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International investment conference opens in Harare

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
9 July 2009

A two day international investment conference opened in Harare on Thursday,
where the three

political leaders to the Global Political Agreement sought to promote the
country as an investment

destination.

Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara told the conference
that

Zimbabwe-long tagged a high-cost, high-risk place to do business-is becoming
a more

hospitable destination for investors.

The conference is expected to discuss topical issues such as banking,
agriculture, tourism, mining,

and infrastructure development. Economic Planning minister Elton Mangoma
told the conference

the signing of the GPA last year and the formulation of an inclusive
Government in February has

given renewed hope for the country to make a proper start to sustainable
economic recovery.

The key to this, according to the address by deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara, was

restoring the rule of law, which provides the foundation of confidence for
contractual dealings and

investor activity, without which no economy can run effectively.

He said: 'The rule of law, transparency and accountability in the public
sector serve not only as

means to counter corruption but also as fundamental conditions of good
governance'.

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said investors at the conference
took a keen interest

in the energy, mining, construction and telecommunication sectors. These are
perceived as sectors

with the highest potential for profitability.

But there were also concerns raised by investors during a question and
answer session with the

three leaders that real reforms have yet to take root in the country. Others
felt Zimbabwe was still a

place where property rights are not respected.

This prompted a response from Mugabe who repeated his stance that former
colonial ruler Britain

was responsible for paying owners who were stripped of their farms. However
Tsvangirai said that

all parties in the country recognised land reform was needed, but differed
on their approach.

'We are going to conduct a land audit and we will set up a land commission
to address all

disputes arising from land reform,' he said.

But he didn't go into any explanation of exactly how such a complex task
would be undertaken.

Attempts to resuscitate the country's ailing economy commenced soon after
the formation of the

unity government in February. The Prime Minister has pronounced 'job
creation and the creation

of a conducive environment for investment as one of the priority issues'
which his government is

set to tackle to turn the economy around.

Zimbabwe's potential in terms of huge natural resources, elevates the
country to a prominent

position - an attractive, haven for investment. But the biggest impediments
remain the failure by the

inclusive government to restore democratic freedoms and the rule of law.

Supporters of Tsvangirai's MDC are still victims of political persecution
and progress toward

greater democracy was being undermined by hardliners backing Mugabe.

Meanwhile the MDC issued a statement saying it was deeply concerned by media
reports that

government officials were insisting that journalists intending to cover the
Investment Conference in

Harare should be accredited by the legally defunct Media and Information
Commission (MIC).

Our Harare correspondent had been told on Wednesday he would not be allowed
to cover the

conference because he is not accredited with the media commission.

But SW Radio Africa was able to work out a plan with officials from the
economic planning

ministry for Muchemwa to cover the conference.
In a press statement the MDC said they believed that the High Court order,
which declared the

media commission a legal nullity, should be respected, especially by the
inclusive government

which should be seen to be doing business in a different way.

'A government that is enticing serious businesspersons to invest in the
country cannot be seen to

be defying court orders. It is ironic that the inclusive government, which
is trying to woo investors,

including those wishing to invest in the media, would bar the same media
persons from doing their

work unless they are accredited by an illegal body,' the statement said.
In May the Prime Minister announced that journalists were now free to report
on Zimbabwe

without government approval since the MIC had been legally disbanded in
2008. He was promptly

contradicted by Information Minister Shamu who warned of arrest for those
without accreditation.
The two day investment conference is being held under the theme "Zimbabwe:
Redefining

Business and Investment Environment" and is aimed at projecting Zimbabwe as
a conducive

investment destination - but on Wednesday, on the eve of the conference,
hordes of Zanu-PF

supporters disrupted mining operations at Bikita Minerals, a major producer
of lithium in the

country.
Media reports said senior officials in Mugabe's party were eyeing a
take-over of the mine, with

retired army colonel Claudius Makova, leading the campaign. Others
implicated in the take-over

bid include former governor of Masvingo, Dzikamai Mavhaire.

While company and property ownership is so completely ignored in Zimbabwe,
the unity

government will have no hope whatsoever of encouraging any investment.


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Zimbabwe's Mugabe makes appeal to investors

http://uk.reuters.com/

Thu Jul 9, 2009 11:55am BST

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe made an appeal to
investors Thursday and said laws limiting foreign ownership of businesses
had been misunderstood and should not seen as a discouragement.

With a unity government in place between Mugabe and his old rival Morgan
Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe is trying to recover from economic collapse that the
president's critics blame on policies such as his seizures of white-owned
farms.

Zimbabwe badly needs foreign funds, but among concerns for investors in
mines and other businesses are empowerment laws which limit foreign
ownership to 49 percent.

"Foreign direct investment is most welcomed as it brings new technology,
capital and new markets," Mugabe told an investment conference in Zimbabwe
that drew foreign fund managers, financiers, investors and entrepreneurs.

"Such policies as the indigenisation and economic empowerment act should not
be viewed as obstacles to investment promotion... They should be welcomed as
promotive of the greater participation of our people in the economy."

On land reform, Mugabe repeated his stance that former colonial ruler
Britain was responsible for paying owners who were stripped of their farms.
He blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe's economic decline.

Tsvangirai said that all parties in Zimbabwe recognized land reform was
needed but differed on their approach.

"We are going to conduct a land audit and we will set up a land commission
to address all disputes arising from land reform," he told the conference,
which would itself have been unthinkable before the unity government was set
up in February.

Tsvangirai went to the United States and Europe last month to woo investors
and donors, but the trip yielded scant funds and put him under increased
pressure to persuade Mugabe to agree to reforms.

