by Own Correspondent Saturday 15 January 2011
HARARE – The SADC Tribunal has awarded damages of nearly US$17 million to
nine Zimbabwean torture victims, in a landmark ruling that yet again exposes
Harare’s flagrant disregard of the rule of law.
The judgment handed down on 9 December 2010 followed a case in which the
victims of organised violence and torture (OVT), assisted by the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum, sued the Zimbabwean government for failing to comply
with the orders of the country’s High Court.
The victims – Barry Gondo, Kerina Gweshe, Nyaradzai Katsande, Peter
Chirinda, Phanuel Mapingure, Ruth Manika, Sophia Matasva, Trust Shumba and
Mercy Magunje – had previously successfully claimed compensation in the High
Court of Zimbabwe but the government of Zimbabwe refused or neglected to pay
Delivering judgement in Case No. SADC (T) 05/2008 (Gondo and 8 others vs the
Government of Zimbabwe), presiding judge Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay said
Zimbabwe has acted in contravention of various fundamental human rights.
“We hold, therefore, in light of the authorities quoted above, that the
Respondent is in breach of Articles 4(c) and 6(1) of the Treaty in that it
has acted in contravention of various fundamental human rights, namely the
right to an effective remedy, the right to have access to an independent and
impartial court or tribunal and the right to a fair hearing,” Pillay said.
He also ruled that Section 5 (2) of Zimbabwe’s State Liabilities Act, which
protects the Zimbabwe government’s internal property from being attached,
was not only in contravention of the Treaty but also violated Article 3 (2)
of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which provides that
“every individual is entitled to equal protection at law”.
“We therefore hold and declare that section 5(2) of the Liability Act
(Chapter 8:14) of the Respondent is in contravention of the fundamental
rights to have an effective remedy; to have access to the courts; to be
entitled to a fair hearing, to equality before the law and to equal
protection of the law; in so far as it provides that property of the States
may not form the subject-matter of execution, attachment or process to
satisfy a judgment debt,” the judgment said.
The ruling could open the floodgates for other victims of police and army
brutality who have failed to get fair hearings in Zimbabwean courts.
The case of originally 12 victims was brought before the SADC Tribunal in
April 2009 via the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
Only one victim has been paid so far while the lawyers of nine of the 11
remaining victims have been forced to turn to the SADC Tribunal.
The victims allegedly suffered bullet wounds, beatings and even paralysis as
a result of the physical violence at the hands of the police and soldiers
about eight years ago.
Lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett told the bench of three judges that not only should
the Zimbabwean government pay compensation to the victims but must also
adjust the awards which were made during the heady days of Zimbabwe’s
Gauntlett further asked that the compensation should be adjusted since
Zimbabwe had introduced the US dollar and the South African rand as
In Gweshe’s case, she was awarded damages of Z$10 million in March 2006 by
former High Court judge Justice Rita Makarau after she sued then Defence
Minister Sydney Sekeramayi for Z$50 million for the assault she and her
husband suffered at their Glen View home at the hands of soldiers during the
“Final Push” demonstration organised by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
MDC-T party in June 2003.
Due to the hyperinflation experienced in Zimbabwe over the past years,
the original compensation amounts laid down years ago by the Zimbabwe high
court would today be worth next to nothing.
According to the SADC Tribunal ruling, the Harare government should pay
Gondo US$5 650 000, Gweshe US$810 000, Katsande US$133 144, Chirinda US$3
264 000, Mapingure US$950 000, Manika US$8 552, Matasva US$4 850 000, Shumba
US$1 085 000 and Magunje US$9 030.
It also ruled that the government must pay interest on each of the awards
from the date of the original High Court judgments.
The oldest judgment was the one for Katsande which was handed down in
February 2003, followed by Chirinda in August of the same year and Shumba in
Energy Minister Welshman Ncube, head of the smaller MDC formation in
government, said South Africa and SADC should have done much more to resolve
the many issues troubling power-sharing in Harare
Blessing Zulu | Washington 14 January 2011
South African President Jacob Zuma, mediator in Zimbabwe on behalf of the
Southern African Development Community, was again to send a team of
facilitators to Harare on Monday to attempt to patch up the frayed
government of national unity there despite reports the Movement for
Democratic Change has lost confidence in his efforts.
Sources in Pretoria and Harare confirmed that South Africa's ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Mlungisi Makhalima, told both formations of the MDC and ZANU-PF,
the other party in the unity government, that Zuma's envoys will be in
Harare on Monday. They are Lindiwe Zulu, Mac Maharaj and Charles Nqakula,
the sources said.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Secretary General Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga of the
smaller MDC formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, also
confirmed the visit.
Sources said the latest discussions will focus on the meeting of the SADC
troika on politics, defense and security expected to take place this month,
a road map to elections in Zimbabwe, and resolving disagreements on the
implementation of the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing
which underpins the unity government.
But SADC sources indicated the troika meeting on Zimbabwe will be pushed
back. SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao said his organization is fully
engaged preparing for an African Union summit to be held late this month in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. But he did not rule out SADC leaders informally
discussing Zimbabwe on the summit sidelines.
