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Zimbabwe chaos wipes out education for 4.5 million pupils

October 8, 2008
Norton School on the outskirts of Harare

O-level pass rates in Zimbabwe, once the envy of Africa, have fallen from 72 per cent in the mid-1990s to 11 per cent. Now the government has been forced to cancel the academic year

The class of 2008 will not receive an education. Since the school year began in January, Zimbabwe's 4.5 million pupils have had a total of 23 days uninterrupted in the classroom, teaching unions say - a sorry state for a country that once had the highest standard of education in Africa.

President Mugabe became an African hero of rare distinction when he carried out a big expansion of the education system in the early years of his rule. As with most of the country's infrastructure, that system is now in the process of total collapse.

In the mid-1990s there was a national O-level pass rate of 72 per cent. Last year it crashed to 11 per cent. Many schools recorded zero passes.

To avoid the humiliation of total failure in 2008 the Government has cancelled the academic year. “It would be criminal if the Government allows examinations to go ahead,” Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, said.

In January teachers went on a prolonged strike over their salaries. In April, Mr Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party accused them of supporting the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) during the March elections and blamed them for the President's first-round defeat.

Six teachers were murdered and thousands assaulted by Zanu (PF) militia in the violence that marred the second-round presidential election on June 27.

Schools were looted and turned into torture centres. Teachers disappeared. Many are still unable to return for fear of being disciplined.

Now the coup de grace to the education system is being delivered by hyperinflation. Teachers had their salaries doubled last week to the equivalent of £5.70 a month — barely enough for bus fares and bread for four days.

The handful of private and state schools where parents can pay large supplements to teachers' salaries are the only ones operating. In most schools where teachers do turn up pupil attendance is dwindling.

“We come to school and we entertain the kids until 10am, then we send them home,” Amos Musoni, from Sengwe primary school in the south of the country, said. “There were ten teachers last week, out of 32. They are there because they have no money to leave. We don't even have chalk, or red pens, never mind books.”

At one of Harare's government boys' high schools, benches are being sawn up to provide wood for O-level woodwork examinations - not that anyone knows when they will happen.

"O and A-level pupils go home next week to study for their finals,” the headmaster said. “But there is no timetable. Nor do we have their June mid-year results.”

Urban schools have been overwhelmed by water and power cuts. One primary school in Mabvuku township, Harare, has not had water for five years. A Harare girls' school has been seeking an axe to chop down trees for firewood to cook food.

Providing school food at a time of comprehensive agricultural failure is a struggle. Mr Majongwe said hundreds of rural schools had sent their boarders home because they could no longer feed them.

Mr Musoni, from Sengwe, is pathetically thin. “There is no food,” he said. “People are starving.” Students at Harare Polytechnic rioted last week after they were served sadza, the stiff maize porridge that is the national staple, without salt or cabbage.

The country's four leading universities have failed to open since the start of their first term in mid-August. At the University of Zimbabwe, the country's leading tertiary institute, a notice with last Friday's date on a faculty building tells students that lectures will begin “on a date to be advised”.

Levy Nyagura, the Vice-Chancellor, said that the university had “no water, no electricity and no funds”.

Ellen Murogodo, a would-be first-year social work student, keeps returning to the campus to register only to be told to try again a week later. To pay for her journey she sets up a stand outside the university's Great Hall where she sells popcorn and cigarettes.

“Mugabe was a teacher himself [in the 1950s],” Mr Majongwe said. “He knows the potential of teachers as agents for change. That is why he has deliberately destroyed education.”

New talks on a power-sharing government in Zimbabwe failed yesterday to end a stalemate over Cabinet posts, the opposition MDC said.


As a former teacher in Zimbabwe, it pains my heart to see how the retrogressive policies of the Mugabe regime have destroyed one of the key pillars of Zimbawean nation, its education system.

It beggars belief that the despotic Mugabe regime remains impervious to calls for change.

Chris Ncube, Rotherham, UK

At this rate they will be asking for us to take over Zimbabwe again. Still even if we did overthrow Mugabe we would gain no thanks for it - we would be accused of being imperialists - we tried to help Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries and look what that has done to our reputation.

Dan , Winchester, England

Dont worry Mugabe's daughter is been taught in London .Phew. And most ministers children ,are all educated in the USA. All paid for by looting the country.

Dully, London, UK

Having been one of the lucky recipients of an excellent education in Zimbabwe, my heartfelt sympanthy goes out to those students who are now being deprived of their basic human rights. The demise of Mugabe is long overdue.

Lyn Harris, Eastbourne, UK

"But we leave our former colonies to rot.
Shame on us!!!!"
You got to be kidding. They wanted this. They don't want us there (the man said so himself). Thay said they want to solve this the African way. Now let them!

Jules, Cape Town, South Africa

It is disgusting to learn that a country that was once the leading education nation has been destroyed by a man who has no heart sympathy.

Their chioldren are learning overseas while we the youth are starving and facing a tough time.

Now we are saying to Mugabe and his now is the time

Tapiwa, harare, zimbabwe

And if you think we are suffering with the credit crunch!
Its only going to get worse in Zimbabwe!

It seems we can go to war at the drop of a hat for a bit of oil.

But we leave our former colonies to rot.

Shame on us!!!!

Simon, Bristol, England

A salient lesson to us all, of what harm and murderous permanent damage psychopathic personalities like Mugabe will do with sufficient power. He has no conscience, no restraint, no empathy for others. The age old habit of tribalism does the rest. Tell me again: How is this better than colonialism?

Donald McMiken, Canberra, Australia

I can hardly believe that on the same world people in some countries can live such a miserable life!

Michael Zhu, wannian, China

As a high school teacher in California, I am both saddened and encouraged. I am saddened by my colleague's plight in Zimbabwe. But I am inspired by their heroic efforts to stay true to their calling. If they can do that, then how much more can I, with all the resources at my disposal!

Narcis , La Mirada, California, USA

What a terrible tragedy. Mugabe is destroying his people. Having visited Zimbabwe I have seen the potential, the love of, and the desire for, education which exists among Zimbabweans. Education alone can help them rise above the circumstances the Zanu-PF dictatorship has created. Tragic!

Paul Freeman, London, England

I cannot believe what I am reading here. Once the best education in Africa, now nothing.

maggi, NSW, Australia

Man, this is catastrophic. Mugabe let the education in his country go down the drain.

Stewie O' Riordan, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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Deal on the brink of collapse, says Zanu-PF


     October 08 2008 at 05:25PM

By Angus Shaw

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's party accused the opposition on
Wednesday of putting troubled negotiations on power-sharing at risk of
collapse by speaking out on disputes that have stalled their talks.

After a historic power-sharing deal was signed September 15,
negotiations have stalled on the allocation of ministerial posts in the
proposed unity government.

Patrick Chinamasa, chief negotiator for Mugabe's Zanu-PF party,
alleged Wednesday that opposition officials were violating an information
blackout on negotiations.

Zanu-PF officials also have publicly discussed the talks, only to have
their more upbeat assessments disputed by the opposition.

"Negotiating in public will lead to the negotiations failing,"
Chinamasa told reporters. "I don't negotiate in public."

Opposition officials made a brief appearance Wednesday to say
consultations were continuing, but did not address accusations they were
undermining the negotiations.

Mugabe's party has said only two key ministries - home affairs, in
charge of the police, and finance - remain in dispute. But opposition
negotiators say most main Cabinet posts are still undecided and accuse
Mugabe's party of trying to hold on to too many important positions.

Main disputes so far have been over who would control the police,
defence, justice, finance, foreign affairs, information and local government

Control of the security forces is particularly sensitive. Top generals
have said publicly they would never salute Tsvangirai.

Under the agreement, Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980,
remains president and head of the Cabinet. As prime minister Tsvangirai
heads a council of ministers - in effect, the Cabinet without Mugabe
present -responsible for government policies. Mugabe's party gets 15 Cabinet
seats, Tsvangirai's party gets 13 and a smaller breakaway opposition group
led by Arthur Mutamabara gets three.

If the agreement were to come into effect, many of Mugabe's longest
serving and most loyal colleagues and former guerrilla leaders risk losing
their jobs. - Sapa-AP

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MDC spokesman says ZANU PF and MDC are still worlds apart

By Violet Gonda
8 October 2008

Negotiators were back to the drawing board Wednesday to try and thrash out
agreements over the allocation of cabinet posts. But, as has become the
norm, they resolved nothing. MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said ZANU PF is
still resisting the issue of sharing the ministries and governors.

Chamisa said: "If we were centimeters apart we are now meters apart. The
zone of difference seems to be growing by the day. In fact ZANU PF's
perspective is quite different from us. We are worlds apart. We don't think
that they are genuine in this deal and not interested and they want to play
games with the people of Zimbabwe."

