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Mugabe decree causes Xmas chaos

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

Sunday, 23 December 2012 12:42

HARARE - Retailers hoping for a last-minute festive season buying frenzy
after weeks of flat sales failed to get the tills ringing after a
presidential decree declaring Monday a public holiday.

Banks closed for business on Friday and will re-open on December 27 after
President Robert Mugabe’s proclamation that Monday is a public holiday. The
arbitrary Monday declaration has dampened spirits somewhat, with many in a
last-minute rush to access cash.

Weary Zimbabweans waited in long queues for cash on Friday, hoping to scrape
together enough to hold whatever celebration they can afford.

Lengthy queues have been a part of life in Zimbabwe during this time of the
year.

But on Friday, the queues became longer and the chaos in the city centre in
Harare was unbearable.

For many, after waiting for cash at banks, automatic teller machines (ATMs)
repeatedly ran out of money on Friday and yesterday as workers tried to cash
their annual bonuses, many people just gave up and went home.

Friday was effectively the last banking day ahead of the holiday weekend,
which led to queues that snaked around blocks in downtown Harare as people
hoped to get cash from ATMs.

The queues were only a problem for people who had money in the first place.
The average Zimbabwean’s disposable income remains over 50 percent below the
Poverty Datum Line.

The celebratory mood usually synonymous with this period is conspicuously
absent.

Critics attributed this gloomy outlook to the economic constraints faced by
the citizenry in a country fighting to revive an economy shattered by a
decade of hyperinflation blamed on Mugabe’s previous administration.

But for some, the abrupt declaration of Monday as a holiday did little to
discourage people from hopping in their cars or on busses, resulting in
traffic chaos throughout the city centre.

Those who held off their Christmas shopping until the last minute in a bid
to bag some bargains were left stranded after banks complied with the
presidential decree.

And with Christmas falling on a Tuesday this year, the idea to make Monday a
holiday was meant to give shoppers benefit from an “extra” weekend to buy
presents, but it ended in disaster.

“I don’t know what to do now,” said Joice Moyo, a shopper from Ruwa who was
stranded after finding her bank jam packed on Friday.

“I thought I would withdraw money today and buy presents for my three kids,
but I can’t anymore. What do I tell the kids?”

She has no ATM card, and the bank opens on December 27.

“I thought I would come on Monday, but I hear its now a holiday.”

James Harris, a manager at a shop in Harare said: “The sales have been quite
flat and we have people complaining about banks closing.”

“The run-up to Christmas has been quite poor and I believe it has a lot to
do with the extra day this year. We are expecting to see it start picking up
today but sales are just flat right now.”

Martha Mutopa, a shop attendant in downtown Harare, agreed sales had been
sluggish but said shopping had picked up considerably, although people were
spending very little.

“Generally, the economic climate has been very difficult.”

For many, it will be another bleak festive season.

While Christmas is usually a time of bustle, full chicken roasting in the
oven, a Christmas cake, presents to wrap and carols around the Christmas
tree with children, this year everything about Christmas is an effort.

Most civil servants who make the majority of the formal work force in
Zimbabwe say the $300 salary they are on, even with the bonus, is not enough
to bankroll a merry Christmas.

They say their salaries remain out of sync with the Poverty Datum Line
(PDL), currently pegged at $546.
“There are school fees next year to deal with, we can’t afford to be
extravagant,” said a civil servant who declined to be named.

Most people employed in the formal sector said they got some days off during
the holiday week, but didn’t have enough money to take their family to visit
relatives in their home village.

During the holidays, many city-dwellers travel to the villages where their
families live.

Because of the low demand for transport, bus fares have largely remained
stagnant and there are enough buses running this year.

But buses from South Africa have shot up, some three fold, with a trip from
Johannesburg to Harare going for anything up to R1 400. - Staff Writer


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Traffic chaos at Beit-Bridge border Post ahead of Christmas break

http://www.thezimbabwemail.com

Staff Reporter 19 hours 19 minutes ago

JOHANNESBURG - Border officials at two of the South Africa's border posts
had their hands full with long queues being the order of the day.
In Musina, traffic heaped up at the Beitbridge border post in Limpopo as
many Zimbabwean nationals headed home. At the Lebombo border post in
Mpumalanga it was an equally frustrating day for many Mozambicans wanting to
go home.
There was growing driver frustration as vehicles line up for up to 10
kilometres. With heavy loads, some drivers say they have been on the road
since yesterday. Authorities say people are being attended to as fast as
possible but out of sheer frustration some people left their cars on the
road and walked to the border.
Motorists complained about long queues saying border officials must work
faster. Police, traffic officials and the army are in the area.
In Mpumalanga, traffic volumes on the N4 became uncontrollable as traffic to
the Lebombo border post snaked for about 14 kilometres. Mozambicans
returning home spent long hours and in some instances days on the road.
Some drivers are using the oncoming traffic lane to avoid the long queue of
cars even while it's illegal and highly dangerous to do so.


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Mt Darwin villagers terrorised

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

Sunday, 23 December 2012 12:32
HARARE - Traditional leaders are becoming de facto political commissars for
Zanu PF in Mount Darwin, Mashonaland Central Province, and are reportedly
spearheading terror in villagers ahead of the general elections President
Robert Mugabe wants next year.

This is despite Article 14 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which
restricts them from engaging in political activities at national and
community level.

Investigations carried out by this reporter in Nyamazizi and Karanda, Mount
Darwin East, approximately 50km from the main town revealed that chief
Dotito, war veterans and the Zanu PF militia are threatening to kill and
evict suspected MDC supporters in Nyamazizi and Karanda.

“People must know that this country came as a result of the liberation
struggle, so giving it away by the pen is a complete betrayal of Mbuya
Nehanda and those who lost their lives in the struggle,” said Lovemore
Matasva, a Zanu PF youth.

This reporter established that youth militia (names supplied) working under
chief Dotito’s orders, are forcing people to attend nocturnal meetings,
compelling villagers to vote for Zanu PF.

Calvin Chimwanzure of Ward 12 in Nyamazizi said in mid-July this year, chief
Dotito and war veterans held a secret meeting at Border Gezi Youth Training
Centre in Mt Darwin to deliberate over the disbandment of the District
Coordinating Committee (DCC).

He added that after the meeting chief Dotito summoned all village heads in
the area, instructing them to force people to vote for Zanu PF or face
abductions and evictions from the area.

A village head who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were given
strict orders by the chief to force people to support and vote for Zanu PF
in the next elections.

“The chief said we should evict those suspected to be MDC supporters. He is
under immense pressure from the war veterans and youth militia to mobilise
support by whatever means necessary,” he said.

Another villager, Miriam Katsande of Ward 14 in Karanda expressed concern
over the way the chief and Zanu PF are operating in the area saying she is
now fearing for her personal security.

“The situation is getting worse; we are being threatened with abductions and
eviction by George Manyika and Jongwe from the chief’s home.

“We are now afraid to express our views in public as we no longer know what
will happen to us thereafter,” Katsande said.

Joseph Murewa (35) of Nyamazizi village, a victim of the 2008 political
violence could not hold his tears as he narrated how his house was torched
by Zanu PF youths.

“It was around 2am when I heard people chanting Zanu PF slogans and
clamouring for my head. They ordered me to get out of the house before
torching it.

“My wife and I managed to escape unhurt,” he said, adding nothing had been
done to address the issue of violence in the area, exposing villagers to
terror attacks by war veterans.

Further investigations in Karanda and Nyamazizi village showed militias
distributing the Zanu PF position paper on the constitution, coaching
villagers and subjecting them to verbal and physical abuse.

Isaac Gandari, a Nyamazizi village headman said the war veterans and the
militia have extended orders to punish and evict MDC supporters who do not
ascribe to the authority of Zanu PF leadership.

