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Tsvangirai thanks SADC

http://www.timeslive.co.za

May 29, 2011 10:39 AM | By HARARE CORRESPONDENT

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has heaped praise on the Southern African
Development (SADC) and its mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, South African
President Jacob Zuma, for showing patience in trying to find a lasting
solution to the political stalemate in Harare.

Tsvangirai told delegates to the launch of a panel of elders on Friday in
Harare that SADC and Zuma have remained patient despite provocations by
Zanu-PF spin doctors and other hardliners intent on torpedoing the inclusive
government.

Zuma and SADC have since the March Troika summit in Livingstone, Zambia,
come under fire from Zanu-PF functionaries, after it was recommended that
the Global Political Agreement should be fully implemented.

The meeting also called for an end to state-sponsored political violence and
creation of an election road map, demands the Zanu-PF has refused to meet.

The party's officials have cast aspersions on Zuma's adviser, Lindiwe Zulu,
in the state media, with calls for her to be removed from Zuma's
facilitation team as she is seen to be "parroting" MDC views after she said
Zimbabwe was not ready for elections this year.

But despite the attacks on Zuma and SADC's role, Tsvangirai said he was
grateful for their intervention. "I wish to thank SADC and the facilitator,
President Jacob Zuma, for their patience and hard work.

"Despite unnecessary provocation, they have retained their firm and
unwavering commitment to the crafting of a road map to ensure a peaceful
electoral environment that will not breed another contested outcome."

Zanu-PF has been pushing for harmonised polls with or without a new
constitution, against the advice of SADC and the other two partners in the
inclusive government.

Tsvangirai also took a swipe at top military officials said to be demanding
elections this year. He said Zimbabwe's situation was being compounded by
the war psychosis - the constant reference to Chimurenga and the war talk
associated with it.

"It puts the country in an unnecessary war mode because any war environment
necessitates the suspension of the constitution and the undermining of the
civilian authority. We cannot have peace unless all these issues have been
dealt with. Statements by service chiefs that they will not respect the
people's will only serve to confirm the uniqueness of our situation and the
importance of vaccinating state organs from acting like political entities,"
he said.


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Constitution process hit by new cash crisis

http://www.timeslive.co.za

Copac sued for $200000 over unpaid PR bill
May 29, 2011 2:45 PM | By HENDRICKS CHIZHANJE

The Constitution Select Committee (Copac) has lurched into a fresh crisis
after a public relations company, Glomedia, hauled the organisation and its
joint chairpersons to court, demanding more than $200000.

Glomedia has dispatched a summons to Copac, Parliamentary and Constitutional
Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, Copac co-chairpersons Paul Mangwana of
Zanu-PF, Douglas Mwonzora from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC and
Edward Mkhosi of the smaller faction of the MDC.

The summons demands payment of $202101.28 for carrying out media and public
relations exercises for the constitution-making body between June 2009 and
November 2010.

Glomedia, which was appointed as Copac's sole media and public relations
consultant for the constitution-making process, is claiming $194101.64 for
unpaid retainer fees and fees for media and public relations services, $6000
in unpaid retainer fees due since January 2011 and interest on the debt.

Glomedia's lawyers, of Muzondo and Chinhema law firm, says the public
relations company entered into a formal and written agreement with Copac in
December 2009 to render advice on media and information related matters,
creating and proposing media and information concepts and creating media
products and other consumables.

Glomedia says despite having used its services and immensely benefitting
from its work, Copac has "notwithstanding demand failed, neglected or
refused to pay the services provided in terms of the agreed contract".

"In the mutual interest, plaintiff (Glomedia) has for a long time been
unprepared to resort to litigation to recover the outstanding fees, but the
defendants' erratic and intransigent behaviour have left it with no choice
but to rely on the present proceedings to protect its rights," reads part of
Glomedia's declaration, which was seen by the Sunday Times.

Glomedia says it has been the sole author of all the media, information and
public relations concepts and products used by Copac during the ongoing
chaotic constitution-making process.

These include several audio and video jingles in the country's main
languages which have been aired on the country's state-run broadcaster,
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, and radio and television spot
advertisements in all official languages.

Glomedia has also been contracted to produce films, photography, design
print and electronic media products, manuals, booklets, fliers, logos,
posters, newsletters, itineraries and banners among other products.

Copac member Jessie Majome, who is responsible for legal affairs, confirmed
receiving the summons from Glomedia, which the constitution-making body is
opposing.

"We do confirm that they are suing Copac. They are entitled to use the law
to obtain recourse. We were surprised that Glomedia started by suing without
giving us a letter. Our legal practitioners are representing and defending
Copac," said Majome, a lawyer by profession.


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Load shedding due to lack of funds -Zesa

http://www.timeslive.co.za/

May 29, 2011 2:46 PM | By VLADIMIR MZACA

Longer power cuts have become the order of the day in winter at a time when
the national power utility Zesa is importing less electricity from the
Democratic Republic of Congo.

With the encroaching winter the demand for electricity will go up on the
home, farming and industrial front.

But Zesa has increased its load shedding too, because it is failing to
import adequate power.

"We are unfortunately importing less electricity at a time when the demand
is high. This is because we do not have enough money," said Zesa's public
relations manager Fulhard Gwasira.

The power utility is owed more than US$450-million in unpaid bills, and its
power stations are not operating at full capacity.

