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The end of the beginning

David Coltart

Nine years to the day since I stood with Morgan Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda,
Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube and many other patriots on the 11th September
1999 at Rufaro Stadium to launch the MDC a deal has been agreed in Harare
tonight to bring to an end 28 years of brutal Zanu PF rule.

The bare bones of the deal are as follows. Constitutional amendment 19 will
shortly be moved in Parliament. It will enable to the setting up of an
inclusive Government which in turn will initiate an all inclusive process of
Constitutional reform (which will include civil society). That process will
last 18 months by which time a new democratic Constitution must be
implemented, which will also include a time frame for new elections at some
point to be conducted in terms of the new Constitution.

The inclusive Government will have Robert Mugabe as President with greatly
reduced powers to those he enjoys today. There will be two, largely
ceremonial, Vice Presidents from Zanu PF. Morgan Tsvangirai will be Prime
Minister. Although he does not have absolute power he does have substantial
power. For example he will advise Mugabe on all future appointments
including Judges, Ambassadors and the like. There will be two Deputy Prime
Ministers, one from MDC T and one from MDC M.

There will be a slightly cumbersome arrangement for conducting Government
business which is the essence of the compromise agreed to following the
impasse of the last 4 weeks. Cabinet will be chaired by Mugabe; Tsvangirai
will be the vice Chair. Then there will be a Council of Ministers chaired by
Tsvangirai which will supervise the work of Cabinet.

The Cabinet will largely reflect the votes cast for the different parties in
the March election in which Zanu PF got the most votes (if not the most
seats), followed by the MDC T and MDC M. In a 31 person Cabinet Zanu PF will
have 15 seats, MDC T 13 and MDC M 3. There will be 8, 6 and 1 Deputy
Ministers respectively. Accordingly if the two MDC factions work together,
which they must in the national interest, they will enjoy a majority in

This is undoubtedly historic but we still have a long and treacherous road
to travel. Even had we in the combined MDC obtained total control the
challenges are immense. The grave humanitarian and economic crises are
enough to test any Government. The new Cabinet that will have to address
these challenges is composed of protagonists - virtually all of the Cabinet
Ministers to be appointed by the MDC T and M have at some stage in the last
9 years been brutalized on the instructions of those they will now have to
work with. Zimbabwe remains highly polarised and it will take statesmanship
on all sides to make this work.

But work this must. Zimbabwe is a great country with a tremendous future and
it can and will get through to a new dawn of freedom. The night is not over
yet but as the great poet Arthur Hugh Clough wrote:

 " In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
 But westward look , the land is bright".

Winston Churchill said after the Battle of Egypt on the 10 November 1942 the
following memorable words:

"Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is
perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Those words are apt today. This has been a long hard struggle and there have
been many casualties. It is not over yet - there are many battles which
still lie ahead - but I am confident that this agreement, imperfect as it
is, marks a significant step forward and will ultimately yield a new,
democratic, vibrant jewel in Africa - our great Zimbabwe!

God bless you all and God bless Zimbabwe.

Senator David Coltart
11th September 2008

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Details of deal leak out of Rainbow Towers

September 12, 2008

By Our Correspondent

THE KEY elements of the landmark deal to be signed on Monday were leaked to
the press Thursday by sources close to the negotiations soon after President
Thabo Mbeki addressed a press conference at the Rainbow Towers at the end of
the marathon negotiations.

Appointed by the SADC, Mbeki presided over negotiations seeking to establish
common ground between Zimbabwe's major political parties Zanu-PF and the
mainstream Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC) as well as a small
breakaway faction of the same party. The objective of the talks was to bring
an end to Zimbabwe's long-standing political crisis and current state of
economic collapse.

In terms of the agreement Robert Mugabe, president of Zanu-PF will retain
his position as President of Zimbabwe with two vice-presidents, also from
Zanu PF and presumably the current incumbents, Joseph Msika and Joyce
Mujuru. As the head of state and government, Mugabe will chair a Cabinet
comprising 31 ministers.

The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, will be appointed to the new position of
Prime Minister. He will have two deputies, one from his own party and the
other from the breakaway faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara.

When the talks adjourned on Wednesday there was a deadlock over the proposal
by Mbeki that four deputy prime ministers be appointed on a rotational
basis - two from the mainstream MDC and one each from Zanu-PF and the rival
Mutambara-led MDC.

As Prime Minister Tsvangirai will preside over a new council of ministers,
and generally supervise the ministers, while formulating and implementing
policies. He will head government business in Parliament and also sit on the
National Security Council, the successor to the current controversial Joint
Operations Command (JOC).

The JOC was widely regarded as having usurped executive power from Mugabe in
the aftermath of his defeat and the defeat of Zanu-PF in the harmonised
elections on March 29. The JOC was instrumental in manipulating a reversal
of the presidential election re-run to ensure a "landslide" victory for
Mugabe on June 27. But his victory was dismissed as a sham in and out of
Zimbabwe after his only rival pulled out at the last minute, citing violence
and intimidation of his officials and supports during the campaign.

Of the 31 new ministries Zanu-PF will retain 15, with eight deputy
ministers, while 13 ministers and six deputies will be appointed from the
ranks of the mainstream MDC. The Mutambara faction will be allocated three
ministers and one deputy minister.

