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SADC to re-constitute contentious tribunal

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

21/05/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE regional SADC grouping will reconstitute its judicial arm following
pressure from the Zimbabwe government which has been critical of its rulings
against the country’s land reforms.

Foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi welcomed the development
which was taken at an extraordinary SADC summit underway in Namibia.

"We are very happy because we have fought for this decision for a very long
time,” Mumbengegwi told state media.
"So today we have completely and totally dissolved the tribunal."

The tribunal ruled in favour of some white former commercial farmers who
sought to have the seizure of their farms under the country’s land reforms
reversed.
Zimbabwe objected to the tribunal’s findings arguing they contravened the
country’s constitutional position.
The country’s Supreme Court ruled that the land reforms were constitutional.

The government also insisted it would not be bound by the tribunal’s ruling
arguing the body had not been ratified by two thirds of SADC’s member states
re required under its constitutive treaty.
Ten countries, including Zimbabwe, have yet to ratify the treaty which
established the body.
The Tribunal was established in 1992 but its judges – who are referred to as
members – took office in 2005.
Zimbabwean judge, Justice Antonia Guvava is one of the regular members of
the body.


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More Charges of Rights Violations in Zimbabwe's Marange Diamond Field

http://www.voanews.com/

With police backup, Mbada Diamonds started relocating Chiadzwa residents
three weeks ago, moving 44 families from the diamond zone to Arda Transau
Farm in Odzi, about 60 kilometers away

Studio 7 Reporters | Washington 20 May 2011

Fresh allegations of human rights abuses have surfaced from the Marange
diamond field of eastern Zimbabwe with activists accusing Mbada Diamonds, a
partner with the Harare government of setting guard dogs on residents to
pressure them to relocate.

Local sources said guard dogs have attacked four residents of the Chiadzwa
area of the Marange diamond zone over the past two weeks.

Chiadzwa Community Development Trust Chairman Malvern Mudiwa, currently
facing charges of inciting villagers in Marange to resist relocation, said
Mbada is deliberately putting residents in a desperate situation so they
will agree to relocation.

“There are so many abuses from the security guards, which are being led by a
white man,” Mudiwa said. “They are letting their dogs to people and
livestock.”

Mudiwa said the attacks began when Mbada created a so-called fireguard
around a new claim. Mudiwa said Mbada security guards “are patrolling that
area quite frequently with their vicious dogs” even though families are
still living within the demarcated claim.

“The fireguard is already in the people’s areas,” Mudiwa said. “You just
have to cross it because you can’t avoid it. It’s where you’re staying.” The
people who were attacked had been searching for their livestock near the
boundary of Mbada’s claim.

With police backup, Mbada started relocating residents three weeks ago,
moving 44 families from the diamond zone to Arda Transau Farm in Odzi, about
60 kilometers away. Another company operating in the Marange zone, Anjin,
has relocated 178 families since 2010 and forcibly removed another 24 last
weekend, activist Mudiwa said.

Manicaland spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of the Movement for Democratic Change
formation of Prime Minister Tsvangirai said he saw armed police forcing
villagers into Chinese lorries over the weekend. Anjin is operated by
Chinese investors.

VOA was unable to reach Mbada or Anjin officials for comment.

The Web site of the New Reclamation Group, whose Grandwell Holdings
subsidiary owns 50 percent of Mbada, states that relocations have begun but
does not provide any further details. The New Reclamation site says that
Mbada has launched “a far reaching corporate responsibility program,”
including the distribution of food aid.

But Chiadzwa residents are demanding more substantial and longer-lasting
forms of compensation for their losses, like shares in the company or
permanent jobs.

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association Head Researcher Shamiso Mtisi says
families moved out of Chiadzwa – often forcibly by the military – are only
receiving a thousand dollars compensation for the seizure of their homes and
farming plots.

“There is lack of transparency in the manner of calculating the
compensation,” Mtisi said. “If the process were well managed, these
communities would be signing some sort of contract with the mining companies
in terms of services and provisions.”

But most families are not even being given title deeds to their new homes.

“There are lots of community voices in Chiadzwa who are yearning for
consultation, but government is spurning those calls. How can you ignore
your people who are calling for compensation, yet you are saying you want to
serve the people?” Mtisi said.

“The whole program will lead to the relocation of about 4,000 families,
which is a huge amount for such a small piece of land,” Mtisi said. He added
that each plot allotted is particularly small for families accustomed to
farming and raising livestock.

Activist Mudiwa said that people in Chiadzwa are furious about relocation
methods.

“People want to be treated like human beings,” he said.

“We as community have nothing against being relocated," Mudiwa continued.
"All that we want is compensation. We want to translate that compensation
into buying shares as a community so that we also benefit. That is the
indigenization that the government is preaching every day. So it has to
start with us.”


