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Unity Govt's Top Six To Hold Crisis Talks

http://www.radiovop.com/

13/03/2011 10:54:00

HARARE, March 13, 2011- The top six leaders of Zimbabwe's fragile unity
government are set to hold a crisis meeting next week in a bid to prevent
the collapse of the GNU following the arrest of a senior cabinet minister
and the ousting of the Speaker of Parliament this week, according to The
Sunday Times of South Africa.

Quoting government insiders the paper said President Robert Mugabe, his
co-vice-presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and his two deputies, Thokozani Khuphe and Arthur Mutambra, were
expected to convene an emergency gathering to tackle problems in the GNU
which erupted following dramatic events that left the government in turmoil.

Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma, a senior MDC-T
official, was arrested on Thursday on "criminal abuse of office" charges.
Police said Mangoma had flouted tender procedures in a $6-million fuel deal.
Mangoma will stand trial at the High Court on March 28. On Friday he was
taken to the notorious Harare remand prison. The minister was arrested at
his offices and initially detained at Harare central police station before
being transferred to Braeside police station.

Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe said Mangoma would have to apply for bail at
the High Court because he had no jurisdiction to preside over the matter.
Chris Mutangadura, the chief law officer in the Attorney General's Office,
served the indictment papers in court showing charges under the Criminal law
(Codification and Reform) Act and Procurement Regulations.

The state has lined up six witnesses to testify against Mangoma, including
his permanent secretary Justin Mupamhanga.
On the same day Mangoma was being arrested, the Supreme Court made a ruling
that nullified the election of Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo, who also
belongs to the premier's party.

The two incidents angered Tsvangirai who on Thursday confronted Nkomo - the
acting president while Mugabe was away in Ethiopia - over the issue. The
prime minister also slammed judges over the Moyo issue. His spokesman Luke
Tamborinyoka confirmed that his boss met Nkomo, but could not reveal details
of the meeting. "The prime minister met the acting president yesterday
(Thursday) over the arrest of the minister and discussed the issue," he
said. "However, I cannot disclose any details to the media."

Insiders said Tsvangirai grilled Nkomo on Mangoma's arrest until the latter
revealed that he was "out of the loop".
"Tsvangirai asked Nkomo why Mangoma had been arrested and also why he was
not consulted on the issue. Nkomo was at sixes and sevens but it appears
Mugabe had authorised Mangoma's arrest without consulting anybody," a senior
government official said. "Nkomo sounded vague and seemed unaware of what
was really going on. It looks like it's a plot by Mugabe and those very
close to him."

Government officials said the next few days would be decisive in determining
the fate of the GNU. Tsvangirai is also expected to deal toughly with Mugabe
at their usual meeting tomorrow (Monday). Besides, cabinet is expected to
hold an extraordinary session soon to discuss the fate of the GNU. There
were fierce clashes in cabinet on March 1 over the issue of the inclusive
government and outstanding Global Political Agreement (GPA) issues.

Tsvangirai told business executives in Harare on Thursday that there were
too many problems in the unity government and he was frustrated although he
wanted to stick it out and fight. However, he later said he was mulling
pulling out of the unity government. He said he was now pushing for a "clean
divorce" with Mugabe. But MDC secretary general Tendai Biti later said the
party was not in the process of "serving divorce papers on Zanu-PF".


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MDC Activists Relate Horror Stories

http://www.radiovop.com

13/03/2011 13:20:00

HARARE, March 13, 2011- Opposition activists in Zimbabwe have said that they
were forced out of their homes and beaten for refusing to support President
Robert Mugabe, claiming that the attacks are 'state sponsored,' as the
police arrested those who complained, instead of helping them, Britain,s Sky
News reported.

Their claims come amid growing international concern about renewed political
violence in Zimbabwe.Barnabas, an activist speaking from a 'safe house' in
Harare, said: " They broke my arm and started hitting me along my spine with
a metal stake."

Shingai, another opposition activist said: " They came with petrol to my
house and threatened to burn me along with my family, but instead they just
beat me until I was unconscious."

The men said many of the people living in Mbare, an area which has long been
a stronghold of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on the
outskirts of Harare, have been forced to flee their homes since the
beginning of the year.However, this slum community has undergone a dramatic
political conversion in recent weeks, with posters of Mugabe plastered over
every building, as it is not safe for the people to support the MDC, in the
wake of recent incidents.

Local opposition councillor Paul Gorekore said: " If you support the MDC,
they come after you and beat you," adding that even if people say that they
will join Zanu PF (Mugabe's party) they are still beaten to ensure their
support."

The present situation in Mbare is similar to the one in 2008, when Mugabe
used force and violence to emerge victorious in the elections.
The MDC fears that Mugabe has similar plans to pursue the same strategy in
the next election, which could be held later this year.


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Political Think Tank Says MDC Has Failed Zimbabweans

http://www.radiovop.com

13/03/2011 10:57:00

LONDON, March 13, 2011- A United Kingdom based political think tank says it
is time the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) change its
political strategy through a process of "regeneration" for it to regain
public trust and keep the fight for democracy alive.

Speaking at a human rights and democracy conference organized by the
Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in London on Saturday, Dr Leo Zeilig,
Assistant Director of the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit said the MDC
needs some form of regeneration to put itself in a better stand which will
allow it to continue the fight against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.

"I am far too critical of the MDC because it failed to act in 2008 when it
should have. Thats when Zimbabwe had its moment to remove Mugabe. Zimbabwe
now faces a crisis of the MDC," said Zeillg who has worked in Zimbabwe and
the SADC region without explaining what the regeneration will entail.
He has researched and written widely about African politics and history. His
books include Revolt and Protest: Student Politics and Activism in
Sub-Saharan Africa and Africa's Lost Leader: Patrice Lumunda. He has also
worked as a freelance journalist in Zimbabwe during the disputed
presidential election in 2002 and was arrested several times in the process.

"Mugabe spoke about the redistribution of land and local wealth as a
political selling point but what did the MDC do, they were stark in the old
talk of respecting property rights and in the process gave Mugabe the
ability to survive. The answer in Zimbabwe now lies in the regeneration of
the MDC or the emergence of another movement from elsewhere," said Zeilg.

The conference also highlighted many other problems that Zimbabwe still
faces, with many participants drawn from various universities across the
United Kingdom suggesting that the solution to Zimbabwe's problem lies in
the people themselves.
"The dictatorship in Africa is a structure and its not easy to remove them
but the solution lies with the people of Zimbabwe. They have to learn to
free themselves because nobody will but themselves," said Onyekachi Wambu
who works with the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD).


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Despite major steel deal, investors doubt Zimbabwe

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/

Today, 05:57 am
AFP Godfrey Marawanyika

Zimbabwe last week won its biggest foreign investment in a decade with a
$750-million steel deal, but that left other firms even more confused about
the rules of business in the troubled nation.

The agreement gives India's Essar Group a 54-percent stake in the mothballed
state steel firm Zisco, in a deal worth 12.5 times the total foreign
investment recorded in Zimbabwe in 2009.

But the deal contravenes Zimbabwe's new equity law, which requires locals to
hold majority stakes in major companies. Officials have tip-toed around the
contradiction, but it's not the first time the new rule has been waived.

In September, pan-African banking group Ecobank Transnational was given the
green-light to acquire 70 percent of Zimbabwe's Premier Bank, following a
$10-million capital injection.

Other companies now wonder how or if the law, vociferously defended by
veteran President Robert Mugabe, will apply to them.

"Many people are worried about the execution of the law or how it would be
applied," said Kojo Parris, a South African investor.

"There is need for clarity on how the law would be applied or how exemptions
would be applied."

The law requires locals to own 51 percent stakes in major firms, a rule that
indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere defended during an investment
conference.

"We believe as government we were getting a raw deal from foreign firms,
especially from mining sector," Kasukuwere said.

When Zimbabwe's unity government took office two years ago, officials
confidently predicted a surge in foreign investment, which until now has
proved elusive.

