal Zimbabweans remains a constant struggle, the BBC's Jonah Fisher reports from neighbouring South Africa.

Two million people are currently in need of food aid, with that figure set to increase to almost half the population over the next three months, our correspondent says.

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Zimbabwe rivals claim progress in unity bid

 16 October 2008

Foreign Staff

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his main political rival
failed yesterday to break their impasse on a power-sharing deal, but said
their talks had made progress and would continue a third day.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has led two days of talks to
press Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to settle their feud
over disputed cabinet posts under a faltering power-sharing deal.

"We made some progress. We finish tomorrow," Mugabe told reporters as he
left the talks.

Tsvangirai said the negotiations had proceeded "quite circuitously," but his
chief negotiator Tendai Biti insisted progress had been made in the seven
hours of talks yesterday.

"History is being made. Mountains are being moved. If we pray hard today
something will happen tomorrow," Biti told reporters.

Mbeki brokered the deal signed one month ago, when the rivals agreed to a
unity government with Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai in the new post of
prime minister.

But Tsvangirai threatened to pull out of the agreement after Mugabe last
weekend announced he would award key ministries to his own party, giving him
a firm grip on the military, police and other security agencies.

Mbeki flew to Harare on Monday to try to rescue the pact that had raised
hopes of an end to months of deadly political unrest and that might allow
Zimbabwe to drag itself out of economic ruin.

The state-run Herald newspaper said the negotiations centred on which party
would control the finance ministry, a critical portfolio in a country
grappling with the world's highest inflation.

Once one of Africa's most prosperous nations, Zimbabwe's stunning economic
collapse has caused critical food shortages, with nearly half the population
needing United Nations aid, while leaving 80% of the population unemployed.

The Herald claimed Mugabe did not need to reach a consensus with Tsvangirai
on appointing the cabinet and could name ministers unilaterally.

"Government is formed by the president," the paper said, adding that the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change was not fit to oversee security

"We urge them to get into government, learn the ropes, and build trust," it
said. "It is time to move forward; we have spent too much time in one place
as it is."

Before the talks began, Tsvangirai said his MDC insisted on dividing control
of the defence and home affairs ministries.

The MDC has argued that it needs oversight of at least some security
agencies to reassure the party's supporters, who were the targets of brutal
violence during election campaigning earlier this year.

Tsvangirai won a first round presidential vote in March, but pulled out of a
June run-off, saying the violence had left more than 100 of his supporters

Mugabe's victory in the uncontested runoff drew international condemnation,
and western nations have heaped pressure on his regime to make good on the
power-sharing deal.

The European Union has threatened to impose new sanctions on the regime if
the deal falls apart, while the US accused him of violating the agreement.
But analysts say they have little hope for the deal, especially with Mbeki's
reduced stature after his own party forced him to resign as SA's president.

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Makoni says new party in the making

October 15, 2008

By Our Correspondent

MUTARE - Dr Simba Makoni, the independent election candidate whose last
minute bid for the presidency failed dismally in March appears to be
preparing the ground for a come-back into the political arena.

He told a conference in Mutare on Wednesday that preparations for the launch
of his party were underway.

Following hard on the heels of a press conference he addressed in Harare on
Monday, during which he dismissed the bid by his former Zanu-PF party for
control of all the top ministries in a new government as illogical, Makoni
said in Mutare that Zimbabwe needs a new political party that identifies and
stands with the oppressed people of Zimbabwe.

He said the current deadlock in the power-sharing talks was a result of the
Zanu-PF leadership being "steeped in the culture of power, command and

"Volunteers who supported my campaign for president in the March general
elections have agreed with me that Zimbabwe needs a new political player
that identifies and stands with the disenfranchised, disempowered,
impoverished and alienated people," Makoni, said at a three-day conference
organised by the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa.

The conference, that has brought together government officials, senior army
officials, MDC and Zanu-PF officials; business leaders, civic activists,
students, church leaders, women groups, aid agencies, ambassadors, and media
representatives, was organised under the theme, "The Way Forward for

Makoni said there was no shared or common vision among the political players
in the ongoing talks over the sharing of Cabinet positions.

He spoke as talks being held in Harare between President Mugabe, Prime
Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy Prime Minister-designate
Prof Arthur Mutambara to form a new government under the facilitation of
ex-South Africa President Thabo Mbeki remained deadlocked.

Makoni said there was lack of leadership committed to the mission of
service - what he termed "servant leadership" - a form of governance which
he propagated during his failed bid for the presidency in the March
elections. Makoni emerged third after he garnered 8.3 percent of the vote in
a four-horse race, which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won by polling 47.9
percent. President Mugabe attracted the second largest number of votes,
securing 43.2 percent of the vote in the highly controversial election.

The results of the presidential election held on March 29 were only
announced on May 2, a total of five weeks later. The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission has done little to effectively dispel allegations that they were
busy manipulating the election results during the five week period in order
to set the stage for a second presidential election in circumstances
favourable to Mugabe.

