South African mediators are meeting with negotiators for Zimbabwe‘s feuding political parties in a renewed effort to resolve the issues dividing the nation’s transitional government and hindering its recovery.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the talks will wrap up successfully before the deadline set by the Southern African Development Community, the regional intergovernmental group that brought the parties together in the Global Political agreement, or GPA,  that created the transitional government. But if President Robert Mugabe’s negotiating team continues to press issues that Prime Minister Tsvangirai and other opposition party members have no control over, reaching consensus may be impossible. And given Mugabe’s track record in dealing with his opponents that unfortunately may be the point.

The Mugabe-controlled Herald newspaper in Harare quoted one negotiator as saying the talks have foundered on 4 major points. These are naming a new attorney general and new governor of the country’s Reserve Bank; lifting international sanctions imposed on Mugabe and members of his circle; and silencing foreign media outlets broadcasting into Zimbabwe. Of these, only the ministerial posts are within the power of those at the bargaining table, and they are Mugabe’s representatives.

Lifting the sanctions is a familiar theme in the Mugabe mantra, proof if anything of their effectiveness in making him and other key members of the ZANU-PF party understand the costs of their destructive policies. The European Union, United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland, all of whom have targeted sanctions in place, have repeatedly responded that in supporting the GPA they expect actions, not promises toward real reform.

Foreign broadcasters such as the Voice of America’s Studio Seven and London-based SW Radio Africa, among others – “pirate radio stations” in the Mugabe lexicon – also are a long-running irritant for Mugabe that he has irresponsibly added to the unity talks. Foreign broadcasters are forced to operate outside of Zimbabwe because there are no free media there. Independent radio is banned in a monopoly of government-sponsored news, information and opinion provided by the ZBC.

If the Mugabe regime really wants foreign-based stations to stop broadcasting into Zimbabwe, let it release its grip on the media there, liberalize the press and broadcasting environment, and domestic radio stations will flourish.


The partial immunity from prosecution granted to the Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono through amendments to the Reserve Bank Reform Bill “is a safe exit strategy” for a man under immense pressure to throw in the towel, political analysts said last week.

Parliament passed the Bill after it was amended to include a clause that gives partial immunity to Gono or any employee of the bank “for anything done in good faith and without negligence under the powers conferred by this Act”.

Earlier in the week, ZANU PF MPs had threatened to block the Bill because they felt it was “targeted at an individual rather than an office”.

But the analysts said by agreeing to a clause that gives immunity to Gono, ZANU PF had, in a way, endorsed calls for the central bank chief to make way for fresh ideas.

They said ZANU PF can no longer bear with the pressure from both MDC and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the resolution of the outstanding issues to the power-sharing agreement with the MDC factions.

The MDC-T has been pushing for the removal of Gono from the RBZ accusing him of destroying the economy through quasi-fiscal policies and recklessly funding ZANU PF programmes.

A SADC ministerial team that assessed the implementation of power-sharing agreement between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations recommended that Gono should be reassigned to save the shaky coalition from collapse.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure said the immunity granted to Gono was to pave way for “a soft landing” for the troubled RBZ chief.

Masunungure said the fact that the immunity came through an amendment gives credence to speculation that Gono might soon be reassigned.

“This is meant to pave a way for soft landing and a trouble-free exit from the central bank,” Masunungure said.

“It’s a golden handshake for him and he will soon be reassigned to a politically invisible job where he will start a new life without being haunted by prospects of being prosecuted.”

Another UZ science lecturer, John Makumbe agreed but described the immunity as a “costly” golden handshake.

Makumbe blasted the MDC formations for making such a “concession” saying it was an insult to Zimbabweans who suffered at the hands of Gono’s poor quasi-fiscal policies.

“It’s dangerous to give immunity to a person who destroyed our economy propping up ZANU PF,” Makumbe said.

“I am furious about it. The MDC has no authority to grant anyone immunity.”

After granting immunity to Gono, said Makumbe, it will be a contradiction to prosecute all those fingered in a recent audit by the Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri.

In her report for the first quarter of 2009 financial year tabled in Parliament recently, she said members of President Robert Mugabe’s previous administration took advantage of a vacuum in government to loot state property.

