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Police Commissioner Blocks Audit

http://www.radiovop.com

Harare, December 31, 2009 - The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner,
Augustine Chihuri, who blocked government auditors from accessing police
records earlier this month, is said to be busy issuing out force numbers to
non-police officers in a desperate bid to cover up the existence of ghost
workers.

Police sources told Radio VOP on Thursday: "The exercise started when the
audit process was announced. So far even cleaners and a lot of
constabularies have been given force numbers."

"Most of these officers who are being given force numbers, are just getting
new uniforms but they have been told that they have no arresting powers."

Chihuri was last week said to have instructed senior officers to deny
government auditors access to police records, in a move seen as an attempt
at covering up for the huge number of ghost workers.

"There is a huge discrepancy, the last official statics put the number of
trained police officers at 35 000 but now a figure of 50 000 is being
announced," said the sources.

The Minister of Finance Tendai Biti is said to have told Chihuri to justify
why he wanted him to release money from the budget to cater for 50 000
officers if he did not want to co-operate with the auditors.

"He is using the delay to put his house in order," said the source.

The Minister Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment recently
admitted to have hired 10 000 ghost workers.

The Ministry of Public Service has embarked on an audit of the civil
service and its payroll, in a bid to rid the system of massive corruption.
The audit was expected to disclose tens of thousands of "ghost" workers. It
involved a physical count of all civil servants, excluding the army, which
is not classified under the Public Service.

Although the audit was approved by cabinet, it met strong resistance from
Zanu (PF), which is being accused of paying a big chunk of the taxpayers'
money to its youth militia, most of whom are too under-qualified to be civil
servants and are only used to terrorise voters at election time.

For one to be a police officer, one is required to be a holder of minimum
educational requirements of five O level passes, including Maths and
English.

When contacted for a comment the Minister of Public Service, Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro, said, "We are looking into the matter but we will publicise
everything once we are through with the audit."


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Zimbabweans Travel to South Africa Despite Delays at Border

http://www1.voanews.com

Many Zimbabweans living and working in neighboring South Africa travel home
during the holiday period, causing massive bottlenecks at the main overland
border post. Despite the delays and the cost, they prefer to return to South
Africa after only a few days' stay.

Ish Mafundikwa 31 December 2009

For the majority of those traveling to South Africa from Harare the journey
starts at the Road Port, the terminal for cross-border buses.

The Road Port is always packed with buses and people, but during the
holidays, it is even busier. Though the buses go to various neighboring
countries, South Africa is the destination of the majority of them.

South Africa-bound buses cross the border at Beit Bridge, one of the busiest
ports of entry in Africa.

Though it is open 24 hours a day, Beit Bridge has become notorious for the
delays travelers experience as they enter and leave South Africa. The
delays become longer over the festive season as Zimbabweans living in South
Africa make the journey home and others travel south to spend the holidays
with family or to shop.

Daniel Iluki traveled to Johannesburg to spend Christmas with family. The
journey, which should take no more than 14 hours, took more than 24.

"When going to South Africa, the queue was too much and when coming through
in Zimbabwe side they check everything, they bring everything down, it is
not easy," he said.

Besides the delay at the border, Iluki says there were numerous police
roadblocks on both sides of the border. But even on normal days, travelers
can spend more than six hours at the border.

Elvis Kapfumba travels to South Africa at least twice a month to buy spares
for his workshop.

"Sometimes they go on go-slow when you want to go into South Africa," he
noted.

South African immigration officers sometimes call labor actions - such as
"go-slow" strikes, which makes travel even harder for many at the border.

Travelers also have to cope with higher bus fares over the holidays. Esther
Daniel, who works in South Africa, waited to return to Zimbabwe after
Christmas, because, she says, the fares to travel before the holiday rose to
almost $100. That was too much for her.

"We normally pay R300 [about $40], but over the holidays it was double the
price," she added.