“I have just received orders that I should vacate the throne, but I don’t
know the person who gave that order. So many people are taking the law into
their hands and can do anything they please in this area.

“It’s quite unfortunate that since this violence started in 2008,
perpetrators have been on the loose and no mechanism has been put in place
to protect people from victimisation.

“We are now living in perpetual fear as we are continuously being threatened
with abductions and death,” said Gandari.

ZimRights director, Okay Machisa said cases of war veterans and chiefs
terrorising villagers are a huge cause for concern in Zimbabwe.

“People have the right to cultural practices of their choice, the right to
choose a political party of their choice and the right to choose a soccer
team to support so the chiefs must respect those rights,” said Machisa.

Heal Zimbabwe Trust director, Rashid Mahiya said traditional institutions
should stick to their national mandate of guiding the communities under
their jurisdictions.

Mahiya added: “If the state allows institutions especially those that are
supposed to provide protection to the people to harass them then it means
something is wrong.

“We therefore call upon the government to intervene and ensure that such
cases are stopped and the security of the people is guaranteed,” said
Mahiya.

MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that cases of victimisation of
people by chiefs, war veterans and the police were rife in Mashonaland
Central province.

“We are aware that chiefs and war veterans are harassing people in Mt Darwin
and the harassing is widespread in Mashonaland Central Province, but
unfortunately there is no protection from the state,” Mwonzora said.

He said his party is working with Jomic to make sure that political violence
is stopped in the country.
However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo refuted claims that chiefs in
Mashonaland Central Province were terrorising villagers on behalf of his
party.

He said: “The people making those claims are just bent on tarnishing the
image of the party. If they have genuine cases, why don’t they report to the
police than rushing to the papers,” he said.

National police spokesperson, assistant commissioner Charity Charamba said
such developments have not been brought to her attention. - David Chidende


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Fear grips Hurungwe villagers as Jochomondo terrorizes

http://nehandaradio.com

on December 23, 2012 at 12:36 am

By Talent Bhachi

HURUNGWE- The word Jochomondo brings fear to villagers under Mudzimu
Village, Hurungwe. Translated “pounce like an eagle,” in local language
Jochomondo was formed in early 2000 and blossomed in 2008, terrorise, loot
and extort money from motorists at self-made tollgates.

The militia group is linked to ZANU PF Magunje Member of Parliament Franco
Ndambakuwa.

A victim of military outfit, Albert Chitiyo (63) looks like an able bodied
man and as he goes about doing his business of carving hoe handles seated,
no one will be able to guess that Chitiyo had a twisted leg that makes him
want clutches for aid in walking.

“I am now a permanently disabled person thanks to 2008 election, I was
attacked by a group of youths aligned to Ndambakuwa (Franco Ndambakuwa is
the Member of Parliament for Magunje) and they razed my houses and my leg
was permanently deformed.

“Chinhere clinic was closed because of shortage of nurses and drugs. I went
to Kapfunde clinic and was told them same story, I had to Hurungwe District
hospital where they took time to attend me and I and end developing an
infection,” he narrated.

Asked if he wanted election soon, Chitiyo has this to say: “I hate
elections, it’s better to live forever under these circumstances because it’s
relatively peaceful. Elections bring anguish, suspense and violence,
politicians make empty promises, they don’t keep until a time when those
that attacked me are behind bars, then I will want an election,” he said.

Hurungwe is a political hot-bed because it falls under Mashonaland West
Province, where President Mugabe comes and in most cases, ZANU PF loyalists
make it virtually impossible for other parties to campaign.

Villagers under Chief Mudzimu said the call for elections by the country’s
leaders sends shivers in their spines because of the notorious militia
group.

A police officer at Kapfunde Police station in Hurungwe acknowledged
fighting running battles with the notorious militia group unsuccessfully,
but referred further questions to Mashonaland West Provincial police
spokesperson, Inspector Clemence Mabweadziva.

But Mabweadziva professed ignorance about the existence of the militia
group, saying police have not yet received such a report.

“We can’t allow that to happen, we have not yet received the report. If a
person loses money to a person who is not a police officer at a roadblock,
he or she must report to the nearest police station. We will definitely
investigate that case after getting a police report from complainants,” said
Mabweadziva.

The group was aligned to Magunje Member of Parliament Franco Ndambakuwa
during the 2008 elections and now operates in Mahwada Village, frog-
marching villagers to its night vigils.

This reporter witnessed an incident where the militia group was intimidating
a truck which was delivering beer. “You don’t know who we are, tipe mashake
shake ayo (give us the beers),” shouted one member.

A rural councilor who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of
victimisation said the group was now a menace to communities around Hurungwe
as it posed a threat to investors and developers.

“We had a case where buses at one time threatened to pull out from plying
Harare-Batanai route because this menacing group mounted illegal toll gates,
extorting money from drivers,” said the councilor.

Previous Chimusimbe from Chigara Village in Hurungwe said he was made to
sing ‘revolutionary’ songs as he was being larruped with knobkerries by the
group.

“I was made to sing a song ‘Muri Nhume,’ (Zanu Pf jingle) whilst the
Goromondo militia flogged me with logs, my only crime was that I had
disappeared during election time,” claimed Chimusimbe.

Teachers at a local Mahwada Primary school in the district said the militia
group threatened to pounce on them, accusing them of being ‘opposition
activists. The villagers said the intra-party violence that is rocking the
province is a testimony that Zimbabwe was not ready for any election.

MDC MP for Hurungwe West Severino Tall Chambati was suspended in June this
year by his party following intra-party violence which left several members
injured in Zvipani district in Mashonaland West last weekend.

Chambati who is the chairperson of MDC Zvipani district was suspended and
barred from doing any political activities in his constituency on behalf of
the party until investigations into the matter were concluded.

The decision to suspend Chambati was passed by MDC Mashonaland West Province
during the provincial executive committee meeting held in Chinhoyi. Japhet
Karemba, chairperson of the MDC Mashonaland West Province confirmed the
suspension.

“We have suspended him for inciting public violence in breach of the party’s
code of conduct. He is suspended from conducting any political activity in
the constituency. We are going to inform the national executive of the
decision we have reached as a committee on Chambati,” said Karemba.

After noticing the level of intimidation in the area, Centre for Youth
Empowerment and Development Trust engaged young people from all six
districts in Mashonaland West province to advocate for the elimination of
all forms of violence, including political violence.

The campaign titled Love peace, Love Zimbabwe, was aimed at looking at
practical ways of curbing violence in the Province by bringing together
young people from various political parties as well stakeholders from other
institutions such as Joint Operation Monitoring and Implementation Committee
(JOMIC).

The advocacy programme started with a training to equip youth leaders with
advocacy skills followed by a peace campaign that involved young people from
different political parties dressed in their political party regalia taking
part in a march to denounce political violence and promoting peace and
tolerance on the second day.

The result was a clear demonstration of tolerance as young people interacted
peacefully and conducted themselves in a harmonious manner.

“During the workshop we paired them (the young people) and this eliminated
the spirit of rebellion, while, after the march they demonstrated a spirit
of tolerance as they refused to have the lunch individually insisting to
have lunch seated together in one restaurant”, said Henry Muwungani the
CYEDT Coordinator.

At the end of the campaign, youth leaders in the province were able to
identify their common issues of concern as well as facilitate a plan of
implementation for the Peace Advocacy Campaign. However, participants
concluded that sustainability of the project can be enhanced through
livelihood projects so as to economically empower them to reduce chances of
exploitation. Nehanda Radio


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Zimbabwe worries about RENAMO war threats

http://nehandaradio.com

on December 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm

By Bernard Chiketo

Physically, the boundaries are glaring, though justification for their exact
placements is less so. Socio-cultural distinctions between the people are
even more blurred, where they exist. Along the Zimbabwe – Mozambique border,
most differences have always been superficial as the two nations essentially
fade into each other.

