Friday, October 31, 2008

Zimbabwe bishop says many churches have done nothing for people

Peter Kenny

Bishop Levee Kadenge. Photo: ©Peter Kenny / ENI

Geneva (ENI). The leader of Zimbabwe's largest functioning alliance of Christians says the country's main grouping of traditional Protestant churches and the African and global umbrella church organizations with which it is affiliated have been notable for their silence on what is happening in his country.

"The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has done nothing. The churches should have been speaking without fear of favour, just speaking on behalf of suffering masses of Zimbabwe. Their absenteeism is so pronounced," said Methodist Bishop Levee Kadenge, the convenor of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.

Kadenge was speaking on 28 October after a meeting held at the Geneva Ecumenical Centre, which houses the headquarters of the World Council of Churches. The ZCC is affiliated with the global church grouping as well as with the Nairobi-based All African Conference of Churches.

The Methodist bishop said it was difficult for the WCC and the African church grouping to speak up for Zimbabweans due to the stance of the ZCC, but that they could have done so if they had chosen to. He noted that 11 million Zimbabweans are suffering under an inflation rate in excess of 200 million percent, and that unemployment exceeds 80 percent, while millions of Zimbabweans live in exile.

The head of Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF party, Robert Mugabe who became leader of his country in 1980, is refusing to budge from power or to fully share it with the Movement for Democratic Change which won a parliamentary election in March, say Zimbabwean opposition leaders.

Asked why he thought so many church leaders had remained silent while Zimbabweans had suffered, Kadenge said, "I think it is a question of fear."

"If that means they are silent and they choose to be, that is their choice," Kadenge told Ecumenical News International. "But they can go for it. Truth bearers are not often welcome. The scriptures say so. If the ZCC wants it can stand persecution by talking the truth. If they don't want that persecution, that is their choice."

The bishop, who has been detained without trial five times by security officials and is scheduled to return home, was asked if he was not afraid to speak out.

"Yes I fear. God yes, I fear, I am a human being. I'm afraid. That does not stop me doing what I have to do," Kadenge told ENI. "That is the difference. If I say I'm not afraid, I'm dead. But I'm convinced there is a bigger force beyond me that takes care of those things."

Still he said, "Churches at grassroots level are very active and that is why the church continues to be there. But I don't think that is enough."

The Christian alliance of church leaders emerged in 2005 to provide humanitarian services to the homeless following the government's Operation Murambatsvina ("drive out rubbish" in the local Shona language), a forced eviction and demolition campaign that affected hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.

Today the ZCA, a grouping that includes Roman Catholic, Protestants, Anglicans Evangelicals and Pentecostals, says on its Web site, "The mission of the organization is to bring about social transformation in Zimbabwe through prophetic action."

Bishop Kadenge said the Zimbabwe people should be praised for never turning on one another and engaging in massive killings.

On 28 October, the MDC secretary-general, Tendai Biti. said Mugabe's party was not sincerely committed to entering into a genuine cooperative government under a power-sharing deal in September brokered by then South African president Thabo Mbeki.

The agreement to institute a power-sharing unity government has since stalled in a dispute about the allocation of ministerial portfolios.

Bishop Kadenge said the Zanu-PF party, which had been ruling Zimbabwe since 1980, should be making the most concessions in the negotiations since it lost the March parliamentary elections.

Kadenge said, "We were expecting that yesterday there would be an agreement signed…. We hoped people of Zimbabwe would be able to breathe fresh air … There is no trust."

Conclude the Talks - We are dying of hunger plead the women of Zimbabwe

Young woman in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe

Conclude the Talks - We are dying of hunger. These harrowing words have been issued in a statement from the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WcoZ) after riot police in Harare descended on hundreds of women peacefully protesting over the delayed conclusion of the power sharing negotiations between Zimbabwe’s political parties on October 27.

At least 47 women were arrested and over 100 were beaten after WcoZ had mobilised nearly 1000 women to gather at the venue where talks were taking place.

National Coordinator of the WCoZ, Netsai Mushonga is amongst those arrested and information reaching their offices said the group has been denied access to lawyers. “The major concern by women is manifest hunger, amongst other emergencies and the dire concern that failure to resolve the impasse will further exacerbate the situation,” said Emilia Muchawa, WCoZ Chairperson.

The situation in Zimbabwe is increasingly fragile after the recent summit of African leaders failed to reach a deal and end the political crisis. As ordinary Zimbabweans continue to suffer, many are turning to the church for leadership.

However, at a tray lunch on Zimbabwe at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, October 28 hosted by World YWCA and the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) a leading theologian and human rights defender from Zimbabwe said the ‘church has been burying its head in the sand’.

Bishop Dr. Levee Kadenge, Convenor of the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe and Director of the Institute for Theological Reflection and Liberation Today was a guest speaker at the discussion and was candid about the role of the church in Zimbabwe amidst the crisis. “There is a vibrant church community in Zimbabwe. On every corner of Zimbabwe, someone is glorifying God but the church has been burying its head in the sand and I don’t know why.’ said Kadenge. ‘If you look at God as someone who we claim to follow, when I look at the church in Zimbabwe and the world over, we are doing the opposite of what Christ came for; to liberate people, to show people that they can be themselves. In terms of the church looking at issues on the ground in Zimbabwe, there is a lot to be desired.’’

The issues on the ground are complex and along with the persecution and torture still taking place in Zimbabwe, there is a food shortage of catastrophic proportions. ''If you ask how are people surviving, then the answer is…miracles. There is nothing in Zimbabwe. It is not a question that we don’t have money. The reality is that there is nothing to buy. You go to the shop. There is no drink. There is no food,'' said Kadenge.

Kadenge is no stranger to the reality in Zimbabwe having been arrested four times for various speeches and publications that were deemed as anti-government. ‘ You have to understand the persecution and suffering we have gone through in Zimbabwe. During the recent elections, I couldn’t leave the house for 11 days before they took place. We were forced to vote.’’

Although Kadenge is critical of the role of the church in Zimbabwe, he admits faith has pulled him through the difficult times. ‘’I pray the church which I love can realise its mistakes. In all that has happened as me as an individual and as part of the Church, I give credit to God.’’