Meanwhile, however, both MDC formations have expressed disappointment with
what Mr. Zuma has been able to accomplish since being named mediator in
Ncube, president of the smaller MDC formation and its chief negotiator in
matters related to the Global Political Agreement, was quoted in the weekly
Independent newspaper as saying that South Africa and SADC "should have paid
more attention, devoted more time to assisting the parties to find common
ground and they have not done so."
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma of the Tsvangirai MDC formation also said that
the regional organization has failed to resolve outstanding GPA issues.
Political analyst Trevor Maisiri told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu
that despite the complaints by the two MDC wings, there is no alternative to
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference expressed concern at the failure by
the three-party unity government to fully implement the 2008 Global
Political agreement underpinning power sharing in Harare
Patience Rusere | Washington DC 14 January 2011
Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic bishops on Friday issued a statement voicing
concern at the rise in political violence in the country and opposition to
hastily organized elections which could send Zimbabwe back into the mayhem
it experienced in 2008 balloting.
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference expressed concern at the failure by
the three-party unity government to fully implement the 2008 Global
Political agreement. It said this has resulted in Zimbabwe’s continued
The Catholic bishops called on the country’s political parties to seriously
engage to put the country back on track, failing which, they said, the
country would continue to see political violence, intolerance, hate language
and fear. The bishops added that the government has not moved the process of
national healing quickly enough.
They urged the political leadership to give priority to poverty reduction,
anti-corruption efforts and the prosecution of perpetrators of violence and
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference spokesman Father Frederick Chirombo
told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the church is concerned
that the political situation continues to deteriorate two years after the
unity government's formation.
Commenting on the statement, Political analyst Musekiwa Makwanya said the
bishops are right to be worried about the political direction the country is
Zimbabweans in nearly every walk of life face the same dilemma as civil
servants with compensation in the private sector also hobbled by the fragile
state of the economy and a scarcity of foreign direct investment
Brenda Moyo | Washington 14 January 2011
Zimbabwe's civil servants have threatened to go on strike next week unless
the Harare government reconsiders the modest salary increase it has put on
the table for 2011.
But Zimbabwe Teachers Association Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Ndlovu told
reporter Brenda Moyo that before striking, public workers will engage the
Representatives of Zimbabwe's public employees this week pressed the
government to boost public pay – but officials reiterated that Harare does
not have the funds to raise salaries, leaving teachers and other civil
servants struggling to make ends meet.
The government on Thursday offered state employees a pay increase averaging
US$56 a month, taking wages for many workers barely over US$200. Union
leaders and others representing public employees described the proposed
increase as paltry.
Zimbabweans in nearly every walk of life face the same dilemma with
compensation in the private sector also hobbled by the fragile economy,
which has stabilized and is growing, but lacks sufficient foreign direct
investment to fuel job creation.
On the other hand, shelves in Zimbabwean stores are well stocked for those
who can come up with the US dollars or South African rand - since late 2009
the country has been using a mix of hard currencies after abandoning the
debased Zimbabwean dollar.
VOA Studio 7 reporter Brenda Moyo spoke with a number of Zimbabweans
including civil servants to see how they are making do with far to little to
Most Zimbabweans with jobs are taking home no more than US$200 a month, so
even they are developing sidelines in the informal sector to round out their
15 January, 2011 12:52:00 By Nkululeko Ndlovu
HARARE – Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has been implicated in
the vote rigging that kept Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe in power after
losing first round presidential polls in 2008.
According to London-based think-tank Africa Confidential, former opposition
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai “clearly beat Mugabe” in the first round of
voting in March 2008 but was denied power after a plan to steal some of his
votes allegedly hatched by Zanu (PF) military junta in connivance with South
“Taken by surprise, Zanu (PF) delayed announcing the results for six weeks
while it concocted a strategy for clinging to power (possibly with South
African connivance),” the think-tank said last week. The official results
published by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in May 2008 showed that
Mugabe had lost the first round of elections to Tsvangirai but by a narrow
Zanu (PF) bullyboys were then unleashed for the second-round run-off held in
June of the same year and Mugabe claimed a dubious victory after Tsvangirai
was forced to quit the race. A brutal campaign of violence led by Zimbabwe’s
military out to
reverse Mugabe’s shock first round defeat left at least 200 MDC-T supporters
Mbeki, who was the official Southern African Development Community (SADC)
mediator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis between 2007 and 2009, never
questioned ZEC’s delay in announcing the first round poll results and the
subsequent violence that accompanied the run-off. In May 2008, South Africa
ganged up with Russia and China to block an American and British-backed
proposal to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe over deadly electoral
Pretoria – which as regional power broker has significant influence on
international opinion on Zimbabwe – insisted the electoral violence in
Zimbabwe was an internal matter that had no impact on regional peace even as
it struggled to handle the thousands of refugees that were flocking from its
Mugabe, who was forced to form a power sharing government with Tsvangirai
after the international community including some of his African allies
refused to accept his bloody re-election victory in 2008, has already
indicated that fresh elections should be held this year.