"There is no alternative for load shedding at this point. We are not
generating enough electricity. Zimbabwe needs 2 200 megawatts a day and
right now we are generating 1 300 megawatts. If people pay their bills we
might be able to import more electricity," Gwasira said.

Wheat farmers are also expecting a constant supply of electricity, and
without it the winter crop is doomed.

Farmers raised concerns that if they failed to get a constant supply of
power they would abandon their projects.

In a bid to avert such a scenario Zesa has come up with a timetable for
farmers.

"We have allocated 162 megawatts three days per week for the farmers. We
have grouped them according to their geographical clusters in the interest
of food security and the economy. It is not enough but it will at least get
us somewhere," Gwasira said.

Investing in a generator for city dwellers and businesses has become a must.

In urban areas, such as the two big cities Harare and Bulawayo, power cuts
are even done during the day, making it difficult for small businesses.
Restaurants, cafes, computer shops and just about anyone who needs
electricity to conduct business are now buying generators as power backup in
case of blackouts.

"Without a generator what I store in my refrigerator would go bad and that
would affect my business," said Dumisani Kodzayi, who runs a chain of
restaurants in Bulawayo.

At times the big cities are plunged into darkness at night and night clubs
have also invested in generators to stay in business.


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Winter wheat producer prices to be announced soon

http://www.timeslive.co.za

May 29, 2011 2:46 PM | By VLADIMIR MZACA

Winter wheat producer prices should be announced well ahead of the planting
season and attract farmers to plant the crop, Matabeleland South Agritex
provincial officer Innocent Nyathi has said.

Nyathi said farmers needed to be persuaded to plant wheat as in previous
years the crop had become expensive to produce because government offered
low producer prices.

This follows revelations that some farmers in Matabeleland had pulled out of
winter wheat farming, citing poor yield, Grain Marketing Board (GMB) inputs,
water and power cut challenges.

The target hectares of wheat to be planted in Matabeleland South were pegged
at 2032 hectares, while 1205ha was set for Matabeleland North.

He said only 19% of farmers in his province had started planting and had
completed planting on 281ha of land.

"Producer prices should be announced before the season so as to attract
farmers' participation in the programme. Farmers' reluctance to plant the
crop stems from the fear that their efforts, which are characterised by many
challenges, such as power and water cuts, would not be properly rewarded.
They believe that producer prices would be low," said Nyathi.

He said farmers' reluctance was heightened by the GMB's tendency to pay them
late for their produce.

"It has become hard for us to persuade farmers to partake in the planting
programme as over the years they have said they feel short-changed as the
GMB delayed in paying for wheat delivered," said Nyathi.

The government has set this year's winter wheat target at between 40000 to
45000 hectares. However, obstacles such as power cuts and unavailability of
farming implements pose a threat to the target.

Analysts contend that a low hectarage of wheat would mean that government
would have to commit more funds for importing the grain.


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Industry wobbles in Zimbabwe's second city

http://mg.co.za/

GODFREY MARAWANYIKA BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE - May 29 2011 07:25

Ravens squawk from the rooftop of a deserted building, once a top producer
of animal feed that employed hundreds in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo.

Empty factories are now a common sight in Bulawayo's industrial district as
the economy struggles to recover from a decade-long crisis, with firms
downsizing, closing or relocating to the capital for better opportunities.

"Companies are closing here, Bulawayo needs money," said Ruth Labode, who
runs a textile mill.

"A banker openly told us that if they receive a loan application to fund a
restaurant business from Bulawayo, they would not fund it.

"In Bulawayo, there are no prospects of having the project breaking even
fast enough, when compared to other towns such as Mutare or Harare," she
said.

Planning ministry figures show that 87 companies closed in Bulawayo last
year, including clothing, auto and construction firms. An unspecified number
of others relocated to neighbouring Botswana.

"Bulawayo today is a national crisis, a national crisis that manifests
itself in the closure of companies resulting in poverty, high unemployment
and low economic activity," Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told a recent
rally in the southern city.

Besides the lack of cash, Bulawayo suffers from perennial water shortages
common to arid southern Zimbabwe.

"The problem with Bulawayo, besides the issues of water, is that there is no
money circulating here," Labode said.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Apex Corporation said it plans to dispose of
its loss-making All Metal Foundry in Bulawayo, putting 200 jobs at risk, its
chairperson said.

"We have decided to sell because its long-term viability is questionable,"
said company chairperson Farai Rwodzi.

"Although the gold mining sector, which uses the foundry is recovering, the
technology at the company is old and unviable. That is why we are selling."

Zimbabwe's economy has begun recovering since the government abandoned the
worthless local currency two years ago, allowing trade in US dollars and
other major foreign currencies.

But most companies still operate at less than half their capacity due to
funding woes, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo said he hopes to attract investors back to
Bulawayo, partly by trying to win over Zimbabweans who have moved abroad.

"Our aim is to reclaim our spot as an industrial hub of Zimbabwe," he said.
"We have to find new investors, as our economy was being run by big
[business] people but they have left."

Bulawayo needs to "go out, especially to South Africa, to go and meet our
Zimbabweans in the diaspora to try and address them on the problems we are
facing as a city", he said.

"All we have to do is to get them back so that they take responsibilities
and take over those companies that have either closed down or relocated."

Hundreds of thousands of people, especially from southern Zimbabwe, have
migrated to South Africa and Botswana in search of greener pastures.