The report revealed that state assets such as cars, laptops, computers, fax machines, cell phones and spares for vehicles were stolen by ministers, deputies and other senior government officials.

“Chiri has done a brilliant audit. What is Biti going to do to the ministers who looted vehicles and laptops when he is giving the chief culprit immunity?” Makumbe asked.

But Finance Minister Tendai Biti who at one time called Gono “the country’s number one enemy said the Bill did not provide immunity for cases of theft, fraud or a breach of the law.

“The new provision in the Bill simply says those officials who acted in good faith and without negligence will not be liable to prosecution.

“It does not say anywhere that where there has been theft, fraud or where there has been a breach of the law, the people should not be prosecuted,” Biti said.

The Bill, which faces further scrutiny in the ZANU PF-dominated Senate, will reduce the powers of the governor and restrict the bank to core business of dealing with interest rates, currency management and regulating banks.

The governor’s core function would be to chair a planned monetary policy committee.

However, the central bank governor would continue to chair the RBZ board.

Biti proposed cutting to two deputy governors from the four catered for under the current law.

Critics blame Gono for policies that crippled the economy, stoking inflation by printing money and taking over functions of the national treasury, including buying farming inputs and extending financial support to government departments.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe are locked in a dispute on how to share power, with the MDC-T leader accusing the veteran ruler of refusing to appoint a new central bank governor and attorney general as part of their political pact signed last year.

Mugabe has vowed that Gono will not be sacked.


President Jacob Zuma is preparing to intervene urgently in Zimbabwe as his advisers express impatience with Zimbabwean leaders for failing to meet to resolve their differences.

Regional leaders at summit in Maputo on November 5 gave the Zimbabweans 15 to 30 days to sort out their differences.

But 17 days later, the Zimbabwean leaders have not yet met.

Zuma’s international relations adviser, Lindiwe Zulu, said yesterday the delay was worrying and this had forced the Presidency to speed up its facilitation role.

“We have been engaging with the people of Zimbabwe since the Maputo summit and we cannot afford to miss the deadline set by SADC,” she said.

“The negotiators have to be serious with the deadline they were given and we hope to push them to meet.

“The facilitator (Zuma) wants the process speeded up because this issue has been dragging on for a long time.

“People from this side have been travelling to Zimbabwe to meet the political leaders and we have no option except to push for an agreement.”

Zuma was expected to travel to Harare on December 6 to assess the negotiations.

But reports from Pretoria suggest that he might go earlier if the political leaders in Zimbabwe continue to drag their feet on negotiations. Regional leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held a summit in Maputo on November 5 to discuss the continuing failure of the Zimbabwean leaders to resolve their differences.

This was after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), partially pulled out of the unity government to protest against President Robert Mugabe’s failure to implement agreements.

These included his refusal to appoint MDC officials to senior government posts and Mugabe’s demand that the MDC do more to persuade Western countries to lift sanctions against senior ZANU PF figures.

The leaders, including Zuma, gave the Zimbabweans 15 days to resolve their differences with a further 15 days’ grace before SADC intervened.

But the Zimbabwean parties have not met because the negotiators of the smaller MDC faction led by deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara have been overseas for the past two weeks.

MDC-Mutambara negotiators Professor Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga were also said to be out of the country.

MDC-Tsvangirai negotiator and finance minister Tendai Biti said in Harare yesterday that they were still waiting to hear from Ncube and Misihairabwi-Mushonga before they could resume negotiations.

“I am not sure when the negotiators who are said to be out of the country will avail themselves for the negotiations.

“We have not heard from them but I am confident the meeting will be held and we will be able to meet the deadline.

“Even if it means we have to work through the night when they avail themselves, then we have to do it. There is no going back on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA),” said Biti, referring to the agreement which created the unity government.

However Misihairabwi-Mushonga said they were back in Zimbabwe, although she refused to comment further.

“You can only speak to Professor Ncube, but we are back in the country,” she said yesterday.

Ncube could not be reached for comment. Tsvangirai’s MDC was bitter about what it described as a deliberate ploy to delay the implementation process.

