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Concern growing over Zimbabwe power-sharing deal


October 17, 2008, 05:00

Concern is growing over Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal, after the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) declared another deadlock in the cabinet
allocation talks.

Political leaders reportedly went from the brink of a deal to a hopeless
impasse. The MDC says 10 key ministries, including home affairs, foreign
affairs and information are now the obstacles.

When leaders went into the meeting venue yesterday morning, many thought a
deal was within grasp. So high were hopes of a deal, that some started
speculating that today could see Tsvangirai inaugurated as Prime Minister.

The talks enter a fourth day today.

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Little prospect of early talks breakthrough

October 16, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Zimbabwe's political rivals again failed to resolve their dispute
over key ministries Thursday after meeting for the third consecutive day
under a facilitator.

The seemingly endless search for a compromise position continues Friday
morning with little evidence on Thursday evening to suggest any meaningful
change to the status quo.

President Robert Mugabe, 84, and his younger rivals in the splintered MDC
last month signed a landmark unity agreement to end nearly eight years of
political hostility and unmitigated economic recession.

The deal retained the presidency for Mugabe while securing the positions of
Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for Morgan Tsvangirai (56) and
Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller faction of MDC. At 42 Mutambara was
born in 1966 while Mugabe was in political detention.

The fierce wrangle over who will control key ministries in the new
government has threatened the deal as parties continue to trade accusations
over the cause of the deadlock.

Former South African President and SADC appointed mediator in the talks is
now under pressure to conjure up a new plan to end one of Africa's most
complex political disputes.

Mugabe told journalists Thursday night his party was still keen on engaging
its opponents to break the deadlock.

"We had quite some good discussion but we are not through yet and we do hope
we will conclude tomorrow (Friday)," he said as he was escorted to his
limousine at the entrance to the Rainbow Towers hotel, venue for the talks.

He confirmed the dispute still centered on ministries.

Asked if he was hopeful the talks would be concluded today, he said "Not
sure, I hope so."

"No, we can never say enough is enough about a problem that affects us. No
it's a poor attitude," Mugabe said when he was asked if his party would
contemplate going it alone if the latest round of talks fail.

"They have their position, we have our own position," He said, "the other
MDC has its own position and we will also be comparing these positions. They
maintain their position just as we do ours. The need is therefore compromise
on both sides."

But MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa was rather candid about the highly
secretive negotiations.

Chamisa revealed there were still sharp differences over 10 key ministries,
contrary to last week's claims by Zanu-PF that the dispute has been narrowed
to a single ministry - Finance.

"We have reached a deadlock on the key outstanding issues, the issue of the
allocation of ministries," Chamisa said.

The MDC spokesman appealed to Mbeki to come up with fresh ideas to unlock
the impasse.

"We have referred the matter to the facilitator hoping that he will find
creative ways of unlocking that deadlock," he said.

Mbeki flew into Harare on Monday evening on a mission to break the deadlock.

Said Chamisa, "What we seek to achieve is equitable distribution of the key
ministries and responsibilities not just for the sake of power but for the
sake of making sure that we give the power sharing deal a chance."

Asked if there were some areas which had been patched so far, he said "there
is some movement but not sufficient to seal and close the whole deal."

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti who had reported tremendous progress the
previous day, yesterday completely refused to talk to the press.

"Nhasi handisi kutaura (Today I am not talking)," he said as he strode out
of the hotel.

Mutambara appeared the most frustrated of the three political leaders.

He accused both Zanu-PF and the other MDC of putting too much emphasis over
ministries at the expense of the suffering masses.

"It doesn't really matter whether a minister is coming from Tsvangirai,
Mutambara or Mugabe," he said.

"In this government we seek to establish, there would be no such thing as
MDC minister, Zanu PF minister. There would only be one minister for the
people of Zimbabwe."

The robotics professor's party secured three ministries out of a complement
of 31 set to form the hybrid government. Zanu-PF will take the majority of
15, while Tsvangirai's MDC takes up 13.

"We are not trying enough as leaders," said Mutambara.

"We must put the people first so that this trivial and frivolous debate over
ministries is killed once and for all. We hope tomorrow we will achieve,
this otherwise Zimbabwe has a leadership crisis across the board."

Specific ministries that have clogged the power sharing deal include those
of Defence, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Information, Justice, and Local

President Mugabe's party is rumoured to be highly opposed to the MDC
controlling any security ministry.

His party fears the MDC leader will seize the opportunity to close in on
alleged human rights abusers still in Mugabe's government.

But the MDC says it harbours no retributive agenda against its so-called

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MDC Takes Finance

Local News
October 17, 2008 |
A senior ZANU PF official has confirmed that the parties have agreed the MDC
would control the finance ministry, which is crucial for reviving Zimbabwe's
ruined economy and attracting foreign investment. "I understand the Ministry
of Finance has been settled in favour of the MDC, but that proposals on how
to handle the Ministry of Home Affairs are still being discussed behind
closed doors. We have no details on that," the source told reporters.
Yesterday U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee offered a bleak assessment
of the dynamics of the uneasy relationship between the partners in the
proposed unity government.

McGee told a foreign policy audience at Freedom House in Washington that
President Robert Mugabe and hardliners in his longtime ruling ZANU-PF party
are stalling on the implementation of the power-sharing agreement signed on
Sept. 15 and would continue to do so.

McGee described that agreement as "highly imperfect," as Mr. Mugabe and
prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai, founder of the Movement for
Democratic Change which emerged from opposition to majority in parliament in
March elections, "will have what appear to be equivalent powers," so it is
unclear how government policies will be set.

"We can expect continued absence of good will from President Mugabe and his
allies as they attempt to cling to power and continue to enrich themselves,"
McGee said.

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State agents harass journalists at talks

October 16, 2008

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has condemned this week's
harassment by state intelligence operatives, of two top journalists who
covering the latest round of power-sharing talks among Zimbabwe's political

The two freelance scribes, Peta Thornycroft and Brian Hungwe were evicted
from a Harare hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday lobby as they awaited the
outcome of the ongoing talks.