Along the Rusitu River, at the end of the picturesque Chimanimani mountain
range, Mozambican children carry Zimbabwean identity documents and attended
Zimbabwean schools. Sharing the same beliefs, attitudes and behaviour and
speaking the same language, all evidence points to a united people divided
only by Europe’s apportionment, among itself, of these lands.

Colonial boundaries however failed to divide chiefdoms as they scornfully
disregard borders – in Chimanimani and Chipinge. Chiefs Chikukwa and
Mapungwana’s jurisdictions cross the border deep into Mozambique. Yet others
have bases in Mozambique reaching back into Zimbabwe. These are their lands.

Sharing the same leaders, traditional healers and prophets on either side
belong to both communities and side by side, gold panners from either side
ravage each other’s lands, albeit peacefully. Police on either side only
worry about their bribes and are perceived, at worst, as nuisances.

Since the 1970s these communities have aided and abated wars – against
colonial governments and banditry. For twenty years now there has been peace
which however has now been replaced with a tense apprehension as Resistência
Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO), also known as Mozambican National Resistance
(MNR), threatens war if its demands are not met.

At the end of October, its rebel Alfonso Dhlakama, along with 800 of his
former guerrillas, decamped to his remote former Cassa Banana base near the
Gorongossa Game Park between Sofala and Manica provinces.

Zimbabwe has responded by secretly deploying army units along more than
1,000km of the eastern border as a precaution over the threatened military
instability, keeping a watchful eye on the political impasse in its
strategic neighbour.

Muchadziya villagers, in the Rusitu valley some 200 km south east of the
eastern border city of Mutare, have been warned by local traditional leaders
against indiscriminate employment of Mozambicans as domestic servants for
fear of infiltration by RENAMO bandits.

Their community, says 62-year old Margaret Mukwendengwe, was once a victim
of constant raids by RENAMO rebels in search of food and recruits but often
times committing pure acts of terror either to settle old grudges especially
by former domestic servants who knew the lands well or simply to discourage
the Zimbabwean government from supporting its Mozambican counterpart.

At the pick of the civil war in 1987 Dhlakama’s men, in one of their most
reprehensible incident, attacked Jersey Tea Estate plantation school near
Chipinge on November 19 killing five children, cutting off the ears and
noses of nine more and kidnapping them to Mozambique. The mutilated children
were released with the warning that more would follow if Zimbabwe continued
to intervene in Mozambique’s civil war.

Ken Flower, the former Intelligence Chief in Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, wrote in
his memoirs, that RENAMO was formed by the Rhodesian Special Branch, working
together with General Peter Walls, the Rhodesian army commander.

Renamo was founded in the wake of Mozambique’s independence, in 1975, as an
anti-Communist political organization and allegedly to prevent the FRELIMO
government from providing a safe haven for Zimbabwe African National Union
militants seeking to overthrow the Rhodesian government as well as South
African liberation movements operating from there.

Essentially, RENAMO is said to have, in its formation and leadership, also
comprised of South Africans and Portuguese settlers in South Africa,
Mozambique and Rhodesia. Among its prominent leaders were Orlando Cristiano,
Evo Fernandes, and Casimiro Monteiro, a professional assassin.

In earnest, from 1976 RENAMO began crippling Mozambique through various acts
of sabotage upgrading its actions to violent opposition of the leadership of
the ruling Front for Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) government from 1977
plunging the nation into a bitter civil war that sucked in Zimbabwe for ten
years between 1982 and 1992 with the signing of the Rome Peace Accord in
1992.

André Matsangaissa, an ex-FRELIMO army commander, was RENAMO’s first
official leader who was killed by government soldiers on 17 October 1979 in
the Sofala Province and following a violent succession struggle, Alfonso
Dhlakama took over leadership.

Between 1977 and the Rome Peace Accord about one million people died in
fighting and from starvation, five million civilians were displaced, many
were made amputees by landmines, a legacy from the war that continues to
plague Mozambique.

To sustain their troops, the rebels also ran an infamous system of ‘Gandira’,
which saw civilians in RENAMO-controlled zones forced to produce food and
courier goods and ammunition with women press-ganged to become sex-slaves.

To spruce up its image in the devastating war RENAMO operated an
anti-FRELIMO radio station, Voz da Africa Livre, which broadcasted from
Transvaal in South Africa. It is thus no wonder the same people it was
terrorising ended up supporting it in an electoral contest.

The 1992 peace deal brought in a unity government in which political leaders
were to share government posts equitably, while all former combatants who
were not demobilised were to be integrated into the police and the armed
forces, with the country’s first multi-party elections being held two years
later in October 1994.

In these first ever multiparty elections FRELIMO, led by Joachim Chissano,
won 53 per cent and RENAMO won 33 per cent of the votes. In parliamentary
elections, FRELIMO got 44 per cent and RENAMO won 38 per cent.

Today, Dhlakama and his RENAMO insist that the FRELIMO government has not
ever tried to honour this agreement and its members say they have lost out
on the peace dividend and now also want a bigger share of Mozambique’s
expected coal, diamond, gold and gas profits, in addition to an overhaul of
the electoral system to prevent alleged fraud.

But not so long ago, one of its senior officials, Davis Simango, who
participated in the negotiations leading to the Rome Peace Accord broke away
and formed his own party, the Democratic Movement of Mozambique which now
has 8 seats in the 250-seat house of parliament. This left Dhlakama with
only 29 seats.

Critics argue that Dhlakama’s decision to move out of government could also
be linked to his waning electoral appeal. His actions are thus a veiled
attempt to subvert the democracy that is increasingly side-lining him.

After the fall of the Smith Regime in Rhodesia in 1980, RENAMO was handed
over to the South African Defence Force (SADF) which allegedly recruited as
many from the Rhodesian army, including an entire unit of the Selous Scouts
escalating the war in both Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Other soldiers were recruited in rural areas tempted by promises of a better
life or by force, conscripting children who ended up comprising up to a
third of its army. With SADF support, its troop grew to more than 7,000 men
which tripled within the decade.

In 1982, Zimbabwe directly intervened in the civil war in order to secure
its Mutare – Beira and Nyamapanda – Zobue trade routes through Mozambique
which were under RENAMO attack and also to stop cross-border RENAMO raids
apart from helping its old ally, FRELIMO.

Its involvement was however only formally invited in 1985 together with that
of Malawi and Tanzania through the then Southern African Development
Coordination Conference (SADCC).

Being a landlocked country Zimbabwe was being denied access to the sea by
the white South African government to the south and by sabotage of its
routes in the east by RENAMO bandits taking orders from their South African
handlers. Without either South Africa or Mozambique, Zimbabwe’s economy was
doomed – even for Rhodesia.

When Ian Smith unilaterally declared Southern Rhodesia’s independence from
Britain (UDI), in 1965, the United Nations (UN) responded by slapping his
regime with sanctions. Mozambique’s Fascist Portuguese ruler and apartheid
South Africa’s white minority leaders refused to enforce them. Smith thus
continued to use the shorter and cheaper Mozambican trade routes.

However, as it became obvious that Mozambique was gaining independence,
there was a fear that the new Mozambican government would impose the UN
sanctions and close the country’s trading routes. This would leave only the
South African routes open, triggering concerted efforts to reinforce the
South African routes which saw, in 1974, a 93 day construction of a 2,066
kilometre railway line from Harare to Durban via Beit Bridge.

When Mozambique became independent, and as predicted, in 1976 closed its
border with Rhodesia, and all Rhodesia’s trade had to go through South
Africa.

However when Rhodesia became independent as Zimbabwe in 1980, it was only
logical for it to revert to shorter and cheaper Mozambican routes. It was
then that RENAMO was also being strengthened to sabotage the two countries
which were now under liberation war parties to undermine their ability to
support their comrades protesting the colonialists’ remaining outpost.