As the future of Zimbabwe hangs in the balance the World YWCA will continue to call for an end to the violence in Zimbabwe and for the protection of women and girls in the country. ''The World YWCA stands in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe and advocates for an urgent and peaceful solution to the situation,” says World YWCA General Secretary Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda. "Zimbabwean women must continue to effectively contribute to the critical decisions that define the future and recovery of their nation."

Local resident works on development projects in Zimbabwe

Sarath Peiris
The StarPhoenix

As someone who follows global events with more than a passing interest and as an editorial writer who occasionally pontificates on things international, I've been frustrated at the world's reluctance to intercede while Robert Mugabe and his thugs devastate Zimbabwe.

Although the horrors taking place in a beautiful land that once held such promise to be the role model for development in Africa seem far removed from Saskatoon, Sylvia Cholodnuik is determined that the plight of the Zimbabweans will not go unaddressed or be ignored.

Since she first visited rural Zimbabwe 15 years ago on a trip through Canadian Crossroads International, she's returned 10 times, acting as a one-woman development organization to work on small, useful projects in Tshelanyemba, a town south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city.

She found things were really tough when she went there two years ago, but after her latest visit in May, she says 2006 "seems like a gravy train."

Zimbabwe's economy was effectively non-functional, with inflation that reached 230 million per cent in July. The store shelves were bare, health care non-existent and the electricity hadn't come on for weeks. Bread has become a luxury item people cannot afford. While things are a little better in rural areas where people eke out a living from the land, urban residents are hopeless, hungry and desperate.

She first got involved with the people in Tshelanyemba in 1992 to set up a canteen and a bakery in the vocational training centre, which are still in operation.

Cholodnuik, who has worked for the past 14 years in student housing at the University of Saskatchewan and spends her vacation time on these development projects, isn't a registered charity and isn't affiliated with any religious group. However, her projects since 1992 have built school desks and a playroom in Tshelanyemba, installed showers and toilets for the hospital kitchen, replaced water tanks at the hospital, developed a school market garden and helped provide school supplies for primary schools in two other villages, Mazwi and Sun Yet Sen.

She returned from her trip this summer determined to send a shipping container of hospital equipment, medical supplies and school supplies to Tshelanyemba. She's working with Canadian Food for the Hungry International, an agency in Saskatoon that has the expertise in logistics to arrange the container shipment and to find and refurbish the hospital equipment to be sent to Zimbabwe. She's also working with students at Cardinal Leger, College Park and Lakeview elementary schools and Bethlehem High School to collect the needed school supplies.

Cholodnuik estimates it will cost $3,500 or so for the container, with another $15,000 to $16,000 US to ship it to Zimbabwe. She wants to ship the container by January and expects to be on hand in Tshelanyemba when it gets there in early May.

Various fundraising efforts so far have brought in about $8,000, but she hopes to raise the majority of the money at this Sunday night's special event, An Evening To Zimbabwe With Love, to be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Quance Theatre in the Education building on campus.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m. so you can grab a good seat to catch the lineup that features Eileen Laverty, Brenda Baker, Ricasso, Sheldon Corbett, Brent Taylor, Come Full Circle and the Saskatoon Soaps. There's also a silent auction. Tickets for the event are $25 and can be bought in advance at Carriage House Florists, Caffe Sola and the Residence office on campus, or at the door on Sunday night. She's hoping to sell about 230 tickets.

If you have a few hours and $25 to spare on Sunday night, this is a great cause to support. More information on the container project can be found at

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zimbabwe Church Leader Brings Struggle to Geneva

Geneva, 26 October 2008
By: Marlon Zakeyo

One of Zimbabwe's leading theologians and human rights defender, Rev Dr Levee Kadenge has arrived in Switzerland to give voice to the worsening humanitarian crisis and provide insight on the response of church organisations to the political paralysis in Zimbabwe. The firebrand retired Methodist Church bishop has played a crucial role in rallying religious leaders and organisations towards speaking frankly and openly against repressive rule, violence and corruption, through his work with organisations such as the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe, Save Zimbabwe Campaign and Ecumenical Support Service among others.

Whilst in Switzerland, Dr Kadenge will hold briefings with several leaders of international ecumenical organisations, Swiss churches and civil society, relief agencies and members of the press in Geneva and the capital Bern. On October 28, he will address a public meeting on 'The State of the Church in Zimbabwe and its Response to the Political Crisis,' at the Geneva headquarters of the World Council of Churches. Dr Kadenge is being hosted by the Zimbabwe Advocacy Office in Geneva and the World Student Christian Federation.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zimbabwe Pressed to Release 2 Activists

Published: October 22, 2008
Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of two women who were arrested Thursday for leading a peaceful protest in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, to demand food for the starving and the immediate formation of a power-sharing government.

The women, whom Amnesty called prisoners of conscience, were not brought to court for their bail hearing because prison authorities claimed they had no fuel, the group said. They are Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, leaders of a group called Women of Zimbabwe Arise.
The women’s lawyer contended they had no record of criminal convictions and should be released for disturbing the peace, punishable by fine. The prosecutor argued for a denial of bail on grounds the women were likely to commit more such offenses.
The magistrate is expected to decide on bail Friday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MDC seeks new Zimbabwe election

BBC News

Zimbabwe's main opposition party has called for new elections, if power-sharing talks remain deadlocked.
New polls are the "only way forward", Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa told the BBC.
Neighbouring Botswana has also called for new elections, after a regional summit on Zimbabwe was postponed.
The MDC and the ruling Zanu-PF agreed to share power last month but they cannot agree on the details. A BBC reporter says there is a lack of trust.
The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Johannesburg says the atmosphere between the two parties is absolutely toxic.
A summit in Swaziland to discuss the deadlocked power-sharing agreement was postponed for a week after the MDC insisted that its leader Morgan Tsvangirai be granted a passport.
He even refused an offer to travel in Swazi King Mswati's private jet.
The Zimbabwe authorities gave him an emergency travel document - which the MDC said was an "insult".
But chief Zanu-PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa blamed Mr Tsvangirai for the delay.
"Tsvangirai's failure to come to Swaziland seems to us to reflect his own reluctance or hesitancy to finalise and conclude discussions on the formation of an inclusive government," he told the state-owned Herald newspaper.
The Zimbabwean leadership seems to have failed to honour the agreement
Phando SkelemaniBotswana's foreign minister

Mr Chamisa said the talks were in a "very precarious position".
"People are suffering. The humanitarian situation... is dire. We need to respond to these challenges but we can't if we are locked up in endless negotiations," he told the BBC.
The power-sharing deal was supposed to resurrect the collapsing economy.
Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate - 231,000,000% - and donors say half the population will soon need food aid.