A referendum on the proposed new constitution that should pave way for
enactment of the new governance charter is only expected around June or four
months after expiry of the life of the unity government. The former
opposition and SADC say this year is too early for elections in a country
where the voters’ roll remains chaotic and inaccurate while an exercise to
write a new Constitution that should ensure a free and fair vote has been
delayed by several months and even then continues to progress at a snail’s
Mbeki’s successor President Jacob Zuma said SADC should help Zimbabwe to
craft a roadmap and favourable conditions to make sure outcome of the next
election would not be contested. The election roadmap includes adopting a
new Constitution, drawing up a fresh voters’ roll, an end to political
violence and passing of new electoral rules by Parliament.
The army is already deploying and harassment of MDC-T activists is warming
Africa Confidential however contends that keeping the enthusiasts on a leash
for at least a year will be hard, not least on Zanu (PF)’s strained
financial resources. “Targeting humanitarian aid and agricultural inputs
directly to the beneficiaries has eliminated the local party chiefs’
patronage and their ability to skim and profiteer. By getting the economy
education and health back on their feet, the MDC has made the peasantry less
beholden to Zanu (PF),” said the think-tank.
Donors have since the formation of the coalition bypassed official
government channels to provide aid directly to the beneficiaries.
Africa Confidential urged Zimbabwe’s opposition parties to avoid the splits
which handed parliamentary seats to Zanu (PF) in 2008, giving it time to
organise shock troops for the run-off. “Electoral pacts and understandings
will be essential,” it said. It said the breakaway MDC faction led by
Industry Minister Welshman Ncube should aim to partner with other political
parties in order to increase its chances.
According to the think-tank, the party formerly led by Deputy Premier Arthur
Mutambara “will struggle to hold its six remaining seats in Matabeleland
where voters will probably float towards Dumiso Dabengwa’s revived Zimbabwe
African People’s Union (ZAPU)”. “Elsewhere, Dabengwa has little support and
he may not even contest the presidency.”
The main MDC wing led by Tsvangirai is due to hold its congress to select a
new executive later this year. “At this stage, Tsvangirai is unchallenged as
candidate for the MDC, which will fight on its record in government over the
past two years
in arresting the economic decline and rescuing the ministries that provide
MASVINGO- January 14, 2010 – Former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-M)
national chairman under Professor Arthur Mutambara , Jourbet Mudzumwe’s
family in Runyararo West suburbs here, was heavily beaten by unknown 20
thugs who destroyed property before taking away his Mazda 323 vehicle on
From Mudzumwe’s home, the thugs went to Hillside residential area where they
took away Masvingo provincial chairman Robson Mashiri’s Madza B 18.
Mudzumwe who was in Harare when his homestead was being raided said he had
to make an urgent trip to Masvingo to rescue his family only to arrive and
get the information that the thugs who left Masvingo using Bulawayo highway
told his wife that they were acting on instructions by the new national
executive under Welshman Ncube.
“I was shocked when I received the news that my family was under fire. My
four year old daughter and 12 year old son were the most endangered because
they are not able to defend themselves. I left Harare only to arrive at home
and get the information that the thugs claimed that they were sent by the
“I am really worried because it seems our opponents have ceased thinking and
they are now after using psychical power to abuse our loved ones. My
children were all crying, when I arrived at home,” said Mudzumwe.
Mashiri said the real fight between the two existing factions in MDC-M ‘has
“I was also not at home when they arrived and took away my car. As I am
speaking they are towing our cars towards Bulawayo. It seems the fight has
become more tribal than political. All the people who ambushed my house were
Ndebele speaking,” said Mashiri.
Mashiri said they were going to engage their lawyers and claim their
“We shall not sit and relax, we will fight back. It’s a pity that we did not
know the real Welsh (Ncube) when we dumped Tsvangirai. Its like dumping
light and prefer to follow darkness, we regret today,” Mashiri lamented.
Efforts to get comment from Ncube were fruitless.
However, Mudzumwe reiterated that they will continue to have Mutambara as
their party president.
By Thelma Chikwanha
Saturday, 15 January 2011 19:30
HARARE - Zanu PF has taken its political campaign to the pulpit with Local
Government and National Housing minister Ignatius Chombo addressing an
Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) congregation and telling them about
preparations for the election whose date is yet to be set.
Chombo, who is under fire from MDC mayors and councillors who want
parliament to probe him over allegations of abusing his office to amass
wealth, has been visiting Apostolic Faith Mission Churches in Harare.
On the 13th of December 2010, he attended a church service at Belvedere
Assembly where he took to the pulpit and spoke words devoid of any love as
is the main doctrine in churches the world over.
“Learnmore Jongwe and Job Sikala are militants without cause,” Chombo told
He told stunned parishioners that he was keen on restoring synergies been
government and the church as it would help government assess how far they
had departed from the people.
There was much clapping and ululation when a charismatic Chombo complemented
the choir and likened it to his party’s Mbare Chimurenga Choir.
The former university lecturer then pulled out his biggest trump card by
making a donation US$15 000 towards the development of Rufaro in Masvingo
where AFM members have their yearly conferences.
The congregation also learnt that the minister had secured land which would
facilitate the expansion of Rufaro where a seminary and vocational training
centre would be built.