Another bone of contention on Wednesday was the distribution of
gubernatorial offices throughout the provinces. Mugabe had just appointed
six new governors while extending the term of office of another four. In
terms of the new deal provincial governors will be appointed from all three
parties. This means Mugabe will have to stand down some of his recent

To facilitate implementation of the agreement a new amendment,
Constitutional Amendment No 19 will be enacted in Parliament.

In terms of the proposed new electoral Act If a Member of Parliament or a
Senator dies or is recalled by his or her party within 12 months from the
day of the signing, none of the other parties will contest in the ensuing
by-election. The replacement representative will emerge from the same party.

A brand new Constitution will be introduced after a period of 18 months
while the new government to emerge after the signing of the deal on Monday
will have a life-span of a maximum of five years. As a precaution a review
of the power-sharing deal will be conducted in 18 months, and every year

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Zimbabwe opposition to have cabinet majority

Yahoo News

By Cris Chinaka 37 minutes ago

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's two opposition factions will have one more
cabinet seat than the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe under a
power-sharing deal, an opposition senator said on Friday.

Senator David Coltart, a senior member of the smaller breakaway faction of
the MDC, said in an email that Morgan Tsvangirai's main group would have 13
cabinet seats, ZANU-PF 15 seats and his group three seats.

This was based on votes cast for the parties rather than seats won in a
March 29 election in which ZANU-PF lost control of parliament for the first
time since independence in 1980.

Coltart said Mugabe's power would be greatly reduced under the deal and
Tsvangirai, in the new role of prime minister, would have substantial but
not absolute power.

Mugabe, who has ruled with an iron hand since independence, would remain as
president and chair the cabinet while Tsvangirai would head a council of

The latter would supervise the cabinet, Coltart said. He confirmed the email
to Reuters by phone.

Both sides said on Thursday they had reached a power-sharing deal after two
months of negotiations following a deep post-election crisis, but they said
details would not be released until a ceremony on Monday.

Zimbabweans are desperate for an end to a crisis that has destroyed the
economy, saddling the once-prosperous country with the world's highest rate
of hyper-inflation and sending millions of refugees into neighboring


Coltart, Secretary for Legal Affairs in the MDC faction of Arthur Mutambara,
said the deal would allow the creation of an inclusive government which
would initiate a process of constitutional reform lasting 18 months.

This process would end with the creation of a new democratic constitution,
including setting of a date for new elections.

"The inclusive government will have Robert Mugabe as president with greatly
reduced powers to those he enjoys today... Morgan Tsvangirai will be prime
minister. Although he does not have absolute power, he does have substantial
power," Coltart said.

He added that Tsvangirai would advise Mugabe on all future appointments
including those of judges.

Coltart said Tsvangirai would be vice chairman of the cabinet. There would
be two largely ceremonial vice presidents from ZANU-PF.

In addition, Mugabe's party would have eight deputy ministers, Tsvangirai's
MDC six and Mutambara's faction one.

"If the two MDC factions work together, which they must in the national
interest, they will enjoy a majority in cabinet," Coltart said.

The European Union is reconsidering whether to extend sanctions against
Mugabe's party in the light of a power-sharing agreement, the French
presidency of the bloc said on Friday.

"We need to study the agreement and assess the commitments of the parties,"
a presidency official told a news briefing.

"We will be considering this over the course of the day and the weekend and
we will see how and to what extent and there may be adjustments in the
initial draft conclusions," the official said of previous plans by EU
foreign ministers to announce an extension of sanctions on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Lovell in London, David Brunnstrom in
Brussels; Writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

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Is this the end of Zimbabwe’s $1000 loaf of bread?
Friday Sep 12 2008

News today that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have reached a powersharing agreement, brokered by South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki.

As the FT notes, the pace of economic decline in the country is accelerating daily, with the parallel market rate for the Zim dollar collapsing to Z$30,000 to the USD yesterday from Z$7,500 a week ago.

So is this the beginning an economic recovery?

JP Morgan seems to think so, at least in the context of mining company Mwana Africa:

It was announced overnight that a power sharing agreement has been reached in Zimbabwe between Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and the MDC. The details of the agreement have not been made public at this stage but appears to mark the first stage towards a socio-economic recovery in the country.

The market is likely to take this news positively and we expect Mwana to do well today. A material improvement in economic conditions in Zimbabwe and the mining industry in particular still seems to be some way off, given the extent of hyper-inflation and the loss of key skills to South Africa and further afield. Nonetheless, this announcement appears to remove the key obstacle to that process beginning. Our base-case SOTP valuation for Mwana is 43.7p/share, 72% above the current share price.

FT Alphaville put in a call to Harare-based independent economist John Robertson this morning, who’s rather more pessimistic:

“We do not know what the deal exactly is just yet. The fact that they are taking a few days to write it up is worrying. There’s a precedent, in 2000, when they were writing the constitution. What was presented to the commissioners to sign was different to what they had agreed to. But they were under pressure to sign, and so the constitution that was presented to the population in 2000 was not what the commisioners had agreed to. I can see this happening again in the next few days and Morgan Tsvangarai being under a lot of pressuure, especially from Mbeki, to agree… If [the ruling party] are clearly entrenching their own existing attitudes we’re not going to fix anything.