Former South African President and SADC appointed mediator to the Zimbabwean
crisis Thabo Mbeki is in Zimbabwe to salvage retrogressive power sharing
talks among her political leaders.

People who claimed to be officials from the now legally defunct Media and
Information Commission (MIC) accosted the two journalists on separate
occasions and ordered them out of the Rainbow Towers hotel lobby.

The two were among dozens of journalists who filled the lobby to cover the
unity talks between Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties.

The journalists were accused of practicing journalism without accreditation.

It is no longer compulsory under Zimbabwe's stringent media laws to be
accredited with any media regulating authority.

ZUJ President Matthew Takaona told The Zimbabwe Times Thursday that any
official who purported to be representing the MIC was doing so against the
law as the controversial institution has since ceased to be operational
following amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) that created a media commission.

"The most important thing in this case is that the MIC is no longer legal,"
said Takaona.

"This renders any accreditation of a journalist under this body null and
void. In other words, it is impossible for any journalist to be accredited
in the absence of a media commission which was created through recent
amendments to AIPPA."

The ZUJ president called on the authorities to stop any harassment of
journalists saying this also violates the spirit of ongoing power sharing
talks between Zanu-PF and the two formations of the MDC.

The talks seek to create a media environment and a free working environment
for all journalists.

Section 19.1 of the new power sharing agreement emphasizes the need to free
media space in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Thornycroft, who writes for the Telegraph, has vowed to defy the
said MIC officials who banned her from covering the talks.

"I will continue coming here (Rainbow Towers) because this is not state
property," she said.

According to recent amendments to AIPPA, journalists who were not accredited
by the MIC can practice but they cannot enter state property for purposes of
conducting their profession, journalism.

"I just wish they would stop this rubbish," fumed Thornycroft, "They need to
get themselves acquainted with the law and only then they will know it is
not compulsory to be accredited."

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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Stalling On Power-Sharing - US Ambassador


By Studio 7 Staff
16 October 2008

With Zimbabwe's power-sharing process still deadlocked Thursday despite
three days of follow-through mediation by former South African president
Thabo Mbeki, U.S. Ambassador James McGee offered a bleak assessment of the
dynamics of the uneasy relationship between the partners in the proposed
unity government.
McGee told a foreign policy audience at Freedom House in Washington that
President Robert Mugabe and hardliners in his longtime ruling ZANU-PF party
are stalling on the implementation of the power-sharing agreement signed on
Sept. 15 and would continue to do so.

McGee described that agreement as "highly imperfect," as Mr. Mugabe and
prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai, founder of the Movement for
Democratic Change which emerged from opposition to majority in parliament in
March elections, "will have what appear to be equivalent powers," so it is
unclear how government policies will be set.

"We can expect continued absence of good will from President Mugabe and his
allies as they attempt to cling to power and continue to enrich themselves,"
McGee said.

But, "Despite this gloomy picture, there are reasons to believe, as
Tsvangirai himself has stated, that Zimbabwe is on a path of inevitable

Among these: the March elections that gave the MDC a majority in
parliament's lower house, Tsvangirai's plurality in the March presidential
election (Mr. Mugabe running unopposed won a June run-off); and what McGee
said is mounting frustration among African leaders with "the obstructionist
behavior of Mugabe and ZANU-PF," and fractures within ZANU-PF.

McGee said the U.S. government will maintain its targeted sanctions against
Mr. Mugabe and "individuals and organizations that undermine democratic
processes and institutions."

He pledged that the American government will continue to provide food and
other humanitarian assistance including support of the health care system,
now running at $186 million a year.

But McGee said development assistance of the kind needed to rebuild the
economy will not be provided without "concrete evidence of lasting political
and economic reform."

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Zanu PF swallowing poison pill

Alex Magaisa

Last updated: 10/18/2008 00:40:41
FOR a man of his age, intellect and experience, it boggles the mind why
President Mugabe does not appear to have learned from the precedents before
him. For a party of its collective experience, it is difficult to fathom why
Zanu PF has failed to learn from the mistakes of its counterparts across

Because, if there is one discernible feature in the trajectory of African
politics since independence, it is that liberation parties that fail to
adapt are doomed and will often contract terminal illness at the departure
of a long-serving leader.

One day, Mugabe shall depart, yes, even if that has to await God's will as
he suggested a few months ago. At this rate, Zanu PF is unlikely to survive
his departure and the Power-Sharing Deal is no more than a palliative for an
ailing patient - it may reduce the pain but it does not remove the cause of
the pain. The sad spectacle is that it is dragging Zimbabwe down with it.

Age of the Liberation Party and the One-Party State

Liberation parties are those organisations that orchestrated the struggle
for independence in African countries. It is interesting to observe the way
these parties have handled the challenges of governance in their respective
countries; how and why some have survived and others have failed.

There is a clear line, which is that, in a process akin to natural
selection, the more adaptable have survived whilst the less adaptable have
suffered inevitable demise.

It is in this context that it is arguable that the Power-Sharing Deal in
Zimbabwe is an attempt by Zanu PF to cope with the spectre of extinction but
that this, too, is only likely to be temporary relief.

The trajectory of African politics indicates that at independence and for
thirty or so years thereafter, most countries followed the authoritarian
one-party state system.

Statistics show that by the end of the 1980s, nearly 50 African states were
one-party states or ruled by a military junta.

In 32 states, opposition parties were illegal and elections were mere
formalities to confirm the incumbent.

Daniel Arap Moi, then President of Kenya is quoted as having said in 1984,
'I would like my ministers, assistant ministers and others to sing like a
parrot after me. That is how we can progress." (Meredith 2006).

This typified the mentality of the leaders at the time, influenced mainly by
the Soviet-style communist paradigm. The result was that liberation parties
claimed all political territory and suppressed, often violently, any
opposition or dissent.