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No indigenisation just yet – ACR

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Vusimuzi Bhebhe
Friday, 20 May 2011 14:19

HARARE – African Consolidated Resources (ACR) said it will not comply with
Zimbabwe’s controversial indigenisation law just yet – insisting its
operations are still in exploration phase.
Under the Zimbabwe government’s controversial indigenisation regulations,
foreign companies have until the beginning of June to outline their
programmes for selling more than 51 percent of their shareholdings to black
Zimbabweans. The businesses affected by the regulation were those with a net
asset value of or above one United States dollar. ACR said its subsidiary
Canape Investments, which is the holding company for its Zimbabwean assets,
had responded to Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere outlining its
position on the regulations.
“Since the businesses of Canape and of all its subsidiaries are in
exploration phase financed by loans from ACR or other group companies, none
of Canape or its subsidiaries has a net asset value of or above one United
States dollar. In the response, Canape has stated this fact and added that
it will take such steps as it can to comply with any indigenisation law in
force from time to time,” an ACR spokesperson said.
The indigenisation regulations, which are being driven by President Robert
Mugabe’s wing of Zimbabwe’s fragile coalition government, have already
scared off several potential foreign investors who fear losing their assets
through nationalisation.
The other two coalition parties have distanced themselves from the
regulations, often reassuring edgy foreign investors that nationalisation
was not government policy.
Kasukuwere has warned mining firms refusing to comply with the regulations
that the government would “not hesitate to ask them to cease operations as
there is no going back in ensuring that Zimbabweans benefit from their
natural resources”.
The companies that have so far complied with the government’s directive
include Unki Mine run by South African company Anglo Platinum, the Rio
Tinto-run Murowa Diamond Mine, Canadian-owned New Dawn Mine, and Freda
Rebecca Mine and Bindura Nickel Mine that are both operated by pan-African
resources company Mwana Africa.


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Dilapidated road network needs $1,7b upgrade

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Ngoni Chanakira
Friday, 20 May 2011 14:25

HARARE – The nation’s dilapidated and potholed road network desperately
needs a staggering $1,7 billion for upgrading and dualisation, according to
a cabinet document seen by The Zimbabwean.
Prepared by the Ministry of Finance, the document refers to a $500 million
refurbishment of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Road. This amount will be
used to upgrade the first 30 km of the road to a six-lane carriageway and
the rest into carriageways of two lanes each. A total of 570 km will be
covered under this project.
The ministry says the nation needs $190 million for the Harare-Mutare Road.
Under this project government would upgrade the 265 km of road into separate
two lane carriageways. Nearly $3 million will be required to upgrade the
Harare-Gweru-Bulawayo Road. In this project there would be an upgrade of the
existing road from 11 km - 45 km peg to six lanes and remaining 244 km into
two separate lane carriageways.
An additional 164 km would be constructed from Gweru to Bulawayo. Government
needs $225,8 million for the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road – including the
rehabilitation of 321 km of pot-holed raods. Government also needs $307,3
million to rehabilitate the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road, a project that has
been on the cards for quite some time now. The Victoria Falls is the
country's most popular tourist destination and besides air travel visitors
use roads resulting in them being badly damaged especially during the rainy
season.


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Employers owe NSSA $14 million

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

Written by Lovejoy Sakala
Saturday, 21 May 2011 12:23

HARARE- Thousands of companies have failed to remit pension funds to the
National Social Security Authority (NSSA).
Since the country dumped the worthless Zimbabwe dollar for multiple
currencies, companies are operating below 45 percent capacity and failing to
access loans to resuscitate operations.
Uncertainty has, in turn, made investors hesitant to invest due unstable
political climate and controversial indigenisation laws.
NSSA general manager James Matiza said the authority is owed more than $14
million by employers who are defaulting payment of pension funds.
A total of 7,757 companies have been found guilty in Bulawayo, Midlands and
Manicaland. “We have completed the first phase of an ongoing exercise to
identify defaulting companies. We will penalise them and charge 50 percent
of their arrears,” he said. “We are also considering pressing charges
against defaulters to recover the debts.”
Economist James Gary said the current prevailing economic environment was
not conducive for business growth with companies struggling survive due lack
of foreign direct investment and non availability of lines of credit.
“Government should provide a conducive environment for business to thrive
and make profits. Without that they cannot remit pensions in time because
they have other pressing issues to attend to,” Gary said. NSSA is under fire
from labour unions for paying pensioners funds described as “peanuts”.


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One spillgate opened at Lake Kariba

http://www.radiovop.com

19 hours 20 minutes ago

Kariba, May 19, 2011 - The Zambezi River Authority on Sunday opened one
spillway gate at Lake Kariba to reduce the water levels at the dam which has
been rising on the banks on one of the world's biggest man-made lakes.

