10 hours 27 minutes ago
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HARARE, June 16, 2012 - THE Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee
(COPAC) management committee goes on a three-day retreat on Sunday at a
secret location in desperate attempts to break the gridlock over the final
draft of the proposed new constitution.
Reports are awash that ZANU-PF wants fundamental changes in the draft
Last week Radio VOP disclosed that President Robert Mugabe’s party had come
up with a 29-page document in which the party proposed several changes to
the present draft, raising further fears the party intends sabotaging the
ZANU-PF COPAC point-man Paul Mangwana, told state media on Thursday that
over 200 issues disagreement had emerged.
But there is speculation ZANU-PF is making the outrageous proposals so as to
delay the conclusion of the drafting of the new constitution, enabling its
leader to unilaterally call for fresh polls under the negotiated Lancaster
House constitution which has been amended nineteen times.
But Tendai Biti, the secretary- general of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Friday in an
interview that chances were slim that the COPAC management would entertain
the fresh issues being proposed by ZANU-PF to be belatedly incorporated in
Biti said as far as he was concerned the draft would sail through with
minimal changes after three days of deliberations.
“We are going into the bush on Sunday until Wednesday and I am confident we
will come up with the final draft of the new constitution for the people of
Zimbabwe. We might be accused of coming up with a weak constitution but I
tell you it is far much better than the current one we are using which has
been amended several times,” said Biti.
“In the present draft constitution we have a fantastic bill of rights,
freedom of the media and of expression, the National Prosecuting Authority
among a host of other goods things that Zimbabweans have long wanted
enshrined in their constitution,” added Biti, who is the MDC-T chief
negotiator under the power-sharing truce signed between President Robert
Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Asked if the COPAC management would bent over to accommodate the latest
shocking ZANU-PF demands Biti said: “After haggling for so long trying to
write this document, I don’t think we are even going to look into it.
“I know there are agents of chaos in ZANU-PF who want to sabotage the
constitution-making but they will fail because when we emerge on Wednesday
we will be having a new constitution because ZANU-PF people directly
involved in the constitution-making process agree with us over what people
want in their constitution.”
In the COPAC management committee ZANU-PF is represented by Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche while the MDC-T has Biti and
Elton Mangoma. The Welshman Ncube-led MDC is represented by Priscilla
Misiharambwi-Mushonga, Edward Mkhosi and Moses Mzila-Ndlovu.
SADC has demanded the conclusion of a new constitution, a referendum on the
new constitution and the full implementation of agreed issues under the GPA,
including key media and electoral reforms, before the staging of fresh
By Staff Reporter 12 hours 44 minutes ago
HARARE - The party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai the MDC-T party
has said that President Mugabe Mugabe and his party Zanu PF are undermining
the constitutional reform process in a bid to ensure new elections are held
under conditions that make a free and fair ballot impossible.
The party’s national executive met in Harare Friday where officials claimed
Zanu PF was responsible for the lack of progress in the writing of a new
constitution adding President Robert Mugabe wanted new polls held under the
“The National Executive noted that Zanu PF is trying to derail the agreed
reforms in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) including the Constitution
making process so that the next elections will be held under conditions that
make free and fair elections impossible. The MDC is calling for a speedy
conclusion of the Constitution making process,” the party said after the
A new constitution is part of a raft of political reforms the MDC-T says
were agreed as part of its power-sharing deal with Zanu PF. But the writing
of the new constitution has been undermined by disagreements between the
parties over various issues.
The regional SADC grouping which facilitated the formation of the GPA told
the parties at a recent summit in Angola to speed-up implementation of the
reforms so that new elections can be held within twelve months.
Mugabe has previously threatened to name an election date this year but the
MDC-T said no polls could be held until the reforms are completed.
“The MDC reiterates that by the time Zimbabwe goes for elections, security
sector, media and Electoral reforms, including the staffing of should have
been concluded. These will ensure a level playing field for all those who
wish to contest in the election,” the party said.
“The MDC is, therefore, saying that the minimum conditions as set out by the
AU as well as SADC, which the party restated in the Conditions for a
Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe (CoSEZ), should prevail before elections
“The National Executive applauded the SADC resolutions that reforms must be
implemented within the next 12 months, and noted that elections should be
held after the implementation of key reforms contained in the GPA.”
Meanwhile the party also blamed infiltration by Zanu PF agents for the
violence which rocked its structures leading up to its national congress
last year. A commission established to probe the violence presented its
report to the National Executive meeting.
“The Party noted that Zanu PF and state agents directly and indirectly
fanned and promoted violence in the MDC in a bid to create chaos within the
party,” the National Executive meeting concluded.
“The Executive resolved that all MDC members and officials who were
implicated in violence should be brought before the National Disciplinary
Committee without regard to their status within the party.
“Serious cases of infiltration by state agents were noted and mechanisms
have been put in place to flush out such elements.
“The party does not condone violence; instead it looks forward to efforts to
bring perpetrators to book. The MDC therefore, urges the upright men and
women within the police force to resist being abused by Zanu PF.”
10 hours 26 minutes ago
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Harare, June 16, 2012 – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC says it does
not wish to victimise top army chiefs who continue to issue threats against
its leadership should it come to power.
MDC-T national spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told a media briefing soon
after a party national executive committee meeting Friday that the former
opposition party would not abandon fighting for the betterment of the masses
to settle scores with quarrelsome military bosses.
“We are aware of elements within Zanu PF who are trying to set up the MDC
against the army,” Mwonzora said.
“Our fight is not a fight against the army but it is a fight against those
who are bent on subverting the will of the people of Zimbabwe. The party
reaffirms that it has no intention when it comes to power to victimise any
law abiding citizen including members of the military.”
The MDC-T resolution follows Defence Minister and Zanu PF loyalist Emmerson
Mnangagwa’s threats last week to unleash the country’s feared army chiefs on
Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
This was after the MDC secretary general had resisted a Zanu PF orchestrated
recruitment of an additional 5 000 soldiers, a move that would chew an
additional $2, 5 million from the country’s coffers.
The MDC-T further urged the police not to be used against the ordinary
people by Zanu PF.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T has threatened “severe” punishment on its top officials
who found to have fanned intra-party violence ahead of its elective congress
May last year.
Mwonzora said the report by the party's Commission of Enquiry into the
violence linked some of the causes to infiltration by state agents and Zanu
“The party resolved that all MDC members and officials who were implicated
in violence should be brought before the National Disciplinary Committee
without regard to their status within the party,” Mwonzora said.
The Nyanga North legislator however refused to name the culprits before they
were formally charged within the party.