A snap shot of how bad things are in the country — half a loaf of bread, if you can find it, costs about Z$500, according to Robertson. And that’s after the redenomination that lopped 10 zeroes off the national currency last month - a novel, if temporary solution to inflation rates of about 11.2m per cent.

To complicate matters, Zimbabweans are only allowed to withdraw Z$500 from the bank per day — reducing daily life to a choice between a Z$500 half loaf or bus fare. Zimbabwe’s solution thus far? Get rid of cash altogether. Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank Governer, Gideon Gono, is quoted in the Harare Herald yesterday:

There has been an outcry from the banking public that the withdrawal limit of $500 is now very insignificant taking into account the rapid increase in the prices of goods and services.

He said that the cash challenges were a temporary phenomenon, which will pass, and Zimbabweans will look back and laugh at themselves.

However, Dr Gono said as a central bank their desire was not to keep promoting the use of cash but to transform the economy into a cashless one as the country is the only one where the demand for cash continues to go up.

“We are desirous of promoting a cashless society that is in conformity with best economic practices,” he said.

He added that they were keen to follow in the footsteps of other countries, which had now abandoned the use of cash and cheques and are now using plastic money such as credit and cash cards.

From bartering to credit cards then, with barrels of meaningless cash in between. The mad markets of Zim continue…

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Robert Mugabe profile

Mugabe's decision to push through forced land seizures led to disaster for
Zimbabwe's economy

Mark Tran,
Friday September 12 2008 10:01 BST

Robert Mugabe, 84, has been nothing if not tenacious in trying to cling on
to power despite his long descent into pariah status for having wrecked what
was once one of Africa's brightest hopes.

Mugabe made his name in the 1970s as a guerrilla leader fighting the white
regime of Ian Smith. After months of negotiations, the 1979 Lancaster House
agreement paved the way for Mugabe, leader of the Zanu-PF party, to take
charge of what was then Rhodesia - which means he has been in power for
almost three decades.

He initially built a coalition government with Joshua Nkomo, whose Zapu
forces had also fought the Smith government. But the discovery of arms at
Zapu-owned houses led to Nkomo's dismissal. A brutal crackdown on Zapu
supporters followed, negating early political promises of unity and

Mugabe's authoritarian streak has hardened over the years: critics are
dismissed as "traitors and sell-outs", terms that hark back to the guerrilla
war, when such denunciations amounted to a death sentence.

In a long career, Mugabe's decision to push through forced land seizures in
2000 will be seen as a particularly fateful one. The measure was designed to
shore up his waning popularity and reward Zanu veterans of the independence

The strategy was politically cynical and economically disastrous. It wrecked
what had been one of Africa's most diversified economies as land was seized
from white farmers and handed over to political cronies, many of whom had no
idea how to run a farm. Tobacco and food exports slumped and the economy
plunged into freefall.

Mugabe rarely gives interviews to independent journalists but spoke for two
and a half hours to Heidi Holland last December for her book Dinner with

She concluded that Mugabe was profoundly out of touch, surrounded by
sycophants too scared to tell him the truth about the dire state of

When Holland suggested that the economy was in a mess, Mugabe angrily
insisted that Zimbabwe was "a hundred times better" than most African

"Outside South Africa, what country is like Zimbabwe?" Mugabe said. "Even
now. What is lacking now are goods on the shelves, perhaps, that's all. But
the infrastructure is there. We have our mines, you see. We have our

When Mugabe finally fades from the scene, he will be able to boast of one
supreme achievement. The former teacher can point to an education system
that has given Zimbabwe the highest literacy rate in Africa, at 90% of the

Under the deal brokered by the South African president, Mugabe is not going
just yet. He will remain president and continue to chair a cabinet, although
opposition sources say it will be a largely consultative body and the real
power will be with Tsvangirai.

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Morgan Tsvangirai profile

Mugabe's harassment tactics backfired, enhancing the MDC leader's image as
someone with the guts to stand up to a dictator

Mark Tran,
Friday September 12 2008 09:41 BST

The details have yet to emerge of the Zimbabwe deal brokered by South
Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, but Morgan Tsvangirai looks set to become
prime minister, with real power to deal with his country's prolonged crisis.

It has been a long road for Tsvangirai. The oldest of nine children, he left
school at 16 to help support his family. By the age of 20 he had joined his
local textile union, and when he transferred to work at a nickel mine two
years later he had become a labour activist.

Over the next decade he rose through the ranks of the Associated Mine
Workers Union, becoming a branch chairman and later a member of its
executive. In 1988 he was elected secretary general of Zimbabwe's equivalent
of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the overarching body of the
country's labour movement.

The movement was still attached to Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party but
relations deteriorated along with the economy. The next year, Tsvangirai was
to have his first spell in prison - accused of being a South African spy.

He eventually became Mugabe's main political challenger through his
leadership of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.
Although heavily influenced by the trade union movement, the MDC
incorporated the church, business, women's and students' organisations and
other interest groups.

As Zimbabwe descended into economic chaos, Tsvangirai and the MDC stepped up
their challenge to the government through a series of nationwide strikes
that brought the opposition into more direct conflict with Mugabe.