The authority said water levels had been rising in the Lake since February
and this has forced the authority which is managed by the countries which
controls the flow of water along the Zambezi river.

The authority warned people who live along the Zambezi river banks that they
must take precaution to avoid loss of life or property.

“Flows in the Zambezi River have continued to be high since the third week
of February 2011 to date. Consequentially, persistently high inflows into
the lake have taken place leading to a rapid rise in the lake levels and
storage. The levels are such that should control measures not to be taken
now, the allowable operating Lake levels will be breached hence affecting
dam safety," the Zambezi River Authority said.

"The amount of water being used for power generation at Kariba has also been
reduced due to on-going maintenance works at both power stations resulting
in rapid rise in Lake levels .One gate full opened will discharge 1,500
cubic metres per second.”

Lake Kariba was built in the 1950's by the Southern Rhodesia and Northern
Rhodesia for hydro-power generation. From 1960 to 1961, 'Operation Noah'
captured and removed around 6,000 large animals and numerous small ones
threatened by the lake's rising waters.

Zimbabwe at the moment has been facing massive power cuts due to repairs
being done at Kariba power station. The government has been failing to
expand power generation at Kariba resulting in the country importing
electricity from neighbouring countries.


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Early treatment reduces HIV by 96%

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/755270

Friday, 20th May, 2011

By Halima Shaban

A person living with HIV can reduce sexual transmission of the HIV virus by
up to 96% by beginning anti-retroviral therapy (ARVs) early, a new trial has
revealed.

The trials, which took more than three years, involved 1,736 discordant
couples in Botswana, Brazil, India, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi South Africa and
Zimbabwe.

Speaking on Wednesday at this year’s international HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
in Entebbe, the deputy director of the Virus Research Institute, Dr Pontiano
Kaleebu, said the trial results had the strongest effect ever seen in the
fight against HIV/AIDS.

Kaleebu, however cautioned that no matter how effective a preventive HIV
vaccine would be, it would need to be combined with other HIV prevention
tools.

The head of Uganda Aids Commission, Kihumulo Apuuli, advised that people
remain their own social vaccine in preventing the HIV scourge. “Despite
everything done in preventing HIV/AIDS, the best vaccine is the social or
behavioral vaccine,” he said.

The day’s function began with procession through Entebbe till the leisure
park where free HIV testing, blood donation and entertainment were hosted.

A candle-lighting memorial ritual was held for the people who have died of
AIDS.

Up to today, in spite of the many trials and great strides worldwide, no
effective vaccine has been approved for use.


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Councillors battle to serve Mutare residents

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Tony Saxon
Thursday, 19 May 2011 15:07