Euromoney, the financial services group behind last week's conference, still
ranks Zimbabwe as among the riskiest destinations in Africa, alongside
countries like Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While the economy began growing again in 2009 after 12 years of contraction,
the fragile unity government has yet to win over investors, due largely to
conflicting messages from Harare.

Economic ministries are now under the control of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, who has relentlessly pitched the country to investors.

The security apparatus remains firmly under the control of Mugabe, who
snubbed the investment confab, held one week after he threatened to seize
firms from western countries that maintain an asset freeze on him.

Despite the mixed signals, 250 potential investors came to Harare last week,
representing mainly banks, mining and retail companies.

Capital-intensive businesses like mining and manufacturing have generally
shied away from new investments in Zimbabwe, while retail and services have
proved more willing to jump in, especially from neighbouring South Africa.

South African retailer Pick and Pay has increased its stake in local stores
from 25 to 49 percent. South Africa's Spar has also expanded its presence,
while international banking group Investec has upped its stake in OK
Zimbabwe stores.

"Investors in the basic consumer sector such as those in retail always do
well in economies that are coming out of a crisis," said Ritesh Anand,
managing director of pan-African fund manager Invictus Investment.

Jonathan Chenevix-Trench, founding partner of British investment group
African Century, told AFP the key to riding out the risk was to plan for the
long term.

African Century has bought 25 percent shares in Zimbabwe's Stock Exchange
and London-listed National Merchant Bank.

"When investing Zimbabwe you must have long-term plans," he told AFP. "I
personally welcome the indigenisation policy as everyone needs
predictability. The key thing about the law is trust."


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Tsvangirai faces contempt charge

http://www.timeslive.co.za

Mar 12, 2011 3:55 PM | By ZOLI MANGENA

Zanu-PF hardliners are lobbying the party's leadership and their allies in
government to ensure Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is charged with
criminal contempt of court for slamming Supreme Court judges over the
nullification of Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo's election.

Top party officials told the Sunday Times there was a push by Zanu-PF hawks
for Tsvangirai to be charged with a similar offence as his exiled MDC-T
party treasurer Roy Bennett.

"We are lobbying our senior leaders to ensure that Tsvangirai - who claims
to be an advocate of the rule of law - to be charged with criminal contempt
of court," a senior Zanu-PF official said. "What he said yesterday
(Thursday) is shocking and clearly disrespectful and contemptuous of judges.
He must be charged."

Another Zanu-PF official said his party wanted to ensure the Supreme Court
arraigned Tsvangirai. The highest court of appeal has powers to charge
suspects with contempt of court.

Tsvangirai slammed Supreme Court judges for their ruling on Moyo which
dethroned him as speaker of the House of Assembly. The premier described the
judges as "politicians masquerading as judges" and "willing appendages of
Zanu-PF".

"Today, the Supreme Court handed down a judgment reversing the lawful
election of Honourable Lovemore Moyo as the Speaker of Parliament. The fact
of the matter is that the election of the speaker was lawful and legitimate,
a fact confirmed by the election officer and Clerk of Parliament Austin
Zvoma in his affidavit filed in court," Tsvangirai said.

"What is common cause is that parliament is a separate body, with its own
rules and regulations and the courts should not interfere with other arms of
the state, namely the legislature."

Tsvangirai further said: "We will not accept the decisions of some Zanu-PF
politicians masquerading as judges. Zanu-PF is trying to use the courts to
subvert and regain what it lost in an election."

Constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said: "I don't want to
comment specifically on Tsvangirai's statements but criminal contempt of
court is an offence which scandalises the court. It happens when one in his
criticism insinuates the court is made up of individuals with improper
motives or who are not fit to be in those positions."

Attorney General Johannes Tomana said on Friday he did not wish to respond
to Tsvangirai's remarks because they were "political".

"The reason why there are courts is to ensure they interpret the law and
administer justice. A normal society must discourage attacks on the courts
and judges because that creates anarchy and mayhem," he said.

"I can't respond to what (Tsvangirai) said because he was talking politics
and I don't talk politics. If you want a response on that call (Justice)
Minister (Patrick) Chinamasa." Repeated efforts to get a comment from
Chinamsa failed.

Tsvangirai also said the Supreme Court's ruling reflected the current state
of the judiciary. "This decision is a clear reflection of the state of
affairs on the Bench ... (which) has largely discredited itself by becoming
a willing appendage of Zanu-PF. Dubious decisions have been made in this
era."


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Cash constraints hamper dualisation

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Saturday, 12 March 2011 13:30

HARARE - Instead of dualising roads the government of Zimbabwe s that it is
going to start† modernizing and maintaining of the existing roads, as this
is cheaper.
Speaking at the Euromoney Conference last week, Minister of Transport and
Communication Nicholas Goche admitted the country’s roads were indeed in bad
shape, but said there was no money for the dualisation of the
Harare-Beitbridge road and the Bulawayo-Harare road.
“The dualisation of roads is too costly so we have started the modernisation
and maintenance of the existing roads,” said Goche. The minister has in the
past been accused of allocating the largest chunk of the toll gate fees to
his Mashonaland Province.
He said the government was looking for partners to undertake the dualisation
of Nyamapanda road, which links Zimbabwe with Malawi, and the
Harare-Chirundu road which links the country with Zambia and the DRC.
Roads in Zimbabwe are in bad shape and the Harare-Masvingo road is infamous
for fatal accidents. Although road construction workers are currently
working on the busy highway progress has been at a very snail pace owing to
cash constraints.


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Zimbabwe theatre group embarks on yearlong world tour

http://www.timeslive.co.za

Mar 12, 2011 4:02 PM | By VLADIMIR MZACA

The Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (Iyasa) is embarking on a world tour
that will take it to three continents.

The theatre company will first visit Austria and then other European
countries such as Germany, the UK, Serbia, the Czech Republic and France.

"Our tour starts this week in Europe, where we will spend five months," said
the director of the group, Nkululeko Dube.

The group will then tour China and Japan, and Mexico after that. "It is
going to be a year-long tour. We will be performing at festivals, fringe
shows and at times we will be working with Zimbabwean embassies abroad on a
number of projects," Dube said.

Iyasa is taking 12 members on tour. "Ever since the global economic
recession a few years back, arts have been affected. Arts groups had fewer
shows abroad and had to take fewer members on tour because of costs," he
said. There were fewer jobs in the arts industry and fewer public
programmes. Most Zimbabwean arts groups depend on foreign shows for
financial survival in the form of tours and donor funding.

With things improving, the team will be showcasing its 2011 production,
Streets of Africa, with the show premiering in Vienna. "It is meant to show
the world how things are done in the streets of African countries. The
streets of Bulawayo are not any different from the streets of Johannesburg,
but they are different from those of London, Berlin and other European
cities. Our show is an hourlong musical portraying the hustle and bustle of
town life."

The show will come to Zimbabwe after 12 months and then it will be taken to
South Africa and Swaziland.


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 12th March 2011

The tsunami sweeping everything before it after the Japanese earthquake made a haunting picture but the Zimbabwean image of the week for Vigil supporters was Tsvangirai storming off to complain to Mugabe about the arrest of MDC Minister Mangoma – only to find that the old man had tottered off to some AU meeting to defend fellow tyrants Gaddafi and Gbagbo. Foreign investors gathered in Harare to hear Tsvangirai tell them of Zimbabwe’s wonderful economic potential were left wondering what was going on: they had already been snubbed by Mugabe who chose instead to attend a politbureau meeting to decide how the government could steal their money.

We were not surprised that ZBC did not report either the Japanese earthquake or Tsvangirai’s angry outburst. The contradictions abounded: Tsvangirai inviting investors while bemoaning the violence, corruption and compromised judiciary – and at the same time telling a Financial Times journalist how ‘humane’ Mugabe is (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/mar12a_2011.html#Z17 – Dinner with the FT: Morgan Tsvangirai).