She also said there was too much luggage on the buses. Traders still travel
to South Africa to buy cheap goods to sell back home. Blankets, clothes and
spare parts seem to have replaced groceries at the top of the shopping list
for Zimbabweans in South Africa. Zimbabwean customs officials scour the
buses for whatever they can charge duty on, adding to the delays at Beit
Bridge.


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Heist sucks in RBZ official

http://www.herald.co.zw/

Friday, January 01, 2010

By Freeman Razemba

A bank accountant and an ex-policeman were among six armed robbers who
raided Stanbic Bank's Chegutu branch on Tuesday morning and made off with
US$266 000, R150 000 and P34 690, police have said.

The robbery, in which the branch's assistant manager was shot and injured,
has also sucked in a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe employee, who is now suspect
number seven.

Sources close to the investigations yesterday said the central bank employee
assisted the suspects with transport in Harare a few hours after the
robbery.

Detectives tracked him down to Mutare where he was believed to have gone
into hiding and they were by last night still looking for him.

The central bank employee is an ex-policeman and is believed to have been
living in Chitungwiza.

He is also being implicated in the recent Chitungwiza CBZ Bank robbery.

The accountant, Jotamu Gonese, and Akim Matare, an ex-cop, were arrested on
Tuesday night following a manhunt by detectives.

Police are not disclosing the accountant's employers for fear of prejudicing
investiga- tions.

Police have recovered more than US$50 000 from the suspects but the exact
amount could not be ascertained by yesterday.

The six men are believed to be part of the gang that recently hit CBZ Bank's
Chitungwiza branch and got away with cellphones, but failed to get cash.

The gang, which used two getaway cars - an Isuzu KB twin-cab and a Peugeot
406 - in Chegutu also looted cash, cellphones and other valuables from
clients in the banking hall.

Deputy chief police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka
yesterday said three of the suspects were Zimbabweans, while the other three
were South African.

"We have since established the names of the South Africans and the
Zimbabwean still at large.

"Investigations have so far revealed that the South Africans were brought
into the country by the Zimbabweans who normally reside in South Africa," he
said.

He said investigations have revealed that the gang had been staying at a
house in Unit H, Seke, Chitungwiza.

The four are suspected to have fled to South Africa on Tuesday evening
through an illegal exit point near Beitbridge Border Post.

Police have since recovered the Isuzu KB twincab and the Peugeot 406.

The Isuzu KB is registered in Gonese's name, while the Peugeot 406 belongs
to the Zimbabwean

who fled.

Gonese was the first suspect to be arrested in the city following a Central
Vehicle Registry check of the Isuzu KB.

He reportedly implicated Matare, of Norton, who was still in possession of
the Isuzu KB.

Matare was arrested near a hotel after falling into a police trap. He had
US$38 000 in the vehicle, believed to be part of the share for the
accountant.

Matare also led police to recover part of the spoils.

After the two were questioned, they implicated the other four accomplices
and police tried to track them.

They discovered that one of the suspects had driven to Beitbridge in the
Peugeot 406.

He was reportedly clad in a white robe normally worn by members of the
Apostolic sect to hoodwink police manning roadblocks along the
Harare-Beitbridge Road.

But on Wednesday night, detectives arrested his younger brother in the
Beatrice area after he was spotted driving the vehicle back from Beitbridge.

He was yesterday still assisting police with investigations.

Police suspect that the three South Africans boarded a bus back to their
country and are believed to have crossed at illegal entry points with their
loot.

"The trend where local criminals connive with other criminals outside our
borders is so disturbing, but as police, we commit ourselves to crack
through these criminals and make sure that justice is done," said Chief Supt
Mandipaka.

He urged the public to assist police with information leading to the arrest
of any criminals.

"As we also move towards the 2010 Fifa World Cup, these criminals will wreak
havoc within our borders and as these cases are being committed, there is
need for a swift reaction," said Chief Supt Mandipaka.

This, he said, could only be achieved if police had high-powered vehicles
and adequate resources to curb such activities.