Ugly scenes of violence marred the run up to the MDC-T congress where the
affected provinces experienced worst forms of intra-party skirmishes with
party women’s affairs secretary and co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone
being among those implicated.
But despite evident hostilities that dominated the party’s internal elective
process, the MDC-T says it will not reverse the election of any party
official who ascended to any top party structures amid the violence.
15 June 2012
Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington DC
Zimbabwean civil society groups are increasingly getting involved in the
campaign against political violence ahead of elections many fear may be as
bloody as the 2008 run-off vote.
The murder two weeks ago of an MDC supporter in Mudzi, Mashonaland East, by
alleged Zanu PF members was a stark reminder of the clashes that left dozens
of oppositions activists dead in 2008.
In addition to prayer meetings held to-date by different churches across the
country, the NGO, Bulawayo Agenda, will hold a peace concert June 30 in
Lupane, Matabeleland North.
Political parties in and outside the power-sharing government have been
invited to attend the event where they will publicly urge their followers to
desist from violence.
Bulawayo Agenda director Thabani Nyoni told VOA's Studio 7 a number of
acclaimed artists, including musicians and poets, will deliver performances
that promote peace and togetherness.
"For a program of this magnitude that wants to reach out to communities
affected directly or indirectly by violence," Nyoni said, "we need to
attract different members of the community including young people, women and
The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, or JOMIC, charged with
overseeing the consummation of the unity agreement underpinning
power-sharing, and different churches will also be on hand to preach the
gospel of peace, officials said.
JOMIC official Thabitha Khumalo said her committee appreciated efforts by
the civil society to ramp up the anti-violence campaign. "We respect the
peace concert organized by Bulawayo Agenda, and we greatly appreciate
efforts by anyone else seeking peace."
President Robert Mugabe and his ruling partners, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube held a rare joint rally last
year in Harare and called for calm.
But simmering political tensions have remained, exploding into sporadic
pockets of violence across the country with Mr. Mugabe's Zanu PF party
intensifying its rhetoric of wanting elections this year even without basic
15 June 2012
Irwin Chifera, Blessing Zulu & Loirdham Moyo | Washington
The national executive of the MDC formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai Friday resolved that all top officials implicated in the
violence that rocked the party in the run-up to its congress in Bulawayo
last year be punished.
Party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, told journalists the national
executive resolved that all MDC members and officials who were implicated in
violence should be brought before the national disciplinary committee
without regard to their status within the party.
Mwonzora said the national executive noted that President Robert Mugabe's
former ruling Zanu PF and state agents directly and indirectly fanned and
promoted violence in the MDC in a bid to create chaos within the party.
MDC sources say Mr. Tsvangirai is demanding that officials implicated in
violence and corruption be expelled from the party.
Mwonzora refused to name senior party officials fingered in the report but
VOA has it on authority that among those mentioned for allegedly causing
violence are co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone, legislator Settlement
Chikwinya in Midlands and deputy Youth Minister Tongai Matutu in Masvingo
and Housing Minister Giles Mutsekwa in Manicaland.
Mwonzora also refused to name Zanu PF officials or state agents implicated
in the report besides saying the party has substantial evidence to support
The committee of inquiry, which was led by lawyer Trust Maanda, recommended
that provincial elections in provinces such Chitungwiza, Mashonaland East
and West and Manicaland be re-done as they were marred by serious violence.
Mwonzora told VOA the elections would not be re-run in the affected
provinces. This week the MDC was rocked by intra-party political violence
after party members clashed over posts in Hurungwe in Mashonaland West and
Mutare in Manicaland.
Recently, Mashonaland East provincial chairman, Piniel Denga was assaulted
by party youths in Marondera East as intra-violence continues to rock the
Several youths have since been arrested and appeared at the Marondera
Magistrates Court this week.
Mwonzora said the party is worried by some military elements who are
meddling in politics. He said the MDC is concerned with the illegal massive
recruitment of thousands of soldiers and police officers without treasury's
blessings. He adds it’s clear Zanu PF is preparing to unleash violence in
the next election.
Apart from Friday's intra-party violence report, the MDC was due to discuss
an equally explosive report on corruption in local authorities it controls.
The report was not tabled as expected because the party’s deputy secretary
general, Tapiwa Mashakada, who led the probe, is attending an investment
meeting in London.
Zanu PF leaning political analyst Gabriel Chaibva says the MDC has now
admitted it has violent characters within its midst.
But political scientist Professor John Makumbe of the University of
Zimbabwe, who has indicated his intention to run for parliament on an MDC
ticket, says the party must go back to the people as it has lost its way.
Meanwhile, an MDC senator and six others arrested Wednesday on charges of
public violence Wednesday were Friday granted $50 bail each by Mutare
Magistrate Charles Murowe.
By Staff Reporter 10 hours 33 minutes ago
HARARE - Diamonds minister Obert "Marange" Mpofu's company Trebor Khays has
gained control of ZABG after injecting US$22,8 million into the bank, which
has resulted in it being fully recapitalised.
Although shareholding numbers remain undisclosed, it has been established
that Trebor Khays, which is linked to Mines and Mining Development Minister
Obert Mpofu, has injected fresh capital while prospective investor
Unicapital has dropped out.
Sources said Unicapital, of Mauritius, had only been shortlisted as a suitor
but could not make the grade.
Government, through Allied Financial Services, remains a shareholder, but
its stake was significantly reduced while other minority shareholders
ZABG is now sitting on a healthy balance sheet and has started rolling out
new product lines and personal loans.
“The bank is now fully capitalised after an injection of about US$22,8
million by Trebor Khays,” said a source.
While the bank had been engaging institutional investors for more capital,
the anchor shareholder (Trebor Khays) was largely expected to contribute the
most. Commercial banks were required by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to have
minimum capital of US$12,5 million.
There were fears a few months ago that, given the little time left before
the lapse of the RBZ minimum capital deadline, the bank would miss it.
Other banks that found their way through the rigours of capital raising, to
meet the April 1, 2012 RBZ capital deadline, include AfriAsia Kingdom and
Genesis Investment Bank failed to secure the requisite funding and this week
surrendered its licence to the RBZ.
“The business has started to grow as shown by the rollout of personal loans
and a range of new products,” said the source.
ZABG required about US$15,3 million to close its negative capital base and
another US$12,5 million to meet the RBZ’s minimum regulatory capital
After that, sources said, expectations were that the new shareholders would
raise US$20 million to further strengthen the operations of the bank.