The Minister, who has suspended and fired elected mayors and councilors who
fall out of his favour is desperate to redeem his image. He was at great
pains to narrate how he had secured land for many churches in the country.
Chombo, arguably one of the richest men in Harare who owns vast tracts of
urban land and more than 12 companies, put the icing on the cake when he
donated US$1000 towards the local pastor’s appreciation.
“When I was first invited here I asked, who is the pastor? Is he from Zanu
PF ? What party does he belong to?” Chombo said.
After getting the parishioners undivided attention, the minister who is
involved in a nasty divorce with his first wife Marian then went for the
He asked parishioners below the age of 40 and told the pastor to watch out
for them because they were the most troublesome people.
Chombo also donated bicycles, maize seed and mixed vegetable seed which were
all distributed to members of the congregation the following week.
Written by John Chimunhu
Friday, 14 January 2011 18:34
BULAWAYO - A leading South Africa-based polling organisation Afrobarometer
says it will conduct a survey to gauge the sentiments of people in the
Matabeleland and Midlands provinces about the Gukurahundi atrocities
committed by the army in the two regions nearly 30 years ago.
At least 20 000 innocent civilians are said to have died during the 1980s
army crackdown commonly known as Gukurahundi that was ostensibly launched to
end an armed insurrection against then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe’s
Mxolisi Sibanyoni, Afrobarometer's Outreach Manager told The Zimbabwean On
Sunday here that such a survey was essential. He said there were many
questions being asked about an episode in which civilians were massacred by
the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade under Perence Shiri while another 30
000 "disappeared". Efforts to trace the missing persons have met with
resistance from some government officials.
A government commission probed the atrocities but the results of the probe
have never been made public. Mugabe who says revisiting the matter will
unnecessarily open old wound has kept the commission’s report under lock and
key. However, families of the dead and missing have demanded answers about
the fate of their relatives. Human rights groups and aid agencies also want
an official record so they can assist the victims. Sibanyoni said: "We have
included questions that are related to Gukurahundi in previous surveys but
we have not done anything specifically on Gukurahundi." He did not say when
exactly the survey would be conducted.
While human rights groups and Western governments began focusing serious
attention on rights abuses by Mugabe only in the last 10 years after he
began seizing white-owned farms, the Zimbabwean leader is accused of
trampling upon the rights of opponents with his Gukurahundi military
campaign launched barely three years after he took over power at
The official reason for Gukurahundi was to root out a handful of armed
dissidents in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces dominated by the
Ndebeles who were the main backers of the then opposition PF-ZAPU party.
But historians and analysts say the real purpose of the onslaught by the
army’s North Korean-trained 5th Brigade was to demolish PF-ZAPU’s support
base. The Gukurahundi atrocities are a sore point in Zimbabwe’s history that
Mugabe has always sought to sweep under the carpet. Despite calling the
killings an “act of madness”, Mugabe has never personally accepted
responsibility for the civilian murders or formally apologised.
The Zimbabwean strongman has also not yielded to calls by human rights
groups for his government to compensate the victims of the brutal army
operation. Political analysts have often suggested that Mugabe is too afraid
to leave office over fears of prosecution for the rights abuses and that
Zimbabweans may need to live with the fact that the octogenarian leader
plans to be life president. Afrobarometer has conducted various surveys in
Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Mass Public Opinion Institute. Currently
they are finalising an open survey on the next presidential elections in
JOHANNESBURG, January 15, 2011- Flood alerts have been issued across
Southern Africa as heavy rains continue to pound the region. In Zimbabwe,
the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) says flooding is likely to occure in the
country,s low-lying districts.
Reaction teams have been put on high alert and they are ready to go into
action if there is an emergency.Muzarabani in the Mashonaland, Beitbridge
and areas close to the border with Botswana in the west have been classified
as flood prone-areas.
In South Africa 32 people are reported dead while nine were believed to have
sustained serious injuries in the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal and
Gauteng, the South African ministry for co-operative governance and
traditional affairs said in a statement released this week.
Meanwhile, Botswana and Zambian Meteorological Department have predicted a
general increase in rainfall activities in most parts of the two countries
which could lead to flash floods.
The South African Weather Service has also warned of more heavy rains and
possible flooding in several provinces at the weekend. The weather Services
predicts between 60 to 80% chance of rainfall.
According to reports, the South African ministry in a statement said the
National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) was still gathering information
on the full extent of recent flood damages.
Preliminary reports further indicate that a total of 515 people have been
affected by the incidents in KwaZulu-Natal.
"In KwaZulu-Natal an estimated 200 households have been affected by the
heavy storms and incessant rains, which have covered a widespread" it added.
The ministry said an exact determination of the extent of the damages would
be made after a full "assessment and verification" — which had not yet been
concluded. But many believe that vast tracks of farm land have been damaged.
"All the affected provinces and municipalities have informed us they are
still in the process of assessing the full extent of the damage, which will
include the final determination of the number of lives lost as well as
houses and infrastructure damage."