(Reporting by Nelson Banya)


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No compensation for land - Mugabe

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=19568

July 9, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe said Thursday his government will not pay
any compensation for land seized by his government over the past 10 years.

Mugabe accused the largely white Zimbabwean commercial farmers of siding
with the British at a time his government was trying to apply pressure on
the British government to disburse funds to buy land for resettlement to the
previously disadvantaged black population.

"The responsibility for compensating the farmers rests on the shoulders of
the British government and its allies," Mugabe said.

He was responding to a question by Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President,
Trevor Gifford, during the plenary session of an ongoing International
Investment conference being held in Harare.

Gifford asked the Zimbabwean leader when his government would start paying
farmers who have lost their source of livelihoods through farm takeovers.

According to the CFU, 175 farmers are due to stand trial for refusing to
vacate their land to make way for the new farmers.

Mugabe, who was not in his usual aggressive tone, accused the former Tony
Blair administration of reneging on British pledges to pay compensation for
repossessed land.

"I told Blair to keep his money and we were going to keep our land," Mugabe
said.

He was adamant it is enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution that
compensation for land repossessed by government shall be paid by the British
government.

"We did pay compensation for improvements and developments.we have honoured
that part. This is our stand. It is a British responsibility," he said.

"The farmers themselves let themselves down. Instead of supporting us in
appealing to Britain, so Britain could realize that they had this
responsibility towards paying compensation, they have sided with the
British."

Mugabe said farmers who were being approached for land should be willing to
cede their farms and join hands with his government in appealing for
compensation.

Mugabe went on to ask foreign investors to come and invest in Zimbabwe,
saying the establishment of the inclusive government has created a conducive
environment for investment in Zimbabwe.

"Zimbabwe upholds the sanctity of property rights," Mugabe said in his main
address.

"The formation of the inclusive government has strengthened our stable
political environment, making us more conducive to investment promotion.

"My government is committed to promoting the rule of law in all its facets."

Mugabe said farmers approached for land should be willing to cede their
farms and join hands with Britain in appealing for compensation.


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White farmers to be spared

http://business.iafrica.com

Article By:
Thu, 09 Jul 2009 16:37
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Thursday said some white farmers would
be spared under his controversial land reforms and urged Britain to
compensate owners of property seized for redistribution.

"It's not every white farm which will be taken. Not necessarily," Mugabe
said in reply to the leader of the predominantly-white Commercial Farmers
Union (CFU) at a conference to lure investors.

"The responsibility of compensation rests on the shoulders of the British
government and its allies," he said.

"We pay compensation for developments and improvements. That's our
obligation and we have honoured that. Above all Zimbabwe upholds the
sanctity of property rights.

"Sure there must be some compensation. Let's join hands and appeal to the
British."

The land reforms launched in 2000 aimed to resettle blacks on 4000
white-owned commercial farms, but the process was marred by
politically-charged violence.

The scheme has drastically reduced agricultural production, which once
accounted for 40 percent of the economy, as most of its beneficiaries lacked
both farming equipment and expertise.

Mugabe's statements came as the CFU reported fresh invasions of white-owned
farms.

He accused the farmers of taking sides with the British, whose relations
with Zimbabwe were strained over the land reforms launched ostensibly to
redress historical land imbalances.

"The farmers have let themselves down," he said. "They have tended to side
with the British."

Mugabe said conditions in Zimbabwe favoured investment following the
formation of a coalition government with his long-time rival Morgan
Tsvangirai and opposition faction leader Arthur Mutambara.

"The formation of the inclusive government has strengthened our stable
political environment making us more conducive to investment promotion," he
asserted.

The international investment conference aimed at attracting local and
foreign investment will end on Friday.

AFP


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Constitutional conference delayed by ZANU PF bickering

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
09 July 2009

A constitutional conference scheduled to be held this Friday has now been
moved to Monday,

amid reports of serious bickering within ZANU PF and their last minute bid
to have it postponed

indefinitely. Newsreel understands several ZANU PF MP's are complaining that
MP's in the

Tsvangirai MDC have 'hijacked' the constitution making process. A report in
the state owned

Herald newspaper quotes some of them claiming that ZANU PF members in the
select committee

are allowing their MDC colleagues to dominate proceedings. Friday's
convention would have been

the first major meeting of all key participants in the constitution making
process, but ZANU PF

were determined to have it postponed indefinitely we are told.

MP Douglas Mwonzora from the Tsvangirai MDC, Paul Mangwana from ZANU PF and
Senator

David Coltart from the Mutambara MDC are the chairmen of the special
parliamentary committee

dealing with the constitution making process. When they met on Tuesday it
was reported they had

refused to bow down to ZANU PF pressure to move the conference date. What
motivated the

u-turn is still unclear, but the Zim Online news agency quotes Mwonzora
saying 'having taken into

consideration the concerns of ZANU PF and the timeline given in the global
political agreement the

committee decided to move the conference to Monday.'

ZANU PF is arguing that several issues around logistics and who will attend
the convention need

to be ironed out. Skeptics believe the move is simply a delaying tactic to
frustrate participants in

the process. Mwonzora confirmed to journalists that ZANU PF wanted an
indefinite

postponement of the convention, but his committee refused. After this
refusal ZANU PF tried to

have the conference moved to the end of July, again Mwonzora's committee
refused to back

down, insisting on Monday next week as the date.
'I don't understand the strategic importance of a delay. We tried to make
sense of it,' Mwonzora

told journalists.

