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Zimbabwe’s Muzhingi wins Comrades Marathon

SABC NEWS May 30 2010 , 11:36:00

Zimbabwean Stephen Muzhingi has won his second consecutive Comrades Marathon. Muzhingi clocked in at a time of 5h:29min. About 20 000 runners started the race in Pietermaritzburg to Durban, at 05:30 this morning. This year's race was a down run with more than 6 000 novices taking to the road for the very first time.

Russian twins and defending champions Elena and Olesya Nurhalieva were the first women to cross the line at the finish of this year Comrades Marathon in Durban. Elena crossed the line first followed by her twin-sister Olesya. They too, just like Muzhingi who won the men's race, failed to break their last year's record.

International and local runners taking part in this year's marathon have put a smile on the faces of pupils from Ethembeni School for the disabled near Inchanga in KwaZulu-Natal. Learners at the school, situated on the route of the race, lined the road on crutches and in wheelchairs, cheering the runners. More than R150 000 and running shoes were donated to the school.

“This year we have received a lot of sponsorship through comrades. We got R50 000 from the Rocky Runners Club, they always give us something every year and on Friday, a group of international runners stopped at the school and they gave us over R100 000. We also received a lot of running shoes and clothing from the international runners and from the local runners as well, which is very encouraging,” says the school's spokesperson, Nombuso Gumbi.

Donations welcomed

Gumbi added that the donations and sponsorships of this nature are very important for the running of the school.

Meanwhile, a female athlete was rushed to a Pietermaritzburg hospital after she fell at the start of the Comrades Marathon this morning. This after it took more than ten minutes for thousands of runners to exit the city.

Reports say that other runners stepped on her while they were trying to make their way through. Comrades Marathon Association spokesperson Craig Fry says the runner, from Bloemfontein broke her ankle.


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Govt spied on diamond monitor

ZIM STANDARD

THE Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) monitor, Abbey Chikane last week made sensational revelations about how state security agents managed to open his bag without his consent and photocopy some correspondencies, which were later publicised through the state media.


Halfway through his visit which ended on Friday, Chikane came under fire from government officials through the state media where he was accused of working under instructions from the United States government. 
The unnamed sources said on the basis of the emails, it would be difficult for Chikane to present findings that would favour Zimbabwe 
Chikane told journalists in Harare on Wednesday that when he came into the country, “some naughty intelligent person” opened his bag and photocopied some printouts of his emails.


Details of the emails went on to be published and broadcast in The Herald and ZTV, respectively.


Senior government officials, including President Robert Mugabe, have since spoken strongly against the KPCS, on the basis of those emails.


“In this particular case, what happened is that I had copies of emails in my bag,” said Chikane, shortly after meeting members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.


“The emails were photocopied by someone. They (the people who photocopied the emails) basically copied and pasted the content from different email messages.


“These are messages from different countries — Canada, the European Union, and even some African countries. . .


“But I think some naughty intelligent person decided to photocopy and make use of the emails,” said Chikane.


It could not be established who could have opened Chikane’s bag, or whether he had found the bag’s contents still intact afterwards.


Chikane said there was no way he could be influenced by one country when the KPCS comprises 75 different countries.


“The Kimberley Process comprises of 75 different countries and these countries do not necessarily agree on how things are done 
. . . there are contending views on how things should be done,” said Chikane.


The KP monitor said there was nothing unusual about the emails, saying he always gets different communications from people in different parts of the world.


He dismissed claims that his itinerary was drafted by US government officials.


“My programme was drafted by myself, and approved by both the government of Zimbabwe and the Kimberley Process,” added Chikane.


In one of the photocopied emails, US State Department special advisor on conflict diamonds Brad Brooks-Rubin reportedly advised Chikane to “endeavour to meet with the representatives of the Parliamentary Committee”, as well as civil society organisations.


Chikane’s meeting with the committee on Wednesday, according to sources, followed a conditional request by the monitor put to the Zimbabwe government through the Minister of Mines, Obert Mpofu.


Chikane however said all the business he carried out in Zimbabwe was according to the programme, which he developed himself and was approved by the government of Zimbabwe.


The KPCS monitor’s visit reportedly attracted a lot of interest from state security agents. On Thursday, the police in Mutare reportedly raided the offices of the Centre for Research and Development (CRD), an organisation that has exposed rights abuses at the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange.