End of the Cold War and the advent of Multi-Party Politics

The end of the Cold War, signified most visibly by the collapse of the
Berlin Wall in 1989 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union brought
fundamental changes to African politics. The Soviet Union was no longer able
to sustain its large network of client states. Suddenly, the ruling
liberation parties had to conform to a new environment of multi-party
politics, driven mainly by rising internal opposition due to repression and
poverty caused by the authoritarian politics.

It was also fuelled by renewed Western influence in African politics. The US
in particular made the spread of democracy a key part of its foreign policy.
The structural adjustment programmes of the IMF/World Bank tied democracy to
potential assistance. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that there was a
flurry of elections in most African states in the early 1990s, as they
embraced multi-party politics largely for convenience rather than in good

Accepting the challenge of the opposition was a new phenomenon which the
liberation parties, long used to dominating all political space, had to cope

As a superficial measure of democracy, the election suddenly enabled the
transformation of authoritarian strong-men into 'democrats'. The ritual of
the election was, rather unfortunately and inaccurately, equated with
democracy. The wider values and institutions, developed through struggle
over long periods of time and, therefore, firmly in place in the Western
political universe where democracy appeared to flourish, were non-existent
or at best, limited, in the African context.

For example, where the judiciary, responsible for resolving conflicts, is
emasculated by one of the contestants, the election process is ineffective
since the incentive to be fair is limited.

Adaptability of the Liberation Party

It is interesting to observe how, using examples from the South and East
African regions, the liberation parties responded to the challenge of
multi-party politics. I have divided the countries by response into two
sets, the Adaptable and the Non-Adaptable sets, depending on how the
liberation parties have coped with change.

The Adaptable Set

This includes countries where the liberation parties seem to have, so far at
least, successfully faced up to the challenge of multi-party politics. The
one common feature among them is that they are all still in power, since

Furthermore, they have adapted by using a largely similar approach, namely,
that of allowing a modicum of internal party democracy and leadership
succession. By allowing choice from within, they have managed to provide
alternatives and also to portray a façade of democracy to the wider world.
Let us observe how they have each re-adjusted to the challenge of
multi-party politics:

. Tanzania: When Mwalimu Julius Nyerere saw that the end was nigh he
departed gracefully in 1985 and was succeeded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi. Mwinyi
who handed over to Benjamin Mkapa. Mkapa passed the baton to the current
President Jakaya Kikwete. All these leaders belong to the liberation party,
Chama Cha Mapinduzi ("CCM") - a clear example of adaptability, even though
it was at the forefront of the one-party system in the 1970s.

. Botswana: It is rightly held as Africa's longest multi-party democracy,
having adopted the system at independence in 1966. But in those 42 years,
the ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party ("BDP") has never lost power
to the opposition. Sir Seretse Khama, the first President was succeeded by
Sir Ketumile Masire who later stepped down for Festus Mogae. Mogae recently
handed over power to Seretse Khama Ian Khama, the son of the country's first
leader. Notice how power has been carefully and smoothly passed from one
leader to another within the same political family.

. Mozambique: The country that got off to a tumultuous start with Samora
Machel at the helm has clamed down lately. When Machel died tragically in
1986, he was succeeded by Joachim Chissano who successfully steered the
country out of the civil war, served his terms and gracefully left power to
the current President Armando Guebuza. As in Tanzania and Botswana, the
liberation party, FRELIMO, has retained power since independence and enabled
internal leadership succession and change, thereby providing a respectable
façade of democracy.

Space constraints do not permit a full outline of the other two countries in
this set but suffice to say that SWAPO of Namibia, despite Nujoma's desire
to stay on, has also managed to enable succession and South Africa, the
youngest of the set, has so far managed, albeit the current problems, to
provide for internal succession through the ANC.

The Non-Adaptable Set

This is the set of countries where the liberation parties failed to cope
with change and have suffered a terrible patch after the leader's departure.
These are:

. Zambia: Kaunda led Zambia for 27 years since independence in 1964. He lost
heavily to Chiluba in the watershed election in 1991. He became one of the
first high profile victims of the new age of politics and his party, UNIP,
was left in the doldrums after his demise. It has not recovered since.

. Kenya: Moi took over the leadership after the death of Jomo Kenyatta in
1978. By 1982 Kenya was a one-party state and Moi retained power, with an
iron grip, until 2002 when he 'retired' before the election which his party,
KANU, lost to the opposition. It, too, has never recovered.

. Malawi: Banda ruled this small country with an iron-fist from independence
in 1964 until he lost power to Bakili Muluzi in 1994, after reluctantly
accepting multi-party politics. Declared President for Life in 1971 even in
the twilight of his life, when he was frail and losing sight, he tried to
hang on. The Malawi Congress Party is still in the game but 14 years after
losing power, it is a far cry from the party that swept all the seats on
offer at independence.

So where, then, does Zimbabwe's Zanu PF fit?

It is the liberation party in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has dominated Zanu PF
politics since independence. The subject of succession in Zanu PF is almost
taboo. It has failed to learn from the mixed fortunes of the other
liberation parties.

Kenya's Moi was crafty enough to throw in the towel and avoid outright
humiliation in 2002. Kaunda and Banda, on the other hand, failed to read the
omens and lost dismally. Banda must have died a broken man. At least Kaunda
has clawed back some respectability with some good work in his
post-presidency years.

It does seem that Mugabe's way of coping with the challenges has been to
avoid the humiliation of departure in the wake of defeat and then to concede
to a Power-Sharing Deal with his adversary, Morgan Tsvangirai.

In this context, the Power-Sharing Model is just another way of dealing with
failure. It is a way of taming the beast of democracy. The Adaptable Set has
not required this model because they have adapted well enough to retain
power. A true test will come when the opposition in those countries gains
sufficient ground to threaten their comfort zone.

The power-sharing deal may have saved Mugabe from humiliation of Kaunda and
Banda, but the likelihood is that for Zanu PF the relief is only short-term;
a mere painkiller rather than a cure against a terminal disease. It is odd
that the many men and women in Zanu PF watch idly whilst their party
partakes the poison-pill.

