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Daily Archives: October 13, 2008

Mugabe’s move ‘kills’ power-sharing deal: MDC

by Fanuel Jongwe*

Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement was branded dead in the water by opposition leaders yesterday ahead of mediator Thabo Mbeki's arrival for talks soured by President Robert Mugabe's ministerial allocation.
"It kills the talks completely," the spokesman for the main Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change, Nelson Chamisa, told SA FM radio.
In power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from Britain, Mugabe's decision, announced Saturday, to award defence, home and justice ministry portfolios to his ZANU-PF ruling party means he would retain control of the army, police and other state security apparatus.
"This flies in the face of the dialogue and an attempt by the SADC to help us out of this crisis. Clearly, it is an act in bad faith," Chamisa added.
The spokesman said that the move was "arrogant, unilateral and unacceptable."
Edwin Mushoriwa, spokesman for the breakaway MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara that also signed an Mbeki-brokered September 15 deal to share power, said that Mugabe's announcement stemmed from "hallucination on the part of ZANU-PF.
"That (ministerial) list is what they wish to happen. It was not agreed on. As far as we know there was no agreement on the allocation of cabinet posts and we are waiting for the mediator, Mr Mbeki, to come and resolve the impasse," he said.
Mbeki will meet with Zimbabwe's political leaders today, his spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said, with Mugabe's published cabinet breakdown casting a huge shadow over planned dialogue.
"Mr Mbeki is travelling to Zimbabwe tomorrow (today). The allocation of the ministries and all other issues will be discussed in Harare when he meets that country's political leaders," Mukoni Ratshitanga said yesterday.
Chamisa made a passionate appeal to Mbeki and the 15-member regional bloc Southern African Development Community that appointed him to help resolve the latest crisis.
"Mr Mbeki, please help Zimbabwe. We need your help. We also need the help of and support of the SADC," Chamisa added.
A government notice carried by the state-run Herald newspaper said Saturday that the veteran leader had given his ZANU-PF party 14 ministries, including control of defence, home and foreign affairs, justice, local government and the all-important state media.
According to the report, Tsvangirai's MDC gets 13 portfolios, covering portfolios such as constitutional and parliamentary affairs, economic planning and investment promotion, labour and social welfare, and sport, the arts and culture.
Mutambara's MDC would get three ministries.
Under the September 15 accord, 84-year-old Mugabe remains as president while Tsvangirai takes the new post of prime minister.
But efforts to form the government have become steadily more bogged down over disputes about who will control the most important ministries, with the finance brief also strongly contested.
Saturday's shock announcement came hours after negotiators for the three main parties in the stand-off, including ZANU-PF, urged Mbeki to step in once again to resolve the deadlock over the allocation of the ministries.
Luckson Ruvire, a Zimbabwean student in Harare said: "There is no power-sharing if we are to judge by the list. It is still ZANU-PF running the government because they have all the main ministries."
Tsvangirai is scheduled to address a rally later yesterday in Harare during which he is expected to attack the latest Mugabe move.

 

Water cabs rescue Turkish businessmen in a rush in Istanbul

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by Nicolas Cheviron*

Although they are newcomers to the transport sector in Turkey's biggest city Istanbul, water cabs have proven a big hit, especially with the upper classes, since they began ferrying on the Bosphorus Strait two months ago.
Until the water cabs, the 13 million inhabitants of Istanbul thought they had tried everything — from buses and trams to ferries and funicular railways — in a bid to escape the huge traffic jams in the sprawling city which has only two bridges connecting its European and Asian sides.
It was the ingenuity of a Turkish company, Teknomar, which put the cabs into service on July 26, building and operating them for the municipal maritime transport company IDO.
The 11-meter-long and 4.3-meter-wide catamarans, built in an Istanbul shipyard, can hold up to 10 passengers each. They work as ordinary cabs with a payment for each nautical mile and a call centre to request a boat to the quay of one's choice.
"This is a unique operation in the world," said Alphan Manas, board chairman of Brightwell, a Netherlands-based Turkish company which owns Teknomar.
"To my knowledge, nowhere else in the world is there a pay-per-mile system and cabs which do not have a timetable," he added.

'This is transportation for the rich'
The operation began with only four boats, but it soon became clear they were not enough to deal with the flood of calls. The call centre received 6,250 calls in 50 days and only 1,750 of those callers were provided with a cab.
Two more cabs have since joined the fleet and IDO plans to have a dozen cabs by the end of the year and 25 by the end of 2009.
"There is a significant number demands from businessmen and women who do not want to be tied down by a timetable fixed in advance to go to the airport for example," explained Kerem Arsan, a marketing expert at IDO.
"This is a bit of a transportation for the rich. It is not cheap, but we provide quick and a la carte service," he said.
With the meter opening at 15 Turkish liras and with 10 extra liras for each nautical mile, the water cab is not for every budget.
The price did not scare Ahmet Filiz and his sister Hafize, who took a cab from Ortakoy, on the city's European shore, to Kuzguncuk on the Asian side to make it to a gathering with friends.
"As we were late for our appointment, we called a sea cab. The trip will last around 10 to 15 minutes whereas it would have taken us more than one hour by road," said Ahmet, 27, who works in the management department of a holdings company.
"I might not use it everyday but, in case of need, I will definitely not look at the expense," said the young man who paid some 45 Turkish liras for the journey.
Teknomar dreams of having a fleet of 75 to 100 cabs one day and is also looking into new projects.
"We are in talks with bus companies transporting students from one side of the Bosphorus to the other," Manas said. "We are also holding discussions with big brands to run services to bring clients to their shops."

* AFP

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