After failing to locate the organisation’s director Farai Maguwu, the police allegedly proceeded to his home, where they arrested his young brother, who could not be immediately identified. 
Two days earlier, Maguwu reportedly met with Chikane “and raised the organisation’s concerns over the human rights violations”.


In a statement, rights group Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said it “was also established that the police officers took away some documents from the centre’s offices”.


“It was not yet clear on which charges were the police holding on to Maguwu’s young brother,” said the ZPP in a statement.


Attempts to get a comment from police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.


But the ZPP said as of Friday, Maguwu’s whereabouts were still unknown.

BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE


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PM Tsvangirai finds new love

PM Tsvangirai finds new love

Sunday, 30 May 2010 05:48

The Zim Standard

 

 

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has found new love, The Standard can exclusively reveal.

 

Close relatives and friends said the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, who lost his first wife Susan in a car accident last year, is reportedly seeing a Harare businesswoman Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo.

 

“They have been seeing each other for the past six or so months,” said a close family friend.

“They love each other but the problem is that some party members are determined to wreck the blossoming relationship.”

Sources said Tsvangirai and Tembo first met in South Africa at the OR Tambo International Airport a few months ago and have since become “an item”.

The 38-year-old woman is a wealthy commodity-broker who supplies commodities to several chain stores in Harare and South Africa.

She spends some of her time in South Africa where she owns a house.

In Harare, she owns a house in Greendale and is building another state-of-the-art two-storey house in the leafy suburb of Greystone Park.

Tembo, who was once married to one Ben Muchedzi, has one child Tanaka (16) from her previous marriage.

She could not be reached for comment as she was said to be in South Africa on business the whole of last week.

But the PM’s spokesperson James Maridadi yesterday professed ignorance about Tsvangirai’s new love interest.

 

“There are some elements who are taking advantage of the Prime Minister’s unfortunate circumstance of being a bachelor at the age of 58 and are peddling intelligent but morally disposable merchandise for no one’s benefit,” said Maridadi.

“If any such a thing existed, I would be the first one to know. I deny it categorically that it does exist.

“Nevertheless, when it comes to matters of the heart, the Prime Minister has a private life like anyone else and we pray that that privacy be respected.”

Sources in the MDC said some party members are determined to see the collapse of the relationship because Tembo is a blood sister to Zanu PF legislator for Goromonzi Biata Beatrice Nyamupinga.

Other than that, said the sources, the Nyamupingas are also related to Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Biata’s husband, Felix Nyamupinga, is Zimbabwe’s deputy Ambassador to Australia.

“Some party members see the relationship as infiltration by Zanu PF and this is why they are against it but others are saying the Prime Minister should be allowed to choose a wife without other people’s interference,” said another source.

Baita Nyamupinga yesterday said she had not been briefed about the relationship.

“I don’t know about it,” she said. “I haven’t been told anything, that is, if there is any truth in what you are saying.”

Another source said there have been several attempts by some senior members in the MDC-T to link up Tsvangirai with Tembo but the MDC leader has been hesitant.

“He (Tsvangirai) has been saying he would find a suitable wife when the time comes. He is saying he is not in a hurry to do so because he wants to concentrate on his political career for now.”

Some party members and Tsvangirai’s relatives want him to marry his late wife’s sister Leah Mhundwa, who was made a care-taker mother to his six children following the death of Susan.

A ceremony was held at Tsvangirai’s rural home in Buhera a few months ago where he was introduced to his new “wife”.

Then Maridadi said the two were not in love.

“It is true that a ceremony was held at the weekend, but that ceremony is not about Tsvangirai getting a wife. In Shona tradition, one year after the death of a spouse there is a process of choosing a caretaker mother,” he said.

Under the custom, Mhundwa is expected to take care of Tsvangirai and his children -- Edwin, Garikai, Vimbai, Rumbidzai and twins Milicent and Vincent. The practice is known as kumutsa mapfihwa which literally means restoring hearth stones. In Shona when a woman dies the hearth stones in her kitchen are said to have fallen.

According to the tradition, the widower is given a young lady from his wife’s family to marry and hence restore the hearth stones..

Inter-party marriages are not new in the MDC. A senior member of the MDC and Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo is married to Sithembiso Nyoni’s daughter.

Nyoni is a Zanu PF politburo member and a former minister in President Robert Mugabe’s government.