Vigil supporters could observe the same strange unreality here in the UK. A well-informed debate on Zimbabwe in the House of Lords, compassionate and thoughtful, ended in a nebulous cloud of ill-founded hope. Speaking for the government, Lord Howell condemned the increasing violence and spoke of ‘highly sinister developments’. He said the role of SADC as guarantors of the Global Political Agreement will be a key to the future of Zimbabwe and went on to say ‘we are encouraged by the recent increased diplomatic activity in working to create an environment conducive to holding free and fair elections’. He went further in an interview with the Voice of the People in which he said ‘SADC is already playing a remarkable role which is closely related to the hands on approach that South Africa is playing’. (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/mar11_2011.html#Z13 – Top UK govt officer and former Mandela lawyer urges Zim to respect rule of law).

Lord Howell gave no details and the Vigil sees no evidence of this ‘remarkable role’. Any ‘remarkable role’ played by SADC is more likely to be of the type played by Gaddafi in Northern Ireland.

The Vigil noted the comment in the debate by Baroness Bonham-Carter: ‘As major providers of aid to Zimbabwe and to its neighbours, the people of the United Kingdom – and, indeed the EU as a whole – have a right to expect serious engagement on these issues’. Vigil supporters want to see the British government and the EU in general take the gloves off and put pressure on SADC to force Mugabe to honour his undertakings. We believe that they should withhold aid to SADC governments if they do not meet their obligations to Zimbabweans.

Other points

†††††††† Vigil team members Dumi Tutani and Luka Phiri featured in interviews on the internet this week. Dumi gave an interview to a US radio station in Portland Oregon which also featured Jenni Williams of WOZA – check: http://kboo.fm/node/27088. Luka was interviewed on a video documentary by Antonio Cardoso which includes footage of the Vigil – Check: www.vimeo.com/acardoso/zimbabwevigiluk.

†††††††† Glad as always to have Beverley Mutandiro with us. She led the Vigil in prayer and singing. She said how singing releases stress and talked to us about the virtue of patience (Hebrews 11 /12).

†††††††† Supporters came from far and wide today. Angeline Mukoti caught the overnight coach from Edinburgh and was returning home overnight. She plans to come again next week. Anna Mutunzi came from Newcastle and had to leave her new baby (born premature) in others’ care. Gladys Mapanda joined us from Cardiff and took care of the register and merchandise.† Sandra Madenyika once more brought her three young children from Sheffield. Her children plus David Kadzutu’s sons David Jnr and Jones (newly arrived from Zimbabwe) were a great help handing out flyers and selling the Zimbabwean newspaper.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.††

FOR THE RECORD: 138 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

†††††††††† 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.

†††††††††† ROHR North London general meeting. Saturday 19th March from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham N17 6QN. Station: Seven Sisters. Buses 123, 149, 259, 349, 341, 476 towards Tottenham – third stop. Contact: V Chengaose 07956586377, Bernard Hukwa 07835323174, Ruby Chitiyo 07886998102, B Nyahwa 07534905348, Velempini Moyo 07960863128, P Mapfumo 07932216070.

†††††††††† ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 26th March from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi† 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, Charles Nenguke 07925146757, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069. Future demonstrations: 30th April, 28th May. Same time and venue.

†††††††††† ROHR Manchester meetings. Saturday 16th April: (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road,Manchester M13 9UB. Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, Charles Nenguke 07925146757, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069. Future meeting: 14th May. Same times and venue.

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

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

†††††††††† ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.† To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to ngwenyasr@yahoo.co.uk and 0send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe

†††††††††† Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa (takudzwa.mukiwa@tht.org.uk) if you are interested in taking part.

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.


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Ncube's MDC guns for Speaker’s post

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:13

BY NQOBILE BHEBHE AND NQOBANI NDLOVU

THE Movement for Democratic Change led by Welshman Ncube says it will field
a candidate in the elections for a new Speaker of Parliament and believes
both MDC-T and Zanu PF have no choice but to vote with it.

This follows the dramatic ouster of the MDC-T chairman Lovemore Moyo on
Wednesday and indications that a poll would have to be conducted soon to
find a replacement.

The Supreme Court ruled that Moyo’s election was unprocedural following a
legal challenge by Zanu
PF MP Jonathan Moyo and two other MDC MPs.

In 2008, the MDC-T chairman beat MDC’s Paul Themba Nyathi to become the
first Speaker who did not come in on a Zanu PF ticket since independence.

He got support from three MDC MPs who went against the party’s advice and
voted with MDC-T.
The MPs, Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and
Norman Mpofu (Bulilima) subsequently lost their seats after they were
expelled from the party.

Qhubani Moyo, the MDC organising secretary said the party would soon meet to
choose a candidate for one of the top jobs in the unity government.

“We are confident that we will win,” he said. “The other two parties have no
choice but to support us.”
With just two MPs, the MDC is the power broker in the hung parliament and
both Zanu PF and MDC-T have admitted they cannot do without its support.

Zanu PF has indicated that it would not field a candidate in the clearest
indication yet that it would go with the original plan where it supported
Nyathi’s candidature.

Ncube may not be in the mood to do Prime Morgan Morgan Tsvangirai any
favours after the MDC-T leader refused to fight in his corner in the battle
to remove Arthur Mutambara from the deputy prime minister’s post.

Tsvangirai sided with President Robert Mugabe who refused to swear Ncube in
as DPM after he ousted Mutambara as leader of the MDC.

In November last year, Veritas, a parliamentary watchdog showed that MDC-T
and Zanu PF’s voting strengths in the House of Assembly were balanced at 96
members each.

But a number of MDC-T MPs may not be able to vote because of a clampdown by
police.


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Ministers get hefty salary increases

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:06

BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE

CABINET ministers, MPs and Senators have given themselves a hefty salary
increment of up to 200% while government has set a June deadline to review
the remuneration of civil servants, investigations by The Standard have
revealed.
Ministers started earning an average of US$2 300 in January before
deductions and take home about US$2 000.

For the first two years of the unity government, ministers were paid an
average of US$600.

The increase would come as a shock to the majority of the poorly-paid civil
servants who are taking home less than US$200. Since last year their calls
for a salary review have been rejected by the government.

Civil servants are demanding a minimum salary of US$502 per month and had
expected this to show on their January 2011 payslips.

Efforts to establish whether President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai had also got an increment were fruitless.

MPs who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were now netting an
average of US$940 up from US$400.

Deputy Ministers saw their salaries jumping to US$1 600 up from an average
of US$400.

According to a payslip seen by The Standard, ministers and their deputies
are given a US$264 allowance for their domestic workers.

“It’s true we got an increase in January with an additional allowance of
almost US$300 for our domestic workers coming last month,” a deputy minister
who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
“MPs are now getting around US$940 as of January this year.”

Efforts to get comment from Finance minister, Tendai Biti were fruitless as
he was said to be out of the country yesterday.

Public Service minister Eli-phas Mukonoweshuro on Friday said he did not
deal with the issues of salaries of ministers, soldiers and the police.

Public Service Commission chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa professed ignorance
when asked about the increment.

Meanwhile, Cabinet on Tuesday agreed that civil servants must get a salary
review and provide loans for them to buy houses and cars by June.

According to a letter obtained by The Standard addressed to Biti by
Mukonoweshuro dated March 7, Nzuwa had been instructed to “consult treasury
as usual on technical details.”

Mukonoweshuro refused to comment on the letter saying it was confidential
while Nzuwa said he had not seen it although it was copied to him.

In January Mugabe precipitated a political storm when he announced while in
Ethiopia that civil servants would get a huge pay rise after Mines and
Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu told him that a recent diamond
action had raked in US$250 million.

Biti said the money from the diamond auction had not reached government
coffers and has since called for an audit into diamond sales amid fierce
resistance from Zanu PF. Mugabe says civil servants are paid less than his
farm workers who get US$300 a month.

Now the civil servants are paid even less than ministers and deputy
ministers’ domestic workers.