As punishment for its outspoken position against apartheid, by November
1980, more than 50 000 tonnes of Zimbabwean goods were being deliberately
held at South African ports. In 1981 there was a fertiliser shortage in
Zimbabwe while 300 000 tonnes of the country’s freight was being held in
South Africa, including three shipments of fertiliser.

In April the same year, the South African Railways (SAR) announced the end
of its trade agreement with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), and
demanded the return of 24 diesel locomotives leased to the NRZ. A transport
crisis ensued and by the end of the year, more than Z$100 million worth of
exports was being held up inside Zimbabwe for lack of transport to the
ports.

A maize consignment later referred to as the ‘Maize train’ was the first
major freight to be re-routed via the Beira Corridor, but the line came
under immediate attack from RENAMO. On 29 October 1981, the railway and road
bridges over the Pungwe River were blown up together with Zimbabwe’s oil
pipeline, which runs under the road bridge. Soon thereafter, in December
1982, the oil storage depot at Maforga was also blown up.

With this direct economic assault at one point there was only a day’s supply
of petrol and two days’ supply of diesel for the whole country. A national
disaster was only averted by a clandestine movement of fuel by rail from
Maputo via Komatipoort in South Africa to Beit Bridge.

This line had also been used as a sanctions-busting route for Rhodesia
during the UDI era. When apartheid South Africa cut off that connection as
well, NRZ also blocked South African cargo to and from Zambia and the
Democratic Republic of Congo. It was only then that South Africa released
Zimbabwe’s freight.

This gave Zimbabwe the impetus to join on the side of the Mozambican
government and ended up involving at least 30 000 troops in military
operations against RENAMO throughout the length and breadth of its neighbour
in a bid to protect its interests. While some of these operations were
conducted jointly with the Mozambican army they were often times done alone.

The operations led to the capture the RENAMO Headquarters at Cassa Banana in
1985 and 1986 but Zimbabwe’s army lost 320 soldiers with 640 being injured.
In spite of a heavy military commitment, Zimbabwe’s Defence Forces (ZDF)
failed to destroy RENAMO as the Mozambican army failed to hold any of the
bases captured by the ZDF for any length of time.

Mozambique’s failures were also because RENAMO had also economically ruined
the country. As a result, a reluctant Mozambican President, Samora Machel,
signed a non-aggression pact with South Africa, known as the Nkomati Accord.

The treaty was a promise not to support hostile acts against each other’s
governments. While Machel kept his promise by closing African National
Congress bases, denying it sanctuary in its campaign to overthrow white
minority rule in South Africa in return for Pretoria’s promise to sever
economic assistance to RENAMO.

But documents discovered during the capture of the RENAMO headquarters in
August 1985 revealed continuing South African government communications and
military support. The Rome agreement of October 1992 made possible the
withdrawal of Zimbabwean forces from Mozambique, which had started in
November 1990 and ended on the 14th of April 1993.

But with all these actors in the conflict a huge part of the Mozambican
population never found out what the war was really all about, and who was
responsible for what! Newstime Africa


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Zim close to securing loan from SA

http://ewn.co.za

Zimbabwe could receive a loan of up to $100 million from their neighbours
SA.
Eyewitness News | 8 hours ago

HARARE - Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti says he has almost
concluded a deal for a $100 million loan from South Africa.

Biti asked for the money in September, but this is the first indication the
deal is really on.

Biti says he is in constant contact with his South African counterpart
Pravin Gordhan regarding the loan.

He says South Africa is agreeable to the loan but there are few issues that
have to be ironed out first.

According to state media, the money will not be used for elections.

It reports it will go to help Zimbabwe achieve its millennium development
goals and it will be used for infrastructure projects.

In November, former finance minister Trevor Manuel stressed that South
Africa did not want to throw money at bad policies in Zimbabwe.


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Women live in fear of rape: Zimbabwe study

http://www.zimdiaspora.com

SUNDAY, 23 DECEMBER 2012 15:20

LATEST findings by police that 2 405 children were raped in 10 months have
sent shivers among women in the country as the cases seem to be soaring to
an unbelievable level.

Officer Commanding the Victim Friendly Unit Commissioner Isabella Sergio,
speaking at the launch of ZRP’s Crime Awareness Campaign in the capital
recently, said the force was worried about the abuse of children.

“As an organisation, we are obviously worried by the fact that children
continue to bear the brunt of sexual offences.

“The majority of reported cases have been perpetrated against children under
the age of 18 years,” she said.

This is not about juveniles only, but women in general are being victimised
by rapists.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstats) Quarterly
Digest of Statistics, a total of 2 195 cases of rape were reported in the
first five months of 2012.

The recent findings by Zimstats and the United Nations Children’s
Educational Fund (Unicef) that one in three girls is raped or sexually
assaulted before she reaches the age of 18, is a clear sign of the girl
child living in fear of the known.

According to police, rape cases are being fuelled by a number of reasons,
one being carelessness of parents and other custodians.

Sergio said rapists seemed to take advantage of children’s naïveté,
vulnerability and inability to protect themselves.

“Parents leave minors in the custody of male relatives or their neighbours
as they go about their activities. This exposes them to sexual abuse,” she
said.

Sergio said during school days, some children go to and from school
unaccompanied, with some of them using shortcuts such as secluded areas,
thereby exposing themselves to danger.

“What has become more worrisome now is that boys under the age of 18 years
have developed a habit of sexually abusing young girls below 12 years.

“These teenage boys take advantage of unaccompanied minors left in their
custody or waylay them in secluded footpaths, bushy areas and maize fields,
as well as along the distances between schools and homesteads, especially in
rural areas,” she said.

Zimstats and Unicef found out that of all the child sexual abuse cases,
females accounted for over 90% of child survivors of sexual abuse. Most of
the girls aged 12 and above were sexually abused in the homes of their peers
and boyfriends.

Girls below 12 were mostly abused at their homes. Children aged 13 to 16
years old made up close to 50% of the cases with over 70% of all abuses
happening in urban areas.

Over 90% of child sexual abuse perpetrators were males and the average
perpetrator age was 22.

Survivors reported that they had a pre-existing relationship with the
perpetrators in most of the cases.

Children reported that the sexual abuse occurred more than once in over 40%
of the cases.

Of the abused children, only 2,4% received support and care with 97,6% not
receiving any form of treatment.

People interviewed bemoaned lack of stringent laws in dealing with
perpetrators of rape.

“The continuing rise of rape cases is something that needs to be dealt with
and if no tangible measures are taken, then we are living in hell.

“Statistics must guide policymakers in coming up with solutions to clamp
down on sexual abuse of the girl child,” said Patrick Mheta, a Harare
resident.

Radical feminist Betty Makoni is always saying not enough is being done by
policymakers to stop rapists from victimising innocent girls.

“Many times I took little girls to police stations where the rapist was
right there with us and we did not need any parade of the rapist to identify
him at all. But the next day we saw him walking scot free on bail which
lasted forever,” she said.

David Chidende, programmes officer for lobby group Youth Information
Education for Behavioural Change said there was need for stringent laws to
protect the girl child.

“The ever-increasing number on rape cases is worrisome. We really don’t know
what policymakers are thinking of, but we will advocate for redressing of
the law on sexual abuse,” he said.

Sociologist Darlington Nyabiko said sexual abuse of girls was extreme
because a good number of girls who suffered from sexual abuse did not raise
any alarm.

“The disturbing statistics that only a percentage of victims of sexual abuse
received support clearly reveals that many victims do not report.

“Many girls are being sexually abused and in some cases, they are even being
raped. But they tend to keep quite,” he said.

Nyabiko added that most girls lacked knowledge on what sexual abuse was.

“A number of girls seem not to know what sexual abuse is and hence most of
them are silent victims of sexual abuse.”

There are fears that the number could be higher as some cases go unreported.

But it is in May where the statistics were gory, as 470 women were subjected
to sexual assaults. This translated to 15 women being raped daily or an
equivalent of one woman being abused every 90 minutes.

