The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwean PM to meet with Gillard

http://news.smh.com.au

Date
July 22, 2012 - 9:44AM

AAP

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has described her Zimbabwean counterpart as "a
tireless champion of democracy" ahead of his official three-day visit to
Canberra.

Morgan Tsvangirai will meet with opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman
Julie Bishop in Sydney on Sunday morning before flying to Canberra.

He'll then hold talks with Ms Gillard at parliament house on Monday morning.

"Prime Minister Tsvangirai is a very welcome visitor to Australia," a
spokeswoman for Ms Gillard said in a statement.
Advertisement

"He has been a tireless champion of democracy and freedom in Zimbabwe and
remains so today as a leading figure in the inclusive government."

Australia is the third largest bilateral donor to Zimbabwe after the United
States and the UK.

Canberra's assistance is focused on water and sanitation and promoting
economic growth.

Mr Tsvangirai will meet with AusAID's director general later on Monday
before he delivers a lunchtime speech.

On Tuesday the Zimbabwean PM will hold talks with Trade Minister Craig
Emerson.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

White commercial farmer faces eviction

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

Written by Pindai Dube
Sunday, 22 July 2012 09:52

BULAWAYO - One of the few remaining white commercial farmers Dudley Rodgers
of West Nicholson in Matabeleland South faces eviction from his farm after
allowing an MDC rally to be held adjacent to his Olympus farm.

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday last week, mainstream MDC Matabeleland
South provincial chairperson Watchy Sibanda said two former police officers
wanted to take over Rodgers’ farm.

“We had our provincial rally about a month ago at an open space adjacent to
Rodgers’ Olympus farm and since then all has not been well there. Two former
police officers Muhoni and Gono have already visited the farm several times
claiming they are new owners. They also claim to have offer letters from the
ministry of Lands but we wonder if those letters are genuine,” said Sibanda.

“We know Zanu PF is behind all this because they have been accusing Rodgers
of sponsoring our party,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda also said the case has already been reported to coalition government
watchdog organ, the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic).

Zanu PF functionaries recently embarked on a series of farm invasions that
could further decimate the number of white farmers in the country.

This is despite the three-year-old fragile coalition government agreeing to
stop fresh farm invasions.

There are now less than 300 white farmers out of 4 500 before President
Robert Mugabe started his often violent land reform programme.

Critics blame Zimbabwe’s recurrent food deficits on the land reforms, which
began in 2000 when hordes of war veterans, Zanu PF supporters and security
agents violently grabbed white owned firms.

Mugabe says the invasions were necessary to redress colonial land imbalances
that saw a few thousands whites owning vast tracts of rich land while
millions of landless blacks were crammed on unproductive land.

But the few whites remaining on farmers are still exposed to intimidation,
invasions, violence and at times murder.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Another GNU in the offing’

http://www.theindependent.co.zw

July 22, 2012 in News, Politics

MDC leader Welshman Ncube says continuing Zanu PF decline and MDC-T’s waning
popularity has created a chance for his party to play the kingmaker role
after the next elections as no party is likely to secure a parliamentary
majority.
Ncube told the Zimbabwe Independent in an interview unfolding events suggest
that another coalition government might be in the offing as no party seems
strong enough to win control of parliament, meaning problems associated with
the current arrangement were likely to be prolonged.
Zimbabwe’s unity government is hamstrung by, among other things, open
ideological conflict between parties, policy contradictions and running
disputes over many issues.
“Zanu PF is on terminal decline,” said Ncube. “It cannot revive itself. At
the same time the MDC-T is also losing popularity. This points to a
situation where votes will be fundamentally split, leading to another
coalition government.”
However, Ncube said another coalition was not desirable since everything has
to be negotiated, thus stalling effectiveness and efficient service
delivery.
“Our experience in the current GNU has shown that such a system does not
work because everything must be negotiated,” he said. “But at the end of the
day the verdict is with the people to elect one party to rule them because a
coalition government is troublesome.”
Ncube also said the MDC-T had deserted its founding principles and joined
the Zanu PF gravy train of amassing personal wealth instead of serving the
people.
If senior MDC-T officials had remained committed to the party’s founding
values and vision the original MDC would still be united, he said.
“We have always said that no army, no General (Constantine) Chiwenga or
(Major-General Martin) Chedondo can break the resolve of a united people,”
he said. –– Staff Writer.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC Zvimba West rally violently disrupted


http://www.mdc.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Eight MDC members have been injured, two vehicles destroyed while two
officials are detained at Murombedzi police station following a violent
attack by Zanu PF thugs at Murombedzi growth point in Zvimba West this
morning.

Hon Tendai Biti, the MDC Secretary General was due to address the rally at
midday in the district.

The provincial Vice Youth Chairperson, Maltin Mukusha, who was caught in the
violent crossfire said, it was Zanu PF’s tactic to disrupt the MDC meeting.

“When we got there in the morning, we found the Zanu PF youths already
playing soccer in the council ground. We informed the police about this and
they said we could still go ahead with our rally as scheduled, but they
brought the netball courts and made a makeshift ground close to where we
were. But we remained calm and continued to sing our songs. Out of nowhere,
the rowdy youth began to throw sand in the air and stones began to rain on
us. Our provincial vehicle was damaged and the district chairperson’s
vehicle was not spared,” said Mukusha.

He said the people of Zvimba West today spoke against Zanu PF and against
violence by shunning it and refusing to be provoked.

“We made our presence. The people of Zvimba will never again vote for Zanu
PF. They have been abused enough by Zanu PF and today, our mere presence
brought excitement, and we are happy we brokered our way in. We thank God
for protecting us from the thugs. The eight are getting treatment, I was
also attacked but we are alright,” said Mukusha

According to the Mashonaland West Provincial Treasurer, Mr Tawanda Bvumo,
the rally was cancelled following police failure to intervene to quell the
disturbances as adamant Zanu PF hoodlums invaded the rally venue.

“We had initially booked the council grounds but the council refused us
access, then we opted for the open space at the growth point. Apparently,
Zanu PF youth today claimed to have booked the ground for a sports
tournament. The police then advised us to cancel our own meeting after Zanu
PF thugs attacked us,” said Bvumo.

Meanwhile, two MDC officials, Wilson Makanyaire, the Provincial Organising
Secretay and one Sekuru Kwenda are being held at Murombedzi police station.
Reports from Zvimba say they are surrounded by Central Intelligence Officers
who are questioning them why they are holding a rally in Zvimba.

Last week, two other MDC rallies had to be delayed and cancelled after a
Zanu PF attack. Hon Tendai Biti other activists were attacked after soldiers
from the nearby Jock camp claimed they had a soccer match at Darwendale
ground. The people had to find alternative venue for the rally to proceed.
In Mashonaland East, another rally in Mutoko East took place amid
intimidation by some misguided soldiers who went around the village
discouraging the people from attending. However, this did not work as
hundreds of villagers turned up for the MDC rally

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Biti barred from Mugabe home

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

Written by Chengetai Zvauya and Mugove Tafirenyika
Sunday, 22 July 2012 10:01

HARARE - Finance minister Tendai Biti has been barred from President Robert
Mugabe’s home district, at least when he is on MDC business.

Biti was supposed to address a rally organised by his MDC party in Mugabe’s
home village of Zvimba today but local authorities have told him the event
cannot proceed.

The MDC secretary-general is on a political campaign trail in Mashonaland
West Province and was supposed to be in Zvimba today after police cleared
the rally.

According to the MDC, Zvimba Rural District Council acting chief executive
officer Prince Mhembere cancelled the rally at the behest of Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

Chombo is the legislator for Zvimba North constituency and is a Zanu PF
politburo member.

He was unavailable for comment. Mhembere refused to discuss the issue.

“I do not want to talk to you about that issue,” he said before switching
off his phone.