Alex Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, The University of Kent. He can be
contacted at

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US wants evidence of reform in Zimbabwe


October 17, 2008, 06:15

The US will not provide development aid to Zimbabwe or lift sanctions until
there is firm evidence of long-term political and economic reform, the US
ambassador to Zimbabwe said yesterday. "Until then, it will not happen,"
James McGee told a briefing on Zimbabwe organised by the group Freedom

He said there needed to be a return to rule of law, respect for human
rights, commitment to a free-market based economy and an end to corruption
before the US would shift its policy on Zimbabwe. "Once we see concrete
evidence that these issue are being lived up to then we will be ready to
re-engage Zimbabwe with development assistance," he said, adding that donor
nations planned to meet in Canada soon to discuss Zimbabwe's developmental

US to continue to provide humanitarian aid
Targeted US sanctions against embattled President Robert Mugabe and other
Zimbabweans, whose policies and practices undermined democracy, would
remain, McGee said. But Washington would continue to provide humanitarian
and food aid, which will reach about $186 million this year. He urged the
Southern African Development Community and the African Union (AU) to try
harder to end the political deadlock in Zimbabwe where Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, are locked in wrangling over who will control key ministries.

Mugabe's party lost its majority in a March 29 election for the first time
since independence from Britain in 1980. A power-sharing deal agreed a month
ago is now in danger of collapse over which party will control important
cabinet posts, including the finance and home ministries.

McGee said Mugabe's party feared if it lost the finance ministry this would
"cut off the Zanu-PF patronage spigot which has enriched" his party and that
opposition control of the home ministry would lead to investigations and
potential prosecutions for corruption.

Power-sharing deal imperfect
The US diplomat said the September 15 power-sharing agreement, brokered by
former South African President Thabo Mbeki, was "highly imperfect" but
Tsvangirai believed he had to accept it to prevent his supporters from
starving to death. "There were holes in that agreement that were large
enough to drive a truck through," McGee said. "What we see now is because
the agreement was not tighter." He said he expects Mugabe to continue to
stall over control of the ministries.

With unemployment running at more than 90%, the world's highest inflation
rate and severe food, fuel and foreign currency shortages, Zimbabwe is in a
dire economic and political situation. "Zimbabwe, the former jewel of
Africa, is on the precipice," said McGee. One in four children were
malnourished and more than 2 million people needed food aid, with that
number expected to more than double by the end of the year. - Reuters

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Zimbabwe to receive $20m in food aid

October 16, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The European Union has said it will give emergency food aid worth
US$20 million to Zimbabwe which is facing its worst humanitarian crises
since independence in 1980.

In a statement to mark the World Food Day, the European Commission said it
had adopted a new emergency funding decision for food assistance in Africa
aimed at saving lives and relieving suffering in one the worst vulnerable

The amount to be allocated to Zimbabwe makes the country one of the five
largest recipients of food assistance from the commission. The other
recipients are Sudan ($115, 7 million), the Palestinian Territories ($54
million), Ethiopia ($43, 7 million) and Somalia ($36 million).
"World Food Day is a chance to remember that the current food crisis has
even more dramatic consequences, putting the very lives of millions at
 risk," Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian
Aid said.

Zimbabwe's prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai said last week a
cabinet must be formed within days to avert a humanitarian crisis.

Tsvangirai said a new government needed to make an international appeal for
food aid for an estimated 5, 5 million people.

There was a near standstill in the farming, industry and mining sectors of
the country's crumbling economy, he said.

"It is imperative that a government is formed in the next few days and
begins to implement plans to ensure our people have food and do not die of
starvation," Tsvangirai said.

Food and manufacturing industries were working at about 10 percent of their
capacity and mining was down to 5 percent of capacity. Fertiliser shortages
were hampering efforts to produce the 726 000 tonnes of grain required to
carry the country through to April and avert mass starvation, he said.

Tsvangirai said aid agencies were already helping to feed four million
people, a third of the population.

"In some parts of the world, a major catastrophe is brewing because growing
numbers of people don't have enough food to survive," said Tsvangirai.

The EU said: "The Commission has responded to these urgent needs by
dramatically increasing its food assistance to the most vulnerable."

Zimbabwe is in its eighth year of gripping food shortages, with
international food monitoring agencies saying over three million people face
starvation because of food shortages in the country.

Zimbabwe started to experience food shortages in 2000 following the chaotic
land reform programme that saw blacks, most of them war veterans or Zanu-PF
militants seize prime farming land from white commercial farmers, resulting
in agricultural production plummeting to unprecedented levels.

Since then, the nation has survived on food imports and food handouts from
food aid agencies. President Robert Mugabe blames the agencies for using
food as bait to starving Zimbabweans to rebel against him.

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Pessimism in markets, ZSE over deadlock

October 16, 2008

By Junior Sibanda

JOHANNESBURG - The ongoing discord over key cabinet posts among Zimbabwe's
political leaders and the resultant delay in the naming of a cabinet is
being felt in the Zimbabwes financial markets.

Investors are losing patience in the implementation of the September 15
power-sharing deal.

Financial market and Zimbabwe Stock Exchange analysts said inflation
continued to erode the financial assets as President Robert Mugabe argues
over the allocation of the Home Affairs Ministry with his MDC counterpart
Morgan Tsvangirayi.

The delay in the announcement of cabinet and the resultant delay in the
formulation of key economic principles to regulate the financial services
sector have seen the ZSE record losses since the beginning of the month.

"As a result of this deadlock, investors are losing their patience on the
implementation of the power-sharing agreement and are looking for avenues to
hedge their financial assets against rampaging inflation," said a
Harare-based financial market analyst.

He said companies were also wary of the deadlock, which has threatened the
implementation of the power sharing deal brokered in September by former
South African president Thabo Mbeki.