The statistics revealed that in January, 427 women were raped, while in
February 428 were abused.

In March, 425 women were abused, with the number rising to 445 the following
month and peaking at 470 in May.

However, this could be a slight improvement from 2011 figures, where a total
of 5 449 cases were recorded — easily the highest figure compared to the two
preceding years.

In 2010, 4 450 cases where reported while in 2009, 3 481 cases were
recorded.

During the first five months of the year, 940 cases of indecent assault were
recorded, as compared to 472 in the corresponding period in 2011.

A total of 1 610 cases of indecent assault were recorded in 2011, with 2 484
and 1 124 in 2010 and 2009 respectively.


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Tourism Minister Mzembi wins 3 Africa Leadership awards

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

22/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEANS fared strongly at the recent Africa Leadership Awards in
Mauritius winning six awards, with three of them going to Tourism Minister
Walter Mzembi.

The minister received the Personal Brand Award, the Mark of Excellence Award
and the Africa Leadership and Initiative Awards.

Zimbabwe as a nation was awarded the Leading Future Destination Award, a
psychological booster for a country emerging from isolation by foreign
visitors and a decade of deep economic decline.

Other winners were heads of two academic institutions, Dr. Quinton
Kanhukamwe of the Harare Institute of Technology and the Zimbabwe Open
University (ZOU)’s Dr. Primrose Kurasha.

The two were awarded for leading institutions that have contributed
immensely in national development.

In his address, Mzembi urged African countries to follow democratic
principles and weed out corruption, saying this was the only pathway to the
achievement of the continent’s economic development.

He lamented current developments in Egypt, Mali and the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC) saying the unrest in these countries negated economic growth
and development.

Mzembi, who has also won several national and international awards
previously, took the opportunity to position and market the next UNWTO
General Assembly set for August 2013 in Victoria Falls.

Co-sponsored by the World Corporate Social Responsibility and the Stars of
Industry Group, the awards are intended amongst other objectives, to
encourage good leadership.

The Stars of Industry Awards was created more than 40 years ago by the
American Hotel and Lodging Association, and it gives hoteliers the
opportunity to recognize employees, managers and legislators who best
represent the service and spirit of the lodging industry.


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Chiyangwa awarded bizarre Honorary Doctorate degree

http://www.thezimbabwemail.com/

Staff Reporter 18 hours 17 minutes ago

HARARE - Controversial Harare business mogul Mr Philip Chiyangwa has been
conferred with an honorary doctorate by St Linus International University,
which is head-quartered in the Dominican Republic.
Chiyangwa, who is now officially known as Dr Chiyangwa, was accorded the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Business Leadership in recognition of his
business acumen and sterling contribution to society.
The doctorate was conferred through the university’s Harare office on
December 12.
In its citation, the higher learning institution said: “Whereas in
recognition of the invaluable and selfless contributions of the Honoree
Philip Chiyangwa in the field of his applied expertise, the university does
hereby confer the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Business
Leadership (Honoris Causa) with all the rights, privileges and honors
thereunto appertaining here and elsewhere.
“In witness, whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seal this 12th day
of December 12, 2012.”
In an interview yesterday, an elated Dr Chiyangwa said he was humbled.
“I am very humbled at receiving this recognition. It has given me scope to
reflect on the achievements that I have made starting from my humble
beginnings to become the man that I am today,” he said.
“I owe all this success to the strong support I get from my wife and
children.”
Dr Chiyangwa said the award should inspire other Zimbabweans to attain
greater success.
“My message to Zimbabweans is that they can be anyone and can achieve
anything that they seek to achieve.
“I started out as a poor young man from Chegutu, but I have climbed the
ladder to become a wealthy businessman because of perseverance. If you
persevere you will achieve success one way or the other.”
St Linus is a renowned international university that offers various degree
programmes and is licenced to operate abroad as a transnational education
provider.
Recognised worldwide, its operations are guided by international protocols
that include The Hague Apostille Convention of 1961 as well as the Vienna
Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The institution also collaborates with the United Nations and the
Commonwealth.
It is also affiliated to several other international non-governmental
organisations.


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Gweru residents forced to pay for dry taps

http://nehandaradio.com

on December 23, 2012 at 1:01 am

Gweru City Council has threatened to sue residents owing over US$280 000 in
unpaid rates but residents have vowed not to pay their bills claiming they
had not received the services.

According to statements obtained from the department of finance, as of 6
September 2012, Mkoba 19 a suburb in Zimbabwe’s third largest city,
residents’ owed council US$273 989.55′including-metered water charges.

Excluding water charges the residents owed 190 645. 52. Mkoba 19 has about
772 households and residents are accusing council of billing for services
that are not being provided. Mkoba 19 residents said they have not received
water for almost four years yet council is billing them.

City council has failed to provide services especially water. Mkoba 19 is on
high ground and is one of the areas that have erratic supply of water
because Gwenhoro where Gweru draws water has only three functional pumps
instead of 11.

The pumps at Gwenhoro, which were installed in 1971, have become obsolete
and constantly break down hence the water problems in the city.

Despite a directive by the Minister of Local Government and Urban
Development that councils spent only 30% of their revenue on salaries and
70% on service delivery, Director of Finance Edgar Mwedzi said low revenue
inflows has forced council to spend more than the required percentage.

Investigations have revealed that salaries eat up most of the revenue
collected by council. In August council collected $809 865 and 60% went to
salaries while in July 42% was used for salaries. In June out of the$ 1 092
831 collected, 45% was gobbled by salaries.

Despite failure to provide the services, Onwell Masimba Assistant Director
of finance in the city council insisted that council is justified to bill
residents.

Masimba told this reporter that while they appreciate council has been
struggling to provide water to the residents; the statements sent to
residents do not carry water charges only.

“The problem that we have encountered as council is that residents have an
assumption that the money that will be on their statements is only water
charges,” he explained.

“The council statements have the metered water charges which is the amount
of water used per a specific period, then the water fixed charge paid
whether one has access to water or does not have. There are also the
sewerage and refuse removal charges. Then there is the supplementary
charges, which is tax on property, which in most cases is more than any
other charge,” Masimba added.

The supplementary charges are a result of the Urban Council’s Act. According
to the Act in section 269, council for the payment of tax should rate all
property within a council area. Masimba said Supplementary charges include
the tax as prescribed by the Urban Council’s Act.

However residents argued that when the Act was put in place, councils then
were providing the services and said things have since changed as councils
are failing in service delivery.

Masimba explained that while it could be reasonable for the Mkoba 19
residents to refuse to pay for the water charges, there is no justification
for refusing to pay other charges that are on their bills.

He also showed the reporter that water is charged according to usage and
said when there is no water the residents are not charged under the water
metered charge. Masimba admitted that while some households had gone for
years without water, the situation has since improved as they are now
getting water albeit at odd hours.

Masimba explained that between December last year and March this year,
council offered a 20% discount to all those that owed council. “We even
invited them to come and make payment plans of their own will and they
ignored. We are now handing over debtors to lawyers and Mkoba 19 residents
should pay up their bills or risk being handed over to lawyers,” Masimba
warned.

Masimba said unlike private companies that have shareholders who inject
capital then a service is provided; councils rely on residents to inject the
capital for councils to provide services. Masimba however admitted council
officials have failed to go to residents and explain to them that statements
from council are not solely water charges.

Isaiah Maradze, the Chairperson of Mkoba 19 Residents Association a
brainchild of the Gweru United Residents Association (GURA) the biggest
residents association in Gweru said council has to provide service if they
need money from residents.

“The times that other residents in Mkoba 19 got water, it was dirty and we
cannot pay for unclean water. Council has a duty to provide clean water to
its residents. Even the supplementary charges which are meant to develop the
roads and for council to give us bins, we shall not pay because we are not
getting the required services,” Maradze said.