MDC organising secretary for the province Wilson Makanyaire confirmed the
development.

“Mhembere told us he has been ordered not to allow us to use the venue. We
are aware he has been warned against allowing us any political space in
Zvimba by Chombo so he is coming with flimsy excuses that there is a Zanu PF
football match after we have booked the venue,” said Makanyaire.

He said the party will hold the rally despite the ban.

“There is nothing important about Zanu PF to deserve special treatment. We
are going there on Sunday armed with our police clearance,” said Makanyaire.

Makanyaire said Mhembere told him that he feared political violence between
Zanu PF youths and MDC members could break out in the event of the rally
going ahead.

MDC deputy provincial chairperson Edison Ndirayire said they were going
ahead with the rally as scheduled despite the council ban because they had
been cleared by the police.

“We understand Chombo gave the order but we do not take instructions from
Zanu PF so we expect the police to act professionally and protect the people
from hooligans,” said Ndirayire.

“Council officials informed us of the decision not to avail the council
grounds for our rally despite us having been cleared by police. We will not
tolerate that nonsense anymore. They did that in Darwendale last weekend but
this time around our people will not be cowed,” said Ndirayire.

Last week, soldiers and Zanu PF youths disrupted another MDC rally at a
stadium in Darwendale forcing Biti to address supporters in a nearby bush.

Soldiers and the militia attacked Biti and MDC supporters in the stadium
forcing them to retreat to the bush.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Soldiers threaten workers to get free services

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

Written by Sydney Saize
Sunday, 22 July 2012 09:48

MUTARE - Soldiers are using threats of violence to access free services in
Mutare, where they are refusing to pay council rates.

Acting Mutare mayor, George Jerison said the Zimbabwe National Army’s 3
Brigade unit in the city is among council’s biggest debtors and efforts to
make them pay have been met with intimidation.

Jerison said the ministry of Defence owed council over $200 000 in unpaid
rates.

Jerison told the Daily News on Sunday that council employees had failed to
access an army barrack situated in Chikanga suburb.

“The council’s water metre readers have not been taking any readings at the
army barracks as the last time they attempted to disconnect water they were
chased away and told never to return again,” said Jerison.

He said council workers were threatened with assault if they pursued the
case.

“We have faced resistance from the army on settling what they owe council.
Our water meter readers were told the army would not pay for the water as
soldiers are the ones who fought for independence and also defend the
country,” said Jerison.

He said the police and other government institutions were also major
defaulters but, unlike the soldiers, have not threatened council workers.

The council, which is battling to recover $18 million owed by residents,
business and government institutions, is also considering writing off the
entire debt but is proposing a 50 percent discount to ratepayers who pay the
outstanding bills as a first option.

Chairperson of the finance committee, Tatenda Nhamarare said police owed
council $181 817,19.

He said the army owed council $216 012, 95 while the Zimbabwe Prison Service
has failed to pay
$30 457,12.

Mutare Provincial Hospital, which is the sole referral health centre in
Manicaland province owes close to $400 000.

The woes have forced council to look elsewhere for money — albeit at a cost.
Jerison said council was considering the option of an overdraft facility
with a local bank to pay off outstanding bonuses to workers.

“We are considering increasing our borrowing powers from the current $1,5
million to $2,5 million in overdraft to deal with the long standing issue of
employee bonuses,” said Jerison.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fallacy of Zim police, army standards

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

Written by Fungi Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Sunday, 22 July 2012 09:43

HARARE - In other countries, Zimbabwean police and soldiers are angels who
are invited on peacekeeping missions, but at home they are accused of
propping President Robert Mugabe’s unpopular rule and trampling on human
rights.

Since 1980 when the country attained independence from Britain, Zimbabwean
soldiers and police officers have been involved in UN peacekeeping missions
in countries such as Somalia, Angola and Kosovo.

In equal measure, the same soldiers have been engaged in endless battles
with civilians back home.

Perhaps the most classic episode of how soldiers have been used by President
Robert Mugabe’s government is the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s.

North Korean-trained soldiers from the now dismantled 5th brigade were
unleashed on helpless civilians who were considered politically incorrect.

Civic organisations estimate that 20 000 civilians mostly from the
Matabeleland and Midlands regions were killed.

In contemporary history, civic organisations, such as Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (Woza) and student movements, opposition political parties and other
activists tell tales of police brutality.

The establishment of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2009 has not
put an end to police and army excesses.

Government mechanisms such as the Organ of National Healing and
Reconciliation, and even sections in the Global Political Agreement (GPA),
the basis for the shared government, make it unambiguously clear on what the
state security apparatus’ role is.

The three parties in the GNU, the MDC formations and Zanu PF agreed that the
state organs and institutions should “strictly observe the principles of the
rule of law and remain non-partisan and impartial” and that “laws and
regulations governing State organs and institutions are strictly adhered to
and those violating them be penalised without fear or favour”.

The covenant is being flouted with reckless abandon, not only by political
gladiators, but by state security organs, the police, the army and members
of the Central Intelligence Organisation, whose constitutional mandate is to
maintain peace, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

But abroad there is essentially a different picture.

For instance, Zimbabwe strictly adheres to Sadc guidelines on maintaining
peace and stability.

Sadc, has a mechanism in place to deal with conflicts that arise in the
region, the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

The Sadc protocol on Politics, Defence and Security states, among others,
that Sadc member states should co-operate fully in regional security and
defence through conflict prevention management and resolution; promote
peacekeeping to achieve sustainable peace and security; develop a collective
security capacity and conclude a mutual defence pact for responding to
external threats; and develop a regional peacekeeping capacity with national
armies, that could be called upon to deal with conflict in the region or
elsewhere.

Zimbabwe’s police and the military have been able to play that role, in
countries such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, an expedition
that cost the country millions of dollars.

Coming back to Zimbabwe, police officers are infamous for arbitrary arrests
and torture of innocent women, students, MDC officials and supporters,
lawyers, human rights activists and farmers.

But there is a method to the riddle according to military experts.

MDC secretary for defence Giles Mutsekwa said the fact that Zimbabwe’s
police and soldiers have been invited on peacekeeping missions abroad is an
indication that Zimbabwe is a conundrum.

“As a country we have an obligation to UN and AU (African Union)
peacekeeping missions.

“The question is on what should be done about de-politicising the army. The
major problem is the party called Zanu PF."

“Zanu PF wants to alienate our soldiers from the people. They are viewed as
owners of the army,” said Mutsekwa a former soldier.

Martin Rupiya a former officer in the Zimbabwe National Army now director of
the African Public Policy and Research Institute in South Africa, said the
complexities of the Zimbabwe security forces can be unravelled through two
perspectives.

“Everyone beats their “own drums” and I would put such claims to that. So,
take it with a pinch of salt—individual and country related claims—there is
nothing wrong—but on comparison—these claims soon reveal the limitations
that exist,” said Rupiya.

Dumiso Dabengwa former minister of Home Affairs in charge of police said the
continued invitation of Zimbabwe to peacekeeping missions only serves to
vindicate the notion Zimbabwe’s army is second to none.

“You must be aware that the police and the army in Zimbabwe are
well-trained. They are trained even on issues of human rights."

And when they go to foreign countries they keep to the standard of
peacekeeping,” Dabengwa said.

However, Dabengwa who was Zapu intelligence supremo during the liberation
struggle and is now leading a resurrected Zapu after falling out with Mugabe
over human rights abuses and Zanu PF’s intransigence, said the general
dictum of a soldier is to obey.

“At home, soldiers and police officers are commanded by politicians to obey.
They either carry their duties or risk losing their jobs. It is us who
corrupt our own police and abuse soldiers to achieve our own ends,” said
Dabengwa.

