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Rights group: Zimbabwe impunity fueling violence

http://www.signonsandiego.com/

By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 12:26 a.m.

JOHANNESBURG — Every day in Zimbabwe, Tendai has to see the people who
killed his parents more than two years ago. They live in his neighborhood
and have gone unpunished.

James lives next door to one of the four people who beat his parents to
death in July 2008, at the height of state-sponsored election violence in
the southern African country.

Today, amid reports of renewed attacks as Zimbabwe plans for elections, both
men say they are receiving death threats from their parents' killers.

"We now live in perpetual fear," Tendai told New York-based Human Rights
Watch, which released a report Tuesday warning that the country faces a
"crisis of impunity" that has festered for decades and only encourages the
killings, torture and beatings that have been allowed to go unpunished.
Police refuse to act on complaints and judges are co-opted or threatened and
attacked, the report said.

Tiseke Kasambala, a senior researcher for the rights group, told reporters
the climate prohibited holding the elections sought by President Robert
Mugabe, the ruler for 31 years.

"If reforms are not instituted, then we say that there must be no elections
in Zimbabwe," Kasambala said.

She said the president of South Africa, landlocked Zimbabwe's powerful
neighbor, and other leaders in the Southern African Development Community
should make that clear to Mugabe, and strongly condemn the renewed attacks
and detentions.

Kasambala said the regional body's reaction made them "look bad," especially
when compared the firm stand taken by the Economic Community of West African
States in Ivory Coast, which has declared an opposition leader the winner of
disputed elections and is demanding the incumbent step down.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is widely believed to have won
2008 elections against Mugabe. But pressure from some Southern African
leaders compelled him to form a government of national unity with Mugabe,
when international condemnation failed to end an onslaught of state violence
after the poll.

At the time, Human Rights Watch documented cases showing Mugabe's government
was responsible "at the highest levels" for widespread and systematic abuses
that led to the killing of up to 200 people, the beating and torture of
5,000 more, and the displacement of about 36,000 people.

Tuesday's report said government agencies including police, themselves
implicated in the attacks, have failed to investigate hundreds of legal
complaints filed by individuals, victims' families, rights groups and
Tsvangirai's party.

"It's a painful experience knowing that our neighbors who we see every day
were the perpetrators. I feel angry," said the report, quoting Tendai who,
like James, is not further identified for fear of reprisals. "The
perpetrators have made it clear at their rallies that at the next elections
they will do it again because they didn't get arrested."

James' father was already dead when he found his parents' bodies on June 25,
2008. But his mother clung to life long enough to identify some of the
soldiers, officials and supporters of President Robert Mugabe's party who
had attacked them. Police took her statement in the hospital before she
died, but nothing more has been done.

Violence against opposition supporters, their families and areas known to
have voted against Mugabe has increased as the opposition picks up support.
Mugabe has ruled since 1980.

The most common form of torture is severe beatings on the back, buttocks and
soles of the feet until the skin is ripped off. People have had electric
shocks administered to their genitals at police stations, and have been
raped with broomsticks and other implements. False executions also are
common.

Officials in Tsvangirai's party say he and government ministers repeatedly
have called in vain for police to stop political violence and arrest
perpetrators.

As recently as Friday, his party reported to police several youths who
allegedly beat up supporters in Harare last week, identifying them by name
and an address where they gather.

Instead, it said, police were "hostile" to the victims and arrested some of
them, forcing the others to go into hiding.

Human Rights Watch criticized the former opposition party for prioritizing
the harmony of the delicate government over its push for justice. It
criticized Tsvangirai for putting reconciliation above justice in a
September speech in which he said a retributive agenda would be
counterproductive.

"Reconciliation is the only solution for the country to have assured
stability, peace and progress," said Tsvangirai, who himself has been beaten
up and tortured by Mugabe's thugs.

In Washington last week, U.S-based Freedom Now condemned last year's arrests
and torture of 12 activists accused of trumped-up charges of treason. They
accused Tsvangirai of being "complicit" in the torture by remaining in the
coalition with Mugabe.

Human Rights Watch called for Zimbabwe's unity government to respect its own
constitution and international laws by setting up an independent commission
to investigate serious human rights abuses, bring perpetrators to trial and
ensure reparations for victims.

It urged the Southern African Development Community to press Zimbabwe's
government on the issue. And it urged the European Union and the United
States to maintain targeted travel sanctions and asset freezes against
Mugabe's party and its leadership.

---

Associated Press writer Angus Shaw in Harare, Zimbabwe contributed to this
report.

The Associated Press


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Zimbabwe election report back in court

http://www.businessday.co.za

ERNEST MABUZA
Published: 2011/03/08 06:28:27 AM

THE Presidency, in its appeal against the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment
which ordered it to hand over a report on the 2002 Zimbabwe election to the
Mail & Guardian newspaper, argues that sufficient evidence was placed before
the courts in justifying the refusal of access to the report.

The case raises issues concerning the power of the president to appoint
judges as special envoys, his ability to seek information on a confidential
basis and the use of that data in promoting domestic and southern African
regional policy objectives.

The report in dispute, which was commissioned by former president Thabo
Mbeki , was prepared by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and
Constitutional Court Judge Sisi Khampepe in 2002 before the Zimbabwe
election. When the newspaper was refused access to the report, it lodged an
application in the North Gauteng High Court for access to the report. In
June, the high court ordered the Presidency to give the report to the
newspaper, and in December, the Presidency failed in its appeal to the
Supreme Court of Appeal.

In its written submissions to the Constitutional Court last week, the
Presidency said the Supreme Court of Appeal had rejected the evidence
tendered on the appointment of the justices and the evidence obtained and
furnished to the court regarding the justices’ interactions and the purpose
of their mission.

"We submit that the justices were not acting in their personal or judicial
capacities or as members of the South African Observer Mission," the
Presidency’s advocates Marumo Moerane SC and Leah Gcabashe said.

They said support for this view was found in the Constitutional Court
judgment of the South African Association of Personal Injury Lawyers vs
Heath, where the court declined to "lay down rigid tests for determining
whether or not the performance of a particular function by a judge is or is
not compatible with the judicial office".

They said there was no explicit or implicit prohibition on appointing
members of other branches of government as special envoys. "A definitive
ruling from this court on the matter would, however, be of great assistance
in guiding the president on the future appointment of special envoys."

Mr Moerane and Ms Gcabashe said the appointment of the two justices as
special envoys was not incompatible with the judicial office that they held.

"Their qualities are that they are independent, able to weigh up information
and form an opinion based on the evidence presented, and give a decision
based on the consideration of relevant evidence. The functions they
discharged as special envoys did not conflict with the central mission of
the judiciary. It was a temporary assignment that did not require the
justices to be partisan."

The Constitutional Court will hear the case in May.

mabuzae@bdfm.co.za


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US warns Zimbabwe over Iran nuke cooperation

Associated Press

(AP) – 30 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration warned Zimbabwe
on Monday that it could face penalties if it cooperates with Iran's nuclear
program in violation of U.N. resolutions.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the U.S. was troubled by recent
statements from Zimbabwe's foreign minister that United Nations sanctions on
Iran are unfair and hypocritical. He said Zimbabwe would be violating its
international obligations and U.N. Security Council resolutions if it helped
Iran extract uranium.

"We are concerned by statements that would suggest that Zimbabwe would be
open to cooperating with Iran in ways that violate U.N. Security Council
resolutions," he told reporters.

"The foreign minister of Zimbabwe is entitled to his opinion but the
government of Zimbabwe is still bound by its commitments to the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions,"
Crowley said. "There are ramifications for countries that decline to observe
their international obligations."

He said the U.S. did not have independent confirmation of such cooperation
but was concerned by statements indicating that Zimbabwe would be open to
it. The U.N. atomic watchdog said last month that Iran's foreign minister
made a secret visit to Zimbabwe in January in search of uranium.

Crowley said Iran's outreach to Zimbabwe was part of the country's attempt
"to escape its growing isolation by offering to bolster trade and other
economic ties with receptive governments."

He noted that both Iran and Zimbabwe have been harshly criticized for human
rights abuses and quipped that "it would quite a match for Zimbabwe and Iran
to cooperate" on uranium mining.

In late February, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met with senior Zimbabwean mining
officials "to resume negotiations ... for the benefit of Iran's uranium
procurement plan."

The report came as an Iranian delegation led by the head of the Cooperative
Ministry Abbas Johari was meeting with "agriculture and mining interests" in
the Zimbabwean capital of Harare.

Iran says it is enriching solely to power a future network of nuclear
reactors. But it has been targeted by U.N. sanctions because enrichment can
also create fissile warhead material — and because of its nuclear secrecy
and refusal to cooperate with IAEA probes into its activities.


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N Korea begs food aid from Zimbabwe

http://www.theaustralian.com.au

* Rick Wallace, Tokyo correspondent
* From: The Australian
* March 09, 2011 12:00AM

NORTH Korea has resorted to begging for food from another impoverished
global pariah -- Zimbabwe.

A diplomatic source in South Korea said Africa had become the focus of North
Korea's aid efforts, Seoul-based newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported yesterday.
It has previously been reported that North Korea instructed its 40 foreign
embassies to request food aid. The US and Britain have confirmed requests
from Pyongyang for assistance.

"Now they are begging for food even from the world's poorest countries in
Africa such as Zimbabwe, where annual per-capita income is only around
$US200 ($197)," the source said.

The North's efforts to grow enough food to feed its populace have been
hampered recently by a cold snap and the spread of foot-and-mouth disease
from South Korea, which is likely to require culling of livestock.

UN teams have been assessing the state of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Despite these problems, food production in the impoverished country
increased last year, South Korea's foreign minister said last week, citing a
report by UN food agencies. Kim Sung-hwan said Pyongyang nevertheless
stepped up calls for international aid amid shortages caused by
mismanagement of the state-directed economy and excessive military spending.

Seoul once gave an annual 400,000 tonnes of rice to its neighbour but this
ended in 2008 as relations worsened. International irritation at the
communist country's nuclear and missile programs has led to a drop in
donations to UN food programs.

The US special representative for North Korea policy, Stephen Bosworth, said
last week Washington was assessing the case for a resumption in food aid but
stressed the need for monitoring to ensure distribution transparency.


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Zimbabwe clinches US$500m Chinese cotton deal

http://www.afriquejet.com

Harare, Zimbabwe - China and Zimbabwe have struck a US$500 million cotton
production and export deal, officials said Monday. Under the agreement,
China Development Bank will advance the funds to a Chinese firm, Sinotex to
finance cotton production in Zimbabwe through its venture with a local
company. The Zimbabwean company, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, is the largest
cotton buyer in the country and has an out-grower scheme supporting more
than 200,000 farmers.