“They lie to us that they only charge water when it comes. Sometimes we get
water-metered charges even without getting water. On the statements there is
a water fixed charge which they say is to maintain the pipes, why should we
pay for it when the use of the pipes does not benefit us,” Luke Kudita the
secretary of the residents association said.

“The council is insensitive, imagine you go and fetch water from a borehole
like you are in rural areas and then you are asked to pay for′a service that
you are not getting. It’s actually unbelievable that they are threatening to
take legal action. We shall not pay their bills and we shall wait to be
taken to court,” Molly Sibanda another resident queried.

Sandra Nhatarikwa who has a house at the end of the village said they were
the most affected. “We do not get water hence people use the bushes and
maize fields. As a family we can no longer sit in our yard while outdoors
because of the stench that comes behind the house,” Nhatarikwa complained.

“We cannot even pay for the sewage fees because sewer does not move where
there is no water. Actually we should be compensated for the stench of human
waste that has been caused by the failure of council to provide water rather
than us paying council,’ she added.

Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GURA) said council had to
provide the services and residents resist being forced to pay for services
they do not get. “Council is not providing the services that they are
required to give to residents. Residents cannot continue to pay for non
existent services,” Nyasha Mpofu a member said.

In May the Mkoba 19 residents demonstrated against council over the letters
of final demands to the residents. The council had given residents a March
due date either to make payments or payment plans.

Contacted for comment over the issue, Councilor for the ward, Clemence Kwaru
who was emotional shouted at this reporter.

“The problem of water has nothing to do with me as a councilor. The area is
on a highland and the pumps cannot pump water,” Kwaru said before hurling
insults accusing the media of having an agenda to taint his image.

Vimbai Nhutsve, Midlands Regional Coordinator for National Association of
Non Governmental Organizations said they have engaged with council over the
water issue especially concerning Mkoba 19 residents’ and service delivery.

“The local authority promised they will improve the water situation and
service delivery but as Nango we feel it’s unfair for people to be made to
pay for services that they do not get. We feel Gweru is also sitting on a
health time bomb as people have resorted to use of unsafe water and bushes
as toilets.”

Sibusisiwe Sanya the secretary for the Midlands Chapter of the Women
Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) urged council to decisively deal with water
issue and said water was a basic need.

“As women we are worried if council fails to deliver the services that they
are supposed to give especially water. The unavailability of water is a
major concern for women as they are the most affected.

“We condemn the situation where there are areas where city council is not
providing water and other areas where water comes at midnight,”′Mrs. Sanya
said it was sad to note that while most people had migrated to urban areas
to get water from taps and electricity they have been driven to live the
rural life again while they are in towns.

Deputy Mayor Taurai Demo said that the council position was that the
residents should pay.

“Some of them have now understood that even without water you pay for other
fixed charges and some of them have already made payment plans. For those
that are still resisting we urge then to pay as they will be paying for
other fixed charges.

“If water has not been used the meter does not move hence council cannot
charge them for water that they are not getting.” Nehanda Radio


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Professor Ncube salutes President Mugabe

http://www.thezimbabwemail.com

Staff Reporter 18 hours 31 minutes ago

MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube has poured out his admiration for
President Mugabe, saying he has far more superior leadership qualities
compared to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
He also said a new constitution is not a prerequisite for the 2013
harmonised elections, which can be held in terms of the existing law.
Speaking to journalists after a rally in Gweru, Prof Ncube described
President Mugabe as a principled person who exhibited remarkable leadership
qualities while Mr Tsvangirai flip-flopped.
He said handing the presidency to the MDC-T leader was similar to “giving a
cyclist the responsibility of driving a bus”.
“There are those who say we should remove (President) Mugabe and replace him
with (Mr) Tsvangirai. There is a lot of work to be done in Government,” he
said.
“Imagine what would happen if he got into office. He would probably open a
file and fail to understand what it is all about. Driving a bus requires a
class one driver’s licence. You cannot say so and so has experience in
cycling, let us give him a bus to drive! He lacks principles. One day he
says this and the next morning he says something different.”
Prof Ncube vowed to continue representing the interests of the grassroots.
“He (Prime Minister Tsvangirai) has called me a village politician. Yes, I
am a villager who represents the wishes of his fellow villagers.
“If Prime Minister Tsvangirai thinks he belongs to royalty then let him go
to England and stay there.”
Prof Ncube also concurred with Zanu-PF that a new constitution was not a
precondition for holding harmonised elections next year.
He added that it would be undemocratic to suppress the will of the
electorate by delaying polls in order to push for a new constitution.
“We are ready for elections next year with or without a new constitution.
The point we are making is that if it is not possible to come up with a new
constitution then let us not have a constitution at all.
“We hold elections under the old constitution and then continue to fight for
a new constitution after the elections. We, of course, prefer the
constitution, which was signed on July 18. However, if the country runs out
of time before we have a new constitution we must go for an election and we
are ready for that.” - SM


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Zanu PF heavy weights clash over Adam

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

Sunday, 23 December 2012 12:42

BULAWAYO - Zanu PF heavyweights have clashed over the party’s refusal to
confer Adam Ndlovu with national hero status.

Adam, together with a female passenger Nomqhele Tshili, perished in a fatal
car crash last weekend that also critically injured Ndlovu’s younger
brother, Peter.

The 39-year-old Peter, a Zimbabwe international soccer player boasting over
400 appearances for Coventry City, Birmingham City, Huddersfield and
Sheffield United.

Addressing mourners at Adam’s home on Friday night, Zanu PF politburo
member, resident minister and governor for Matabeleland South, Angeline
Masuku, dismissed the party‘s secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s
sentiments early this week that the soccer legend was not a hero.

“Anybody who is saying Adam is not a hero does not know what he is talking
about,” Masuku said.

“He is not in his right senses. Adam was the cream in our football
fraternity. I would like to thank the Bulawayo City Council for allowing
Adam to be buried where great heroes like Lookout Masuku are buried.”

Masuku is a former Zipra commander who served as the deputy commander of the
Zimbabwe National Army until his arrest in 1982 for allegedly plotting to
overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

Police detained him under emergency regulations and was incarcerated. The
government released Masuku because of poor health and he died soon after in
1986 of meningitis.

Mutasa early this week said Adam cannot be accorded hero status because
Zimbabwe has never given the status to any sportsperson ever.

House of Assembly speaker Lovemore Moyo told mourners: “You do not need an
Oxford dictionary to describe Adam as a hero. He is better than many of us
who claimed to have served the country. All Zimbabweans are equal. We should
emulate what he did.”

Adam and his brother Peter were on their way to Victoria Falls for a social
soccer match when Peter’s BMW X5 vehicle burst a tyre and veered off the
road. It uprooted three trees. The tragic accident occurred near the
Victoria Falls Airport. Adam died on his way to hospital while Tshili died
on the spot.

Adam was buried yesterday at Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo. Earlier on
Friday, his casket was paraded in the city.

The former Highlanders player, was a member of the popular Zimbabwe Dream
Team coached in the 1990s by the late Reinhard Fabisch.

During his heyday, he played for FC Zurich in Switzerland, Moroka Swallows
and Free State Stars in South Africa.

He is survived by his two daughters. At the time of his death, Adam was the
coach of Bulawayo-based Premier League side, Chicken Inn. - Pindai Dube


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Britain's forgotten asylum seekers left in limbo

http://www.timesofoman.com

byAFP
DECEMBER 23, 2012

Britain: Displaced from his home country of Zimbabwe to Britain because of
his political beliefs, James would like nothing better than to focus on
buying Christmas presents for his sick young son.

But after waiting two and a half years to hear whether he can stay, James --
not his real name -- remains in limbo: legally unable to work, reliant on
handouts, and struggling even to raise the bus fare to visit his son in
hospital.