Written by Lovejoy Sakala
Friday, 14 January 2011 09:45
CHIPINGE - Milk supplies here have dwindled as dairy farmers who use to
supply the nation said the country`s dairy herd was down to less than 22,000
cows from 192,000 in 2000.
Farmers said the low herd count had resulted in a drastic reduction in milk
production. All this is as a result of the controversial 2000 land grab by
the former Zanu (PF) government.
Martin Dutchse, a farmer in Chipinge, told The Zimbabwean that the situation
had been slow to recover because most of the cattle died due to lack of
expertise by new farmers.
“Some of the dairy cows were forcibly taken from commercial farmers and sold
for consumption purposes as resettled farmers did not have enough food in
their fields to feed their families,” said Dutchse.
Another farmer, Thomas Kilmer, said most commercial farmers had abandoned
dairy farming and focused on other projects such as horticulture. Kilmer
said there was need for massive capital injection to resuscitate the dairy
farming sector to pre-1999 levels.
“The government will have to invest heavily in training and restocking the
dairy herd. We used to supply Dairibord Zimbabwe with tonnes of milk, but
how many of us have stopped across the country?” said Kilmer, who was forced
to stop dairy farming as a result of “disturbances” by war veterans and
Zimbabwe`s retail outlet shelves are full of imported milk from South
Written by Gift Phiri
Friday, 14 January 2011 15:54
HARARE - Police have refused to investigate a top army officer accused of
kidnapping a senior MDC-T official in Masvingo, in yet another example of
unchanging attitudes in the security forces long seen as partisan and the
biggest obstacle to reestablishing the rule of law in the country.
The police at Renco Mine in Masvingo province would not even accept a report
or open a docket against Major-General Engelbert Rugeje and one Major
Toperesu who allegedly abducted MDC-T Masvingo South constituency secretary
Elson Mutonhori about eight days ago and detained him for hours before
setting him free.
In what has become a standard line from the police in cases involving Zanu
(PF) activists, war veterans or members of the security forces accused of
committing political violence and human rights abuses, officers at Renco
said they could not a probe Rugeje because the matter was “political”,
according to MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
"Renco Mine police refused to open a docket arguing that the matter was too
political for them to be involved," said Chamisa, who is also Information
Communication Technology Minister in the unity government. According to
eyewitnesses Rugeje and Toperesu on 8 January allegedly seized Mutonhori and
took him away in an unmarked white Mitsubishi truck and drove to Rock Motel
in Chivi some 100 km away, where they interrogated and intimidated him until
Mutonhori was sternly warned against wearing MDC regalia by the army men who
reportedly also quizzed him about what point he was trying to prove by going
around in an MDC T-shirt during the festive season. He was released in the
early hours of the next day upon which he unsuccessfully attempted to report
the matter at Renco Police Station.
Chamisa said the actions of Rugeje and Toperesu as well as the police
officers who refused to investigate the soldiers are a blot on the image of
national security forces who in the majority are patriotic citizens
committed to upholding the law and the Constitution. Security chiefs are
President Robert Mugabe’s staunchest allies and are seen as the biggest
threat to Zimbabwe’s troubled transformation process, amid fears the
partisan armed forces could block a transfer of power to the winners of the
next elections should the victors not be Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party.
Written by Pambazuka News
Friday, 14 January 2011 15:44
The US remains the world’s biggest market for diamond jewellery, but it is
China that has secured access to Zimbabwe’s controversial diamond fields.
Khadija Sharife investigates.
I bumped into him when another young fellow kindly offered to liberate me of
my shoes. Anxious to buy some time, I informed the fellow – let’s call him
the Artful Dodger – that he would have to purchase my shoes for ZAR50, money
for the taxi home, as I could not walk barefoot in the heat.
From behind me came the sound of booming laughter. Shooing the resentful
empty-handed Dodger away, the source approached me smiling.??‘Just call me
Bob,’ he said, steering me to a safer corner outside South Africa’s
Department of Home Affairs.
Like me, he was in the process of handling passport issues. After chatting
about my shoes and the price they would fetch the Dodger on the streets, I
commented that Bob was probably not the greatest of names for a
'You people have short memories,' he said, ‘He was a real hero once upon a
time.'??While we both leaned against the frame of a shiny black burning hot
jeep, slowly roasting under the sun, Bob mentioned that although he had no
desire to go back to 'some kind of hell', he missed his country 'like a
child does his mama.'??
He had no idea as to whether the unity government between Zanu (PF) (headed
by Robert Mugabe) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would be
successful, given that 'the old man was still in power – and behind him, too
many more just like him.'??
The strength of Zanu (PF)
According to him, the strength of Zanu (PF) was not in Mugabe but in the
army and corporate executives that wanted to keep him there, so that they
too could remain in power and 'eat the money'.
These days, said Bob, ‘Mugabe usually points to the East.’??Indeed, the
price of Beijing's friendship, as in most of Africa, is resources:
Specifically oil, iron ore and, in Zimbabwe's case, diamonds.
The Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDA), one of twenty-eight bourses globally,
intends to become the world's fifth largest by 2013. During the past year,
China has become the world's second largest diamond market, with 40 per cent
of brides in major Chinese cities accepting promises of 'forever' in the
form of diamonds only.??