International law expert, Dewa Mavhinga who is the Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe
regional coordinator said the fact Zimbabwe continues to take part in
international peacekeeping missions is a perplexity that puts light to the
double standards of international bodies.

“That Zimbabwe continues to enjoy international status as a peacekeeping
force in the context of gross human rights violations implicating the
security forces is an indicator of the hypocritical and duplicitous nature
of some of these international actors.”

Mavhinga blames civil society for failing to paint the right picture to
international bodies.

“Pro-democracy movements have not done enough to expose, on the
international platform, the role of Zimbabwe’s security forces in
perpetrating abuses. When there has been an outcry against particular
individuals, the United Nations has acted decisively, for instance,
Inspector Sostein Dowa was in 2003 recalled from a UN peacekeeping mission
in Kosovo on allegations that he had been implicated in the harassment and
torture of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe,” said Mavhinga.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Anjin strike cripples operations

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

Written by Kaleen Gombera, Staff Writer
Sunday, 22 July 2012 10:42

HARARE - More than 1 000 Anjin Investments (Anjin) workers have vowed to
remain on strike until their salaries are realigned with local diamond
industry standards, which they say average $650 for the least paid employee.

The move is said to have crippled operations with information indicating
only a handful Chinese workers are still reporting for duty and production
is almost at zero.

Misheck Mafukwa, Anjin workers committee secretary said the matter was
before labour lawyers and would be heard before the courts on Tuesday this
week.

The lowest paid worker is getting $235 — less than half of the country’s
poverty datum line which currently stands at around $510 — while the highest
paid non-managerial staff gets $700.

The employees are also demanding the diamond miner to reinstate vice
workers, committee chairperson Tavengwa Chitima, who was dismissed Thursday
on allegations of masterminding the strike and giving confidential
information to the media.

Anjin, a joint company formed by a Chinese government firm and a Zimbabwe
military-linked company, has been embroiled in labour disputes with its
workers over poor labour practices and low remuneration since it started
operations in 2010.

In the two years, workers have gone on industrial action eight times. The
latest strike is the second this month.

Munyaradzi Machacha, Anjin board member, confirmed the industrial action
accusing the staff of being insincere with their employers.

He said Anjin has been increasing their salaries time after time since
February this year, when the company was granted permission to sale their
diamonds.

“We have been doing the best for them, they are on medical aid and we
constructed houses for them. We address every plea of these workers,”
Machacha added.

Responding to allegations of victimising Chitima, Machaha said; “Chitima
was not fired but his contract expired that is why he left, they have been
having salary increments since February but they just do not comprehend.”

Sources who spoke to businessdaily on condition of anonymity however said
Chitima was fired because he had failed to convince the workers to accept
the company’s 15 percent salary increment.

“In June they promised to increase our salaries but to our surprise it was
only increased by 15 percent and Chitima told the workers who did not agree
with the increments,” said the source.

“Failure of the workers to agree to the pay rise led to the dismissal of
Chitima, he was sent packing with equipped escorts. Since yesterday we have
not seen him. Until we see him at work that is when we are going to commence
work.”

The workers are also fuming at the company’s human resources personel for
folding their arms throughout the wage wrangle.

Workers say their employer is ignoring their plight after the Government
Gazette revealed Anjin had applied for a commercial airline licence from
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

Anjin’s operations have been trailed by controversy.

Last month, Machacha said the diamond miner had remitted $30 million in
diamond taxes to government since December last year.

The firm said this after Finance minister Tendai Biti accused the giant
miner of murky dealings and failing to declare earnings to Treasury.

“He must tell the nation where the money we gave to Treasury is,” said
Machacha.

Machacha said Anjin is up to date in terms of remitting royalties and taxes
to Treasury.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt increases flour import tariffs

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

Written by Ndakaziva Majaka, Staff Writer
Sunday, 22 July 2012 10:40

HARARE - The Zimbabwean government has approved an increase on wheat flour
import duty from five percent to 20 effective August this year.

Speaking during the presentation of the Mid Term Fiscal Statement budget,
Finance minister Tendai Biti said the move is meant to protect the local
milling industry and at the same time encouraging the local beneficiation of
wheat.

“The continued importation of flour inhibits growth of the local milling,
agro-processing, packaging and transport industries, as well as revival of
the national herd, since the by-products of wheat milling are currently
inadequate to meet requirements for stock feed,” the minister said.

He said whilst the local milling industry has capacity to meet national
demand, the installed plants are not optimally utilised, due to the
continued surge in wheat flour imports.

The Treasury chief said although government had introduced customs duty on
wheat flour at a rate of five percent in January, wheat flour imports
increased by six percent compared to the same period for the previous year
2011.

Due to quality issues, Zimbabwean wheat flour has been traditionally blended
with imported flour.

In light of this, government ensured that the increase in import duty
facilitates for players in the baking industry to continue importing 25
percent of their wheat flour requirements or 3 000 metric tons per month,
which is necessary for blending, at the current rate of duty of five
percent.

Biti said the flour imports at reduced rates will be supervised under the
ministry of Agriculture.

He assured the nation that the new import measures will not translate into a
higher price of bread.

Biti promised that government will continue to monitor the price and
capacity of local millers to supply wheat flour, in order to ensure stables
price of bread.

According to the fiscal statement wheat production has declined, with a
substantial number of wheat farmers switching to other crops, as reflected
by about 8 000 hectares planted in 2012 from 15 982 hectares in 2011.

“This translates into productivity levels of 3,4 tonnes per hector compared
to the highest of 5,7 tonnes per hector achieved in 1993.”

This comes after Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) economist Prince Kuipa
predicted a major decrease in wheat production this year.

Kuipa said winter wheat output would be lower than the previous yield as a
result of electricity problems affecting the country in general and farmers
in particular.

The erratic electricity has affected the industry.

ZFU is on record saying wheat is not a viable product due to the erratic
electricity supplies its farmers get. According to ZFU, even if a farmer has
money to venture into wheat farming the unreliable electricity supplies
would discourage the farmer and a loss ultimately.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) called on government to raise
its waiver on wheat flour imports, despite the low production predictions.

Tafadzwa Musarara, GMAZ chairperson, is on record saying the milling
industry has now managed to reposition itself in terms of securing adequate
wheat stocks in the country, so the waiver of customs duty and uncontrolled
importation are no longer necessary.

A business report compiled by the Commercial Farmers Union last year,
indicates the country needed to import some of its wheat in a desperate
attempt to meet its annual consumption requirements of about 450 000 tonnes.

In June last year, wheat output was projected to be at 10 000 tonnes from
the 15 000 tonnes that was realised in 2009.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cars clog Zimbabwe's streets as economy sputters back to life

http://mg.co.za/

22 Jul 2012 06:41 - Fanuel Jongwe

A cacophony of blaring horns and revving engines drown out every other sound
as frustrated motorists battle to negotiate a downtown intersection where
the rush-hour traffic converges into gridlock.

In what some say is a sign of Zimbabwe's economic recovery from a nearly
decade-long crisis, cars are jamming the roads, posing a new headache for
cities where a few years ago traffic was so thin that Zimbabweans joked you
could lie in the middle of the street without getting run over.

"I used to drive 30 minutes from my home to the city but now it takes me
nearly double the time because of the traffic congestion," said taxi driver
Ernest Nyeche.

"Driving in the city these day is taxing. There are too many cars. Something
needs to be done about the roads to ease the congestion," he said.

Nyeche has taken to charging his passengers more during the rush hour to
make up for the extra petrol consumed while stuck in traffic.

After Zimbabwe trashed its worthless local currency and allowed trade in
foreign currency such as US dollars, the economy started picking up.

Goods returned to the shelves in supermarkets which in 2008 were reduced to
empty sheds, while shuttered firms reopened.

Personal incomes have similarly rebounded, pushing up the demand for cars.