With the bank loan, Sinotex and the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe hope to
increase the out-grower scheme by 100,000 new farmers, and expand technical
and input support to the growers.

Under the deal, Sinotex will then buy the entire contracted cotton output
from farmers, via the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe.

It is by far the biggest agricultural export deal Zimbabwe has clinched, and
is expected to rival tobacco earnings, the country's top farm export earner.

The Chinese firm requires around 800,000 tonnes of cotton lint a year, six
times more than Zimbabwe's current national output.

Officials said the deal, which also provides a ready market in addition to
financing, will spur production in the country, which produces some of the
finest cotton in the world.

A combination of lack of financing and market had weighed down Zimbabwe's
cotton production in recent years, with farmers switching to tobacco which
was better paying.

The agreement takes effect this year.

Pana 08/03/2011


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ZANU PF in ‘panic mode’ over MDC restructuring exercise

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
8 March 2011

ZANU PF has been caught flat-footed by major inroads made by the MDC-T in
its former strongholds, a senior party official said on Tuesday.

Morgan Komichi, the MDC-T deputy organising secretary, told SW Radio Africa
that the former ruling party’s response to this was to ban all political
gatherings. Analysts say it was an attempt by ZANU PF to protect Robert
Mugabe from any possible North African style anti-government revolts.

‘Don’t be fooled that they stopped political meetings because they feared
people would revolt against the government like what happened in Egypt or
Tunisia.

‘They are using this as an excuse because they’ve been stunned at the level
of inroads made by the MDC in the three Mashonaland provinces and others
around the country,’ Komichi said.

The ban extended to meetings held in offices and homes.

‘If citizens of a country are serious about revolting against their
government, do they do it inside their offices or homes? Unless if our eyes
deceived us, I thought what we saw in North Africa were people out in the
streets protesting and not doing it from their homes or offices.

‘ZANU PF has witnessed the MDC come up with structures deep in Muzarabani
(Mashonaland Central) and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (Mashonaland East) and they
are worried about that. These were their so- called strongholds, but not any
more and it has got them running around like headless chickens,’ Komichi
added.

The deputy organising secretary said the ban had stopped some districts from
completing their restructuring exercises ahead of their party congress in
May.

‘The ban had a negative effect on some of our activities in some districts
but I’m happy to say, there was determination from all our officials and
activists that the illegal ban would not deter the party from forging ahead
with its resolve to restructure the party from ward to provincial level,’

It was reported that on Monday Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe
discussed the issue and agreed to have the ban on MDC-T rallies lifted. Luke
Tamborinyoka, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson, confirmed that the two
leaders met and had agreed that all meetings should be allowed to go ahead
without police blocking them.

‘We’ve been told Mugabe has agreed to lift the ban but we will only know
this week when most districts meet to finish the job. If they are not
stopped, then we know for sure the ban is lifted because with ZANU PF they
always indicate to turn right but go left instead,’ Komichi said.


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Zanu (PF) Door-To-Door Registration Sparks Fear

http://www.radiovop.com

08/03/2011 10:37:00

Masvingo, March 08, 2011 – Masvingo residents said they were living in fear
as Zanu (PF) youths and war veterans were moving door-to-door registering
all people above 18 years and forcing them to attend meetings.

The war veterans and youths who are moving around clad in Zanu (PF) regalia
are demanding to know residents’ national registration numbers, occupation,
age and marital status.

After taking the personal details, residents are then told of their
respective meeting venues where they are supposed to appear at least once a
week.

Asked to comment Zanu (PF) Masvingo provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke
said: “Why do you want my comment? Ask those who are collecting the details
in the streets – they know what they are doing and why.”

However, residents interviewed described the exercise as victimisation.

“This is the start of victimisation. Our personal information will be used
to victimise us very soon. We had no option besides giving them our details
because we were not sure of what they were going to do to us if we had
refused.

“We are now living in fear because they now have our residential addresses
and they also know where we work. They can come hard on us anytime they
wish,” said Trymore Jangara of Mucheke D.

Mucheke residents are being ordered to report at Vurombo Primary School
every Sunday for star rallies while those who live in Old Mucheke are
supposed to go to Chiefs’ Hall for similar meetings every Sunday. Those who
live in places such as Sisk and Pangolin will meet their commanders in
Mamutse stadium every weekend.

Although the actual penalty for not attending the rallies is not known,
residents said they were afraid of possible torture.

“Why do they force us to be part of them? We are afraid of torture if we
refuse to abide by their orders,” said another resident.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) provincial chairman Wilstauff
Sitemere said the move by Zanu (PF) to ‘bulldoze itself in to the people was
old-fashioned and regrettable’.

“Our people are being victimised every day. Why are they bulldozing
themselves in the people? We see they have started to victimise innocent
Zimbabweans,” said Sitemere.

Sitimere said there was nothing much he could do to help since the police
have now become partisan.

Meanwhile MDC-T senator for Gutu, Empire Makamure, claims police details
stormed his house at 1 am over the weekend, demanding to search for
criminals.

Makamure, who had his car torched by suspected Zanu (PF) PF thugs in 2008,
said the three uniformed police details knocked at his gate in Gutu
Mupandawana growth point accusing him of harbouring criminals.

“I was asleep when I heard loud knocks on my gate. When I went out to
investigate, I was shocked when the police details said I was housing
criminals, something which is false. I refused to open, and they left.

“When I went to Gutu police station at sunrise, I was told that the police
had made a mistake as they were looking for a robbery suspect.

"They said they intended to search my neighbour, not me. What incensed me
was that they did not even apologise when they told me it was a mistake,”
said Makamure.

Acting Masvingo provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Prosper
Mugauri, refused to comment on the matter, saying it’s 'too political.'

"That is a sensitive issue; I do not want to put myself in such murky
waters. Why don't you talk to my bosses in Harare?"

Makamure said he managed to identify the cops as Constable Nyirenda (force
number 057138 F), Constable Mliswa (force number 071539 J), and Constable
Khumalo (force number 071533 C).

No comment could be obtained from the police headquarters in Harare


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RBZ governor in ‘no show’ at parliamentary committee

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Tichaona Sibanda
8 March 2011

Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, was a no-show
Monday, after he had been called to explain to parliament why government has
taken over the Shabani Mashaba Mines (SMM) from businessman Mutumwa Mawere.

Last week Gono and the secretary for Home Affairs, Melusi Matshiya, were
summoned to appear before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and
Energy to explain issues relating to the specification of Mawere’s
Zvishavane based asbestos company.

SW Radio Africa was told that last week Gono informed the committee he would
be busy with the Euro money conference in Harare, and would only be free to
attend the hearing next week.
The government accused Mawere of externalizing funds and gave this as the
reason for taking over his companies.

But in Gono’s absence, the secretary for Home Affairs Melusi Matshiya was
able to absolve Mawere of any wrong doing at SMM. Reports in the media said
Matshiya told the chairman of the committee, Edward Chindori-Chininga (ZANU
MP for Guruve South) that Mawere did not externalise any foreign currency.

Newsday reported Tuesday that the Ministry of Home Affairs carried out its
own investigations and failed to connect Mawere to any criminal charges
brought before the state. This led to the despecification of Mawere by the
government.

Despite this, SMM continues to be under the Reconstruction of State-Indebted
Insolvent Companies Act, administered by Ministry of Justice and Legal
Affairs, headed by Patrick Chinamasa.

Last month SMM workers, who have gone for two years without salaries under
this government control, asked Robert Mugabe to intervene, accusing
management of not being sensitive to their plight.

The workers told a public hearing by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
on Mines and Energy in Zvishavane, that their children are being chased away
from school as they were unable to pay school fees.


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Police protect Easipark workers

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


By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 08 March 2011 18:49

HARARE - EasiPark employees resumed work under police protection on Tuesday
following the seizure of the company by Zanu PF youths on Monday.

Workers donning EasiPark uniforms were back at work in the city inspecting
meters and towing vehicles that had flouted the city by -laws.

EasiPark Administration Manager Gadzamwoyo Dewa confirmed they had resumed
duties under police protection.

“We did not have any problems today. We were able to carry out our duty
under police guard for fear that our marshals could be attacked,” said Dewa.

He said the firm had also opened their offices and there was no incident,
after what happened yesterday.

Dewa said his organisation was willing to discuss with Upfumi Kuvadiki, Zanu
PF youths advocating for inclusion in the empowerment drive being undertaken
by their party.

He said the company was carrying out legitimate business approved by the
city council.

Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed that
the police were guarding EasiPark Premises and their employees as they want
to keep law and order in the city.

“We are working with the Easipark and we did not have any problems today
because yesterday we warned the youths to desist from any violence takeover
of the firm but to follow the law so, today, we did not arrest anyone as
they did not cause any trouble,’’ said Bvudzijena.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda was adamant council was not going to
recognise the takeover of EasiPark by the youths and is going to meet them
on Thursday to discuss the matter.

“We do not recognise what they did, so we shall be meeting them to inform
them the council position on the matter on Thursday,’’ said Masunda.

Zanu PF youths on Monday grabbed EasiPark from a South African company,
EasiHold, contracted by Harare City Council to manage car parks in the
capital.


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INTERNATIONAL WOMENS' DAY

  • Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Press statement



    Today is international Women's Day and our three colleagues, Eneles Dube, Janet Dube and Selina Dube, arrested at the 7 March Women's Day protest remain in custody for a second night. The Lawyer attending the case, Lizwe Jamela was himself arrested this morning so could not attend our members until they were released. As of close of business today, Law and Order officers admitted to Mr Jamela that as a result of the release of the previous 4 colleagues without charge, they cannot prosecutor this matter and had refused to accept the case and returned it to the arresting department. The head of this department could not take a decision and passed the docket to the Officer Commanding Bulawayo District requesting instruction on how to proceed.

    Meanwhile our 3 colleagues remain in the hellhole that is Bulawayo central police station. There is no flushing toilets; no food and we have to bring food in to every meal and risk theft of this food by officers; no blankets; no access to medication by those on anti retrovirals; no access to water; filthy cells and harassment by police officers. They have not had the right to see a lawyer.

    The arrests saga seems to have become difficult to follow so we provide herewith a recap of the arbitrary arrests since 28 February 2011.

    28 February 2011 - Three men, Gift Nkomo, Proud Pandeya, Noah Mapfuma of Entumbane suburb in Bulawayo are arrested, tortured and held for 48 hours before being arraigned with $50 each bail and surrendering of travel documents. They are reporting to the Law and Order Department of Bulawayo Central Police station twice a week and will reappear in court on 16 March 2011. Charged under C/S 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23: "Acting together with one or more other persons with him/her in any place realizing that there is a real risk or possibility of disturbing peace, security or order of the public".