MUTARE - The City of Mutare is fighting to restore its status, which had
collapsed due to the maladministration and corruption by the previous Zanu
(PF) run-council. (Pictured: Brian James)
During its three years in power, and despite political interference by Zanu
(PF) and Minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo, the MDC-T dominated
and democratically elected council is working tirelessly towards rebuilding
the jewel city of Manicaland.
“We have embarked on holistic strategies that will see us progressing in
terms of service delivery. We are working on strategies that include Water
and Sanitation, Roads and Housing. We are therefore appealing to the
Ministry of Finance, RBZ, World Bank and other financial communities to
assist us to implement them,” said Brian James the Mayor of Mutare in an
exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean last week.
James said the council was looking at securing long term loans and grants
from financial institutions so that it could embark on massive upgrading of
the city’s structures.
Residents have commended the MDC-T council for a job well done in terms of
service delivery.
“Major roads had become impassable death traps because of potholes that had
turned into gullies, but now we appreciate that road maintenance work has
vastly improved. We have seen some roads being tarred and patched. This is
wonderful - at least we are seeing some changes in our city,” said Hilary
Mangenje a senior resident.
Another resident, Kenneth Kushure, said: “At least we can see that the money
we are paying for rates is being put into good use. Refuse is now being
collected and the city is clean. There is a great improvement. When the Zanu
(PF) commission used to run the city it was in tatters, but we have
confidence in the present council.”
SIDA gave the City of Mutare $1 million for development in various areas and
repairing the city’s fleet, which had been grounded due to lack of spare
parts.
“This has enabled us to buy refuse equipment and to collect 95 percent of
the garbage in the city, though we still have some residents with ulterior
motives who are still throwing garbage everywhere. It was an opportunity for
the city to get back on its feet and deliver better service to its
residents,” said James.
He said the council was still working tirelessly to make sure that all roads
in the city were upgraded.
“We are facing financial challenges but we are trying our best to improve
the road network. We are going to embark on internal training of our staff
at the roads department so that we work on improving the road degradation.
We are going to tender three or four companies to build our roads,” added
the Mayor.
He applauded the residents who had freely volunteered to help in various
community projects - especially refuse collection, road and drainage
clearing.
“I would like to thank the public for their assistance especially during the
time that we went into office in May 2008. We have seen some volunteers
offering their vehicles and equipment to improve refuse collection. Some
people in wards formed groups to clean their wards and provided clothing for
this initiative,” he said.
James said he would also ensure that the councillors and all employees
continued to execute their duties in an open, transparent, democratic and
accountable way.
Mutare City Council received $3m from the Ministry of Finance and according
the Mayor it was used on water and sewerage management.
“We resuscitated the Chikanga water reservoir that has seen water supplies
in Chikanga suburb improving. We have contracted an engineering company
(Worley Parsons) to rehabilitate broken water and sewer pipes. The company
has been working on Christmas Pass water works down to Dangamvura suburb. We
are waiting for the final $1m from the Ministry of Finance to complete the
water works in the city,” explained James.
The engineering company, Worley Parsons, has been unblocking the sewer
pipes. James said the city has been losing about 50 percent of water through
burst water pipes and faulty water meters, resulting in the city resorting
to water rationing.
On health matters, James said the City of Mutare had completed 90 percent of
the health standards as required by UNICEF.
“We have done a lot in our clinics. We have seen more drugs coming our way
though there is need for improvement. We are, however, facing some shortages
in the nursing staff,” he said.
“To make sure that we improve on housing development, we have gone into a
partnership with our twin city, Haarlem in the Netherlands, which will
assist poor members of the community to access stands and build houses at
reasonable charges,” he explained.
James confirmed the city had identified 50 000 stands in the high density
areas and 7 000 stands in low density areas.
He said the council was collecting about 70 percent of its revenue, which he
said was good by Zimbabwe’s standards.
“We are collecting about $1m a month from our residents and we have reduced
the 2011 rates,” he said.
“We are currently in the process of formulating a public budget committee.
It will be purely made of members from the public who will monitor our
budgetary works,” he added.
He said the council was owed $14m by its residents and was in the process of
initiating an independent analysis of its debtors.
“We are concerned of our poor people and we are looking at ways to help
them. But there are also those who are refusing to pay due to other
reasons,” he said.
Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were doing very well, but James expressed
grave concern at the closure of corporate companies.
Mutare Board and Paper Mills, Mutare’s once biggest employer closed shop
last year while other big companies like PG Plate Glass (Pilkington),
Zimboard and Cairns Foods also faltered.
“There is nothing we can do to resuscitate these companies. We are concerned
that the companies provided huge employment to our residents and we are
calling on the relevant authorities to look into the matter,” he said.
While James and his team work tirelessly, Ignatius Chombo and his team,
which comprises un-elected “Zanu (PF) Special Needs Councillors”, are
throwing spanners into the council’s envisaged road to recovery.
Mutare City council is divided into two. The management committee has some
managers that are aligned to Zanu (PF) while the councillors are all MDC-T
members.
Some of the managers occupy influential positions in Zanu (PF) making it
difficult for the council to pass important decisions. There have been some
serious clashes between management and councillors.
“There are problems where we have seen the management doing their own thing
while the councillors do theirs. But we know that all this is being
influenced by Chombo. We have the Zanu (PF) appointed councillors and their
provincial leadership who are interfering with our operations. However,
MDC-T is a very strong institution. We have strong political leadership
within the city and we believe in our core value of serving the people.
“MDC-T is a people’s party and we believe in peoples’ power. The majority of
the residents are with us and they know what we are doing as their
councillors. We operate within our three principles which are transparency,
democracy and accountability. We will never lose focus and we will stand
firm on our principals as an MDC-T council. We are going to work hard to
serve the people who put us in power. We will expose those who are blocking
and delaying service delivery to our valued residents,” said James.


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Rwandan refugees in Zimbabwe encouraged to repatriate

http://bulawayo24.com/

by Mafu Sithabile
2011 May 21

Rwandan Minister of disaster management and refugee affairs Gen. Marcel
Gatsinzi, is in Zimbabwe to encourage Rwandan refugees in the country to
return back to their home [Rwanda].

Gatsinzi arrived in Harare on Friday accompanied by a delegation of
government officials and some returnees repatriated from Zimbabwe.

An advisor at the Rwandan ministry, Capt Jean Damascene Kayitana, observed
that the majority of refugees in Zimbabwe are unaware of the cessation
clause, saying the aim of the minister's visit was to sensitise the refugees
about the issue.

The clause, under the UNHCR system, stipulates that no Rwandan living abroad
will qualify for refugee status after 31 December 2011 and does not allow
claims for refugee status after verification by the agency that there are no
conditions in the country of origin that qualify for UN protection.