MDC-T blames the poor remuneration of civil servants on the existence of
ghost workers who were put on government payroll by Zanu PF to aid its
election campaign.

A payroll and skills audit carried out by Ernst and Young (India) on behalf
of the Ministry of Public Service showed that government has been splashing
money on 75 000 ghost workers every month.

Government has 188 019 workers and critics say if the ghost workers were
removed from the payroll, civil servants would be paid decent salaries from
the current budget.


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Police arrest Crisis director

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:17

BY OUR STAFF

CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition Director McDonald Lewanika was arrested
yesterday for an unknown reasons.
An alert from the civic society revealed that he was detained at Makoni
Police Station in Chitungwiza.

The charges levelled against him were still unknown at the time of going to
the press.

However Pedzisai Ruhanya, the Programmes Manager at the organisation said
Lewanika’s arrest could be part of the crackdown on perceived opponents of
Zanu PF.

“I understand he was arrested but we do not know why,” he said.

“What we know is that police are on an onslaught against democratic forces
in Zimbabwe.”

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena was not available for comment.


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Only Mugabe can stop Chihuri: Makone

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:31

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE

POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is “following the law too
strictly” by making decisions with far-reaching implications on the shaky
unity government, Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone has said.

Makone told The Standard a day after Energy and Power Development minister
Elton Mangoma’s arrest on Thursday that although ministers were not above
the law, the matter could have been handled differently.

Mangoma, a close ally of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has been charged
with criminal abuse of office after he authorised a deal to buy fuel from a
little-known South African company.

Legal experts and political analysts said it was curious that Mangoma was
arrested without the knowledge of the ministers of Home Affairs, who
administer the Police Act.

“There are several instances when Chihuri acts unilaterally without
informing his bosses.

“When the police banned MDC-T rallies or arrested Mangoma, Makone and
co-Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi were never advised.

“He is following the law too strictly,” Makone said.

“Under normal circumstances he is supposed to brief us before he goes to HE
(His Excellency) so that if the President (Robert Mugabe) calls us we are in
the picture.”

Makone, who refused to discuss her working relationship with Chihuri, a
known Zanu PF supporter, said it was only courteous for the police chief to
brief the co-Ministers of Home Affairs on important matters.
Prominent Harare lawyer Chris Mhike said in terms of the law the police boss
must be working closely with the two ministers.

“There would be an administrative short-circuit if the head of an
administrative body, the ZRP reports directly to the president, without
first accounting to the ministers responsible for that particular organ,”
Mhike said.

“That short-circuit implies that Makone and Mohadi are rendered redundant in
the context of law enforcement decisions and procedures.”

But police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena
insisted Mangoma’s arrest was done procedurally.

“Any police officer in any part of the country can arrest anyone except a
sitting president,” said Bvudzijena.

Asked if Chihuri has become a law unto himself since he reports directly to
Mugabe, Bvudzijena said his boss’ powers were enshrined in the constitution.

What the constitution says

According to the constitution, the Police Commissioner-General is appointed
by the President and reports directly to him.

In Mangoma’s case, Makone said she expected Chihuri to notify her and Mohadi
after which the unity government principals would be engaged.

The police would then proceed by way of summons if they strongly felt there
was a case to answer.
“These arrests are designed to humiliate and send a signal to MDC ministers
that if you think you are in control you are mistaken because you are not.
It’s Zanu PF flexing its muscle,” Makone said.

“Mangoma’s case was discussed in Cabinet two weeks ago and we all understood
his explanation. No one raised a different view," she said.

Mohadi, Makone are powerless, just figureheads

Several high-ranking MDC-T officials have been arrested and charged with
various crimes over the past one month.

Apart from Mangoma, Nyanga North MP Douglas Mwonzora and Mazowe Central MP
Shepherd Mushonga who are currently out on bail were locked up by the
police.

Mhike said Mangoma’s arrest showed a lack of good faith in the relationship
between the ministers and Chihuri.

“It would seem there is bad blood between officials in the Ministry of Home
Affairs with the civil servants working under them, in this case senior
police officers,” Mhike said.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer John Makumbe said Mangoma’s
arrest was evidence that the unity government was not working.

He said in many countries, if a minister is being arrested the President and
Prime Minister would be informed first.

“What is unprocedural in this case is that the person who is being arrested
is a minister, in many countries that would require that the two† (President
and Prime Minister) are informed of the pending arrest.”

Makumbe said both Makone and Mohadi were just figureheads.

“They are powerless. They don’t even control Chihuri or the police,” said
Makumbe.

“They are really superfluous in the sense that they are neither here nor
there. The police can work as if there are no ministers.”

In March 2007, Tsvangirai was arrested and severely beaten by police
following a prayer meeting in Harare’s Highfield suburb.

The police appeared to have President Robert Mugabe’s blessings.

Mugabe claimed that Tsvangirai deserved to be beaten up because he had
provoked the police after he attended a banned meeting.


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Women resort to herbs for abortions

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 14:17

BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE

Many Harare women are turning to traditional medicine to illegally terminate
unwanted pregnancies as fees charged by medical doctors continue to soar.

Abortion is illegal in Zimbabwe and can only be done in cases of incest,
rape or when the pregnancy has life-threatening effects on the mother.

But over the years some medical doctors have taken advantage of the many
women desperate to get rid of unwanted pregnancies by charging between
US$100 and US$450 for a safe abortion.

The exorbitant charges have forced many women including high school and
college students who can’t afford such fees to seek alternative ways to
abort the pregnancies.

A survey at Mbare’s Mupedzanhamo informal market revealed that herbalists
charge as little as US$25 for an abortion.

Anxious to unravel the thriving underground industry, this reporter posed as
a married woman who wanted an abortion after blaming an extramarital affair
for her pregnancy.

The herbalist (name withheld) initially demanded US$65 for the concoction
whose results “are instant.”
However, the herbalist had no problem reducing the fee to as little as US$25
after a brief negotiation.

Quizzed on the safety and effectiveness of his concoction, the trader
maintained that he had a string of happy customers.

“Look at this book full of names of people I have helped, some to abort
while others came for different ailments,” he said.

“My herbs work and so many people from as young as Form II students to
people like you come here for abortion.

“I help them terminate the pregnancies.”

A woman who spoke on condition of anonymity said she had used the
traditional herbs more than once and found them to be safe.

“There is this old woman who charges US$30 to terminate pregnancies in my
neighbourhood,” she said. “The medicine is a concoction of different herbs
and is very bitter.

“Normally it starts working an hour after one takes it and those who don’t
know that you are pregnant would never suspect anything.

“I have done it twice and my husband has never suspected it.”

Women must avoid unwanted pregnancies, says Mombeshora

Douglas Mombeshora, the deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare said
government was aware that illegal abortions were rife but accused medical
practitioners, traditional healers and elderly women of abetting the illegal
practice.

“The problem with these back- street abortions is that there are very
dangerous,” he said.

“You will find that in some cases women aborting have their uteruses
perforated in the process of trying to prick the foetus.

Mombeshora said the only solution was for women to practice safe sex and
avoid unwanted pregnancies. However, he noted that eradicating the problem
among teenage girls was a big challenge since they did not have easy access
to contraceptives.


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US$500m expansion to go ahead

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:39

BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE

ZIMPLATS says it is going ahead with its US$500 million phase two expansion
drive despite threats by Zanu PF to take over the mine under the government’s
black empowerment policy.
President Robert Mugabe speaking during his 87th birthday celebrations last
month named Zimplats, Nestle Zimbabwe and 400 British-owned companies for
take-over under Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy.

But Chindove said the company would go ahead with its expansion plans.

Under the phase two expansion project, Zimplats expects to increase its
annual platinum output to 270 000 ounces from 180 000 ounces once it is
completed in 2013.

Chindove said Zimplats had submitted its indigenisation proposals to
government and hoped to reach an amicable agreement.