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Zimbabwe anthrax outbreak under control

http://www.bioprepwatch.com

by Tina Redlup on December 31, 2009
Anthrax2

The anthrax outbreak that hit two of Zimbabwe's districts is now under
control, the nation's Veterinary Services Department has announced.

The announcement comes on the heels of increase vaccinations that inoculated
more than 1,100 castle in the Seke district over the last week.

The farming areas of Seke and Selous were hit by the anthrax outbreak, which
killed one person and 25 cattle. Seke's outbreak is now under control and
the vaccinations have moved to Selous and Mhondoro.

"We have finished vaccination of animals in the Seke area and have moved to
Selous commercial farming area," Dr. Chenjerai Njagu, Department of
Veterinary Services deputy director field services, told Xinhua. "Today we
expect to start vaccinations in Mhondoro communal area where we expect to
vaccinate 100,000 animals," he added.

Njagu said that a shortage of vehicles in the Karoi district impeded
monitoring and disease surveillance exercises meant to curb the disease.

"Under normal circumstances the department is supposed to carry routine farm
inspections meant to alert farmers and pick diseases outbreak before they
get out of hand," Njagu said. "Because of transport shortages we have been
forced to ask our farmers to provide transport for our officers to and from
the farms."

The anthrax outbreak was not reported early, Njagu said, and occurred in
communal areas and some farms.

Anthrax outbreaks are normally recorded in Zimbabwe during the rainy season
as sprouting grass brings the soil-borne disease from the soil.


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Zimbabwe to host African synposium on the disabled

http://world.brunei.fm/

HARARE, Dec 31 (NNN-NEW ZIANA) - Zimbabwe is set to host a continental
symposium on disability aimed at sharing ideas on improving the lives of
people with disabilities, an official said here Wednesday.

Southern African Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) Director General
Alexander Phiri told New Ziana that the convention was the brain child of
the African Network on Evidence to Action on Disability (Afrinead).

"SAFOD is one of the core groups of Afrinead and we meet every two years to
discuss issues and the way forward for people living with disabilities,? he
said.

Representatives from various African countries will converge in Zimbabwe for
this event which gives Zimbabwe an opportunity to showcase its research work
concerning the disabled.

"The symposium is a highly technical professional engagement and
organizations for the disabled in Zimbabwe have the prospects to exhibit
results of the investigations they have done," he added.

Phiri said the three-day conference would be held in Victoria Falls in 2011.
"That may seem too far away but there is not much time left because of the
magnitude of the work that needs to be done,? he said. - NNN-NEW ZIANA


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Leaders of Zimbabwean charities honoured by British Queen Elizabeth II

http://www.apanews.net

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom on Thursday
named two leaders of Zimbabwean charities among the list of 72 prominent
individuals for their contribution to human development in the UK and other
countries.

Thomas Yates Benyon, founder and director of Zimbabwe National Emergency
(ZANE) was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of
his services to vulnerable people in Zimbabwe.

ZANE offers educational and healthcare support as well as food assistance to
disadvantaged Zimbabwean groups, including pensioners.

The OBE is awarded to persons who have played a distinguished regional or
country-wide role in any field or who have contributed to the development of
a country through achievement or service to the community.

Nigel Jeffery Randle Kay, founder and head of the charity Homes in Zimbabwe
received the Member of the British Empire (MBE) award for services to the
elderly in the southern African country.

Homes in Zimbabwe was established in 2004 to provide funds for the
maintenance of old people's homes in the country.

The homes then were in serious need of help due to the economic decline and
high inflation that had completely eroded their financial reserves.

The MBE is awarded for achievement or service in and to the community of a
responsible kind which is outstanding in its field or for local "hands-on"
service which stands out as an example to others.

Zimbabweans previously honoured by Queen Elizabeth II included President
Robert Mugabe who was awarded the Commander of the Order of the Bath in
1994.