Statistics from a 2009 United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
report indicates that, Zimbabwe harbours approximately over 377 Rwandans
with the majority living in Tongogara Refugee camp located in the
south-western part of the country. The rest are scattered in the country's
urban areas.

Last year, Zimbabwe government promised to repatriate all Rwandan nationals
by December 2011 after the UNHCR declared Rwanda safe for refugees to
return.

"Like any other country in the region, Zimbabwe will soon embark on
repatriation of Rwandan refugees by December 31 2011." Minister of Public
Service and Social Welfare Paurina Mpariwa, was quoted during celebrations
to mark the World Refugees' Day.

According to the Rwandan Ministry of disaster management and refugee
affairs, a total of 70,000 Rwandan refugees live in various countries,
mainly in the DRC.

Recently, the government adopted the "Come and See" campaign, where Rwandan
refugees are invited to witness the current situation at home and go back to
sensitise their colleagues to repatriate.

There are about 5,000 refugees in Zimbabwe mainly from countries such as the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia and Liberia.

The Rwandan delegation will return back to Rwanda on Sunday. Gatsinzi will
later tour Cameroon, South Africa and Uganda on a similar mission.


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Kundishora defends out-of-date ICT policy

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Ngoni Chanakira
Friday, 20 May 2011 14:22

HARARE - Zimbabwe is currently using an out-dated national Information and
Communication Technology Policy, but the government insists it is still
valid.
The announcement, which shocked more than 300 computer gurus in Harare, was
made by Engineer Kundishora, a Permanent Secretary in the technology
ministry. He said the current ICT Policy had been designed in 2007. "The
policy that we are using right now is out-dated but I can assure you that it
is still valid," Kundishora said.
"What you must understand is that ICT policies run for a long time and,
therefore, you should not be very worried that ours is out-dated right now."
He said the Government of National Unity was working with players in the ICT
sector to come up with a new policy.
The Minister of Information, Communication and Technology, Nelson Chamisa,
has regularly said Zimbabwe needs to have an advanced ICT policy in order to
keep up not only in Africa but internationally. Chamisa says the country
must not be left behind in the cyberspace race. Kundishora said the
international ICT sector was moving very fast.
"As you know this sector is moving fast and we need to keep pace with the
rest of the world," he said. The Ministry of Finance says the country needs
$100 million for the establishment of a Fibre Optic Link which would help
boost its ICT sector.
The three telecommunications mobile telephone operators Econet Wireless
Holdings Limited (Econet), Telecel (Zimbabwe (Private) Limited, and the
government -controlled NetOne (Private) Limited are all setting up Fibre
Optic Cables around the country in preparation for this major upgrade.
Econet says it is spending $400 million upgrading its equipment, having
blown more than $600 million during the past 20 years.
The Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, in a document made available to The
Zimbabwean, revealed that to upgrade the Bulawayo-Beitbridge line the will
take $10 711 000, and $7 801 000 for the Gweru-Masvingo line. The country
needs $3,5 million for the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls line, $15,4 million for
Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge, and $21 million for the
Mutare-Chipinge-Chiredzi-Masvingo-Eastern Ring.


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Investors snooze on Zim shares

http://www.businesslive.co.za/

21 May, 2011 18:41

South African investors are missing out on lucrative returns to be earned on
the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange, the best-performing exchange in Africa so far
this year, said Sean Gammon, CEO of Imara Capital Zimbabwe.

While US investors have been flocking to invest in Zimbabwean shares over
the past six years, Britons and Europeans are slowly catching up, said
Gammon, who was in charge of the annual Imara investors' conference in
Harare this week. The conference aims to bring investors and companies
across broad sectors together, rather than give an audience to economists
and political analysts.

"South Africans tend to think Africa ends at the Limpopo. To a large extent,
they've also taken the view that they should use their foreign exchange
allocation to take money offshore and diversify away from Africa. However,
the JSE is fairly closely correlated with the developed markets, and they
actually miss out on getting real diversification and exposure to developing
markets," said Gammon.

"Americans tend to be a lot less emotional about things. They are just
interested in the returns and where it is coming from, and where the next
growth story is," said Gammon.

The ZSE's returns for the year average about 10% so far this year, with top
performers showing returns of 40%. This compares with an average decline of
the JSE's All-Share index of 0.28% this year.

European investors are also increasing their exposure to Zimbabwe by
investing in South African fund managers' Africa funds, he said. The
conference also attracted investors from the Middle East, particularly the
United Arab Emirates.

While topics like hyperinflation, indigenisation and the dollarisation of
the Zimbabwean economy dominated the annual conference in the past,
investors are this year more interested in keeping an eye on their
investments, or are considering Zimbabwe as an investment destination for
the first time, said Gammon.

Most listed companies meet the indigenisation criteria, as local pension
funds qualify as indigenous investors, meaning this is not "as hot a topic
as people expect", he said.