"We need to go to elections, if this dialogue process fails," Mr Chamisa said.
Mr Tsvangirai has agreed to become prime minister, working with President Robert Mugabe but the two men cannot agree on the division of cabinet posts.
Mr Mugabe has allocated the key posts to his Zanu-PF party, prompting Mr Tsvangirai to threaten to pull out of the deal.
Talks will now resume in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, on 27 October, according to a statement from the regional Southern African Development Community (Sadc), which oversaw the power-sharing deal.

But Botswana adopted a different line and called for new elections.
"The Zimbabwean leadership seems to have failed to honour the agreement," Foreign Minister Phando Skelemani told the BBC.

The BBC's Africa analyst Martin Plaut says the statement carries an air of desperation. Given the bloodshed during the last presidential election it is hard to see how this could be undertaken without foreign troops or a terrible loss of life, he says.
President Mugabe has allocated the main ministries, including defence, home, foreign affairs, and justice to Zanu-PF.
As well as finance, the MDC also insisted it should have home affairs - and control of the police - if Zanu-PF had defence.
The MDC accused the security services of taking part in violent attacks on its supporters before June's presidential run-off election.
Reports on Friday suggested that Mr Mugabe might have agreed to let the MDC take the key post of finance minister, but that he would not give it home affairs.
Finance is one of the most crucial posts, as Zimbabweans hope the power-sharing deal will lead to action to tackle the economic crisis.
Donors have promised to help finance a recovery plan but they are unlikely to release funds if a Zanu-PF minister is in charge.
Some two million people need food aid and non-governmental agencies warn that figure could double within the next few months.

Zim to get US$500m from Global Fund

Herald Reporter

THE Global Fund has approved and recommended that Zimbabwe be given US$500 million to fight HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

The Fund’s Technical Review Panel, a grouping of health experts who scrutinise country proposals and submit recommendations to the board for endorsement, approved Zimbabwe’s application.

Once the panel approves an application, it becomes a foregone conclusion that the board would endorse it.

Zimbabwe’s previous applications, save for round one and round five, failed at the panel stage.

Chairperson of Zimbabwe’s Country Co-ordinating Mechanism and Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, confirmed that the fund’s panel had approved the country’s request.

He was hopeful the fund’s board, which is expected to meet on November 7, would endorse the panel’s decision.

"We are very pleased that the TRP has approved our application because funding for Zimbabwe was long overdue considering that we did not get anything from the previous two consecutive rounds, yet our neighbouring countries got funding many times compared to us.

"The country has also posted many achievements, especially in the area of HIV and Aids where we have recorded a downward trend in the HIV prevalence rate," Dr Parirenyatwa said.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Talks now postponed for one week

MBABANE – (AFP) The controversial talks on power-sharing in Zimbabwe have been postponed by a week and moved back to Harare, an official said Monday after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to attend a summit of southern African heads.
“Tsvangirai was supposed to attend, but due to technical problems, which have occurred from his side, he was not able to come. That’s why the meeting is taking place in Harare,” Swazi King Mswati III told journalists.
Tsvangirai had been due to meet in Swaziland ’s capital Mbabane with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rival Arthur Mutambara and four regional heads of state to break a five-week deadlock over forming a unity government.
But Tsvangirai’s MDC faction said Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister-designate had only received emergency travel papers late Sunday, calling the delay an “insult” to the man meant to assume such high office under the unity accord.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao said, reading from a statement, a meeting would be held in Harare on October 27 to “review the progress on the implementation of the September 15 agreement.”
The conflict over Tsvangirai’s travel documents was the latest twist in the five-week battle over the unity accord.
Talks broke down over who should control powerful ministries - particularly Home Affairs, which oversees the police force.
Regional mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, facilitated four long days of talks between the political rivals in Harare last week.
After failing to break the impasse, they had agreed to turn to the South African Development Community’s security body - currently headed by Swaziland - to find a solution.
On the question of whether the Zimbabwe deal will ever be a success, Mswati said: “We still maintain the spirit that African problems can be solved by Africans.”