The launch of the campaign for the election a coincided with an outbreak of
violence, unleashed by the army, working in conjunction with the police, the
Central Intelligence Organisation, the Zanu-PF militia as well as the
so-called war veterans. Some of the base camps they set up countrywide
remain in existence to this day. Last week the occupants of one base camp in
Matabeleland North evicted a woman from a neighbouring farm because she
refused to continue to feed them three months after Mugabe, the candidate
they were deployed to campaign for had won the election.

By the time the election was held on June 27 Tsvangirai had withdrawn,
citing brutal violence against his supporters, more than 100 of whom were
brutally murdered while thousands either maimed or rendered homeless.

Makoni said the current deadlock between Zanu-PF and the MDC was
disempowering the people of Zimbabwe. His critics suggest that if Makoni had
adopted a more principled position in seeking to dislodge the dictatorship
of Mugabe the outcome of the March election might have been more clearly
defined and the subsequent bloodletting perhaps avoided.

"It is unfortunate that leaders are deadlocked in a process of sharing
power, not serving the people," Makoni said in Mutare. "The parties need to
exhibit strong commitment to team effort to inspire confidence in the
people. The discussion should shift from allocating to constituting a team
of servants of the people which will be welcomed by our friends outside."

Makoni, a former Finance minister in President Mugabe's government, said the
transitional government would not work if there was no shared vision. He
said Zanu-PF remained locked in its command-style politics which he blamed
for what he termed "ideologically motivated roll-back of the State." He
expressed cautious optimism in the implementation of the September 15
agreement between the main political parties.

"These co-operative ventures can be effective tools for achieving our vision
for Zimbabwe," Makoni said. "But the promise of these partnerships can only
be fully realised, if the partners are genuine and participate fully and

Makoni, who served as SADC executive secretary for ten years, referred to
the responses from the United States and European governments to the current
global credit crunch. He said the responses were instructive to the
Zimbabwean leadership about the need for pragmatism and realism in handling
crises. Makoni said the current financial crisis had generated responses
that were unthinkable in the ideology of free markets and in the context of

"Commentators have constantly used the term nationalisation to describe
George W Bush's bail out plan for banks and mortgage lenders; this being
done by the most radical free marketer since Ronald Reagan and Margaret
Thatcher," Makoni said. "The point here is that flexibility, pragmatism and
realism are more potent tools than ideology and dogma. This is an important
lesson for our old guard to take."

Makoni cast aspersions on the prospects of success of the proposed National
Economic Council, set to be established by the new transitional government
with a mandate to spearhead economic reconstruction.

"Many citizens, especially those in business and the professions would be
enthused by the partnership approach proffered by the 'three-party'
agreement of September 15, 2008, in the form of the National Economic
Council," Makoni said. "As you know, we have had the National Economic
Consultative Forum (NECF) and the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), whose
contribution to our welfare has been modest, if we be polite."

Makoni declared that he was working on the final details of a roadmap
towards the launch of his political party set to succeed the
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn movement under whose auspices he campaigned for the
presidency in March. He was accompanied by his spokesman, Godfrey Chanetsa,
a spokesman of President Mugabe in the early days of Independence before he
joined the diplomatic service.

He said a draft constitution had been produced and nationwide consultations
had commenced to produce a roadmap towards the launch of the party.

"My vision for our country is very simple," Makoni said. "It is a Zimbabwe
in which all peoples have a better life than today and a continually
improving life; a Zimbabwe in which all the peoples are at peace with
themselves and their neighbours, free of fear and want, secure and enjoying
equal rights before the law and equal opportunities for their sustenance."

Makoni said such a Zimbabwe could only emerge from a combination of good
leadership and disciplined, hardworking and law abiding citizens.

He said the transitional government had huge challenges in tackling
corruption, which he described as "Zimbabwe's economic, social and moral

Makoni said the new government must increase the participation and
representation of women, especially in public office. He called for a quota
for women in the allocation of Cabinet posts.

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Western firms shun Zim tourism fair

by Lizwe Sebatha Thursday 16 October 2008

BULAWAYO - European and American firms kept away from Zimbabwe's premier
tourism fair that began on Wednesday, a clear sign that luring Western
investors back to the country will require more than last month's
power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition.

The five-day Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel and Tourism Africa Fair taking place
in the second largest city of Bulawayo is being attended by more than 750
local and international exhibitors, a huge jump from 450 who were present
last year.

However, a survey by ZimOnline yesterday revealed that there were virtually
no exhibitors or buyers from European Union countries, United States, Canada
or Australia that have been traditionally the biggest markets for Zimbabwe's
tourism industry.

Foreign firms at the fair are mainly from Africa and from rich Asian
economies such as China and Malaysia, countries with which Mugabe has tried
to align Zimbabwe in a new 'Look East' policy the veteran leader adopted
after relations soured with the West.