"Average incomes for the middle class have increased significantly from as
low as $10 per month in 2008 to the average $1 000 per month," said Brains
Muchemwa, an economist with Oxlink Capital.

"Households have ... more discretionary income and the fact that Zimbabwe is
now importing 3 000 cars per month from as low as 250 in 2008 is a sign that
the economy is now vibrant on the back of increasing consumer expenditure."

But independent economist Eric Bloch said the numbers of cars was not
necessarily a sign of economic rebound.

"People are now getting loans and access to hire purchase," Bloch said.

Adding to that, aid organisations and government ministries have bought
fleets of new vehicles for their employees.

'Deceptive' boom

"All that collectively has resulted in a nearly excessive number of vehicles
but this is not a reflection of economic recovery," said Bloch.

"It's deceptive ... It's reflective of a minority of the population who are
very wealthy and are investing in themselves. We have a situation where a
few have become excessively rich at the expense of the majority."

Businessman James Munemo agrees that many are cashing in on bank loans and
hire purchase facilities to buy cars as a form of investment, while others
simply will not risk their savings after many lost out when their deposits
were wiped out by Zimbabwe's infamous hyperinflation.

"Buying a car is now the most sensible way to invest for the middle income
earners who can't afford to invest in bigger things like houses or any other
fixed assets," said Munemo.

"That is why we have so many cars on the roads. Everyone who has a bit of
cash to spare is rushing to import a car. People have lost confidence in the
banking system and they would rather lock up their capital in the form of a
car than put it in the bank."

Cars—most of them used—are normally imported from Japan, Singapore, South
Africa and Britain.

Banks stopped giving loans when hyperinflation hit the country to a point
where prices would rise several times a day.

They only resumed after the power-sharing government of President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai switched to the foreign currency
system.

Fuel which was scarce during the country's worst times, then became readily
available.

"It appears the first thing that gets on to someone's mind when they get
money is to buy a car," said Brendon Nyajeka, a dealer in the capital.

The growing number of cars have come with their other problems.

Police blame it for an increase in highway accidents, while roads not used
to heavy traffic are potholed.

According to the government data, there are up to a million vehicles in the
country of 12.7-million people.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bhebhe to replace Khumalo at Jomic

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 13:58

BY LESLEY WURAYAYI AND NQABA MATSHAZI

MDC-T deputy secretary-general Abednico Bhebhe is set to replace Tabitha
Khumalo in the Joint Monitoring Committee (Jomic), as the ousted deputy
spokesman continues to be sidelined after a fallout with the party
hierarchy.
Sources last week said Khumalo would also be relieved of her duties in the
Sadc Parliamentary Forum and the International Parliamentary Union.
MDC-T officials claimed Khumalo was being dropped because of reckless
comments regarding the rights of sex workers, but sources said this was far
from the issue and that she was more a victim of factional fighting.

Sources said Khumalo’s fate was sealed when she challenged MDC-T deputy
president Thokozani Khupe for her post in the party’s congress in May 2011.

Jomic spokesperson, Joram Nyathi, however, said they had not received any
formal communication on that development.
Khumalo declined to comment on the latest developments, saying those in the
party would do so.

“I have not had any official communication, so I cannot say much,” she said.

But people close to Khumalo say she was bitter that the letter she received
informing her of her demotion was signed by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
yet no one from the party had bothered to explain the circumstances of her
demotion.

“She thinks she is being victimised because of her outspokenness and she
fears that she may be forced to relinquish her constituency as well,” a
source close to Khumalo said.
Party spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, however, dismissed reports that Khumalo
would be removed from the parliamentary forums that she sat on.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Early polls unlikely — Matinenga

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 13:52

THE Copac management committee last week finally handed over the final draft
constitution to the Global Political Agreement principals for final
determination. This was after nearly three and half years of haggling and
confusion, as the three parties in the GNU — Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations — struggled to write a new charter for the country.

The Standard Political Editor, Patrice Makova (PM), spoke to the minister of
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Advocate Eric Matinenga (EM),
about the draft and other issues.

PM: Now that the Copac draft has been completed, what measures are being put
into place to ensure that the document is not tampered with, like what
happened to the rejected 2000 Constitutional Commission draft?

EM: I cannot put it past the person who is going to take the constitution
after we have done it. I can only hope that the document is not going to be
tampered with to distort the views of the people. The last time this
happened, there were disastrous consequences. I am hoping that whatever is
done on the document is to actually improve on what we have done, rather
than removing certain provisions.

PM: When are we likely to have the national stakeholder’s conference and
referendum? Have you secured funding for these processes?

EM: I wish I could be able to give a timeline. From my experience in what we
have been doing, it has been so difficult, if not impossible to meet any
deadline. What I can say is that I hope we are going to have a referendum
this year. Funding for the referendum and all stakeholders conference is
there, as it has been budgeted for.

PM: What of national elections?

EM: Elections area is a political decision. We might decide to hold
elections tomorrow, although it would be stupid to do so. If we are going to
go through this referendum process, there is no way we are going to have
elections this year. We don’t even have a voters’ roll. How do we go for
elections without a credible voters’ roll? It will take six months for ZEC
to have a credible voters’ roll. It is now ZEC responsible for this process.

PM: What are some of the key highlights of the draft?

EM: The proposed draft addresses not only political and civil rights but it
goes further to recognise economic, social, cultural and environmental
rights. The death penalty has now been severely curtailed. It cannot be
imposed for murder in aggravating circumstances. The penalty cannot be
imposed on a woman or man of 70 years and above. The draft proposes women to
enjoy full and equal dignity of the person with men and this includes equal
opportunities in political, economic and social activities. Though this is
not a human rights issue, special provision has been made to enhance women
representation in both houses of parliament. Sixty seats have been created
specifically for women in the House of Assembly. Women are expected to top
any party list in the proportional representation in the Senate.

The draft comes up with a citizenship law, which protects, absolutely,
citizens by birth. Parliament cannot enact laws which interfere with
citizenship, which can either be by birth, descent or registration.

PM: How is the issue of the election of a President addressed in the draft?

EM: In Zimbabwe, because of our peculiar environment and in order to
accommodate two Vice-Presidents, which is a Zanu PF tradition, the proposed
draft introduces the concept of two running mates for any aspiring
President. It will be entirely up to the aspirant to pick a running mate
from one’s political party or elsewhere. Immediately after elections, if you
drop dead, the first running mate becomes the President. This effectively
addresses the issue of succession.

The draft proposes term limits for the presidency, the executive and
independent institutions in the public sector and other state-controlled
entities, including the security service. We have put what we call a
(Abdoulaye) Wade clause. You do your 10 years as President and it will be
difficult to amend the Constitution in order to extend your term of office.
In the case of a President retiring, he or she will be entitled to a salary
equivalent to the sitting Head of State to avoid a situation where someone
may say if I go, my lifestyle will change.

PM: Is devolution of power addressed in the proposed draft?

EM: The draft proposes devolution of government powers. The main motivation
behind the issue is to design efficient service delivery. The draft seeks to
ensure that political, economic and financial decision-making is broadly
distributed so as to achieve a more effective and responsive government.

PM: Do you still plan to retire from politics before next year’s elections?
What do people of Buhera West who elected you feel about this?

EM: I decided not to offer myself for re-election way back in 2008. I
believe I have achieved what I wanted and it’s time to give others a chance.
Initially, people from my constituency were against my decision, but what is
important is the message at the end of the day. They are now happy that
Buhera is setting a trend with an MP who showed them the light, that
positions can be acquired and left.

‘Draft constitution not zanu pf product’

PM: What is your comment on the perception that it is the views of Zanu PF
which prevailed in the draft as the other parties compromised on a lot of
things?