Chamisa said the MDC is referring the matter to SADC and the African Union.
But many analysts believe the only way forward is for the MDC to pull out of
the controversial and dishonest talks with ZANU PF.

With Zimbabweans desperate for a solution many questions are beginning to be
raised as to why the MDC continues to wait for ZANU PF, and does not flex
their muscles.

On Wednesday MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai had called for a press briefing
on the stalled negotiations at his house in Harare, but the conference was
cancelled last minute because ZANU PF called for yet another round of

This is the second time in recent days that the MDC leader has cancelled a
report-back session, leaving some analysts to believe the MDC are just being
played with by ZANU PF, which quickly resumes discussions when it appears
the MDC is pulling out.

Meanwhile ZANU PF officials are criticising the MDC for 'putting the
power-sharing talks at risk by speaking publicly about the negotiations."
But Zanu PF officials such as Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche have
issued statements in the state media on the status of the talks and it was
Robert Mugabe who said, on his return from a UN summit in New York; "We
discussed the ministries the day before I left. There were four left which
we referred to our negotiators to discuss."
When asked about the criticism from ZANU PF, the MDC spokesperson said if
there is nothing to hide, ZANU PF would not be worried about the statements
being made to the public.

Journalist Tanonoka Hwande says there is "absolutely nothing" in the power
sharing agreement that the MDC should have signed; "It's all ZANU PF
language, it's all ZANU PF intentions and it's all the things that ZANU PF
has been doing during the last 28 years."

He went on to ask: "So what I would like to know from Tendai Biti and Mr.
Tsvangirai and everyone else is what was in that document that the MDC felt
was necessary to put their signatures on?"

Zimbabwe is at a standstill and some people are increasingly critical of the
MDC for what they are saying is its inability to see opportunities and to
capitalise on them.

Another observer, speaking on condition of anonymity said: 'In Zimbabwe,
politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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'No freedom after expression' in Zim


    October 08 2008 at 04:08PM

By Celean Jacobson

Independent Zimbabwean newspaper editor Davison Maruziva says there's
plenty of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.

Problem is: "There is no freedom after expression."

Maruziva will appear in court in November on charges of publishing
"false statements prejudicial to the state" because of an article written by
an opposition leader that appeared in his weekly, The Standard.

Under Robert Mugabe's 28-year autocratic rule, independent voices like
Maruziva's newspaper - one of three that are not state controlled - have
little space. Printing presses are regularly blown up, foreign news
organisations banned and journalists harassed, beaten and jailed.

One journalist was killed in 2008 and scores have been arrested.

Hope for change was raised in September when Mugabe signed a
power-sharing agreement with the opposition to end Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis.

But politicians deadlocked over sharing Cabinet posts have yet to turn
the September agreement into reality.

The accord promises to open up the air waves, allowing "as many media
houses as possible," and calls for public media to provide "balanced and
fair" coverage of all political parties.

Currently, there is only one state-run television station and no
independent radio stations.

But many feel the deal did not go far enough to protect media freedoms
and is unlikely to end the state's propaganda machine.

"There is nothing to celebrate," said Maruziva.

Media organisations are calling for repealing all laws that target the
media, the withdrawal of charges against journalists and for the immediate
granting of permission to foreign news organisations to work in the country.

"We were expecting to see something more radical," said Takura
Zhangazha, director of Zimbabwe's chapter of the Media Institute of Southern

Zhangazha said the continued control of the state media by Mugabe's
party will not "build confidence" in the power-sharing deal.

Iden Wetherell, group editor of The Standard and its sister paper, the
weekly Zimbabwe Independent, said there is a "hunger for news" in the

His papers offer criticism of Mugabe and his government not found on
air or in the state-controlled The Herald, the largest national daily. The
independent press also gives space to the opposition and doesn't shy away
from detailing the country's economic decline.

"Our duty, our job is to tell it as it is. In that situation we do our
best," Wetherell said.

Running a newspaper in Zimbabwe, like running any business in a
country facing an inflation rate of about 11-million percent a year, is
tough. There is little advertising to rely on.

The Zimbabwe Independent costs Zim$3 000 (about R) or between 70 US
cents and $2 depending on various rates. The Herald hiked its prices this
week up from Zim$1 500 to 3 000.

"Fewer people are able to read us because of the cost," Wetherell
said. He declined to reveal circulation figures.

The papers comply with media laws and its small staff of about 20
journalists are officially accredited. Yet the papers have been charged with
numerous infractions.

The Daily News, which challenged the sweeping media laws in court and
refused to register with the government, was closed down by the government
in 2003.

The paper boasted circulation of 800 000 and reached rural communities
in Mugabe's party strongholds and not just an educated urban population
sympathetic to the opposition. Before its closure, it had offices bombed,
staff detained and computers confiscated.

Zimbabwe Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu nonetheless insisted
his government was commitment to a free press.

"I am an ally of the press. We are proponents of press freedom," he
told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"We are waiting for an all inclusive government to be in place. You
can't just have an agreement and say that is the law."

He accused the independent media of bias toward the opposition, while
saying the public media were there to "serve everyone."

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which has said it would
repeal repressive media laws if it gained power, has accused the state of
jeopardising the power-sharing agreement by using the public media to
denounce its rivals. - Sapa-AP

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Zimbabweans must be responsible - Zuma

October 8, 2008

By Munyaradzi Mutizwa

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's ruling Africa National Congress (ANC)
President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said Zimbabwe politicians needed to stop
quarrelling and rather work towards fixing the problems in the country.

Speaking at a briefing with South African black business representatives in
Sandton, Zuma said there was a serious crisis in Zimbabwe.

"We have a problem in Zimbabwe," he said. "At times we feel a little bit
worried that the Zimbabweans themselves don't seem to appreciate the
problem, the damage done to the country."

"We are hoping they will be able to resolve the matter as Zimbabweans
instead of arguing about which ministry goes where; will be talking about
how to take the country out of difficulty."

The political parties Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change have
failed to implement a power sharing deal signed last month after contested
elections in the country.

Zuma said South Africa and the ANC supported the Zimbabweans.

"We are with them. but there is a point at which we cannot be with them".

Zuma said it was important to acknowledge the work former president Thabo
Mbeki had done for Zimbabwe.

He said for a long time Mbeki was under attack for apparently adopting a
policy of silent diplomacy.

"He handled the most complex and difficult negotiations and finally
succeeded to bring the parties together. producing an African solution.

"He is the one who understands the intricacies of the agreement. He should
continue and we support that fully," said Zuma.

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Power deal out of touch with reality: civic groups

8th Oct 2008 19:35 GMT

By Trust Matsilele

JOHANNESBURG - The National Constitutional Assembly says the power-sharing
deal signed last month between Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) fails to capture the will of the people as expressed in the
March 29 polls.

Leading civic organizations in South Africa meeting at the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) offices in Johannesburg have expressed deep
concern over the deal's shortcomings.

They said it appears the deal had left President Mugabe with too much of the
executive powers he has enjoyed over the past 28 years.

The meeting was attended, among others, by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition,
Creative Writers and Arts Workshop, Zimbabwe Political Victims Association,
Revolutionary Youth Movement and the Veterans Activists Association.

An NCA official reiterated that just like the referendum rejected in 2000
for its emphasis on the powers of the president, this deal had done exactly
the same thing and was proposing the same arrangement in the constitution,
which will be looked at as soon as the power-sharing cabinet is sworn in, if

"In 2000 we rejected the proposed constitution as we believed the process of
making that constitution was flawed and the same scenario is being suggested
today that the constitution be authored for the people by the parliament,"
Tapera Kapuya of the NCA.

"As the NCA we will mobilize against such kinds of constitution making that
fail to consider that people are equally responsible of writing their own

The meeting also noted that the constitutional committee to be derived from
the Parliament (joint sitting of House of Assembly and Senate) would be
dominated by Zanu PF, a party that lost a popular mandate according to the
29 March polls.

The deal was also dismissed for its failure to address the justice system
especially the victims of Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and post 29 March

Kapuya said that the proposed government was unnecessarily ballooned as well
as unworkable.

"The deal proposed a Prime Minister whose cabinet will be chaired by the
President and this is equally puzzling because one cannot see the
justification of a Prime Minister when he cannot chair a cabinet."

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Zanu PF Minister implicated in food aid scandal

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 October 2008

The ZANU PF MP for Umguza, Obert Mpofu, is allegedly behind a massive food
aid scandal where maize meant for starving villagers is being sold on the
black market or in some cases bartered for cattle in his constituency.