Hunger and Bureaucracy - a Fatal Combination


Zimbabwe is in the headlines now for some time, sadly in most cases for the wrong reasons. Over the past weeks we read one statement after another about the millions who are facing starvation here in the country. We read how the UN/WFP more or less know the numbers of people who are hungry and in many cases on the verge of starvation, we are informed about the amount of money that has so far been collected, the food available and how much more is needed until the next harvest. Great that all this information is available.
Sadly for some of us in the communities all of this information is only a cause of frustration. One of our mission hospitals – a large hospital with one of the largest HIV and AIDS outreach programme in the country applied to WFP and were told that food is only being supplied to "vulnerable people" at his time and not to institutions. At this particular hospital the staff threatened to go on strike because all of them and their families are all hungry, and they are supposed to look after hungry people. The large orphan population of over 4000 that the hospital is caring for is also hungry, some malnourished, some admitted to hospital with kwashiorkor and yet these are not "vulnerable people" – where are the institutions supposed to get the food if not through such organizations as WFP and Christian Care?
Personally I have a problem with the selection by WFP and their partners Christian Care here in Zimbabwe, in how the criteria of "vulnerable people" are decided on. Yes, there must be accountability, there must be transparency, under no circumstances must any particular group – either political or religious be favored in the distribution of food.
Here in Harare at the moment we have many people who are on ARVs (anti-retroviral therapy) to treat their HIV infection. Over one thousand of these are getting medication from a large reputable clinic which has a detailed record of the history of each person attending the clinic. Over the past months they have observed a very clear deterioration in the health of many of the people, almost all complaining of hunger. In order to identify whether these people fall into the "vulnerable category" or not they have to be interviewed (by a NON medical, non nursing person) who classifies the person on the "Wealth Ranking Criteria" form and then on the "Vulnerability Scoring Guide" another form. Individuals are meant to declare how many are in their households, how may are disabled, how many are chronically ill etc – If I am on the point of starvation I will give you the answers that I think might give me access to food and this will not necessarily be the truth. This is only the registration procedure, when will the food come even I am lucky enough to be considered "vulnerable". Why this expensive, time wasting exercise when thousand of starving people are already on the records of clinics and various church groups.
Yesterday we were told of scores of teenagers from three of the local high density areas who have discontinued taking their ARVs because it makes them hungry and they have no food to eat– what is the future of these young people? Treatment interruptions will inevitably lead to a resistant HIV virus for which we have almost no treatment options and when available this medication is 10 times the price of the first line treatments.
How does the head of a child-headed household in a high density area get into contact with the people who have the questionnaires? – in most cases they have no chance. This past week we have visited on a daily basis the high density areas where most of the unemployed people live. We have had people in their hundreds coming to our doors pleading for food. These are not beggars they are very hungry people on the point of starvation. If they had a choice they would not be begging but would be providing food for themselves and their families. Please whoever is responsible for all the bureaucracy we plead with you to start getting the food out of the warehouses to the people who are hungry, please do not wait until we have mass starvation – a situation that is rapidly developing. We have to find US$80 to pay for a hardboard coffin (the cheapest on the market) when people die – let us stop buying the coffins and distribute the food. Let’s stop cutting down the trees for the paper for the questionnaires and the coffins – let’s use the firewood to cook the food and stop the deaths.
For the past 35 years I have worked as a nurse here in Zimbabwe, many of those years spent in rural areas where we experienced severe droughts but until now I have not experienced the degree of hunger/starvation that I am seeing today. Please get the food out from behind the locked doors now. Every day spent asking questions as to whether I am hungry or not is a day when we will loose hundreds of vulnerable people because of hunger.

Patricia Walsh
Dominican Missionary Sisters

Monday, October 20, 2008

State corruption to blame for Zimbabwe collapse says bishop

Harare, 17 October (ENI)--

The head of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe, Bishop Sebastian Bakare, has blamed State corruption and political patronage for a collapse in social services in Zimbabwe, where at least 20 people have died of cholera in recent weeks."Good governance, justice and peace remain a pipe dream for many in Zimbabwe," Bakare said in a pastoral letter circulated to Anglicans in the southern African nation in early October."Selfish leadership has no room for the neighbour. As you all know, most people have been without running water in their homes for months, let alone electricity, and there are no affordable food items," Bakare wrote.He stated, "Cholera, a water-borne disease, has claimed several lives in Chitungwiza. In short, we have been messed up by a few men and women who have ravaged our economy through corruption and patronage."Talks between rival Zimbabwean political leaders about the composition of a national unity government remained deadlocked on 17 October, a month after the signing in Harare of a power-sharing agreement to resolve the country's economic and political crisis.Under the terms of the agreement, Robert Mugabe, who has led the southern African country since independence from Britain in 1980, was to remain as president. His rival, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change party, was to serve as prime minister, with Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a smaller MDC faction, as deputy prime minister.Mugabe had been declared winner in a presidential run-off election in June boycotted by Tsvangirai, who cited violence and intimidation against his supporters.Zimbabwe was seen as a model economy and regional breadbasket in the 1980s but agriculture went into rapid decline after the government began, in 2000, to seize white-owned commercial farms in a land reform programme.Annual inflation rose to 231 million percent in August, according to official statistics while some independent financial analysts put the actual figure at 750 million percent. At least 80 percent of potential workers are without job, while about a quarter of the population requires food aid.Three state universities have failed to open this term because, they say, they had failed to secure enough money to provide food for resident students and to pay their staff, who have been on indefinite strike.An interdenominational Christian movement, Intercessors for Zimbabwe, has urged Zimbabweans to pray for the successful conclusion of the power-sharing agreement.

Source: Ecumenical News International

Friday, October 17, 2008

Botswana Civil Society Calls for AU & SADC to Step In

Regional civil society committed to monitoring Zimbabwe agreement

We, The Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ) are concerned by the current impasse relating to the political agreement signed in Zimbabwe on 15 September 2008. BOCISCOZ held a series of meetings in Gaborone on 9 and 10 October 2008, with the aim of understanding whether or not the agreement provides an option for finding a sustainable solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.
The first meeting on the 9 October 2008 was for the BOCISCOZ movement, regional civil society, diplomatic community and the media. The meeting observed that while the agreement has some imperfections, it provides a window of opportunity for the resuscitation of economic and social recovery in Zimbabwe. Civil society organisations were therefore encouraged to identify achievable goals to enable the monitoring of the implementation of the agreement.
The second meeting on the 9 October 2008, was a public meeting for Zimbabweans in Botswana to share their thoughts on the signed agreement, with civil society leaders. The meeting explored the role of civil society organisations, the SADC, AU and UN in the interpretation and implementation of the agreement. BOCISCOZ noted with concern, the fact that some SADC countries like Mozambique and South Africa had been reported to have begun mass deportation campaigns on the basis that the agreement has been signed. Zimbabweans at this meeting expressed concern, anxiety and uncertainty at the deadlock over the formation of an inclusive government, in particular the mutually agreed upon allocation of Government Ministries.
On the 10 October 2008, a strategic planning meeting was held by the BOCISCOZ working group and the regional civil society leaders to discuss appropriate regional strategies for civil society in response to the Zimbabwe crisis.
It was agreed that;
∙ There is need to sensitise Zimbabweans in all SADC countries about the content of the agreement;
∙ Civil society organisations should lobby Humanitarian Organisations and international cooperating partners, through their Embassies and High Commissions in the respective SADC countries, to provide humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.
∙ Civil society organisations should continue to lobby the SADC, African Union and United Nations to mobilise humanitarian assistance in order to avert the worsening humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Zimbabwe; and
∙ There is a need to urgently identify achievable goals to enable the effective monitoring of the implementation of the agreement by regional civil society.
Recognising the urgency of the matter, BOCISCOZ therefore calls upon the SADC and AU member states to:
∙ Stop the deportation of Zimbabweans from their countries on the basis of the signed agreement and
∙ Ensure that the signed agreement is implemented. As official guarantors of the agreement, both the SADC and AU have a responsibility to execute their obligations.
15 October 2008