Deputy Tourism Minister Andrew Langa blamed the absence of Western firms at
the fair on a hostile international media that portrays the southern African
country as an unsafe destination and on Western governments he said were
blocking firms from their countries from doing business with Zimbabwe.

"It's all because of the negative publicity and illegal economic sanctions
against the country. Firms from those countries are warned not to do
business with Zimbabwe," said Langa by phone.

The EU, US and other Western nations have since 2002 maintained sanctions
against Mugabe's government as punishment for his controversial seizure of
white farmland for redistribution to landless blacks, failure to uphold the
rule of law, human rights and democracy.

Western governments have also pressed private firms based in their
territories to refrain from any business deals that might end up benefiting
Mugabe's government.

However a September 15 agreement between Mugabe and opposition leaders
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara to form a power-sharing government to
tackle Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis has raised hopes for
restoration of normal relations with the West.

The EU and US have welcomed the power-sharing deal but said they could only
consider lifting sanctions or providing economic support to Zimbabwe after
first assessing implementation of the agreement on the ground.

Under the agreement Mugabe will remain president while Tsvangirai becomes
prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister. The agreement allots 15
Cabinet posts to ZANU PF, 13 to the Tsvangirai-led MDC and three to
Mutambara's faction. - ZimOnline

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Jesuits launch urgent appeal for Zimbabwe

LONDON - 16 October 2008

The British Jesuits have launched an urgent appeal for Zimbabwe, following a
request from the country's recently appointed Provincial. In a letter to all
Jesuit parishes, schools and communities, the Director of JM (Jesuit
Missions), Father Tim Curtis SJ, says they urgently need to raise £180,000
by the end of December.

In his letter, Fr Curtis explains that the Zimbabwean Provincial, Fr Stephen
Buckland SJ, is trying to get two shipments of food to Zimbabwe before
Christmas. "We have managed to secure enough money for the first shipment
(valued at £180,000), and this will be leaving shortly. We are now trying to
gather funds together for the second shipment," he wrote.

JM has already made a substantial contribution, and the British Provincial,
Fr Michael Holman SJ, has pledged some money from the Province to form the
basis of a Jesuit Relief Fund for Zimbabwe, to be administered at Jesuit
Missions. Jesuit parish priests are being urged to hold a second or retiring
collection or some other fund raising activity directed towards this
project. Jesuit schools in this country, which already have strong links
with counterparts overseas, including Zimbabwe, are also being asked to find
ways of helping to raise the extra cash needed for the shipment.

"While the protracted political negotiations continue, most ordinary
Zimbabweans are starving," explains Fr Curtis. "Their currency is worthless
and their salary does not even pay their bus fare to get to work.   That's
why Fr Buckland has made it an urgent priority to bring some relief to these
people.  Since taking over as Provincial earlier this year, he has been
assessing the situation and working out what contribution the Jesuits in
Zimbabwe can make to the country and its people. The Jesuit Relief Fund has
been bringing in shipments of food and distributing it to the poorest of the
poor for some time.   Building on a successful track record Fr Buckland is
trying to bring in two consignments of food by the end of the year."

Anyone wishing to donate to this appeal can do so on-line: or cheques can be sent to Jesuit Missions,
11 Edge Hill, Wimbledon, London SW19 4LR.

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Mr. Mugabe's Latest Betrayal


Published: October 15, 2008
It took a lot of international pressure to force President Robert Mugabe of
Zimbabwe to accept a power-sharing deal with Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition leader. It will take a lot more to force Mr. Mugabe to respect

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The original agreement, brokered by Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's former
president, left too many crucial details unsettled. Mr. Mugabe is now
filling in the blanks in a way that ensures that he keeps all of the power.

Last weekend, Mr. Mugabe announced that his loyalists would run all of the
major ministries, including those that control both the army (which
considers opposition activists its main enemy) and the police (who have
failed to control or investigate the army's abuses).

Mr. Mugabe's generals are reported to be worried about retribution for the
campaign of abuse and murder that they unleashed on Tsvangirai supporters
during this spring's presidential elections.

Unfortunately, political power in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe comes from the
truncheons and firearms of its security forces. If voters had any real
power, Mr. Tsvangirai would now be president and Mr. Mugabe would be out of
office. Mr. Tsvangirai defeated Mr. Mugabe in the first round of elections
but was forced to withdraw from the runoff by army-backed thugs.

Mr. Tsvangirai rightly says he won't serve in a government that shuts his
party out of both major security ministries. He has agreed to emergency
negotiations led by Mr. Mbeki. We have long been dismayed by Mr. Mbeki's
overt pro-Mugabe bias. The only way he can save his deal and some shred of
his reputation is by going back to the core principle of power-sharing, this
time with all the relevant details spelled out and guaranteed.