"Companies have learnt that waiting for the difficult political situation to
be resolved has proved to be a costly exercise. As a result, companies no
longer want to commit the same mistake as has been the case since the
beginning of the year."

The money market is also engulfed in pessimism as well as the political
stalemate drags on.

Leading market watcher, Kingdom Stockbrokers warned that unless a solution
was found to the ongoing deadlock, such sentiment was likely to worsen, much
to the detriment of the economy.

"The prolonged resolution of the political impasse as visibly indicated by
the delay in the announcement of the new cabinet under the agreed to all
inclusive government has taken away hopes for a change of fortunes for money
market investors before the end of this year."

"Unless progress is made on the political front, the easier liquidity
conditions induced by continued government expenditure aimed at ensuring
that the slow moving economic wheels of the nation do not come to a halt,
punctuated by artificial low interest rates in order to suppress accrued
interest on government domestic debt, are expected to persist during the
last quarter of the year," warned Kingdom.

"Investors in the last quarter of the year will therefore continue to shy
away from the money market as they seek other investment markets whose
returns compete with the obtaining hyper-inflationary environment, making
the year 2008 another forgettable year for investors in interest bearing
securities," it added.

Crisis-ridden Zimbabwe heaved a huge sigh of relief as it welcomed the
political settlement between the country's main political parties,
particularly as the power-sharing deal prioritized the restoration of
economic stability and growth through development and implementation of a
comprehensive economic programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy.

The deal has been dealt a major blow as the political leaders remain
deadlocked over the allocation of some key cabinet posts. It was reported on
Thursday that Zanu-PF had ceded control of the finance ministry to MDC but
had stuck to its guns with regards to the home affairs portfolio.

As the stalemate persists the economic crisis has worsened, highlighted by
year-on-year inflation leaping to an all time high of more than 231 million
percent while a dire shortage of food, water and other basic commodities
have compounded the situation.

'On the other hand the country's worthless currency continued to weaken
against major trading currencies on the inter-bank market.

Analysts warned that the country would fail to rein in inflation if a
solution to the current deadlock was not found.

"If the economy is stabilized then this could also halt the run-away
inflation which has led to a complete slump across all the sectors of the
economy. But for that to happen, first, a solution to the political crisis
has to be found. The performance of the economy hinges on politics," the
Harare-based analyst said.

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic and sociopolitical crisis that
started in 2000 when Robert Mugabe sanctioned the violent takeover of
productive white-owned commercial farms by war veterans and his party
supporters, a move that eventually led to the collapse of the agricultural
sector - the mainstay of the former breadbasket of Africa.

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Police stop MDC from giving food to orphans

by Prince Nyathi  Friday 17 October 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe police and war veterans have prevented the opposition MDC
party from distributing food to hungry orphans in Nyanga rural district in
the eastern Manicaland province, the party said.

MDC social welfare officer for Manicaland Llyod Mahute told ZimOnline that
police and ex-combatants told the opposition party officials that they could
not give food to people because they did not have permission to do so from
President Robert Mugabe's government.

According to Mahute, armed police backed by war veterans, some of whom were
wearing ruling ZANU PF party regalia last week stormed Ruwangwe rural
business centre in Nyanga and ordered villagers who had gathered to receive
food packs to disperse empty handed.

"They came in a truck and were very vicious," Mahute said. "They said we had
not been given permission to distribute to the starving villagers. The
villagers tried to resist but the officers were adamant and they had to
disperse on empty stomachs."

The MDC had sourced the food from charitable organisations for distribution
to about 500 vulnerable households in Nyanga, mostly child-headed families.

Mahute said the more than 10 tonnes of food that includes maize meal,
cooking oil, salt, sugar beans and dried fish was now locked up in
warehouses because it cannot be given to the hungry.

"To be honest, people here are surviving on wild fruits . . . ZANU PF is
playing with lives of people," the MDC said.

Efforts to seek clarification from ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira
whether the party had sanctioned war veterans, who are its members, to block
the MDC from distributing food aid were fruitless as he could not be reached
on his phone.

Police spokesman Andrew Phiri professed ignorance about the incident. "I
have not heard about that particular incident but we will try to find out
what really took place," he said.

The government has in the past barred the MDC from distributing food aid
accusing the opposition party of seeking to use food as a political tool to
bribe hungry Zimbabweans to support its efforts to topple Mugabe.

Ironically, the government is itself accused by human rights groups of
denying food aid to opposition supporters.

However, there were high hopes that last month's power-sharing deal between
ZANU PF and the two MDC formations would help remove tension and suspicions
between the parties and pave way for the bitter rivals to work together to
end hunger and economic turmoil in Zimbabwe.

Once a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe is in the grip of severe food
shortages that Mugabe blames on poor weather and Western sanctions he says
have hampered importation of fertilizers, seed, and other farming inputs.

However critics blame Zimbabwe's troubles on repression and wrong polices by
the veteran leader such as land reforms that displaced established white
commercial farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately
funded black farmers resulting in the country facing acute food shortages.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) recently urged donors to make available
US$140 million in emergency food aid for Zimbabwe or nearly half of the
country's 12 million people would face hunger by January when the food
crisis is expected to peak.  - ZimOnline.

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Sour grapes and deadlocked deals

JASON MOYO - Oct 17 2008 06:00

Even if the Zimbabwean power-sharing deal had not reached a deadlock over
the allocation of Cabinet posts, there were already many signs that the new
government was unlikely to hold for long.

Constitutional amendments needed to make the deal work were delayed in
Parliament, which held its first session in nine months this week after
bickering about procedures leading to the election of a legal committee of
ministers to oversee the process. It will take at least a month to push
through the necessary amendments, but the process already appears to be
bogged down.

President Robert Mugabe was close to yielding the finance portfolio in
Wednesday's talks, one of his senior officials told the Mail & Guardian. But
a row over the allocation of the 10 provincial governor posts delayed a
breakthrough. The Zanu-PF official said it was difficult to see how the new
government would hold even if a deal on the distribution of Cabinet posts
was reached.