Prior to the fresh investment in ZABG, the Government, through Alliance
Financial Services, had a 92,8 percent shareholding in the bank.
Former depositors of the Royal Bank, Barbican and Trust, all amalgamated to
form the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) in 2004 after succumbing to
the 2003-2003 financial sector crisis, hold a 7,2 percent stake in the now
ZABG was unbundled in 2010 after shareholders of the three troubled banks
successfully contested their amalgamation to form the supposedly giant bank.
Currently, ZABG has 22 branches across the country and boasts about 50 000
clients as at the end of last year. Fresh capital has put it in a good
position for growth.
Angola diamond battle
Meanwhile, elsewhere a London court has been given a glimpse into the opaque
world of Angolan diamonds, in a battle between a Russian-Israeli tycoon and
his one-time partner that has also thrown up how modern-day buccaneers are
building fortunes from Africa's resources.
Former Premier League club Portsmouth football owner, businessman Arkady
Gaydamak is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid commissions
and dividends from former partner Lev Leviev. Gaydamak says he had an
agreement that entitled him to profits from trading and mining in Angola,
where for years Leviev's assets included a stake in the Catoca diamond mine,
one of the world's largest.
Leviev - a trader and luxury jeweller who made his name and fortune
challenging diamond giant De Beers' monopoly in the sale of rough diamonds -
disputes the agreement and says no deal was made. He is an Uzbekistan-born
Israeli with a home in London.
Both Leviev and Gaydamak are among a handful of foreign players that have
made fortunes across countries like Angola, Congo and Guinea, securing
positions of influence that have put their private companies or
organisations in the forefront of the race for the continent's riches, from
copper to diamonds.
The case, due to close on Monday with a verdict to follow, is also the
latest in a spate of high-profile disputes brought to London by billionaires
from Russia and the former Soviet republics, and has illustrated the
complexity facing London judges more used to traditional disputes.
"You are seeking to test this on traditional London (terms)," High Court
Judge Geoffrey Vos told the defendant's side on Friday. "The reality seems
so far removed ... from what we are used to that applying the same tests is
The court battle - which both sides suggest Angolan officials had sought to
stop in order to avoid embarrassment in an Angolan election year - has seen
Gaydamak detail his arrival in Angola at the height of the civil war in
1993, building relations through the sale of helicopters and other military
equipment to the MPLA government.
He later became, by his account, instrumental in setting up the Angolan
Diamond Selling Corporation (Ascorp), a company with exclusive rights to
market Angolan diamonds, aimed at stemming the flow of gems to the rival
faction UNITA. UNITA was eventually defeated by President Jose Eduardo dos
Leviev disputes Gaydamak's role, saying it was merely to provide security in
the early stages.
The case has laid bare the opacity of the flow of profits made by Ascorp - a
monopoly that ended in 2003 - raising questions over whether the bulk flowed
out of Angola and over what role was played by Isabel dos Santos, the highly
influential daughter of the president.
DEAL OR NO DEAL
At the heart of the case is what Gaydamak says is a written and signed
agreement from December 2001, under which he says Leviev agreed to hold in
trust their mutual assets, in particular their share in Ascorp, and any
income from those assets.
Gaydamak says he sought to make Leviev his "front man" to keep himself out
of the public eye as he and erstwhile partner Pierre Falcone had become
embroiled in "Angolagate", a French inquiry into illegal arms supplies. He
was later acquitted.
Leviev denies there was an agreement.
The case has also involved millions of dollars in payments, which Gaydamak
says are proof of an agreement. Leviev says they were made after Gaydamak
intimated that he could use his influence in Angola to make Leviev's life
"I can never determine the veracity of invoices ... who paid them, who
directed them to be paid ... The question is 'Why were these payments
made?'," the judge said.
"Is Mr Leviev telling truth in saying (Gaydamak) could make trouble for
(him) or is Mr Gaydamak telling the truth (and there was a business
Angola is one of the world's most significant diamond producers and has long
been attractive for traders and buyers. Its gems fetch a premium on world
markets as they are mostly alluvial, meaning they are found on riverbeds or
on the shoreline, and are, to a degree, polished and sorted naturally.
by Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Defence Industry (ZDI) owns 40 percent of diamond mining
company, Anjin Investments, a deputy minister has disclosed.
Anjin, a joint venture between Zimbabwe and China, is one of the companies
operating in the country’s Marange diamond fields.
Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire told Parliament Thursday that the
Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) has a 40 percent interest in the company
while the state-run mining firm, ZMDC, owns 10 percent. The balance is owned
by Chinese Defence Industries.
“Anjin is owned by the Chinese and the Government of Zimbabwe where ZMDC
owns 10% and Zimbabwe Defence Industries owns 40% shareholding. Hon. Members
of Parliament should be alert and be abreast with matters of national
interest. It is imperative that Honourable Members of Parliament understand
how Defence Industries are run,” Chimanikire said.
ZDI is reputed to be one of the Africa’s top defence contractors outside
South Africa and, although nominally a private concern, all the shares in
company are held by the Ministry of Defence.
Chimanikire said there was nothing sinister about ZDI’s involvement in
“Defence Industries are a common practice world over and there is nothing
perculiar about it in Zimbabwe because Anjin itself is a defence industry
company that is owned by the Chinese, which is in a joint venture with
Zimbabwe Defence Industries,” he said.
Chimanikire said Anjin was one of five companies presently operating at
Marange. The others are Marange Resources (100% government-owned), Mbada
Diamonds (joint venture between the government and a private investor),
Diamond Mining Corporation (joint venture between the government and a
private investor) and Sino Zimbabwe (100% government).
He denied allegations that the country’s feared spy agency, the Central
Intelligence Organisation, was also involved in diamond mining.
“From a ministry point of view, Central Intelligence Organisation and
Partners, Zimbabwe Republic Police and Partners and Zimbabwe Prisons and
Partners do not have any companies operating in Chiadzwa Diamond Fields.
“I would advise Members that if they have any information contrary to what
the ministry is providing to approach the Anti-Corruption Commission because
it can only be a corrupt practice that the ministry is not aware of.”
The involvement of security services in diamond mining at Marange was one of
the reasons human rights groups managed to get diamond industry watchdog,
the Kimberly Process (KP), to ban exports of gems from the area following
allegations of abuses.
But the export ban has since been lifted.
Still, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has repeatedly claimed that revenues
from diamond mining were being diverted from Treasury, citing Anjin
Investments among the culprits.
“We are also deeply concerned that the ZMDC, which is supposed to be
government’s representative in Anjin, is actually not a shareholder in
Anjin, but some other body which we do not know,” Biti said last month.