Tsvangirai's MDC came close to winning power in parliamentary elections in
2000 and in a presidential vote in 2002. His credentials were questioned
after a serious split in MDC ranks in 2005, when he overruled a decision by
the party's leadership to take part in elections for the senate and ordered
a boycott.

Tsvangirai seemed a fading force after the MDC split, but Mugabe's tactics
of harassment and intimidation backfired and only enhanced the opposition
leader's image. He was badly beaten after he took part in a prayer meeting
that police claimed was illegal.

Mugabe said the veteran trade unionist "deserved" his treatment for
disobeying police orders, but pictures of a battered Tsvangirai did wonders
for his reputation as a man with enough guts to stand up to an increasingly
ruthless dictator.

In an effort to discredit Tsvangirai, the government accused him of plotting
to kill Mugabe ahead of the controversial 2002 elections. The prosecution's
case rested on the testimony of Ari Ben-Menashe, a Canada-based consultant.

Menashe testified that in a secretly filmed meeting in December 2001,
Tsvangirai asked him to arrange Mugabe's assassination. The defence team
said the tape was doctored as part of a plot to entrap Tsvangirai and the
court subsequently acquitted Tsvangirai of the treason charges.

While Tsvangirai's bravery is not an issue, there have been questions about
his political judgment and an authoritarian streak that was evident during
the MDC split. The world will soon find out whether he measures up to his

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EU rethinking wider Zimbabwe sanctions after deal


Fri 12 Sep 2008, 8:23 GMT

(Adds details)

BRUSSELS, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The European Union is reconsidering plans to
extend sanctions against Robert Mugabe's ruling party in the light of a
power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe, the French presidency of the bloc said
on Friday.

"We need to study the agreement and assess the commitments of the parties,"
a presidency official told a news briefing after the announcement of the
deal between Mugabe's party and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC
late on Thursday.

"We will be considering this over the course of the day and the weekend, and
we will see how and to what extent there may be adjustments in the initial
draft conclusions," the official said of previous plans by EU foreign
ministers to announce an extension of sanctions on Monday.

The 27-nation EU imposed additional sanctions on the ruling elite earlier
this year in response to election violence against opposition supporters.

"The fact that there was a power-sharing agreement doesn't exonerate those
who were guilty of committing violence," the EU presidency official said.
"They are not going to escape responsibility. You need to bear that in mind
as well."

The power-sharing pact follows two months of negotiations between Mugabe,
84, who has ruled with an iron hand since independence from Britain in 1980,
and former union leader Tsvangirai, 56, his fiercest opponent for the past
decade. The talks were brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

But it was not immediately clear what concessions Mugabe had made to
Tsvangirai, an issue that will likely determine how much financial support
Mugabe's Western critics will give Zimbabwe to help it recover from economic

David Coltart, an opposition Zimbabwean senator, said on Friday the two
factions of Zimbabwe's MDC opposition would have one more cabinet seat than
Mugabe's ZANU-PF under the deal. Mugabe would chair the cabinet and
Tsvangirai a council of ministers, which would supervise the cabinet,
Coltart said.

The EU had originally planned to decide on Monday to add more names to a
list of Zimbabwean officials whose assets are frozen and who are banned to
travel to Europe in protest lack of progress in ending the political
deadlock. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom, editing by Paul Taylor)

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Zimbabwe owes IMF US$135 million in arrears


      APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe owed the International Monetary Fund
nearly US$135 million at the end of June or seven percent of global arrears
owed to the Breton Woods institution by member states, the IMF has said in a

      Released on Thursday, the report said Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF
stood at $134.9 million in June out of a global total of more than US$2,052

      Crisis-torn Zimbabwe has defaulted on its payments to the IMF since
February 2001 and had its voting rights suspended in 2004.

      The IMF report also showed that two other African countries accounted
for the remainder of the arrears to the Fund.

      "Two members with arrears dating back to the mid-1980s - Somalia and
Sudan - account for 93 percent of total arrears to the Fund, with Sudan
accounting for 75 percent," the report said.

      Another African country, Liberia, cleared all its arrears amounting to
US$832 million on March 14, 2008.

      The arrears had accumulated since 1984 and following the clearance,
the IMF Executive Board restored Liberia's voting rights and its eligibility
to use the resources of the Fund.


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Zimbabwe Political Deal Offers Little Joy to Citizens

      The cost of goods in US dollar terms is also rising

      Masimba Biriwasha

     Published 2008-09-12 16:47 (KST)

Zimbabweans woke up to news that a power-sharing agreement had been reached
between incumbent President Robert Mugabe and the political opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai but many could not even afford a copy of the
state-owned newspaper that announced the news.

In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, many people could be seen peering at the bold
news headline in The Herald newspaper which read: "Deal At Last," and then
walking away, whispering among each other about the prospects of the deal.

"If they really have, and if it sticks, it will mean an extraordinary
alliance between Robert Mugabe and those who until yesterday were his
bitterest foes -- people who have been spied on, beaten up and arrested and
seen friends and family killed by his thugs," reported The Times newspaper.

The fact of the matter is that there are still many outstanding political
and economic issues in the country that require bold steps and a reversal of
previous botched policies implemented by Mugabe's government.