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Zimplats workers fear repeat of SMM disaster two lines here

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:36

BY JENNIFER DUBE

NGEZI — President Robert Mugabe’s threats to seize Zimplats have sent
shockwaves through Ngezi and Selous communities who now fear a repeat of the
Shabanie Mine disaster.

Mugabe has singled out the South African-owned platinum mining company as
one of the companies to be targeted first in the Zanu PF indigenisation
crusade that has sent jitters among investors.

Shabanie and Mashaba mines, once counted among the world’s top producers of
asbestos now lie in ruin after the government grabbed them from Mutumwa
Mawere, a Zimbabwean business tycoon now based in South Africa.

“We do not want to be thrown into poverty like they did to Shabanie Mashaba
mine workers,” said a 26-year-old wife of a Zimplats miner who wanted to
remain anonymous.

“We cannot trust people who have failed in this business before.”

The woman said employees at the mine were comfortable with their working
conditions and would not want it to be spoilt by a poorly planned
indigenisation programme.

“My husband has worked for other mines before but we never led a life near
to the one we have now,” she said.

“We have a beautiful house and now have a car bought with a loan from the
company.

“Without ridiculing Shabanie Mashaba mine workers, we are aware that a lot
of them cannot even afford a loaf of bread because of government’s
ill-advised interventions.”

Some of the workers who spoke to The Standard said although their working
conditions were not ideal, they were better paid than colleagues from
neighbouring mines.

They also said they were happy that while employees of other mines lived in
squalid conditions, their company built houses for them.

The five-roomed Turf Village houses built by the company for its employees
would leave some city-dwellers green with envy.

The houses for low-grade employees have five rooms each, including a
kitchen, dining room and three bedrooms.

They also have a laundry room and a cottage with a kitchen, bedroom,
bathroom and toilet.
The conditions get better as the grades go up. All the houses have fitted
cupboards and a four-plate stove bought by the company.

“We are not against indigenisation but we are worried that if government
comes in as a partner, the current owners may leave, paving way for the
collapse of the mine,” an employee who wanted to remain anonymous said.

“Zimplats has done a lot for this community especially by refurbishing
schools and building some classroom blocks.

“It also electrified some schools and is supplying others with stationery.”

Some commended Zimplats for building a trauma centre for treatment of light
illnesses for both employees and the community and for also donating an
ambulance to a local hospital.

Mugabe said Zimplats was externalising its profits and had done little in
uplifting the local community.

His sentiments were shared by Nixon Mangowe, a former Zimplats employee who
felt the company has not done enough to help the community.

But despite this, Mangowe remains sceptical about a government take-over. “I
am not confident the government will do any better,” he said.

Zimplats shares listed on the Australian Stock Exchange began tumbling last
week, in what analy-
sts believe is a reaction to Mu-gabe’s well publicised threats.

Local leaders consulted over recruitment
Some of the Zimplats workers said though they were better renumerated than
other employees from nearby mines, they had been negotiating for an
increment since January. Others wanted more locals to be employed.

In response, Busi Chindove, Zimplats’ head of corporate affairs said
employees’ remuneration concerns were looked at through internal channels
and the National Employment Council.

“The current system of local recruitment involves local community leaders
including chiefs and councillors and through these community leaders young
people from the local community are recruited regularly and in significant
numbers,” she said.

“With the current rate of unemployment it is obviously understandable that
there will be anxiety over employment.”

Chindove said it was not possible that Zimplats would absorb all unemployed
people from the local community.

“While Zimplats is making an effort to create employment it is worth noting
that there are other mining companies within the vicinity mainly engaged in
chrome mining and hopefully with time as the various mining operations in
the district grow, this will ease the unemployment burden,” she added.


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Mystery surrounds origins of Upfumi Kuvadiki group

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:22

BY JENNIFER DUBE

THEY live in elite suburbs, drive posh cars, dress like music stars and are
very eloquent.

But despite all the glitz, executive members of the shadowy pressure group
Upfumi Kuvadiki are camera shy. They are comfortable with their names going
to print but not with their pictures.

Operating from a house in plush Mt Pleasant in Harare, the group recently
came to the limelight when its members sealed off Harare parking company
Easipark’s premises, claiming to be the new owners.

This came shortly after they went on the rampage and looted shops at the
Gulf Complex under the pretext of demonstrating against foreigners owning
retail shops in the country.

Their office is currently half-empty, with only two desks, two computers and
a couch among few other notables.

The group’s deputy finance secretary, Wesley Bvekerwa says they are facing
funding problems because they only started formal operations mid-January.

Some members cannot afford the once-off US$1 subscription fee hence the
organisation’s lean purse, he says.

But who exactly are these militants?

Who exactly are they?

Blessing Layi, the Information and Publicity secretary, said since
registration with the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) on January 12, the group
now has 20 000 members, most of them from high- density suburbs of Mbare,
Highfield and Mabvuku among others.

“Our members are aged between 15 and 35 years and the 12 executive members
are aged between 24 and 31 years,” Bvekerwa said. “Most of us are business
people operating in various sectors of the economy.

“I own a financial services consultancy company while some of my colleagues
are small-scale miners, small-scale farmers and others buy and sell gold and
petrol among other things.

When the group got away with its riotous activities which would generally be
regarded as criminal, questions were raised on who was behind them.

The popular belief is that it was a Zanu PF creation to represent interests
of politicians seeking to take advantage of the confusion in government’s
indigenisation programme.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda is among those who believe the group is well
connected.

“On the day that these guys invaded Easipark, I got a call from (Youth
Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister) Saviour Kasukuwere
telling me that I should engage them as they were hungry and angry
Zimbabweans,” Masunda said. “He must have something to do with them.

“I do not think it is by mere coincidence that he called me about them at a
time when they were doing what they were doing.”

Efforts to get a comment from Kasukuwere were fruitless but a search on
social networks such as Facebook revealed that the youths do not hide their
Zanu PF links.

They have posted several messages extolling both President Robert Mugabe and
Zanu PF’s policies.
On Thursday, the ZYC, which is the umbrella body for all youth organisations
in the country, distanced itself from Upfumi Kuvadiki’s violent conduct.


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Group suffers crisis of identity

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:21

Prominent historian Phathisa Nyathi said MLF was still unknown in the region
and their approach was bound to arouse suspicion.

MDC-T has said it believes the group is a Zanu PF creation to divert people’s
attention from the party’s misdeeds.

In the past few years, Matabeleland has emerged as the battleground for the
country’s main politicians as the voters in the region have tended to vote
as a block.

“For now, it’s a bit tricky. Firstly for me, I doubt the authenticity of
this thing.

“To me, it’s very suspect. Who is championing it?

“If people have got the energy they have to campaign for their empowerment,”
Nyathi said.

“They have to exhaust all efforts, alternatives and routes of getting their
grievances addressed. The authorities are known and they should be
approached.

“For me now, it (secession) is not even an option. That is why all this is
suspect to me.”

The secessionists have been active on cyberspace for some time and their
objective is to create what they call a “Mthwakazi Republic”.

Before the arrest of their leaders in Zimbabwe they had written to Mugabe
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai demanding a referendum on the separate
state.


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Businessman sues H-Metro

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:18

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE

A local businessman and former journalist, Edwin Masimba Moyo, is demanding
US$1 million from H-Metro after the tabloid published a story claiming that
he had sneaked into the country wearing a wig and dressed like a woman for a
private wedding.

In papers lodged at the High Court, Moyo’s lawyer Joshua Shekede of
Wintertons Legal Practitioners said the article was defamatory because it
stated that the businessman, who was allegedly being sought by the police
over a fraud case, sneaked into the country for the private wedding at a
local hotel.

The editor of H-Metro Lawrence Moyo is cited as the first defendant while
Zimpapers, the publishers of the newspaper, are the second defendants.

The story was published on December 6 2010 following Moyo’s wedding to one
Maria Rosa Nyambuya who lives in the UK.

Shekede said in the article Moyo was portrayed as a person who was entering
into a marriage of convenience by marrying a British citizen in order to
secure residency or citizenship in the UK.