For more information please contact: DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights. Tel: (267) 3906998 Fax: (267) 3907778. Email: Website:

Zim Talks Remain Deadlocked

- Oct 17 2008 10:21

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai were set on Friday to resume power-sharing talks for a fourth day to end a spat on key Cabinet posts holding up a new unity government. After nearly eight hours of talks mediated by former South African leader Thabo Mbeki on Thursday, negotiations remained stalled over how to divide the most important ministries.Mugabe told reporters while leaving the negotiations that he hoped for a breakthrough on Friday."I would not want to call the delay dilly-dallying, but we have made a lot of compromises. Everyone has made some compromises and we hope that this will be all concluded tomorrow [Friday]," state media on Friday quoted him as saying.The parties had "some good discussions", the 84-year-old said in the state mouthpiece Herald newspaper.Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said there had been some advances "but not enough to seal the deal".Speaking to Agence France-Presse on Friday, Chamisa said the MDC would not shift on demands for an equitable share of ministries. Mugabe awarded key Cabinet posts to his ruling Zanu-PF last weekend in defiance of a power-sharing deal inked last month."We are very clear we are not going to compromise," he said. "There is no going back on fundamental issues, we will not play second fiddle to Zanu-PF."

Time To Do The Right Thing - Zimbabwe Civil Society
By Ephraim Nsingo
HARARE, Oct 17 (IPS)

- At least 5,000 people are expected to gather inChitungwiza today to demand improved access to water, sanitation and healthservices as part of the Stand Up, Take Action Against Poverty campaign.The event in this sprawling satellite town about 30 kilometres south ofHarare is under the auspices of the National Association of Non-GovernmentalOrganisations (NANGO), which brings together all humanitarian and civilsociety organisations registered in Zimbabwe.Because of the political polarisation in Zimbabwe, this year the Campaignhas chosen to reach out to the population through a seemingly neutralagenda -- environmental sustainability. Hundreds of schools and corporateorganisations have already been recruited to take part in tree plantingevents.This campaign, coordinated worldwide by the Global Coalition AgainstPoverty, has long been active in Zimbabwe. The results on the ground havehowever not been so encouraging. Poverty continues to ravage the southernAfrican nation, once referred to as the breadbasket of Africa. Close to halfof Zimbabwe's 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.Set to feature prominently in this year's activities is the water situation,which has deteriorated unabated in Harare and other major centres. Theever-worsening humanitarian conditions, the country's world-record inflationof 231 million percent, and the plight of orphaned and vulnerable childrenwill also be under the spotlight."Zimbabwe is no exception to the scandalous condition of poverty in anopulent world. At the event, we will stand in unity with the rest of theworld sending a message to our leaders that we can no longer tolerate theinjustice of poverty," said Fambai Ngirande, who is coordinating the StandUp and Take Action Against Poverty Campaign. He is also the advocacy andpublic policy manager for NANGO.

More on

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Zimbabwe rivals to restart talks with progress in sight


Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai entered a third day of talks Thursday to break an impasse on disputed cabinet posts with hopes rising they could reach a deal.
Former South African leader Thabo Mbeki is presiding over discussions aimed at pressing Mugabe and Tsvangirai to settle their differences under a faltering power-sharing deal meant to rescue Zimbabwe from economic and political chaos.
"We made some progress. We finish tomorrow," Mugabe told reporters as he left the negotiations on Wednesday.
Tsvangirai said the talks had proceeded "quite circuitously," but his chief negotiator Tendai Biti insisted progress had been made in the seven hours of talks Wednesday.
"History is being made. Mountains are being moved. If we pray hard today something will happen tomorrow," Biti told reporters.
South African media citing unnamed sources reported Thursday that Tsvangirai had been awarded the finance ministry, a critical portfolio in a country grappling with the world's highest inflation rate, last estimated at 231 million percent.
This left in limbo the home affairs ministry which oversees the country's police forces -- accused by the opposition of being used by the ruling party to carry out human rights abuses.

More on

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Students demonstrate during opening of parliament

By Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa
14 October 2008

The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) on Tuesday held a demonstration during the opening of parliament in Harare. According to ZINASU coordinator Mfundo Mlilo, between 500 to 1000 students from tertiary colleges and universities around the country converged to hand in a petition detailing demands they want met by the new government. As expected the union President Clever Bere and ZINASU legal secretary were arrested. Gender Secretary Privilege Mutanga was also assaulted by police during the chaos that later ensued. The exact number of students and leaders arrested remained unclear at the time of broadcast. Mlilo confirmed they had received an SMS from Bere saying they were being held at Harare Central Police Station.
The protest attracted students from Harare, Masvingo, Bindura, Seke and Bulawayo colleges and seems to have taken police by surprise. The force dispatched a single truck with 10 riot police unaware the crowd along 4th Street was much bigger than anticipated. The students promptly chased this first batch of riot police away. Mlilo says the police then responded by dispatching another 3 truckloads to come and put down the demonstration. Although the protest was peaceful police assaulted some of their leaders and those in detention were complaining they were still being harassed and assaulted.
Several members of the public queuing for cash at CABS 4th Street branch are said to have joined the demonstration. The huge crowd was singing revolutionary songs as their marched towards parliament. Once near the building they sat down on the road and pavements while their leaders handed over a petition. It was soon after that the mayhem broke out. Police told union leaders they clamped down on the protesters because they had not been notified in advance of the demonstration.
Meanwhile parliamentary business itself was reduced to the same old bickering between ZANU PF and the MDC. The combined MDC, basking in the glory of a 110 seat majority, came up against ZANU PF’s minority of 99 seats for the first time in the country’s history. Traditionally the first session starts with a debate on the President’s address but the MDC resisted this. . A legislator told Newsreel they simply ended up ‘debating the propriety of debating the President’s speech, given outstanding issues of legitimacy and the fact the dialogue process was still pending a resolution.’
While ZANU PF MP’s praised Mugabe’s speech the MDC dismissed it as failing to address the country’s problems. Although there was some suggestion parliament will debate Constitutional Amendment 19, meant to legalize the power sharing accord signed last month, this never happened. The new post of Prime Minister and his two deputies have to be inserted into the constitution. Newsreel was told that because of the uncertainty surrounding the power sharing deal it was felt it would be premature to push the amendment through at this stage.