“We, in the Ministry of Finance, now fear that there may be a parallel
government where these monies may be going and not coming to us.”
by Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has said no new mining licences will be granted to
foreign companies as the country steps up implementation of its
controversial economic empowerment programme.
Mugabe told a meeting of his Zanu PF party’s Women’s League Friday that
local professionals should get together to exploit the country’s mineral
wealth as no new foreign companies would be licenced.
“What we should do in a much more massive way is to organise our people, put
them together, our geologists, mining engineers…let them form companies so
that we don’t give foreigners,” he said.
“Can’t we dig our own gold, we can borrow on the strength of the minerals.”
Under the country’s economic empowerment legislation foreign companies
cannot own more than 49 percent of their Zimbabwe operations. But Mugabe
said even the 49 percent was too generous.
“This 49 percent is a whole lot of money. Zvatakaita izvozvo zvakakwana
ngatichiita isu zvedu tega muserefu,” he said.
Mugabe said new diamond deposits have been reported in Chimanimani, in the
Eastern Manicaland province, adding the government was in the process of
verifying the claims.
He however insisted that no foreign companies would be allowed to exploit
the new diamond discoveries.
Some of Zimbabwe’s major mining companies, among them platinum producers
such as Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki, have since been compelled to comply with
the country’s empowerment legislation.
The coalition government however, remains divided over the programme with
the MDC formations dismissing it as an election gimmick by Zanu PF.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party says while it supports the
need to economically empower the country’s previously marginalised black
majority, the model being pushed by Zanu PF would only benefit those already
Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has since indicated he would now
focus on the country financial services sector where he faces opposition
from central bank governor, Gideon Gono.
Gono is proposing an alternative empowerment model arguing the equity-based
approach currently being implemented could prove disastrous for a
“sensitive” economic sector such as banking.
by Business Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is technically insolvent, the
comptroller and auditor general, Mildred Chiri has said.
In a report presented to Parliament this week, Chiri said most of the
parastatal’s equipment has long outlived its use-by date.
The government auditor also noted that NRZ was afflicted by an ineffective
“The National Railways of Zimbabwe is not in a sound financial position as
evidenced by a total loss of US$34, 979 million; a negative working capital
position of US$22,916 million and a net cash outflow to operating activities
of US$5,782 million,” Chari said.
“This means that NRZ is technically insolvent. The National Railways
attained a gross loss of 22percent during the year mainly as a result of the
25 percent gross loss on freight services.
“This is mainly because of the low business volumes during the year as the
average operating capacity for most industries averaged at about 35 percent.
The level of staff costs to revenue of 71 percent is unsustainable. NRZ
currently has about 8,600 employees.”
Chiri said a review of the tender files processed revealed that there was no
evidence of checking the reasonable-ness of the prices quoted by suppliers
adding deficiencies in the adjudication process has resulted in
unrealistically high prices being accepted by the tender committee.
The state firm was also said to be saddled by aged assets resulting in
constant breakdowns and unsustainable repair costs.
“The National railways have been operating without a board of directors
since the expiry of directors contracts in June 2009,” she said.
“Consequently decisions on steering the entity were being made by the
general manager and the permanent secretary in the ministry of transport and
“NRZ is a very big corporate that requires a panel of directors, balanced in
terms of expertise skills and background to steer it forward.”
15 June 2012
Nothando Sibanda Lo Gibbs Dube | Bulawayo
Youths affiliated to Industry Minister Welshman Ncube’s Movement for
Democratic Change formation have given the Ministry of Finance a two-week
ultimatum to avail the $40 million Distressed and Marginalized Industries
Fund to collapsing Bulawayo companies or face street protests.
The youths are also threatening to invade the Central African Building
Society charged with disbursing the fund launched amid pomp and fanfare last
Khumbulani Malinga, the party’s Bulawayo provincial information secretary
said the delay in the disbursement of the rescue package has dimmed hopes of
creating employment for thousands of people in the city as more companies
continue shutting down due to lack of capital.
The government has contributed only $10 million instead of $20 million for
setting up the fund. Old Mutual has already availed $20 million as part of
its contribution to the national fund.
Ncube said an inter-ministerial committee charged with reviving Bulawayo
industries has proposed that the government should cut links with Old Mutual
and set up another fund for distressed companies.
10 hours 27 minutes ago
HARARE - June 16, 2012 – Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has
lost slightly over US$1million from its tobacco farming activities after the
funds were forfeited by the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the Comptroller
and Auditor General Mildred Chiri has said in her latest report.
The top government auditor also revealed that ZESA risks losing nearly
US$5million held by banks in South Africa and China.
“I noted that there were tobacco sales to Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco amounting to
US$1 299 412, 40 that have not been recovered for a period of over two
years. ZLT instructed RBZ to make a transfer of the funds to ZESA
enterprises. However, the RBZ took the funds citing that ZESA holdings has a
debt owing to RBZ which RBZ decided to set off. ZESA enterprises was still
reflecting this trade debtor in their accounts as owing,” said Chiri.
“Recommendation- the debt should be transferred to ZESA holdings upon
reaching mutual consensus or provide for the debt in full. Concerted effort
should be made to resolve this issue.”
The report added that ZESA was losing revenue due to non billing of
customers as most farmers were not being due to their hostility to meter
readers. It added that ZESA officials sent to disconnect defaulters were
It said US$4; 2 million was held with South Africa’s FNB bank and US$33 000
by Escrow bank of China and no follow ups have been made on the money for
“No reconciliations were prepared for the accounts as no statements were
received. In the prior year no reconciliations were prepared due to the same
reason. Thus there has been no correspondence with the banks for the past
three years,” Chiri said in her report.
by Staff Reporter
SECURITY staff at the residence of Britain's ambassador to Zimbabwe did a
double take on Thursday after Zanu PF hell-raiser Jonathan Moyo turned up
for commemorations of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and birthday
The Tsholotsho North MP received a surprise invitation to the event from
Britain’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Deborah Bronnert.
He was the only senior Zanu PF official on a guest list dominated by NGO
activists and officials from the MDC-T including Home Affairs Minister
Theresa Makone, her husband and Chief Secretary to the Prime Minister, Ian,
as well as deputy minister Jessie Majome among others.
Moyo – a rabid critic of Britain’s alleged meddling in Zimbabwe’s domestic
affairs – arrived at the ambassador's residency on York Road in Greendale in
his imposing white Toyota Land Cruiser V8.