Monday's convention is expected to see the setting up of committees drawn
from all the political

parties. To run outreach programmes to get peoples views on the new
constitution. But several

civil society groups, like the National Constitutional Assembly, are deeply
critical of the process

saying politicians should not be leading it. Their fears were born out by
remarks from Mugabe,

who insisted the widely discredited Kariba Draft constitution should be used
as a framework for

the new constitution. The MDC have already said they will oppose, this
despite appending their

signature to the Kariba Draft in September 2007. Experts say that draft
entrenches the executive

powers of the President.


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Zimbabwe expects double-digit growth next year: minister

http://news.yahoo.com

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe is expected to post double-digit growth starting
next year, after a decade of stunning economic collapse, the planning
minister told an investors conference on Thursday.
"The economy will enjoy double-digit growth from 2010 onwards. Growth will
remain strong for at least the next 10 years," Planning Minister Elton
Mangoma said.

This year the government expects the economy to grow by four percent.

"We are mindful that the current global financial crisis imposes certain
limitations, but it also presents opportunities including understanding and
re-examinations of international trade, expanding regional African trade and
diversification of the economy," Mangoma said.

Zimbabwe's five-month-old unity government launched an economic recovery
scheme in March aiming to revitalise an economy hammered by a decade of
hyperinflation that has impoverished the nation and left half the population
dependent on food aid.

The government is seeking 8.3 billion dollars over three years to revive the
economy and pump into moribund public services, including schools and
hospitals.

So far Zimbabwe has won pledges of over two billion dollars, mainly from
African institutions and China.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently toured the United States and
Europe to try to woo more support, but western countries say they want
long-ruling President Robert Mugabe to make greater political reforms first.

The international investment conference opened Wednesday in hopes of
attracting local and foreign investment. The meeting ends on Friday.


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MDC outcry as another MP convicted on trumped up charges

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
09 July 2009

The MDC MP for Chipinge South, Meki Makuyana, was on Thursday convicted on
'trumped up

charges' of kidnapping. Magistrate Samuel Zuze sentenced Makuyana to 18
months in prison with

hard labour - 6 months were suspended. This means the MP will serve an
effective 12 months in

prison. This brings to 4 the number of MDC MP's, all from Manicaland
Province, who have been

convicted and sentenced to jail by magistrates on the ZANU PF payroll.
Coincidentally all the

MDC MP's targeted so far beat ZANU PF cabinet ministers in last year's
parliamentary elections.

Last month Shuah Mudiwa, the MP for Mutare West, was sentenced to 7 years
for allegedly

kidnapping a 12 year old girl. Chimanimani MP Lynette Karenyi was convicted
of allegedly forging

her nomination papers and Chipinge Central MP, Mathias Mlambo, was accused
and convicted of

inciting public violence. Given the brutal election violence perpetrated by
ZANU PF last year it

would appear that only the victims are being targeted, while no senior
official from the former

ruling party has faced justice for anything.

On Thursday MP Makuyana was taken to prison while his defence team, led by
lawyer Langton

Mhungu, put together an appeal in the High Court in Harare. Three other MDC
activists, Simon

Chaya, Wedzerai Gwenzi and Hardwork Masaiti the councilor for Ward 26, were
also jointly

charged with him. An MDC statement said the party was concerned 'by the
continued

persecution and harassment of its members and MPs by the state through the
Attorney-General's

office, in an attempt to decimate its structures and reverse the party's
majority in parliament.'

This year alone over 6 MP's from the MDC have faced trumped up charges.
Deputy Agriculture

Minister designate Roy Bennett and Mutasa Central MP Trevor Saruwaka, were
also taken to

court. Meanwhile MP Mudiwa told our Behind the Headlines series that he was
convicted for

allegedly kidnapping a 12 year old girl. But he says that on the day in
question he was watching

wrestling on his laptop computer with a group of policemen at his shop. The
judge, surprisingly,

claimed it was not possible to watch TV on a laptop.


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Small Zimbabwe Tobacco Crop Reaches Record Prices

http://www.voanews.com/

By Peta Thornycroft
Harare
09 July 2009

Zimbabwe's annual tobacco auctions this year were notable for record prices
and the second smallest crop in more than 50 years. Thousands of new
small-scale tobacco farmers failed to grow tobacco this season because
neither commercial banks nor the government had money to lend for inputs
such as fertilizer.

Zimbabwe's 2009 tobacco crop will earn about $160 million this selling
season. The average price was about $3.60 a kilogram. Most tobacco will be
exported to Europe with China now also an important buyer.

About 50 million kilograms was produced, more than 80 percent of that grown
by the few remaining white farmers on the tiny portions of land left
untouched by President Robert Mugabe's ongoing seizures of white-owned land.

Until land invasions began in 2000, large-scale white tobacco growers and
growing numbers of black farmers produced more than 220 million kilograms of
tobacco each year. This was the bedrock of Zimbabwe's economy and the
country's largest foreign currency earner.

Farm invasions cause uncertainty

This year, as farm seizures were stepped up by those loyal to President
Robert Mugabe in the wake of the formation of the unity government, cash
strapped banks refused loans to farmers. The banks said the current wave of
farm invasions resulted in uncertainty about the farmers' tenure on their
land, and that the farms or potential harvests were therefore no surety for
the lenders.

Consequently these farmers sold their crops to foreign buyers who fund their
inputs, such as fertilizer. Andy Ferreira, outgoing president of the
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association says it is a pity the economy is so difficult,
because commercial farmers forced to forward sell their crops are getting
about 20 percent less than prices on the auction floors in Harare - the
largest in the world.