The article, said Shekede, also stated that Moyo failed to inform Father
Mukamba, who presided over the wedding, in time that his role was only to
bless the marriage, which had already been solemnised by a magistrate.

According to court documents, the article also stated that at one time Moyo
borrowed some cattle from a relative, which he was now failing to return
thereby causing “numerous miscarriages for the relative” but could afford
hosting an expensive wedding at a hotel.

“The said words, in the context article, are wrongful and defamatory of the
Plaintiff in that they were intended and were understood by readers of the
newspaper to mean that the Plaintiff (Moyo) is dishonest, without moral
fibre and is not a law-abiding citizen,” reads part of the application.

Apart from the US$1 million, Moyo, a renowned farmer, is also claiming
interest at the prescribed rate from the date of publication to full and
final payment as well as costs of the suit.

In opposing papers, the defendants denied that words used were defamatory or
understood as alleged.
They also deny that Moyo suffered damages in the amount claimed or at all.


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Can Tsvangirai afford to ‘divorce’ Mugabe?

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:27

BY KHOLWANI NYATHI

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had a nightmarish 59th birthday on Thursday
and his reaction to the multi-pronged setbacks could have left millions of
troubled Zimbabweans, pinning their hopes on his leadership, frustrated.
The biggest shock was the arrest of one of MDC-T’s negotiators in the
topsy-turvy unity government, Elton Mangoma on corruption charges about
which the country’s supposed co-holder of executive power only learned
through a cellphone text message.

Mangoma, one of the coalition government’s most important ministers is
accused of corruptly authorising a fuel deal involving a South African
company and was remanded in custody until March 28.

As if that was not enough, news began filtering that MDC-T chairman Lovemore
Moyo had lost his post as Speaker of the House of Assembly. Barely a day
after the Supreme Court nullified† his election as Speaker, Moyo was ordered
to vacate his government house and surrender parliament’s property.

The Supreme Court had upheld an appeal by Zanu PF Tsholotsho North MP
Jonathan Moyo who challenged the former Matobo MP’s election to the hot
seat.

Tsvangirai addressed a hastily- arranged press conference where he rehashed
MDC-T’s now familiar rhetoric about a “divorce” from President Robert Mugabe
and his Zanu PF.

In October 2009, MDC-T temporarily pulled out of the coalition government
accusing Mugabe of being “dishonest and unreliable”.

The pullout followed the indictment of the party’s treasurer general Roy
Bennett on terrorism charges.
MDC-T also cited a catalogue of complaints against Mugabe who had started
showing reluctance in fulfilling commitments he made in the Global Political
Agreement (GPA).

Bennett has since been acquitted by the courts but MDC-T’s grievances have
continued to grow with each day as an increasingly confident Mugabe believes
he can bury his opponents if an election is held soon.

An unprecedented police clampdown has netted a number of MDC-T MPs and
Mangoma became the biggest catch in what many believe is a trumped-up case.

The developments had led many into believing that Tsvangirai had been pushed
against the wall and may have wanted to prove to his doubters that he still
had the muscle.

But even his threat to pull out sounded half-hearted as he was quick to
point out that a fresh election was the only way out of the quagmire.

Observers believe Tsvangirai will stay in the inclusive government despite
Mugabe’s intransigence because he believes that there is no guarantee that
future elections would be free and fair.

South African President Jacob Zuma is currently working with the three
parties in the unity government to produce a roadmap for the polls that
Mugabe wants this year.

A referendum on the new constitution, which is also likely to go a long way
in levelling the electoral playing field, is due later this year.

Zanu PF lost control of parliament for the first time since independence in
2008 following a dismal performance against the two MDC formations.

Tsvangirai also beat Mugabe in the first round of the presidential elections
but failed to stand in the run-off after massive political violence,
allegedly engineered by state agents.

Besides the setting up of the independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the
environment still hasn’t changed much.

“Zanu PF cadres and securocrats who murdered people in the run-up to the
June 27 election are roaming free and no criminal charges have been pressed
against the murderers of Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika and the other 200
victims of the 2008 violence,” Tsvangirai admitted on Thursday.

Zanu PF, MDC-T marriage broken† irretrievably

Bekithemba Mpofu, a founding youth secretary general of the united MDC said
it was now common cause that the relationship between Zanu PF and MDC-T had
irretrievably broken down.

“When the coalition was formed Zanu PF was on its knees but now, having
benefitted from the coalition, have since been able to crawl, walk and will
be running soon,” Mpofu said.

“Evidently, they are now jogging, that’s why they have the luxury to start
arresting opponents at will, threaten foreign companies and restart their
violent campaigns.

“The MDC can continue to provide them with the life-support units that have
since brought them back to life or can stop the supply before Zanu PF gets
back its full confidence.”

Mpofu said Zanu PF knew that chances of MDC-T pulling out of the unity
government were slim and would therefore continue to push boundaries in its
quest to test Tsvangirai’s determination to stand resolute.

“It is foolhardy for anyone to ever think Zanu PF is in it to help the
people as their main concern is and has always been about selfishly staying
in power by any means,” he said.

“So if you are dealing with such a partner in a coalition using kid gloves,
it can be counter-productive.
“I think Tsvangirai has patiently extended a hand of peace and unfortunately
this has been mistaken for being weak. A more radical approach is required.”

He said if MDC-T pulled out Mugabe could continue as if nothing happened as
was the case in 2009 and would then call for an early election with the
conditions that are currently prevailing.


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Matabeleland secession: Who will benefit?

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:20

BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

BULAWAYO — A regional magistrate on Friday ruled that three leaders of a
group campaigning for a separate Matabeleland state must be tried for
treason opening the way for debate on what might be one of the toughest
questions facing independent Zimbabwe today.

Paul Siwela, a losing 2002 presidential candidate, John Gazi, a prominent
Bulawayo war veteran and Charles Thomas were arrested a fortnight ago for
allegedly distributing Matabeleland Liberation Front (MLF) flyers advocating
for President Robert Mugabe’s ouster.

MLF was officially launched in December in Bulawayo by South African-based
Zimbabwean exiles who want the secession of Matabeleland citing continued
marginalisation of the region.

Four more activists were arrested soon after regional magistrate John
Masimba’s ruling and they are also likely to be charged with treason.

The case, although given scant coverage by both local and foreign media, has
touched a raw nerve in Matabeleland where people were unanimous in calling
for devolution of power in the new constitution.

But analysts were divided on whether MLF’s radical approach would bring the
results.

Some felt that the radicalism was a sign that the people of Matabeleland,
who also bore the brunt of the Gukurahundi atrocities in the 1980s when more
than 20 000 people were butchered for supporting PF Zapu, had been pushed
against the wall.

Methuseli Moyo, the Zapu spokesman said MLF’s radicalism could be linked to
frustrations over the way the region has been overlooked in national
development programmes over the years.

“I think it’s a manifestation of frustration from the people of Matabeleland
who have been getting a raw deal from the time they were colonised in the
1890s up until today,” Moyo said.

“If you speak to the people of Matabeleland, they will tell you that they
will only be free when Matabeleland gets independence.

“But my advice is that people should just be patient and wait for Mugabe to
go, to get out of power or to go to heaven.

“At that moment even systems of governance may change such that there may be
no need to breakaway.”

His sentiments were echoed by National Healing co-minister Moses Mzila
Ndlovu who said MLF could have taken a suicidal route by trying to take
Mugabe head on.

“My honest opinion is that the historical background to the whole issue
lends itself to these sentiments.
“It’s the way the people of Matabeleland have been treated,” he said.

“However, it’s a very deadly position that MLF have taken.

“Deadly in the sense that you almost know how Zanu PF will react.

“I am talking from a security point of view.

“Zanu PF is looking for an excuse to clamp down on Matabeleland and if we do
this we are going to give them an excuse.”

Ndlovu who is also MDC’s deputy secretary general said MLF leaders should
have first sought to build consensus in the region before taking decisive
action.