The outgoing Minister of Industry and International Trade is said to be at
the heart of a syndicate overseen by the ward 13 councillor in his
constituency, Ernest Sibanda. Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme
said evidence has emerged that truckloads of maize from the Grain Marketing
Board were being diverted to Sibanda's homestead.

'Once in position of the food aid, Sibanda and his gang would in turn sell
the maize on the black market. In most cases they barter the maize for
cattle from desperate villagers,' Saungweme said.
During the March elections a truck carrying 30 tonnes of maize disappeared
in the province and follow up investigations by a government task force of
the CIO, police and ZANU PF officials led to the doorsteps of Sibanda.

'He was found in possession of the stolen maize and Mpofu blocked the
authorities from taking any action against him. To get rid of the evidence,
the maize load was distributed to ZANU PF card carrying members only from
the constituency,' Saungweme said.

There are allegations this was a pre-planned manoevure by the Minister and
Sibanda as it meant the free gifts of maize to the villagers helped prop up
Mpofu's image and his candidature. He was re-elected MP for the

Food aid has been a contentious issue in the country for a number of years.
The Zanu PF regime has accused humanitarian organisations of collaborating
with the MDC and of being intermediaries of Western countries allegedly
opposed to ZANU PF policies.

But the NGO's and the MDC have reported that the regime has used state
controlled food supplies as blackmail to extort votes from the electorate.
Our correspondent said the latest scandal shows that ZANU PF officials are
stripping bare all GMB depots with impunity and making huge profits from
selling the maize on the black market.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Grade 7 exams delayed as government urged to cancel academic year

By Alex Bell
08 October 2008

Zimbabwe's 2008 academic year, already marred by the effects of the
political and humanitarian crises in the country, is on the brink of being
cancelled - as Zimbabwe's October/November exams have been delayed.

The Progressive Teacher's Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on Wednesday confirmed a
report by the government mouthpiece paper The Herald, which stated that
Grade 7 exams have been delayed, while the Zimbabwe School Examinations
Council still needs to dispatch timetables and examination material to

School exams were meant to begin on Monday in order for results to be
released in December, but teachers across the country have yet to receive
timetables or even confirmation about when the exam period will start. At
the same time, the results of the June exams have yet to released. There are
now doubts that exams will get underway this year, and the government is
facing increasing pressure to call the academic year off and give students
the opportunity to prepare for the 2009 exams.

According to teaching unions, over 4 million pupils have had an estimated
total of only 23 uninterrupted days in the classroom, since the school year
began in January. Zimbabwe's once successful and admirable education system
has in the past two years completely collapsed - with many schools last year
recording a zero pass rate, amid a countrywide pass rate of a mere 11

In January teachers went on a prolonged strike over their salaries and in
April, Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party accused them of supporting the MDC
during the March elections and blamed them in part for Mugabe's first-round
defeat. The PTUZ said that at least six teachers were murdered and thousands
assaulted by ZANU PF militia in the violence that marred the second-round
presidential election on June 27.

With the 2008 academic year already severely interrupted and with children
receiving little to no education over the year, the PTUZ earlier this month
sent letters to the authorities urging them to postpone the exams or even
declare 2008 a forgotten year.

The Union's Secretary General, Raymond Majongwe, told Newsreel on Wednesday
the confirmed delay of the Grade 7 Exams is a "vindication of what we have
been saying all along, and that is the exam board is not ready, just as the
students are not ready." He explained that it would be criminal for the
government to push through students whose education has been badly effected
by the political crisis in the country, and emphasized that starting afresh
in 2009 "will give Zimbabwe's youth more opportunity to succeed."

Meanwhile, the country's four leading universities have failed to open since
the start of their first term in August. At the University of Zimbabwe, a
notice on a faculty building tells students that lectures will begin "on a
date to be advised".

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Mbeki Expected In Harare

HARARE, October 8, 2008 - Former South African president Thabo Mbeki
is expected to arrive in Harare on Wednesday after the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) asked for the facilitator of the Zimbabwean
crisis to be called in to solve the prevailing impasse on the allocation of
key ministerial posts.

Mbeki was appointed by the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to mediate in the Zimbabwean crisis. The new government in South
Africa headed by Kgalme Monthlate has supported the Southern African
Development Community's decision to have Mbeki to continue with his
mediation role.

It is reliably understood that Mbeki was initially expected in Harare
Tuesday night but his flight was cancelled. A red carpet had been laid out
for him at the Rainbow Towers, the usual venue for the negotiations. The
carpert was removed late last night after word filtered that the former
South African's arrival had been postponed to Wednesday afternoon.

Sources said Mbeki will now arrive on a South Africa Airways afternoon
flight from Johannesburg and would hold closed-door discussions with
President Robert Mugabe, and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur

There has been a breakdown of talks between President Mugabe and
Tsvangirai over the sharing of key ministerial posts. ZANU PF and MDC
negotiators failed to agree when they met in Harare on Tuesday.

On Saturday Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the
smaller faction of the MDC, met at Zimbabwe House but also failed to reach
an agreement on which party gets what post in the envisaged government of
national unity.

While government spin-doctors insist the deadlock is on two posts,
namely Home Affairs and Finance, MDC officials claim ZANU PF was demanding
all the 15 powerful ministries.

Under the Mbeki brokerage, ZANU PF is entitled to 15 ministerial
posts, MDC Tsvangirai 13 and MDC Mutambara 3.

There is also deadlock on the 10 posts of governors. Mugabe has
already appointed ZANU PF officials to the 10 posts but the MDC factions
want these shared equally by the three political parties.

However Eldred Masunungure, a professor of Political Science at the
University of Zimbabwe said: "He (Mbeki) has lost some of his shine so I
think it will be difficult for him to find a solution now that he is a lame
duck mediator or facilitator after he was stripped of the South African

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Chombo threatens Mutare mayor

MDC Information and Publicity Department

8 October, 2008

Zvimba North MP Ignatius Chombo, a legendary enemy of democracy, has once
again threatened the elected mayor of Mutare, His Worship Brian James, for
refusing to install losing Zanu PF stalwarts as special interest

Chombo phoned the mayor of Tuesday and threatened him and the 11
democratically elected councillors with dismissal if they did not install
Zanu PF bigwigs Esau Mupfumi and Misheck Mugadza as councillors.

Mugadza is the former chairman of the Mutare Council Commission while
Mupfumi is a member of Zanu PF's central committee.

The Mutare Mayor refused to swear in the pair because Chombo was imposing
them as special interest councillors when they did not bring in any special
expertise or add value to the popularly elected MDC-dominated council.

Chombo continues to meddle with council decisions in most cities and towns
yet he is not a Cabinet minister. There is no legitimate government in
Zimbabwe at the moment and the nation is eagerly awaiting the conclusion of
inter-party talks so that an inclusive government can begin to respond to
the needs of the people.

Chombo cannot abuse his former position by appointing Zanu PF losing
candidates in the last election as "special councillors" to subvert the
sovereign will of the people who voted for the MDC.

By appointing these Zanu PF losing candidates as special councillors,
Chombo, is declaring war on democracy, to the people of Zimbabwe, the spirit
of togetherness and the MoU signed by the three parties. He cannot be
allowed to do that.

The MDC controls all urban local authorities and Chombo is making sure that
the day-to-day operations of the MDC councils are disrupted. Zanu PF is
using a dubious quota system to bring in "special" councillors, especially
Zanu PF losing candidates, which in most cases have enabled them to reverse
the MDC's majority in most rural council chambers.

We cannot allow democracy to be subverted at this stage. In March, the
people of Zimbabwe voted for what they believe in. Chombo cannot
unilaterally reverse what the people want. The MDC calls upon the people of
Zimbabwe to reject and resist Chombos' manoeuvres.

What the people have built, let no man put asunder. The people are the
ultimate victors.

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MP's criticized for requesting cash withdrawal limit exemptions

By Lance Guma
08 October 2008

The Zimbabwe Youth Forum has criticized Members of Parliament who sought to
be exempted from the Z$20 000 cash withdrawal limit imposed by the central
bank. The MP's argued during a 2 day parliamentary induction course that
began on Monday that they needed to use their personal money to assist their
constituencies in times of grief. 'The call by the MPs to be given a
privilege to withdraw more money than ordinary people leaves us to think
that MP's are now representing their personal interests at the expense of
the electorate,' the Youth Forum statement read. They argued that MP's
should have instead called for a complete overhaul of the financial system
rather than piecemeal concessions to special interest groups or individuals.

The MP's have been urged to, 'show solidarity with the oppressed masses by
joining the long queues for them to have a feeling of the severity of the
economic situation.' The MP's will then be able to fight in parliament to
ensure that cash queues are a thing of the past.