He said until land tenure was settled and banks felt secure to lend money to
commercial farmers, this system would continue, to the detriment of
Zimbabwe's foreign earnings.

Nowadays, only small-scale farmers sell at the auction floors, and their
numbers dropped to about 8,000 from 15,000; many who would normally be
selling say they were unable to raise loans to buy inputs.

A small-scale producer in northern Zimbabwe, said his output was affected
this season because he could not borrow enough money to buy inputs. Ideally,
he would like to double his output.

"I am at Karoi, Hurungwe, I am an old farmer. Last year it was better than
this year; and last year I [planted] one hectare [and] I produced more
[kilograms] than this season. I haven't any inputs," he said.

Some small-scale farmers now growing tobacco were given white-owned land by
President Robert Mugabe.

New farmers satisfied with prices

One new farmer said he had a fair season and wants to plant more, but says
he needs a loan for his next crop. He says he grew one hectare of Virginia
tobacco, sold it on auction and was paid well.

"Last year it was similar to this year," he said. "For this year it is good
quality tobacco. Prices for last year and this year [are] similar. Just
because, this year according to my tobacco, it is selling well. The sales
are really quite good. So far I have sold 700 kg for $3.69 [per kilogram]
[and] I am going to plant more."

Despite increased anti-smoking laws in many parts of the world, and
declining numbers of smokers, Ferreira says Zimbabwe's tobacco is still
prized by top manufacturers of cigarettes.

Many commercial growers have already planted seedbeds for next year's
tobacco crop despite not knowing if they will still be there to reap the
crop for the 2010 selling season.


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Villagers remember violence

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

9 July 2009

By The Zimbabwean
SHAMVA - Villagers from Bindura South last week converged at a former Zanu
(PF) torture base to commemorate last year's presidential run-off election
violence. The commemorations, attended by the Bindura South Member of
Parliament Bednock Nyaude, were filled with emotions. During the MP's
speech, villagers were reminded of the trauma they went through during last
year's Zanu (PF) sponsored violence.

Nehemiah Mhembere, who organised the event, said they chose the former Zanu
(PF) base because it stood as a stark reminder of what happened last year.
"We chose a spot in Nyamadzawo Village because we want villagers to remember
that the things that happened cannot be erased. We have sons and daughters
who are dead and disabled, so let us send a message that we are still
waiting to be healed," said Mhembere.

June 27 has been set aside as a date for Mhembere's ward to remember the
atrocities of 2008. Meanwhile, a Zanu (PF) official who terrorised Bindura
South villagers last year is reported to have sneaked out of his home at
night as he feared reprisals from those he tortured.

The official, only identified as Gwanzura, claimed to be a member of the
dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation. He rented a bottle store at
Musiwa Growth Point and, during the run up to the June 27 run-off election,
he tortured hundreds of MDC supporters in Ward 16.


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Zanu (PF) incites violence

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

9 July 2009

By Own correspondent

GUTU - A Zanu (PF) heavyweight has stepped up efforts to intimidate MDC
supporters by mobilizing local structures and inciting acts of violence. The
member of the house of assembly for Gutu West Constituency, Noel Tarirai
Mandebvu, who won his seat through violent means, addressed a rally on June
9 accompanied by Zanu (PF) thugs.

Mandebvu openly attacked the MDC, saying his party would maintain a tough
stance against them. He claimed that the MDC was trying to destabilize the
country by refusing to release funds to Zanu (PF)."Mandebvu openly chanted
slogans denouncing the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai. To us it was a
direct violation of the Global Political agreement," said a source from
Gutu.
Meanwhile, the Zanu (PF) has attempted bulldoze at least five special
councillors in the Gutu rural district council in a measure calculated to
neutralize the MDC's dominance in the council. The council chair person,
Daniel Jinga, last week said they would not sit back and allow Zanu (PF) to
dictate its terms to the council.


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Rights group calls for independent police monitor after WOZA abuse

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
09 July 2009

Amnesty International has called on the unity government to put in place an
impartial and

independent police 'oversight' body, after four women from pressure group
Women of

Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were assaulted by police members last month.

The organisation said on Wednesday that the body should be publicly
accessible to investigate all

complaints of human rights violations by members of the police. The call
follows a ruling by a

Harare magistrate on Tuesday that ordered the government to investigate the
assault of the WOZA

women while in police custody. The women were beaten and arrested after
participating in a

peaceful demonstration to commemorate World Refugee Day last month. The
women were

arrested about 50 metres outside a hotel where Amnesty International's
Secretary General Irene

Khan was holding a press conference on the ongoing human rights crisis in
the country. Police

assaulted the activists and are reported to have accused them of
embarrassing the government in

front of international visitors.

The four women were kept overnight in holding cells and denied medical
treatment, despite the

serious injuries they had sustained. The four have also said they were
beaten again by police

members while in custody.

On Monday the State withdrew the charges of 'disturbing the peace' leveled
against the women,

after it failed to identify witnesses whose 'peace' had been disturbed
during the demonstration. By

dropping the charges it was clearly evident that the State hoped to get
around the matter of the

assaults of the WOZA members whilst in custody. But the women's defence
lawyer Beatrice

Mtetwa insisted that the matter of the assault be brought before the court,
which saw the

magistrate on Tuesday order the investigation.

Amnesty's Secretary General on Wednesday said that while the court decision
is welcome, the

authorities "must now get to the bottom of these allegations and bring those
responsible to

account."