In particular is the land redistribution which government embarked on in
year 2000. Mugabe's government initiated a land reform programme that was at
best disorganized and at worst favoured only ZANU-PF party apparitchiks.

Today, much of Zimbabwe's fertile agricultural land lies fallow, and it is
not surprising that the country is faced with severe food insecurity.

Though the two protagonists in Zimbabwe's political drama have agreed to a
deal, ensuring equitable distribution of Zimbabwe' land remains a mammoth
task; it is literally a political minefield for both Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Moreover, in much of Zimbabwe's hinterland, political division and violence
remains the order of the day. Unless the new government institutes a process
of reconciliation, mayhem will continue to be the order of the day in the
rural areas.

Many of the officials in government structures either support or have
benefitted from Mugabe's party-political influenced policies. These will
continue to present a challenge to Tsvangirai's leadership.

In that respect, the so-called deal is only a tip of the iceberg of the
numerous challenges confronting the country.

There are fears among political analysts that Mugabe will swallow Tsvangirai
as he did his political foe and former comrade in the struggle, Joshua
Nkomo, during the 1980s.

"Mugabe is not to be trusted as he has proved on many occasions. He must
have no executive powers what so ever and the military must be neutralised
as they have sworn not to salute Tsvangarai and are responsible for human
rights abuses which disqualifies them from ever being a party to a "deal,"
commented a political analyst.

Whatever the case, there is little joy among Zimbabwean who are having to
cope a run-away inflation, pegged at over 11 million percent.

Even the US dollar has not been spared from the country's hyperinflation.
The cost of goods in US dollar terms is also rising; Zimbabwe has indeed
become both expensive and impoverished.

The mood in Harare is depressed as it is clear that the political deal will
not change things fundamentally in the short-term.

In the long, Zimbabwe's political players will have to swallow bitter pills
and also make difficult decisions in order to turn a new page in the
country's destiny.

So, while the deal has been reportedly signed, much, much more needs to be
done to make Zimbabwe a better place.

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Some unhappy with Zimbabwe power-sharing deal

Yahoo News

By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press Writer 35 minutes ago

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Zimbabwe opposition officials say some are
unhappy with a complicated deal that finally has President Robert Mugabe
agreeing to relinquish some power.

The two officials said the breakthrough gives opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai control of the government and the police force that has been
terrorizing the opposition.

Mugabe controls defense forces under the deal agreed Thursday night after
three months of negotiations.

The two officials said Tsvangirai broke a deadlock with an agreed proposal
for a Council of State made up of Mugabe and two deputies and Tsvangirai and
two deputies. Two other officials said some opposition leaders are unhappy
about the deal.

Two of the officials confirmed that Mugabe, 84, would head the Council of
State and Tsvangirai, 56, the Cabinet.

The officials spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because of a media

One official said the deal includes disbanding the southern African nation's
feared Central Intelligence Organization, which like the police comes under
the mantle of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and replacing it with a smaller,
more efficient National Security Authority.

It also gives priority to removing draconian security and media laws.

Under the deal, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change gets most
seats in the Cabinet, 16 to 15 seats for Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF. Tsvangirai's party gets 8 deputy
ministries, Mugabe's six and one goes to a breakaway opposition faction led
by Arthur Mutambara.

The officials said the deal is detailed in a lengthy and complicated
document that will take all weekend to prepare.

It should be signed Monday in Harare in the presence of South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki and other regional presidents who mandated Mbeki to
negotiate the peace agreement for the Southern African Development

The community and the African Union are to guarantee the deal along with a
joint monitoring council made up equally of members of Zimbabwe's two main

The deal calls for a new constitution to be drawn up within 18 months and
put to a national referendum. New elections should be held 90 days after.

And it envisages the transitional government would last between 2 and 2 1/2

Mbeki and Tsvangirai announced a deal was agreed Thursday night, but Mugabe,
who apparently was forced to compromise, has made no statement.

"I am absolutely certain that the leadership of Zimbabwe is committed to
implementing these agreements," Mbeki told a late-night news conference.

Tsvangirai said the parties "have got a deal."

The agreement was crucial to the standing of Mbeki, who has faced growing
criticism of his "quiet diplomacy" blamed for placating Mugabe and allowing
the country's long drawn-out economic meltdown to deepen.

Others, including African leaders traditionally reluctant to criticize one
of their own, have become increasingly impatient with Mugabe, the country's
leader since independence in 1980.

Mugabe is accused of trampling on Zimbabwean's political rights and ruining
the economy of what had once been the region's breadbasket. Neighboring
countries coping with millions of Zimbabwean refugees were among the
sharpest critics.

Tsvangirai's party won the most votes in legislative and presidential
elections in March, but he did not win enough to avoid a runoff against
Mugabe. An onslaught of state-sponsored violence against Tsvangirai's
supporters forced him to drop out of the presidential runoff.

Mugabe kept Tsvangirai's name on the ballot and was declared the
overwhelming winner of a June runoff widely denounced as a sham.