He was however stripped of the knighthood in 2008 in retaliation of what
London called his role in human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

JN/daj/APA
2009-12-31


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Zimbabwe mulls mortgaging minerals to offset debt



(AFP) - 10 hours ago

HARARE - Zimbabwe is considering mortgaging its mineral wealth to offset the
country's 5.4 billion dollar debt owed to multilateral donor agencies, a
government report says.

The ministry of finance report seen by AFP said various options were being
considered for paying off the external debt, an essential step to secure new
financing from lenders for 2010-2012.

"A key conditionality for unlocking new financing of 7.5 billion -- 10
billion (dollars) ... evolves around the development of a Debt Relief and
Arreas Clearance Strategy for the country's external debt overhang of 5.4
billion, of which 3.8 billion is in arrears," the report said.

Also under consideration was using internal revenue resources, asking for
debt restructuring from the Paris Club of lender nations or "going through
the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) route for debt forgiveness," the
report added.

Government, in co-operation with major creditors will undertake in-depth
studies on the various options to come up with a "sustainable debt
management and clearance solution which balances the interests of the
country and its creditors," it added.

Zimbabwe has vast mineral resources, but the sector has been set back by a
near decade of political and economic instability worsened by a
hyperinflation, and power cuts.

According to Finance Minister Tendai Biti the country will need 45 billion
dollars to restore its economic performance to levels seen in 1996/7.

Zimbabwe's economy has contracted every year since then, but is expected to
grow 4.7 percent this year after the local currency was abandoned in January
and a unity government took office the following month.

President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980, was
forced into the power-sharing arrangement with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai following disputed elections last year.

The deal, known as the Global Political Agreement (GPA), remains shaky due
to a raft of disputes over key jobs and claims that Tsvangirai's supporters
remain the target of official persecution.


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Trust, Confidence Key Issues for Zimbabwe Government

http://www.gallup.com
December 31
Zimbabweans supported creation of GNU, but see obstacles to its success
by Christine Weigel

NAIROBI -- When Gallup asked Zimbabweans in July 2009 what they believed was the biggest obstacle for their power-sharing government to overcome, nearly 4 in 10 (39%) spontaneously mentioned a lack of trust and confidence. More than one in five (22%) cited a lack of political will to implement reforms, and a similar proportion (19%) cited refusals by the president and prime minister to work together. It is that last problem, however, that best characterizes Zimbabwe's political situation since the coalition government formed in February.

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Seven in 10 Zimbabweans surveyed last July (70%) agreed with the creation of the Government of National Unity (GNU). Nearly as many (65%) expected the coalition government would last until the next elections, which are slated for 2013 if the GNU lasts its full five-year term. Disagreement between the two parties and recent resurgence of violence, however, has put this in jeopardy.

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Since the coalition government's creation, the two parties have failed to agree on top positions and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai's party, claims that it has been ignored by Zanu-PF, President Robert Mugabe's party, in the process of making some key decisions. Recent acts of violence and harassment by Zanu-PF militia against Tsvangarai's loyalists reinforces the belief among MDC leaders that Zanu-PF is failing to live up to its commitments in the power-sharing deal, thus jeopardizing the government's future.

Zimbabweans Lack Confidence in Elections

The MDC threatened to call for fresh elections if a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) fails to break the current political deadlock. However, in a country where about 1 in 10 residents (11%) express confidence in the honesty of elections, another vote is by no means guaranteed to promote stability. Securing the supervision of the international community, SADC and the African Union might be one way to help avoid a re-run of the violence encountered during the 2008 elections.

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Zimbabweans Disapprove of Mugabe

Gallup also asked Zimbabweans whether they approve or disapprove of Mugabe's job performance. Nearly three in four Zimbabweans (74%) said they disapprove of his job performance, and the level is even higher in urban areas (85%) than rural areas (70%). Mugabe's approval rating is similar to that recorded last year, with fewer than 2 in 10 Zimbabweans (17%) approving of the president's performance.