"This is one of the many cases documented by Amnesty International that
shows Zimbabwean

police's poor record of policing peaceful demonstrations and ill-treatment
of perceived political

opponents while in custody," said Irene Khan. "The Zimbabwean authorities
should set up an

independent complaints body accessible to the public which investigates all
allegations against the

police."


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Bikita Minerals - no disruptions

Re: http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=19522

Zanu-PF supporters invade Bikita mine
July 8, 2009

By Owen Chikari

Which was published on http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jul9_2009.html#Z5 ***

Dear Sir,

Just to let you know that the article posted yesterday about the disruptions
at Bikita Minerals is completely false. There have been no such disruptions
to mining operations.

The only interuptions being experienced at the moment are due to Zesa power
failures.

Rgds

Andre van der Merwe
Bikita Minerals (Pvt) Ltd


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Mugabe drags his feet on by-elections

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

9 July 2009

By Martin

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has refused to set a date for seven
by-elections necessary to fill vacant posts in parliament. The crucial
by-elections are widely seen as a barometer of the current popularity
ratings of the three parties in the inclusive government ahead of the 2011
general election.

There are seven vacancies in constituency seats in Parliament, four in the
House of Assembly; and three in the Senate, all dating back to 2008.
The speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, said: "All vacancies in
the House of Assembly were promptly notified to the President's Office."
Legal experts said the President should have announced the dates already.
The government has not given a satisfactory explanation for its failure to
call the by-elections, in spite of the fact that this has left the
constituencies without representation in Parliament for many months.
Justice and Legal Affairs minister, Patrick Chinamasa was not immediately
available for comment.


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Hate speech back in state media

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

9 July 2009

By Own Correspondent

HARARE - The much-reviled Nathaniel Manheru column bounced back on to The
Saturday Herald pages last week after being banished by the inclusive
government on allegations of promoting hate speech. The Other Side with
Nathaniel Manheru column, written by Mugabe's press secretary, George
Charamba, has often helped give an insight into government thinking, while
vilifying the MDC and anybody else who dares to think and act independently.

(Pictured: George Charamba)

Well-placed sources told The Zimbabwean that there were plans to bring it
back on a permanent basis in open defiance to the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee, JOMIC, which oversees the implementation of the
Global Political Agreement.

Zanu (PF) wants the column introduced and will, incredibly, defend itself by
arguing that banning it would infringe freedom of expression rights of the
columnist!
"The column was brought back to test the waters. I can assure you that we
could see the MDC formations being dragged into a useless tug-of-war on
whether the column should stay or be removed," said the source.

Ceaser Zvayi has been irregularly penning a pro-Zanu (PF) article called
"Eagle Eye".
Last week's Nathaniel Manheru column appeared to have been designed to pour
cold water on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's visit to Western capitals
and to praise China for a US$950 million loan facility, the existence of
which becomes more doubtful by the day.

China: When bullets begin to flower, was the title of the column which
generally praised the Asians for a loan of which finance minister, Tendai
Biti, says he is not aware.
In it, Charamba confirms that the Prime Minister's tour was given a
propaganda spin in order to belittle him:

"Zanu (PF)'s propaganda mandarins did not help matters. Wrestling
initiative, they framed the Prime Minister's trip as Mugabe initiated, as
Mugabe defined, a position Tsvangirai is still battling to shake off."

In the same column, Charamba praises the founder of the column, Jonathan
Nathaniel Moyo, for his attacks on the Prime Minister in a series of opinion
articles in which he said Tsvangirai went to visit Western countries as "the
PM of NGOs".


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Zimbabwe reports first case of A/H1N1 flu

http://news.xinhuanet.com



www.chinaview.cn 2009-07-09 19:20:15

HARARE, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe on Thursday reported the first
case of the A/H1N1 flu in the country, according to local media reports.

Zimbabwe's Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr Henry Madzorera
is expected to issue a comprehensive statement on the A/H1N1 flu later in
the day following the diagnosis of one local for the disease.

The local media reports said an 18-year old local squash player
tested positive with the virus when he went to South Africa for a
tournament.

Madzorera confirmed the case. The patient is still being treated
there.

"Yes there is an 18-year old athlete playing squash who among
others was diagnosed with the infection. He is being treated in South
Africa," Madzorera was quoted as saying by the local media reports.

Madzorera said the athlete was part of a group that had tested
positive and that the Zimbabwe government is now investigating whether the
athlete contracted the disease in Zimbabwe or in South Africa.

Public health officials have also said another man who had
recently arrived in the country from Britain was also diagnosed with the
A/H1N1 flu and had been quarantined at a home in Harare's Belvedere suburb.

However, Madzorera could not confirm the second case although he
promised to issue a comprehensive statement on the flu later on Thursday.


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Villagers fined for supporting MDC

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

9 July 2009

By Staff reporter

ZAKA - Nine villagers were fined by their village head for supporting an MDC
representative during village development committee elections held here last
week. According to a letter written to the local MP, Festus Dumbu, the local
village head, Gilbert Mujakachi, demanded that the villagers pay R20 for
their defiance.

Dumbu had reportedly advised the villagers not to back the MDC candidate
during the elections. Although The Zimbabwean could not establish the name
of the candidate, it is understood the village head imposed the fine as a
measure of disciplining the villagers.
The MDC provincial spokesperson, Tongai Matutu, confirmed the incident.
"We went to Zaka on Sunday and we were told about the incident. We have the
story on our desk," he said.