The induction course for the MP's has raised eyebrows, given that an impasse
over cabinet between the MDC and ZANU PF persists and there is no
functioning government. During the opening of parliament in August Mugabe
was heckled by MDC legislators, sparking fury from ZANU PF. The induction
course is seen as an attempt by ZANU PF to coach the MDC on 'how to debate'
in parliament.

Meanwhile, while everyone else queues up at the banks for scarce money, cash
barons, allegedly aligned to Gideon Gono the RBZ governor, are seen dealing
with billions of revalued dollars on the street. According to the Youth
Forum such amounts, 'require more than a century of continuous daily
withdrawals,' and yet these barons have brand new notes in abundance
straight from the central bank.

Money sending companies operating from the diaspora have stopped sending
money to Zimbabwe in local dollars. The cancellation of electronic bank
transfers by the RBZ has meant companies cannot deposit money into the bank
accounts of their customers' recipients in Zimbabwe. Only transactions in
forex are being conducted. A money sender told Newsreel that demand for the
local currency service was low anyway, because of the chronic cash
shortages. But there remain a sizeable number of people who still wanted the
money remitted in Zimbabwe dollars and this new problem will create even
more difficulties for hard pressed Zimbabweans.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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South Africa stops issuing asylum permits

October 8, 2008

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Home Affairs department is said to have
stopped issuing asylum permits to Zimbabweans seeking political refugee
status in that country, basing on broadcasts by that country's
government-owned electronic media that a power-sharing deal signed by
Zimbabwean political leaders three weeks ago has solved the country's
political problems.

On September 15, President Robert Mugabe signed an agreement to share power
with Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of the fractured opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, but they have so far failed to resolve a
deadlock over the sharing of cabinet posts that will finalise the formation
of a national unity government.

However, the South African Home Affairs department, especially at its
Johannesburg Asylum Determination Centre, popularly known as Crown Mines,
has been accused of rejecting asylum applications by Zimbabweans since last
week, claiming that the country's political crisis has been resolved by the

Most Zimbabwean asylum seekers who spoke to The Zimbabwe Times on Wednesday
said that their applications had been turned down by the South African
authorities, who told them to "go back and re-build Zimbabwe", without
properly weighing their cases  and considering their safety problems in
their home country.

"I went to Crown Mines on Thursday last week and, after sleeping in the open
for two days awaiting for my turn to be served, the officials rejected my
claim, saying that there is no more crisis in Zimbabwe. They gave me a
temporary permit which indicates that my application has been rejected and
stating that I should leave South Africa or appeal their decision within 30
days. They did not give me a chance to explain my situation to them, saying
that they have had enough of our political situation," said Thulani Moyo,
afreelance journalist.

According to documents shown to our correspondent by some failed asylum
seekers, the Home Affairs department's decision is based on the assumption
that the political situation in Zimbabwe has improved since September 15 and
thus, there is no more need for Zimbabweans to be granted asylum in South

"This signals a stable positive change in Zimbabwean political affairs which
were engulfed by brutality and extreme violence. SABC (South African
Broadcasting Corporation) News Website reported on the 12th of September
that Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF and MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai had reached an
agreement, '' read part of a three-page report shown to our correspondent by
one failed asylum seekers.

The more fortunate among the asylum seekers were given temporary permits
valid for 30 days, during which they should either appeal or return to
Zimbabwe. Apparently, the department hopes that after 30 days, the
Zimbabwean politicians will have resolved their differences and formed the
anticipated national unity government - giving it valid reasons for
permanently rejecting the applications.

The officials are also said to have reduced the number of asylum seekers
they serve per day from an average of 300 people to about 50.

Human rights organisations have blasted the department, arguing that their
"fast tracked" decision was uncalled for and their reasons for denying
permits to desperate Zimbabweans were unfounded as they were based on media
reports that might be biased.

"The decision lacks substance and is unfortunate. People should not be
treated like toys by fellow African states. We are talking about human lives
which are being threatened on the basis of their political affiliation and
in terms of the refugee Act. The Zimbabweans have a valid reason for being
here," said Gabriel Shumba of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum.

Home Affairs Department spokesperson, Siobhan McCarthy once again denied
that her department was rejecting applications from the Zimbabweans.

"It is not true that we have stopped issuing permits to Zimbabweans because
even if things improve in that country, asylum permits will still be issued
out to them if they provide valid reasons," she said.

Since the beginning their country's political and economic crisis, largely
blamed on the populist policies of Mugabe and his intolerance for opposing
views, most ordinary Zimbabweans have crossed the borders both legally and
illegally into neighbouring countries to seek better life and protection
from political persecution.

There are an estimated three million Zimbabweans living and working in South
Africa alone. The influx is likely to experience a further upsurge in the
coming months, following reports that the country's already critical food
situation will continue to worsen due to poor yields of both wheat and the
staple maize grain.

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Zimbabwe: No government, no school - and annual inflation at two trillion percent

As worrisome, alarming, unsettling, scary or [choose your adjective] as the spreading, worldwide financial crisis and its effects may be, try this statistic on for size: Thanks largely to the policies of its longtime dictator-president, Robert Mugabe, who barely "won" a run-off election in June, his "once-prosperous nation" in southern Africa is now "crumbling under inflation" that is "the highest in the world"; at an annualized rate, it's now running at two trillion percent.

We'll write that figure again to help it sink in.

Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate is now running at two trillion percent.

September 29, 2008: Zimbabwe's longtime dictator-president, Robert Mugabe (right, in sunglasses), arrived at Harare airport after a trip to the United Nations in New York

Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

September 29, 2008: Zimbabwe's longtime dictator-president, Robert Mugabe (right, in sunglasses), arrived at Harare airport after a trip to the United Nations in New York

Steve H. Hanke, a leading specialist in what economists refer to as "exchange-rate regimes," notes in research findings published by the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank, that Zimbabwe has become the first country in the still-young 21st century to "hyperinflate." Explanation: "In February 2007, Zimbabwe's inflation rate topped 50% per month, the minimum rate required to qualify as a hyperinflation (50% per month is equal to a 12,875% per year). Since then, inflation has soared." Zimbabwe's central bank has not been very forthcoming with its own official data concerning inflation. Thus, it has become considerably difficult for foreign economists who are trying to monitor the country's crisis "to quantify the depth and breadth of the still-growing crisis in Zimbabwe." (Cato Institute, via

To address this problem, Hanke, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, "has developed the Hanke Hyperinflation Index for Zimbabwe (HHIZ). This new metric is derived from market-based price data and is presented in [an] accompanying table for the January 2007-to-present period." (Hanke's findings and that data chart are available here, on the Cato Institute's website.) According to Hanke's calculations, as of late last week, Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate was two trillion percent."

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, the party that opposes Mugabe, is in negotiations with the dictator to form a proposed coalition government

Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, the party that opposes Mugabe, is in negotiations with the dictator to form a proposed coalition government

Mugabe and supporters of his ZANU-PF party had done their best to intimidate backers of the opposing Movement for Democratic Change party in the period leading up to the first round of voting in Zimbabwe's presidential election this year; that round took place at the end of March. The intimidation continued during the run-up to the run-off vote in June. Last month came the news that Mugabe would be willing to cut a power-sharing deal with his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, the head of the MDC.

However, as of yesterday, ongoing talks between the ZANU-PF and the MDC appeared to be stalling, with the two sides unable to agree on how cabinet posts in a prospective coalition government would be divided up. Yesterday, one of Tsvangirai's senior aides told Reuters: "There's no progress, there's a clear deadlock. We met again today but couldn't move the process forward." Reuters notes that, under an "outline agreement" the two sides have been discussing, "Mugabe would retain the presidency and chair the cabinet, while Tsvangirai would head a council of ministers supervising the cabinet. Without a breakthrough, Zimbabwe's economy could worsen still further."

In March of this year, a Zimbabwean school teacher, along with his wife and son, purchased a loaf of bread for the price of eight million Zimbabwean dollars. A British newspaper reports:

Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

In March of this year, a Zimbabwean school teacher, along with his wife and son, purchased a loaf of bread for the price of eight million Zimbabwean dollars. A British newspaper reports: "Teachers had their salaries doubled last week to the equivalent of [U.S.$9.93] a month - barely enough for bus fares and bread for four days."