Kenya: - No Amnesty for Poll Violence Offenders

The Nation (Nairobi)
15 October 2008

The Commission into Post-Election Violence (Cipev) has recommended the setting up of an international tribunal to try post-election violence offenders.
In a report handed to President Kibaki on Wednesday at Harambee house by commission chairman Justice Philip Waki, Cipev implicates top politicians and the police in the violence.

President Kibaki has ordered the report to be released immediately.
Cipev was mandated to investigate the facts and circumstances related to the post-election violence and the actions or omissions of State security agencies and make recommendations.
The commission is said to have received shocking evidence of police brutality and indiscriminate shooting of ordinary Kenyans, sexual attacks and refusal to investigate crimes that were committed during the post-election mayhem.
It recommends major reform of the security agencies

No amnesty

The report also recommends there be no amnesty for people accused of serious crimes during the post-election violence. Instead, it proposes that a special international tribunal to prosecute suspects should formed within six months.
However, the report says it may be necessary to consider an offer of amnesty to some minor offenders in exchange for truthful confessions and assistance in the arrest and prosecution of the planners, organisers, funders and, in the case of security agencies, the perpetrators of the violence.
The report says immunity from possible prosecution and lack of accountability were responsible for the chaos and hat the language of "forgive and forget" will only help to breed more chaos in future.
It traces the history of election-linked violence since the advent of pluralism in 1991 and says the criminal gangs and their sponsors commit crimes in the knowledge that nothing will happen to them.
It says, for example, that the Kiliku and Akiwumi reports on the violence in the 1990s were trashed by the Moi Government thus emboldening the warriors in and around the Rift Valley and others that had sprung up elsewhere in the country.
Consequently, the Waki report says it is imperative to guard against further encouragement of the culture of impunity which would happen if blanket amnesty were granted to all and sundry.

Zimbabwe Generals’ Fears of Prosecution Threaten Deal

Published: October 14, 2008
JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe’s military commanders have pressed President Robert Mugabe to shield them from prosecution for the violent crackdown on his political foes this year, senior government officials say, and his response is threatening to derail a power-sharing deal that was supposed to halt the country’s dizzying downward economic spiral.

Mr. Mugabe’s efforts to placate his generals, as well as senior politicians in his party who are disgruntled about their loss of clout, culminated in his decision last week to unilaterally claim control of ministries that have been pivotal to his 28 years of unbroken political dominance and are seen as critical to protecting his senior generals from the risk of being charged with crimes.
More on
Two journalists contributed reporting from Harare, Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Geneva Seminar: Food Crisis in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Human Rights Advocacy Office in Geneva
World Student Christian Federation - World YWCA

Wednesday, 15 October , 2008

Salle II, Ecumenical Centre (World Council of Churches)
150 Rte de Ferney, Grand Sacconex, Geneva

The Food Crisis in Zimbabwe

Main Speakers

Mr Michael Hyden – Africa Programme Officer, ACT International

Mr Phillipe Guiton - Director, Humanitarian Affairs and International Relations, World Vision International
All Welcome

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mbeki Returns to Harare

Posted: Sun, 12 Oct 2008 14:11:00 +0200

Former South African President and SADC chief negotiator, Mr. Thabo Mbeki is expected in Harare tomorrow to try and resolve the power sharing impasse between president Robert Mugabe and the two MDC formation leaders.Former South African President and SADC chief negotiator, Mr. Thabo Mbeki is expected in Harare tomorrow to try and resolve the power sharing impasse between president Robert Mugabe and the two MDC formation leaders.Mr. Mbeki’s spokesperson, Mr. Mukoni Ratshitaga confirmed that the former South African president is heading to Zimbabwe where he seeks to bring the country’s negotiating parties together with the hope of unlocking the deadlock.President Robert Mugabe, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara met on Friday to try and unlock the impasse but referred the matter for further facilitation by Mr. Mbeki after another deadlock.The deadlock is attributed to disagreements over key ministries of Finance and Home Affairs.

Mugabe Allocates Ministries

Herald Reporters

PRESIDENT Mugabe has gazetted ministries allocated to Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC in terms of the power-sharing agreement signed by the three parties. Section (L) of the Functions and Powers of the President outlined in the power-sharing agreement states that the Head of State shall after consultation with the Vice Presidents, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers, allocate ministerial portfolios in accordance with the agreement.After the assignment of ministries to the parties, President Mugabe is expected to sign the necessary papers for the appointment of the Vice Presidents, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers.After their appointments, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC counterpart Arthur Mutambara would have three months to find seats in Parliament.The President would then receive nominations of ministerial appointees from the two MDC formations for appointment into Cabinet.Highly placed sources last night said Zanu-PF has already agreed on its line-up of ministers. In the 31-member Cabinet, Zanu-PF — which won the popular vote on March 29 — has 15 ministries, MDC-T 13 while MDC has three.The principals would assign their members in the portfolios.No appointments would, however, be made until the facilitator, former South African president Cde Thabo Mbeki, has come to assist on the outstanding ministry — Finance, which Cde Mugabe provisionally assigned to Zanu-PF, according to the Government Gazette.The assignment of ministries was done in terms of Paragraph (a) of Subsection (1) of Section 31 D of the Constitution.
The ministries are as follows.
1. Defence 2. Home Affairs 3 . Foreign Affairs 4. Transport 5 . Local Government and Urban Development 6 . Mines and Mining Development 7. Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement8. Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism 9. Higher and Tertiary Education 10. Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development 11. Justice and Legal Affairs 12 . Media, Information and Publicity 13. Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development 14. Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment

MDC-T 1. Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs 2. Economic Planning and Investment Promotion 3. Energy and Power Development 4. Health and Child Welfare 5. Labour and Social Welfare6. Water Resources Development and Management 7 . Public Service 8. Sport, Arts and Culture 9. State Enterprise and Parastatals10 . Science and Technology Development 11. Information Communication Technology 12. Public Works 13 . National Housing and Social Amenities

MDC-M1. Regional Integration and International Co-operation2. Education3 . Industry and Commerce NB: Finance is still in dispute.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Skeptics Say Zimbabwe Needs New Elections, Not Power-Sharing

09 October 2008

Some observers of the stop-start power-sharing process in Zimbabwe, which Movement for Democratic Change founder and prime minister-in-waiting Morgan Tsvangirai declared to be on hold Thursday pending intervention of a mediator, should be considered as no more than a bridge to another and more decisive round of national elections.

Twenty-four days after the long-ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and both formations of the MDC subscribed to a power-sharing accord on Sept. 15, the cabinet for the envisioned national unity government has yet to be named - not to mention the passage through parliament of the necessary enabling constitutional amendment.

No surprise, then, that some in Zimbabwe and abroad are beginning to wonder if power-sharing will take hold in Harare or if the country will continue its downward slide beset by hyperinflation last officially measured at 231 million percent and hunger widespread.

For an assessment of the power-sharing process, reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku and Africa Policy Institute President Peter Kagwanja in Pretoria, South Africa.

Madhuku said the deadlock was an early warning sign that power-sharing is doomed to fail. The two agreed that only another round of elections can resolve the national crisis.

From Everton, South Africa, Studio 7 listener Norman Mashumi said ZANU-PF and the MDC must put their differences aside to ensure power-sharing does not fail. From Tafara, Harare, Tee Vee said he is skeptical MDC-ZANU-PF power-sharing can work, noting that conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans are fast deteriorating while the politicians bicker.

World Food Programme Appeal for Zimbabwe

The UN World Food Programme has said the food crisis in Zimbabwe is reaching critical levels and urgent action is needed to avert a major disaster.

Please click on the link below and see how you too can help.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Young African Academics Weigh in On Zimbabwe Powersharing Deal and African Democracy

06 October 2008

The Zimbabwe Advocacy Office in Geneva has hosted 17 African students of Human Rights and Good Governance for a presentation on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe and the work of the office. The students, from Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Eritrea and Ghana were on an exposure visit to Geneva-based human rights institutions organised by the German Academic Exchange Service Service and the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute. The group, led by Dr Jan Claudius Völkell, also visited the United Nations Office, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Global Humanitarian Forum and International Service for Human Rights.

Marlon Zakeyo, Human Rights Officer at the Zimbabwe Office, delivered a presentation on the general human rights situation in Zimbabwe and an analysis of the power-sharing deal signed by the country’s major political parties on September 15. Zakeyo underlined that even though the agreement was a positive step in the right direction, after similar events in Kenya the deal perpetuates a dangerous precedent where incumbent governments can subvert the will of the people through using the coercive arms of the state, violence and intimidation. Zimbabwe’s powersharing deal with all its inherent complexities has already developed problems even before take-off as the parties have failed to agree on the make-up of the coalition cabinet. On the ground the suffering of Zimbabweans is increasing and the little hope there was dissipating because of the uncertainty. Over 45% of Zimbabwe’s population is facing starvation, whilst noone is taking firm responsibility for restoring essential public services such as water and electricity. In response to a question, Zakeyo said that justice for victims of political violence is very important for Zimbabwe’s future stability and must not be sacrificed for political expediency. Zimbabwe’s history has been dominated by a century of impunity woven to serve political elites with little regard for victims and survivors.

Participants also agreed that African countries need to focus on developing and strengthening national and regional institutions anchored in the rule of law so that the future is not taken hostage by power-hungry politicians. The fact that the powersharing deal was an African initiative to solve ‘an African problem’ do must not deter Africa from setting higher goals for democratic achievement and holding up the integrity of democratic elections.

The role of South Africa in Zimbabwe’s crisis was also tackled. The main view was that the despite brokering the deal in the end, the South African government’s response was too little too late. South Africa long blocked international action against Robert Mugabe’s government and under-represented the gravity of the crisis in Zimbabwe to the rest of the world. South African civil society and churches would however be remembered for standing solidly with the Zimbabwean people as in the case of the blocking of the Chinese arms ship.

World Student Christian Federation’s Communications Intern, Andrés Lopez also gave an overview of WSCF’s history and work around the world.

© Zimbabwe Human Rights Advocacy Office
WSCF, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Church Leaders Want Truth Commission

Saturday, 27 September 2008 19:52

Church leaders want a truth and reconciliation commission as one of several ways of cementing the recently signed political settlement between the country’s main political rivals.