But geo-strategic control of resources is less often about who has access
than who doesn't. In Zimbabwe's case, although the US remains the world's
largest market for diamond jewellery, it is China that has directly secured
This was not the case until recently, when one of the two active joint
ventures (JV) Canadile, a public-private partnership between the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and South African company Core Mining
and Minerals, was removed from the equation through the arrest of key
Canadile representatives such as Lovemore Kurotwi, as well as the now
suspended head of the ZMDC, Dominic Mubayiwa.??
It is alleged that Kurotwi was directly interviewed by Mugabe about the
source of Canadile's development capital – said to be US$2 billion,
allegedly from Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz via the Beny Steinmetz
Group Resources (BSGR).??
Locking out the West
Although it was meant to be a secret, once the information was leaked, BSG,
active in diamond-rich countries such as Botswana and Sierra Leone, issued
strong statements separating itself from Canadile.??
And even though the Mubayiwa admitted that it was the minister of mines,
Obert Mpofu, who had personally approved Canadile above the heads of the
ZDMC, stamping out the company and seizing its equipment, appeared to be
If BSGR's involvement as chief capital provider was true, openly associating
with Mugabe's regime and Zimbabwe's 'blood diamonds' would certainly not be
good news for the company, as the Steinmetz Diamond Group, one of the De
Beers's largest clients, remains a key global supplier of rough and
manufactured diamonds to the international markets; it is also engaged in
joint ventures with respectable jewellery market-makers such as Sotheby’s.??
BSGR however allegedly had no qualms accepting Rio Tinto's iron-ore Simandou
concession in Guinea, when the then-president – and dictator of almost two
decades, Lansana Conté, decided to strip Rio of half its rights.
The difference was that iron-rich Guinea is a little known country when it
comes to one of the most crucial factors affecting a corporation's financial
bottom line: The Zimbabwe-focused 'blood diamond' fixated media.??
Nor would BSGR have had an easy time: Mugabe recently openly rejected
ArcelorMittal's proposal to purchase 53 per cent of the state's ailing
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) due to the fact that Mittal's head
was close friends with his enemy, Britain's Tony Blair.??
Shutting down Canadile therefore appeared to also lock out the presence of
Western interests on Zimbabwe's most crucial and easy-to-access source of
wealth: Marange's alluvial diamonds.??
Yet if the controversial and alleged BSGR interest had been concrete, its
intentions would not have been difficult to fathom: Zimbabwe's finance
minister, Tendai Biti, has called Marange's diamond field ‘the biggest find
of alluvial diamonds in the history of mankind.’ It is estimated to produce
US$1 –1.7 billion in revenue annually.
To date, around $1 billion in diamond revenue is thought to have been
silently looted by the army and political elites at the helm of the state,
through Indian, Arab and Chinese purchasers, before release into
international markets through the usual industry players.??
China, for instance, present via Anjin Investments, has been mining diamonds
at Chirasika for the past seven months, despite the concession only becoming
active at the end of 2010. This was admitted to the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Mines and Energy by Mr Musukutwa, who stated in response to an
MP's query on the Chinese company, ‘I would like to confirm there is a third
company, Anjin, mining in Chiadzwa.’
To date, there has been no accounting of diamonds extracted, volumes
exported, or revenues remitted. Chinese employees, believed by closely
connected source to be Chinese military, dressed in red uniforms, oversee
According to the UK's Daily Mail, five Chinese people (Deng Hongyan, Jiang
Zhaoyao, Zhang Hui, Zhang Shibin, and Cheng Qins) are silent beneficial
partners of Grandwell Holdings, a Mauritian-based tax-free Global Business
Category II (GBCII) entity – the private arm of another JV with the ZDMC,
As Mubayiwa admitted to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Mines and
Energy, ‘it would have been difficult to do due diligence on Grandwell
because it is a paper company registered in Mauritius’, one of the world's
leading secrecy jurisdictions.??
Mbada Investments is chaired by Robert Mhlanga, the Sandton-residing former
personal helicopter pilot to Mugabe. Grandwell is owned by a South African
company, the controversial New Reclamation, already buddy-buddy with the
ZDMC through a decade of exploiting – allegedly with no tender contract,
renewal or monitoring – Zimbabwe's iron reserves via the Zimbabwe Iron and
Steel Company (ZISCO).
Mhlanga is an old ZISCO hand, and the lead broker on the ZISCO 'steelgate'
deal (2006), characterised by systematic looting alleged to have extended to
the highest echelons of the state including Vice President Joyce
Mujuru.??Mujuru's rise to power, through an episode known as the 'night of
the long knives' was largely at the behest of her husband, General Solomon
Mujuru, Mugabe's most feared rival within Zanu PF.
Xhead) Sold to foreigners
Like Mugabe, Mujuru has claimed ownership to Zimbabwe's diamonds through
another mine, River Ranch, illegally seized by Mujuru and Sheik Aujan.
Mujuru put his power to good use by obtaining the approval of the Kimberley
Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), allegedly by removing Priscilla
Mupfunira, then head of Zimbabwe's Mineral Marketing Corporation (MMCZ),
which was responsible for providing KP-certification.??