In response to the out-of-control inflation rate, Zimbabwe's current, not-quite-a-government government has allowed some shops and fuel stations to receive payments for the merchandise they sell in so-called hard, foreign currency. "The officially sanctioned launch of hard-currency shops follows a well-established trend of dollarization in the battered Zimbabwean economy. Many goods are offered in the parallel or black market only for hard currencies, and many landlords demand rents in [foreign exchange]. Meanwhile, banks were running out of local currency despite the introduction last week by [Zimbabwe's central bank] of notes in higher denominations" of $10,000 and $20,000 Zimbabwean dollars. (Voice of America)

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's school system is in a crisis, too. Britain's Times reports: "The class of 2008 will not receive an education. Since the school year began in January, Zimbabwe's 4.5 million pupils have had a total of 23 days uninterrupted in the classroom, teaching unions say - a sorry state for a country that once had the highest standard of education in Africa....As with most of the country's infrastructure, that system is now in the process of total collapse....To avoid the humiliation of total failure in 2008, the government has canceled the academic year....In January, teachers went on a prolonged strike over their salaries. In April, [Mugabe's ZANU-PF party] accused them of [having] support[ed] the Movement for Democratic Change...during the March [run-off] elections and blamed them for the president's first-round defeat. Six teachers were murdered and thousands assaulted by ZANU-PF militia in the violence that marred the second-round presidential election on June 27. Schools were looted and turned into torture centers. Teachers disappeared. Many are still unable to return for fear of being disciplined....Teachers had their salaries doubled last week to the equivalent of [U.S.$9.93] a month - barely enough for bus fares and bread for four days."

Posted By: Edward M. Gomez (Email) | October 08 2008 at 06:25 AM



"We'd rather starve than live under white colonialism". The average black lived better under Ian Smith and Rhodesian segregation than they do today. Rhodesia was the breadbasket of Southern Africa. It's neighbor, South Africa has degenerated into crime, overpopulation and poverty. But, the world financial community has gotten access to their gold, diamonds, chromium, tantalum, uranium etc, with the help of all the "concerned" idiots wearing their "fight apartheid-boycott South Africa" t-shirts.

Posted By: klondyke | October 08 2008 at 07:26 AM

It's unfortunate that the first to comment here happens to be a bitter apologist for apartheid, screaming "idiot" at those who disagree with him. In fact the comparison between Zimbabwe and South Africa is utterly disingenuous: their post-Colonial paths couldn't be more different. While South Africa has certainly had a terrible time reigning in violent crime, Zimbabwe's problems are of a more basic nature: it's unlucky enough to be run by a pathetic, old-fashioned despot. The suggestion that this somehow proves colonialism was preferable is naïve and misguided.

Posted By: ewestby | October 08 2008 at 09:16 AM

"We'll write that figure again to help it sink in." Gosh, what a big, big, number! There is no meaning to two trillion percent inflation. Their currency is worthless, period, unless you are carrying a shotgun.

Posted By: esefgater | October 08 2008 at 09:18 AM

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Alliance needed to demand RG's resignation

October 8, 2008
Clapperton Mavhunga

THE SIGNS of Armageddon are everywhere. Can't you see them? They are
printing money at supersonic speed on bond paper. Has the MDC noticed?

Officially, inflation is 11 million per cent. Experts say it's 531 billion
percent. Let's do the math. Put the thirteen zeros the Reserve Bank removed
in 2003 and 2008 back and US$1 equals ZW$10 000 000 000 000. Now add six
zeros that have accrued since the last 'slash-and-burn' and it becomes ZW$10
000 000 000 000 000 000.

Ever heard of the song 'Please help us, we are starving' sung each time you
call home? Hungry yes, but where the hell is the anger? I see why. I am
feeding the terriers, so there is no hunger to motivate them to chase the

History shows that hunger begets anger. More math. Anger + hunger =
fearlessness. Even more math. Fear of Mugabe > fear of hunger = not hunger
for change. The reverse equation is: Fear of hunger > fear of Mugabe =
hunger for change. The latter hasn't happened in Zimbabwe, hence adult men
and women stand and sleep in queues just to get their ZW$20 000 (0,001 US

So now the RBZ has suspended the Real Time Gross System (RTGS). Meaning
simply that if I send money to your account today, you will wait at least 48
hours before you receive it. Meantime it will be getting more worthless.

So why have money?

Still, last week the urbanites demanded their money, rejecting the daily
withdrawal limit of ZW$10 000 for ZW$20 000. The RBZ obliged by printing a
neat ZW$20 000 note. Typical of a government that listens to its people!

Wait! Except the new 'money' is printed on bond paper without any watermark.
"I am not afraid of printing money", says Gideon Your Governor Gono, "and I
will continue doing so until those who imposed sanctions on us lift them".

Translation? If you send your hard-earned 22-hour shift money to a relative
in Zimbabwe, he will change it for useless scrap of paper. Someone with a
color-copier and printer in Mbare is busy right now, minting a nice new
ZW$20 000 bills.

Go on, send your money.

The same money we send to our relatives, Mugabe uses to buy guns in China
(remember that notorious ship, the 'An Yue Jiang?') or goes on a 50-strong
New York shopping spree kindly organised by Chief of Protocol, Munyaradzai
Kajese. The weapons equip the militias to murder, rape, and torture the same
relatives you sent money to, who changed it for useless bond paper. The
forex that could be used to buy drugs, food, and farm inputs comes back to
buy trinkets for the First Lady and her plane-load of relatives in the shop
next door, in Manhattan. Yeah, what goes around comes around, right?

Oh, sorry to interrupt you my friend. Please close this window and rush to
Western Union and send that money before they close. They tell me the rate
is very good today.

Don't mind the recession, honey. Every major economy in the world bailing
out banks, insurance companies and real estate firms and all that', it won't
happen to CABS.

Meanwhile the crowds are swirling and swerving outside the bank, still
fighting for cash, while the politicians (the MDC) is busy with the cabinet

Including finance! So where will the 'aid' and 'investment' come from when
the big companies that invest overseas are being 'bailed out' in America and

I mean, what sickens me is the lack of outrage among Zimbabwe's urbanites
over the thugs causing their physical misery, and my financial pain when I
send money.

Or is it cowardice?

Now back to recession. If I am so angry at this urban cowardice, what about
taxpayers abroad, in the midst of a recession, whose money the adult urban
men and women back in Zimbabwe view as 'western aid'?

As I write, many Americans and South Africans are losing their homes because
they can't pay their mortgages. These are the people who donate to charity,
money that NGOs back home use to buy food for our folks, which is then
hi-jacked by some politicians.

Stock is losing value, so people are pulling their money off the market
before they lose more. The governments are sinking into budget deficits to
save big corporations from collapse. These are the companies that invest

These are the sources of bilateral aid.

Point: We Zimbabweans expect too much from this outside world in a time of
recession, but never ask ourselves what the world expects of us?

One Kenyan told me to my face recently: "You guys are cowards. In Kenya we
would not allow that madness."

A few caveats. Those who were not content with Mugabe took the courage to
deny him the pleasure of their labor and intellect. Those inside Zimbabwe
who are not content with Mugabe are not at work as we speak. The villagers
were chased into mountains during the infamous solo election in June, and
then began to fight back.

What's lacking is the joining of the Diaspora, the urbanites, and villagers
spontaneously to demand change. The urbanites are the weak point. They
usually engage in mass action with their eyes firmly on the clock.

So long as the reason for striking is a better salary, the state will simply
print and pay, buy time, and meanwhile disrupt the momentum until inflation
wipes out the increment and the state prints more money again.

It's not the salary, stupid!

Maybe the urbanites aren't hungry enough! One cardinal rule that governs all
living things is that no food = death. We're getting close: shops empty,
prices soaring, cholera spreading, no food, drugs, no doctors, no nurses, no

So distracted has the MDC been that it cannot see the miracle that is the
first sign of Armageddon: the urbanites finally breaking out of their
cowardly shells to mass in downtown Harare, if only to queue meekly at the

The MDC has fallen prey to the same tactics that Ian Smith used against Zanu
and Zapu, especially with détente in 1974-5: namely, the regime's tactics of
using talks to deflate the momentum of the democratic struggle.

The MDC could have cashed in on these bread-and-butter-inspired risings of
discontent if it had not gone to bed with the causer of such disaffection.
Instead it deliberately and unwisely shut out civic society and labor from
participation in its ill-fated détente with Zanu-PF and abdicated its proper
role: of coordinating and channeling these angers into a collective force
for a democratic revolution.

How many times did the MDC, the NCA, or ZCTU call for a mass stay-away and
people flocked to work? Is there a better opportunity to pull out of this
farcical deal and demand total change?

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ZINWA’s house in absolute disarray

08 October 2008


ZINWA like most or all other government parastatal must have a board as the supreme advisory structure and which determine the direction and the constant evaluation of the technical staff at the helm of the organization. At this critical juncture, amid the turbulent storms of the parastatal’s chronic failure to provide water to the city of Harare residents and Zimbabweans at large, CHRA is informed that the ZINWA board was dissolved together with the cabinet in the run up to the March 29 harmonized elections. Mr Muyambo, the ZINWA C.E.O is currently at the helm of the beleaguered institution which has been characterized by a reputation of incompetence since its inception in 2006.