Uncertainty over new elections tipped for this year has scared off new
investors who also worry about President Robert Mugabe's threats to take
over foreign firms.

But the main issue is finance, with banks only offering 90-day loans at
rates of up to 45%, said economist Eric Bloch.

"Most businesses are under-capitalised. Those that have relocated, it's
because they have bigger operations in Harare," he said. "For example they
have larger factories there so they are consolidating their operations.

"The single biggest problem is lack of capital. Companies need long-term
financing instead of the 90-day loans they are being offered," he said. -
AFP


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Removing ghost workers will spur economy - stock brokers

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Ngoni Chanakira
Saturday, 28 May 2011 13:07
...More cash needed to kick-start ailing business sector

HARARE - Removing ghost workers from the civil service payroll could be one
way of improving the moribund economy, top stockbroking firm Imara Edwards
Securities has said.
In an analysis of the economy distributed to international investors, Imara
Edwards says the "fiscal gap" is a result of wage bill overruns and a large
stock of outstanding domestic payments arrears accumulated by the end of
2010.
"However, the gap could be reduced by the removal of ghost workers, controls
on employment levels and a reduction in low-priority transfers to
State-owned enterprises," said the firm.
"That said, the bottom line is that there is plenty of potential for
economic growth to be maintained at a high pace in the near term, and it
could accelerate further if the reform process deepens."
Zimbabwe is believed to have an unemployment rate of more than 80 percent
despite the fact that industrial production has improved from about 20
percent to 40 percent, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries.
Imara, currently led by Tadious Kasaira, says First Quarter 2011 performance
was impacted by limited revenue inflows, subdued performance for industry, a
widening trade deficit and high levels of unemployment.
In an exclusive interview, the Minister of State for Economic Planning and
Investment Promotion, Dr Samuel Undenge, told The Zimbabwean that
"sanctions" were the main hindrance to economic recovery.
"Sanctions are killing us," he claimed. "They are on all of us and are not
only for the leaders. There is no money on the market and until the West
gives us funding our economy will continue to be stagnant."
However, there are no sanctions against Zimbabwe – only targeted measures
against Zanu (PF) individuals and related companies responsible for human
rights abuses against the people of Zimbabwe.
Analysts say that although per capita Gross Domestic Product is still very
low, the country still enjoys a number of advantages which make growth
likely.
"There is a very high literacy in Zimbabwe," Imara said. "There is generous
endowment of natural resources, dynamic private sector, and commodity price
rally."
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has noted that the macro-economic
outlook for 2011 in Zimbabwe remains "highly uncertain" although the
short-term growth prospects for mining remain strong.
"The impediments to further economic growth include: the likely substantial
fiscal funding gap for 2011, inefficient composition of public expenditure,
financial sector vulnerabilities and weakness in the business climate
worsened by the recently gazetted fast track indigenisation of the mining
sector," Imara said.
"Nonetheless, a timely addressing of the policy issues could see the strong
growth momentum being sustained. The fiscal gap is a result of wage bill
overruns and a large stock of outstanding domestic payments arrears
accumulated by the end of 2011.”
Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe President, Victor Gapare, says Zimbabwe will
this year produce only nine tonnes of gold, down from more than 13 tonnes
produced previously.
"There is no long-term capital coming into the mining industry which is
hampering progress," Gapare said.
"We need between $5 billion and $6 billion during the next five years to get
back on track. I can, however, safely tell you that Gaths Mine has already
had a private placement approved by the market."


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Army general, Nyikayaramba vows not to salute Tsvangirai

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Chief Reporter
Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:04