"I want to provide everything for my family, to have a normal life, to give
people Christmas presents," said James, 46, who has an electronics degree.

Instead, having endured two winters of homelessness, he waits.
James is among a huge backlog of asylum seekers in Britain waiting years to
hear if their applications have succeeded -- a situation blasted in a report
last month by the British parliament's influential home affairs committee.

The report said the UK Border Agency had shelved the cases of 74,000 asylum
seekers by saying it had lost touch with them; of the rest, 30 percent must
wait more than three years for a decision.

Britain accepts asylum applications under UN and EU agreements, and receives
about 17,000 a year, below the European average per head of population.

Yet the backlog is still growing. At one point more than 150 boxes of post,
including letters from applicants and lawyers, lay unopened in a room, the
report found.

James's journey to Britain began in 2001, with a visit to his Harare home
from a group of men he immediately recognised as bad news.

"There were four or five men. Three of them were wearing smart-casual type
clothes with ties. They didn't have any documents, and the car they were
travelling in -- I knew it was the type the CIO use," James said, referring
to Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organisation.

"They tried to abduct me and my friend but they wouldn't even say why they
wanted to question us. So an argument started and we ended up in a scuffle.
I was hit on the forehead with a hard object."

James managed to escape, but he knew the men would likely return, because he
and his friend had been distributing membership cards for the
then-opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Opponents of the government of Robert Mugabe, 88 and in power since 1980,
have faced disappearances, torture and killings, according to Amnesty
International.

Two of James's brothers were in Britain, and fearing for his future, they
helped him move there as a student. James went on to earn his degree from a
London university.

He married a fellow Zimbabwean and joined the MDC's British branch.
But he was no longer able to extend his student visa and did not feel safe
returning to Zimbabwe to lodge a new application from there.

"The CIO are at the airport. The moment you get there, they want to know who
you are, where you are coming from, why were you away for such a long time?"
he said.

"I know what it's like. I have friends who have been taken away. Some have
come back beaten up, others don't come back. The last time I tried calling
one friend, he

wasn't answering, and I don't know what's happened to him."

MDC chief Morgan Tsvangirai became premier in 2009 under a unity government,
but human rights groups say oppression continued.

Zimbabwe, Iran and Afghanistan are the most common countries from which
people seek asylum in Britain, and in 2010 James decided his only option was
to join the queue.

Like many others, he received an initial refusal citing a lack of evidence.
But he appealed on advice from a lawyer, remaining in the country legally.

In the meantime James was not allowed to work and the couple were destitute.
His wife stayed with a friend, while James was homeless, staying in shelters
if he was lucky.
"All of the winter in 2010 and 2011 I had no place to live," he said.
"It's been a really, really tough time."

James's wife gave birth to twins in 2011; one died, while the surviving son
has a chronic lung condition.

Eventually, helped by charity Refugee Action, the family accessed state
benefits including vouchers and basic accommodation in the northwestern city
of Manchester.
But James still struggles to raise bus fares and has heard nothing on his
asylum claim for two years.

He longs to work and start a normal family life.
"The legal limbo that (James) is in, like so many others in this country
waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, is unacceptable," said Dave
Garratt, chief executive of Refugee Action.

Asylum applications in Europe have fallen sharply from a peak 10 years ago,
but many governments continue to keep applicants waiting. In Germany they
wait an average of more than 21 months, according to an EU-sponsored
education project.

In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led coalition
government, which has promised a clampdown on immigration, places emphasis
on deporting illegal immigrants rather than resolving asylum cases.

But a UK Border Agency spokesperson said: "We are resolving asylum cases
more quickly. Last year 63 percent of cases were dealt with within 12
months... Protection is always given where there is a well-founded fear of
persecution."

Garratt of Refugee Action added: "Whilst the number of unresolved cases can
be counted, the human cost of wasted potential is beyond measure."


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‘I will increase the cake’

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

Sunday, 23 December 2012 12:42

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai speaks on wide ranging issues from
politics, Government, the MDC and his personal life.

Q: Prime Minister how do you rate Government performance in 2012?

PM: A major milestone this Government has achieved is the
constitution-making process.

The second All stakeholders conference we had made the process irreversible.

We also launched the Medium Term Plan (MTP) and other various social
interventions we did as Government in health, education and water.

By the end of the year we look back and say we have succeeded in dealing
with the water situation in most urban centres.

The Mtshabezi pipeline has started supplying water to residents in Bulawayo
and this is another milestone we are happy about.

We had a very good engagement drive with the international community.

We went to the Asian-Pacific, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and I think
Zimbabwe’s position was well received in so far as the inclusive Government
was concerned.

For the first time we were invited to China and the general impression was
that we were making progress and that the country was not deteriorating
further to a failed State.

We were making progress on the economic front but one thing that has become
an international concern is the indigenisation law but generally the
interest in the country was greatly enhanced.

If we are able to resolve some of these hygiene issues this country will be
on a very strong positive trajectory.

Q: Other positives...?

PM: With a narrow budget and very restricted fiscal space, the Ministry of
Finance demonstrated that with the little means that we had we managed to
sustain Government operations.

I think the issue of the relaxation of restrictions on technical assistance
to Zimbabwe by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), debt restructuring and
the continued consolidation of the macro-economic situation were positive
developments.

We implemented the ICT policy, which saw the whole country being wired up
with mobile access.

In the health sector we saw the setting up of cancer centres in Harare and
Bulawayo.

In education, we had Grade 7 results announced way before Christmas and it
is an achievement.

On roads under the Government Work Programme (GWP) there is the resurfacing
of the Plumtree-Mutare road.

A lot of major activities are taking place. If you go to other critical
interventions, the ministry of Energy has made efforts to find a solution to
the Chisumbanje ethanol plant dispute, the issue of Government intervening
to protect the Save conservancy against what maybe concluded as a bad-boy
image for the country.

Internationally the diamond issue seems to be near resolution and what is
required now is greater transparency in accounting for the proceeds to the
fiscus.

Q:What were some of the challenges in 2012?

PM: The challenges we faced largely arose from policy discord especially
around indigenisation.
It would appear the Government was split with Zanu PF going with its
so-called indigenisation plan which scared away investors.

The policy discord affected investor confidence in the country because of
the manner the indigenisation plan was implemented. It created so much
discord.

We hope the nation will be able to set the real priorities when we come to
economic empowerment, which we all subscribe to.

In the MDC we have always not been happy about the selective application of
the law mirrored by the Glen View activist arrests and denial of bail.

The perception that there is the selective application of the law does not
bode well for a government that is trying to instill a sense of rule of law.

Q: What is in store for 2013?

PM: I think the country can only go from strength to strength if we are able
to deal with our hygiene issues of politics.

I am sure our country will be on a very positive trajectory economically and
that is the growth we are all looking for, increasing the cake in order for
us to share it.

My focus is to increase the cake, increase the potential economic growth
that is there and that will enhance internal distribution of wealth.

Q: Is this cake only confined to the economic issues?

PM: No. It involves even the democratic cake.

It means the people are freer and enjoy the same rights countrywide.

The constitution will, for the first time, provide greater freedom and space
for people to pursue their own individual dreams and opportunities.

It is a positive thing for the country.

Q: How far have you gone with other issues such as security sector
realignment?

PM: We are going to have a meeting of the National Security council before
the end of year.

As you know we have not been able to meet for the past six months for
various reasons.

We will receive reports of what has happened over the last six months and
also define in clear terms what is the role of the security sector in the
forth-coming election.

We need to have an agreement because first and foremost we have the GPA,
which defines how State organs should behave.

We also have the Constitution, the Defence Act and the Police Act which
define specifically how these institutions should behave and above all we
need to comply with the Sadc guidelines on how to conduct free and fair
elections.

These are matters that we should be in a position to discuss without
acrimony because there sometimes is a tendency, given what statements have
been issued, to be negative but definitely everyone should try to find a
positive solution to have these institutions behave as expected at law.