    28 February 2011 - the afternoon of the same day, another 4 arrested. The 3 women and one man - Sitshiyiwe Ngwenya, Joyce Ndebele, Moreblessing Dube, Kholwani Ndlovu of Mabutweni Suburb in Bulawayo are held for 48 hours and tortured before being arraigned with $50 each bail and surrendering of travel documents. They are reporting to the Law and Order Department of Bulawayo Central Police station twice a week and will reappear in court on 16 March 2011. Charged under C/S 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23: "Acting together with one or more other persons with him/her in any place realizing that there is a real risk or possibility of disturbing peace, security or order of the public".

    1st March 2011 - Fourteen women from Mabutweni Suburb of Bulawayo are arrested late afternoon at a burial society meeting - 4 WOZA members, rest members of the public. Released late the same night without charge.

    4 March 2011 - Another 4 women from Pumula in Bulawayo are arrested. They are Glory Ncube, Nomsa Sibanda, Monica Shema and Beatrice Ngwenya. After 48 hours and a solidarity protest by WOZA members, they are released as the state refused to prosecute the four. They had been tortured and Monica had money stolen from her by arresting police officers.

    7 March 2011 - Three women, Eneles Dube, Janet Dube and Selina Dube, part of the peaceful protest are arrested by Riot Police and taken to Bulawayo Central Police station. They are hidden away from lawyer's access until they manage to get a phone call home to ask for food. The remain in custody for a second night despite the fact that the Law and order department of the police responsible for this kind of case do not wish to process them for court as a result of the previous four released without charge. They await district commissioner's further instruction. These three women seem not to have been tortured but access to them has been limited to verify this.

    At this time we ask members of the public for solidarity in the form of phone calls to Bulawayo Central Police station calling for the release of these activists. Please call +263 9 72515 and ask for the 'DISPOL' who is the Officer Commanding Bulawayo District. If you fail ask for Detective Sergeant George Levison Ngwenya and ask him to change his violent ways.

    Ends
    8th March 2011 For more information, please call Jenni Williams on +263 772 898 110 or +263 712 213 885 or Magodonga Mahlangu on +263 772 362 668 or email info@wozazimbabwe.org or wozazimbabwe@yahoo.com


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    ZCTU women protestors ordered to strip by male police

    http://www.swradioafrica.com

    by Irene Madongo
    08 March 2011

    Three women who participated in a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
    protest march were forced to strip off their clothes in the city centre of
    Bulawayo by the police, their regional leader has said. One of the three is
    heavily pregnant.

    The women were part of a march to commemorate International Women’s Day,
    which saw a total of 34 members of the group arrested, despite a High Court
    order saying the march could go-ahead.
    Barbara Tanyanyiwa of the ZCTU’s Regional Women’s Advisory Council, said
    trouble began when the police appeared and began dispersing them, and then
    three of their members were apprehended. “When they were going to the
    gathering point, that is Jason Moyo and Third Avenue, they were confronted
    by plain clothes policemen who said they should remove their ZCTU t-shirts.

    From there they were told to disperse and go home,” Tanyanyiwa explained.

    She said the women were left half-naked in their bras and sympathisers had
    to give them wrapping clothes and blouses to cover-up. But instead of
    letting them go home, the three women were then taken to the police station.
    Tanyanyiwa says the police arrested 34 of their members between the morning
    and afternoon. She says the police insist that they are following orders
    ‘from above’ which state that protests or marches are banned in the country.
    The women were all later released, after their lawyer intervened.

    SW Radio Africa Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme says the three women
    felt deeply humiliated as they were ordered to remove their t shirts by
    young male police officers.

    On Monday in Bulawayo, Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) ploughed ahead
    with their International Women’s Day march, protesting against the torture
    of members by the police and calling on South African President Jacob Zuma
    to help end the violence.

    As WOZA continues to publicly denounce the violence in the country
    perpetrated by ZANU PF supporters and the partisan authorities, their
    members have been increasingly arrested and tortured by police. Recently a
    member was beaten up so badly that she could not hold her baby.

    WOZA had five separate protests on Monday, which began from locations
    surrounding the High Court. Two of the protests managed to reach the 8th
    Avenue Court, but three protests were dispersed by riot police and army.
    With a heavy police and army presence in the city, WOZA says it leaders
    decided to reduce the protest to the bravest of the brave, numbering 500
    female and male members.

    “Three women have been arrested but have not been located at the police
    station by human rights lawyers. WOZA is concerned for their safety as
    police are hiding them. The three are Eneles Dube, Janet Dube and Selina
    Dube,” a WOZA statement said. On Tuesday the women were still being held.

    Elsewhere on Monday three leaders of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF)
    who were arrested last week, were formally charged with treason, which
    attracts the death penalty. Paul Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Thomas are
    being accused of distributing flyers urging people to stage anti-government
    revolts like in Egypt and Tunisia. They are accused of holding a meeting
    where they allegedly discussed overthrowing the government.

    The charges against the trio come at a time when International Socialist
    Organisation (ISO) coordinator Munyaradzi Gwisai and five other activists
    have also been charged with treason, after watching a video of the Egypt
    uprising. The six were denied bail on Monday, despite local and global
    outrage at their arrest and severe torture while in prison. They were
    further remanded to March 21.


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    Life expectancy is just 33.5 years for Zimbabwean women – this and other facts on Women’s Day 2011

    http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/6446

    Life expectancy is 33.5 years for Zimbabwean women

    •Life expectancy is just 33.5 years for Zimbabwean women – the lowest in the world.

    •At least 18% of the population lives with HIV and AIDS

    • Of the 1,6-million Zimbabweans with HIV, 55% of are women

    • Women dying in childbirth is estimated at 880 per 100,000 live births (UK: 13 per 100,000)

    • With little access to healthcare, almost 30% of births take place without a skilled attendant

    • 12% of Zimbabwean children die before their fifth birthday

    • Women are poorly represented at cabinet, parliamentary and local-government level — limiting their capacity to make decisions on issues affecting them.

    • Female representation in parliament 9%

    • An estimated 80% of marriages in Zimbabwe are ‘customary marriages’, in which a woman’s right to inherit property upon the death of her husband can be severely compromised

    • Around 18% of women are in polygamous marriages, which further limit a wife’s property rights

    • Childless widows are often evicted, as are those who refuse to be physically ‘inherited’ by a male relative of their late husband

    • Child marriage is common in Zimbabwe, and 21% of children (mostly girls) are married before the age of 18

    • This increases the risk of contracting HIV and AIDS, and makes it less likely that girls will continue into higher education

    • 38% of women had been victims of some form of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.

    • The media increasingly reports incidents of rape, incest, and sexual abuse of women.

    • Domestic violence against women, especially wife beating, is common and crosses all racial and economic lines.

    • In Zimbabwe, domestic violence accounts for more than 60% of murder cases that go through the high court in Harare. (ZWRCN)

    • 54 percent of the women counseled for domestic violence have sexually transmitted diseases, including many with HIV/AIDS.

    • Over 80% of the Zimbabwean population lives in poverty

    • Unemployment is estimated at 93%

    • One in three working women at all levels are reported to be subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, as defined by Zimbabwean legal experts.

    • Although labour legislation prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of gender, women are concentrated in the lower echelons of the work force and commonly face sexual harassment in the workplace.

    • The literacy rate in Zimbabwe is high, with a total adult literacy rate of 90%, and 86% among women. This is a 10% increase in women’s literacy since 1990, although this improvement is gravely threatened by the rise in poverty and internal political upheaval.

    • Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is widely condemned by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health, rarely is performed in Zimbabwe. However, according to press reports, the initiation rites practiced by the small Remba ethnic group in Midlands Province include infibulation, the most extreme form of FGM.

    Given the current crisis in Zimbabwe, many of the statistics have deteriorated since they were compiled.


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    Remembering Elizabeth Madangure…

    http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/6453

    Since Zimbabwe gained its Independence 30 years ago only one woman candidate
    has contested in the Presidential elections despite women being more than
    50% population in the country. When this elderly woman from the high density
    of Glen Norah announced that she would compete in the 2002 Presidential
    election, nobody took her seriously, including some women’s organisations
    that advocate for women empowerment.

    But only if we had listened and understood her election manifesto. People
    thought she was mad and ignored her prophecy when she said that we must
    surrender our ‘sovereignty’ and start using the United State dollars because
    our Zimbabwe dollar currency had gone to the dogs, and we had nothing to be
    proud of as the inflation had started free-falling. By that time it would
    take 30 million Zimbabwe dollars to buy $1US on the black market and most
    analyst were saying Zimbabwe would not recover without financial and
    international assistance, in particular to stabilize the Zimbabwe dollar
    which was losing value every hour.

    Elizabeth Madangure would appear on National Television and State media,
    urging people to vote for her so that she can implement her strategy, like
    it will cost less 20c bus fare to go to town using public transport and
    urging the electorate to give her the chance to run the country. But we all
    laughed her off as an old woman who had nothing to do other than makes us
    laugh and forget our predicament. Four years later the then sitting
    government had had enough of the Zimbabwe dollar and stole Madangure’s plan
    and surrender our sovereignty and we now have a high sounding terminology
    which denotes our poor state multi currency without even acknowledging her
    as the person who had the idea first.

    In 2002 elections, Elizabeth Madangure competed alongside five male
    candidates. I don’t remember her having any support from the women’s groups,
    neither do I remember anyone encouraging the government to buy her noble
    idea.

    This entry was posted by Bob Gondo on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 at 5:56 pm


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  • ZIM EUROMONEY CONFERENCE

  • 300 Business Tycoons Gather for Investment Conference

    http://www.radiovop.com

    08/03/2011 16:45:00

    Harare, March 08, 2011 - More than 300 business executives from South
    Africa, London and the United states of America (US) are gathered in Harare
    for a one-day investment conference organised by Euro money Conferences in
    London.

    The conference theme was: Zimbabwe - The Emerging African Investment
    Destination.

    It was officially opened by the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai at the
    five star Rainbow Towers Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).

    Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe needed to be more serious about its investment
    drive and not speak with a double tongue thus frustrating investors
    interested in the country.

    Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, said Zimbabwe had numerous
    investment opportunities in mining, tourism, education, road infrastructure
    but needed to publicise this more to investors.

    But, Mutambara said, the government needed to have a clear investment policy
    and not confuse investors who are very wary about putting their money in
    African nations.