The absence of leadership at ZINWA which already suffer lack of capacity and acceptance has compounded the residents` water and sewer management woes since the level of leadership that remains has limitations in decision making. The water body has experienced massive brain-drain because of its failure to competitively remunerate workers. The few workers remaining at ZINWA are also reluctant to work as there is no adequate protective clothing and vaccines to protect them from contracting diseases. This situation has seen most high density suburbs in Harare being infested with raw sewerage due to unfixed burst sewer pipes.


The defacto deputy Minister of Water and Infrastructural Development has been calling for stakeholder involvement by ZINWA thus acknowledging the parastatal’s failure. He has desperately tried to divert the attention of residents from the calamities that ZINWA has brought on Harare through suggesting these cosmetic suggestions. CHRA maintains that this is something he should have been done two years ago. Politicians must swallow their pride and admit that the decision to hand over the administration of water and sewer reticulation services to ZINWA was disastrous in the least. If playing the blame game is all that the Minister can do, then that puts his credibility on the line. Residents demand long term solutions among which is the return of water and sewer management to the local authority.


The Combined Harare Residents Association would like to call upon the national political leaders to find a solution to the water crisis in the city of Harare and across the country. The crisis has seen residents plagued with a multi-faceted political and socio-economic crisis, resulting in outbreaks of diseases caused by water shortages and failure to access medical attention because of a number of related issues. CHRA membership has had frustrating experiences with ZINWA where the water authority has either shunned to  attend meetings organized by residents or simply ignored their complaints. The few times that ZINWA has responded to residents’ calls for meetings, junior staff who cannot fully respond to issues has represented the authority.


Harare residents have consistently called for the return of water and sewer management to the city of Harare local authority and have already challenged the councilors and Members of Parliament to push for the reversal of the ZINWA takeover. The current dire water crisis and lack of effective sewer management which has resulted in scores of people dying and the rest constantly facing the risk of cholera and other related illnesses continue unabated and the residents need the brunt offloaded their shoulders while ZINWA has more internal than external problems to deal with. The parastatal can not deliver; suffice to say that the critical services it purportedly offers should be assigned accordingly.



Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and


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The power sharing agreement who needed it most

Gibson Nyambayo

Following the historic signing of the power sharing agreement, a lot has
been said and written. A lot of questions have been asked. A lot of answers
have been given. Still a lot of unanswered questions remain.

 There is confusion. There is hope in the confusion. People have suffered.
They have suffered enough. They want a respite now. They are now tired of
the political bickering by their leaders. They need their lives back. They
want their dignity back. They want their sacred rights to be respected, with
or without a deal.

 People know ,they know for sure that someone benefited from the power deal.
They are yet to see the benefit themselves, if ever that is going to happen.
They  all are bound by the same thin thread of hope, a hope for a better
future. Hope in a hopeless situation.

There seems to be some agreement, some agreement that the deal is one sided.
A few will benefit from it.  The epicenter of all these disagreements and
confusion is the subject of my analysis. A few have wrote about it. Very few
are willing to do so. Many fear they will be branded chronic pessimists. The
analysis will be centered on the question central to this. The big question
is:  Who needed and benefited from the deal? A few have wrote on this
subject. .

Whilst not taking anything from Zimbabwean media people, it is unfortunate
and equally disturbing that none in the media fraternity took his or her
time to analyse the forces behind the three parties to the signing of the
September 15 2008.

I will take my time to analyse all the parties to the deal and all those who
made it possible. With all due respect to the mediator, I will not mince my
words on his part, he lost it, both here and home. In match language, he
lost home and away.

The People Of Zimbabwe

They are the biggest losers. After speaking through their ballots in March
that they  wanted a change of administration. The people's will was usurped
by the military junta after the March 29 elections. The masses were punished
left, right and centre for daring to exercise their democratic right of
choosing their leaders  They wanted no more of ZANU PF. Enough was enough?
They did not want a power sharing deal. A complete and total change of
government was what each voter who voted for the MDC wanted.

They got nothing, nothing anywhere near that. They needed not the deal, they
did not hope for compromises nor power sharing or an inclusive government
whatever you may want to call.

That Mugabe won the runoff (one off) in June and should be recognized is
both mischievous, malicious and utter blackmailing and subversion of the
will of the masses. The ZANU PF regime won against its people. It won
against the masses. They won against hope; they were victors against common
sense and common wish. They scored a political goal against democracy in

The MDC's

 They lost it from day one after the March 29 elections. Facing victory they
didn't know what to do and remained an opposition! Mugabe seized the
opportunity with zeal and zest to cling on to power using all means
possible, necessary and unnecessary.

While the opposition was gallivanting across the continent and abroad ZANU
PF's killer machine was running amock in the rural areas and towns leaving
masses petrified and cowed into voting for the same leader they had
vehemently rejected in March..

When the leaders of the opposition finally came back from the honeymoon or
diplomatic offensive or nonsense whatever they called it, the tables had
been turned against them and were heading for a whitewash. They chose to
pull out or boycott. It was too little too late. Mugabe then claimed
victory, putting himself and is party in a stronger position on the
negotiating table. With the economy collapsing, the country facing a
possible humanitarian crisis, the regime had no choice but to call the
opposition for talks. Insincere though they were.

The opposition got into the negotiations with bruised egos, they negotiated
with some semblance of intelligence and purpose. Still they were beaten to
it. The SADC and AU pressurized them to agree. It was expected after the
Kenya style and that most of those who advocated for the agreement are
themselves dictators and despots. Omar Bongo, Eduardo Dos Santos, Gaddafi
the list endless.

After talking about talks, agreeing to disagree they finally put pen to
paper agreeing to give Mugabe what the people denied him in March, the
Presidency, legitimacy and credibility. The people lost. The MDC lost.
Mugabe and ZANU PF won three things every part wanted, the Presidency, the
Legitimacy and Credibility, all for free. Mbeki won it for them.

Mugabe and ZANU PF

They needed the deal most. They needed it for political legitimacy and

After the March 29 election scare, Mugabe and ZANU PF regrouped and fought
back for their lives. Resilience and bits of cynics paid off at a later
stage. With the state apparatus at their disposal, they instituted a
campaign of terror, killed and cowed voters into voting for them during the
June drama. The victory was double, they won against themselves and the
future. The scars of their reign of terror will certainly take years to dry
and they will be harshly judged in the next elections.

However, the ZANU PF regime won everything on offer at the negotiating
table. They managed to relegate the opposition into political spectators
through cosmetic lease of power. To say that it is a 50-50 power sharing
agreement between the parties is being insincere to one's analytical skills.
Mugabe won the power.

 Mugabe needed the agreement to win back the Presidency and all that goes
with. Mugabe needed legitimacy and credibility which were tied to this
political agreement. He needed the deal more than anyone else, however for
his selfish gains. He won.  The people lost.  Whether we want to agree or
not, whether we say that we must give the deal some chance, the fact
remains, Mugabe won and the people lost.


A difficult proposition in Africa said Mugabe at the signing ceremony. He
meant it. He believes just that. From Kenya down to Zimbabwe lady democracy
did not only lose but was raped! Dictators won against democracy. They won
against the wills of the people. When democracy loses against any leader, it's
the people of that nation who will feel the pain. Democracy seems to be in a
losing streak in Africa, we had our own time here in Zimbabwe.

Thabo Mbeki

The aloof African renaissance architect won against Zimbabwean people. He
wanted to save ZANU PF, he did. He wanted Mugabe to remain in power, it was
successful.  The current crisis is not Mugabe's faulty, he still believes.
There is no crisis, he said it.

The MDC must not be given any semblance of power, that's what he planned in
the power sharing agreement. He would serve and save Mugabe to death, he
lost his office partly because of his handling of the Zimbabwean issue. He
won though here but lost at home. The deal, he and Mugabe needed it most.
They got it and its benefits. The people of Zimbabwe lost. Africa lost.
Democracy is the biggest loser.

Gibson Nyambayo is a former Students Executive President at Chinhoyi
University of Technology. He was arrested several times by the Mugabe

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You have to plant before you can harvest

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

Date: 08 Oct 2008

BULAWAYO, 8 October 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe faces yet another disastrous
agricultural year: with hardly a month to go before the planting season
starts, many farmers have not received the fertiliser and seeds they need.

Agricultural inputs are hard to find on shop shelves in rural areas, and
farmers in many parts of the country are yet to prepare the land for the
coming farming season.