His partner, Aujan, heads a company called Rani Investments based in the tax
haven of Dubai, a jurisdiction on the receiving end of illegally peddled
Marange diamonds. Diamonds are traded by Rani Investments through the
company's Finer Diamonds Trading Company. Although the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) has banned Marange's diamonds, according to a source, Marange diamonds
may likely be channelled and sold under River Ranch's tag.
‘High-ranking Zimbabwean government officials and well-connected elites are
generating millions of dollars in personal income by hiring teams of
diggers,’ revealed US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
‘Whether bought first by regime members or not, eventually the diamonds are
sold to a mix of Belgians, Israelis, Lebanese (the largest contingent),
Russians, and South Africans,’ stated the cable authored by US Ambassador
‘Once sold to foreigners, the majority of the diamonds are smuggled to Dubai
and sold at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority, a dedicated
economic free-trade zone created in 2002 for the exchange of metals and
commodities, most notably gold and diamonds.’??
The value of Marange's reserves are pegged at US$800 billion, labelled by a
survey report from De Beers as more than eight times higher than average
diamond fields at a ratio of more than 1000 carats per hundred tonnes
The report, prepared for De Beers by noted geologist John Ward, draws Rio
Tinto's concession in Zimbabwe's Midland province, estimated at CPHT
120.??Gideon Gono himself stated, ‘A reliable estimate shows that US$1.2
billion per month would be realised from diamond sales in the country,
enough to solve the economic challenges the country is currently facing.’??
But little of this will reach Zimbabweans. Moreover, mass evictions for
families residing at Marange has begun, with the displaced to be housed at
the Arda Transau Farm resettlement area.
Though diamonds have been exploited for the past four years by the
Zimbabwean military and the ZMDC, not a cent had been deposited to the
state's national tax base, save for recent tithes thanks to the Kimberley
Later, Tendai Biti complained that as much US$30 million was missing from
the proceeds of the KP supervised sale.??The KP definition of blood diamonds
is limited to 'rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to
finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments.'??
Xhead) Joint Operations Command
Yet the mechanisms at the helm of the diamond industry have not only locked
out the MDC but have also facilitated the concentration of power and
resources in the hands of Zanu (PF) through the drivers of Zimbabwe's
politics: The Joint Operations Command (JOC).
The most influential member of the JOC – the secretive inside guard
controlling all facets of security and intelligence – is the head of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), General Constantine Chiwenga. It was Chiwenga
who allegedly negotiated the arms-for-diamonds deal, as well as permits for
Chinese nationals – particularly those with links to the army – to mine
Certification is crucial for the diamond industry: As Andrei Polyyakov,
spokesperson of Russia's diamond agency Alrosa, the world's largest diamond
producer stated, ‘If you don't support the price, a diamond becomes a mere
piece of carbon.’ To ensure controlled supply, Gokhran, Russia's stockpiling
agency, has set aside a budget of US$1 billion for 2010, vaulting three
million carats of gem quality diamonds each month.??
The threat to undermine 'controlled supply' (a system of slow release
created by De Beers to manufacture artificial scarcity) has already been
proposed by Zimbabwe's political elites.
Supa Mandiwanzira, a representative of Zimbabwe's Diamond Consortium said
‘we have the potential to destroy the whole industry’ by flooding the
The other alternative, strenuously backed by Zimbabwe's KP monitor Chikane
who is eager to certify Marange's diamonds as KP-approved, is that
Zimbabwe's Zanu (PF)-controlled political economy will soon be conveniently
legitimised under the guise of the unity government, and Marange's diamonds,
systematically legalised through certification.??
And yet, even if Africa produces more than 65 per cent of the world's
diamonds, valued at US$8.5 billion annually, for Bob – the Zimbabwean
outside Home Affairs in South Africa – and others like him, some passports
are still worth more than others.??
* Khadija Sharife is the southern Africa correspondent for The Africa Report
HARARE, January 15, 2011 - Quick and easy internet cafes which are popular
with both professionals and students in the country have been closed by the
messenger of court for failing to repay a loan amounting to more than US$10
Most of the affected cafes are those in Harare.The owners and directors of
the cafes are understood to have fled the country leaving a huge debt
amounting to that amount.
"We saw drama when the messenger of court came and closed the internet
cafe," said an onlooker who witnessed the closure of one of them along
Samora Machel Avenue in Harare.
"They just came and told people to leave and then they took away all the
computers and the furniture and then closed the internet cafe here."
Quick & Easy was the best internet cafe in Zimbabwe which had the fastest
broadband and the longest time for customers in Harare.Customers were left
stranded and yet some of them had paid membership fees at the cafes in
It could not be established what would happen to the money that had been
deposited by customers into the Quick & Easy account because the directors
were nowhere to be seen.
Desks, computers, and carpets were taken away in Harare by the Messenger of
VICTORIA FALLS, January 15, 2010-Controversial Victoria Falls Mayor,
Nkosinathi Jiyane has vowed that he will never join Zanu (PF) even though he
has friends in the former ruling party.