Q: How are you going to deal with violence?

PM: Firstly, I want to state the commitment of the Principals to ending
violence.

Judging by what I discussed with the President and what he said to Cabinet,
its basically to say we do not want violence.

I think this has become a consistent message. Do people believe the
President, I do not know.

Given the characteristics of our previous elections that have been
characterised by violence, I think people have a justifiable reason to be
afraid of the forthcoming elections.

We need to embark on a reassuring agenda. We will be addressing the press
before end of year about the same thing, about how we have to conduct
ourselves, that we need free campaigning.

Let the people of Zimbabwe choose, why should we always be under scrutiny by
the international community on how we behave during elections.

It is time we demonstrated the political maturity that has been put on a
test by working together in the inclusive Government. Let us set those
standards.

Secondly, we have Jomic that monitors and acts on violence.

We are hoping to expand Jomic so that we have all the political actors that
will be involved in the election so that we all agree on what standards to
set.

Thirdly, the police have an obligation to maintain and restore law and order
without fear or favour.

From now on we have to categorically state that whoever violates the rights
of the people must be prosecuted.

The violence perpetrated in the last election is totally unacceptable and we
want the police to do their work professionally.

We believe the church also has an obligation to ensure that there is peace
in the country.

Going around the country for prayer meetings this year gave me the feeling
that we should not only talk about peace but we should act peacefully.

The church has an obligation to ensure peace. Incidents of violence violate
not only the physical beings but also the people’s spirits.

Q: How do you rate your party going into the watershed elections?

PM: The MDC is in a very good shape.

I saw it for myself when I went around the 12 provinces. The party has very
serious momentum.

People are determined to complete the struggle they started 13 years ago.

I am happy with the state of the party and the commitment is there.

We always emphasise that power is institutional and not for an individual.

We do not put forward the individual but the collective will of the party
and I am happy with that.

The leadership is united. We are working as a team and even the people are
happy that the leadership is united.

Q: What is your thrust going forward?

PM: The coming election will be issue based. It is about who is going to
provide a clear vision for the future.

For me the challenge is not about President Mugabe and Zanu PF failures
which are well known and well documented but it is about the MDC talking
about its specific plans, and its vision.

What are the policies and programmes of the MDC to take this country
forward?

Q: Do you have that clear vision?

PM: We do have a clear vision. We are very clear to build a modern,
democratic and developmental State that respects the people’s wishes, not to
cover up for the failures of the State but to ensure that the administration
facilitates for people to achieve their dreams.

We recently launched, the Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and
Environment (Juice).

Juice is a comprehensive jobs plan because we believe that the critical
social question we face is unemployment.

People are being educated and yet there is no industry to absorb them. This
is very frustrating for the young population.

They are disillusioned and we need to come up with a response mechanism
which focuses on the creation of jobs, revival of industries, infrastructure
rehabilitation, agriculture, foreign direct investment, ensuring that the
skills level we have in the country are enhanced and that will create a
absorption capacity for the unemployed in this country.

Q: Are structures ready for elections and to govern?

PM: The resounding conviction is that we are ready not only for elections
but to govern. They are ready and I am happy too. — PM Newsletter


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‘Sympathy for the Devil’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 22nd December 2012

On the shortest Saturday of the year, with darkness falling before 4 pm, and floods reported from many parts of the UK, we gathered in the rain to sing and dance outside the South African High Commission to petition President Zuma for tough action against Mugabe.

The demonstration was part of the 21st Movement Global Protest launched in January which has seen monthly demonstrations by the diaspora under the banner ‘Reclaim Zimbabwe’.

The coloured lights on our portable Christmas tree illuminated posters such as ‘Festivities here – bleak Christmas for Zimbabweans’ and ‘Deploy UN, AU and SADC election monitors right away to prevent further bloodshed’.

The petition had been signed by 5,000 people who have stopped at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in recent months. A glance at one page of the petition showed people from Norway, Azerbaijan, Canada, USA, Italy, Slovenia etc; we are spreading the word about Zimbabwe.

The petition was accompanied by a letter congratulating President Zuma on his re-election as ANC leader and appealing to him to intervene to force Zanu PF to comply with the Global Political Agreement that they signed up to in 2008. The letter warned: ‘More than three million Zimbabweans have been forced from our country. Many of them are in South Africa. We long to return home but can do so only after free and fair elections have freed us from bondage. To go to elections without reforms will be a disaster for Zimbabwe and South Africa and the region as a whole. We will end up another Equatorial Guinea.’

The Vigil notes that Mugabe has been in Equatorial Guinea this month for talks with his fellow dictator Teodoro Obiang. Mugabe said the two countries were working together and were very close. Zimbabwe was even training ‘security officials’ from Equatorial Guinea (see: Zimbabwe's Cordial Relations with Equatorial Guinea Grows – http://panafricannews.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/zimbabwe-cordial-relations-with.html).

The two dictators certainly have a lot in common: both have been in power for more than 30 years and they rule countries which are potentially very rich while the people live in abject poverty. Yes, Presidents Mugabe and Obiang have a lot to discuss -- mainly how to stay in power.

The BBC carried an interesting programme the other day on Equatorial Guinea, which it described as ‘one of the fastest growing economies in the world but dogged by endemic poverty, corruption and political repression (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01pygy5/HARDtalk_Teodoro_Obiang_President_Equatorial_Guinea/).

The French authorities this year seized property there owned by Obiang’s son (who like many of the family is a minister in the Equatorial Guinea government) on the grounds that state money had been embezzled. Among the property seized was a $2 million wine collection in a vast Paris house thought to be worth as much as $180 million. The building has 101 rooms, a Turkish bath, a hair salon, two gym clubs, a night club and a cinema. It had furniture worth as much as $50 million and an art collection including pieces by Degas and Rodin and cars including a Rolls-Royce, a Maserati and various Ferraris . . . the average income in Equatorial Guinea is similar to that in Zimbabwe, little more than one dollar a day (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/world/europe/for-obiangs-son-high-life-in-paris-is-over.html?_r=0 – A French Shift on Africa Strips a Dictator’s Son of His Treasures).

Other points

· The Vigil was disturbed by voices in Zimbabwe who say elections should be set back to 2015 or so. The plight of the miserable people of Equatorial Guinea should be warning that the situation will not improve by postponing change.

· Vigil supporters were sorry to learn of the death of Vigil management team member Fungay Mabhunu’s sister in a freak accident in Zimbabwe. She was on the pavement outside her home when an elderly lady learning to drive hit her and two others. Fungayi expressed gratitude to Vigil supporters who contributed to help his family back home.

· The Vigil has begun selling the Vigil Band’s new CD of protest songs sung at the Vigil. One of them goes: ‘Diamonds are a dictator’s best friend. Zimbabwean diamonds are supposed to be a blessing but they are a curse’.

· Martin Chinyanga asked Vigil supporters to help him lay flowers in the doorway of the Zimbabwe Embassy in memory of the Zimbabwean lady who recently died in a Kenyan prison after being deported from the UK (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/dec21_2012.html#Z19Mystery surrounds death of Zimbabwean woman in Kenya).

· Thanks to Grace Nyaumwe and Iline Manhunzi from ROHR Slough branch who sold sadza and nyama to raise funds for ROHR. Thanks also to Jonathan Kariwoh and Cephas Maswoswa who brought Christmas goodies to share at the Vigil.

· We wish all our supporters a blessed Christmas and hope for a better new year for Zimbabwe.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

FOR THE RECORD: 35 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 29th December from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

· ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani). To download the band’s theme song Vigil Yedu visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.

· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

· To sponsor the Mike Campbell Foundation expedition ‘Sailing across the Makgadikgadi Pans’ which will raise money for the work of the Foundation, go to www.justgiving.com/Mike-Campbell-Foundation.

· Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.


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