Restoring (or improving on) those terms will take renewed diplomatic
pressure and sanctions from the United States, the European Union and, most
importantly, from the rest of Africa, starting with the new South African
government. There must be no international recognition of any cabinet that
leaves Mr. Mugabe fully in control of the security ministries.

Until there is a fair agreement, the army generals and cronies blocking a
fairer deal must be denied visas to travel abroad. Their foreign bank
accounts and other assets must be frozen. Their stonewalling should not come

It has not been cost-free for the rest of Zimbabwe's people, who must
continue to cope with desperate food shortages and the world's highest
inflation rate. The faster Mr. Mugabe and his generals are distanced from
power, the faster Zimbabwe can be rescued from the disaster he has inflicted
on it.

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S African police raid Zimbabweans

October 15, 2008

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and that
country's Home Affairs Department officials have launched a crackdown in
which they are arresting Zimbabwean political refugees and deporting them,
in total disregard even if they hold valid asylum permits, The Zimbabwe
Times has learnt.

The random police raids have allegedly targeted densely populated areas such
as Hillbrow, Berea, Yeoville and Diepsloot, which house most Zimbabweans.

Scores of Zimbabwean asylum seekers, told The Zimbabwe Times in Johannesburg
that they were now living in fear of being arrested and deported, following
reports that the police have, beginning two weeks ago, launched a crackdown,
in which they have been arbitrarily arresting even those with valid asylum
permits, telling them to go back to their own country.

"I was arrested on Friday by members of the SAPS who raided my shack in
Diepsloot," said Nkanyiso Ndlovu. "When I told them that I hold a valid
asylum permit they demanded to see it. I showed them the permit, which runs
up to December, but they told me that the permits have now expired because
the Zimbabwean situation is now under control. I was forced to pay them
R100, after they had confiscated the permit and insisted on arresting me."

Several other asylum seekers living in these areas said they have been
arrested, some of them three times over the past week alone, while others
accused the police of tearing their asylum permits, claiming that the
documents were no longer valid.

"I now have to go and queue for yet another permit because the first one has
been destroyed. This attack seems to be targeting Zimbabweans only because
other foreign nationals are not being arrested," said Edward Shoko who lives
in Hillbrow.

On Monday, our correspondent witnessed a heavy presence of police trucks in
central Johannesburg, especially around Hillbrow, as the police continued to
raid Zimbabweans.

No official comment could be obtained from the police. Officers on the
ground denied that they were targetting Zimbabweans alone.

"We are raiding all illegal foreigners and this is just a random activity,
not an operation. We arrest only those who do not have valid papers to be
here," said one policeman.

Various civic groups run by Zimbabweans in Johannesburg as well as officials
of the MDC, which recently signed a power-sharing deal with President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF, lashed out at the police and Home Affairs officials over
their alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

"We even heard that during our meeting with the Home Affairs department's
Director General, Mavuso Msimang on Friday, our countrymen were chased away
by a dog-handling security guard from offices in Pretoria, where they had
gone to queue for asylum permits. We hope that the meeting we had and others
to follow will address this problem," said Dube.

The MDC held a meeting with Msimang in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Friday
morning, after the Home Affairs Department had begun to reject asylum
applications by Zimbabweans.

Solomon Chikohwero, who chairs the newly launched MDC Veteran Activists
Association, said that his organisation would this week seek dialogue with
South Africa's Director of Home Affairs to try and address the situation.

"We are not happy," he said. "Such intolerable behaviour by the SAPS and
Home Affairs should be castigated. As a concerned organisation, we feel that
the actions of these two government entities are unfair and despicable.

"The power-sharing agreement does not deal with the issue of victims of
political violence and will not transform the country's political
environment overnight. .. it is the responsibility of the new government,
the United Nations and other entities such as the International Organisation
for Migration (IOM), in conjunction with the host countries, to come up with
a framework for the repatriation of refugees. The police and home affairs
are doing this illegally."

Norah Tapiwa, of Global Zimbabwe, said that the Zimbabwean deal would not
solve the country's political problems as long as Mugabe remains in charge
of the country's uniformed forces, something that the octogenarian leader is

"As long as Mugabe remains in charge of the army and the police, there will
be no change to political violence. He has previously used them to commit
all these crimes against humanity, what will stop him now if he retains that
control? Once things work out in Zimbabwe, there will be no need for us to
be pushed out of South Africa or any other country, we will just leave on
our own because we also want to return to our country to re-build it. The
South African authorities should understand that," said Tapiwa.

Home Affairs department spokesperson, Siobhan McCarthy, however, denied the
reports, saying that nothing had changed in their treatment of Zimbabweans.

"I have not heard about that," said McCarthy. "We still recognise the asylum
permits and it is illegal for anyone to tear them up. We are also still
issuing out the permits."

This is not the first time that South Africa's Home Affairs department has
been accused of alleged ill-treatment of Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

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Deal doctored before signing, Discrepancies worry MDC
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:02
HARARE - The power-sharing deal agreed on September 11 was changed without the knowledge of Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party before being presented for signature  on September 15 - with whole sections being edited out before the official signing ceremony.