    Speakers included Daniel Broby, Chief Investment Officer at Silk Invest in
    London, in the United Kingdom, Ambassador Albrecht Conze from Germany,
    Jonathan Chenevix-Trench, Founding Partner, African Century Limited, an
    investment company focused on building businesses in sub Saharan Africa, Rt
    Honourable Lord Paul Boateng, Non Executive Director of Aegis Advisory
    Limited in South Africa and Paulus Deuticke, Investment Director at Virgin
    Unite (Private) Limited in New York in the United States of America (US).
    Top speakers from Zimbabwe included Anthony Mandiwanza, Chief Executive of
    Dairibord Holdings Zimbabwe Limited (DHZL), banker, Nigel Chanakira, Founder
    of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL), Shingai Munyeza from African
    Sun Limited, Victor Gapare, President of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe
    (COMZ), and Reward Kangai, Managing Director of the government-controlled
    Net One (Private) Limited Zimbabwe's second largest cellular telephone
    network operator.


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    Zimbabwe to use diamond cash to repay debt-PM

    http://www.reuters.com

    Tue Mar 8, 2011 4:42pm GMT

    * Diamond sales reach $300 million

    * Mugabe pressing for sales of precious stones

    By Alfonce Mbizwo

    HARARE, March 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will use revenue from diamond sales to
    repay part of its external debt totalling $7.1 billion, Prime Minister
    Morgan Tsvangirai said on Tuesday.

    Tsvangirai also sought to reassure investors over calls by President Robert
    Mugabe, his political adversary, for elections this year, making clear
    reforms agreed in their power-sharing agreement would be carried out first.

    "President Robert Mugabe, the region and I have agreed to follow the Global
    Political Agreement (GPA) process to ensure a credible poll," Tsvangirai
    told an investment conference.

    "There is no anxiety among Zimbabweans and investors about being ambushed
    with an election that has no pre-conditions and not in line with the
    dictates of the GPA," he said.

    Under the pact that was the basis for Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Tsvangirai's MDC
    party forming a power-sharing government in 2009, Zimbabwe must free the
    media, draft a new constitution and hold elections within two years. But the
    process is running months behind schedule and elections are now expected in
    2012.

    Mugabe has been trying to boost the economy by winning approval for diamond
    sales through the Kimberly Process, a world monitor of the diamond trade
    intended to outlaw trafficking in so-called conflict diamonds.

    "The government has so far sold diamonds worth $300 million, and the money
    will be used to service the debt and also to rehabilitate Zimbabwe's
    faltering industry," Tsvangirai said.

    Zimbabwe was $1.3 billion in arrears on money owed to the International
    Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and African Development Bank as of last
    July. It plans to seek relief for 68 percent of its debt from foreign
    lenders and pay the remainder using proceeds from minerals such as diamonds
    and platinum.

    Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the same conference: "The resolution of
    the debt is crucial for us to be integrated in the international community
    and also the resolution of our political problem."

    The government has set up a debt management office which has started talks
    with foreign lenders on debt repayment and relief.

    Rights groups have accused Zimbabwe's military of widespread atrocities in
    the diamond fields in 2008 as Mugabe's previous government moved to stop
    thousands of illegal miners on the poorly secured fields in the east of the
    country.

    Mugabe has accused Western countries of working to stop Zimbabwe from
    benefiting from its mineral resources.

    Mugabe has worried foreign investors in recent months by calling for an
    early poll and repeating threats to take over foreign firms based in
    countries that have imposed sanctions on him and his ZANU-PF for suspected
    human rights abuses. The MDC has warned that early elections could cause
    economic chaos.


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    Tsvangirai says no 'ambush' elections in Zimbabwe



    (AFP) – 5 hours ago

    HARARE — Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday told
    potential foreign investors not to fear an "ambush" election to replace the
    country's shaky power-sharing government.

    Opening a conference in Harare meant to lure foreign investors to Zimbabwe,
    Tsvangirai said that he and long-ruling President Robert Mugabe agreed on
    the need "to ensure a credible poll".

    "There is no need for anxiety among both Zimbabweans and investors about
    being ambushed with an election that has no pre-conditions," he said.

    Zimbabwe's devastated economy has shown signs of recovery since Mugabe and
    Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government to end deadly political
    violence sparked by a presidential run-off election in 2008.

    Uncertainty over new elections tipped for this year has spooked new
    investors, who also worry about Mugabe's threats to take over foreign firms.

    Tsvangirai told the hundreds of executives at the conference that new equity
    laws requiring Zimbabwe nationals to hold majority stakes in major foreign
    companies to did not mean nationalisation.

    "The indigenisation programme has caused so much consternation among
    investors," Tsvangirai said.

    "There is no government policy to nationalise or to expropriate. All we want
    is that ordinary Zimbabweans should be empowered and not a few elite."

    But last week Mugabe warned that Western companies from countries that have
    imposed sanctions on him and his allies would be seized or expelled if they
    did not openly denounce the sanctions.

    The conference, which drew many firms from neighbouring South Africa and
    former colonial power Britain, wraps up Wednesday.


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    Unity Government Hopes To Rebrand Zimbabwe at Euromoney Conference

    http://www.voanews.com

    The conference will examine topics ranging from the controversial
    indigenization program being pushed by Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party to
    the longer-term opportunities for investors notwithstanding political
    challenges and risks evident today

    Gibbs Dube | Washington 07 March 2011

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mubabe and his two fellow principals in the
    country's fractious government of national unity are expected to reassure
    international investors at a two-day Euromoney conference organized this
    week in Harare, the capital.

    The conference will examine topics ranging from the controversial
    indigenization program being pushed by Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party to
    the longer-term opportunities for investors notwithstanding political
    challenges and risks evident today.

    Government officials said Zimbabwe needs Euromoney’s endorsement as a
    destination for global capital. President Mugabe will open the summit which
    will also be addressed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
    Minister Arthur Mutambara.

    Harare economist John Robertson said the conference will give Zimbabwean
    authorities an opportunity to explain recent radical utterances on seizing
    foreign-owned companies.

    “Most of the statements from government will be efforts to pacify the
    concerns of investors that have been badly disturbed by some sections of the
    unity government calling for the nationalization of private companies,” said
    Robertson.

    Indigenization or black empowerment is a cornerstone of Mr. Mugabe expected
    bid for re-election this year or next, and his ZANU-PF party has
    aggressively pushed the notion that majority control of large enterprises,
    especially those owned by foreigners, should shift to indigenous - black -
    Zimbabweans through uncertain mechanisms.

    Prime Minister Tsvangirai has not opposed indigenization in principal but
    has warned that threatening to expropriate assets is not likely to induce
    inflows of capital.

    Finance Minister Tendai Biti recently projected that the economy could
    expand by 9.3 percent in 2011 despite lack of significant foreign direct
    investment.


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    Govt tries to lure investment despite mounting violence

    http://www.swradioafrica.com/

    By Alex Bell
    08 March 2011

    The unity government is this week once again trying to lure international
    investment into Zimbabwe, despite mounting violence across the country and
    fears of worse to come.

    The three principals in the coalition government, Robert Mugabe, Morgan
    Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, on Tuesday launched a two day investment
    conference in Harare. The conference, aimed at reassuring potential
    investors that Zimbabwe is a safe investment haven, comes as Mugabe’s ZANU
    PF party has in recent weeks intensified their violent campaign against
    perceived MDC supporters and increased its threats to seize international
    companies.

    The ZANU PF onslaught has resulted in scores of mainly MDC supporters being
    detained and tortured in prison on trumped up charges. This includes human
    rights activist Munyaradzi Gwisai who, along with others, is facing treason
    charges after watching footage of recent civil uprisings in North Africa. At
    the same time, the police continue to arbitrarily arrest other activists and
    MDC supporters, while ignoring abuses and crimes committed by ZANU PF.

    There are also warnings that the worst is still to come as ZANU PF’s
    election campaign moves into high gear. Already in rural areas there are
    reports that the youth militias are being armed and along with war vets have
    been marshalled to intimidate villagers ahead of a possible election this
    year. Manicaland province has so far been the worst affected area, with
    armed war vets and militia groups threatening villagers, looting property
    and destroying homes. Hundreds of Nyanga residents have fled the area into
    Mozambique to escape the marauding gangs.

    Despite all of this, the investment conference got underway on Tuesday with
    no mention of the worsening violence and harassment. About 300 business
    tycoons gathered for the conference, which was officially opened by Prime
    Minister Tsvangirai, who only referred to the violence as making it
    “difficult for those of us who were working towards normalisation of
    relations (with the West).”

    “It is difficult to convince the world that you have turned the corner when
    others are perpetuating the same culture of violence in the countryside; the
    same culture and behaviour that brought us where we are,” Tsvangirai said.

    The investment conference also comes in the wake of comments made by Mugabe,
    who has threatened to seize total control of American and European
    businesses, in retaliation for the Western imposed targeted ‘sanctions’
    against him and his regime. The comments fall in line with his party’s
    indiginisation plans, which have become the centre of ZANU PF’s election
    campaign strategy.

    The controversial plan will see more than 50% of foreign owned firms taken
    over, policies which economic analyst John Robertson said must be abandoned.
    Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Tuesday Robertson said that such policies are
    “driving people away.”

    “These policies are basically repugnant to investors who are not willing to
    come into Zimbabwe and see half of their investment confiscated from them,”
    Robertson said.

    Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Tuesday tried to convince conference
    delegates that the indiginisation plans were not a threat. He said the
    Indiginisation and Empowerment Act won’t lead to companies being
    expropriated or to nationalisation.

    “There’s nothing wrong with the law on indiginisation,” Biti is quoted as
    saying. “It doesn’t say there’ll be nationalisation. It’s not a law which
    allows expropriation. We will respect our laws.”

    It is widely expected that Mugabe will use the conference to clarify his
    stance on indiginisation, possibly to make the plan seem less threatening.
    But Robertson said these efforts and other attempts to soften the
    indiginisation blow “will make no difference to the inclination of
    investors.”

    “The policies are not appropriate to the needs of investors. Even if they
    got some kind of clarification, the policy in itself is not a policy we need
    in Zimbabwe today,” Robertson said.


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    Keynote Address by PM Tsvangirai at the Euro Money Investment Conference

    KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, THE RIGHT HONOURABLE M.R. TSVANGIRAI AT THE EURO MONEY INVESTMENT CONFERENCE,

    HARARE 8-9 MARCH 2011

    Deputy Prime Ministers Professor Mutambara and Hon Khupe

    Government ministers here present

    Your Worship, the Mayor of Harare, Mr.M. Masunda

    Senior Government Offcials

    Distinguished Guests and Invited Dignitaries

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    I would like to extend my appreciation to the Euro Money Conference organisers, the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion and the Minister of Finance in organising this Conference and inviting us to be part of the proceedings.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, this conference is happening against a background of renewed economic confidence and revival as indicated by the increasing number of business and foreign delegations that are visiting the country to explore business opportunities. The recent visits by the Chinese and German delegations are a case in point.