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE AND SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA


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Government abandons Maguta

The Standard

 

Sunday, 30 May 2010 06:37

BULAWAYO — Government has abandoned Operation Maguta/Inala as it moves ahead to implement short-to-long-term drought mitigation strategies following crop assessments by three ministries revealing that over 205 000 households face starvation this year. 
President Robert Mugabe in 2005 launched the command agriculture under the military arguing that the move was aimed at ensuring food security and a surplus for export.

The operation failed to end food shortages in the country with analysts saying the targets were missed primarily due to lack of inputs and poor planning on the part of government.

The operation was also riddled with corruption and several MPs implicated in the scam have been hauled before the courts.

However, several MDC-T MPs have been acquitted after the courts found that only Zanu PF legislators were properly briefed about conditions for accessing inputs.

Zanu PF MPs are yet to stand trial.


Sources say recent crop assessments by the Prime Minister’s office, Agriculture Ministry and the Labour and Social Welfare Ministry were unanimous that Operation Maguta was a monumental failure.

Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the PM’s office, on Thursday confirmed that the operation had been scrapped.

“Operation Maguta/Inala is not part of the drought mitigation measures for the short-to-long term,” Moyo said in an interview on Thursday.

Moyo said crop assessments by government ministries reveal that over 205 000 households in Matabeleland South, Midlands, Manicaland, Masvingo are faced with hunger owing to poor harvests.

“Government is going to move grain from areas of food surplus to areas of deficit,” he said.

“We will also work with donors to provide food for the needy areas and also implement public works programmes where villagers work for food.

“On a long-term basis, government is putting in place irrigation schemes in drought-prone areas. . .we would want to ensure that people do not starve.”


During Operation Maguta irrigation schemes were under the control of the army.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) assessment report released recently urged the government to start emergency food relief programmes to areas worst affected by crop failure to mitigate any food deficits.

The Finance ministry has already released US$3,5 million to the Grain Marketing Board in an attempt to buy grain and set aside over 500 000 metric tonnes strategic grain reserves to be availed to communities needing emergency food aid.

Another round of food shortages is a big blow to the inclusive government formed last year that was hoping to put an end to the perennial food shortages that began at the turn of the millennium.

President Mugabe has blamed unkind weather conditions and drought for the resultant food shortages that have seen the country rely on international food aid efforts.

Experts however say despite drought, the new farmers who benefited from the land reform scheme in 2000 lack the requisite farming skills, which has seen them failing to produce enough to feed the nation.

 

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU


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75 cars held in RBZ probe

The Standard

Saturday, 22 May 2010 20:23

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has stopped a Harare car dealer from disposing of 75 cars as part of investigations into allegations that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe did not pay duty for imported cars.

 

Imperial Motors has been a regular supplier of cars to State House, RBZ, the President’s Office, the army, the police, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and other government departments.

The RBZ bought numerous cars as part of the central bank’s quasi-fiscal activities, which have since been stopped by the inclusive government.

Some of the unmarked vehicles were allegedly used in Zanu PF’s terror campaign, which MDC-T says left about 200 of its supporters dead and displaced thousands others.

 

According to documents seen by The Standard, Zimra is now investigating all the cars that were imported by RBZ through Imperial Motors, which also trades as AJ Motorcentre in Harare.

In a letter written to RBZ Governor Gideon Gono (pictured) on Thursday last week Imperial Motors chief executive officer, Ajit Patel said they had had several visits by Zimra officials who had placed an embargo on 75 vehicles imported by Imperial Motors.

 

“The ZIMRA officials have not given any reason as to why they have placed an embargo on our vehicles but much of their research and audit is focused on vehicles sold to the RBZ” read the letter.

“We have had many contracts with RBZ and these contracts are based on the nature that Imperial Motors are only facilitating the RBZ purchases of vehicles by carrying out the logistics and documentation for the vehicles,”

Patel said Zimra officials had also impounded their files and records.

“I have given all records as to my understanding that every transaction with the RBZ is and was above board,” he said.

“I suggest therefore Honourable Governor that Zimra approaches the RBZ directly for any queries in regards to these imports as all documentation has been handed over to your transport team.

“This will enable us to concentrate on our core business and be treated with respect and not as mere criminals as our company has acted in good faith to support our government.”

RBZ governor Gideon Gono was not available for comment yesterday but a senior official who requested anonymity confirmed the raids by Zimra.

“I can confirm we did receive reports of such raids but we are yet to receive any formal communication from Zimra itself,” he said.