On Wednesday reporters got a taste of the bickering as one press conference
after another to announce a settlement was called, only to be cancelled
repeatedly. Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
later emerged to announce that the talks would head into a third day. His
secretary general, Tendai Biti, said a whole "basket" of disagreements

At the House of Assembly it was evident that the two parties have grown
further apart despite the signing of the agreement. The two sides traded
insults in the first session of debate, with a lengthy altercation ensuing
after an opposition minister refused to withdraw his statement that Mugabe's
opening speech to Parliament in August was "just as tired as he is".

There were further complications for the negotiators after Sam Nkomo,
Tsvangirai's home affairs minister-designate should Mugabe yield on the
portfolio, said he would go after those responsible for the violence leading
up to the June runoff."For there to be any meaningful national healing there
is a need for all the crimes of political violence to be investigated and
all the perpetrators brought to book," Nkomo said.

The fate of security figures and militiamen accused of violence was a
potential deal-breaker in the earlier rounds of talks, but Zanu-PF managed
to secure a compromise in which both sides admitted to "collective
liability" for the violence in which more than 100 people were killed.
Meanwhile, the argument Zanu-PF has advanced for retaining the finance
ministry is likely to attract derision.

Joram Gumbo, Zanu-PF parliamentary chief whip, appeared to suggest on
Wednesday that Mugabe believes that although the economy has hit rock bottom
his government's strategies have so far served to navigate the crisis well.

Gumbo said: "Mugabe thinks he should retain the portfolio of ministry of
finance because he thinks that in the past few years we have survived under
sanctions. We have had some means for surviving under those difficult times,
so he believes that if the implementation of this agreement does not mean
that by the following day there will be an end or lifting of sanctions -- we
should then continue with the present administration. That's the basic

But former finance minister Simba Makoni, who stood for president as an
independent in March, said it was "unjustifiable" for Mugabe to demand
stewardship of economic portfolios given his record. "We all know why we are
in this mess and who brought us here," Makoni said. "It would be illogical
and unjustifiable for people to demand posts in which they know they failed
to deliver in the past 28 years."

Thabo Mbeki arrived in Harare this week to doubts about his ability to save
the deal after he was ousted as South African president. But his
spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga, insisted Mbeki was confident of breaking
the impasse and ensuring the deal held.

A diplomat said Mbeki would be desperate to bolster his legacy. "This might
be a good thing, or a bad thing. He might succeed because he will work hard
at it, or he might be too eager and rush things."

The euphoria that accompanied the signing of the deal last month has
disappeared and few ordinary Zimbabweans still have faith that an agreement
will hold, even if one is eventually reached.

The four weeks since the September signing have seen a sharper descent
towards economic ruin, with inflation reaching 231-million percent and more
people pushed deeper into poverty as the government has begun dollarising
the economy. Further evidence of the depth of the crisis emerged last week
when the government failed to run national public examinations.

"Between a two-month teachers' strike, limited learning materials, political
violence and displacements, Zimbabwe's children have lost a whole year of
schooling," said Unicef representative Roeland Monasch. "The depletion of
teachers in schools, transport and food problems faced by the remaining
teachers, as well as a lack of resources have left the sector teetering on
the brink of collapse."

Threats to resume sanctions
President Robert Mugabe's Western critics, thrown off track by last month's
power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe, are once again finding their voices as
bickering over Cabinet posts throws up deep flaws in the agreement.

This week Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, said Europe "shall
resume sanctions and reinforce them" if Mugabe insists on keeping the bulk
of key ministries.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the European Union would "play
no part in supporting a power grab by the Mugabe regime", while the United
States government warned that Mugabe had "overstepped the bounds of the
agreement" by unilaterally handing out a number of ministries.

Renewed criticism from the West and threats of new sanctions might be just
what Zanu-PF hardliners need to push Mugabe into an even more stubborn
position on power-sharing.

In talks about the allocation of Cabinet posts Mugabe is understood to have
accused the MDC of failing to secure guarantees from "their Western allies"
that sanctions would be lifted once an inclusive government was formed.

With mediator Thabo Mbeki's leverage considerably reduced after his ousting,
Mugabe faces little real external pressure to honour the deal. This week a
diplomat from the Southern African Development Community told the Mail &
Guardian that there was "some degree of fatigue" in Africa about the
Zimbabwe crisis, especially after the latest deadlock over Cabinet posts.

But Mugabe's critics say he does not mind driving Zimbabwe further into
international isolation if this means his power remains undiluted.

"If the deal fails we will remain a pariah," said Simba Makoni, Mugabe's
former finance minister and a presidential candidate in the March election.

Western sanctions include visa bans and asset freezes on Mugabe and senior
allies. Under the embargo the Zimbabwean government, public utilities and
companies in which the state has interests are also unable to access credit
from international institutions such as the International Monetary Front and
the World Bank.

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Tsvangirai to address weekend rallies

17 October 2008

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai will this weekend address two major
report-back rallies in Bulawayo and Masvingo.

The President, who addressed a huge rally in Harare last Sunday, will
address a rally on Saturday at White Cuty stadium in Bulawayo. The following
day, he will address another rally at Mamutse stadium in Masvingo.

The President's report-back rallies are meant to up-date the nation on the
on-going dialogue between the three principals of the country's major
political parties.

President Tsvangirai told the 40 000 strong crowd in Harare last week that
the MDC will not be stampeded into getting into the inclusive government as
a junior partner without key ministries that will enable the party to change
the lives of crisis-weary Zimbabweans.

Last Friday, President Mugabe unilaterally allocated himself all key
ministries, further undermining the effort of SADC and the African Union who
have proposed an inclusive government as a way of moving the country

Department of Information and Publicity

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Simba Makoni a man on a mission

October 16, 2008

By Tajirika Kamiti

I HAVE my suspicions about why Dr Simba Makoni has suddenly become vocal
again. I have at least two schools of thought on what this might indicate.