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Bottom Line

Despite 74% disapproval of President Mugabe's job performance, a solid majority of Zimbabweans agreed with the creation of the current power-sharing agreement between his Zanu-PF party and Prime Minister Tsvangarai's MDC party. A majority of Zimbabweans also want to believe in the success of the GNU, with 65% saying they think it will last until the next election. In addition, after months of unrest following the 2008 elections and multi-digit inflation rates, 71% of Zimbabweans believe the country is going in the right direction. However, despite economic improvements and dropping the Zimbabwe dollar for the temporary adoption of the U.S. dollar and the South African rand, the future remains uncertain for Zimbabwe until confidence is restored between the parties and issues are resolved.

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For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact worldpollpartners@gallup.com or call 202.715.3030.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults in Zimbabwe, aged 15 and older, conducted July 11-26, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is 4 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


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Thirty years of hell



Zimbabwe became an independent State on 18th April 1980, and the new Prime
Minister was Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who made a speech within days of taking
office, which is often referred to as "The Hand of Reconciliation".

Again, from my book "Without Honour":

"Independence came and went. The family stayed.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Mugabe had addressed the nation and had offered a 'hand of reconciliation'.

He wasn't interested in what colour you were. He wasn't interested in who
you fought for pre-1980. He didn't even care who you voted for in the
election - he had secured 63% of the votes in the election that brought him
and his party to power.

If you wanted to stay, you could stay. He just wanted people who would help
build Zimbabwe into the pride of Africa.

And do you know the strange thing about his speech? We all believed it. We
all swallowed it - hook, line and sinker."

Since then, Mugabe has been sticking it to the Zimbabwean population, black,
white, coloured - it makes no difference to him.

What Mugabe needed to have done for Zimbabwe to be successful is nothing. He
didn't need to change a thing. The economy was flourishing, the State
coffers were full and the population were getting on with each other and
being a major productive workforce in the region.

But the temptation was too great.

Within a couple of years of independence, Mugabe had deployed his
Korean-trained Fifth Brigade into Matabeleland and the Midlands to fight the
'dissidents' - a spin-off from the Rhodesian bush war (chimurenga) - people
largely seen as disgruntled members of Joshua Nkomo ZIPRA fighters who were
being overlooked for important positions.

Once again from "Without Honour":

"I do not dispute that there ever were dissidents. They were in evidence and
I also understand their aims and reasons for being in Matabeleland.

I also understand that there was a need to bring them to book for their
dastardly acts. They robbed, raped, murdered. They committed more crimes
than has ever been attributed to them - a small number of unhappy men,
driven by the political tide of the new emerging Zimbabwe.
That Mugabe deemed it necessary to train his own private army and take his
temper out on the people of the Midlands and Matabeleland is singularly
unkind. How can one person condemn so many people to death with a simple
word, and then not be held accountable for his acts, his responsibility, his
command."

Within just a few years of independence, Mugabe has reduced the country once
again into a state of war - against itself. And since that time, Zimbabwe
has been fighting an undeclared civil war.

Much of the offensive nature of this battle has been perpetrated by ZANU PF,
in the guise of the Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, the land grab, the political
violence that rocked the country to its very foundations last year -
targeting the MDC. To say nothing of the grandiose theft of State resources,
mass corruption and criminality.

And Mugabe has seen no reason to change the combination. If he can keep the
population on their toes, then he is able to do whatever, wherever,
whenever.

Even losing an election has not cowed Mugabe, nor has it stopped ZANU PF
from assuming control - sometimes by bloody means - and he will not vacate
office.

A "free and fair" election is not on his agenda, and that is borne out by
last year's flawed election.

So Zimbabwe heads into its thirtieth year of Mugabe's reign - and little
light in on the horizon for any respite or end.

A ridiculous situation lent credence by the free world's inability to deal
with perhaps one of the world's worst governments and even worse dictators.

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

http://mandebvhu.instablogs.com/entry/thirty-years-of-hell/

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