It suspects that there is some connivance between the Mutambara faction and ZANU PF to delay the implementation process.

“The deadline set by the SADC troika for the resolution of outstanding issues has once again been missed because of the intransigence, mischief and insincerity exhibited by the political players who are not taking the plight of the people of Zimbabwe seriously,” said Tsvangirai’s MDC in a statement.

“For two weeks, Zimbabweans have waited in vain for the political gridlock to be unlocked.

“We note with concern that the body language from both ZANU PF and the Mutambara-led political outfit does not show sincerity and faithfulness to resolving the outstanding issues.

“The MDC expects urgent resolution of issues that have stalled the work of the inclusive government.

“We expect that all parties, especially those that have chosen to ignore the important time-frames, targets and deadlines set by SADC, should urgently meet and clear the deck of the outstanding issues that have poisoned the people’s collective journey of hope spawned by the formation of the inclusive government in February 2009.”

Nine months into the inclusive government, the MDC is complaining that Mugabe has still not appointed party members as provincial governors or to one of the key positions of attorney-general or Reserve Bank governor.

The MDC also complains about Mugabe’s refusal to appoint MDC deputy minister of agriculture-designate Roy Bennett, the slow progress in the constitution-making process and the continued harassment of MDC supporters and officials.

Apart from sanctions, Mugabe wants the MDC to stop foreign radio stations like the Voice of America broadcasting in Zimbabwe.


Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party on Sunday invited the African Union (AU) and a regional group to help break a deadlock in its unity government with President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai said his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was committed to the power-sharing agreement, but wanted to see more respect for civil rights, the rule of law and the implementation of political reconciliation.

Long-time rivals Mugabe and Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formed a unity government in February after months of wrangling but sharp differences remain over issues such as the review of the posts of central bank governor and attorney general.

On Sunday, the MDC’s National Council agreed that the AU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – which brokered the Zimbabwe power-sharing deal – should step in to break a deadlock with Mugabe on issues still unresolved under their Global Political Agreement (GPA).

“The National Council resolved that all outstanding issues be referred to SADC and the AU as guarantors to the GPA,” the MDC said in statement.

“The transitional government should also urgently deal with issues of governance, national healing, democratization and the rule of law,” it said.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe’s formation of a unity government in February raised hopes of an end to years of political tensions and an economic meltdown. But progress has been slow because of turf wars in government departments and the appointment of some senior state officials.

The MDC is angry at what it says is the persecution of its supporters, many of whom have cases pending in the courts for allegedly plotting to oust Mugabe.

The party has also protested against a fresh wave of farm invasions by Mugabe’s ZANU PF members and last week’s arrest of two independent journalists and a top human rights lawyer.

Tsvangirai told an MDC rally in southeastern Zimbabwe after the party’s national council meeting that there was no alternative to the power-sharing deal with Mugabe.

“This was and is the only practical solution for us to move forward and it has to work for the sake of all Zimbabweans,” he said.

“We are committed, and the others must show their commitment too by addressing what we are raising on political freedoms, rule of law, respect for the agreement,” he added.

The MDC council also said Mugabe – who has quietly refused to remove ZANU PF political allies he appointed to head the central bank and the attorney-general’s office – should allow government-owned media more freedom.

Western donors have demanded that the unity government carry out wider political and media reforms and release all political prisoners before committing funding.

The southern African country, ravaged by a decade of economic decline blamed on Mugabe’s policies, urgently needs cash to revive its stricken industries. It estimates it needs a total of $8.3 billion to restore the economy.


Following the Zimbabwean parliament’s passage this week of an amendment enabling the formation of a long-delayed unity government, another session Tuesday is expected to pass a bill creating a National Security Council that will oversee state security forces. Creation of the National Security Council was a key demand by the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai, which sought the panel to give the opposition party visibility into the functioning of the state security apparatus which was deeply implicated in deadly post-election violence in April-June 2008. But political sources say problems are cropping up again between the MDC and the ZANU PF party of President Robert Mugabe over the allocation of provincial governorships. The Tsvangirai MDC says it should name the governors of the five provinces it won in March 2008 general elections; ZANU PF wants five as well though it only won four provinces. The rival MDC formation led by Arthur Mutambara meanwhile wants the governorship for Matabeleland South, which it dominated in the general election.