It has emerged that the document agreed to by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his team on September 11 was not the same document signed amid much fanfare in the presence of SADC leaders on September 15.

Former justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, secretary general of the MDC Mutambara group, Welshman Ncube, and former SA President Thabo Mbeki's representative at the talks, Mujanku Gumbi, were allegedly responsible for making changes to the document without Tsvangirai’s knowledge.

Sources allege that Chimamasa, Ncube and Gumbi were responsible for panel-beating and re-typing the agreement that was signed by the principals on September 15 and witnessed by nine SADC heads of state.

The following clauses were changed:

  •    an increase to the number of non-constituent senators issued to the Mutambara faction;
  •    changes to a clause stating that a replacement for vice prime minister cannot be a non-constituent MP;
  •   changes to the agreement that parties would jointly consult each other on the appointment of ambassadors and other key government officials.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the discrepancies were worrisome.

"What was done on September 15 was just the public relations and a public ceremony," Chamisa said. "What we need to do is to harmonise and eliminate discrepancies in terms of certain omissions from the document that was signed on the 15th."

Sources told The Zimbabwean that the MDC was set to officially protest about the changes to Mbeki who flew into Harare on Monday night for delicate mediation over the stalled division of Cabinet posts.

Tsvangirai told reporters at his home in Harare last week: "There is still an outstanding issue of omissions made in the agreement presented at the signing ceremony. (These items) had been agreed and initialled by all parties when we signed the original agreement on September 11. We are assured that the facilitator will sort out this problem and provide an updated document to the general public."

No comment was immediately available from Ncube or Chinamasa, who were said to be locked in negotiations at the time of going to print.

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Fuel, food, cash and hope in short supply
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:31

The issue this week of the new Z$50,000 note, printed on plain bond paper, has finally killed all confidence
in the local currency. It literally is not worth the paper it is printed on.

HARARE - Amid delicate mediation to try and salvage a fragile power-sharing deal caused by a deadlock in sharing of Cabinet posts between Zanu (PF) and the MDC, petrol, food, cash, and even hope are in desperately short supply in Zimbabwe.

Queues have become a feature of daily life. The sheer drudgery of life is causing many Zimbabweans to despair. Amid threats by Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the national unity Government after learning that President Robert Mugabe had awarded all top Cabinet posts to members of his own party, tension is running dangerously high.

Civic groups are outraged and this week started agitating for confrontation with government.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Raymond Majongwe urged Zimbabweans to launch street protests against the Mugabe regime.

Elizabeth, a teacher in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city, told The Zimbabwean: "Life was easy until about eight years ago. We had everything we needed and I could afford to send my kids to private schools. But now I'm struggling. I have not gone to work since schools opened because government doesn’t want to pay a living wage. What do I do? Continue waiting for these politicians to hold us to ransom? Hell no, I am seriously thinking of leaving for South Africa."

Amid the teachers' strike, school fees have risen repeatedly, even though there is no schooling taking place because of the industrial action. But Elizabeth, who is married to a forex dealer, biggest problem is transport.

"My youngest daughter attends school outside town, so she has to be driven to school and then back home. Now there is no fuel. I don't know what to do. When I talk about pulling her out, she tells me: 'But mommy, you say there are no books at your school.'"

Most petrol stations in Zimbabwe are deserted. Drivers don't even bother trying to fill up their cars. The only petrol available to ordinary people is on the black market.

But the prices are prohibitive, so Zimbabweans who own a car only use it in emergencies. Black gold is still supplied, albeit very irregularly to petrol stations that sell to commuter vans. But drivers often have to wait for weeks. And the fuel coupons are fast taking over.

The fuel shortages mean that hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have to walk long distances to work or to school.

Jack, a 50-year-old fireman, walks 13 kilometres to work every day. He hopes the implementation of the power-sharing deal will end his woes. Like many Zimbabweans, he is frustrated with the bickering over Cabinet posts.

"I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and arrive at the fire station around 7:45. We finish at 6 p.m., and then I walk back home. I get there around 8. These days, it's not surprising to see a chain of people walking.”

When Jack was first employed in 1982, he earned 190 Zim dollars. "I could afford to eat four or five times a day and buy all the luxuries I wanted", he says. "Now I'm earning 12,000 Zim dollars (please note 13 zeroes have been lopped off this figure), but I can only afford one meal a day. In the morning, we only have some tea without bread. Just tea. We can't even afford to buy sugar. Besides it's not available any more. Sometimes we go to bed without eating anything."

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Chung in denial over Gukurahundi - Auret

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 13:44
LONDON - Mike Auret, the prominent human rights campaigner and
director of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) when the
North Korean trained Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was
unleashed on so called "dissidents" in Matabeleland and the Midlands between
1982 -1987, has advised a former minister not to avoid her part in the
collective responsibility for the massacres.