There was the press conference on Monday at which Makoni spoke boldly
against Mugabe. Now there is another high profile platform organised by
Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa, where he auspiciously gives a
speech, apparently aimed at re-polishing his political credentials and
reminding people he may yet be relevant to the politics of the country.

All this is happening at a time when there is a political logjam over
cabinet posts, in which one cabinet post, the Ministry of Finance, is
curiously being bandied around as contentious.

Mugabe would want to control this post, either directly or indirectly.

Makoni did a fantastic job of splitting the opposition vote, by smoothing
out (albeit only slightly) the spike of a popular opposition vote by luring
that constituency in every election which, while  it is decidedly
anti-establishment, is not so sure it wants to throw its all with opposition
main-bodies. That 8 percent was crucial to deny Tsvangirai an outright 52
percent of the vote.

I can imagine Makoni being privately congratulated for an assignment well
carried out.

Could it be that the recent speeches in which he appears to rubbish Mugabe`s
28 years of misrule are part of a well choreographed grand plan, in which he
re-asserts himself as an independent politician in his own right, even as
the second part of the plan is being worked out on a different platform?

On this platform options such as choosing a man of integrity who is
acceptable to both Zanu-PF and MDC (and by extension the world community),
with extensive high level financial experience may be the best compromise to
fill the post of Minister of Finance? Who would doubt Makoni fitting that
bill, especially when his strongly worded sentiments of Mugabe`s dismal
failure are still echoing in our minds?

My other suspicion is on Makoni's timing of the launching of his political
party. Admittedly, he has vacuously hinted at launching a full-fledged
political party in the aftermath of the presidential election, but the
new-found zeal and impetus with which he is now moving may have to them more
than meets the eye.

Recently, Zanu- PF has been on record as expressing displeasure at the
provision in the agreement that provides for at least 12 months during which
any constituency falling vacant will not be contested, but is to be  filled
by the party which would have lost its representative, in anyway it deems
fit. The article provides for a period of healing during which it is hoped
the deal will take root, without the confrontation and division that
conducting a by-elections is likely to bring.

Zanu-PF vultures that lost in the last election are impatient; 12 months is
too long. They are whining. Besides the party realises it has no time to
loose, it needs to recover as much lost ground as possible in the shortest
possible time. One wag even went on to suggest the vultures are looking
hungrily at all MDC MPs, especially those whose health looks frail in this
age and era of HIV and other health afflictions.

The argument that will be used in the coming days as the issue is dragged
through the courts, (and possibly up  to the Supreme Court) is both Zanu-PF
and MDC cannot monopolise political space, other political players should
feel free to contest any constituency that falls vacant. The
constitutionality of that clause will then be brought to question, and the
judge, (with his generator-powered-42" Plasma-TV; after parking his brand
new all terrain vehicle, in the driveway on arrival from his newly
expropriated farm) will find it in his heart to find against the
constitutionality of the article.

The fact that this was part of a transient political settlement by the three
main gladiators occupying more than 99 percent of  available political space
at the moment will be conveniently set aside.

As the vile Professor Jonathan Moyo would say, it will not need a rocket
scientist to spell out that Makoni and his new party is their latest brief.

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The official economy collapsed long ago

October 16, 2008
Jupiter Punungwe

I ONCE believed that the economy was yet to collapse but I have since
revised my opinion to that the economy actually collapsed a long time ago.

Only that we have not seen the symptoms we were expecting from a collapse.
We were expecting massive civil unrest and an accompanying collapse of
governance. When you are expecting a pressure vessel to
explode you usually wait for a loud bang. However the pressure can also be
dissipated by a gradual fizzle and that is what has happened in Zimbabwe's

The economy collapsed but instead of heading for the streets, most
Zimbabweans have been heading southwards especially across the Limpopo.
Right now the Zimbabwe currency is largely irrelevant to many
families. They now have breadwinners based in South Africa or Botswana who
regularly send home basics such a maize meal, cooking oil and money. Over
the past year I have watched a booming industry
colloquially christened "patisa" by Zimbabweans blossom around the Park
Station area of Johannesburg.

The driving force behind this industry is "bomalaitsha". "Patisa" means
"send through someone". Thousands of Zimbabweans now send goods and money to
Zimbabwe through "bomalaitsha" (roughly meaning the
shippers). "Bomalaitsha" are in the business of hand delivering goods to
recipients in Zimbabwe. Some even deliver to the rural areas. Of course,
they charge exorbitant fees. For example, the commission for taking money to
Zimbabwe ranges between 15 and 25 percent of the value of the money

Those who are still in employment inside Zimbabwe are largely using their
workplaces as places where they engage in all kinds of mostly unethical
deals. Many civil servants survive through corruption. For example members
of the public are now required to pay a fee for some simple things such as
obtaining passport application forms. Thus while a civil servant might
officially take home US$1.50 a month he or she will probably make over
US$500 a month through deals.

With over 5 million Zimbabweans now living outside Zimbabwe, and many of
them supporting families at home it is safe to presume that over half of
Zimbabweans are no longer dependent on economic activity
within Zimbabwe for livelihood. A large proportion of those still in
Zimbabwe are also surviving from the downstream economic activity resulting
from money repatriated by those living in foreign countries.

Those who are predicting, 'the economy can not go on like this much longer'
have better be careful which economy they are talking about. The economy
controlled by the Zimbabwean government is getting largely
irrelevant to the livelihood of Zimbabweans. The economy controlled by the
government collapsed a long time ago, which is why the government has to
survive by printing worthless paper and calling it money.

Many Zimbabweans now survive outside the realm of the formal economy. In
short the economic statistics regularly handed out by the Zimbabwe
government are based on a hopelessly inaccurate economic model. The formal
economy is no longer an accurate model of economic activity inside Zimbabwe.
The data gathered through formal channels cannot be a basis upon which to
make economic decisions.

Those who are waiting for the Gono-rrhoea infection that afflicted the
Zimbabwe economy to cause a sudden death may never get to witness the drama
they are hoping for. In my view waiting for the economy to collapse to a
point where Zanu-PF can't rule any more is like waiting for a man to die and
hope to resurrect him afterwards.