According to the MDC information and publicity secretary for Masvingo, Dust
Zivhave, the case "mirrors Zanu (PF)'s lack of sincerity".


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Call for Zimbabwe's debt cancellation

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

9 July 2009

By STAFF REPORTER

ZIMBABWE Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) has launched a call for
an official audit of Zimbabwe's external debt which is currently standing at
US$4,6 billion. Of the debt approximately 65% (US$3,2 billion) of these
external obligations are in arrears.

ZIMCODD is a coalition of organizations in Zimbabwe to facilitate citizens'
involvement in public policy making and to raise levels of economic literacy
to promote socio-economic justice in the country. Zimbabwe's debt burden is
one of the coalition's key programme areas.

According to ZIMCODD, Zimbabwe has an unsustainably high level of external
debt, the bulk of which is owed to multilateral funding agencies. "Most of
Zimbabwe's external debt stock is in interest owed in arrears to the World
Bank, the IMF, and the African Development Bank. The country's
indebtedness...has continued to increase largely due to the recapitalization
of interest whilst arrears are escalating due to continued defaults on
principal amounts falling due."

Analysts assert that if the debt is not reduced in a "consistent and
systematic fashion, it could balloon to US$ 7 billion by 2011.

New credit lines could also add to this figure significantly. The issue of
the potential illegitimacy of some of Zimbabwe's debt was also raised given
the failed policy advice of the multilaterals to which a significant portion
of the debt is owed.

Moreover, the loan contraction process in Zimbabwe gives almost exclusive
and sweeping discretionary powers in the contraction of new loans to the
President and the Minister of Finance. This needs to be opened up to citizen
involvement and scrutiny.

In this context, ZIMCODD said it was calling for a comprehensive debt audit
which will establish among other things, the amounts borrowed, interests
accrued, amounts repaid, conditions of lending, reasons for borrowing, use
of funds borrowed, loan beneficiaries, historical and ecological aspects of
the debt.

The findings of the debt audit would form the basis of the case for either
repudiation or cancellation. The debt audit will help unlock resources
currently earmarked for debt servicing and redirect them towards health
service delivery, education, water and sanitation among other social
services which are in dire state.

Minister of Finance Tendai Biti said the debt burden will place a "server
constrains on the economic recovery prospects if unmonitored, especially
considering that the country requires over US$8,4 billion to revitalise the
economy".

"The resultant debt overhang will result in furthering the downturn
trajectory in foreign direct investments - as investors fear implicit taxes
on return on investments to meet the country's external debt obligations,
thereby diminishing prospects for recovery and growth," Biti said.

Biti said government in conjunction with a number of developmental partners
who include amongst others, the African Development Bank Group (ADB) and the
macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern
Africa (MEFMI) will from July this year, undertake a comprehensive
assessment of the current and future debt obligations with a view to
formulate an optimal and sustainable debt strategy consistent with the
broader macroeconomic policy objectives of the country's national
development strategy.

"In the short term government is engaging the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), World Bank and the African Development Bank with respect to accessing
technical assistance support on finding options on restructuring Zimbabwe's
external debt," said Biti.

Biti said government was also in the process of validating its external
debts with its creditors, which should feed into a debt sustainable
framework.

Biti said the country's economic indicators reflect that the country was a
low income country and subsequently qualifies for the Highly Indebted Poor
Countries (HIPC) Initiative at the HIPC decision points.

Upon reclassification to a low income country, Zimbabwe becomes eligible to
benefit from exceptional arrears clearance support from the World Bank and
ADB.

In this regard, Biti said government was in the process of capacitating the
Central Statistical Office with the assistance of developmental partners to
ensure that it produces current national income and social statistics that
are up to date which will form the basis of the reclassification.

Biti said the country revenue collections had been steadily rising from
January collections of US$4,7 million to US$28,7 in February. In March
revenue collected rose to US$41,7 million to US$51,6 in April before rising
to US$66,8 million on May.


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Address by the Minister of Economic Planning

http://www.swradioafrica.com

ZIMBABWE INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT CONFERENCE

ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF ECONOMIC PLANNING AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION,

HON ELTON MANGOMA

Thursday 09 July 2009

CELEBRATION CENTRE, HARARE

9TH - 10TH JULY 2009

INTRODUCTION
Zimbabwe is coming out of a severe economic downturn. The Global Political
(GPA) signed on 15 September 2008 and the formulation of an inclusive
Government in the middle of February 2009 has given renewed hope for
Zimbabwe to make a proper start to sustainable economic recovery.

As the three principals have shown earlier today, we are conscious that,
when recovering from such a decade of negative growth, stagnation and
virtual collapse in the economy, emphasis on stable, democratic and
developmental nature of the state is critical to sustainable investment.

2. THE SHORT TERM EMERGENCY RECOVERY PROGRAMME (STERP) was adopted by
Government in March 2009, with the aim of stabilising the economy and attend
to the democratisation reforms as contained in the GPA. The stabilisation
issues cover: -

Implementation of a growth oriented recovery programme.

Increasing capacity utilisation in all sectors of the economy with the
consequential increase in job.

Ensuring adequate availability of essential commodities.

Rehabilitation of collapsed social, health and education sectors.

Ensuring adequate water supply and safe sanitation.

3. A target was set to improve the capacity utilisation in the economy, from
the less than 10% in December 2008 to 60% by December 2009.