Elsewhere, the Tsvangirai MDC formation has been rocked by allegations that seven of its parliamentarians including Evelyne Masaiti, tipped to join Tsvangirai’s cabinet, were involved in diverting subsidized agricultural materials intended to be distributed to farmers. The seven have denied the allegations. Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told VOA that the party will look into the allegations, promising that if they are found to be true heads will roll. A ZANU PF house member and one ZANU PF senator have been implicated too. In a judicial development with political implications, a Harare magistrate on Friday threw out treason charges pending against Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Tsvangirai opposition formation. The charges were brought against Biti for allegedly prematurely announcing election results last year and plotting the overthrow of the government. Magistrate Olivia Mariga dismissed the charges after Biti’s lawyers produced evidence – a recording of comments by a prosecutor – that the case was politically inspired. Defender Lewis Uriri told VOA that the conversation he taped reflected clear political bias by the state prosecutor.


Zimbabwean negotiators joined hastily arranged talks in South Africa on Wednesday in an effort to ensure a unity government is formed this month.

Party officials said their negotiators were called to South Africa on Tuesday, after the main opposition complained that President Robert Mugabe’s party was delaying and endangering chances that a power-sharing agreement, which has been stalled since September, would finally be implemented.

Last week, regional leaders pressed Mugabe’s ZANU PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to start making their agreement a reality Thursday in parliament by passing a constitutional amendment creating a prime minister’s post.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is to be prime minister and Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is to remain president in the unity government.

The regional leaders, meeting as the Southern African Development Community, also said Tsvangirai should be sworn in by Feb. 11 and the rest of the unity Cabinet sworn in on Feb. 13.

South African presidential spokesman Thabo Masebe said the negotiators were called to South Africa on Wednesday “to ensure that they are ready to meet all the deadlines that were set by SADC.”

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe is the current chairman of the SADC and former South African President Thabo Mbeki has been mediating among Zimbabwe‘s factions on behalf of the regional leaders’ group.

Zimbabwean lawmakers may not be able to meet Thursday’s deadline for approving the constitutional amendment. Joram Gumbo, ZANU PF’s chief whip in parliament, said acting Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa should have presented the amendment to parliament Wednesday, but was instead in South Africa leading ZANU PF’s negotiating team.

A lawyer for the top opposition negotiator, Tendai Biti, asked a judge to postpone a hearing set for Wednesday in Biti’s treason trial because of the talks in South Africa.

Biti’s trial is one of a number of court cases the opposition says were trumped up to silence its members. The opposition has demanded that such harassment and worse against its supporters must stop to create the right conditions for power-sharing.

The opposition also had called for a fairer distribution of Cabinet and other government posts after Mugabe unilaterally declared the most powerful positions will be filled by ZANU PF members.

Mugabe’s party and leaders of neighboring countries have said the opposition should first enter the government, then resolve outstanding issues. The opposition has largely bowed to that, but wants to ensure its concerns are not ignored.

The opposition said Tuesday that it had been told by ZANU PF officials that they could not take part in meetings meant to fine-tune the unity government agreement “because they have no mandate from (Mugabe) who is attending the AU summit in Ethiopia.”

ZANU PF’s Chinamasa insisted Tuesday that discussions were on track. Mugabe, in a speech at the African Union on Tuesday, said he was committed to forming the unity government.

On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told journalists in Addis Ababa that Zimbabwe‘s newly forged national unity government was an “imperfect” solution, and that it can only resolve the country’s political crisis if Mugabe made further progress. Ban also urged Mugabe to release political prisoners being held in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has been in a political crisis since Tsvangirai won the most votes in a March presidential election. Tsvangirai withdrew from a June runoff against Mugabe because of state-sponsored violence against opposition supporters.

The deadlock has kept leaders from addressing a spiraling economic crisis many blame on Mugabe, widespread poverty and food shortages, and a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3,300 people since August.


Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, will have the power to dismiss his arch-opponent from a government of national unity even though the two men have agreed to join forces in an effort to rescue the country’s ruined economy. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who will become prime minister, could be sacked for incompetence under the terms of a deal that leaves the 84-year-old president firmly in control. There were mixed reactions to the deal in Zimbabwe. Some feared Mugabe would use Tsvangirai, 56, to extend his power. Others felt that the opposition leader would neutralise the president. One opposition sympathiser said she was “hoping for the best but preparing for the worst”. Many nonetheless applauded the opposition’s decision, hoping that a unity government would unlock overseas aid, which is needed to rebuild the shattered country.

Western diplomats in Harare pointed out that development aid hinges on economic and political reform and Mugabe’s long history of reneging on commitments holds out little promise of change. The United States and Britain, Zimbabwe’s biggest aid donors, are unhappy that the deal leaves Mugabe in charge of security and the military and that he re-appointed Gideon Gono as head of the central bank, where Gono has presided over hyperinflation and monetary collapse. Britain provides £40m of emergency aid each year to Zimbabwe. That could be increased to £200m overnight if it is decided that Tsvangirai’s premiership will bring progressive government. One difficulty is that Britain and the US stated publicly in December that any government in which Mugabe served was unacceptable. British ministers now have a dilemma – do they eat their words and give aid, or do they deny Tsvangirai the assistance that he and Zimbabwe require? Britain’s decision is likely to influence other European donor nations. The US is in a less difficult position since President Barack Obama would not consider himself bound by President George W Bush’s officials.

The need for aid is acute. Zimbabwe is fighting a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3,100 and made more than 60,000 ill since August. The collapse of the health and sanitation infrastructure had made it impossible to bring the disease under control. In addition 80% of the population need food aid. The power-sharing arrangement will be fragile, at best. Half the new government ministers will be from Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, which led Zimbabwe to its plight. Tsvangirai’s authority will be severely restricted: Mugabe will chair the cabinet; Tsvangirai will chair a council of ministers. Analysts said it was difficult to imagine such a divided government taking the steps that the crisis called for. One particularly unhappy feature for the opposition is its failure to win control of the police. Under the deal it will share responsibility for the interior ministry with Zanu PF, an arrangement many see as unworkable. Mugabe retains control of the military and intelligence ministries.

Nonetheless, Tsvangirai won his party’s reluctant backing for the coalition at the MDC’s national council on Friday after coming under pressure from southern African leaders. His predicament was reflected in his statement that “this government will serve as a transitional authority leading to free and fair elections”. Mugabe has never acknowledged that the unity government is a transitional entity and considers himself president for a full term of office. One fear is that Mugabe will use the government to smash the opposition, which has been severely weakened by intimidation and internal rivalry. Tsvangirai will also have to manage without his adviser, Tendai Biti, who opposes the unity government and will not join it. Biti, 42, is in danger of being jailed on Wednesday, when politically motivated treason charges against him are likely to be revived.


It was all so painfully predictable. Leaders of SADC gathered in Pretoria last Monday to break the stalemate in attempts to form an inclusive government in Zimbabwe.

A communiqué was issued triumphantly proclaiming a breakthrough. An inclusive government would be up and running by February 13, 2009. Moments later the MDC issued a statement denying being party to such an agreement. It said outstanding issues brought before the summit had not been addressed to its satisfaction. It would refer the matter to a meeting of its National Executive Council on Friday 29 January.

Recriminations followed.

The MDC’s spokesman, Nelson Chamisa said in a statement: “It is important that finality be brought to this issue and therefore our National Council will meet to define the party position.” He was right. The matter must be finalized. This will certainly be the MDC’s most important meeting since its formation. It is decision time. The outcome of the meeting will have a huge bearing on the future of the party.

The National Council passed two resolutions last November and December stating categorically that five outstanding issues had to be addressed before the MDC could join an inclusive government. These were the enactment of Constitutional Amendment 19, the definition of National Security Council legislation, equitable allocation of ministries, the appointment of governors and other senior positions and breaches of the Memorandum of Understanding and Global Political Agreement. Add to this the abductions, torture, illegal detention of MDC members and civil society activists. For months the MDC held steadfast insisting on the resolution of these issues as a non-negotiable condition for joining the government.