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Another Chinese firm at Chiadzwa

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 14:05

BY INDIANA CHIRARA

THE Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has given another Chinese
company a licence to mine diamonds in the controversial Chiadzwa area, a
senior ZMDC official has said.

Godwills Masimirembwa, the ZMDC chairman told Standardbusiness in an
interview last week that Sino-Zimbabwe had joined Anjin, another Chinese
company already in Chiadzwa prospecting for diamonds.

A third company, Pure Dian from the United Arab Emirates, was also granted a
license to join Mbada and Marange Resources, which already run mines in the
area in partnership with the ZMDC.

“Currently there are only two companies which are mining, that is Mbada and
Marange,” he said.

“The other three, which are Sino-Zimbabwe, Anjin and Pure Dian, are carrying
out exploration though they have the licenses.”

Masimirembwa said the ZMDC continued to receive a flurry of applications
from both local and foreign investors who wanted licences to start mining
operations in Chiadzwa.

“We have more than 150 applications for mining licences from potential
investors and this shows that as Zimbabwe, we have the resources and we have
the capability of growing economically,” he said.

“Financial and technical capacity are some of the conditions that determine
the approval of a mining licence but it’s not an easy road.”

Masimirembwa said under normal circumstances, the sale of diamonds from
Chiadzwa could rake in US$85 million a month but only US$20 million was
being realised because of sanctions.

“The production of diamonds is under very difficult circumstances and the
sale of the mineral is at a very slow pace, which is not good for the
economy,” he said.

ZMDC is currently under pressure to account for proceeds from diamond sales
after Finance minister Tendai Biti indicated that most of the money was not
reaching government coffers.

Masimirembwa and Zanu PF symphathisers have in turn accused Biti of trying
to expose how Zimbabwe evades Western sanctions.


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Statistics strategy launched

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 14:06

BY KUDZAI CHIMHANGWA

THE Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) on Friday launched the national
strategy for the development of statistics (NSDS), which seeks to restore
the timely generation of credible economic data among other things.

Zimstat, formely the Central Statistical Office (CSO) has over the years
come under attack for producing unreliable inflation data.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe said government had already committed
US$13 million to strengthen statistical programmes this financial year.

The NSDS, which will run between 2011 and 2015, seeks to meet the need of
statistics in the design and implementation of national and economic
programmes.

“This will lead to the production of non-conflicting, reliable, sound,
sector-linked, relevant, timely and development-focused official
†statistics,” Finance minister Tendai Biti said in a foreword to the
document officially launched by Khupe.

Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion permanent secretary
Desire Sibanda said the strategy would help in the engendering of evidence
based policy formulation.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), World Bank and the African Capacity
Building Foundation funded the design and development of the strategy.

Mahamudu Bawumia, the AfDB resident representative pledged that the regional
institution would continue to help Zimbabwe strengthen its capacity to
generate credible statistics.

“Under the bank’s statistical capacity building programme, it has supported
a number of statistical activities in Zimbabwe, including the design of the
NSDS,” Bawumia said.

“Overall the bank’s statistical support to Zimbabwe covers a wide range of
activities including the updating of its national accounts, improvement of
its price statistics systems, supporting participation in the International
Comparisons Program (ICP-Africa) just to name a few.”

He said the NSDS provides a sound basis for the design, management,
monitoring and evaluation of government policies.

The AfDB this year intends to expand its activities in Zimbabwe to include
assistance for improving infrastructure, labour and gender statistics.


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Biti blasts Mugabe over plans to seize companies

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 14:08

BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE

ZANU PF has been at the forefront of blocking locals from gaining control of
the economy and its current indigenisation crusade is desperate
electioneering, Finance minister Tendai Biti has said.

Biti’s comments, made at a Southern African Political Economy Series (Sapes)
policy dialogue forum on Thursday, came as Zanu PF stepped up its threats to
seize foreign-owned companies.

About 400 British-owned companies and South African-owned Zimplats and
Nestle Zimbabwe have
already been singled out as the first targets of the exercise that has split
the unity government.

Biti said the previous Zanu PF government had killed indigenous enterprises
by chasing away resourceful businesspeople such as Nicholas Vingirai,
Mutumwa Mawere, Strive Masiyiwa and James Makamba.

Most of the businesspeople skipped the country after moves were made to
arrest them for allegedly externalising foreign currency.

“This government is the biggest threat to the black bourgeoisie,” Biti said.

“How do you stand up and talk of indigenisation when the likes of Vingirai,
Mutumwa Mawere, and James Makamba can’t even live here?

“For 30 years this government was afraid of the black bourgeoisie and was
happy with those businessmen that are found at growth points owning bottle
stores.

“Strive Masiyiwa, the richest black Zimbabwean, is not staying here.

“My good friend Trevor Ncube (owner of Alpha Media Holdings) can’t stay
here. These guys (Zanu PF) are so anti-black capital. This indigenisation
they are talking of now is rubbish.”

Biti, who is also the secretary general of the MDC-T, said there was a
clique in Zanu PF that was working hard to break the unity government
through advocating for irrational policies.

“There is a small sect in Zanu PF that can’t wait to get power,” he said.

“If you are number two or three in line you know your time is coming but if
you are number 76 you have to create a situation of total chaos and it’s
that small sect that has engineered the violence that rocked the country and
wants the Global Political Agreement to collapse.”

Analysts fear that the same Zanu PF officials who have run down productive
commercial farms they seized in 2000 would be at the forefront of the
company seizures.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a revival path since the formation of the
unity government in 2009 but there are mounting fears President Robert
Mugabe’s increasingly belligerent political rhetoric would wipe out all the
gains.


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From the Editor's Desk: Without dignified leadership, change will ramain elusive lacking in Zim

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:45

The trouble with Zimbabwe now is that of lack of leadership. There are too
many “unprofessional fingers” in the running of the country.

In its hour of greatest need the country yearns for “a real mensch” to guide
it to the proverbial Promised Land.

Last week I coined the phrase “a return to democracy” which I said was
slightly different from “democratic change”. The latter is now a pejorative
for “regime change”. The former may necessitate a “regime change” but is not
entirely dependent on it. This is not as complicated as it may sound.

I referred to the uprisings taking place in North Africa and averred that
they could be averted in Zimbabwe if an effort is made for “a return to
democracy”.

Interestingly my point was buttressed by a very unlikely development —
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI announced last week that a “comprehensive
constitutional reform” aimed at improving democracy and the rule of law
would soon be implemented in his country.

He said in a televised address to the nation: “We have decided to undertake
a comprehensive constitutional reform.” He said a committee had already been
set up to work on constitutional revisions.
He said the reform programme includes plans to expand “individual and
collective” liberties, establish an independent judiciary, giving a stronger
role to political parties and providing more powers to local officials.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The king
holds vast executive powers, including dissolving parliament at will.

Executive power is exercised by the government but more importantly by the
king himself. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two
chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and Assembly of
Councillors. The king can also issue decrees called dahirs which have the
force of law. Parliamentary elections were held in Morocco on September 7
2007, and were considered by some neutral observers to be mostly free and
fair, although voter turnout was estimated to be 37%, the lowest in decades.
(Wikipedia)
Zimbabwe is a pseudo-monarchy; the president wields the same imperial powers
that the Moroccan king holds. He can dissolve parliament and exercise
executive powers even in the so-called government of national unity in which
these powers should be shared with the Prime Minister. He also issues
decrees through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measure) Act similar to
the Moroccan king’s dahirs. Like Morocco, Zimbabwe also has a bicameral
parliamertary system but unlike in Morocco, elections are never “generally
considered free and fair”. In the past decade Zimbabwe has gone through a
number of elections, all of which have been characterised by political
violence and electoral fraud.

The point is the king of Morocco has made a rapprochement towards his people
in anticipation of the popular uprising sweeping across the Islamic Maghreb.
Whether it will work or not is an entirely different subject. In Zimbabwe
the approach has been different. To preempt possible uprisings the
government has used a show of force instead of attempting to remove the
obstacles that litter the road to democracy. Morocco has chosen “a return to
democracy” rather than an entrenchment of the status quo. It takes “a real
mensch” to be able to do so.