I am encouraged by the impressive progress which has been made with capacity
utilisation around 25% by the end of June 2009

4. The enablers for this include:

a) The securing of lines of credit to the economic sectors to ensure that
retailers and industrialists restocked, acquired raw materials, undertook
necessary repairs and maintenance and mines be re-opened.

b) Improving internal electricity generation in the short term requires
funding for increased coal production by Hwange Colliery Company and

Repairs to the Generation units at Hwange Power Station.

Repairs and maintenance to the electricity transmission system. Funders
have been indentified and a significant amount of work has been done. The
Minister of Energy will give you more detail.

c) Transport

The road and rail network have to be functional. The Minister of Transport
will give you more detail.

d) Water and Sewerage

There is need to provide adequate water for domestic and industrial use.
Without adequate water industries cannot function properly.

This must be accompanied by functional sewerage reticulation and waste
disposal systems.

The Minister of Local Government will put on more flesh.

e) There is need for a robust IT backbone. This will give us the same
platform as in the first world. Again the Minister will enrich you.

5. INVESTMENT

The Inclusive Government recognises the central importance of investment as
a key ingredient for a sustainable and equitable economic development of the
country.

6. The inclusive Government also realised that its capacity to raise
adequate funding for its Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) was
limited.

The resultant lack of implementing the PSIP would severely constraint the
capacity of the economy to grow. To overcome this critical hurdle, the
Inclusive Government agreed to open investment in the Public Sector to the
Private sector. The interdependent and complementary engagement of the
government and the private sector is critical.

7. The inclusive Government is therefore inviting all investors, both
domestic and foreign to join hands with it, in driving the Zimbabwe Economy
forward.

8. Ladies and gentlemen we are aware that investors, as part of their
evaluation look at three broad categories, i.e. the Political environment,
the macro and micro economic environment and the legislative framework. This
conference addresses all these issues.

It is my hope that all delegates, at the conclusion of the conference will
be satisfied that Zimbabwe is the BEST Investment Destination.

These are some of the reasons.

9. MACROECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

The inclusive Government has adopted some of the most robust macroeconomic
policies. The inflation scourge, which many economists predicted will take
years to tame, was dealt with in a matter of weeks. The economy, in real
money has awakened and gathering pace. The outturn is predicted to be growth
of between 3 to 5% by year end and inflation of below 5%.

10. PRICE CONTROLS

Price controls have been removed. There is open marketing in agricultural
commodities and subsidies to parastatals have been stopped.

The aim is to have lower prices that are determined by the market through
competitive action, productivity, economies of scale and use of technology.
The market for our products extends beyond our borders.

11. NATURAL RESOURCES

Zimbabwe is endowed with natural resources both on and in the ground.

In the ground there is a variety of minerals in good quantities and
concentration.

The Minister of Mines will go to town on this.

Wildlife is abundant including the BIG FIVE for those with a passion for
eco-tourism. We host one of the seven wonders of the world. There is an
excellent opportunity for investing in Tourism. Again the Minister of
Tourism will showcase this.

Ladies and gentlemen, as the leadership has already pointed out, we are
recovering from a decade of slow down in the macro-economy As we surge ahead
in addressing our key challenges, it is important that we unlock value that
resides in us as a natural resource rich nation, harmonizing our human
capital and turning the country into a sustainable market for production,
distribution and consumption of goods and services provided by private and
public investment.

As we construct the new tenets and hall ways of a developmental state, a
state that is at ease with the private sector and with civil society, all of
us, need to know that sustainable ( human) development is a path way to
getting our challenges addressed. The commonly used definition of this term
is the one coined by the Brutland Commission report of 1987 which defined it
as;

"development that meets the needs of the present generation without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Sustainable human development puts people at the centre of the development
process, and its central tenet involves the creation of an enabling
environment where people can enjoy long, healthy and creative lives.

"Sustainable human development is pro-people, pro-jobs, and pro-nature. It
gives the highest priority to poverty reduction, productive employment,
social integration, and environmental regeneration. It brings human numbers
into balance with the coping capacities of societies and the carrying
capacities of nature.It also recognizes that not much can be achieved
without a dramatic improvement in the status of women and the opening of all
opportunities to women as a key target group on of national recovery
strategies. "

12. PEOPLE

Zimbabwe has the second best literacy rate in Africa, second to Tunisia. We
are committed to not only revive education, but to invest considerably in
education. We have very intelligent people and we have the basic
infrastructure that will allow us to train experts for our needs and the
rest of Africa and indeed the world.

We have one of the best work ethic in the world. The people of Zimbabwe are
warm and peace loving. The combination of the above provides any investor a
highly productive workforce. For any investor looking at the region as the
market, Zimbabwe is the place to be.

In other words, our investment trajectory must make central universal social
protection and investment in human capital for purposes of
re-industrialization. It is a pivotal strategy in domestic resource
mobilization, national industrialization and creating sustainable
development.

13. INVOLVEMENT

The people of Zimbabwe are full of enterprise. When they look around they
see all these natural resources around them. They yearn to be involved in
the economic development of their country. They do not want to be guests at
their wedding.

This involvement is in various forms ranging from as employees:

Co-shareholders

Sub-contractors

In the supply chain

In the marketing chain

Investments that involve Zimbabweans to the greatest extend, allows for more
rapid and sustainable growth. Priority and preference will be given to
investments and tenderers whose activities involve Zimbabweans, which
includes the small and medium enterprises sector. Small and Medium scale
enterprises are the engine of our recovery. We need to deliberately invest
in this sector.

14. AGRICULTURE

The country has the best combination of climate, soils and rainfall for
commercial agriculture. Investment in agriculture must be guided by the need
to achieve increased productivity whilst protecting the environment and
creating new jobs. Agriculture development, just as infrastructure, can
unlock millions of jobs, and create a basis for national and social
cohesion.