EM: When you look at what has been introduced in the draft, which is not in
the current constitution, you will not agree with that statement.
There is the issue of term limits, issues of advertising positions for
judges and making reference to a committee of Parliament before appointment
of members of constitutional bodies.

Hopefully, the draft opens a new era in the governance of Zimbabwe.
It is now important as a nation, that we apply the draft in a purposeful
manner. It provides the basis for a democratic and developmental state,
respecting the rule of law. It is us people of Zimbabwe who must make it
work. If we adopt a culture of constitutionalism and implement it sincerely,
I am convinced that the draft will democratise our institutions, thereby
promoting good governance and accountability.

‘Any party leader can be replaced’

PM: In your MDC-T party, do you think there are people capable of succeeding
party leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai or becoming his running
mate in the next elections?

EM: I have my own views on who should be Tsvangirai’s running mates, but I
will not say this in public. People have different capabilities, but I don’t
think there is any party ,whether MDC or Zanu PF, which does not have able
people to take up positions. No one is also irreplaceable.

PM: Do you think your party has made a difference for the past four years
you have been in the coalition government?

EM: The presence of MDC in government has made a lot of difference. It is no
longer business as usual for Zanu PF. The country is now a better place and
government decisions can now be questioned, unlike in the past when Zanu PF
was doing whatever it wanted to do.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Welshman Ncube’s son dies in car accident

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 13:56

BY OUR STAFF
MDC president Welshman Ncube’s son, Ntabiso, died in a car accident
yesterday.
MDC deputy national spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi, said the accident
occurred around 2am yesterday when his double-cab car rammed into a
perimetre wall at No. 12 Court Road in Kamfinsa.

Mourners are gathered at No. 12 Leander Road, Greendale.

Chihwayi said the body would leave for Bulawayo today for burial on Tuesday.

He said the party was saddened by the loss of Ntabiso (19), “one of the
brilliant lawyers in the making”.

At the time of his death, Ntabiso was studying towards attaining a law
degree at Rhodes University in South Africa.

Meanwhile, condolence messages were pouring on Ncube’s profile on the social
networking site, Facebook yesterday.

Rita Marque Lunga-Mbatha wrote: “I imagine there is no pain more
far-reaching and deeper than losing a child. My heart and prayers go out to
you at this most difficult time.”
Christopher Chidarikire said the Ncube’s family “are in our prayers at this
difficult moment”.

Oscar Tshuma said Zimbabwe had “lost a brilliant young man, this is a
terrible loss for the future generation, may God be with you now and
forever”.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Killer cop could face more charges

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 14:01

BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
MUTARE — MORE relatives of illegal diamond dealers killed in Marange and
Mutare have approached their lawyers to press murder and assault charges
against jailed former police chief superintendent, Joseph Chani.

Chani, the former Officer Commanding Mutare district, was recently sentenced
to 18 years for murdering Tsorosai Kusena and seriously injuring his
brothers, Pikirai and Onesai and their nephew John Gwite.

A prosecutor based at Mutare Magistrates court told The Standard last week
that more murder and assault charges were going to be pressed against the
convicted ex-cop.
“What is happening is that Chani’s judgment has opened the minds of many who
were hesitant to press murder or assault charges against him,” said the
prosecutor, who requested anonymity.

“Already, I know of some relatives of a woman who was allegedly shot
together with her daughter by Chani at Chiadzwa and they are already
processing court papers. This story is well-known by many police officers
who were present during the Operation Hakudzokwi Phase 15 and they are
likely going to testify.”

Two law firms in Mutare have also confirmed that they had been approached by
some relatives of deceased people who claim that their relatives were also
shot dead by the former senior police officer.

“Yes, right now we are working on the lawsuits and we hope that by next week
the papers would have been served to him (Chani),” said an official from one
of the law firms. “We have a family that is pressing murder charges against
Chani and we also have eight people who are pressing assault charges. We
will give you more details when we have served him the lawsuits.”

Chani was a feared man

Chani, a war veteran, was not only feared by the residents for his
brutality, but by his own colleagues in the police force and soldiers based
in Mutare.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Diamond firms poison Save river

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 13:49

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
PEOPLE who live along Save and Odzi Rivers in Manicaland province are at
risk of contracting cancer and other diseases as diamond mining companies in
Marange are dumping dangerous chemicals into the rivers, a recent biological
and chemical study has shown.
The study, carried out early this month by the University of Zimbabwe on
behalf of the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela), says diamond
mining operations had resulted in massive siltation, chemical and heavy
metal pollution of the two rivers.

It said the two rivers showed high concentrations of iron, chromium and
nickel in the water, elements which are the major constituents of
ferro-silicon (FSESI), a chemical compound used in diamond extraction.

“Chromium and nickel are potentially carcinogenic agents (cancer-causing
agents) and therefore they pose an immediate health risk to people and
livestock,” says the study.
“The high levels of iron in the water suggest that the local population
could be at risk of iron poisoning, as they exceeded stipulated WHO
standards.”

According to the study, high levels of fluoride in the water pose the risk
of diseases such as dental and skeletal fluorosis. Dental fluorosis relates
to the poor development of the teeth while skeletal fluorosis is a bone
disease caused by excessive consumption of fluoride.

There is also a high level of bacterial contamination in the rivers, “posing
an immediate risk of outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea,
cholera and typhoid.”
The pollution of the two rivers has also adversely affected the sources of
livelihood of thousands of households that live along the rivers in four
districts of Chipinge, Chimanimani, Buhera and Mutare West.

It has also deprived the communities of clean water for drinking, gardening,
fishing, livestock watering and even bathing.

“When in contact with the skin, the water and the mud cause an itching
sensation,” says the study, titled Report on the Scientific Investigation of
the Impact of Marange Diamond Mining Operations in Water Quality in Save and
Odzi Rivers: Including Assessment of the health, Environmental and
Livelihoods Impacts.

Zela co-ordinator, Shamiso Mtisi said the water pollution problem and
environmental degradation needed to be addressed before people and livestock
died.

“The companies must put all necessary infrastructure to process all waste
water to ensure the safety of people and livestock that depend on water from
the rivers,” he said.
Presently, four diamond mining companies – Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC),
Anjin, Marange Resources and Mbada – are mining gems in Marange.

“The mines need to construct tailings dams which act as sedimentation
ponds,” recommended the report.

‘firms not concerned about health’

Acting chairperson of the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT),
Malvern Mudiwa said diamond mining firms operating in Marange were not
concerned about the welfare of the local communities.

“These companies do not have the welfare of the communities at heart because
they are endangering the lives of thousands of people,” said Mudiwa.
“Government will only wake up when people and livestock start dying but this
might take long. These two rivers will soon dry up because of siltation,
already they are getting smaller and smaller.”
Efforts to get comments from the Minister of Mines and Mining Development,
Obert Mpofu, and the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources
Management, Francis Nhema, were fruitless last week.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZBC gets legal ammunition

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 13:49

BY OUR STAFF
THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has been given ammunition to
enforce listeners to pay licence fees following the gazetting of regulations
that punish defaulters on Friday.
The regulations were approved by the Minister of Media, Information and
Publicity, Webster Shamu, in terms of section 46 of the Broadcasting
Services Act as read with section 14 (d) of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act.

The Broadcasting Services (Notice to Appear in Court) Regulations 2012 gives
those without valid licences notice to appear in the magistrates court.
Failure to do so would result in the application for a warrant of arrest.

According to the regulations, one avoids appearing before the courts by
admitting being guilty and paying a deposit fine fixed for the offence.
Before the new regulations, ZBC had no ammunition to force viewers and
listeners to have licences despite issuing out notices for people to report
to the nearest police station and produce a valid listener or viewers’
licence.

ZBC charges US$20 annually as radio fees and US$50 for television per
household.

Listeners and viewers have complained that the fees do not tally with the
poor programming by the national broadcaster.