The obvious question the National Council must ask is whether these issues have been addressed. Honest answers must be provided by leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his negotiation team. No spin. No lies. No vague empty promises. Only straightforward answers will do.

From the information available, including that contained in the official SADC communiqué the answer is an emphatic no. Promises were made that issues raised by the MDC would be looked into but none were partially or fully addressed. The MDC got nothing from the summit. If the party is to honour its own resolutions it should not be part of an inclusive government.

If Tsvangirai buckled under pressure and agreed to what was outlined in the communiqué he had no mandate from the party to do so. Honest and principled leadership demands that the MDC says to SADC thanks but no thanks.

There is no doubt that the road ahead would be a difficult one if the MDC rejects SADC’s decision. But their honour and credibility would still be intact. That difficult road is likely to lead to victory. The alternative, abject surrender to Robert Mugabe, would certainly lead to the death of the party as a political force. They should be under no illusion that this would be the fate capitulation would bring.

The last thing that should concern them is what SADC leaders would say or do. Whatever the MDC does these leaders with one or two exceptions will remain devoted to Mugabe. The MDC’s concern should be the people of Zimbabwe and its founding principles. That is what should guide the decision on Friday.

Since the year 2000 hundreds of MDC members have been murdered by the Mugabe regime. Many more were abducted, tortured, jailed and displaced from their homes in the cruelest manner imaginable. These were ordinary folk who under the banner of the MDC were fighting for basic freedoms and democracy. They were fighting for the right to elect their leaders freely. If on Friday the MDC throws in the towel and is essentially co-opted into Mugabe’s government these people would have died and suffered in vain.

They will have every right to be bitter and angry. They will know that that at a critical juncture in the struggle for democracy leaders in whom they had invested so much trust betrayed them. They abandoned them to join Mugabe at the high table to eat whatever he gave them from his plate. That for selfish reasons disguised as national interest they breathed life into an ailing brutal dictatorship. They will never forget or forgive such treachery.

Furthermore the MDC must ask itself what it can achieve in a government in which it will be marginalized and powerless. If they think they have seen the worst of Mugabe they are in for a rude awakening. They may be naïve and starry-eyed believing that the proposed government will actually work. It will not. Mugabe’s priority will remain the destruction of the MDC.

Shrewd as he is he knows that the MDC will pay a heavy political price for being his poodles in a government in which they will be mere spectators. When they are sufficiently discredited and weakened he will spit them out and call for an early election. At that point what can the MDC say to the people of Zimbabwe disgusted by their unprincipled alliance with a regime that has destroyed their lives?

A South African judge of the Constitutional Court once said that if you walk into a lion’s en an meet a lion you should not complain that you met a lion. If the MDC joins Mugabe in government it should not complain when he savages and humiliates as he will surely do. They will have nowhere and no one to turn to. One has to be a blithering idiot to believe that the so-called monitoring mechanism put in place will have any effect.

It is as worthless as SADC and AU guarantees.

This will be a government created in Mugabe’s image. All the MDC will get out of it are fat salaries and perks for a few in government. Once they are in and the enormity of their error and its fatal political consequences become obvious it will be too late. They would have lost the lifeblood of their party – the support of Zimbabweans.

There are those who argue that the MDC has no alternative to joining this government. What utter rubbish. The alternative is to continue the struggle for freedom, justice and democracy.  If the MDC leadership no longer has the stomach for the struggle it should say so. They should not tell people lies. None of their demands were met or will ever be met. Joining under such circumstances is capitulation.

No amount of spin or lies can cover that.

Nationalists who fought for Zimbabwe’s independence including Mugabe rejected solutions offered by successive white governments that fell far short of their core demands. Nobody said then that they had no alternative but to cave in. The alternative was to continue with the fight for African self-rule until it was achieved.

Mugabe is holding a big noose for Tsvangirai to put his head and neck through it. Then he will be throttled politically speaking. All for an empty title and trinkets. The GPS as it stands is a fatal trap set for the MDC. It will be incredible folly to walk right into it with eyes wide open. The Mugabe regime is at its weakest. It is barely surviving. Any opposition worth anything would hasten its quietus.

To throw it a lifeline while triggering your own demise would be an act of unbelievable stupidity.