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said the grim political
threats by army generals that they will never salute anyone without
liberation war credentials reinforces his oft-repeated call for security
sector reforms and the need to vaccinate State organs from acting like
political entities.
Zimbabwe hangs in political limbo after members of President Mugabe's
security Cabinet, the Joint Operations Command, threatened this week to
block the political transition if the incumbent veteran President loses the
forthcoming presidential poll.
The Commander of 3 Brigade, General Douglas Nyikayaramba told the financial
weekly, the Zimbabwe Independent in remarks published in a front-page splash
of yesterday's edition that he will never salute Tsvangirai. He is just the
latest General to announce to the world that they would not accept, let
alone support or salute, anyone without liberation war credentials.
This statement has been repeated on the eve of every national election since
2002. Tsvangirai said yesterday at the launch of a Panel of Elders -- a
distinguished panel of Zimbabwean leaders hoping to use their collective
influence to bring political violence to center stage -- that the army
generals' routine election time statement was tantamount to intimidation.
Brig Gen Nyikayaramba said the Generals refuse to countenance the prospect
of Zimbabwe being ruled by a political party other than Zanu PF – the
deliverer of Zimbabwean independence. Drawing from their experience of
fighting in the country's liberation war, some senior army officers see
themselves as the guardians of Zimbabwean independence. Nyikayaramba
insisted elections must happen this year to end the power-sharing government
that has been wrecked by internal wrangling and sharp disagreements on
policy. Tsvangirai, far from facing down the military commanders, said the
threats reinforce his call for security sector reforms. Tsvangirai has
appealed to regional leaders to persuade Mugabe to allow for wide democratic
security sector reforms before elections, but political analysts believe he
will only concede ground if there is threat of regional isolation.
The matter has been set down for discussion at the Heads of State and
Government meeting on the sidelines of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite
Council and Summit in South Africa on 12th June.
"Statements by service chiefs that they will not respect the expression of
the people’s will, as well as statements in the press today in which a
senior army officer is trying to determine the date of the election, only
serve to confirm the uniqueness of our situation and the importance of
vaccinating State organs from acting like political entities," Tsvangirai
said at the launch of the Panel of Elders, headed by Prof Gordon Chavunduka,
at a local hotel yesterday.
"Unnecessary election talk leads to dysfunctionality and polarity in the
country. It polarizes Cabinet, Parliament and the security sector and leads
to unilateral actions and selective application of the law."
The Generals’ threat to never allow President Mugabe to cede executive
powers to Tsvangirai was an ominous sign. The MDC leader alleged the
generals were imposing a "war psychosis" on the country.
"Our current situation is being compounded by the war psychosis - the
constant reference to Chimurenga and the war language associated with it,"
Tsvangirai said. "It puts the country into an unnecessary war mode because
any war environment necessitates the suspension of the Constitution and the
undermining of the civilian authority. The
civilian authority becomes substituted by partisan organs of the State and
the whole country is thrown into fear and insecurity. We cannot have peace
unless all these issues have been dealt with."
The decorated security chiefs are all veterans of the guerrilla war against
supremacist Ian Smith's brutal white rule in the 1970s that brought
Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.
Many see their open support for President Mugabe as a formidable obstacle to
Tsvangirai's bid for the Zimbabwean presidency. The MDC has been unequivocal
in reassuring security forces that they have nothing to fear from a change
of government if they remain "professional".
In recent days, Defence Forces commanders pointedly Brig Gen Nyikaramba and
police chief Augustine Chihuri have issued tough statements ahead of next
year's crunch poll backing Mugabe and denouncing Tsvangirai and his party as
"puppets and running dogs" of Western countries and clearly stated that they
will not accept the MDC leader’s victory.
Political analysts say the political transition did not require the security
officials' acquiescence if the people have elected a leader of their choice
even though he could not have liberation war credentials.
"The threat is there but that threat is unlawful, that threat is
unconstitutional, that threat is a violation of the GPA, that threat
is a violation of the SADC Treaty, it is a violation of the AU Constitutive
Charter, it is a violation of the United Nations Charter,
it is a violation of the Unilateral Declaration for Human Rights, it is a
violation of all norms of civilized governance," political
analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said. "Nyikayaramba must appreciate the
consequences of such violations. He will be a war criminal."
A desperate MDC has tried to buy off the Generals without success. The MDC
in 2009 requested the US government to provide a 'Trust Fund' to sweeten
retirement packages for the army generals to ease them out of office. The US
refused to fund that.
The extraordinary plea was allegedly made by MDC deputy treasurer-general
Elton Mangoma in an October 29, 2009 meeting with political and economic
affairs chief at the US embassy Katherine Dhanani, according to a memo drawn
up by American officials which was obtained by the secrets-spilling
WikiLeaks website.
"According to Elton Mangoma, (then) MDC-T minister of Economic Development
and member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's inner circle, the MDC would
like the U.S. to contribute to a 'trust fund' to buy off securocrats and
move them into retirement," says the US cable.
The cable further said Mangoma, one of Tsvangirai's closest advisors and one
of the MDC-T negotiators of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), reiterated
Tsvangirai's views that a primary obstacle to political progress and reform
was the service chiefs.
"Unlike many Zanu-PF insiders who had stolen and invested wisely, these
individuals had not become wealthy," the US cable wired to Washington says.
"They feared economic pressures, as well as prosecution for their misdeeds,
should political change result in their being forced from office. Therefore,
they were resisting GPA progress that could
ultimately result in fair elections. Mangoma asked for consideration of U.S.
contribution to a ‘trust fund’ that could be used to negotiate the service
chiefs' retirement. He said he planned to approach the UK and Germany with
the same request."
The US cable said Washington believed the service chiefs could not defy
Mugabe if he personally wanted to implement terms of the power-sharing pact
that also calls for security sector reforms.
"While no doubt there are hardliners, including the service chiefs close to
Mugabe who are pressuring him not to further implement the GPA, we continue
to believe he could make concessions should he choose to do so," says the US
cable.


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Election rigging was exposed by internet – Gordon Brown

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by John Chimunhu
Saturday, 28 May 2011 13:19

HARARE - Robert Mugabe’s theft of the 2008 presidential vote was quickly
exposed because of the internet, former British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown has said.
Interviewed Friday on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight programme, Brown
warned that with further growth of internet access for people under
oppressive regimes, dictators like Mugabe would soon face the full
wrath of their own people, as is happening in North Africa.
“It’s because of the internet that we knew about the flawed elections
in Zimbabwe,” Brown said, adding: “What will happen over the years is
that social organisations will emerge from the floor.”
Brown said ‘elite leaders’, meaning dictators, could no longer rest
comfortably while suppressing the wishes of their people as local
online protest actions now quickly turned into “worldwide campaigns”.
“It will change the way we see the world,” Brown said.
Brown was at the helm in Britain in 2008 when Zimbabwe’s post-election
crisis exploded, triggered by Mugabe and the army’s alleged tinkering
with results of the first round of voting in which then opposition
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was the clear winner.
Britain, which has thousands of its nationals and private companies in
Zimbabwe was quickly drawn into the conflict as it mobilized other
Western nations to act against Mugabe. Pro-democracy activists used
the internet successfully to publish horrific pictures of murdered and
mutilated MDC-T supporters. The images shocked the world when they
were flashed around the world by international news networks.