Security guards could not help a closer scrutiny of Moyo’s invitation, while
guests inside appeared startled by the appearance of a man once seen as
President Robert Mugabe’s right hand man at the Empire’s seat of power in
Moyo KISSED ambassador Bronnert on both cheeks as the two met, according to
The former information minister mingled with hundreds of people among them
diplomats, business leaders, journalists and NGO activists.
One official from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID)
rubbed his eyes in disbelief before asking the Zanu PF politburo member:
"Prof Moyo, is this really you? And is this a sign of good things to come?"
Moyo's reply was inaudible to our correspondent.
Moyo told reporters after the event: “I don't think there's any big deal
here. I got an invitation from the British Ambassador in good faith and I
was happy to accept it in similar faith in accordance with our Zimbabwean
culture of inclusivity and good neighbourliness, even where there are no
“The occasion was quite convivial and was an excellent opportunity to make
contact and exchange views in happy circumstances against the background of
our well known differences some of which are needless. Otherwise there was
nothing to write home about.
“Any attempt to read more to it is bound to end in futility because one
swallow does not make a summer.”
After the Conservatives returned to power in a coalition with the Liberal
Democrats last year, Moyo led calls for re-engagement with the former
colonial power after more than a decade of strained relations with the
Moyo said in June last year: "We can all see that David Cameron is not as
loquacious as Gordon Brown or Tony Blair, he has kept his views on Zimbabwe
"They are behaving as we have historically known of the Conservatives. The
approach of the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher was very different to
the approach of Labour."
Cameron's "circumspect and careful" attitude, which had reduced the levels
of "noise and tension" between the two sides, meant President Robert Mugabe
would welcome "constructive" dialogue with him.
"The British problem is that they behave like a drunkard who climbed a tree
overnight then woke up naked and could not get down," he said.
"We are prepared to give them a ladder, and a blanket, but it's up to them
whether they climb down at night or during the day."
Friday, 15 June 2012 12:19
BULAWAYO — In a bid to save cash-strapped local authorities from collapse,
the government this week ordered all urban councils to submit reports of how
much they are owed by various government departments as the former moves in
to clear its outstanding arrears.
This comes after Victoria Falls and Gwanda council workers downed tools last
week demanding that they be paid their three months outstanding salaries.
Bulawayo council workers in April also went on a one week industrial action
over unpaid salaries.
The government owes local authorities millions of dollars, with the Bulawayo
City Council (BCC) being owed close to US$4 million.
In addition, local authorities are also struggling to clear their debts with
different service providers.
For example, BCC has a debt of over US$55 million with US$19 million owed to
power utility, ZESA. As a result, council schools and community halls have
not been spared by the power disconnections.
Sesel Zvidzai, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban
Development, said this week government has instructed all the local
authorities to submit information on how much they are owed by the State to
enable them to expunge the debts.
He said his ministry was in talks with the Ministry of Finance, which has
promised to avail the funds soon.
“In addition to that, we have also ordered local authorities to give us the
other side of the equation, which is submitting how much they owe to their
creditors such as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the National Social
Security Authority and the Environmental Management Agency so that we can
directly pay those,” he said.
The direct payment of creditors, according to Zvidzai, would ensure that
funds would not be abused or diverted to other uses by the city fathers.
“The challenge we have with local authorities is that of administration,
something we have always talked about. You find a situation whereby town
clerks earn over US$20 000 per month. They are actually greedy,” explained
He added that his ministry had since ordered all local authorities to adjust
salaries to fall within the framework of the country’s economy.
Last week, the Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, ordered all local
authorities across the country to trim their large workforce arguing they
were contributing to their financial woes.
In March, the Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers Union reported that a total of
12 out of 23 urban councils were in salary arrears.
But Zvidzai had this to say about the retrenchments: “I don’t agree with the
idea of retrenching people now.
“Local authorities should just ensure that their salaries are within their
means. For example, you cannot set the sky as the limit when you can’t reach
the top of Holiday Inn.” — Own Correspondent.
by Staff Reporter
FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has said the government is experiencing a
serious cash squeeze and failing to meet its commitments including a
US$700,000 hotel bill for Members of Parliament.
Biti warned legislators Thursday that the country must expect increased
austerity as the 2012 budget has been thrown off-course due to a combination
of unplanned expenditure and underperforming diamond revenues.
“There will be austerity, there will be living within our means, there will
be expenditure retrenchment and there will be selling of silverware, there
will be reform of the mining sector, there will be reform of the supply side
of the economy,” Biti said.
“We have even been unable to meet Government salaries. We have just
struggled to meet Government salaries.
“Even this august House, we owe hotel bills in respect of MPs accommodation
in excess of US$700,000 because of the non-performance of the budget.”
Biti said between January and May 2012, the government had failed to meet
revenue targets by almost US$200 million adding “illegal” government
programmes such as the recruitment of some 4,600 soldiers had not helped
The army was now being forced to divert funds meant for NSSA and ZIMRA to
pay for the extra soldiers.
Biti said he would also revise downwards his US$4billion 2012 budget and
blamed underperforming diamond revenues.
“I also want to tell you Hon. Speaker, that the main reason why we have
failed to meet our revenue target is the gross under performance of diamond
revenue,” he said.
“Between January and May, we have only received US$30 million, when we were
supposed to receive about US$240 million. So as a result of that, we are
going to revise the budget downward.
“So to summarise, the economy, in the first five months of the year, has
been in comatose and we have to take drastic measures.”
Biti said the key agricultural sector has also been hit by drought,
seriously reducing the country’s maize output while tobacco sales had also
performed below expectations.
“The drought we had has resulted in us losing 33% of our projected maize
output. So, where we were targeting around 1.4 million metric tonnes, we are
going to harvest about 900 000 metric tonnes,” he said.
“So, agricultural growth this year will be about -5%. As for tobacco, our
target was 150 million kgs but that have been reduced to 130 million kgs.
“Therefore as a result of the shrinkage in agricultural output, we are also
going to revise downward our GDP figures.”
Friday, 15 June 2012 11:55
BULAWAYO — Plans by Africa Sunlight Energy to commercially exploit methane
gas in Matabeleland North have suffered a major blow after the Chinese firm
failed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The company has since been ordered to halt operations, dashing hopes for
alternative power generation in the region.
Africa Sunlight Energy was in the middle of exploring coal and coal-bed
methane in Gwayi with a view to establish a power station.
But the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is of the view that its report
was not convincing.
EMA spokesperson, Steady Kangaka told The Financial Gazette that the agency,
as the custodian of the environment, would not give a go ahead to projects
that might harm the ecosystem.