    I am informed that the objective of the Zimbabwe Investment Conference is to expose to the international investment community and local business people the vast investment opportunities that exist in our country and the reforms that have been enacted to improve the doing business environment.

    Investment has a significant impact on economic growth. East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore registered sustained economic growth rates largely due to substantial foreign investment flows.

    Zimbabwe can attain the same levels of growth if we put in place competitive policies to attract investment and we are globally compliant in the manner that we conduct business.

    As a nation we cannot do it alone but we should put in place best international practices which bode well for attracting foreign direct investment.

    This is the stark reality in view of the fact that FDI tends to be timid – it goes where it is needed and welcomed most. Very good foreign relations make an economic turnaround easier and quicker than a do-it-alone approach.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the formation of the inclusive government gave us the much needed political stability to bring back business confidence and investor interest in the country. It is important at a political level to support business by creating and introducing reforms that are essential for the growth of this country.

    So much has been said of the abundant natural resources that our country is bestowed with as well as its hard working citizens. Unfortunately this has not translated into desired levels of economic growth and investment inflows largely due to policy inconsistencies and unpredictability.

    Zimbabwe’s diamond wealth could translate to billions of dollars per year if this valuable asset is exploited transparently in line with regional best practices.

    So far, about $300 million worth of diamonds has been sold and as a government, and in pursuit of transparency, we have asked the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Mines to reconcile their figures and come clean on the proceeds arising from the sale of these national resources.

    I strongly believe that this could go a long way in solving our liquidity crisis, clearing part of our external debt of around US$7 billion and inducing increased capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector amongst a host of other economic challanges that exist.

    I therefore call on all of us to work in unison in our policy formulation strategies. Otherwise the glaring policy inconsistencies and mixed messages from the inclusive government will turn investors away or they will simply adopt a wait-and-see attitude when in fact time is not on our side.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to note that there has been a marked improvement in the doing business environment in Zimbabwe with the launch of the One Stop Shop Investment Centre by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion in December last year.

    This launch marked a giant step towards realising our shared vision of continually reforming the investment climate for the benefit of the would-be investor as well as keeping pace with international best practice.

    On our part, we need to make sure that we consolidate the good things we have done so far to make ourselves an attractive investment destination. It behoves upon us to ensure that Zimbabwe is peaceful and free from violence; that we maintain peace and stability; that we respect the rule of law and that we respect and honour the BIPPAS we have signed.

    A peaceful country without violence and without policy inconsistencies is a natural destination for investment. We will strive to ensure that our beloved country remains a firm favourite for serious investors so that we can create jobs and prosper the nation and its people.

    During my recent visit to Davos for the World Economic Forum, I attended a session on Mines and minerals chaired by the esteemed chairperson of Anglo American plc, Cynthia Carroll. I was keen to find out what factors they considered before making multi-million dollar investments.

    She told me that they considered political stability and policy predictability as key determinants ahead of any investment decision.

    I think that there has been some movement in the restoration of political stability since the formation of the inclusive government in 2009. But over the last six months, there has been a lot of mixed messages and hype arising out of misplaced election talk.

    I want to assure you that we will ensure that before we hold that election, there is a clear roadmap with clearly defined benchmarks to ensure a free and fair election.

    I am glad that the President, the region and I, are all agreed that we have to follow the GPA processes to ensure a credible poll. This means there is no need for anxiety among both Zimbabweans and investors about being ambushed with an election that has no preconditions and that is not in line with the dictates of the GPA.

    On policy predictability, we have said that we should not criminalise investment. The Indigenisation programme has caused so much consternation amongst investors. But there is no government policy to nationalise or to expropriate.

    All we want is that ordinary Zimbabweans should be empowered and not a few elite. While 51 percent is aspirational, we have agreed that there should be thresholds for each sector so that we balance between the business interests of investors and the need to empower and ensure that ordinary Zimbabweans participate in the mainstream economy.

    As a government, we also want to normalise relations with the international community. There has been speculation on my position as Prime Minister on the issue of sanctions.

    We should not attempt to score cheap political points over issues that are clear. We agreed in the GPA that we would all work towards normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the rest of the world.

    For the record, I was the first person to engage Europe and the United States, at the expense of my political reputation at home and abroad, to convince them that Zimbabwe had turned the corner since the formation of the inclusive government. I tried to assure them that we would stick to our own agreement and that the culture of violence and impunity had long gone.

    I was later to find out that I was wrong and that while we all wanted the sanctions lifted, some did not want to let go of the culture of violence that had brought these measures in the first place.

    The US and the EU were sceptical and had concerns over continued human rights abuses and non-implementation of the GPA.

    Suffice to say that while some of us were working hard to normalise relations, there was a deliberate effort by some players to ensure that we failed to implement other agreed obligations as enshrined in the GPA on matters such as the cessation of hate speech, State sponsored violence, media reforms and the culture of impunity, among others.

    This made it difficult for those of us who were working towards normalisation of relations. It is difficult to convince the world that you have turned the corner when others are perpetuating the same culture of violence in the countryside; the same culture and behaviour that brought us where we are.

    Our own Minister of Tourism, Hon Walter Mzembi, can testify to the difficulty of convincing a sceptic world when others are stabbing your effort in the back. In January this year, Hon Mzembi was in Madrid, Spain, marketing Zimbabwe as a safe tourist destination when reports were splashed all over the world that thugs had violently invaded a lakeside resort near Harare.

    In short, no section in the GPA is more important than the other and we must invest the same effort on sanctions as we invest in other important issues such as media reforms, non-violence and respect for the rule of law if we are to build a safe environment for business and investment.

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is common knowledge that our industry is operating below capacity, infrastructure needs upgrading and energy output levels cannot sustain projected economic growth. I consider these gaps as opportunities for new investors to exploit.

    I am encouraged by the scope of discussions to be held during this Conference and look forward to new business partnerships being created in order to move our economy forward.

    Finally we take pride as a nation to be able to hold such a prestigious Conference graced by renowned international guests and current and potential investors.

    I declare the conference open and wish you well in your deliberations.

    I thank you.

    --


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    Politburo to endorse company seizures

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

    By Guthrie Munyuki, Deputy News Editor
    Tuesday, 08 March 2011 18:52

    HARARE - The Zanu PF supreme decision making body, the Politburo, will
    convene a special meeting on Wednesday to officially endorse the
    anti-sanctions campaign which seeks to seize companies owned by Europeans
    and Americans.

    President Robert Mugabe is expected to chair the extra-ordinary session
    which comes at a time the country is hosting a two-day investment conference
    involving prospective European investors.

    “We will hold an extra-ordinary session of the Politburo at the party
    headquarters to see how best we can respond to his Excellency’ speech at
    last week’s rally,” a senior Zanu PF official told the Daily News.

    “The session will give members of the Politburo an opportunity to assess and
    respond to the measures that the party wants implemented in retaliation to
    the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States.”

    The extra-ordinary session comes hard on the heels of a massive rally in
    Harare last week at which Mugabe launched the campaign against sanctions by
    the US and the EU.

    The anti- sanctions drive has targeted two million signatures in all the 10
    provinces to give the liberation movement the momentum to annex the
    foreign-owned firms.

    Mugabe was left seething with anger by the EU’s decision to extend an asset
    freeze, economic embargo and travel bans against his allies in February.

    The EU extended by another 12 months personal sanctions against the Zanu PF
    leader and his colleagues.

    It lifted restrictions against 35 people, mainly spouses of the party’s
    bigwigs in a move which left Mugabe in a rage.

    Both the EU and the US said they imposed sanctions to force Zanu PF to
    respect the rule of law, human rights and end political violence against
    opponents.

    “After the escalation of political violence related to the elections in
    2002, the EU decided to introduce measures against Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF
    party as a means to put pressure on those considered responsible. These
    measures have been renewed each year since 2002,” the EU said.

    “The establishment of a Government of National Unity in 2009 triggered a
    re-engagement process between the Government of Zimbabwe and the EU,” the EU
    said on Sunday.


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    Zim Euromoney Conference - no time for mixed messages


    By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 08/03/11

    How Zimbabwe will manage to lure investors at the Euromoney Conference which
    opened in Harare Tuesday, a day after Zanu-Pf youths reportedly seized a
    South African company’s project, EasiPark is mind-boggling.

    With the country short of US$10 billion for capital quick turn-around, it
    would be a big wasted opportunity if the distinguished 300 delegates
    expected to attend were to be subjected to mixed messages by their
    Zimbabwean hosts.

    This is not the time to play cheap partisan politics. Neither is it an
    occasion for orchestrating false national unity for the cameras then ‘we are
    back on each other’s throat’ once the visitors have gone. There has to be an
    admission of the ongoing debate on the format which economic empowerment
    should take in Zimbabwe than to mislead the conference with false assurances
    or scare them with ‘indigenisation’.

    It is also vital to remind ourselves about the rationale of affirmative
    action which in the 21st century should be colour-blind as opposed to
    ‘indigenisation’ which deliberately discriminates against non-blacks,
    thereby creating understandable resentment. The basic social science view of
    affirmative action was spelt out by the US President Johnson when he said:

    “Men and women of all races are born with the same range of abilities. But
    ability is not just the product of birth. Ability is stretched or stunted by
    the family that you live with, and the neighbourhood you live in – by the
    school you go to and the poverty or the richness of your surroundings. It is
    the product of a hundred unseen forces playing upon the little infant, the
    child, and finally the man” (or woman) my own emphasis (wikipedia.org).

    Although empowerment or affirmative action programmes are by nature very
    controversial the world over, in Zimbabwe it is the perceived deliberate
    attempts by the former ruling party to hijack a sound national programme for
    partisan and short-term gain ahead of elections. Even in South Africa
    affirmative action has been criticised for “enriching a minority of ‘black
    diamonds’ loyal to the governing African National Congress and driving away
    white businessmen” (The Guardian.co.uk, 31/07/09).

    It remains to be seen how Robert Mugabe of Zanu-pf will lead the push for
    foreign investment when recently to mark his 87th birthday he was
    threatening to take over South African owned mining giant Zimplats accusing
    them it of externalising profits.

    “Nestle refused to buy milk from Gushungo dairies,” Mugabe told a crowd of
    Zanu-pf supporters, adding, “I told Kasukuwere (Indigenisation Minister) to
    begin with them and tell them he was sent by Gushungo. We should deal with
    them; let them get out of the country” (Zimbabwe Standard, 26/02/11).