Christian Alliance, a coalition of churches involved in human rights advocacy at the height of Zimbabwe’s political crisis, said it had already set up nationwide structures to spearhead the national healing process.
But Raymond Motsi, the alliance’s spokesperson, said national healing would not be possible without full disclosure of what happened, followed by some form of justice.
He said churches favoured a truth, justice and reconciliation commission modelled along the lines of one established to deal with political crimes in post-apartheid South Africa to achieve true reconciliation.
"Churches are saying the process should start once a new inclusive government is put in place," Motsi said. "That should mark the beginning of the transitional justice system."
The ruling Zanu PF and the two formations of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) signed an agreement to form an inclusive government on September 15 following a violent election season.
The agreement called for the promotion of a national healing process but so far the parties are not agreed on what form it should take.
Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai recently said senior members of Zanu PF should face prosecution for their role in human rights violations against opposition supporters in successive elections.
He said President Robert Mugabe would not face prosecution.
On the other hand, Professor Arthur Mutambara of the small MDC formation said the new dispensation should avoid "retributive justice".
Sections of civic society who have dismissed the power-sharing deal as elitist, say they prefer a consultative process to decide how Zimbabweans want to manage the reconciliation process.
Motsi said ordinary people not political parties should decide whether the healing process should include disclosure of crimes dating back to the 1980s atrocities in the southern region or that it be confined to the political upheavals that began in 2000.
This process should not be left to the political parties alone," he said. "It should not be elitist and should not be a political decision between Zanu PF and the MDC.
"It should not be legislated to the Zimbabweans."
Christian Alliance programmes co-ordinator Barbra Bhebhe said church leaders were being equipped with counselling skills so that they could take charge of the reconciliation process.
She said the new government should be committed to ensuring there would be no repeat of the violence.
During the course of the negotiations led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, leaders of the three parties issued a statement saying all sides were responsible for the violence.
But human rights groups say Zanu PF militias were responsible for most of the violence that left over 100 MDC supporters dead, more than 5 000 injured and 120 000 others displaced.
Meanwhile, Christian Alliance has set aside October 5 as a day of prayer and has called on all politicians to attend church services in their areas.
The prayers, the group said, were meant to strengthen the new government and also to pray for a better rainfall season.

By Nqobani Ndlovu

Zimbabwe and Kenya Map Paths to Peace

26 Sep 2008 — 9:00
last modified: 29 Sep 2008 — 12:49
World YWCA

Hon. Prof. Maria Nzomo, Kenyan Ambassador to Switzerland

“We can begin to look at a way forward. We can’t continue to allow Africa to be regarded as the ‘Dark Continent’ or ‘hopeless Africa’,” stressed Hon. Prof. Maria Nzomo, Kenyan Ambassador to Switzerland who was a panellist at a lunch discussion on Zimbabwe advocacy and solidarity organised by the World YWCA and the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF).
Nzomo, along with Arnold Tsunga, Africa Programme Director for the International Commission of Jurists, was invited to talk on ' The Political Settlement and Transition in Zimbabwe - Lessons from Kenya' at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on September 24.

Despite the conflict that broke out in Kenya and Zimbabwe over election results, Nzomo believes there is a way forward for both countries. "Kenya and Zimbabwe deserve an opportunity. There was goodwill to move forward and to work together to bridge their differences. Zimbabwe can move back to the Zimbabwe we used to know in the 80s," she said.

Nzomo explained the link between the Kenyan and Zimbabwean political situation. " After the 2007 elections, we experienced presidential election contentions. After the winner was declared there was unhappiness in the country that the election was not free and fair. The situation deteriorated into serious social unrest. It cost many lives and large numbers of displaced people. Property and resources were destroyed."

In the aftermath of the post election violence, Nzomo said the worst effect was the psychological consequences to the people of Kenya. "People's sense of well-being, physical and mental was affected by the crisis. The damage done in the short time was mind-boggling."

Looking forward, Nzomo believes trust and healing will be key to a peaceful Zimbabwe. "It is important for the leaders of Zimbabwe to restore trust. They really have to say they are serious about sharing power and be serious."

As a political scientist, Nzomo highlighted that the people of Zimbabwe need to remember the power lies with them. "In the future, Zimbabwe needs some sort of structure in society where people can force rulers to lead democratically. People are the foundation of society. Politicians are nothing without people."

Since the recent power sharing agreement was signed in Zimbabwe, the world's attention has turned away from the country with many people believing the political crisis has finished. But it is only the beginning of a long process. " The difference between the political agreements in Kenya and Zimbabwe is that Kenya's was given a legal affect. Unless the agreement in Zimbabwe becomes part and parcel of the existing constitution it means it is only a political agreement; a gentlemen's agreement with no legal force," Nzomo pointed out.

Tsunga also expressed the concerns Zimbabweans have with the power sharing agreement that sees Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change and an MDC splinter group led by Arthur Mutambara, formerly in opposition, taking control of 109 of the 210-seat parliament and 16 of the 31-member Cabinet. "The initial reaction to the agreement was of cautious optimism. It was not viewed as an end but instead the beginning of a possibility to set up a system with a rule of law."

Zimbabweans can be excused for being cautious. The violence that followed the March 27 election was of staggering proportions. " The systematic violence is still happening and the militias that were set up earlier in the year are still in force, " said Tsunga. " The humanitarian issues we are now hearing is that people are still dying in large numbers. This is because there is an absence of food; there are large numbers of internally displaced people and very high unemployment. There is no access to medication. We are hearing reports of girl-headed families and people living with HIV are saying, 'Food is more important to us than ARVs'.

Tsunga is also wary of the recent power sharing agreement in Zimbabwe. " The models of governments of national unity are dangerous. They belittle and undermine effective people participation in the process of democracy, " he said.

As the panellists reflected on the weeks ahead, Nzomo highlighted the crucial role civil society plays in the political climate of Kenya. " Kenya has a vibrant civil society that participates actively in the political process. Arguably, they themselves become political players. Leaders are forced to be transparent."

Tsunga did not harbour such positive thoughts on transparency and accountability from the political leaders of Zimbabwe. " People are not consulted. There are a few people driving the current political situation so there will be no transparency."

Tsunga acknowledged that Zimbabwean civil society had been active before the recent agreement but a fear of throwing the country back into instability is currently keeping them silent.

Silence is something the World YWCA cannot be accused of. When violence broke out in Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively, the YWCA movement responded with strong calls for an end to the violence and a return to peace and democracy in both countries. The lunch discussions have been an initiative of the World YWCA and the WSCF as both organisations continue their advocacy work for peace with justice in Zimbabwe.

As the lunch discussion came to a close, Nzomo reminded everyone of the famous quote that reflects the fragile nature of politics. " In politics, there are no permanent friends. There are no permanent enemies. There are only permanent interests."