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Mugabe acting like Smith: Coltart

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Xolisani Ncube, Staff writer
Sunday, 29 May 2011 15:59

HARARE - A cabinet minister has likened President Robert Mugabe’s unilateral
push to have elections this year to ruthless colonial leader Ian Smith’s
unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) in 1965.

David Coltart, the education minister, said Mugabe and his military backers’
election rally could return Zimbabwe into a pariah state in the same manner
Smith did when he broke ranks with Britain under his UDI call.

“If Mugabe calls for elections this year against the wishes of Sadc and the
rest of the world, he will be just acting like Ian Smith who thought that he
would declare Zimbabwe an independent country without the concert of others
partners,” he said.

Coltart, a top ranking official of Welshman Ncube’s MDC party represented
several liberation war heroes who were under attack from Smith during the
UDI era.

He told a public meeting on elections on Thursday night that it was
“foolish” and “premature” to talk about elections now because the process
of holding free and fair elections was yet to be achieved.

“We have at least ten steps which are outlined in the Global Political
Agreement talking about the roadmap to hold free and fair elections and it
is unfortunate that we have only completed three of them. So I don’t see any
sense in us talking about elections,” he said.

Political analyst Trevor Maisiri told the same meeting that Mugabe’s Zanu PF
party was creating its own crisis by attempting to call for elections
against the wishes of the region, who were the overseers of the power
sharing agreement reached by the three main political parties.

The African Union in June 2008 mandated Sadc with overseeing the formation
of a coalition government and creation of conditions for a fresh free
election after rejecting a violent presidential election runoff held that
same year.
“Sadc is likely to hold on its stance because they would like to avoid the
challenge it facedin 2008,” said Maisiri.

He said that Sadc was likely to take a tough stance against Mugabe if he
went ahead with a unilateral call for elections before the adoption of a
clear roadmap being supervised by regionally-appointed mediator, South
African President Jacob Zuma.

“More so, Sadc is South Africa and in this case South Africa is fighting its
legacy in conflict resolution and its glory and position in mediation
considering that they have not done much in other missions in Africa,” said
Maisiri.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesperson said it was “suicidal” for Mugabe to
go it alone.

“It is not about fearing Zuma as other people in Zanu PF would by listening
to what he advices but it is about respecting him and his position in our
case as a guarantor to this GPA. We should not fight against other heads of
states,”

“If Mugabe tries to go it alone it will be suicidal and the consequences are
so huge such that it will not affect not only Zimbabwe but even other
countries close to us,” said Mwonzora.

Maisiri said Zanu PF had realised that South Africa held sway within Sadc
hence the moves to frustrate Zuma.


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Mliswa acquitted

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Sunday, 29 May 2011 15:49

HARARE - Businessman and former fitness trainer turned commercial farmer,
Temba Mliswa, has been acquitted of charges of intimidation and contravening
the Post and Telecommunications Services Act.

Mliswa was yesterday cleared of the charges by regional magistrate Morgan
Nemadire, who described complainant Paul Westwood’s allegations of fear as
“figments of imagination”.

Charges against Mliswa arose in December 2009, when he allegedly forced
Westwood to hand over his firm.

The State alleged that Mliswa approached Westwood at Noshio Motors in Msasa,
a company Westwood co-owned with one Banda and induced fear in him so that
he would hand over the firm.

Westwood told the court that Mliswa had sent him a message which he
interpreted as a threat to him and his family.

“I believed he was going to hurt me if I was not going to cede my company,”
he said.

Mliswa denied the charges, saying that when he approached Westwood he wanted
to introduce himself to the businessman and his employees since he had
acquired shares that belonged to Banda.

In his judgment, magistrate Nemadire pointed out that the state had
completely failed to prove a prima facie case against Mliswa. He said
Westwood had a very strong interest in the matter.

“This is a scenario of the boxing match where each party fights to win. The
fact that this was a single witness and is the sole proof that we have
against the accused creates a scarcity of evidence.

“There would have been a compelling need for corroborating Westwood’s
evidence,” the magistrate said.

He said Westwood’s evidence was unreliable considering that none of the
three witnesses that testified in court corroborated his evidence.

“The evidence of the three witnesses who were like defence witnesses, was
similar on the material dispute of facts. They never heard accused (Mliswa)
threatening Westwood but instead he urged employees not to meddle in
administration and managerial issues,” said Nemadire.

In a statement to court, one of Westwood’s employees, Naison Mudukuti had
stated that: “Mr Mliswa introduced himself to us and went on to say that he
had bought 50 percent company shares which belonged to Mr Banda and that the
remaining shares still belonged to Mr Westwood.”

Samuel Mukupe and Wonder Rwatirera, who are both employees of Noshio Motors,
echoed Mudukuti’s sentiments. They explained that Mliswa had told them that
he was going to be one of the directors and expected to have a good working
relationship with the rest of them.


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De Beers unaware of ‘expert’ panel

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Vusimuzi Bhebhe
Saturday, 28 May 2011 13:09

HARARE - Diamond mining giant De Beers said it has not yet been approached
for a comment and is therefore unaware of an ‘expert’panel set up by the
Zimbabwean government to probe alleged looting of diamonds by the company.