“The development we want is a sustainable one which will remain long after
we have departed from this planet. It must be economically, socially and
environmentally friendly. If one of those parameters is missing then as EMA
we cannot give a go ahead,” said Kangaka.
“It has to be done in a proper manner. In this instance, the company wants
to mine near a conservancy area therefore we have to be absolutely sure that
it will not interrupt with water supply and wildlife,” he added.
The Gwayi Valley Intensive Conservation Area had also complained about the
growing number of coal mining companies operating in the conservancy fearing
their operations would destroy the hunting and photographic safaris, which
are their major source of revenue in the wildlife-rich area.
During a consultative stakeholders meeting last month, it emerged that
open cast coal-mining activities have affected 32 farms in the conservancy
where more than 1 000 people reside.
Of late, several companies have been given rights to start mining and
exploration activities in the coal-rich region, with the latest being
Discovery Investments Company, which was given the green light to conduct
coal bed methane gas exploration in Mzola and Dandanda communal lands in
Lupane and Binga districts; Markrock Exploration and Mining Company for coal
exploration in the Gwayi area of Lupane as well as Glotech Engineering for
a Spiral Plant at Hwange Colliery.
Recently, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu announced
that more companies were keen on investing in mining activities in
Matabeleland North and took a swipe at the Gwayi Catchment Council
stakeholders for trying to block the new investments, which he said will go
a long way in uplifting the livelihoods of ordinary people.
Economic commentator, Eric Bloch, said it will take time before the methane
gas is fully exploited to provide alternative power for the whole
country. — Own Correspondent.
Friday, 15 June 2012 12:17
Ray Ndlovu, Assistant Bureau Chief
The ZANU-PF administered Presidential Scholarship Programme has been hit by
a severe financial crisis that threatens the livelihood of nearly 4 000
Zimbabwean students studying at different universities in South Africa.
The Financial Gazette has established that the cash crisis has resulted in
threats being issued by the South African universities to students who are
beneficiaries of the scholarship programme to either pay the outstanding
tuition fees themselves or not return next semester to the universities.
Some of the institutions are mulling cutting off ties with the Presidential
scholarship programme over the non-payment of fees.
An average 250 students per institution are enrolled at 15 universities in
South Africa. These include the University of Johannesburg, University of
Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN), University of Pretoria and Monash University, among
Several students at Monash University said they relied on their allowances
not only to buy food and stationery, but also to pay for electricity use in
their respective residences. The students claimed they had not received
anything this year and had not had electricity for the greater part of the
But Christopher Mushowe, the Manicaland governor and director of the
Presidential scholarship programme downplayed the financial crisis gripping
the intitiative and said they were “just behind in payments”.
“We have not yet received enough money from Treasury, but they have assured
us that they are doing their best to avail funds to us”, he said.
Students who spoke to this newspaper say their monthly allowances of R1 000
had been irregular with students having to supplement their living costs
through doing “odd jobs” in South Africa.
On seeking an explanation from representatives of the scholarship programme
in South Africa the students have been told that Finance Minister Tendai
Biti, who is the secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) was refusing to release money to fund the scholarship programme.
“Students from the UKZN have since been told not to come back next semester
if the government has not paid the money. Buses have been hired by the
institution to ferry the students back to Zimbabwe because the students have
indicated that they don’t have money for bus fare”, said a beneficiary of
the scholarship programme who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Traditionally, students are given allowances at the end of the semester to
transport them back home, but the UKZN is one of the institutions where
students have not received any allowances for their upkeep since the
beginning of their semester. The institution has since terminated its
relations with the scholarship co-ordinators”, he claimed.
Despite this, Mushowe said this week that relations with the South African
universities were cordial.
“No, it’s not the case, our relations with South African universities
continue to be cordial and we have asked them to assist with things like
transport for our students where, in some cases, students may come forward
and say that they do not have any funds to travel back home. I personally
wrote to South African universities a few weeks ago and it is positive to
see that they are helping our students”.
Quizzed on whether blame should be placed on Biti for not availing funds for
the Presidential Scholarship Programme, Mushowe said: “It’s not fair to
blame either the MDC or any individual and say they are blocking the release
“Treasury is a part of government and it is the responsibility of government
to support its people and we don’t believe that Treasury is a partisan
institution just because it is headed by an MDC minister”.
A crony of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, building a luxury mansion with an underground bunker in Ballito, KZN, has been ordered to stop work on the R200 million property.
Rumoured to be a bolthole for Mugabe, court papers have revealed the R200 million compound, is being built by Robert Mhlanga, identified in some reports as the leader’s former pilot and right-hand man. He is reported to have a major stake in Zimbabwe’s conflicted diamond industry.
KwaDukuza Municipality has obtained a high court order to stop construction and occupation of the mansion, next to the plush Zimbali estate, because of the potential impact on neighbouring properties and the environment.
The interim order was granted on May 16 in the Durban High Court. The respondents were expected to have filed papers by yesterday, but by the close of business the papers had not been filed.
The Saturday Star this week established that Mhlanga, via his company Formate (Pty) Ltd, is the mystery man behind the development.
The heavily guarded development comprises two man-made lakes, a renovated existing mansion, complete with bullet proof windows and an underground bunker.
According to some internet reports, Mhlanga is Mugabe’s former personal helicopter pilot and is mentioned in two Global Witness 2010 and 2012 reports on blood diamonds in Zimbabwe.
In 2008 the Zimbabwean army took control of the Marange diamond fields using troops and helicopter gun ships killing and wounding many small scale miners.
Mhlanga was a prosecution witness in the 2003 treason trial of Morgan Tsvangarai and is reported to have been chief of staff operations at the National Command Centre, which controlled the announcement of voting results in the disputed 2002 presidential election, according to Global Witness.
Investigators have raised the alarm over diamond mining concessions being allocated in questionable circumstances to opaque companies at Marange. One passed on a 25 percent share to Transfrontier – a company described as a “sister company” of Mhlanga’s SA-registered Liparm Corporation on the latter’s website.
It was only after the municipality’s urgent application in the Durban High Court for an interdict to stop all building works on the two adjacent properties that the identity of the buyer emerged.
The first two respondents are the sellers of the properties, Straightprops 92 and Michelle Linda Mauvis, followed by Tozamile M Hogana and Stefanutti Construction. Mauvis named Formate (Pty) Ltd as the buyer, who will take her place in responding to the application.
In its application the municipality said it had “very serious concerns about the nature of the building works” because plans had not been submitted for the project believed to have started in September 2011.
Municipal building control officer Njabulo Ngwane said when the municipality became aware of the development in April he had gone to inspect the site.