“We stand ready to find out what really it is Zimra is looking for as it would be unfortunate for many hours to be spending in unwilled witch-hunts, which are non- productive.

“It is time that we focus more on finding solutions to current challenges than seeking to find every possible excuse to incriminate one another where there are absolutely no issues at all.”

But Robson Mhandu, the Zimra spokesperson Robson Mhandu dismissed allegations that the move was a witch-hunt targeting the RBZ governor.

“Those are just allegations and lies, Zimra only deals with clients who import cars and check if they are meeting all the requirements and have paid what is due to the Zimbabwean government,” he said.

“We don’t even check who the person is, if someone is importing things he should pay regardless of how big the person is.”

 

RBZ property worth millions of dollars has been auctioned by creditors over the past months after the central bank failed to service overdue debts.

 

BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA


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Job Sikhala charged with insulting Mugabe

The Standard

Saturday, 22 May 2010 20:37

FORMER St Mary’s legislator Job Sikhala (pictured) who was arrested on Friday for launching his MDC99 party without informing the police is now facing additional charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe. 

Sikhala is accused of breaching sections of the notorious Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and will spend this weekend in custody at Harare Central Police Station Law and Order section where new charges were preferred against him.

His lawyer Tawanda Chakabva of Hwenda and Associates said Sikhala, who had initially been released into his custody, was re-arrested yesterday on another charge which he was not at liberty to reveal.

“Mr Sikhala was released into my custody yesterday and we were told to report to Waterfalls police station,” said Chakabva. “However, when we went there the police took us to Harare Central Police Station’s Law and Order section where he is currently detained.”

He said Sikhala was arrested together with the party’s secretary for local government and national housing Taurai Magaya and Aaron Muzungu, the secretary for information and publicity.

Chakabva said the police searched Sikhala’s Chitungwiza home. In a statement, MDC99 said the officers said they were searching for weapons.

“The party wishes to inform you that armed police raided our president’s house in St Mary’s this morning around 1am. They said they were looking for arms of war kept there.”

Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka referred all questions to Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena who was not answering his mobile phone.

“Talk to Bvudzijena he is the one who was dealing with that particular matter,” said Mandipaka. “I don’t have any information.”

While launching his party earlier this month, Sikhala blasted the unity government for allegedly failing to improve the welfare of ordinary people. He said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara were just lame duck politicians without any power in the coalition government. 

 

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE 


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Poor sanitation spawns contagious diseases

The Standard

Saturday, 29 May 2010 16:50

CONTAGIOUS diseases will continue to claim lives as long as the government fails to provide clean water and address the sewerage problems experienced by most cities and towns in the country, health experts have warned. 

They say the current outbreak of cholera, typhoid and measles was a direct result of failure by government to provide adequate basic social services, including health care and social protection schemes.

Charles Nhachi, a clinical pharmacologist and toxicologist with the College of Health Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe, said once the provision of social services is improved diseases caused by poor hygienic conditions would soon vanish.

“These diseases are re-occurring because of the general deterioration of hygienic conditions in our cities and towns,” said Nhachi. “Once the water supply is upgraded and poverty levels cut then they (diseases) will soon vanish.”

Garbage has not been collected for many years while rivulets from burst sewerage are a common sight in high-density areas in most towns and cities.

Despite the formation of the inclusive government in February last year the overall health situation remains precarious. 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) says the vulnerability of six million women and children remain high due to the fragile basic social services delivery systems. 

“Zimbabwe is still in transition due to the complex and severe crises experienced over the last five years, facing current acute emergencies including ongoing measles, cholera and typhoid outbreaks, the silent but devastating HIV and Aids epidemic, and the plight of displaced persons,” said Unicef.

Although measles epidemics have been mostly contained during the past 20 years, the steady decline in basic social services, particularly regular immunisation programmes, has placed children in a highly vulnerable state. 

Zimbabwe is currently facing a large measles outbreak with 6 215 suspected cases and 384 deaths reported. 

At least 57 out of the country’s 62 districts have confirmed at least one laboratory tested case, while 61 districts have reported suspected cases. 

“Children below the age of five are most at-risk for measles,” Unicef says. 

Health experts say the challenge is further heightened in some religious communities which do not accept modern medicine and vaccination of their children.

Cholera has also claimed scores of lives in the past few years. Since February this year, at least 14 districts have been affected with 456 cases and 13 deaths reported so far.