ZBC has been turned into a Zanu PF mouthpiece and denigrates Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and members from MDC-T.

Last year, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe issued Zimpapers and Supa
Mandiwanzira’s Zi FM licences to run radio stations.

Zimpapers’ Star FM started broadcasting last month while Zi FM is currently
running tests.

ZBC’s fees are steep compared to those prevailing in neighbouring South
Africa.

In South Africa, households pay R250 or US$30 annually for both radio and
television licences.

Due to the boring programming on ZBC, many have resorted to alternatives
like the free-to-air decoders such as Wiztech, Philibao, Fortec Star and
Vivid for better programming.
Zimbabwe has the highest broadcast piracy rate in Africa of 92%, as people
use Wiztech and Philibao decoders to decrypt South African signal career,
Sentech’s signals.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police robbing women of their freedom

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 13:46

The police have in recent weeks increased street crackdowns that have seen
scores of innocent women being harassed or arrested, ostensibly for
committing the offence of soliciting. These police acts are hardly a new
development, but are much more symbolic of stubbornly incorrigible and
outdated perceptions concerning the “good woman”, than a genuine desire to
protect citizens from vice.
But simply cloaking their actions with a veneer of legality by explaining to
the public that as long as the laws on prostitution exist, the arrests of
the guilty among the innocent will continue, does not work, when in most
cases the police are failing to show that the women they are netting have
committed any offence, let alone that of soliciting.

Briefly put, to solicit is to ask someone for money in exchange of sex. The
Criminal Code is clear that to be guilty of the crime of soliciting, you
must publicly solicit another person for the purposes of prostitution. It is
therefore hard to see how someone can be guilty of soliciting if no person
was solicited and where there is no evidence of prostitution.

The sting operations that have seen the police harass women have arisen from
women doing the following acts; walking to their cars at night; residing or
simply being in a particular neighbourhood at night; going to evening
school; travelling home after hours; being seen with the “wrong colour”
person; going out for drinks at night; walking out of clubs and night spots.
What is troubling is that the police appear to have created a crime of their
own whereby they have made it an offence to be a woman out at night.
The police seem oblivious of the consequences that could arise from the
actions of their overzealous and seemingly ill-informed officers on the
constituent elements of soliciting. If left unchecked, their acts of
harassment are poised to do a lot of damage to the police and the nation as
a whole for a number of reasons.

Firstly, these arrests could cost the police and the already over-burdened
taxpayer a lot of money arising from damages for wrongful arrests. With
citizens increasingly aware and eager to enforce their rights, police
clearly risk losing thousands in damages.

Secondly, the arrests do not augur well for the country’s human rights
reputation when it comes to protecting the rights and freedoms of its
citizens, in particular women. Rights such as freedom of movement,
non-discrimination, the right to dignity and to live in a society free from
violence and harassment, are all part of the state’s obligations under the
various human rights instruments that our country has adopted.

Yet as state actors, far from modifying patterns of conduct based
stereotypical roles for men and women, the police are in fact promoting
them. To subject innocent citizens to violations that stem from patriarchal
beliefs and attitudes about the place and role of women in society, flies
against the dictates of modern society. This is not to say that there are no
women who are violating the law. The point here is that there are numerous
women who are being hounded simply because they do not conform to
stereotypical notions about the places where women can go and where they
should be at a particular time.

Further, if a law has the effect of punishing the innocent and curtailing
their freedoms, it stands to reason that the efficacy of the law needs to be
revisited. The arrests are discriminatory as no man is harassed for
instance, for simply stepping out of his flat in the avenues and going to
the shops or for a drink with friends.

While the police claim to also arrest men, the evidence is there that they
have placed their focus on those they regard as the more visible face of the
vice. Yet ironically, the vice continues unabated largely because men, who
are the demand side of the equation, are the ones largely left to get off
scot-free.

Thirdly, and perhaps most alarming, is that these acts of police harassment
of innocent women do in fact have the serious potential to lead to
heightened violence, abuse or even murder of women. What is to stop ordinary
members of the public, many who already harbour dangerous anger against
women, from seeing women who are out at night as warranting discipline and
control?

Women of Zimbabwe are justified in taking to the streets to protest these
unlawful arrests of the innocent because not only do they violate individual
rights, but they have a negative impact. For these reasons, the police need
to pause and seriously consider the consequences of treading on quick sand.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Shocking eye-witness account of highway police corruption

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 13:41

I would like to share with you and your readers my eyewitness account of the
shocking level of corruption of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers
on the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road.
I boarded a cross-border Toyota Quantum (popularly known as omalayitsha) on
a Friday night (July 13) in Johannesburg, on my way to Bulawayo. We arrived
at the Zimbabwean border at 4am. The Zimra official demanded, and was paid
R800 for the “quick” processing of clearance procedures. Next up was the CID
officer checking Temporary Import Permits (TIP) for the car and trailer. He
raised an issue with the trailer papers, and demanded R600 to allow us
through. After negotiating with the driver, he eventually settled for R200.
As we made our way towards the gate, about 50m from the CID checkpoint, we
were stopped by two uniformed officers who demanded to see our passports.
They then asked for money from the driver, who gave them R50 as some form of
“protection fee” in future. At the gate, about 30m from the police officers,
a rude female immigration officer stationed with VID officers, also demanded
to see our passports.

She said something to me in Shona and when I told her that her words were
“too deep” for me to understand, a heated argument ensued, and the driver
had to pay her R100 because she was threatening to detain us as “punishment”.

Driving down just 200m from the gate, police officers manning a roadblock in
a Ford Ranger truck demanded R200, and were paid. Still in Beitbridge, at
the Masvingo turn-off, was another roadblock where more ZRP officers were
paid another R200. About 50km from Beitbridge, we found three ZRP officers
in the middle of nowhere and another R100 was extorted. Yet another
roadblock awaited at Makhado where R200 was paid. Just before West
Nicholson, were more policemen but, this time around, the driver had no more
cash left. He had to borrow R100 from a female passenger to buy our way
through.

At Gwanda, just before Joshua Mqabuko College, yet another set of “starving”
policemen awaited and the same lady passenger lent the driver another R100
to pay the thugs. Just outside Gwanda town was yet another roadblock; the
kindly lady-passenger again gave the driver R100 to pay. We then encountered
a BMW patrol vehicle 10km from Mbalabala, and the police officer asked for a
re-test certificate from the driver.

Obviously, being SA-based, the driver didn’t have one. The corrupt officer
then demanded a spot fine of US$20 or a bribe of R100. The driver explained
to him how other officers on the route had already sucked him dry. The
officer would have none of it, got into the BMW and drove away towards
Gwanda with the driver’s licence and the TIP document.
Now we were stranded; waiting and hoping the BMW would return. After about
an hour in the scorching heat, I decided to take over the wheel as I had my
licence with me. We paid a further US$10 at the Mach Binding roadblock, and
after seven long hours, we arrived in Bulawayo. This was after paying R2 150
and US$10, in bribes to the police.

Considering there are over 100 cross border vehicles passing through the
border on a typical weekend, how much do the dirty and corrupt ZRP officers
make? – Your guess is as good as mine!

Disgusted Traveller


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sunday View: Collective effort will lead to an HIV-free generation

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Sunday, 22 July 2012 13:44

AMBASSADOR CHARLES RAY

From today until Friday, the XIX International Aids Conference (Aids 2012)
will take place in Washington, DC. Thousands of scientists, policy makers,
health workers, and people affected by HIV, will gather to examine where the
world stands in its response to Aids and consider how to collectively chart
the way forward.
Despite a decline in prevalence in the last decade, Zimbabwe still ranks
among the highest HIV-burdened countries in the world. An estimated 15% of
adults are HIV-positive and about 1,1 million adults and children are
currently living with HIV and Aids. Nearly one million children in Zimbabwe
are orphans as a result of HIV and Aids. While progress is being made, much
remains to be done to mitigate the impact of HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe.