About  30 people were wounded when South Africa Police Service (SAPS) opened fire on a group of  about 1000 protesting Zimbabwean exiles at the on-going power-sharing talks at the Union Building, here on Monday.

Police fired rubber bullets at the protestors who wanted to confront Zimbabwean leader President Robert Mugabe, who is accused of running down the country and slowing down progress in the power-sharing process.

Those severely wounded were hospitalised at Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria with several dozens others arrested.

Among those that were shot included Patron of the Youth Movement of Zimbabwe, Reverend Mufaro Hove, was one of the victims shot on the back and shoulders as the group attempted to break into the Union Building.

Several dozens others, including 12 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) regional and national leaders were arrested, among them Thabitha Khumalo, MDC Spokesperson South Africa Sibanengi Dube, MDC Organising Secretary Philimon Moyo and his deputy Rodgers Mudarikwa including the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition Acting Coordinator for South Africa, Nixon (Mao” Nyikadzino were arrested arrested during the demonstration.

Hove and dozens of other Zimbabweans were hospitalised at Tshwane District Hospital.

“We wanted to break into the Union Building to confront Mugabe. The police reacted swiftly and started firing rubber bullets at us. Women and children were injured,” said Hove.

About 1 000 refugees from the troubled southern African country staged a demonstration outside the Union Building on Monday morning protesting the delays in resolving the crisis and demanding the removal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chief mediator, Thabo Mbeki.

The protestors, among them members of the Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition (South Africa Chapter), Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) and several other civic society organisations danced and sang at the venue of the talks demanding the stepping down of Mbeki, whom they accuse of siding with Mugabe in the power-sharing talks.

In a brief interview with CAJ News this morning, MDC spokesperson for South Africa, Sibanengi Dube, said Zimbabweans were fed up with Mbeki’s open bias towards Mugabe’s ZANU PF in the negotiations with the MDC .

“The protesting Zimbabweans here are sending a clear message to the SADC leaders that they are sick and tired of Mbeki’s antics. Our message should be correctly taken to the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) for further discussion with a view to finding a lasting solution to this problem.

“We are saying to Mbeki, ‘please, you have failed, so go in peace and leave us alone’. We do appreciate what he did in making the two warring parties meet, but this has been done in bad faith with a view to re-invigorate Mugabe,” said Dube.

Hove earlier told CAJ News that Mugabe’s government had turned Zimbabwe into a failed state.

“The talks being mediated by Mbeki will not yield anything. This is the reason we are calling for both the United Nations and the African Union to intervene. We need a solution now or else Mbeki should be removed from being the SADC chief mediator because of his bias towards ZANU PF,” said Hove.

Mugabe leads the ZANU PF delegation at the extra-ordinary summit of SADC, which is hoping to bring the MDC formations led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara to agree to work with the country’s ruling party in a government of national unity.


Zimbabwe‘s main opposition party said on Tuesday it was doubtful another regional summit next week would rescue a fragile power-sharing pact between President Robert Mugabe and his rivals.

Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai failed to reach a deal on forming a unity government at a meeting on Monday which was attended by regional leaders.

They agreed to try again to break the deadlock at a summit in either Botswana or South Africa next week held by the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC). But the MDC said hopes for success were slim.

“We are doubtful whether SADC will be able to deal with this issue,” MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told Reuters.

A unity government is seen as the best chance of preventing total collapse in once prosperous Zimbabwe, where prices double every day and more than 2 000 people have died in a cholera epidemic.

But, a September power-sharing agreement has stalled amid fighting over who should control key ministries and regional leaders have failed to secure a compromise, despite international calls for stronger action.

Mugabe’s government accuses Tsvangirai of frustrating efforts to form a new government but the MDC says Mugabe’s ZANU PF is trying to relegate it to being a junior partner and has vowed not to join any new administration if its demands are not met.

These include control of powerful ministries such as finance, home affairs and information.

“We cannot afford to be in an inclusive government where we don’t feel included,” Chamisa said.

Tsvangirai won a presidential election last March but by too few votes for an outright victory. He pulled out of the subsequent run-off, citing violence against MDC supporters.


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