We are aware that the sustainable funding of agriculture requires the
existence of a bankable "security of tenure." This matter will be talked on
by the Minister of Lands.

Investing in agriculture will be part of our broader industrialization
strategy. Agriculture must in the near future stimulate downstream and
upstream industries (agro-based or agro-supportive.)

15. ECONOMIC GROWTH

The economy will enjoy double digit growth from 2010 onwards. Growth will
remain strong for at least the next ten years. The causes of this growth
are:

All the factors mentioned above.

The rebound / claw back of the economy to where it used to be.

The added and widespread infrastructure development including a robust IT
backbone. The of Minister of Information and Communication technology will
speak more about this issue.

Deliberate investment in Science and Technology for purposes of catching
up and building a sustainable competitive edge.

Zimbabwe sits in the middle of two regional markets - SADC and COMESA. It
becomes the best place to take advantage of these markets.

The South African Power Pool and electricity connectivity is in this
country.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are mindful that the current Global Financial
crisis imposes certain limitations, but it also presents opportunities
including understanding and re-examination of international trade
architecture, expanding regional intra -African trade and diversification of
the economy, the importance of Research and Development, public and private
sector leadership, among other things ,so let us not mourn about the Global
Financial Crisis and other crises, but let us look at opportunists like good
optimists.

Zimbabwe is now officially open for Investment by both the local and
international investors. The time to get there is NOW.

I thank you.


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Poaching crisis as rhino horn demand booms in Asia

http://www.panda.org
Posted on 09 July 2009

A black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in Zimbabwe. Twelve rhinoceroses now are being poached each month in South Africa and Zimbabwe alone, according to new research.

An adult rhino in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam

Geneva, Switzerland — Rhino poaching worldwide is poised to hit a 15-year-high driven by Asian demand for horns, according to new research.

Poachers in Africa and Asia are killing an ever increasing number of rhinos—an estimated two to three a week in some areas—to meet a growing demand for horns believed in some countries to have medicinal value, according to a briefing to a key international wildlife trade body by WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and their affiliated wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

The impact in Africa


An estimated three rhinos were illegally killed each month in all of Africa from 2000-05, out of a population of around 18,000. In contrast, 12 rhinoceroses now are being poached each month in South Africa and Zimbabwe alone, the three groups told the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Standing Committee this week in Geneva.

“Illegal rhino horn trade to destinations in Asia is driving the killing, with growing evidence of involvement of Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai nationals in the illegal procurement and transport of rhino horn out of Africa,” the briefing states.

The impact in Asia


Meanwhile, rhino poaching is also problematic in Asia. About 10 rhinos have been poached in India and at least seven in Nepal since January alone—out of a combined population of only 2,400 endangered rhinos.

“Rhinos are in a desperate situation,” said Dr. Susan Lieberman, Director of the Species Programme, WWF-International. “This is the worst rhino poaching we have seen in many years and it is critical for governments to stand up and take action to stop this deadly threat to rhinos worldwide. It is time to crack down on organized criminal elements responsible for this trade, and to vastly increase assistance to range countries in their enforcement efforts.”

Almost all rhino species are listed in CITES (the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in Appendix I, which means that any international trade of any rhino parts for commercial purposes is illegal.

“Increased demand for rhino horn, alongside a lack of law enforcement, a low level of prosecutions for poachers who are actually arrested and increasingly daring attempts by poachers and thieves to obtain the horn is proving to be too much for rhinos and some populations are seriously declining,” said Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC.

The situation is particularly dire in Zimbabwe where such problems are threatening the success of more than a decade’s work of bringing rhino populations back to healthy levels.

For example, earlier this week a park ranger arrested with overwhelming evidence against him for having killed three rhinos in the Chipinge Safari Area, was acquitted without any satisfactory explanation for the verdict. Similarly, in September 2008, a gang of four Zimbabwean poachers who admitted to killing 18 rhinos were also freed in a failed judiciary process.

The briefing concludes that governments need “an accurate and up-to-date picture of the status, conservation and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses, as well as the factors driving the consumption of rhinoceros horn, so that firm international action can be taken to arrest this immediate threat to rhinoceros populations worldwide.”

“Rhino populations in both Africa and Asia are being seriously threatened by poaching and illegal trade,” said Dr Jane Smart, Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group. “IUCN and its African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups are working hard to gather data and information on rhinos so that CITES parties can make informed decisions and ensure that rhinos are still here for generations to come.”

The 58th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee is being held in Geneva from 6 -10 July. This issue will be further discussed at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, which will be held in Doha, Qatar March 13-25, 2010.


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Will tomorrow come?

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

9 July 2009

By Ngomakurira

The trees are nearly gone now;
The sound of axes hardly ceases.

I used to have this forest to myself;

I roamed at ease under a leafen roof.

Once I saw a buck;

You rarely see one now.

It was caught in a cruel snare;

I tried to loose it

But it panicked at my approach, kicking viciously,

Refusing freedom.

But that was all a long time ago.
Today the scores of women come

to gather firewood. What else can they do?

There is replanting? Replanting? What is that?

It is thinking of tomorrow.

Who thinks of tomorrow?

Our task is to survive today.

The forest is almost bare now;
Already the rain runs where once it soaked the soil and waited.

Now it gathers in a hollow for a moment

And people come with plastic bottles to the stagnant water.

Clean water? What is that? We need water today.
Tomorrow? Will tomorrow come?

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