Speaking from his home in Ireland, Auret told me: "Fay Chung, as part
of the government that committed those crimes, must not try to assuage her
part of the collective guilt by intimating that only a few hundred were
killed, particularly as this is an enormous underestimate. The known deaths
are certainly in the thousands."

He was responding to a report which quoted Chung saying that only a
few hundred men, women and children were killed in the Western Province of
Matabeleland and the Zimbabwean Midlands between 1982 -1987 after President
Robert Mugabe let the North Korean trained Fifth brigade of the ZNA off the
lead to hunt down so-called "anti-government dissidents" who were also
members and supporters of his main political rival during those days, Dr
Joshua Nkomo, the leader of Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU).
Addressing a group of journalists in Masvingo  recently, Fay Chung,
who was the Minister of Education at the time of the slaughter in
Matabeleland before her appointment as a senior adviser to the United
Nations on education, said: "The Roman Catholics did not do a complete
study" -a reference to a report issued by the CCJP and the Zimbabwean Legal
Resources Foundation on the impact of the army's operations in Matabeleland
and the Midlands.

The report was entitled "Breaking the Silence" and published in 1997.

Ms Chung told reporters on 26 September- "I think to say that as many
as 20,000 people were killed during Gukarahundi is not true. It think it is
a few hundreds, otherwise this high figure of 20,000 is being touted to
spread anger between people. Yes, there were beatings and some killings and
the situation was bad but 20,000 is quite a big number of people."
Auret said: "She may be correct in saying that 20,000 is too high an
estimate. However, she must understand that the losses have never been fully
counted. No-one has any idea of how many people died as either a direct or
an indirect result of the violence at that time." - BY TREVOR GRUNDY

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Plight of Zim wage earners

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 09:50

'It now costs most wage earners more to go to work on local transport
than they earn'

There was a time when having a job was a badge of honour - wage
earners could feed their families, go on annual leave and visit their rural
homes with gifts of food and goods. Not any more in Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

A clerk in a government office told me recently that she was paid a
net after tax salary of Z$13 000. For days she had not been able to even
join a queue to try and draw her meager salary out.

If she were paid on the 25th of last month, her salary would have been
worth R300 or US$42. On the 8th of October - just 14 days later it was worth
R13, about US$1,50 for a months hard work.

Teachers were paid Z$10 000, police slightly more and soldiers
slightly more again. In the new hierarchy that applies to our skewed values
in government, these lesser mortals are worse off than the clerk in the
Registrar Generals office.

To compound these difficulties, wage earners must pay tax at the top
rate on most of their incomes. Tax thresholds are kept at very low levels
and the tax bands are very narrow so that most workers - even low paid
manual workers must pay close to the top rate of tax, which is 47 per cent.
Add to that levies for NASA, training and other compulsory deductions and
they are paying 60 per cent of their gross salaries in tax.

The result is that it now costs most wage earners more to go to work
on local transport than they earn. Schoolteachers are staying at home and
thousands of people abscond every day for the bright lights of South Africa,
Botswana and Zambia. Even Mozambique, not long ago in dire straights itself
and still desperately poor, looks quite good by comparison to Zimbabwe.

So Mugabe has inverted the traditional relationship between the formal
and the informal sector. Rural families now feed their urban families,
street vendors support friends and relatives. A job is now a liability, it
obliges you to travel every day to your place of work and then spend all day
at your desk or machine. Your salary will hardly cover your cost of doing so
and then you cannot get your money out of the bank.

The great danger of this situation lies in two main areas - workers
will simply pack their bags and walk away from their desks and machines and
join the millions now struggling to make a living in South Africa or
anywhere. Others, bitter and frustrated and unable to feed or clothe their
families might turn to violence. In particular soldiers might be tempted to
turn their guns on those they perceive as being responsible for the collapse
and failure.

The only way to correct matters is to see that the present political
crisis is resolved and the process of economic and social reform put in
hand. The situation can be turned around in short order now but even this
possibility is slipping away as the Mugabe regime delays implementation of
the SADC-brokered agreement. - BY MUONGORORI

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Cash chaos as Z$50,000 note released - on bond paper

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:14
HARARE - Cash-strapped Zimbabwe on Monday launched a new high
denomination Z$50,000-note - printed on plain bond paper - in a fresh bid to
ease a critical cash shortage that has rocked the country.

The largest denomination note available so far had been Z$20,000
together with a Z$10,000 note introduced two weeks ago.
Before that Zimbabwe's highest denomination note had been a Z$1,000
note, which was launched a month earlier. On August 1, the central bank
lopped 10 zeroes from the currency and introduced new currency. Hardly two
months later, economists are saying seven zeroes are back.
Economists have blamed the shortage of cash on hyperinflation which
has increased the demand for cash and the profligate printing of cash by the
central bank to bankroll government spending.

Zimbabwe's official rate of inflation stood at more than 213 million
percent in June after shooting up from 11 million percent while independent
estimates put the figure at well over 500 billion percent.