Aids 2012 will provide a forum for individuals from Zimbabwe and nearly
every other country in the world to share their stories of success as well
as the current challenges they face. New scientific advances will be shared
that will bring us closer to the goal, articulated by President Barack Obama
of an Aids-free generation. There will be important conversations about how
the world will find the resources needed to end the epidemic and how
countries will increase their commitment to the Aids response.

In developing countries worldwide, over six million people are alive and
well, enjoying healthy and productive lives because they are getting the
anti-retroviral treatment they need to stay alive. Most of them are in
Africa — the continent with the heaviest burden of HIV, and the fewest
economic resources to address the challenges.

New HIV infections have dropped sharply over the past decade. Today,
countries that were once devastated by the epidemic have experienced a
dramatic decline in new infections. In Africa, 22 countries have seen a drop
in new infections of 25% or more. The number of children born with HIV has
dropped steadily, thanks to progress in preventing the transmission of HIV
from mothers to their newborn infants.

This progress, evidenced by millions of lives saved, is remarkable, but
there is more to do. We must work together to increase our efforts,
recognising that the fight against Aids is a shared responsibility in which
all countries must play their part. Progress toward country ownership of
Aids programmes is essential for gains to be sustainable for the long term,
and countries must build their capacity to lead their national responses and
increase their funding for Aids.

Governments should be encouraged to embrace the efforts of their country’s
civil society, faith-based groups, and groups of people affected by HIV.

In short, it’s success that breeds hope for the future. The success achieved
so far gives hope that an Aids-free generation can be achieved. The US
government, for example, is working closely with the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare to support 80 000 HIV-infected Zimbabweans on anti-retroviral
treatment. Funding projections show that this number will increase in 2012
to a total of 140 000 patients on ARVs. The plan is to add another 20 000
new patients by the end of 2014. In addition to this, the fight against
malaria and other communicable diseases has been escalated, as well as
building country-wide logistics systems for critical health supplies, the
management skills of health professionals and national capacity for
laboratories and health informatics.

The United States regards health as a key pillar of its foreign policy and
the US Embassy has continued to prioritise health, including HIV and Aids,
in its engagement with Zimbabwe to achieve an AIDS-free generation.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Independent Comment: Chinamasa right to chide the police

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa on Friday criticised police
heavy-handedness when dealing with commuter omnibuses that are picking or
dropping passengers at undesignated points.
Chinamasa said the smashing of windscreens could never be justified,
describing it as “harassment and intimidation” by the police.
“No one has the right to break other people’s property,” said the minister
in the clearest rebuke of police excesses in dealing with transport service
providers and the commuting public.

Chinamasa also noted that it was disproportionate for the force to impound
vehicles of motorists who failed to pay spot fines, saying they should be
allowed to pay up at the nearest police station after raising the money.

The ministers’ pronouncements, made in parliament during a
question-and-answer session last week, were long overdue since the illegal
practice has caused anguish and distress among motorists for a long time.

Officers have an option to fine offending motorists, so it is baffling to
understand why they should resort to force.

Police have argued that by smashing windscreens, they were applying minimum
force in order to rein in omnibuses that were causing mayhem in urban
centres.

However, that argument, as the minister pointed out, could not be used to
justify the ruining of private property and the symbiotic relationship that
should exist between the police and the public. These actions by the police
are clearly unwarranted, and as the minister pointed out, illegal too.

Police should not assume the roles of judge, jury and executioner at the
same time.

They also need to be reminded that their duty is to ensure peace and
security and to protect Zimbabwean citizens and their property. Citizens
have to have confidence in the police force at all times.

Citizens have various ways of fighting back at the police when they are
angry. Most of the methods are subtle and therefore go undetected for long
periods, thereby compromising the maintenance of law and order.

The police therefore have to stop any unwarranted conduct as a matter of
urgency.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Editor's Desk: New charter ensures continuity, not change

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

NEVANJI MADANHIRE

The latest draft constitution made public last week (Constitution Draft 17
July 2012) has adopted the American system of running mates in the
presidential election; funny considering just how anti-American one section
of the government of national unity (GNU) is. But perhaps that’s where the
catch is!
According to Section 5.5 on the election of President and Vice-Presidents,
every candidate for election as President must nominate two persons to stand
for election jointly with him or her as his or her Vice-Presidents, and must
designate one of those persons as his or her candidate for first
Vice-President and the other as his or her candidate for second
Vice-President. The President and the Vice-Presidents are directly elected
jointly by registered voters throughout Zimbabwe and the procedure for their
election is as prescribed in the Electoral Law.

It is obvious this clause of the draft constitution was meant to suit
President Robert Mugabe’s succession politics and planning. But this can be
excused when one considers the document is a result of lots of give and
take. What should be borne in mind though is that there is no succession
problem in Zimbabwe; only in Zanu PF. Therefore, this clause has only been
included to solve a problem in a certain political party and not in the
country as a whole.

Good for a compromise but why has the political party — Zanu PF — pushed for
it? The grand plan is to perpetuate Zanu PF’s stranglehold on power by
winning the next harmonised election by any means necessary, thereby
ensuring their geriatric candidate — in case he is incapacitated soon
afterwards as is very likely — can have a ready successor. That will ensure
the party remains in power for at least another five years, in which it will
be pondering its next stratagem.

President Mugabe has already defined his legacy namely, Zanu PF’s survival
at whatever cost; often he has been quoted reiterating this fact saying he
would not retire any time soon before he sorts out the mess in the
faction-riddled party. It has become patently clear in the past 30 years
that he is prepared to perpetuate Zanu PF, even at the expense of the
country.

Many post-independence upheavals that have happened in Zimbabwe point to his
single-minded pursuit of this dream. The Gukurahundi episode and the Unity
Accord that ended it, were meant to destroy the only credible opposition to
Zanu PF that existed at the time. PF-Zapu led by Joshua Nkomo was a party
with liberation war credentials to match Zanu PF’s and therefore posed a
serious threat to Zanu PF hegemony. When it was cowed by 1987, the year the
Unity Accord was signed, it meant the way was clear for Zanu PF to declare a
one-party state. But that was thwarted soon after when liberation icon Edgar
Tekere formed the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) and contested against Mugabe
in the 1990 Presidential poll. ZUM won 20% of the vote but not before being
subjected to political violence in which five supporters were murdered.

Electoral violence has been an important part in Zanu PF’s survival
strategies. Nearly every election since independence has been characterised
by the brutalisation of opposition forces, the climax of which came in the
June 2008 presidential election run-off which was so intense the
international community could ignore it no longer. The international
community intervention led to the GNU which has stabilised the country in
the past three years.

But there are other important signposts of Zanu PF’s struggle to stay afloat
by whatever means that litter our political landscape. The most important of
these are the land invasions that began in 2000 and Operation Murambatsvina
of 2005, both premised on seemingly very valid grounds but when in fact they
were the life-and-death struggle for the party’s survival.

The upheavals left in their wake a deeply divided nation. The wounds of
Gukurahundi are still too deep to be healed; where they seem to have healed
they are simmering under the surface ready to spew their gangrene in
vengeance. The land invasions have left the country gripped by hunger when
it used to be the African bread basket. Murambatsvina left thousands of
families homeless.

Most importantly, Zanu PF’s system of governance has given the country the
status of a banana republic. By definition, a banana republic “is a
politically unstable country that economically depends upon the exports of a
limited resource, and usually features a classed society — a large,
impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy, the rich élites of
business, politics, and the military.”