“The properties were fenced and guarded but we were denied access.”
Ngwane said a staff member of architect Ewald Plekker had later visited him to present building plans, however, Ngwane advised that plans should be submitted over the counter and the fee paid as per the building regulations.
Judge Achmat Jappie handed down the interim order by consent that respondents are not to occupy recent structures built on the properties including “the guard house, the two gazebos, the ablution facilities adjacent to the existing main house on the first respondents’ property”. The respondents also undertook to allow building inspectors inspect the properties without prior notice.
Jappie ordered the respondents to submit building plans on or before May 23.
In court papers Mauvis said she had sold her property to Formate (Pty) Ltd and the company would be the second respondent when transfer took place.
Mauvis’ husband, local restaurateur Robert Mauvis, confirmed yesterday that the property had been sold. Asked to confirm whether the property had been paid for he said he was “not aware of anything as yet”. Deeds Office searches filed with the court papers show that Straightprops and Mauvis are the registered owners.
Straightprops 92 attorney Lazelle Paola declined to comment except to say that Martin Sherwood was no longer a director of Straightprops, despite official company registration records reflecting this.
Hogana declined to comment because the matter was in court. Mhlanga’s personal assistant at Liparm Corporation said yesterday Mhlanga was out of the country, but that she would contact him.
International Relations and Co-operative Governance spokesman Nelson Kgwete declined to comment.
Stefannuti Construction director Graham Carver could not be reached. - Saturday Star
REMARKS BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, THE RIGHT
MORGAN R. TSVANGIRAI,
AT THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING
OF THE 20TH SESSION OF THE JUNIOR PARLIAMENT COMMEMORATING THE DAY OF THE
AFRICAN CHILD, HARARE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE,
16 JUNE 2012
It is my pleasure and honour to interact with the most important
constituency in human life, the children.
We must treat our children with love and tenderness knowing that every word
spoken within the hearing of little children tends towards the formation of
Ladies and Gentlemen, Zimbabwe is a signatory to the African Youth Charter,
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African
Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, among other international
and regional treaties.
This official opening of the 20th Session of the Junior Parliament is a
milestone in the quest by Government to include children in governance.
Parliament is an institution created to empowering people to have oversight
over their leaders and to safe guard democratic values. In Zimbabwe, the
current Parliament is reflective of the inclusive Government that we formed
after the signing of the Global Political Agreement.
We have tried to focus more on issues that cut across the political divide,
issues that are national rather than personal to drive our nation forward.
This has been in an effort to achieve collaboration rather than competition.
The fact that all the Principals in the inclusive Government are gathered
here today is a bold statement that we are all committed to the development
and success of our young people.
During the life of the 20th Session of the Junior Parliament, I urge you to
focus more on issues that advance your interests and ideas.
As our torchbearers, we urge you to devote your energies towards creating a
better Zimbabwe, that provides jobs to all our young people, a Zimbabwe with
a thriving economy, with functional health and educational institutions and
where people’s creativity is rewarded. A progressive nation that is
committed to democratic values, the rule of law, security of persons and
respect for human rights guaranteed in our Constitution.
Ladies and Gentlemen; the inauguration of the 20th Session of the Junior
Parliament coincides with the commemoration of the Day of the African Child
marked on 16th June every year.
This year’s commemorations of Day of the African Child, are being held under
the theme: The Rights of Children with Disabilities: The duty to protect,
respect, promote and fulfill.
Children living with disability have the same rights as all children and
possess the same potential as their able-bodied counterparts. Our duty is to
provide equal opportunities for all children irrespective of physical or
The Day of the African Child calls us to reflect on how much we, as
Government, have invested towards the development of our children. Indeed,
the question is: Have we done enough?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),
establishes the rights of children in three important areas: provision,
protection and participation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, children have the right to the provision of basic
necessities, health care, shelter and education which are essential to their
Ladies and Gentlemen, we meet here almost a year after the disappearance of
then three year old Given Flint Matapure who went missing last August.
Many other children have been kidnapped and their body parts collected for
ritual purposes. Our hearts are with all those parents whose children have
been abused in one way or another.
Children in Africa, Zimbabwe included, are affected by many different types
of abuse, including economic and sexual exploitation, gender discrimination
in education and access to health, and their involvement in armed conflict.
Other factors affecting African children include migration, early marriage,
differences between urban and rural areas, child-headed households, street
children and poverty.
Another disturbing trend, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the abuse of children for
political mileage. We have often seen politicians using school premises for
meetings, thereby dislodging pupils from their classrooms.
We have also seen the culture of using the youth in political violence. Some
are using their wealth, most of it ill gotten, to negatively influence young
people into committing heinous crimes.
This must stop if we want our society to live peacefully and to fully
promote children’s rights. I call upon the Junior MPs to be vocal against
the use of the youth to promote violence.
Some children grew up orphaned because their parents died during the
liberation struggle, some lost their parents during Gukurahundi and indeed
during the troubled 2008 political violence. We have many young people who
lost life and limb during these political disturbances. They deserve to be
This calls for a change in attitude especially among politicians. We must
foster a culture of tolerance that allows people to be free to choose which
football team or political party to support.
The Junior Parliament provides children with the opportunity to organize
themselves to represent their own interests.
This initiative must be supported by budgetary processes that involve
children in choosing their priorities alongside adults.
The African Youth Charter obliges member states to provide an environment
that promotes participation of young people in nation building.
Junior Parliamentarians, you are tasked with the responsibility to represent
the interests of your peers. We want to see strong principled leaders rising
from among you.
Remember if you are contented with what you have done, you will never reach
Let me caution that as Junior Parliamentarians today and national
legislators of tomorrow you have to learn to co-exist with the other arms of
Government- the Executive and the Judiciary.
The balance among the three is not easy to attain and yet it is very
essential as a safeguard for any democracy. Many a times that balance has
been lost and we have ended up with a compromised and weak branch of
The principle of checks and balances lies at the heart of our success into
the future and I hope that as we craft our new constitution a new consensus
emerges around collective responsibility to make our democracy work in this
country. This is an important legacy for current leadership to bequeath to
the upcoming generation, you among them.
The Government will fully respect the rights of children, including the
right to a decent education, primary health care, shelter and basic needs
and will ensure that these are expressed in the new constitution, which we
are currently writing.
I wish you all the best in your further deliberations on the most topical
issues affecting the nation during the 20th Session of the Junior Parliament
and hope that you will achieve milestones during your time.
I thank you.