The introduction of a Z$50,000 note was preceded by myriad of other
measures to stem cash shortages. The government has tried price controls and
dollarising the economy - to try to rein in galloping inflation. The Reserve
Bank has banned inter-bank transfers and internet banking in a desperate bid
to curb the parallel exchange market, in which the central bank is also a
star player.

Last month the central bank gave some shops licences to sell goods in
foreign currency in a bid to ease shortages which are fuelling the black

Economists attribute the shortage of cash on a growing foreign
exchange parallel market and lack of confidence in the system that have led
to higher demand for cash and hoarding.

The worsening acute shortage of cash, is forcing banks to limit
maximum withdrawals to amounts which are so little they buy just three
loaves of bread, while it created a black market for local currency. The
cash withdrawal limit was raised on Monday from Z$20,000 to Z$50,000.

The move plunged the unguarded Zimbabwe dollar into a record low as
the greenback built fresh gains from intensifying demand on the parallel
market. The US dollar is the benchmark currency in Zimbabwe determining the
movement of other rates against the embattled Zimdollar.

Analysts said intense bidding for foreign currency on the parallel
market had forced the local unit to collapse dramatically within this week.
"It's going to continue weakening," said banking economist David Mupamhadzi.
"There is more pressure (on the Zimbabwe dollar)."

Dealers said they were overwhelmed by foreign currency requirements
from government and private sector companies who were pushing them to
excavate as much as they could from the parallel market.

"There is a combination of foreign currency shortages and an extremely
high demand from government, aid agencies, fuel companies and private sector
operations. This is what is dragging the local currency's value down," a
dealer said this week.

"Exporters are speculating over the direction of the exchange rate and
have withheld their receipts offshore in anticipation of a devaluation. The
uncertainty and deadlock in the politics is also worsening shortages on the
market," the dealer said.

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Informal sector has saved economy from complete devastation

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:37
HARARE - Paradoxically, as the economic situation has progressively
worsened for Zimbabwe's citizens, large investments have continued to flow
into the country.

"The Zimbabwean economy, back into the mid-1980s, had always been a
strong economic regional anchor. As such, a number of large companies have
ongoing investment programs in Zimbabwe. A number of the more recent
investments are continuation plans by these large companies," comments
American economist Raymond Gilpin.

In June, Anglo American, one of the largest mining conglomerates in
the world, decided to invest a further $400 million in Zimbabwe's platinum
mines. The London-based Lonhro mining group is also planning to invest about
US$66 million in the country this year. But economic observers say it's
mainly South African mining operations that have been injecting investments
into Zimbabwe.

Gilpin says it's "very difficult to say" if this foreign money has
benefited "ordinary" Zimbabweans. "One could hypothesize that at the
household level there might be some benefit in terms of employment, in terms
of availability to some services provided by large companies."

MDC officials have previously blamed some big international companies
for "propping up" the Zanu (PF) government with cash, and have said that
many of the Mugabe administration's abuses wouldn't have happened without
the money provided to it by certain foreign enterprises.

But Gilpin says it is "important to distinguish between the excesses
of the Mugabe regime and their mismanagement of the economy, and private
sector enterprise."

"It's the Mugabe administration, and not international big business,
that's ultimately to blame for human rights and financial abuses in
Zimbabwe. A number of the companies doing business in and business with
Zimbabwe do not do business directly with the Zimbabwe regime. To that
degree, there has been some degree of welfare benefit to the people."

Gilpin says the informal economy that's sprung up as a result of the
poor economy has saved the country from complete economic devastation.

"Households and firms have developed mechanisms to go around the
frightening inflation rate."

Frank Young, the vice-president of one of the largest international
for-profit government and business research and consulting firms, Abt
Associates, explained how citizens and businesses had developed "imaginative
and extremely agile strategies" to survive because "the Zimbabwean currency
has lost value as a medium of exchange." For example, the barter system has

The briefing concluded: "The failure of financial institutions to
attract deposits and provide credit has forced Zimbabweans to adopt
mechanisms to avoid the costs and perils of doing business via official
channels. The practically worthless currency has been replaced with
innovative means of exchange, like petrol coupons and non-perishable
groceries. Savings are widely held in US dollars and South African rand. The
'official' economy is irrelevant and a number of informal, barter systems
have developed, based on strong community networks. They allow groups to
purchase and barter essential commodities (like food and fuel) while hedging
against inflation and currency depreciation." - VOP

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Moz cops seize 4 tons of smuggled sugar

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:18
MUTARE - Mozambican police in the central province of Manica have
seized about four tonnes of contraband sugar, smuggled into the neighbouring
country from Zimbabwe, Mozambican reports said this week.

The smuggling comes amid an acute shortage of sugar in Zimbabwe.