Much of Mugabe's popularity at home and across the continent is linked to
his image as a fighter for liberation from white rule and a proud African
unafraid to defy the West. Tsvangirai, who lacks Mugabe's anti-colonial
credentials, has said Zimbabwe needs to work with the West to overcome its

A political settlement would free the leaders to address Zimbabwe's severe
economic problems - which include having the world's highest inflation rate
and chronic food and fuel shortages.

Foreign investors have been wary because of the political uncertainty.
Western governments are poised to help with grants and loans, but will not
deal with Mugabe, who they denounce as a dictator.

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Civil Society Demands Zero Impunity in Transitional Justice

SW Radio Africa (London)

11 September 2008
Posted to the web 12 September 2008

Alex Bell

Civil society groups on Thursday reiterated the call for transitional
justice as a 'critical remedy' to massive human rights abuses in Zimbabwe,
and have made a joint demand for no impunity for rights abusers.

According to a statement released by the National Association of Non
Governmental Organisations (NANGO) on Thursday, transitional justice in the
Zimbabwean context refers to the 'pursuit of comprehensive justice during
times of political transition' through certain strategies.

NANGO explained that such strategies include 'retributive justice,' and
'truth seeking' to create a more just and democratic future in Zimbabwe. The
association and the broader Zimbabwean Civil society, including the Human
Rights NGO Forum, have listed a set of demands for a transitional justice
process - including no impunity for crimes against humanity, torture and
gender based violence.

The groups have also called for a Truth Seeking Inquiry 'as a foundation for
closure, reconciliation and healing.' NANGO's Farai Ngirande told Newsreel
on Thursday that truth and closure are of extreme importance for the victims
and survivors of human rights abuses, and argued that a Truth Seeking
Inquiry will 'guarantee that victims are given the opportunity to bear

Ngirande said perpetrators of rights abuses in Zimbabwe need to be held
accountable so that Zimbabweans can build a future based on 'fundamental
rights and freedoms and respect for the rule of law.' He said impunity must
not reign in Zimbabwe because of the precedent it will set for the country's

But Ngirande also expressed frustration that any deal between ZANU PF and
the MDC will likely include a form of immunity for abusers under Robert
Mugabe's regime. He said such a deal is an 'injustice to the people,' and
said that disempowering them in this way is yet another rights violation.

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Politicisation of Food Continues in Spite of Talks

SW Radio Africa (London)

11 September 2008
Posted to the web 12 September 2008

Violet Gonda

It's reported a deal between the political rivals in Zimbabwe is imminent,
while many Zimbabweans wait anxiously for an end to the political process
that has dragged on for months.

It is widely believed that ZANU PF and the two MDC formations are finally
set to seal a power sharing deal. But the question remains, how sincere will
the political parties be, especially ZANU PF, when a simple issue like
allowing the population access to food is still being politicised?

The reality is Zimbabweans continue to face starvation while much needed
food is still being blocked in some parts of the country, even though the
government recently relaxed restrictions on food distribution. There are
reports that in some areas ZANU PF activists are still insisting that NGOs
distribute food through them.

Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme, who visited the Gokwe area recently says
only ZANU PF supporters are being given the opportunity to purchase scarce
commodities under the Basic Commodities Supply Side Initiative (BACOSSI).

Saungweme said known MDC cadres are being excluded from buying food and the
Catholic Church's 'CADEC' program is being hindered by war veterans,
resulting in several residents who had received food handouts and blankets,
being forced to return the blankets to CADEC.

The same scenario prevails in Zimudabule (Ward 12), Umguza where residents
suspected to be MDC supporters have been denied the right to purchase
groceries under the BACOSSI facility. They were told "lithini ngathi
njengoba selivhotele uTsvangirai," - what do you say about us since you have
voted for Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, the Voice of America's Studio 7 reported that work by Aid
agencies in Masvingo is being disrupted by the militia and war veterans,
despite the lifting of the food aid ban. According to the radio station, war
veterans chased away Red Cross workers attempting to follow up on people
displaced by post-election violence. It's reported Care International is
also among the groups feeling pressure from the war veterans and militia.

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Proposal for a "win-win" solution to crisis

September 12, 2008

By Geoffrey Nyarota

(This article, originally published in the Financial Gazette of June 8,
2006, is re-printed here in the public interest.)

I NORMALLY have a jaundiced view of politicians who are in the habit of
making profound statements in the national interest while standing on
podiums in foreign lands.

President Robert Mugabe has become a past master in this regard, as he
occasionally makes known his new thinking on the sensitive but pertinent
issue of his retirement from office during trips abroad. He grants
interviews to foreign journalists while travelling in distant lands or to
the few foreign journalists fortunate enough to be allowed to interview him
in his office in Munhumutapa Building, much to the chagrin of local

Particularly embarrassed are those loyalists within the government's media
juggernaut who tirelessly sing in praise of him. Through dispatches from
such distant capitals, Zimbabweans often get to know that their president is
indeed thinking about the prospect of either stepping down in the
foreseeable future or extending a little further his term of office.

The MDC appears to have taken a leaf out of Mugabe's book in this regard,
which is regrettable, considering that the party should be striving to shake
off the image, imaginary or real, of an organization manipulated by foreign

During a recent visit to the United Kingdom by the MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, his party's new secretary general Tendai Biti, made a statement
that made instant headlines.