But what is “a real mensch”? By definition, “the key to being ‘a real mensch’
is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is
right, responsible, decorous” — precisely what the Zimbabwean leadership
lacks!
In the place of good leadership Zimbabwe is run by a coterie of
Machiavellian mobsters with vested interests in the chaos the country finds
itself in. Without the prevailing chaos they cannot thrive; this Paradise
Lost is the theatre of their dreams hence their unprofessional fingers are
continually pulling at the tapestry that constitutes our nation.

The rule of law is anathema to them; the police force now forms the backbone
of the Zanu PF militia selectively applying the law against perceived
opponents. Instead of being apolitical, the force has been molded into an
unashamedly partisan outfit. This has not only turned the concept of the
rule of law topsy-turvy but has bred the most pernicious corruption in the
force.

According to a Mass Public Opinion Institute our police force is viewed by
the general public as the most corrupt government institution.

The arrest last week of the Minister of Energy and Power Development Elton
Mangoma is a case in point. Without attempting in any way to preempt the
legal process, how many other ministers have been fingered in allegations of
abuse of office?

How many have had their cases reported to the police but the police have not
raised as much as a finger to apprehend them? No names need be mentioned
because it is all a matter of public record that they have not been
investigated simply because they belong to a certain political party.

The Attorney General’s Office has sought to prosecute a myriad of cases
which the courts have proven to be nothing but politically motivated monkey
tricks by an arm of government that must serve the general interest instead
of the parochial interests of a particular grouping. The professionalism of
the AG’s Office has poignantly been brought into question by all these
cases. The Roy Bennett case, which no less a person than the AG himself
sought to prosecute, has revealed the depth to which this esteemed office
has sunk in order to intimidate variant opinion.

A return to democracy will begin — as in Morocco — with a leadership that
recognises the vainglory of its ways. It’s too early in the day to evaluate
the depth the Moroccan king’s attempts at of reform; it might as well just
be a gesture to postpone an uprising. We have seen this gesture happen in
other countries to the north of us such as Yemen, Bahrain and even Libya
where the embattled Muammar Gaddafi offered handsome payouts to his
rebellious people but it all came to nought.

Zimbabwe is in the middle of coming up with a new constitution. The process
has been riddled with problems, so much so the document that may emerge may
not be an expression of the people’s wish. The referendum that must follow
the process should not endorse a flawed process because the new constitution
must be the bedrock of our return to democracy. Everything else, like regime
change, would become a natural and welcome tenet in our country’s
statecraft.


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SundaOpinion: Democracy is about tough choices

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:42

By Luxon Zembe

Should citizens be so scared of their own national elections like what l see
and hear? Should we be told by other nations when and when not to hold our
elections?

Should we be held to ransom by some greedy and self-preserving individuals
who deliberately create chaos for their own selfish motives? Should we be so
afraid of national elections to the extent of having paranoia and paralysis?

It pains my heart when I see citizens stripped of their rights and power,
beaten to submit to unconstitutional manoeuvres or plots, and made to feel
hopeless and helpless by some political malcontents.

There are no hopeless situ-ations but only hopeless people who surrender
their citizenship and con-stitutional rights to forces of evil.

Any system, people or individual who deprives bona fide citizens of their
God-given rights and freedoms is a force of evil irrespective of their
nature, ap-pearance or origin.

The most resilient, brave and fearless freedom fighters were the mothers,
fathers, boys and girls who fought and supported the armed struggle for
freedom without guns or grenades in their hands. We should never demean
their role.

We can’t be seen to be taking them back to evils of war. For our old folk in
their twilight years, this is the golden time for them to enjoy the fruits
of their struggle and the blessings of freedom and independence before they
pass on.

Denying them this right and privilege is denying them true independence and
freedom.

Coming back to the pending elections; there are two main likely scenarios;
one driven by evil forces of violence, hatred, selfishness, one partyism,
and† the zero-sum game (shaisano).

The other scenario is that of a mature political and national democracy
cha-racterised by inclusivity, creation of democratic space for all bona
fide citizens to exercise their rights and freedoms without fear or
capitulation. It tolerates diversity, peace and unity of purpose.

Political ideologies are mere policy instruments to achieve a national
shared vision or future. However, their effectiveness and efficiency differ
according to the given situation.

Hence the need for the people to exercise their democratic right of choosing
the ideological framework that they freely perceive as the best for them and
our national agenda without fear, force or duress.
We have all had live experiences of violence over the last two national
elections.

We have gone through the hor-rendous consequences or outcomes of such a
scenario over the last eight years.

No one needs to educate or remind Zimbabweans’ about it. It is evil and
satanic. It devours and maims innocent lives. It destroys our economy. It
destroys and consumes our hard-won wealth.

It brings curses, suffering and poverty upon all of us except the few
perpetrators of the violence and their masters. In fact, its effects are
worse than those of the Rhodesian regime.

Independence does not mean poverty to the majority and riches to a few
chosen ones. It does not mean unemployment, deindustrialisation and loss of
own sovereign currency. It does not mean loss of our national pride and
human dignity whereby the best educated African brand becomes hewers of
wood, gabbage collectors and old age minders for the very same people who
used to oppress and deprive them of their rights and freedoms.

If this does not bring sleepless nights and deeply troubled free-dom
conscience on our leaders, then shame on them. If this does not awaken us
all to the evils of violent and intolerant behaviour, then shame on us all
Zimbabweans. In business they say insanity is continuing to do the same
thing or thinking the same way over and over again and expecting a different
result.

We had a taste of the fruits of inclu-sivity during the subsistence of the
GNU and GPA.

Within a month of it, the worst hyper-inflation in the history of this world
was collapsed to below zero! Commerce and industry came back to life. Jobs
were preserved. Food was back on our tables.

If the taste of such sweet outcomes of national unity of purpose and action
and some democratic market policies cannot inspire hope and action in the
right direction for us Zimbabweans, then shame on us.

We must reject leaders who promote violence, hatred and intolerance. We must
categorically and fearlessly reject leaders who have no respect for human
rights, citizens’ freedoms and the sanctity of human life.

About the Author
Luxon Zembe is former chairman of Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.


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SundayComment: Sadc must take stand on Zim crisis

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Sunday, 13 March 2011 13:41

The past few days have been quite dramatic for Zimbabwean politicians.

Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma became the first
minister in Zimbabwe to be charged with criminal abuse of office.

The Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo was dethroned after the Supreme
Court upheld an application by Tsholotsho North MP and Zanu PF politburo
member Jonathan Moyo to set aside his election.

These events have plunged the unity government into a fresh crisis.

An emotional Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday rightly complained
that members of his party were being targeted by the police, yet nothing was
done to Zanu PF officials also accused of corruption and other offences.

Tsvangirai wondered why the police had not taken action against Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo, accused of improperly acquiring a vast
business empire. He also talked about other officials implicated in the
looting of state funds and diamonds.

As usual, Tsvangirai threatened to boycott the inclusive government. But
judging from experience, these threats have done little to curtail Zanu PF’s
misbehaviour, nor are they likely to stop the police from selectively
applying the law.

Police Commissioner-General Augusti-ne Chihuri, whose distaste for the MDC-T
is well known, is unlikely to relent in his mission to hobble the MDC-T
through arrests of its members on charges that often fall away under
judicial scrutiny.

A few weeks ago Chihuri’s officers arrested MDC MP Douglas Mwonzora and only
last week they picked up Mangoma. Who’s next? Nobody’s safe, it seems, not
even Tsvangirai himself.

What is needed is for the MDC-T to come up with a clear strategy on how they
can respond to the threat posed by these politically-motivated arrests.

He should, as a matter of urgency, robustly engage Sadc and call on the AU
to intervene instead of lamely threatening “divorce” every time Zanu PF
violates the accord.

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