    Of course, it is undeniable that Zimbabwe needs to redress the economic
    imbalances inherited at independence 31 years ago. Obviously, it would not
    be empowerment if Nestle is nationalised because of a personal grudge with
    the leader of Zanu-pf. However, it is how the re-dressing is done which is
    debatable and not whether empowerment is necessary at all. The key point of
    this paper is doing away withy the race label.

    Attempts by some Zimbabwean politicians to duplicate South Africa’s Black
    Economic Empowerment (BEE) legislation by using a score-card or
    alternatively copying the Bafokeng empowerment model are likely to run into
    difficulties because of different scenarios and possible resistance from
    within the power elite.

    A good observation by the Financial Gazette (17/02/11) is that ‘the Bafokeng
    nation first forged a deal with mining firms in its territory in Rustenburg
    in which it was paid mining royalties . The mining royalties were later in
    the 1990’s converted into shareholding for the Bafokeng community.’

    A variance of that in Zimbabwe would be for example, for the Chiadzwa
    community in Marange communal area to get mining royalties from Mbada,
    Canadile, ZMDC and the Chinese joint venture companies which are mining
    their precious diamond deposits and eventually convert the royalties into
    shareholding. While a very noble proposition, its likely to be a hardsell to
    some of the players already involved in Chiadzwa’s diamond mining amidst
    human rights abuses.

    Another observation worth making is that the BEE programme, while admittedly
    potentially a disincentive to investors, could have a greater chance of
    success in South Africa than in Zimbabwe without causing serious damage to
    the economy. While Pretoria has a strong and highly advanced industrial base
    as well as diverse financial resources, the case is not the same with Harare
    where some listed companies like Gulliver and Cairns have halted some of
    their operations due to adverse trading conditions.

    Zimbabwe, should scrap its current reckless indigenisation claim of 51%
    ownership of shares even in a family business or sole trade worth US$500,000
    because the policy is flawed, partisan, racist, open to abuse and
    unsustainable. A better alternative to the controversial indigenisation law
    would be the use of fiscal and institutional measures to promote empowerment
    of disadvantaged youths regardless of race, colour, ethnicity, gender,
    disability, political affiliation and so on.

    Such a mechanism would entail building an Empowerment Fund that is managed
    transparently by Treasury through a progress empowerment levy e.g. 5% on
    profits charged to multi-million dollar corporations in Zimbabwe for a
    duration of up to 10 years subject to a nationwide consultation exercise.

    The Fund would be disbursed by Treasury to targeted disadvantaged youths
    between 18 and 30 years of age (no old men or women) on a means test basis
    as well as production of a bankable business plan with repayment of capital
    only and agreeing to a joint venture with a government mentor until the
    project shows evidence of being self-sustainable. You don’t give a trainee
    air pilot the controls until you feel confident that it’s safe to do so!

    The advantages of the proposed option to indigenisation is that it is colour
    blind, transparent, non-partisan, sustainable, non-discriminatory except on
    merit, not corrupt or open to abuse like the current system which is plainly
    vindictive against an ethnic minority purely for narrow political reasons.
    This is the only way to pull the indigenisation rug from under the feet of
    prophets of partisan politics.

    Conclusion:

    Zimbabwe needs investors more than investors need Zimbabwe, so there is no
    point in ‘sabre rattling’. Empowerment of disadvantaged youths should be
    colour blind like that done by the Prince’s Trust in the UK. In order to
    build Zimbabwe, there is need for reconciliation, compromise, diplomacy and
    magnanimity. People want to see a consistent application of policy
    regardless of political persuasion.

    Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,
    zimanalysis2009@gmail.com


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  • Zimbabwe's Two MDCs Seeking Court Relief From Police Ban on Meetings

    http://www.voanews.com/

    Spokesman Kurauone Chihwayi of the MDC wing led by Welshman Ncube said the
    officer in charge of Bulawayo province told his party should not hold any
    rallies as this was likely to lead to violence

    Patience Rusere & Sithandekile Mhlanga | Washington 07 March 2011

    Both main formations of Zimbabwe's former opposition Movement for Democratic
    Change are seeking relief in the country's High Court citing a pattern of
    interference by local police blocking their political meetings and rallies
    in a pre-electoral environment.

    Tabitha Khumalo, a spokeswoman for the MDC formation of Prime Minister
    Morgan Tsvangirai, said her party submitted a brief to Bulawayo High Court
    today.

    Spokesman Kurauone Chihwayi of the MDC wing led by Welshman Ncube said the
    party will also submit papers to the High Court this week.

    Chihwayi said the Ncube MDC meantime will go ahead with a rally in the
    Makokoba section of Bulawayo set for Saturday, saying it is the party’s
    right.

    VOA was unable to obtain comment from the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

    But Chihwayi said his party received a letter yesterday from the officer in
    charge of Bulawayo province, Steve Mutamba, saying the formation should not
    hold any rallies as this was likely to lead to violence.

    Meetings called by the Tsvangirai MDC in Bulawayo and other locations
    including Kadoma, Mashonaland West province, were similarly barred by the
    police.

    Police have also stopped the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions from holding
    a march to commemorate International Womens Day on Tuesday.

    Tsvangirai MDC spokeswoman Tabitha Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter
    Patience Rusere that Section 25 of the Public Order and Security Act says
    police clearance is required for public gatherings, not private party
    meetings in offices.

    Ncube MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube told Sithandekile Mhlanga that Saturday’s
    rally will go ahead as planned. He said the law merely requires police be
    notified.


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    MDC accused of not doing more to end political violence

    http://www.swradioafrica.com

    By Alex Bell
    08 March 2011

    The MDC has been accused of not doing more as part of the unity government,
    to end political violence and seek justice for violence victims in Zimbabwe.

    In a report by Human Rights Watch, ‘Perpetual Fear: Impunity and Cycles of
    Violence in Zimbabwe’, the MDC is accused of “prioritising” the survival of
    the unity government, above all else.

    “The MDC has not forcefully insisted on justice and accountability for human
    rights abuses, nor has it attempted to bring the perpetrators of those
    abuses to book,” the report reads.

    The report’s author, senior Human Rights Watch researcher Tiseke Kasambala,
    told SW Radio Africa’s Diaspora Diaries programme that the MDC clearly are
    not equal partners in the unity government. But she said it was
    “disappointing that they appear to have swept issues of retributive justice
    under the rug.”

    Kasambala’s reports details the stories of many victims of the 2008
    political violence who are still waiting for some form of justice, with no
    sign of any investigation into the brutal killings and torture of MDC
    supporters. Many of these victims have been left physically and emotionally
    damaged, with some living in South Africa, choosing poverty there over life
    in Zimbabwe. Kasambala explained how one of the victims, whose parents were
    murdered by known ZANU PF thugs during the 2008 election period, described
    living in “perpetual fear because the perpetrators of the violence and
    murder live next door and are walking free.”

    “The power-sharing government should take the lead in ending abuses and
    impunity by putting in place mechanisms to ensure that those who have
    committed abuses in the past and those who continue to do so, are held to
    account for their crimes,” Kasambala said.

    She added that if the impunity is allowed to continue “we will likely see a
    repeat of this level of violence in future elections.”

    The full report can be read by following this link:

    http://www.hrw.org/node/96946


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    Mutambara undermining the judiciary

    http://www.newzimbabwe.com

    08/03/2011 00:00:00
    by Qhubani Moyo

    THAT Arthur Mutambara is a dangerous element to our democracy is no longer
    an assumption but a statement of fact backed by evidence of his nefarious
    deeds of violating the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and undermining the
    judiciary.

    His deliberate undermining of the judiciary and the people of Zimbabwe makes
    him a very dishonest politician who cannot be trusted to be in the
    leadership of any public office in this country. It has emerged that he is a
    power hungry man who would not stop at anything to safeguard personal
    interests -- even if it is against the national interest.

    Mutambara, who came into the political fray as a champion of democracy and
    rule of law, has proven beyond anyone’s doubt that he is a dangerous element
    to our nascent democracy and should be checked before he becomes a cancer.

    In the interest of public debate, it is important to highlight some of the
    major dangerous political activities of Mutambara that show that he
    undermines both the judiciary and the people of Zimbabwe.

    The first major issue that Mutambara dangerously plays around with is the
    issue of ‘principal’ in the Global Political Agreement. The arguments by
    Mutambara, cooked up by Lovemore Madhuku, are meant to mislead the nation,
    create confusion and disrupt the smooth operations of the government. The
    arguments forwarded are that Mutambara is principal by virtue of being a
    signatory of the GPA and also by being Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) of the
    Republic.

    While I will not spend much time in the second argument, I will dedicate
    some space to deal with the first argument. The position of DPM does not
    make one a principal, that is a government position which is why Thokozani
    Khupe is DPM but not a principal.

    The argument that Mutambara is a principal by virtue of being a signatory to
    the GPA falls flat because it presupposes that he signed the GPA in his
    personal capacity, yet he signed on behalf of the MDC. This is a vacuous
    argument that is deliberately designed to confuse the nation and should not
    be allowed to go unchallenged.

    The truth of the matter that both Mutambara and Madhuku know is that the GPA
    was signed by the three party presidents in their representative capacities.
    Robert Mugabe signed representing Zanu PF, Morgan Tsvangirai signed
    representing the MDC-T and Arthur Mutambara signed representing the MDC,
    witnessed by the SADC facilitator Thabo Mbeki. So, clearly, the three signed
    representing their parties not some substructure that Mutambara and Madhuku
    are imagining.

    Just for the record, Article 1 section one of the GPA makes the following
    pronouncements: “The agreement shall mean this written agreement signed by
    the representatives of Zanu PF and the two MDC formations”. It further goes
    on to pronounce that the “parties referred to shall mean Zanu PF and the two
    MDC formations led by Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai respectively”.
    So Mutambara and Madhuku cannot suddenly pretend that there is a GPA
    principal who is not a leader of a political party.

    The other confusion peddled by Mutambara and Madhuku is that there is a
    legal term called ‘principal’ in the GPA. For those who have gone through
    the whole GPA, they will tell you that there is nowhere in the GPA where it
    mentions the term principal. This just refers to leaders of the political
    parties represented in government. The term principal, from what I know, was
    coined by the negotiators in collective reference to their leaders and the
    media ran to town with it. It then became a common name in reference to
    Mugabe, Mutambara and Tsvangirai in their threesome.

    The correct legal position, therefore, as enunciated in amendment 19 of the
    constitution of the country is that the three party presidents signed the
    GPA in their representative capacities and not as individuals. Simply put,
    the GPA was signed by the three parties that were represented in the hung
    7th parliament of Zimbabwe.