The UN agency says typhoid is a water-borne disease that has erupted due to the lack of access to clean water and related poor sanitation and hygiene practices. 

An outbreak of typhoid commenced in early February in Harare with over 400 suspected cases and eight suspected deaths reported by the city’s health department.

The outbreak of the once forgotten diseases is also linked to the continuing rise in poverty levels in Zimbabwe.

Nhachi says diseases such as cholera, typhoid and measles used to affect mostly poor people who lived in the rural areas. 

They are also most common in poor West African states where they have open sewerage systems.

“A long time ago, these diseases would only affect the poor in the rural areas because we had good sanitary facilities in urban areas,” said Nhachi. “Now these diseases are for the urban folks because we do not have adequate water supply.”

It is feared that with worsening poverty in the country, contagious diseases will also continue to claim more lives.

Preliminary estimates indicate that at least two million people in rural and urban areas will require food assistance this year. 

An estimated 35% of all children in Zimbabwe are stunted, 2% are wasted and 16% are underweight, according to Unicef.

The organisation said it requires US$17 million to respond to the most acute emergencies including the ongoing measles, cholera and typhoid outbreaks.

 

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE 


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MDC activists suffer and die alone

The Standard

Saturday, 29 May 2010 17:13

DURING the March 2008 harmonised elections and the subsequent one man presidential run-off, they sacrificed everything to make sure the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai won the election. 

To them, spending many days and nights in the open, without food and away from their families was not an issue. 

They did not complain when they were beaten, they were not moved when they became regulars at filthy cells and at Zanu PF bases, disguised as information centres. All they wanted was to ensure “the people’s project” succeeds.

Some of them, like the late Tonderai Nyahunzvi, were honest “soldiers” who literally left their homes to be in the trenches.

Their hopes were very high that when the MDC-T finally gets into government, life would be much better. 

And when the inclusive government was formed, Elizabeth Saidi, Taizivei Gasa and the late Rumbidzai Kurira, among many other Mbare women, were hopeful that they would finally reap the benefits of the suffering and unhealed wounds of 2008. 

But to date, Nyahunzvi, Kurira and other MDC-T activists have died some of them from causes related to the 2008 election violence. Saidi said they have unsuccessfully tried to share their plight with the MDC-T leadership, but their pleas are falling on deaf ears. 

Addressing her colleagues who attended Kurira’s funeral wake at Mbare’s Joburg Lines on May 22, Saidi said they had been betrayed by politicians they supported under the most difficult of circumstances. 

“We are not happy with these politicians, they only use us when it suits them, and then forget about us while they enjoy,” said Saidi.

“Some of us are living positively (with HIV), but nobody is giving us any help. 

“We are also looking after orphans whose parents succumbed to political violence. 

“The same people we were with in the trenches seem to have forgotten us. 

“Right now we struggled to meet funeral expenses for our departed colleague, Amai Kurira.”

The struggle for survival continues to worsen for the women, who have no regular means of survival. 

Most of them cannot access market stalls at the bus terminus, as most of them have been taken over by Zanu PF supporters.

“Right now, our children are not going to school; they are now growing up in the streets. 

“We cannot afford the one dollar per head every week for our children. 

“These politicians promised us education for all, but our children live in the streets because they cannot access that education,” she added.

Frustrated by their apparent neglect, Saidi and scores of other women formed the Women of Mbare Arise (WOMA), which brings together female activists who have suffered violence. 

“We formed this organisation last year as a way of helping each other as victims of violence,” said Saidi.

“So far, we have buried more than 20 women activists who died from causes related to the injuries they sustained during the violence. 

“We have had to bear the funerals alone, the people we sacrificed everything for have never set foot here. Maybe we will see them during the next campaign.”

So emotional were the activists that they even vowed never to vote for Mbare legislator Piniel Denga and his Southerton counterpart, Gift Chimanikire, as well as local councillor Paul Gorekore.

Most of the WOMA members are widows. They contribute at least one dollar monthly, which is used for welfare programmes for members. The club now has more than 400 members, but only 250 are consistent with their one dollar per month subscriptions. 

Addressing the women after Kurira’s burial, Pastor Lawrence Berejena — who is also an MDC-T activist — said the level of suffering that political activists across the country were going through was a serious case for national healing.

“I feel these are people who the organ on national healing should meet,” said Berejena. 