June 15, 2012, 1:28 pm
Defending ‘national interests’ is, on the face of it, a perfectly legitimate
procedure in reaction to an external threat to a country’s sovereignty.
Measures which might otherwise be seen as repressive or impinging on
individual liberties are permissible in times of national emergency, as in
the case of physical invasion by a foreign power. The problem lies in how
you interpret ‘national interests’.
The presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, made his definition very
clear when he asked the same question at the launching of the new Talk
Radio. “You must align your policy to national interest” he said and went on
to expand on what he meant. “First, that we are all Zimbabweans, that’s the
key element”, he emphasised. “Second, we became free through a war of
Independence and that is sacrosanct – sacred - and whoever participated in
it must be given that regard. That objective must remain regnant (pertinent)
for all time, for all our people for all generations. Finally, we intend to
remain sovereign for all times.”
Nothing new there, as Morgan Tsvangirai commented, “It’s old wine in new
bottles.” In the light of Charamba’s definition which, in effect, dictated
editorial policy to the new Talk Radio , it’s hard to believe that this
‘independent’ radio station will be any different from the ZBC which churns
out pro-Mugabe propaganda. Just why Zimbabwe needs two radio stations doing
the same job is not clear. The giveaway is in the Zanu PF slogan ‘Zimbabwe
will never be a colony again’; in the years since that tired old slogan was
first used there has been no invasion of any kind against the ‘sovereign’
state of Zimbabwe. So who exactly is this unknown enemy that we are all
being warned against? The generals made the answer very clear last week when
they stipulated that it was anyone who disagrees with Robert Mugabe. Put
that together with Charamba’s remark that “anyone who participated in the
struggle” must be regarded as ‘sacred’ and you see exactly where all this is
leading: Zimbabwe’s national interest is to keep Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe
in power for all time. In short, it’s nothing more than politicking aimed at
the next election. If the new Talk Radio sticks to Charamba’s directive,
Zimbabweans will be subjected to yet another ‘Voice of the People’ telling
them who to vote for.
With the police, the army and the broadcasting media all firmly on his side,
it would seem Mugabe’s victory at the next election is practically certain.
As for the independent print media, it is presumably just a matter of time
before some Zanu PF appointed judge decides that independent papers are not
in the ‘national interest’ and they are axed. For the ordinary citizen who
feels aggrieved by some action deemed to be in the ‘national interest, for
example, as the victim of some random war veteran’s greedy desire for more
land, there is nowhere to turn for impartial judgement. War veterans, even
if their actions are plainly criminal, are deemed to be ‘sacrosanct’ because
they fought in the Struggle. According to George Charamba, they are
protected ‘for all time’, however much they abuse another individual’s human
Meanwhile, the rest of the world stands by, apparently satisfied that
Zimbabwe is well on the road to being a real democracy now that it has a
Government of National Unity. Zimbabweans inside the country know better.
Only this week we learn that Zanu PF, the police and the Registrar General
are working together to rig the next election. People are being bussed in
from outside areas to register so that the Voters’ Roll is overloaded with
Zanu PF supporters; militant Zanu PF youth are force marching villagers to
political meetings; in Mudzi a Zanu PF chief is extorting money from
villagers and, to cap it all, 500 Zanu PF supporters have invaded a
wild-life ranch in Chiredzi. It is to be hoped that our four-legged friends
are aware of the invaders’ ‘sacrosanct’ status...Elephants beware, not even
mock charges are allowed against these ‘sacred’ humans!
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson
Dear Family and Friends,
Winter has arrived in Zimbabwe in a freezing blast. Occasional light
dustings of frost suddenly escalated to almost daily white carpets
blanketing low lying, exposed ground in the mornings. Everything in
the path of the frost has been burnt. The last traces of green in the
bush and across open plains disappeared and were replaced with tall
golden grass. Overnight temperatures have dropped to low single
figures with zeroes and minuses already being recorded in the early
hours of the morning. Just after sunrise one day this week I noticed a
bird sitting forlornly on the edge of a birdbath in my garden.
Thinking there was no water I went to have a closer look only to
discover that there was water but it had frozen and was solid ice.
That morning, water in garden taps and pipes was also frozen and
people gathered to see ice crystals clustering and hanging on diamond
mesh fences. As the sun rose higher that bitterly cold morning we
counted the cost of the unexpected freeze. Vegetable farmers told of
tomato crops completely destroyed, lawns went brown overnight and
those plants we thought were frost tolerant had been burnt to a crisp.
In the same week as winter settled over Zimbabwe, a series of chilling
statements started hitting the news. First came a strange prediction
made by the Minister of Justice who was speaking at a public seminar
in Harare. Minister Chinamasa said he wasn’t a prophet but that what
he was going to say was prophetic. He said he foresaw what he called a
‘war-mongering scenario’ developing as we approached elections.
The Minister said there would be a “tendency to provoke incidences,
to overblow them and exaggerate … in order to allow a
Syrian/Libyan-type Western intervention.”
Then came news that the Defence Minister had threatened the Finance
Minister for refusing to release two and half million US dollars for
army recruitment and operational expenses. When Minister Biti said
there was no additional money available and that the government was
already in debt, the Defence Minister was reported to have threatened
to send army generals to the Finance Minister’s office. The MDC said
the Defence Ministers comments were “unprofessional and a serious
threat on the Finance Minister’s life.”
Next came the shocking news that the Public Service Commission had
recruited ten thousand new members of staff in the last five months
without approval from the treasury. Speaking in Parliament ,Finance
Minister Biti said: “the main culprits are the Ministry of Defence
which employed 4,600 personnel since January 2012, and the Ministry of
Home Affairs which has recruited 1,200… without treasury
approval.” So, if we understood this correctly, the new soldiers had
in fact already been recruited and are even now sitting in the
The last staggering statement of the week came from 561 new police
graduates being reviewed by President Mugabe at their passing out
parade in Harare. Addressing the President, the police graduates
chanted in unison: “You are our God chosen leader and we hereby
stand by you and remind the EU and its allies that they can rule the
rest of the world but not Zimbabwe…” The recruits went on to say:
“we promise that we will spread the revolutionary gospel,”
meanwhile the rest of us wondered what was that internationally
accepted principle about an impartial police force.
So while police graduates march in the dust and unbudgeted new
soldiers sit in barracks, ordinary people shake their heads and wonder
why we even need another five thousand soldiers when we aren’t a
country at war or involved in anyone else’s war. It’s not just the
weather making us shiver this winter. Until next time, thanks for
reading, love cathy 16th June 2012. Copyright � Cathy Buckle.