Jiyane who is being accused of persecuting MDC-T councillors in the resort
town was responding to allegations that he has been collaborating with Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to make life difficult for councillors
loyal to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Speaking to Radio Vop by phone from Victoria Falls, Jiyane said he quit
Tsvangirai,s party because of too much interference by the leadership.
“ The truth is that I was fed up with MDC-T,s meddling in council
affairs.Thats why in the end I decided to quit and work as an independent
councillor, ” Jiyane told Radio Vop.
He said he has never been Zanu (PF) and will never join the party for
reasons he refused to disclose.Responding to MDC-T councillors who were
arrested last week in the town, Jiyane said they deserved to be arrested
because they were going around the townships disrupting his meetings.
Two of the councillors who are accused of disrupting Jiyane,s meetings fled
to Bulawayo last week.They were later advised to hand themselves over to the
police of which they did.Last year councillors in the town passed a vote of
no confidence against Jiyane but he refused to leave.He hit back and
announced that he was quitting the MDC-T party to work as an independent.
Chombo has always come to Jiyane and other MDC-T councillors,s rescue
whenever they are in trouble with their party leadership.
According to Chombo, Mayors and councillors can only be dismissed by the
ministry if they flout Urban Councils Act.
Dear Family and Friends,
This Christmas I had the unique opportunity of seeing my own country
through the eyes of friends and relations from overseas. It was a very
strange experience, often sad and embarrassing, sometimes funny but
always met with the statement: ‘only in Zimbabwe.”
My visitors wanted to see everything and so we hit the roads and the
shops – not to buy but to look. Is anything made in Zimbabwe
anymore, was the most frequently asked question as we looked at
shelves crowded with South African food: everything from staples like
sugar and flour, to biscuits, spreads and tins. Even the vendors in
car parks are selling boxes of South African fruit. We have become a
suburb of South Africa, an invasion met without complaint, so relieved
that there is food on our shelves.
Within a day of my visitors’ arrival, the water went off. One day,
two, three and never a drop coming out of taps. How do you cope like
this, the visitors ask, as we line up buckets, basins and baths
outside to catch rainwater and runoff. Later we stagger inside
carrying the bounty from heaven to wash dishes, flush toilets and have
a few precious litres left to work up a quick soapy lather and pour
over our heads at the end of the day.
Christmas Day was spent at a once very popular garden restaurant for a
meal that had been booked three months in advance. It was a family
reunion with people from across borders and continents. The menu
advertised traditional Christmas fayre but there was no electricity on
the day and the food that arrived on our plates was strangely peculiar
to say the least: Very old mutton masquerading as lamb, served with
chips and cold cauliflower florets; Fried slabs of salty ham
pretending to be roast beef, served with chips and cold cauliflower
florets. The meal staggered on largely uneaten until desert came.
Christmas pudding and mince pies were “off”, replaced by a
suspiciously old, cold chunk of apple pie with a splurge of
unidentifiable melted yellow liquid poured over the top. The coffee,
if that’s what it was, was indescribable.
How they did it remains a mystery, but electricity supplier ZESA
managed to stay on almost continually over Christmas but soon after
New Year came pay back time. Cuts lasting six, ten, fifteen hours at a
time. Cold breakfast, lunch and supper. Cooking outside, fridges
dripping, freezers defrosting, having to throw food away, How do you
cope like this, the visitors ask, this is ridiculous, dangerous?
And on the nights when there was electricity, we suffered a few brief,
embarrassing forays into ZBC television. Endless bottom waggling women
singing their praises of Zanu PF and its leaders before news reports
which are more like party political broadcasts. How can you bear it
the visitors ask?
The highlight of the visit was a few days in the Eastern Highlands.
Everyone noticed the endless police roadblocks, an average of one
every 10 kilometres. You can’t block out the view of what were once
hugely productive farms along the road which are now rapidly reverting
to bush; no fences or workers or signs of production. A few scrappy
little squares of weed- choked, ankle- high yellow maize standing
alongside a couple of primitive mud walled huts, surrounded by vast
derelict fields. At the cottage in the mountains the atmosphere was
tense and on edge. The “war vets” were here just two days before
demanding that the owners of the few remaining cottages hand over
their keys and vacate. This is THEIR land the so called war vets say.
These are THEIR cottages.
The natural beauty of Zimbabwe never failed to heal a wound, relieve
the hurt, revive a broken heart. Spectacular rainy season skies which
change in an instant from bright clear blue, to low, heavy purple
clouds bringing torrential rain storms streaked with lightning,
roaring with thunder.
Early in the morning the day before my visitors left, a slender
mongoose ran across the garden and feasted on the scattered corpses of
shiny brown flying ants lying amid a million abandoned wings. A
Hammerkop dropped down to join the feasting and later a crested Lourie
arrived, repeatedly chastising my visitors from the diaspora to “Go
And so, ten years after the start of the mayhem that drove family and
friends into exile, they left saying everything has changed but
nothing has changed.
I end with special thoughts for people in Australia, Indonesia and
Brazil inundated with floods, mud and devastation. Until next time,
thanks for reading, love cathy. Copyright � Cathy Buckle 15th January