    The above position is well known not only by Mutambara but also by President
    Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, yet in clear violation of the
    GPA and undermining of the judiciary, the two invited and allowed Mutambara
    to attend a meeting of principals (presidents of parties represented in
    government). They did this despite the full knowledge that the High Court of
    Zimbabwe had granted the MDC a provisional order interdicting Mutambara to
    stop masquerading as the MDC president, and therefore principal of the same.

    Commenting on Mutambara’s attendance of the meeting, Madhuku, who is the
    Herald’s most trusted legal expert on this matter alone, blatantly tries to
    confuse the nation by making ridiculous claims that he had a right to attend
    the meeting as GPA principal and not as MDC president. Such abuse of the
    public media by a self-proclaimed human rights activist is a serious
    embarrassment.

    While many Zimbabweans have known that Madhuku’s understanding of the law is
    very skewed since he is not a practicing lawyer due to known reasons, very
    few ever imagined that he would stoop so low as to try and confuse the
    nation on an issue that is in black and white. The act of attending the
    meeting of principals is a clear contempt of the High Court ruling and a
    clear sign of undermining of the judiciary. This is particularity sad coming
    from someone who has always claimed to be champion of democracy and human
    rights.

    Mutambara raises some absurd claims that the court is infringing on the
    concept of separation of powers because the judiciary pronouncement is bound
    to disrupt the operation of the executive arm of government. This
    pronouncement, which is also deliberately planted to create confusion in the
    country, is a total falsehood. The truth of the matter is that the court
    issued an interdict restraining Mutambara from masquerading as party
    president, it did not make any mention of his work as DPM. So where is the
    interference?

    Madhuku should stop misleading the robotics professor. While they can be
    forgiven for their wrong interpretation of the law on this one, they cannot
    be forgiven for undermining the judiciary by claiming that the MDC filed
    their court application in the Bulawayo High Court because it was “forum
    shopping”. Forum shopping refers to looking for someone who sympathises with
    you.

    So for Mutambara, the judges in Bulawayo did not make a judgment based on
    points of law and the facts presented but on the basis of sympathy and
    favour. This is a very dangerous assault on the judiciary by a member of the
    executive in that it is loaded with strong undercurrents that do not only
    border on insinuating that the judges in Bulawayo are corrupt but has a
    dangerous insinuation that the judges are sympathetic to Welshman Ncube
    because they share with him a particular language and culture. I hope this
    was not the meaning of his claim of “forum shopping”. I challenge him to
    come out and explain to the nation what he meant about this.

    In the absence of a meaningful explanation, for me the statement is in
    contempt of the courts. It is strange that a whole professor with hairy
    armpits clinging to the position of DPM by ginya does no appreciate that
    Zimbabweans are allowed to file their High Court applications in any part of
    the country because the High Court is a national institution. The
    jurisdiction of the High Court is national, and even Madhuku knows this.

    Mutambara, in his trance of political desperation, should not undermine the
    state institutions when he took an oath to serve the country in honour. The
    attempts to undermine the judiciary are totally unacceptable and his
    political desperation should not be used to undermine the judiciary and
    creating confusion in the country. He should just accept that the end game
    has come and accept that he has no moral fibre to make any claims of being a
    principal.
    Qhubani Moyo is the national organizing secretary of the MDC. He can be
    contacted on qmoyo2000@yahoo.co.uk


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    DAS Page Press Conference in Harare, March 4th 2011

    Embassy of the United States of America

    Public Affairs Section

    Transcript: DAS Susan Page press conference (with video selected clips)

    March 8th 2011, Harare, Zimbabwe

    TRANSCRIPT of media briefing by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Susan D Page (DAS PAGE) at PAS Harare offices, on Friday, March 4, 2011, 2:15 pm. DAS Page was at the end of her four day business visit to Zimbabwe where she met with various government officials, civil society representatives, and business.

    BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:

    AMBASSADOR CHARLES A. RAY: Ladies and gentlemen, help me welcome Susan D. Page, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the United States State Department. She is responsible for all our embassies in central and southern Africa. She is probably well known to many of you as she has been to Zimbabwe a number of times since the mid 1990s, or probably early 1990s. She is here with us this week on a routine visit to one of the embassies for which she has responsibility back in Washington. From here she is going to Mozambique to do much the same. I will let her give you the details of her visit. I will leave the floor and hand over to Ms. Susan D. Page.

    DAS SUSAN D. PAGE: Thank you very much for welcoming me to the U.S. Mission to Zimbabwe. I have a prepared statement that I would like to read first, of which copies will be made available immediately thereafter, and then I will take questions.

    (Begin statement) My visit to Zimbabwe this week highlighted a country buoyed by massive opportunity yet gripped with uncertainty. The United States remains committed to working with the people of Zimbabwe to achieve our common goal of seeing a more stable and prosperous Zimbabwe.

    The United States is concerned by the increase in political violence, wanton intimidation of the public and partisan arrests and prosecutions that have occurred recently. It is clear that these actions are being perpetrated by individuals and segments of the state security apparatus affiliated with elements within ZANU-PF. Having said that, we applaud President Mugabe’s clear statement on February 26 that violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We hope that President Mugabe, as head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces, also conveys that message to the police and security services. The credibility of that statement, however, ultimately will be reflected in how it is honored. The United States believes that ZANU-PF will be a part of Zimbabwe’s future. In order to play a constructive role, ZANU-PF must reject the use of violence and fear in its operations. Similarly, we recognize that not everyone within the Zimbabwe Republic Police and armed forces supports or is engaged in violence. The United States applauds those patriots serving their fellow citizens and their country by maintaining law, order, and stability. I urge these security service members to stand up to the partisan few among them who are intent on abusing their positions, and their fellow citizens, for personal gain. Service to extremists within one party is not service to the nation.

    The United States supports a transformation of Zimbabwe to democracy and a return to prosperity. We applaud the commitment of the three parties to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to develop and adopt a new constitution before holding elections. We support the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) lead in developing a roadmap for credible elections to be held in Zimbabwe. However, it is up to the people of Zimbabwe to reach consensus on when those elections should be held. The United States stands prepared to assist the Zimbabwean people to enhance the strength and capacity of their electoral institutions and civil society organizations to help ensure that the next elections, when they are called, are credible, free of violence, and represent the will of the Zimbabwean people. While those parties in government progress along the roadmap to democratic elections, they must honor their commitments and obligations under the GPA, their responsibilities in government, and their commitment to deliver services to the people.

    It is clear from my many meetings and discussions with a wide array of Zimbabweans both here and in Bulawayo, that Zimbabwe’s economy has significant opportunities for growth and employment. We have seen a notable increase in American and international business interest in the country’s newly-revived economy and the U.S. Embassy here has increased significantly its outreach to the American private sector to draw attention to local opportunities. At the same time, foreign companies will not expose themselves to investment risks here in Zimbabwe until a clear and consistent set of ground rules governing the protection of private property, the sanctity of contracts, and unbiased enforcement of the law are in place. True empowerment comes when a vibrant economy provides jobs, opportunities, food for peoples’ families, and hope for the future.

    A rising tide lifts all boats. We see that this is happening now in Zimbabwe but only to a limited degree. Substantial growth and development is waiting for the stability and security that will come once the rule of law is enforced, core business principles are respected, corruption is diminished, and all people are able to freely express themselves in a peaceful manner. Currently, a small band of detractors focused on personal profiteering at the expense of others is holding the entire country down. The Zimbabwean people deserve better and the American people are eager to partner with you for the empowerment of all Zimbabweans. Thank you. (END STATEMENT)

    (PAO interjects to begin moderating questions)

    QUESTION: We understand that you meant to pay a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. Did the meeting, ah, did you fail to meet the minister?

    DAS PAGE: I did pay a courtesy visit on the Ministry of Mines, and I met with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and his team. It was a very cordial meeting, discussing events around the Kimberly Process, and, of course, the status of where things are with respect to the Marange diamond fields. Nothing extraordinary except to say that it was important that I touch base with the various ministries and government officials, private sector, civil society, political parties, basically Zimbabweans from all walks of life so that I can gather a real sense from people on the ground for an important country that I cover. The ministry of mines was no exception.

    QUESTION: How much is the wave of protests in North Africa a concern to Washington, and what do you think is the problem and the solution?

    DAS PAGE: Thank you. I think that with respect to Zimbabwe, I’m not so sure that the waves of protests in North Africa are playing that much of a dramatic role or effect here in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean people have a very rich and long history of peaceful protest and trying to go to the ballot box to remove or change their government to express their views. They have functioning institutions that obviously have diminished with time but can still play a very robust role here. So the concern that we have in Washington about what is happening is related to those countries and the effect it will have worldwide. I think what it shows the world, and not just the United States, is that, as President Obama said in his speech in Accra, Ghana last year, what it does demonstrate is the strength that is needed from institutions and not from strong individuals. So that, I think is the lesson that we need to pay particular attention to -- the institutions -- that can be the judiciary, the executive branch, the legislative branch, electoral institutions, civil society playing a role in that, human rights organizations or commissions. Those are the elements that can help foster or strengthen democratic regimes in the world. (Watch Video)

    QUESTION: From your statement you expressed concern over the increased cases of political violence and, if I heard you very well, you cited security agents as perpetrators of such violence. Yesterday, we had Commissioner General of police giving oral evidence before Parliament and from his figures, 101 cases of reported cases of political violence was perpetuated by the MDC, while ZANU-PF had 20 cases of political violence. How do you substantiate your statement?

    DAS PAGE: Well, I would just say that we heard that report. It is not up to us to substantiate the statements or the cases, but we certainly hope that all parties will play a role in ending violence and making sure that whether violence is perpetrated by one side or another side or is reacted to will result in a decline in violence. As I read in my statement, we are encouraged by, we are happy to learn of the President’s statement of February 26th to ‘decline the use of violence’ and we hope that will be in fact be appropriately stated and enforced to the agents of security or security apparatus. As I mentioned, it is not everyone in the country who is a security service member, police member, or member of the CIO (Central Intelligence Organization) etc. who are engaged in violence. There are groups of people who are, and we encourage the investigation into those incidents and respect for the rule of law.

    QUESTION: What are your chances of becoming the deputy chair of the KPCS?

    DAS PAGE: The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, or the KP in shorthand, is a consensual based mechanism. Our objective is not so much to become deputy chair or vice chair of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme but rather to try and make sure that the Kimberly Process works as it should, and that all members of the Kimberly Process are able to follow the rules that are enshrined in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme so that they can export their raw diamonds for the benefit of their people. (Watch Video)

    QUESTION: I would divert you a bit to the issue of sanctions. What do you say to the anti- sanctions campaign drive which has kicked off now? Are you likely to negotiate with fellow Americans to remove sanctions or do you still think there isn’t much that has been done to warrant the removal of sanctions?