According to a Manica provincial police command spokesman, the sugar
was seized in areas of Sussundenga and Mossurize districts, near the border
with Zimbabwe. It had been stored in huts, preparatory to distribution and

The smuggling of sugar from Zimbabwe, made artificially cheap by the
Zimbabwean government's exchange rate policy, is a major threat to
Mozambique's own sugar producers.

Vast sums have been spent on rehabilitating the Mozambican sugar
industry, particularly the mill at Marromeu on the south bank of the
Zambezi, which had been thoroughly sabotaged by the apartheid-backed Renamo
rebels in 1986.

This investment could all be wasted if the Mozambican producers are
unable to sell on the domestic market because of unfair competition from

The official claimed that the smuggling of sugar, cigarettes and
alcoholic drinks from Zimbabwe had been on the decline in recent months. He
attributed this to joint Mozambican/Zimbabwean police patrols along the

Further south, police sources say smuggling is getting worse along the
border with Zimbabwe. The smugglers were reportedly breaking through the
border fence, and carrying quantities of sugar, meat, maize flour, potatoes
and drinks, amongst other produce, for sale on the informal markets in

Last week alone the Namaacha police caught 50 smugglers who had
violated the border fence.

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Between a rock and a hard place

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 14:03
Should the MDC walk away from the power-sharing deal - that has turned
out not to be a power-sharing deal at all - or should they hang in there and
keep trying to force Mugabe to honour the spirit and the letter of the deal?
It's a tough call.

One thing is certain - Mugabe would like them to walk way. It would
make things nice and easy for him - he can then blame the collapse of the
deal on Morgan Tsvangirai. Perhaps for that reason alone, they should stick
it out.

Last month Tsvangirai said time was on his side. That is true now more
than ever before. The implosion of the economy as a result of
hyper-inflation is almost complete. Where on earth do we go from here?

It is imperative that Zimbabwe gets a massive injection of foreign
currency via aid and investment if it is to pull back from the brink. That
is not going to happen unless and until there is real power-sharing. Mugabe
has fooled a lot of people a lot of the time but this time around he is not
going to get away with it. The demise of Thabo Mbeki's reign in South Africa
and the growing reluctance of some SADC countries to allow him to continue
with his intransigence are both reasons for hope.

The international community may have rushed to the aid of Zimbabwe's
starving millions almost before the ink on the deal was dry - but they will
certainly not be so hasty with any aid other than basic humanitarian

After 28 years in power, Mugabe is simply not accustomed to sharing.
Rumblings of discontent among former Zapu members who were swallowed into
Zanu after the Unity Accord of 1987 bear witness to that.

The truth of the matter is that Mugabe never wanted the present deal.
He has openly spoken against it since Day 1 - describing it as a
humiliation. But he needed it in order to re-establish his legitimacy
following the sham June presidential election run-off, into which he was
forced by Tsvangirai's last-minute withdrawal.

But now that the MDC has accepted him as president, he no longer needs
them. Ever since the signing ceremony, he has acted contemptuously towards
the MDC and become more intransigent than ever.  His spokesman denounces the
MDC at every turn and he has not implemented one single aspect of the deal -
such as the release of political prisoners, the ending of political
violence, the opening up of the airwaves.

Mugabe's unilateral decision regarding key ministries speaks volumes
regarding his "power-sharing" intentions. But time is not on his side and
the sooner he realises that, the better.  It's now a question of who blinks

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It’s hard to understand why anyone believed for a moment Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal would work
Extract from
FC Abroad
Posted: October 15, 2008, 4:16 PM by Kelly McParland

It’s hard to understand why anyone believed for a moment Zimbabwe’s power-sharing deal would work.

Nothing in President Robert Mugabe’s past could possibly give them grounds for such a belief -- he’s ruled the country for almost 30 years and obviously plans to die with his boots on.

The self-proclaimed “old crocodile” -- according to a profile in the September issue of Vanity Fair his clan totem is Gushungo, “crocodile” in Shona -- has nothing to gain from ceding ground to Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, as his actions Tuesday made abundantly clear.

As The Times of London notes, “Only now, however, has the depth of the wily Mr Mugabe’s cynicism and opportunism become clear. He has refused to cede any power to his opponent, insisting on keeping the main ministries for his minority ZANU-PFP party and retaining control of the apparatus of intimidation - the police, army and security agencies - as well as foreign affairs, mining and land. Mr Tsvangirai has been offered only the Finance Ministry, a poisoned chalice that would give him responsibility, without any real leverage, for coping with an inflation rate of some 231 million per cent

The Times believes time is on Mr Tsvangirai’s side,as Mugabe lost his chief apologist when Thabo Mbeki was forced out in neighbouring South Africa. "Zimbabwe’s neighbours are growing increasingly restless with his intransigence. Unless Mr Mugabe cuts a deal now, he will soon find he is totally isolated. He and his cronies have the most to lose.”
Don’t hold your breath. As far as Mr. Mugabe is concerned, the only way out is in a casket accompanied by a state funeral.

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