Zimbabwe's hope of economic revival - after successive years of drought and
lack of investment in its controversial land reform programme - rests on the
performance of the agricultural sector, the backbone of the country's
industrial and manufacturing sectors.

The government said it would target 500,000 hectares of land for food
production in 2008 under a "Champion Farmer" programme, and pledged 10
million litres of diesel, 12,000 tonnes of seed and 450,000 tonnes of
fertiliser for selected farmers.

Champion Farmers are those the government has deemed productive and worthy
of reward. However, their numbers have not been revealed, and there have
been no reports as to whether any inputs have actually been delivered. For
ordinary farmers, this season is little different from the successive years
of rising fertiliser and fuel costs.

"The problem we are facing today is perennial; the government has not learnt
any lessons from the past," said Nicholas Nyathi, a small-scale farmer in
Nyamandlovu, which used to be a prime farming area in the southern region of

"We are now supposed to be preparing the land for farming - the first rains
are due in a few weeks' time - but we do not have any seed and fertiliser in
place. We are headed for the same disaster we have witnessed before."

Opposition politician and agricultural expert Renson Gasela has attacked the
Champion Farmer strategy, both as a concept and in terms of delivery. "There
are no inputs on the ground, and what we are hearing from the press is that
a lot is being done to assist targeted farmers, and those targeted are said
to be top farmers, but the number of top farmers is small compared to over
one million small-scale farmers around the country."

Urgent aid needed

Defending the targeted input programme, Morris Sakubaya, deputy minister of
local government, said beneficiary farmers should share the equipment and
inputs with those not on the government's scheme.

"The inputs and equipment the government is distributing are meant to
benefit all Zimbabweans, and the beneficiaries under this scheme should
support and share with those that did not benefit from the farm input
scheme," Sakubaya said.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, has
called for urgent aid to avert a humanitarian disaster that will affect
Zimbabwe before its next harvest. An estimated 3.8 million people would be
classed as food insecure between now and the end of the year, rising to over
five million - close to half the 12 million population - in the first three
months of 2009.

However, the UN 2008 Consolidated Humanitarian Appeal for Zimbabwe was
funded in September at just 60 percent of the US$394 million required.
Critically underfunded sectors include emergency agriculture and education;
funds for health, water and sanitation are also low.

"This is worrying at a time when the people of Zimbabwe urgently need food,
seeds, fertilisers and essential drugs, among so many other priorities,"
Holmes said in September. "While the humanitarian community must urgently
step up immediate interventions, I call on the donor community to step up
its funding in parallel, particularly to priority sectors and projects."

The inability of the agricultural sector to produce enough food, as well as
the difficulties of importing foodstuffs due to a foreign exchange crunch,
has contributed to the growing food gap.

"Spiralling inflation, deteriorating physical infrastructure, the inability
of the public sector to deliver basic social services, and the severe impact
of the HIV/AIDS pandemic have led to a decline in the overall health and
well-being of the population," the UN's appeal document notes.

"The erosion of livelihoods, food insecurity, rising malnutrition and the
possibility of disease outbreaks are putting the already vulnerable
population under further distress."

This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations

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Activists shout from the sidelines

Photo: Anthony Kaminju/IRIN
"We are better able to articulate the issues that affect other HIV-positive Zimbabweans"
HARARE, 8 October 2008 (PlusNews) - The new board of Zimbabwe's National AIDS Council (NAC) has a glaring omission: not one member is living openly with the HI-virus. AIDS activists have slammed the move, describing it as "discriminatory" and a step backwards in the fight against the epidemic.

The NAC was established in 1999 to coordinate and facilitate Zimbabwe's multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDS, and the board makes some of the country's most important decisions affecting the welfare of those living with HIV.

When the board's term expired recently, Zimbabwe's health minister, David Parirenyatwa, re-appointed seven previous board members and named four new ones, including the director of the Zimbabwe Business Council on AIDS; a gospel singer, and a member of the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council.

Martha Tolana of the Zimbabwe AIDS Network, an umbrella body for over 400 non-governmental organisations, who is openly living with HIV, raised concerns about the exclusion from the board of HIV-positive people, or anyone from a member organisation of the AIDS Network.

"The advantage of placing people like us, who are living with HIV, in strategic places such as the NAC board is that we are better able to articulate the issues that affect other HIV-positive Zimbabweans, because we experience them too," she told IRIN/PlusNews.

''We are only remembered when there is a workshop to be held, and the organisers want to use our testimonies to record and take to donors for funding.''
Joao Zangarati of the Grassroots Movement of People Living with HIV/AIDS warned that no response could succeed without the meaningful involvement of people who were directly affected.

"We are only remembered when there is a workshop to be held, and the organisers want to use our testimonies and life stories to record and take to donors for funding," he commented.

"After that we are forgotten, and remembered again when it suits these organisations. It is very unfortunate really. There can't be any meaningful interventions without the guidance of us people living with HIV and the sooner policy-makers realise this, the better for all of us," Zangarati said.

NAC director Dr Tapuwa Magure said there had been no deliberate attempt to sideline people living with HIV, and alleged that the "fragmented" AIDS network organisations had failed to "speak with one voice" and agree on the names of people to be put forward to sit on the board.

"The ministry of health and child welfare wrote to AIDS network organisations and requested names of people living with HIV to be included on the board, but there is a lot of infighting and we haven't received any names," he told IRIN/PlusNews.

Nevertheless, Otto Saki, the programmes coordinator of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), pointed out that "it is not too late" for the minister of health and child welfare to include HIV-positive representatives on the board.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Dictators become contemptuous of people

October 8, 2008

By Tendai Dumbutshena

WITH time despots develop contempt for the people they rule. Pampered and
deified by sycophants who daily attend to them they believe it was decided
in the heavens that they should lord over their people.

When Marie Antoinnete, wife of the French King Louis XVI, famously said: "If
they have no bread let them eat cake" it was a manifestation of the utter
contempt she had for the hungry and desperate masses.

Such contempt for the people is on display in Zimbabwe today. The masses are
hungry with over three million now dependent on foreign aid. Hyperinflation
and massive unemployment have plunged the vast majority into unprecedented
levels of destitution and despair. Health and education services have
virtually collapsed. There is an outbreak of diseases such as cholera due to
a lack of clean and safe water. Infrastructure throughout the country is
crumbling creating conditions of squalor. People continue to flock to
neighbouring countries in large numbers. The country has never been in such
dire straits.

What is the response of the ruling class? A cold indifference. The
indifference is only matched by the leadership's obsession with its own
power and privileges. During the last election campaign Robert Mugabe said
only God could remove him from power. Like the Kings of old he has a divine
right to rule. He is not answerable to the people of Zimbabwe. Elections are
an acceptable ritual if they produce an outcome that affirms his right to
rule. When the people rejected him and his party on March 29 all sorts of
horrors visited them. Now that he has what he believes is his right - the
presidency - he can proceed with matters of state at a leisurely pace and on
his own terms.

The so-called power-sharing agreement was signed more than three weeks ago
on 15 September. By now the following should have been done - constitution
amended, cabinet sworn in and the government up and running. Instead while
people sink deeper into the mire Mugabe plays games. His heart is not in the
agreement even though it favours him. He subscribes to the notion that power
is indivisible. All of it belongs to him. There is no government in
Zimbabwe. The people have to fend for themselves.

What is important to Mugabe is to get the ministries central to his rule. He
wants the defence ministry because armed forces underpin his rule. Power
emanates from the barrel of a gun. The ministry of justice is needed to
control the judiciary. Patrick Chinamasa has done a terrific job for Mugabe
in that ministry. The police have been reduced to a wing of Zanu-PF. The
party therefore has to control home affairs. The MDC controls too many local
authorities for the regime's liking. The ministry of local government must
be in Zanu-PF hands to subvert MDC -controlled councils especially in urban

The ministry is also an instrument to bully and bribe traditional leaders to
support Zanu-PF and act as its political commissars during elections. The
Holy Grail is the ministry of finance which together with the Reserve Bank
has become a cesspool of corruption. The Reserve Bank is now the cash cow
for the regime's many covert operations that include funding state-sponsored
violence. The bank and its parent ministry must definitely not fall into the
wrong hands. It is all about what Mugabe and his Zanu-PF underlings want.
What about the people? They should shut up and be grateful that Zanu-PF
liberated them.

Mugabe was in a hurry to get MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to sign the
agreement that conferred legitimacy on his presidency. Once he got that
signature things were going to be done his way. The arrogance which was
badly shaken after March 29 is slowly returning. Referring to the dispute
over cabinet posts Chinamasa said: "They MDC have always been Western
puppets. They want to steal power from us and that will not happen. We are
still in control of this country and they must accept that. We will not give
them more than we offered." He made it clear that Thabo Mbeki was not needed
to broker the issue. Having secured the presidency for Mugabe the former
South African president has outlived his usefulness to the regime.