Major ZSE-listed companies include Delta Corp, a beverage company in which
SABMiller owns a 37% stake, cellphone company Econet Wireless and Innscor.

Delta, the biggest company on the ZSE, has "shown a very strongly positive
response to dollarisation and the normalisation of doing business in
Zimbabwe. Its volumes are back to the levels last seen in 1998, before the
land reform programme devastated the Zimbabwean economy," said Gammon.


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SADC's Livingstone summit a ‘bombshell’: Mugabe

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

21/05/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has described the SADC Troika summit held in
Livingstone, Zambia as a “bombshell” adding “serious inaccuracies” related
to the meeting needed to be addressed.

Mugabe was speaking at the extraordinary summit of the regional body
underway in Namibia where discussion of the political crisis in Zimbabwe was
shelved due to the absence of South Africa President, Jacob Zuma.

Zuma – who is SADC’s dialogue facilitator for Zimbabwe – could not attend
the meeting because of local government elections underway in South Africa.

The Livingstone summit -- held in March -- infuriated Mugabe after his Zanu
PF party came in for public criticism from regional leaders over political
violence in the country.

"To us Livingstone is a bombshell, there were serious inaccuracies,” state
media quoted Mugabe as telling regional colleagues in Namibia on Friday.

Developments in Zimbabwe and Madagascar – the region’s political hotspots –
were supposed to come under review at the Namibia meeting.

However, leaders agreed it would be difficult to make progress regarding
Zimbabwe in the absence of Zuma.
The leaders will now discuss Zimbabwe at a Comesa-Sadc-EAC Tripartite
meeting in South Africa next month.

President Mugabe also backed the postponement saying other parties to the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) had not been invited to the Namibia
meeting.
"We will not want them to think that we are waylaying them," he reportedly
said.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF has said it is against plans to draft an election roadmap
for the country insisting polls must be held this year in line with the
provisions of the GPA.

Negotiators – under President Zuma’s facilitation -- have been working to
thrash out a so-called roadmap to fresh polls with indications suggesting
that the country would not be ready to hold elections this year.

But Zanu PF chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo said the party was "totally against
the idea of a new election roadmap".
“As a party, we maintain that the GPA remains the only election road map,”
Moyo told state media.

"The GPA clearly stipulates that elections should be held two years after
the formation of the inclusive government and this is the reason Zanu-PF is
maintaining that elections should be held this year after the completion of
the constitution-making process.”

Moyo said fresh elections were necessary as the parties to the coalition
government had failed to work together.
"It is a fact the three parties to the GPA have failed to work together as a
team for the development of the country,” he said.

He claimed Finance Minister, Tendai Biti – a leading figure in Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party – was trying to delay elections by
withholding funding for constitutional reforms.

“The donor community and the Government through the Ministry of Finance
which is under the control of the MDC-T have delayed releasing funds for the
(constitutional reforms," he said.

"The current delaying tactics employed by the MDC formations is a recipe for
political and economic instability. Zimbabwe cannot afford such political
gimmick.”


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Cost of dying in SA ruins Zimbabweans

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

Written by Mxolisi Ncube
Thursday, 19 May 2011 16:14

JOHANNESBURG - Twenty-eight-year-old Mehleli Nkosi* sits on the rough, dusty
floor – legs folded around her lower body, the upper body pivoting on her
left hand, as tears well uncontrollably down her cheeks.

Her right hand holding a used match-stick, she keeps drawing lines on the
floor and wiping them off a few seconds later, continuing the routine each
time someone talks to her.

In front of her and a few inches away, a candle burns dimly, besides which
an almost empty white bowl with a few coins silently begs for recognition.

A few visitors arrive within minutes of each other and pass their
condolences in a seemingly choreographed manner that gets the same response
from Nkosi.

“So, what arrangements have been made for the funeral?” one from each group
asks. Nkosi gives each the same curt reply, “I have no money to do
anything.”

After exchanging a few empty glances among themselves, the visitors depart –
again within minutes of each other, leaving behind many well wishes, but
very little in terms of money in the begging bowl in front of her.

Having lost her brother, the only relative she had in South Africa, a few
days ago, the unemployed woman has no idea where she will get money to pay
the mortuary, let alone finance the repatriation of his body to Zimbabwe.

The mortuary will cost her about R150 for each day her brother’s body is
kept after seven days - money she does not have.

Eventually, she sells her fridge, her stove and other personal belongings,
but touches very few of those owned by her late brother, fearing bad omens
afterwards. She takes a few other belongings to loan sharks, who lend her
the remainder of the money she needs.

Still, her problems are not over. Her three years of sweat having been
flushed down the drain. She has borrowed more than she can repay and that
will mean attracting the wrath of the loan sharks, which is usually
accompanied by death threats.