Biti was quoted by Reuters news agency as having disclosed that the MDC had
accepted in principle a proposal to grant to Mugabe immunity from
prosecution for human rights violations, if that would help to save the
nation from further catastrophe.

Such a statement will no doubt incur the wrath of our compatriots in the
western regions of Zimbabwe, especially those who suffered the consequences
of the deployment of or witnessed the atrocities perpetrated by Five Brigade
during the Gukurahundi campaign of the 1980s. Also likely to take umbrage at
such a pronouncement are the hundreds of thousands who have been victims of
sporadic Zanu-PF-sponsored political violence since independence, including
the infamous Operation Murambatsvina and the millions who have been forced
to relocate into the Diaspora over the years as political and/or economic
refugees. They, as well as all upholders of democratic values and
principles, expect, understandably so, that Mugabe will be held to account
for the transgressions of his government.

The MDC's proposal was, in those circumstances, as daring as it was
unexpected among Zimbabweans who, in their frustration, now expect salvation
or a solution to their nation's political and economic crisis from divine
intervention or from the mediation of President Thabo Mbeki, president of
South Africa. Surprisingly, Biti's proposal is not entirely original.

As one who has been a victim of both persecution and excessive prosecution
by the government, I was stunned, back in May 16 2005, to read in British
newspaper The Times an article by Richard Dowden. He suggested that the
government of Mugabe's nemesis, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, eats
humble pie and deals directly with the Zimbabwean leader.

"There is a chance of an internal deal that may involve immunity for past
crimes," Dowden postulated. "Zimbabwe may be one of the places where justice
has to be delayed - perhaps until the next world - for the sake of peace."

Part of my revulsion to Dowden's proposal was that it was coming from a
foreigner. "Perfidious Albion," I said to myself.

This time around, a year later and with Zimbabwe's inflation now well over
the 1 000 percent mark, on the back of a precipitous socio- economic
meltdown, and with the same proposal now coming from Zimbabwe's most
influential opposition party, I paid more attention.

I have heard this proposal propounded by Zimbabweans in numerous private
conversations, but never in public, apart perhaps from the daring
articulation of the late university don and Financial Gazette columnist,
Professor Masipula Sithole. Zimbabweans have become renowned for their
magnanimity. In 1980 they pardoned Rhodesian rebel Prime Minister, Ian
Douglas Smith, whose security forces committed untold atrocities inside the
country and in Zambia and Mozambique during the war to liberate our country.

Since independence a pervasive culture of endemic fear has engulfed
Zimbabwe. In fact, this terror has its roots in the violence spawned by that
war, which the rural population was forced to endure in the operational
zones of the brutal guerilla conflict.

The overwhelming sense of fear that has become a common characteristic of
Zimbabwe's political ethos after independence is a carry-over from that war.
Virtually every Zimbabwean lives in fear, prompting the uncharitable
observation of the citizens of neighbouring countries that we have become a
nation of cowards. Ordinary citizens, whether rural or urban, live in
perpetual fear of the state security machinery - the army and the CIO. They
are terrified of Zanu-PF and its own ruthless machinery for spreading terror
and instilling fear, the so-called Green Bombers.

In reality, the ostensibly powerful Zanu-PF politicians also live in morbid
fear - they are terrified of the CIO and the man to whom the organization is
ultimately responsible, Mugabe.

Rather paradoxically, the President himself, meanwhile, also leads a
terror-stricken existence. He is horrified by the prospect of the people
doing a Pinochet on him in retaliation for the years of hardship,
deprivation, cruel humiliation, violence and atrocity suffered by millions,
as a result of his government's retrogressive policies and actions. As a
result, Mugabe believes his own safety and security can only be guaranteed
by his continued tenure of office. It can't be sheer love for power that has
transformed him into a virtual prisoner inside State House for the greater
part of the last quarter century.

While it is patently clear that government has no solution to the nation's
many ills, notwithstanding an abundance of resources, both natural and
human, with potential to achieve an effective turn-around of our economy and
our fortunes, Mugabe will not step down because of a very real fear of the
people. The increasingly elaborate security arrangements around his person
bear ample testimony to this theory.

Meanwhile, our nation is held hostage to a problem that can be solved quite

Every other initiative, from foreign-sponsored quiet diplomacy to home-grown
mass action, having failed dismally, the time may now have arrived for the
people of Zimbabwe to seriously consider the proposed pardon for Mugabe.
Ideally, before it is implemented, Zimbabweans would be asked in true
democratic fashion and in the national interest to indicate in some of form
of referendum whether the majority endorses such proposal.

Essentially, they would be requested to choose between holding Mugabe
hostage in State House to the continuing detriment of the nation while
hoping to inflict punishment on him one day or releasing him on some
irrevocable guarantee of immunity so that we can get on with the momentous
task of rebuilding our nation and rehabilitating our wrecked economy.
Endorsement of the MDC proposal would result in a win-win situation; a
compromise in which Mugabe would be reprieved while Zimbabweans extricate
their country from his relentless and devastating clutch. A transitional
government headed by whoever appears to be Zimbabwe's most popular
politician currently, would then be put in place, with United
Nations-supervised elections being held at the earliest opportunity.