Those who believe collapse of Zanu-PF governance will immediately be
followed by tranquil and stable MDC governance are foolishly hoping to build
massive castles on a cumulus wisp. As I have alluded to before when a young
man takes a panga and rampages on the streets, he won't stop overnight
simply because Bright Matonga has been replaced by Nelson Chamisa.

I have pointed out countries where opposition forces have been unable to
recover from the collapse of governance left behind by imploding
dictatorships. Somalia is a pertinent example. Nearer home, the DRC got
worse after Mobutu's demise and is still struggling to get out of the

Let us hope that the Zimbabwe economy has sufficiently adjusted to the
vagaries of mismanagement to avoid the further suffering of the people.

What is needed now is to make a strong U-turn away from the command economy
that Zanu-PF was trying to implement and move towards true free-market
economy with minimal regulative intervention on economic activity.

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Time To Do The Right Thing

By Ephraim Nsingo

HARARE, Oct 17 (IPS) - At least 5,000 people are expected to gather in
Chitungwiza today to demand improved access to water, sanitation and health
services as part of the Stand Up, Take Action Against Poverty campaign.

The event in this sprawling satellite town about 30 kilometres south of
Harare is under the auspices of the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (NANGO), which brings together all humanitarian and civil
society organisations registered in Zimbabwe.

Because of the political polarisation in Zimbabwe, this year the Campaign
has chosen to reach out to the population through a seemingly neutral
agenda -- environmental sustainability. Hundreds of schools and corporate
organisations have already been recruited to take part in tree planting

This campaign, coordinated worldwide by the Global Coalition Against
Poverty, has long been active in Zimbabwe. The results on the ground have
however not been so encouraging. Poverty continues to ravage the southern
African nation, once referred to as the breadbasket of Africa. Close to half
of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Set to feature prominently in this year's activities is the water situation,
which has deteriorated unabated in Harare and other major centres. The
ever-worsening humanitarian conditions, the country's world-record inflation
of 231 million percent, and the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children
will also be under the spotlight.

"Zimbabwe is no exception to the scandalous condition of poverty in an
opulent world. At the event, we will stand in unity with the rest of the
world sending a message to our leaders that we can no longer tolerate the
injustice of poverty," said Fambai Ngirande, who is coordinating the Stand
Up and Take Action Against Poverty Campaign. He is also the advocacy and
public policy manager for NANGO.

"Our main focus would be on the water situation in urban areas, where years
of neglect by the authorities have resulted in millions of people failing to
get safe drinking water. We are calling on the government to do the right
thing by providing safe drinking water to residents, and improving the
provision of all social services."

This year's event will feature free open-air performances by three
celebrated Zimbabwean musicians -- Victor Kunonga, Stanley "Pastor G"
Gwanzura and Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave. The musicians are well known
not only for their clean cut mass public appeal, but for lyrics that
reflects an interest in social issues.

"It is remarkable that these iconic artists have chosen to volunteer their
talents to spread the message of the fight against poverty" noted Ngirande,
"The plight of the poor has so often been ignored, but I am sure that the
powerful voices of these three superstars will resonate throughout the
country as a rallying call for all Zimbabweans to Speak Out and Take Action
Against Poverty."

Kunonga, who has performed at previous Stand Up and Speak Out events, said
it was a good opportunity for musicians to contribute to the emancipation of
the communities that nurture and support them.

"As musicians, we owe a lot to the people who have always been with us
through difficult and good times. The event allows us to plough back to the
communities, and contribute to their empowerment," said Kunonga.

A concert alone, noted Ngirande, can however not resolve the humanitarian

"It is clear that the resolution of the complex humanitarian situation in
Zimbabwe will take more than a concert, however the sheer significance of
thousands of citizens mobilised under one common cause is a bright light in
a very dark situation," he said.

Ngirande said, "There has never been a more opportune time to mobilise
people to demand greater action for the achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals than now. Our people are suffering."

Faced with the reality of a population that is increasingly disempowered and
distracted by the struggle for daily survival from effectively taking part
in such mobilisations as the Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty,
Ngirande lamented the restrictive conditions in Zimbabwe, which are not
permissive of social action.

"While it would be important to mobilise our people in their millions to
peacefully and symbolically stand up to send a powerful message to leaders
to do more to fight poverty, the highly politicised and volatile environment
has ingrained a fear and helplessness in our people," decried Ngirande.

Taking the campaign beyond the event, could be another hassles for NGOs, as
there are still remarkable barriers in accessing certain constituencies like
the rural areas. NGOs are also censored from the state media.

There are others who do not seem to get the theme of the commemorations
clearly. One such is Clever Mutukwa, a war veteran who is also a senior
civil servant in Chitungwiza.

"The government has always been doing the right thing, but most efforts have
been in vain because of sanctions imposed on us by western countries. If you
take a closer look at the trend, you will notice that the crisis is directly
linked to the imposition of sanctions. Although I am not saying the
government has done everything possible, they have tried under the

Instead of calling on the government to do the right thing, Mutukwa said it
is the NGOs "and their allies in the opposition who should do the right
thing and call for the lifting of sanctions."

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From a correspondent

Family Ties.

What I really can't understand, when reading of the ZRP's brutality towards
the citizens of Zimbabwe, is who are their families, and what do they think
of their relative, the proud, bribe taking, bullying policeman?

I am not just talking about their spouses and children, but their parents,
brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and other members of their
extended families.

These relatives are surely suffering along with the vast majority of
Zimbabweans and feeling the oppression of the state and the law.

Having a ZRP man or woman as a relative is not a thing to make you proud, or
a thing to boast about in company is it?

Why do the police appear to approach their jobs with such relish? They are
paid a pittance, housed badly and despised by most members of society.

How can they go out and do the job they do and then look their family in the
eye having betrayed their own people?

No answers; I just don't know.


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