Nkosi is only one of many Zimbabweans to find themselves entangled in such a
crisis, where death has visited and left them having to start all over
again.

Dorian Masasanya, who owns a funeral parlour that deals mostly with
Zimbabweans, has previously told this newspaper that many have been forced
to bury their relatives in the neighbouring country, miles away from where
African tradition allows them to.

According to a quotation obtained by The Zimbabwean from some funeral
parlours in South Africa, it costs between R7 350 and R14 350 for an adult
body to be repatriated to Zimbabwe, with the cheapest being a four-seater
vehicle and free groceries.

All these amounts are beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans, most of who earn
minuscule monthly salaries of around R1 500, more than half of it going
towards accommodation, which is very expensive.

“We have seen some worrying situations when Zimbabweans die in South Africa,
as most people lack resources,” said Joice Dube, Executive Director of the
Johannesburg-based Southern African Women’s Institute for Migration Affairs
(SAWIMA).

“The reasons vary, with some of these people not getting enough from their
workplaces and with death befalling people unexpectedly, most have been left
with no choice. However, people can come together, form groups and pay
monthly subscriptions that will help them in such times. We can assist them
with directions on how to go about it if approached.”

Having realised the need to prepare, some Zimbabweans have formed burial
societies, where they pay joining fees and monthly subscriptions that
eventually give members assistance in times of their need.

However, the joining fees of around R500 and monthly subscriptions of R250,
coupled with the compulsory need to attend regular meetings, have pushed
burial societies beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans.

One parlour offers what seems to be a workable solution.

“We offer policies for very limited charges here,” said Barbara Dijoe of
Kings and Queens Funeral services, located in Doorfontein, near central
Johannesburg.

“Our joining fees are R200 and with monthly premiums of R45 covering the
whole family, people can find solace in that. One only needs their
Zimbabwean identity documents or birth certificates to sign up with us. A
member gets full benefits after paying six consecutive premiums.”


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Oprah Winfrey reveals her all-time favorite guest

http://www.hollywoodnews.com/

Sat, May 21 2011

By: Molly Sullivan

HollywoodNews.com: Oprah Winfrey is wrapping up 25 years of guests, and now
she is revealing who her favorite one was in all this time.

Winfrey is revealing the her favorite guest ever is not a Hollywood star,
but Dr. Tererai Trent, states OMG!. Dr. Tererai Trent is a woman from a
poverty-stricken village in Zimbabwe who is determined to give children
there the education she was never allowed to have.

Oprah recently explained that this woman was her favorite guest because she
was the definition of what the show was about: “Her story encapsulates the
essence of every lesson we’ve shared over the past 25 years: hope, your
thoughts create your reality, gratitude, it doesn’t matter where you come
from, keep reaching for your dreams, and above all, you have the power.”


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Its about us

Dear Family and Friends,

I met a young man back from the diaspora this week and as we talked I knew that if our country’s oppression and economic collapse had done anything good for Zimbabwe, it was this. After some years of living outside the country he had come home full of enthusiasm, patriotism and innovative ideas. Already working to develop a business and improve his neighbourhood, his creative attitude was like a breath of fresh air. He had seen how democracy works, seen how things should be done and wanted to reproduce that way of life here. I asked him why he had chosen now to return to Zimbabwe. A time when the struggle for political power was intensifying, a time when another bloody and violent election seemed inevitable.

“Zimbabwe isn’t about Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai,” he said, “it’s about you and me; it’s about us, the people.”

The next day this train of thought was reinforced when I received a newsletter from the Friends of Hwange Trust. Thanks to an innovative idea and the determination of a group of people who were not going to give up, a solar system has been installed at a watering point in the Hwange National Park. A truck and crane were needed to move the specially designed stand for the solar panel which will run the water pump at Kennedy 2 pan, A mammoth task that has been years in the making to provide what the Trust describe as: “an adequate, environmentally friendly source of water for the animals that drink there.”

Later in the week I got a message from a friend in Harare who is an astronomer. He described a viewing he had just made of the International Space Station passing through the belt of Orion and then of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Mike wrote: “the event took place only 22 degrees above the horizon, and there was a Full Moon to contend with. The International Space Station came along right on schedule...very bright...so I tracked back along its apparent path with binoculars, and about 90 seconds later, Endeavour popped out from behind the tree-line! It was easy to see in binoculars… I was able to follow it for about 3 minutes before it followed the station into the Earth’s shadow.” Mike ended his message by saying what a privilege it had been to see the last ever flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. What a fantastic experience this was, and seen from the skies of Zimbabwe by a born and bred Zimbabwean who knew where, when and what to look for and then took the time to share his observation.