The MDC's chief negotiator Tendai Biti condemned Zanu-PF's lack of good
faith and its "arrogant and contemptuous attitude." He is also quoted as
saying that it was a mistake for the MDC to sign the agreement without
resolving the issue of cabinet posts. Their mistake was much bigger than
that. They abandoned the principle of an inclusive transitional government
opting to be co-opted into an essentially Zanu-PF structure. That is where
the fatal error was committed. It is astonishing that Biti and his
colleagues ever thought even for one moment that Mugabe could act in good

Even now faced with Mugabe's antics they still have faith in SADC and the
AU. Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa recently said: "Zanu-PF now wants all key
ministries and governors' posts. This is the height of intransigence. We
appeal to the guarantors of the deal, SADC and AU to move in."

The MDC will soon find out the worthlessness of these guarantees.

Already at this early stage the MDC has started to pay for its folly. It is
puzzling how a party that has been at the receiving end of Zanu-PF's
shenanigans and brutality for nine years naively believed that Mugabe could
act in good faith. Without sincerity from all sides such a clumsily
structured deal is dead in the water. What happened to Tsvangirai's vow that
he would not enter into a pact of political elites? Yet he did precisely
that by signing an agreement that negated the fundamental principle of the
primacy of the peoples' will as expressed in free and fair elections. He was
duped into becoming a junior partner in what Kenyan columnist Binyavanga
Wainaina called "a government of the political class, by the political class
and for the political class."

Meanwhile as politicians squabble over the spoils of office the people
continue to suffer and the country further downgraded to banana republic
status. This week the UN issued an appeal for US$240 million to feed
Zimbabweans. A proud people who could for generations feed themselves
comfortably now suffer the indignity of begging for food. Their plight and
that of the country are not in need of urgent attention.

Not long ago on one of his foreign visits it was put to Mugabe that his
people had no maize to eat. "They can eat potatoes" he said provoking a
newspaper headline, "Let them eat spuds."

Next time he is asked the same question he can add that the rabble can eat
wild fruits as well.

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Zimbabweans must shun Mugabe's broom-boys

8 October, 2008

Several times, Zimbabweans have made efforts to correct the problems in the
country. And several times sell-outs were dispatched on the scene to foil
any possible success that farvour the people.

Vultures are frightful birds because they don't appear to amuse anyone or
anything. Their presence is a statement and an indication that something is
dying. Vultures don't just come; vultures only come to dinner.
I am reminded of the vultures after I read a news item that one Simba Makoni
is on the verge of forming a political party. I am astounded at such selfish
and self defeating maneuvers.

In March this year, Simba Makoni, Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube came
to the aid of dictator Robert Mugabe. These men postured miserably but
failed to hide what they really were up to.
In the end, however, and if we are to believe ZANU-PF, Simba Makoni managed
to symphony off 8 percent of the votes, enough to "deny" Tsvangirai an
outright victory and avoid the run-off elections.
Because of that silly move on his part, Zimbabwe witnessed violence on an
unimaginable scale and today, because of Simba Makoni, the country remains
mired in decay, rot, violence and abuse of citizens.

ZANU-PF went on to cheat the people and to hold meaningless elections with
only one contestant. It was surprising that a man proud as Mugabe was, could
shamelessly stand in front of people and declare himself a winner. When
desperation and rejection come together, schizophrenia takes residence.
And Mugabe's schizophrenic behavior has been running the country since then.

I applaud Tsvangirai and the MDC for going out of their way to seek a
solution to the problem that confronted the nation. In that vein, they
pushed and shoved to get Mugabe and his ZANU-PF to the negotiating table.
They then went on to make a big mistake and signed an agreement before the
negotiations were complete.
And now the nation is once again back to square one after having placed so
much hope in those talks although we suspected that nothing would come out
of the talks because the people were being left out.
Now the MDC admits they made a mistake and the nation is once again
tottering on its weak legs inviting the vultures already circling in the

It is clear now that Mugabe never had any intention to honour any agreement.
It was all a façade to buy time and hoodwink the international community
into believing that an honest effort was being made to resolve the crisis.
But Mugabe wanted to use Tsvangirai to have sanctions removed and to have
donors coming with money.
Thankfully, it did not work and we, once again, find ourselves staring into
the abyss.
We came close to achieving something and I would have hoped that we could
just pick up the pieces and try again. But Mugabe was never serious so he
brings his broom-boy Makoni back into play.

What, may I ask, does Simba Makoni hope to achieve? Who does he want to
replace? Or is he just a power hungry misguided technocrat who is peeved to
see the likes of Mutambara enjoying the unholy camaraderie with Robert
Who is funding him and why? What is it that he wants to do or achieve? He
must be a big joker for it does take a lot of courage to stand before the
people who just rejected you and tell them that you are preparing a new
political party for them.
But we know what Makoni is doing. He is trying to move attention from Mugabe's
handling of the agreement. Makoni is shielding Mugabe again. Makoni knows he
won't get any followers because the people made it clear that sell-outs are
not welcome.

If he is so keen on serving Zimbabwe, why doesn't he join efforts being made
by one of the existing political parties instead of bothering us with a
useless, directionless party that is only there for Mugabe's convenience?
He even has the audacity to call his grouping "a full-fledged opposition
political party". Who is he opposing, ZANU-PF or the MDC? It can't be the
MDC because the MDC is not in power. It can't be ZANU-PF because ZANU-PF is
an opposition party.
And laughably, his party's spokesperson said Makoni is owned by the people
of Zimbabwe, really?

They come to muddy the political landscape by spouting old manure about
nationalism and pan-Africanism. As the MDC eats humble pie and admits that
signing the deal was a big mistake, Simba Makoni returns on the scene and
welcomed "the all-inclusive government deal signed on September 15 between
Mugabe and the leaders of the two formations of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara". Why can't some people grow up?
The heart of the matter is that people like Simba Makoni, Welshman Ncube,
Arthur Mutambara and others should give Zimbabweans a break. These people
have caused so much damage to the nation and it is time they were put in
their place. Why anyone would like to form or join a new political party at
this critical time remains a mystery to me.

We should, instead, pool our resources and deal with Mugabe and his violent
Service Chiefs who have abused the nation and the people for so long.
Makoni and the others we discussed are defeating the effort that Zimbabweans
are making just because each one of these little boys fancies himself
president of Zimbabwe.

It is time Zimbabweans put these sell-outs in their rightful places and its
going to happen sooner than most people think. Zimbabweans are tired of
being used by meaningless chancers claiming to be saviours when, in effect,
they just want to rape the country like those they are trying to replace.
Enough is enough and Zimbabwe should show these charlatans the way out.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it
is today, October 9, 2008.

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Zimbabwe cannot resolve its crisis through the deal

Since the signing of the historic power sharing deal between Zanu PF and the
two MDC formations, most Zimbabweans have been waiting for the unknown and
uncertain like a pregnant woman. A pregnant woman is under constant worry
about whether or not she will deliver a normal healthy baby. She is also
concerned with the risks of miscarriage and still births both which are
probable dangers during pregnancy.  Zimbabweans have grown to be anxious
about whether the deal will work or not and most of them have been cautious
of the deal.

When looking at the whole gestation period, that is the negotiation process,
one realises that the period has been a painful, tiring and difficult one.
The way the negotiation process has been progressing can be compared to a
pregnant woman suffering serious complications due to the pregnancy. The
complications surrounding the negotiations can be seen as a cue of the
struggles and challenges people of Zimbabwe are likely to face as a result
of the signed agreement. There have been a couple of deadlocks recently on
the allocation of ministries and Mugabe is not yielding on the governors and
nothing has been said on the allocation of ambassadorial posts.  There is
still no common ground from the party leaders and one is left to wonder how
the government of national unity is going to function. There are serious
ideological differences between the two parties which makes it practically
impossible to believe in the capacity of the GNU to deliver people of
Zimbabwe from the mire that they are in. Tsvangirai who won the 2008 March
harmonised elections is still Mugabe's junior partner or a junior brother,
he still reports to Mugabe and Mugabe does not necessarily report to anyone.
He still enjoys a high degree of autonomy.

The pregnant Zimbabwe will give birth to a Down syndrome baby, a baby
without the capability to function or do anything for itself. . All the
expectations and hope will be replaced by disillusionment, misery and pain
and the people of Zimbabwe will continue to live in dire straits.

This entry was posted on October 8th, 2008 at 12:51 pm by Fungisai Sithole

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