Zimbabwe's Mines Ministry announced at the beginning of this month that an
‘expert’ panel had been set up to investigate the alleged diamond fraud
committed by De Beers when it held prospecting rights in Marange prior to
2006.

Harare said it would take De Beers to court if the report by its panel
confirmed their suspicions. However, De Beers spokesperson Lynette Gould
said this week: ‘We are not aware of any such 'expert' panel nor have we
been approached to comment.’

She said her company had nothing to hide and was confident it would be
cleared of any wrongdoing by the panel when the investigation commences.

‘We are confident that should such a panel be convened that they would find
absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of De Beers. By way of background, De
Beers was prospecting in Zimbabwe for around 10 years until it departed in
2006. It carried out prospecting in the Marange area for only two years, all
of which is recorded by the relevant authorities,’ Gould added.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire say
the South African diamond giant took rough stones from Marange but never
declared their value to the state.

The government officials argue that De Beers allegedly told Harare that it
was looking for Kimberlite pipe diamonds that required deeper digging than
alluvial diamonds. This raised questions as to how De Beers could have
missed stones that artisanal miners extracted with hoes and hands.

Gould insisted that De Beers' business model was based on exploring for
primary deposits. ‘Marange is a secondary or alluvial deposit and we thus
concluded that it was not appropriate for our portfolio,’ she said.

Political analysts have said the move by the Zimbabwean government was an
attempt to divert attention from alleged looting of diamonds from the
controversial Marange field by shadowy firms working in partnership with
senior Zanu (PF) officials.

Human rights organizations have alleged serious abuses by Zimbabwean
military units in control of Marange, and others say millions of diamonds
are being smuggled out to the enrichment of a clique with close ties to
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party.


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Kimberley Process Urged To Resolve Zim Diamond Issue

http://www.radiovop.com

7 hours 43 minutes ago

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has called on the members of
the Kimberley Process to resolve their internal disagreements on the issue
of rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe, and without any further delay take
the essential and courageous decision to allow Zimbabwe to export rough
diamonds from all diamond mining areas in the country, including the
controversial Marange fields in the eastern part of the country.

"The KP, due to the deadlock in its decision-making process and its experts'
ensuing indecision to allow rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe to resume,
is about to cause irreparable damage throughout the entire to supply
pipeline of our industry and trade, and threatens the livelihood of
literally millions of people throughout the internationaldiamond and jewelry
sector " said WFDB President Avi Paz.

Paz emphasized that by perpetuating the current impasse in its decision
making, the KP bears direct responsibility, not only for the reputational
damage done to the diamond and jewelry sector, but also for a significant
part of the economic hardship that continues to befall the people of
Zimbabwe. "In addition, if the KP remains indecisive on [Zimbabwe], there is
a real danger that the relevance of the KP itself will be at stake," the
WFDB president said.
Meanwhile, the WFDB president stressed that along with its strong statement,
it had instructed all WFDB members to continue to follow the KP's and the
WFDB's clear directives not to trade in rough diamonds without the proper KP
certification.


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Phoney prison officer steals keys to Zimbabwe's high security prison

http://bulawayo24.com/

by Bhebhe Mandla
2011 May 29 09:01:25

A bogus prison officer stole duplicate keys to cells at Chikurubi Maximum,
Harare Central and Remand prisons. The Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) has
activated its tracking systems amid fears that the fake officer could free
suspects and hard-core criminals from the holding facilities.

Sources revealed last week that the man, only identified as Zvoma,
approached the ZPS traditional lock and key supplier on the pretext that the
service required fresh stocks.

Posing as the head of the procurement department, he convinced the supplier.
It is understood he told company officials that payment would be made at
headquarters. On the first occasion, he led the officials to the complex but
subsequently made off with the keys after dumping them in one of the
offices.

He used the same tactic on his second and third outings after dealing with
different members of the firm's staff. On his last adventure, he marched
into the ZPS Mashonaland regional office complex clad in service uniform.

He drew salutes from low-ranking officers, as he once again got away with
another set of keys. Sources suspect he is a former officer given his
intricate knowledge of procedure.
Last week, ZPS authorities paraded male officers from headquarters and the
regional office in the hope that the company officials would identify the
culprit. The service immediately activated its tracking systems after
failing to net him in the parade. ZPS Mashonaland regional spokesperson
Principal Prison Officer Solomon Mutamba said they had launched a manhunt
for "prison officer" Zvoma.

"Well, we are on high alert at both our offices and jails in Mashonaland
since we do not know what he will do with the keys," he said.
"Maybe he has plans to become a supplier of keys or he has other cruel
intentions like selling them to other people who can free their colleagues.

"We are working with the police force on the matter."

Security breaches have become a major concern to the ZPS in recent months.
Only a month ago, an officer had to be recommended for psychiatric
evaluation after he "promoted" himself.
In March, a female prison officer was transferred from Harare Central Prison
to Chikurubi Female Prison after she fell in love with an inmate.

Source: TNZ


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Apostolic sect members grab over 100 cattle

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Sunday, 29 May 2011 15:53

HARARE - Members of the Johanne Marange apostolic sect who have invaded one
of the country’s biggest dairy farms have forcibly grabbed over 100 cattle
belonging to the farm’s owner, Francis Kotze.

A Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) official told the Daily News yesterday that
the apostolic sect members, reinforced by Zanu PF youths, had disrupted
operations at Spillemeer Farm in Chipinge.

The official said the apostolic faith members ordered Kotze to remove a
drove of pigs claiming the presence of the animals ran contrary to their
religious beliefs. They however, demanded that he slaughter several sheep to
feed them. They declared the cattle as theirs, the CFU official said. They
are now milking the cattle themselves.

“The invaders have also looted his property and are demanding him to
slaughter sheep for their meat. His workers are also being threatened with
violence as they are supporting Kotze,” said the CFU.

Police, the CFU said, had refused to intervene, claiming the matter was
political.

The apostolic faith members, donning their famous white robes, invaded
Spillemeer farm on Tuesday. They claimed to have an offer letter from
government granting them ownership of the farm.

Kotze was one of the few whites remaining in the farming business following
the violent takeover of farms under the land reform programme that began in
2000.


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How Zanu-PF plans to steal the Zimbabwe elections

http://www.politicsweb.co.za/

RW Johnson
29 May 2011

RW Johnson on that country's grossly rigged electoral register

Despite clear and binding international agreements to the contrary, evidence
now available shows that President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF is again
planning to steal the next elections with the help of a grossly rigged
electoral register.

After the 2008 elections, in which the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change won a parliamentary majority but in which the MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, was forced to withdraw from the ensuing presidential election
due to the overwhelming level of government-orchestrated violence,
Zimbabwe's neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
stitched together a deal, the Global Political Agreement, which saw Mugabe
remain as President with Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and a commitment to a
new constitution with free and fair elections.

In terms of the GPA the constitution has to be passed by a popular
referendum before elections can take place, probably around June 2012. But,
of course, the new register is thus fundamental to both the referendum and
the elections - for parliament and President.

In all previous elections the electoral register has been a major source of
controversy. Drawn up by Tobaiwa Mudede, an outspoken Zanu-PF supporter, it
was notoriously full of dead and fictional voters - who always voted
Zanu-PF. Mudede regarded the register as a state secret and defied all court
orders to make it available to the press or opposition parties.

When an NGO did finally procure a copy in 2002, it was found to contain at
least twice as many voters as was plausible. Despite that, the supposedly
independent Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) - in fact stuffed with
government supporters - never upheld any complaints about the register.

With this unhappy history in mind SADC insisted that a wholly new voters'
roll be drawn up and that all the personnel of ZEC be changed to allow a
properly independent commission to be constituted. These changes were then
confirmed by the Zimbabwean parliament.

In fact all this has been illegally set aside by ZEC. Mudede, though rising
70 and way past retirement age, has been retained as Registrar-General -
clearly for political reasons. Similarly, several of the old ZEC members
have, despite the stipulations of the GPA, been re-appointed to the new ZEC.

Under their guidance the ZEC has agreed not to do as SADC and Parliament
determined but simply to keep the old, discredited register and add new
names to it. The results are grotesque. Although the new roll is a closely
guarded secret I have managed to gain sight of a copy.

The first notable fact is that an impossible 5,727,902 voters were
registered on the 2008 register. Given that over four million Zimbabweans
have fled Mugabe's rule, most analysts now believe Zimbabwe's population has
fallen to between 8 and 10 million. Even if the 10 million figure is
preferred, 60% of the population is aged under 18 and all previous surveys
show a maximum 80% voter registration rate.

So the maximum possible number on the voters' roll should be 3.2m. So the
2008 register had at least 2.5m too many voters on it - more than enough to
settle any election. Thus the (illegal) decision to retain the old 2008
register as a baseline has fatal consequences.

However, Mudede has now added another 366,550 new voters - a remarkable
figure given that Zimbabwe's population is shrinking. Moreover, these are
not all young voters coming of age. Although Zimbabwe's average life
expectancy is now down to 44.8 years, an astonishing 33,206 of these new
voters are aged 50-70, and another 16,649 are over 70.

Even more remarkable, 1418 are over 100, although everyone knows that the
famines and hardships of recent years have carried off most of the old.
Oddly, although it is legally required for all voters to give a valid
address, quite a few names on the roll lack one. There are also hundreds of
under-age persons registered, some of them as young as two or three years
old.

It is also striking that these anomalies are by no means evenly distributed
across all constituencies. Instead they are concentrated in seats where
Zanu-PF feels under threat. Thus in Mount Darwin East one finds 118 voters
aged over 100, the majority of them all born on the same day, 1 January
1901. Another nine 96 year olds are all born on 1 January 1905 and 25
further 91 year olds are all born on 1 January 1910.

Once one looks at the new register as a whole one finds there are no less
than 16,828 voters all born on the same day, 1 January 1901. Such a
concentration of 110 year olds with identical birthdays is no doubt a
planetary record. Even more remarkable, though, no less than 1101 of these
are concentrated in Mugabe's birthplace, Zvimba, which, no doubt, will help
to guarantee a pleasing election result there.

All told the register includes 41,119 voters aged over 100. Yet in Britain,
with a population more than five times the size of Zimbabwe and with an
enormously higher life expectancy, there are only 10,000 people aged over
100. It seems clear that Mudede has only arrived at such absurd figures by
systematically failing to remove dead voters from the rolls.