That Zimbabwe is politically unstable is clear for anyone to see, especially
considering the events of the past 12 years which saw political violence
rising to a climax after the emergence of strong political opposition in the
form of the Movement for Democratic Change. The political instability led to
the collapse of the economy as Zanu PF destroyed all in its wake in order to
survive the winds of change that were sweeping through southern Africa,
leading to the fall of entrenched despots in most countries. The lowest
point for Zimbabweans was the collapse of their currency which wiped away
their life savings, and therefore their livelihoods. The fact that the
country doesn’t at the moment have its own currency is a great indictment of
the former ruling party.

Our economy has not moved an inch forward in the past decade or so and the
country still depends on exporting unprocessed minerals and agricultural
produce.
The new constitution, which the nation so eagerly, awaits should be a
blueprint for the correction of all that has gone wrong with our country.
But the amount of compromise the latest draft shows means the country is
ready to continue with the same.

History has shown that Zanu PF will not lose a “money game” so the results
of the next polls are foregone. The plutocracy that has emerged in the
latter days of its rule — made up of a buccaneering political, business and
military elite — is bound to continue to resist change, hence some of the
unsavoury clauses in the new constitution draft which have been accepted in
the name of compromise. This elite will continue to pull the strings for a
long time to come and the new constitution will give them the right to do
so.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Stop Mugabe’s war plans – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st July 2012

Opposite the Russian Embassy Mugabe wants a Russian helicopter

Bernard Hukwa at the Swazi protest outside the Savoy Vigil supporters grieve for Bernard

Russian diplomats peeping out from behind the curtains of their London Embassy must have been surprised to see President Mugabe at a demonstration against Moscow’s reported plans to supply helicopter gunships in return for Zimbabwean platinum deposits.

Mugabe – in the form of Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu wearing our Mugabe mask – was there carrying a poster reading ‘I want a Russian helicopter’.

He cut a doleful figure, surrounded by dozens of exiled Zimbabweans with placards bearing a different message: ‘No helicopters for Mugabe, ‘Russia don’t kill Zimbabweans’, ‘Zimbabwe exiles protest against arms sales’, ‘Zimbabwe blood on Russia’s hands’ and ‘ One gunship costs 10 schools’ etc.

The demonstration was part of the seventh monthly Free Zimbabwe Global Protest which this time targeted arms supplies to Zimbabwe. While the EU prepares to ease sanctions, we went to the Russian Embassy to underline the need to prevent Mugabe using violence to steal another election.

The demonstration, in which we were joined by many MDC supporters, caused quite a security stir as the Embassy is in a sensitive location near Kensington Palace. There was a heavy police presence with appropriately enough a helicopter overhead.

We are grateful to the 50 or so people who kept the Vigil going in our absence. Particular thanks to Josephine Zhuga, Ellen Gonyora and Jonathan Kariwoh who were in charge.

To turn to another matter, it is with great sadness that the Vigil reports the death of Bernard Hukwa, a faithful supporter who was also a member of our sister organization ROHR and the MDC. We were horrified to hear his body was found in the Thames. Bernard was a gentle, thoughtful and caring person and all who knew him are grieving at the loss of such a good friend. He was living on his own in accommodation provided by the Home Office while his asylum case was being processed and we know he was worried about being unable to support his family in Zimbabwe. We hope to have more information later but at the next Vigil we will take a collection towards the cost of repatriating his body to Zimbabwe. Vigil leaders Ephraim Tapa, Fungayi Mabhunu and Rose Benton all concurred in saying that what they found most distressing about Bernard’s death was that he did not talk about his problems to the organizations that could have supported him: Vigil, Zimbabwe Association, ROHR and MDC. It was important that people shared their difficulties with others before they became really desperate.

Other points

ˇ We were glad to see coverage in the British press this week about Zimbabwe, with a parliamentary debate covering the looting of diamonds and the move to suspend some of the targeted sanctions (see Hansard: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120717/halltext/120717h0001.htm#12071765000001Zimbabwe (Blood Diamonds) Debate).

ˇ So little is reported about Zimbabwe that we are not surprised by misapprehensions. For instance, Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph talks about the Zimbabwean economy ‘powering ahead’ (despite sanctions?) (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jul19_2012.html#Z28 – We must have the courage to bring Zimbabwe in from the cold).As for the ‘powering ahead’, Mr Biti’s latest financial statement paints a different picture.

ˇ The funeral service for Khama Matambandzo, Chairman for South East District of the MDC UK & Ireland, will be held on 25th July 2012 at Haymill Community Centre, 112 Burnham Lane, Slough SL1 6LZ

ˇ Check: http://joecarpenterphotographer.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/zimbabwe-protest-vigil-the-strand/ for photos of the Vigil taken by freelance photographer Joe Carpenter on 30th June.

ˇ Apologies – our Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) of 28th July has been cancelled because the venue double-booked. Our next ZAF meeting is on Saturday 1st September.

ˇ Sanctions do not seem to have prevented the murdered General Mujuru from accumulating an estate worth some $9 billion (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jul18_2012.html#Z14 – Mujuru’s estate valued at $9 billion). What about the others?

ˇ The Vigil was also surprised to see that indigenization is not going to apply to new investments in Zimbabwe. Even non-Chinese? (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jul16_2012.html#Z11 – Sinosteel seek Zimasco equity exemption).

ˇ People planning to do business in Zimbabwe should keep an eye on the reports of corruption (see: Shocking levels of ZRP corruption on the Byo - Beitbridge road – http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-opinion-sc-letters-byo-17668-article-Shocking+levels+of+ZRP+corruption+on+the+Byo+-+Beitbridge+road.html).

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

FOR THE RECORD: 94 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

ˇ Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 28th July from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

ˇ Relaunch of ROHR Nottingham Branch: Saturday 4th August from 3 pm. A fundraising do will follow till late. Venue: St Saviour's Church, 6 Waldron Close, Nottingham NG2 2JU. Zimbabwe traditional food, music and dance. Contact: Chamu 07832 927 609, Nobuqe 07766 927 229, email:raychisuko@yahoo.com. For flyer with more information, check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/7577273812/sizes/l/in/set-72157630591518698/.

ˇ Olympics Here; Oppression There features Zimbabwe musicians and writers and is hosted by Vigil supporters Hasani Hasani and Handsen Chikowore. Monday 6th August at 7.30 pm. Venue: Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX. For more information, check: http://www.exiledwriters.co.uk/cafe.shtml.

ˇ ROHR North East Fundraising Event. Saturday 18th August from 2 – 7 pm. Venue: Longbenton Methodist Church Hall, Chesters Avenue, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 8QP. Directions: from Four Lane Ends Metro Station, start out on Benton Road. At roundabout take the first exit onto West Farm Avenue. Turn left onto Chesters Avenue. For more information contact Tapiwa Merrymore Semwayo on 07412236229, Catherine Tshezi on 07428189705 and Susan Ndhlovu on 07767024586.

ˇ Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 1st September from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn. Future special ZAF meetings: Saturday 13th October when we mark the 10th anniversary of the Vigil and Saturday 10th November when our special guest will be Ben Freeth. These two meetings will take the place of the regular ZAF meetings in October and November. Both events at 6.30 pm at Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see entry above.

ˇ The Rain that Washes showing at The Lounge, Leicester Square Theatre, from Monday 17th September – Saturday 6th October at 7 pm. Check: http://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/126523428/events or phone the booking line: 08448733433 for specific dates and to book tickets. ‘Instantly plunged into a young man’s compelling story of growing up in turbulent Zimbabwe, we live and breathe his extraordinary journey from innocence to escape, finally returning to his homeland to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . . Inspired by a series of interviews between Zimbabwean Christopher Maphosa and writer Dave Carey, The Rain That Washes is a true story that is poignant, political and, most of all, personal’.

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

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

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

ˇ The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.

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

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

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

Vigil co-ordinators

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

Back to the Top
Back to Index