    DAS PAGE: Yes, we believe that. Let me just speak first about the rally, we think that is a perfectly legitimate use of the right to political expression, freedom of expression and freedom to gather. We would encourage and hope that that right will be permitted for all Zimbabwean citizens -- to gather and express their views. That has not been the case in many instances. In the United States, and in many countries around the world, people get together, they have petitions, they have drives to express their views. That is perfectly legitimate. Again, we would just hope that it would be available to all people to be able to use, to have that ability and that freedom that’s in fact, enshrined in the international covenant on civil and political rights, a UN document that the government, the republic of Zimbabwe has acceded to. So we would hope that that would be allowed and permitted for all people.

    In terms of the actual sanctions themselves, we do believe that the sanctions play a vital role in helping to encourage the government and all parties in it to participate in democratic transformation here. And we believe that is necessary to keep until we see that the perpetrators of violence, those who are refusing to allow democracy to thrive will in fact be punished.

    Let me just say that the sanctions list has less than 120 Zimbabweans on it. That means they cannot travel to the United States and access bank accounts that they have in the United States. We believe it is important for them not to have access to ill-gotten gains that they have received that do not benefit the people of Zimbabwe, so until that changes we will be keeping our sanctions on. (Watch Video)

    QUESTION: You said that the United States believes that ZANU-PF is central to Zimbabwe. Speaking about sanctions, they have not had the kind of effect that the United States hopes they will have. And now you are saying that ZANU-PF is central to the United States. Does that mean that you are going to be negotiating, are you going to compromise?

    DAS PAGE: Well, first of all, I think you misconstrued or misheard what I said. I believe that ZANU-PF will be a central part in Zimbabwe’s future; I think that is just reality. And what I also said was that in order to be a strong relevant player, they need to change their tactics and not use violence, not use fear and intimidation in order to achieve their objectives. In terms of sanctions, as I just mentioned, I did not say they are not effective, or that they were not achieving the objective that we set. Again we have targeted very specific and limited number of people that we believe have hindered the progress of Zimbabwe. We do believe sanctions are still an effective tool, and so we will not be negotiating with anyone. We will use our foreign policy tools, which is only but one of the foreign policy tools that we have, just like my visit here. We have a full ambassador here; we have a full embassy; we have various agencies that are working under the authority of the chief of mission, the Ambassador. Zimbabwe also has a full diplomatic mission and ambassador in the United States in Washington and in New York. These are all part of the toolkits that we use as part of our diplomacy. (Watch Video)

    QUESTION: Yes, back to the Kimberly Process, the U.S. has raised concern in the past over alleged human rights abuses in Marange. Do you think Zimbabwe has done enough to improve and meet the Kimberly Process standards to warrant resumption of trade in diamonds?

    DAS PAGE: I don’t know. I think that is up to the Zimbabwean people, and the ministry and the arrangements that they have with the companies to make sure that the violence goes down and that the minimum standards of the Kimberly Process, not just in terms of those mining companies, are met. And that’s not just for the United States, that’s for the benefit of the process to which they have signed up to, and to benefit all partners in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.

    QUESTION: Do you think SADC, as guarantors of the Global Political Agreement, are doing enough to ensure its full implementation? Because we have always had complaints that they are not doing enough.

    DAS PAGE: Well, the reality is that at the end of the day, no one can force anyone to do something that they do not want to do. As guarantors, they are hoping to make progress; they have committed to developing an electoral roadmap. They, I know, were here, just a week ago or so, discussing again with the principals. So I hope that they will continue to play that vital role of holding the parties accountable to what they signed up to. But ultimately, any political agreement is subject to the will of those people who signed it. And so we encourage the three partners and their political parties to abide by their commitments under the Global Political Agreement and be able to hold elections under a new constitution and move forward getting Zimbabwe back on the path to democracy and governance, freedom of press, and freedom of speech. There are a number of things that are in the Global Political Agreement that lay that out. Hopefully, these things will be enshrined in the new constitution that will go through the referendum process and, if it is acceptable to the Zimbabwean people, then they will go forward with elections under that. I think that the region is important. Zimbabwe is not alone; it is a member of SADC and a strong member of the region. We all would all like to see it prosperous again.

    QUESTION: Are there any plans as the U.S. government to assist media freedom in Zimbabwe and freedom of expression particularly for ordinary Zimbabweans?

    DAS PAGE: We do. We have, let me just speak a little bit about the kind of assistance that we have been giving to Zimbabwe over the course of the Global Political Agreement that has been in place in the last two years. In 2009, we provided over US$300 million to support Zimbabwean efforts at recovery- humanitarian relief, HIV and AIDS, agriculture, text books, education -- so we have a vast program. We have just increased our funding for HIV and AIDS. We have through USAID, through organizations that are working with them, NGOS, civil society organizations that are working to strengthen the media commission that has been set up. We would like to see the media commission really robust and operating fully, with newspapers being able to open, for journalists to be able to gather at places like this, and to be able to report accurately and professionally on what’s happening. That’s not just in the print media, but also on the airwaves and elsewhere. We are not seeing a lot of that yet, but we are hoping in our support for communications that will be part of our support.

    Let me just say in closing, I have had a wonderful trip here to Zimbabwe. I have been coming to Zimbabwe since 1994, and it is always a pleasure to be back. The Zimbabwean people are warm and generous and graceful, and it has been a pleasure. I have received excellent support from the U.S. mission. I would want to especially thank the Ambassador, the Public Affairs Office, and all of the sections that have made my trip so wonderful. But mostly of course, it’s a trip committed to the Zimbabwean people. Thank you all very much for welcoming me.

    END TRANSCRIPT

    Issued by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Send inquiries to Sharon Hudson-Dean

    Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy – Public Affairs Section, Harare, Zimbabwe, hararepas@state.gov

    Tel: 263-4-758800/1; Fax: 263-4-758802; Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov


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    Thugtatorship

    http://www.kubatanablogs.net/kubatana/?p=5093

    In a recent edition of Pambazuka news, Alemayehu G. Mariam introduces Africa’s leading ‘thugtators’ – those leaders who cling to power ‘solely to accumulate personal wealth for the ruling class’.

    If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, a thugogracy is a government of thieves, for thieves, by thieves. Simply stated, a thugtatorship is rule by a gang of thieves and robbers (thugs) in designer suits. It is becoming crystal clear that much of Africa today is a thugogracy privately managed and operated for the exclusive benefit of bloodthirsty thugtators.

    In a thugtatorship, the purpose of seizing and clinging to political power is solely to accumulate personal wealth for the ruling class by stealing public funds and depriving the broader population of scarce resources necessary for basic survival.

    In March 2008, Robert Mugabe declared victory in the presidential election after waging a campaign of violence and intimidation on his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters. In 2003, Mugabe boasted, ‘I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.’ No one would disagree with Mugabe’s self-description. In 2010, Mugabe announced his plan to sell ‘about $1.7 billion of diamonds in storage’. According to a Wikileaks cablegram, ‘a small group of high-ranking Zimbabwean officials (including Grace Mugabe) have been extracting tremendous diamond profits.’ Mugabe is so greedy that he stole outright ‘4.5 million from [aid] funds meant to help millions of seriously ill people.’

    The story of corruption, theft, embezzlement and brazen transfer of the national wealth of African peoples to European and African banks and corporate institutions is repeated elsewhere in the continent. Ex-Nigerian President Sani Abacha, who was judicially determined to be a member of a criminal organisation by a Swiss court, stole $500 million. Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt also have their stolen assets in the hundreds of millions of dollars frozen in Switzerland and elsewhere. Other African thugtators who have robbed their people (and pretty much gotten away with it) include Nigeria’s Ibrahim Babangida, Guniea’s Lansana Conte, Togo’s Gnassingbe Eyadema, Gabon’s Omar Bongo, Equatorial Guniea’s Obiang Nguema, Burkina Faso’s Blaise Campore and Congo’s (Brazaville) Denis Sassou Nguesso, among others.

    THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THUGTATORSHIPS

    Thugtatorships in Africa thrive in the political economy of kleptocracy. Widespread corruption permeates every corner of society. Oil revenues, diamonds, gold bars, coffee and other commodities and foreign aid are stolen outright and pocketed by the thugtators and their army of thugocrats. Public funds are embezzled and misused and state property misappropriated and converted to private use. Publicly-owned assets are virtually given away to supporters in ‘privatisation programs’ or secretly held in illegal transactions. Bank loans are given out to front enterprises owned secretly by the thugtators or their supporters without sufficient or proper collateral.

    Businessmen must pay huge bribes or kickbacks to participate in public contracting and procurement. Those involved in the import/export business are victimised in shakedowns by thugocrats. The judiciary is thoroughly corrupted through political interference and manipulation.

    One of the common tricks used by thugtators to cling to power is to terrorise the people with warnings of an impending Armageddon. They say that if they are removed from power, even after 42 years, the sky will fall and the earth will open up and swallow the people. Thugtators sow fear, uncertainty and doubt in the population and use misinformation and disinformation to psychologically defeat, disorient and neutralise the people.

    Africa’s thugtatorships have longstanding and profitable partnerships with the West. Through aid and trade, the West has enabled these thugocracies to flourish in Africa and repress Africans. To cover up their hypocrisy and hoodwink the people, the West is now lined up to ‘freeze’ the assets of the thugtators. It is a drama they have perfected since the early days of African independence. The fact of the matter is that the West is interested only in ‘stability’ in Africa. That simply means, in any African country, they want a ‘guy they can do business with‘. The business they want to do in Africa is the oil business, the (blood) diamond business, the arms sales business, the coffee and cocoa export business, the tourism business, the luxury goods export business and the war on terrorism business. They are not interested in the African peoples’ business, the human rights business, the rule of law business, the accountability and transparency business and the fair and free elections business.

    Today, the West is witnessing a special kind of revolution it has never seen: a youth-led popular nonviolent revolution against thugtatorships in Africa and the Middle East. Neither the West nor the thugtators know what to do with this kind of revolution or the revolutionaries leading it. President Obama said, ‘History will end up recording that at every juncture in the situation in Egypt, that we were on the right side of history.’ Well, what is good for Egypt is good enough for Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, the Sudan, Algeria, Kenya, Bahrain, Djbouti, Somalia and Zimbabwe. The decisive question in world history today is: are we on the right side of history with the victims of oppression or are we on the wrong side with thugtators destined to the dustbin of history?

    Power to youths in Africa and the Middle East!

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