What is clear enough of Zimbabwe's 41,119 centenarians is that if they ever
really existed they doubtless died long ago. It is also interesting to note
that 18,525 voters are listed merely as being attached to "housing
co-operative" associations without any proper address. Such phantom voters
vote early and often in Zimbabwe. There is a notable concentration of such
address-less voters in Harare North which helped Zanu-PF evict the MDC MP
Trudy Stevenson from the seat in 2008.

I will publish a full report on the voters' roll under the auspices of the
South African Institute of Race Relations, together with supporting
documentation. President Zuma has acted well on this matter so far,
insisting that Mugabe be held to the terms of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA), to Mugabe's vocal irritation.

However, this new data on the voters' roll makes it crystal clear that
Mugabe intends to subvert the GPA and cheat his way back to power again. If
President Zuma and his SADC colleagues are serious, they can prevent this.
The agreement to free and fair elections with a new voters' roll was part of
the Global Political Agreement which Mugabe personally signed. SADC is due
to meet to consider the situation on May 20 in Windhoek, Namibia.

RW Johnson

This article first appeared in Business Day


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Vigil demands ‘no haven in UK for CIO torturer’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th May 2011

The revelation that Britain is harbouring a CIO torturer has caused outrage beyond the Vigil’s expectations when we reported on the scandal in last week’s diary. The press have been besieging Phillip Machemedze’s house in Wales (provided at public expense). Anger at the ridiculous decision to allow him to stay in the UK is unlikely to flag, given the gruesome possibility that it could further open the door to any torturer in the world to find haven in Britain under crazy human rights legislation which seems to support the perpetrator of abuses rather than the victim.

The Vigil cannot understand the decision of the immigration judge not to send Machemedze back to Zimbabwe ‘because he might face ill-treatment there’. To Zimbabweans who have fled to the UK to escape persecution from people like him, his very presence here among us is a threat. It reminds us of the swaggering presence of Zanu PF murderers at home enjoying immunity from prosecution.

We cannot understand why Machemedze cannot be tried here in Britain under international laws against human rights violators. After all, he has admitted committing atrocities ‘too gruesome to recount’. Otherwise he should be sent to the Hague for trial by the International Criminal Court. A third possibility is that any of his victims who may be in the UK should sue him in the British courts – though they will have to face the dispiriting prospect that he will have funds from British taxpayers to support his case through interminable levels of appeals . . .

As it is, it appears that Machemedze has been breaking British law. Police are said to be investigating allegations that he illegally obtained work here by deception – appropriately enough as a ‘care worker’! It’s not clear whether he was equipped with the pliers he said he had used to pull out the teeth of an MDC supporter after he had broken his jaw (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may29_2011.html#Z4).

What is galling to people at the Vigil who have been forced to leave our country is that someone like him should be allowed to live here when so many of us are facing deportation back to Zimbabwe. Who will be allowed in next to be plugged into the British welfare system – Robert Mugabe? For a view of this case from Zimbabwe read Cathy Buckle’s latest letter (http://www.cathybuckle.com/index.php?id=40).

On the subject of torture, the Vigil has again been invited to play a prominent part by providing the music for the annual service for Zimbabwean victims of torture organized by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum at 2 pm on Sunday, 26th June (the UN international day in support of victims of torture) at Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission, 49 City Road, London. Speakers are Irene Petras of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Kudakwashe Chitsike of the Research and Advocacy Unit (Zimbabwe). For more details check ‘Events and Notices’.

The Vigil was glad to have many Spanish people signing our petitions. They were in London for the big football match between Barcelona and Manchester United at Wembley. We were glad they were so supportive and wish them a speedy recovery from their hangovers!

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

FOR THE RECORD: 67 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.

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

The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE.

Lecture: A Shadow of Its Former Self: Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe's Education System. Thursday 9th June 6 pm. Venue: Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building, Lower Ground Floor (LG.09), London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE. The speaker is Peter Godwin, award-winning foreign correspondent, author, documentary-maker and screen writer. Chaired by Baroness Bonham Carter. The event is organized by Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) and the LSE Africa Initiative. The lecture is followed by a reception (7.30pm - 9.00pm): NAB 8th Floor. RSVP: zimbabwe.cara@lsbu.ac.uk. Admission free but donations welcomed on the door towards CARA's work supporting Zimbabwean academics and the re-building of the country's higher education system.

ROHR National Fundraising Event. Saturday 25th June from 12 noon till late. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Come and enjoy African dishes and music while donating to a good cause. Admission fee 8 includes a plate of food and a soft drink. Raffle tickets on sale @ 1. Contact: Peter Nkomo 07817096594, V J Mujeyi 07403446696, Tsvakai Marambi 07915065171, Solomon L Matshoba 07733741065, P Chibanguza 07908406069, R Chifungo 07795070609 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070

Service of Solidarity with Zimbabwe’s torture victims: Sunday 26th June from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: Wesley’s Chapel and Leysian Mission, 49 City Road, London EC1Y 1AU (nearest tube: Old Street). The event is organized by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (www.hrforumzim.com). Speakers are Irene Petras, Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Kudakwashe Chitsike, Lawyer in the Women’s Department of the Research and Advocacy Unit (Zimbabwe). Vigil supporters will be providing the music in the form of Zimbabwean hymns.

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

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

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

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

Vigil Co-ordinators

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

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