“They are people suffering from the spirit of rejection. They have nowhere to start from. The government of national unity should protect the poor, just like the Bible says.”

Berejena said he had counselled a number of MDC supporters from different parts of the country, who felt neglected by the leadership of the “people’s project”.

But MDC-T spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa said they had not turned their backs on the needs of the party’s rank and file.

“I do not think what they are saying is true,” said Chamisa. “We have done extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances for our supporters.

“We have a social welfare department charged with all these issues. We have put in place restorative and rehabilitative programmes under the social welfare department to assist our supporters across the country, restoring those who lost their resources and were displaced from their homes, rehabilitating those who are survivors. 

“We have already identified thousands of people across the country. It is a huge task that cannot be done sufficiently by one political party. We need a national response. We thought that would be done through national healing, as a party we can only do so much.”

Chamisa said there could be a hidden hand in some of the claims being made against the party.

He said in addition to meeting the welfare needs of thousands of supporters, they have also met the funeral expenses of a number of their activists.

The MDC-T says over 200 of its supporters were killed during the 2008 election period while thousands were left with life threatening injuries after they were tortured at Zanu PF bases.

BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE


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No disciplinary action for demeaning Nkomo

The Standard

Saturday, 29 May 2010 22:44

ZANU PF leadership has backed its rowdy supporters who embarrassed Vice-President John Nkomo at a recently aborted national healing meeting brushing aside calls for disciplinary action against leaders who engineered the chaos. 

On May 22, scores of Zanu PF supporters forced the abortion of a political leadership sensitisation meeting by the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration.

 

Zanu PF wanted to bring 1 359 representatives, instead of the 63 allowed from each of the three parties in the inclusive government.

 

The decision not to carry out any disciplinary measures comes amid revelations that Zanu PF leaders in Harare had deliberately gone against Nkomo’s directive on the composition of its delegation to the meeting.

 

The former party chairman who was elevated to the VP’s post last year has had a rocky relationship with the province dating to the days of Zanu PF’s divisive restructuring exercises.

 

In a letter to the leaders of the three governing parties on May 12, Nkomo said the “catchments for each political party, it is proposed that, should be nine people per district comprising of the youths, women and the main wing”.

 

It is understood that in his letter, Nkomo meant that the seven administrative districts in Harare, namely Highfield, Harare Central, Ruwa-Epworth, Mabvuku-Tafara, Harare North, Harare South and Chitungwiza were each supposed to have nine representatives.

 

The Zanu PF leadership however ignored the administrative districts, and used the party’s own districts.

 

The party mobilised nine people from each of its 151 districts in Harare, bringing the number to 1 359.

 

This was despite an indication in the programme that the parties “stand guided on representatives’ vis--vis political districts and administrative districts”.

 

Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu said their supporters should not be blamed for the abortion of the meeting. Instead, the Media, Information  and Publicity minister applauded the Zanu PF supporters for having “acted in accordance with the directive”.

 

“Harare province showed that it has grassroot support by responding at such short notice. I want to applaud them for responding to the letter of invitation,” said Shamu.

 

On the heckling of VP Nkomo, Shamu would not state whether or not they would discipline those who were at the forefront.

 

“Even if Harare province members were correct, they should have heeded Cde Nkomo’s directive as the vice-president,” added Shamu.

 

“That is an important element of discipline, we believe in being highly disciplined. We need to respect our members, especially members of the presidium. We are guided by one common principle of discipline.”

 

The Zanu PF supporters at the meeting broke three of the party’s main points of discipline, which compel them to obey orders in all actions, always speak politely and never swear at people.

 

In addition to publicly disobeying Nkomo’s orders, the supporters vowed to deal with MDC supporters after the World Cup.

 

Zanu PF Harare provincial youth chairperson, Jim Kunaka said there was no need to discipline any of the members who attended the meeting because they followed instructions from Nkomo himself.

 

Kunaka attended the meeting.

 

“We were told to bring nine people from each district, and we did just that. We acted in line with what was contained in the letter,” said Kunaka.

He blamed Nkomo for buying into the MDC ploy to outnumber them “as usual”.

 

“People were just not happy that there was a deliberate attempt to outnumber us in favour of the two MDC factions, despite the fact that we had done our homework and mobilised our structures, as stated in the letter,” he said.

 

“The reason why people refused to go out is because they wanted to hear the progress being made on national healing, and update our structures on the ground.”