For Mugabe, just to be the beneficiary of leniency and clemency, when he
himself is intolerant and unforgiving and for him to witness the rebirth of
a nation with vast potential for prosperity and a new hope for future
generations would be a form of excruciating punishment. Once in a while,
Mugabe would be invited to tour places such as Kondozi Farm, with Edwin Moyo
on hand to show him thousands of happy employees once more working around
the clock to meet growing export orders. The former President would also be
invited to tour Tsholotsho, Lupane or other rural districts of Zimbabwe,
there to witness new development projects, with citizens, happily waving to
him in nostalgic memory of the triumphant guerrilla war hero that he was
before the onset of Gukurahundi. In this scenario, politicians such as
Professor Jonathan Moyo would be reined in so that their talents and
boundless energy are tapped for the benefit of Zimbabwe.

Incidentally, if Mugabe dies in office, he will still escape the punishment
for which we all clamour so stridently and persistently. Essentially the
options are that Mugabe either escapes punishment now through a magnanimous
grant of immunity while we proceed to rescue our nation or that he escapes
punishment through death in office after our country has deteriorated even

In the final analysis, Zimbabweans carry on their shoulders the
responsibility to spearhead the search for a solution to the current crisis.
They cannot relegate this onerous duty to Thabo Mbeki, Kofi Annan, Tony
Blair or George Bush. Zimbabweans must have pride of proprietorship over a
homegrown solution. The issue of amnesty could be a pointer to such a wholly
Zimbabwean solution. The solution to the current crisis must emanate from a
spectacular prescription, requiring courage and determination. But then, as
a nation, we have become prisoners of fear. The majority of the population
cannot articulate their views or concerns openly on such sensitive but
divisive issues as Gukurahundi for fear of being branded tribalists or
Mugabe-lovers. Ndebele subjects who campaign for justice on this issue,
however belatedly, do so away from public platforms, their campaigns
assuming the countenance of rebellious plotting against the Shona majority.

Because they are accused en masse of conspiring with or supporting the
Gukurahundi atrocities, the Shona majority have taken to adopting a negative
attitude to any initiative that seeks to address the issue of the
atrocities. This has engendered inexorable ethnic polarization in the
nation. The largely ethnic split within the MDC is a veritable symptom of
that schism.

Before we seek to distribute any funds in compensation for
government-inflicted hardship, let us first create the conditions for the
generation of wealth. Once our country is set on the road back to prosperity
and we have an abundance of resources we can then, acting together as a
nation, address a number of outstanding issues that are the cause of
disaffection among sections of the community. Such issues include the
prospect of reparation or compensation for those who suffered the ravages of
Gukurahundi, sporadic and murderous political violence, Operation
Murambatsvina as well as bombs that exploded under printing presses.

Demanding compensation today is a futile exercise, unless we expect Gideon
Gono to print more money for that purpose. This is the harsh reality; these
are the hard facts.

Bad timing and inappropriate strategy are the bane of even otherwise
progressive initiatives, as the illustrious Professor Arthur Mutambara may
already be lecturing to all who care to listen to him.

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Will power-sharing work?

Peter Hoskin 8:55am
The power-sharing deal reached in Zimbabawe is certainly an historic
development. It's hard not to conclude that it's a positive one too. After
all, the pro-West MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, will now have some role in
the governance of the country. Ok, he should have been made President back
in March, if democracy had been allowed to run its course. But, on that
front, this latest still seems like a step in the right direction.

But it's also difficult not to be sceptical about the deal. Details will be
announced on Monday, but early word is that we'll effectively be looking at
two parallel governments - Tsvangirai will be Prime Minister, chairing a new
council of ministers and looking after the day-to-day running of Zimbabawe.
Whilst Mugabe will remain as President, and have control of the cabinet. The
potential for deadlock and conflict between the two halves is immense.

If Mugabe's premiership has shown us anything about the man, it's that he
doesn't relinquish power willingly - and he wields it brutally. Will
Tsvangirai actually be able to end the repression, strife and violence in
Zimbabwe? Will he be able to get the Zimababwean economy back on the right
track? It's hoped that his new role in government will allow an
international presence in the country, to oversee these efforts. But it's
still going to be difficult.

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Central Statistical Office Still Working on Inflation Data

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

12 September 2008
Posted to the web 12 September 2008


The Central Statistical Office (CSO) said yesterday it is still working on
inflation data for the month of July.

"There is still work in progress for the month of July," CSO acting director
Moffat Nyoni said when asked about the availability of inflation statistics.

CSO, the only body mandated to release official statistics, last announced
inflation figures for June at 11, 2 million percent.

The Government department has conceded that it was facing hurdles in
compiling inflation data as a result data gaps.

Lack of data, especially for prices used in coming up with the Consumer
Price Index due to the prevailing shortages on the formal market, continued
to impact on the release of the figures.

Dubbed the country's number one enemy by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
galloping inflation remains the major stumbling block in efforts to
rejuvenate the economy.

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Warning to Internet Users

We have been asked to publish this warning...

Users should desist from trying to access the website of The Financial
Gazette. For many weeks this site has been infected with various forms of
Malware that can be very harmful to your computers. Today (11th September
2008) it is infected with yet another dangerous worm. Always use good and up
to date protection software.

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