So, despite the news of yet more disappointment from the latest SADC meeting in Namibia and the absurd detention of top lawyers and a journalist in Windhoek, ordinary Zimbabweans continue to look for and achieve the good. If only the politicians would stop scrabbling for power and look to the people, how great we could again be.

Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy 21 May 2011 Copyright Cathy Buckle. www.cathybuckle.com


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The Price of Tyranny

Zimbabwe is now a well-established tyrannical State. I think most of the worlds population know about the country and also have some idea about the fact that we have been governed over the past 30 years by a typical, post independence “Big Man” regime supported by a political party that brought us to Independence and then promptly abused its new power and authority and, hidden behind its pre colonial status as a “liberation” movement, destroyed the economy and trashed the basic rights of its people.

But they have little idea of just what price the people have paid under such a regime. I have in my possession the latest report on politically inspired violence in Zimbabwe. It covers the period from March 2008 to April 2011. In it are reports of 13 434 incidents which are the subject of a police report, a medical history and a personal narrative. It represents, therefore just a minority of the actual number of incidents. It makes for sobering reading.

What disturbs me most however is that none of this is news. I turned on the TV this morning and scanned the major stations – the men with the guns are getting the coverage but stories from places like Zimbabwe, are largely ignored. I have had journalists say to me – take up arms to defend yourselves! They want us to fight back, to smash windows and burn tires; they want to see a bit of blood and gore. We choose not to go that route and we drop off the agenda.

But the terrifying thing is that nobody counts the bodies, nobody assesses the human impact of what is going on and the degree of human suffering is ignored. The statistics are simply frightening. The fact that the author of this report has the names of over 500 people who were actually killed by the regime’s agents, and states that in most cases the perpetrators are known and yet not a single case has been investigated and no prosecutions have taken place. There is no justice, no closure for those families.

The State press trumpeted recently that a mass grave from the Rhodesian era had been found at Mount Darwin. In a blaze of televisions lights and in front of a crowd of onlookers, over 800 bodies were taken from a mineshaft and piled on the ground under a scanty lean to shelter. Slowly it began to dawn on the observers that these bodies were not over 31 years old, many were recent. A T-shirt from the 2008 Soccer World Cup appeared, someone found 2005 Bearer Cheques on another body. Soon it was clear, these were not the victims of a Rhodesian army operation, they were the “disappeared” and most were in fact MDC activists.

In a similar incident a “mass grave” was found in Mashonaland East – the bodies exposed, only to be identified as MDC leaders, journalists hurriedly driven away, the bodies buried and a news black out imposed. A woman recounting how her husband, a former Army officer had disappeared – she described to the human rights activist what he had been wearing and what he looked like. The activist reacted saying that she had seen a picture of a body recovered from a dam by the police, hunted for the photo only to have the body in the picture identified as that of her husband – he was bound with rope and drowned.

But it is the statistics of the “silent genocide” that has taken place that should be center stage: The 3 million deaths from aids, cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, hunger and a simple lack of basic hygiene in maternity wards, since 2000. The fact that we have the highest infant and maternal mortalities in the world, the highest ratio of orphans to general population in the world, the steepest decline in life expectancy in history, that should really grab our attention. The flight of a third of our total population and half our adults as economic and political refugees to other parts of the world in just 10 years.

All of these frightening statistics in a country that is not at war, except that its government has declared war on its own people and carries on this war behind a screen of deception and lies then relies on the short attention span of the world community and the studied ignorance of its diplomats.

Perhaps this is why Hammas fires rockets at Israel – not so much to kill Israelites, but to get the attention of the global community to the plight of Palestinians. Then when the media investigates they ignore the fact that for 60 years, the Arab States have keep the Palestinian refugees homeless and stateless, hungry and angry as a tool to constantly harass and murder Israelites. An Arab proxy army of liberation. The Arab countries have had the resources for decades from a booming oil and gas market, to fund the settlement of the Palestinians, but have not done so and the senseless struggle goes on.

And so we struggle on – fighting a tyrannical regime that somehow hangs onto power and refuses to accept defeat. To restore democracy and the rule of law with the full observance of human and political rights in Zimbabwe, we need help. We need the region to stand up and say that this has to stop; that the essential reforms laid out in the Global Political Agreement must be implemented immediately. If they fail to act, regional leaders will condemn us to the kind of futile symbolism of Hammas just to get their attention and to spur the international community.

The SADC summit to consider the Zimbabwe crisis is now scheduled for the 11th June in Johannesburg, South Africa. Zanu PF is frantically sending emissaries to all SADC States to try and undermine their recent resolve and unity. They must be told that this time, the region is determined to see to it that further prevarication and delay will not be tolerated; that Zanu PF must accept the changes they agreed to in 2007 and 2008. It is time to draw this situation to a close and to stop the suffering in Zimbabwe.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, May 21st 2011

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