 

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said it would actually be against the spirit of national healing to allow Zanu PF to have more representation.

 

“You cannot have a perpetrator to prescribe a solution. The source of the national injury and agony is located in Zanu PF,” said Chamisa.

 

Despite being one of the key creations of the global political agreement (GPA), the organ on national healing is yet to meaningfully engage with political supporters from across the divide.

 

BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE


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WHO guidelines a threat to golden leaf producers

The Standard

Sunday, 30 May 2010 06:09

ZIMBABWE’S tobacco industry is under threat from new World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations seeking to ban ingredients used in the manufacture of tobacco products. 

WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control guidelines, if implemented will impact on jobs and livelihoods of millions of tobacco growers around the world, activists warned last week.

 

The guidelines will eliminate traditional blended cigarettes, which account for approximately half of the global market. The impact on growers who supply the tobacco varieties used in these products would be dramatic.

 

The move has drawn criticism from the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) which says such a move would impact on millions of livelihoods around the globe.

 

“These recommendations have been made by bureaucrats, mostly from wealthy countries who know nothing about tobacco growing.

Their recommendations could wipe out the livelihoods of millions of tobacco growers all over the world,” said Antonio Abrunhosa, ITGA chief executive officer.

 

“For some inexplicable reason, tobacco growers, the very people most affected by the guidelines, are officially excluded from any discussions.

 

“Even ministries of agriculture or economy seem unaware of the discussions taking place within the FCTC. There does not seem to be any balanced form of representation whatsoever.”

 

Countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania now face the prospect of seeing millions of jobs lost and a huge decline in the export of tobacco.

 

Tobacco cultivation is critical for the economies of developing countries and is one of the few agricultural activities to have remained buoyant during the recent worldwide economic crisis.

 

The latest guidelines threaten to undo that, according to Roger Quarles, the ITGA president.

 

“These guidelines are just plain wrong whichever way you look at them. Nobody has explained to me how banning some cigarette products and ignoring others will have any benefit for people’s health,” Quarles said.

 

“It will just be a disaster for those growers who grow leaf for traditional blended products.”

 

Abrunhosa said: “It’s not just tobacco growers whose livelihoods are threatened here. In some parts of the world, entire communities depend on the tobacco growing sector. I want to know what these bureaucrats have to say to the people whose lives they are going to ruin for no good reason whatsoever.”

 

ITGA represents more than 30 million tobacco growers across Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America.

 

Tobacco is one of Zimbabwe’s largest foreign currency earners accounting for 26% of the country’s gross domestic product last year.

 

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is the first treaty negotiated under the auspices of the world’s health body.

 

It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on May 21 2003 and entered into force in February 2005.

 

BY OUR STAFF


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In the courts: Men’s ears land him in court

The Standard

Sunday, 30 May 2010 06:21

THE High Court in Johannesburg ordered the release on Friday of a Zimbabwean detained by immigration authorities because his ears didn’t look the same as in his passport photo, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) said in a statement. Petro Chatiza, who LHR said was an activist in the area of evictions and housing rights in Zimbabwe, was arrested on May 21 as he tried to board a flight at OR Tambo International Airport for Australia. He had a Zimbabwean passport and a visa issued to him by the Australian High Commission in Harare as well as a three-month visa on entry to South Africa. An airport official however had him arrested because he did not resemble his passport photo and was not carrying his Zimbabwean identity document. 

He was detained at the Kempton Park police station.

LHR argued that his possession of a valid passport with a valid visa to remain in South Africa for three months should have protected him legally from being declared an “illegal foreigner”, and there was no basis for his arrest or detention for deportation. The state argued that the arresting immigration officer decided that Chatiza did not look like the photo in his passport as his ears stuck out in the photograph but not in person. However, the immigration officer failed to take any further steps to verify his identity or to ask for an explanation of this discrepancy. Only a week after his arrest, and the institution of legal proceedings, was he finally informed of the reasons for his arrest and given the opportunity to explain. — Sapa.

 

Gay activists released

TWO Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) employees, who were arrested on May 21 for allegedly undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority and possessing drugs and pornographic material, have been released on bail.

Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi on Thursday granted Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Mhambi US$200 bail each after they spent six days in custody. He also ordered them to report twice a week to CID Drugs Section at Harare Central Police Station. They were also ordered to surrender their passports with the clerk of court and not to travel for more than 40km outside Harare without the authority of the investigating officer. Prosecutor Bruce Tokwe unsuccessfully opposed bail as the magistrate agreed with the duo’s lawyers Dzimbabwe Chimbga and David Hofisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) that the accused were not a flight risk. — Jennifer Dube

 

Gukurahundi case deferred again

PROMINENT visual artist Owen Maseko on trial for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe with his exhibition on the Gukurahundi massacres will have to wait a little longer for his time in court. Maseko was arrested in March after he opened an exhibition at the Bulawayo Art Gallery about the 1980s Matabeleland and Midlands massacres by troops loyal to Mugabe. His case was postponed again on Wednesday, this time to June 8 by the magistrate Abedinico Ncube.

According to his lawyers Matshobana Ncube and Kucaca Phulu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the state asked for a postponement because Maseko’s docket was with the Attorney General’s office in Harare.

“We understand they are still considering whether to proceed with trial or drop the case after all,” said Phulu.

The lawyers say Maseko has no case to answer.

He is being charged with contravening sections of the Criminal Law (Cordification and Reform) Act.


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Councillors push for directors’ ouster

The Standard

Sunday, 30 May 2010 06:27

TWO Harare City Council directors fingered in a damning council report on an alleged land scam involving prominent businessman Phillip Chiyangwa are now facing the music, with one having tendered his resignation already.

A land report which landed Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and eight councillors in court on defamation charges accuses finance director Cosmas Zvikaramba and director of urban planning, Psychology Chiwanga of aiding irregular land acquisitions by Chiyangwa, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and former mayoress Sekesai Makwavarara.

While police are yet to publicise their findings following council’s report which was lodged with them last month, it would seem internal developments at Town House are continuing to pile up pressure on the two senior employees.

Zvikaramba is understood to have since resigned citing “constructive dismissal” while a full council meeting on Thursday tasked Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi to take disciplinary action against Chiwanga, whom some councillors described as “grossly incompetent”.

For Chiwanga, things came to a head on Wednesday when councillors woke up to a newspaper notice announcing a proposed sale of a council stand for US$95.

The notice advised that the Mufakose stand was to be sold to one George Tapera.

It further advised that copies of the council resolutions and the detailed terms of conditions for the proposals will be open for inspection at the office of the City Valuer and Estates Manager and that objections should be lodged with the Town Clerk.

Some councillors said they were shocked to learn of the intended sale yet they had recommended that the stand be leased.

They said they had made their inquiries and nobody seemed to know who placed the notice in the paper.

“This notice is causing a public outcry out there,” Ward 29 Councillor Peter Marange said. “How can we allow the city to go at such a pittance?

“We are talking about 187 square metres going for as little as $95 while people at Mupedzanhamo are being forced to pay as much as $500 in rentals for two square metres.”

Others however thought someone could have made a mistake in writing the figures.

“I do not think this is a mistake,” Kuwadzana’s Clr Peter Moyo said. “This is deliberate gross mischief which somebody did thinking we will not see it.”

The councillors accused Chiwanga of undervaluing the city’s land in many ways, including subletting properties meant for leasing.

Others said despite last month’s exposure, Chiwanga continues to authorise sales and leases without consulting them.

“I was shocked to learn that someone had been allocated land in my area without my knowledge,” Mbare’s Clr Friday Muleya said.

“What level of disrespect is that which gives someone the nerve to bypass a democratically-elected councillor with over 7 000 voters behind him?”

The councillors want Chiwanga’s wings to be clipped through restructuring of his department by transferring the city valuation and estates management division to the City Treasurer’s department.

Council had to go into committee to discuss Zvikaramba and Chiwanga.

“We heard that Zvikaramba wants to take us to court following his resignation so we are preparing ourselves for that possibility,” a councillor who requested anonymity said.

While Zvikaramba could not be reached for comment, Chiwanga is yet to respond to questions emailed to him at the request of his secretary.

Both Zvikaramba and Chiwanga were employed during the era of commissions appointed to take care of the city’s affairs by Chombo.

“We are not bothered,” another councillor said. “We are all agreed as council that the city’s regulations do not provide for those positions.

“If you follow council issues closesly, you will remember that Chombo created Zvikaramba’s position after firing the Town Clerk and broke down the Department of Works to create a job for Chiwanga and two other close allies of his.”

BY JENNIFER DUBE


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BILL WATCH SPECIAL House of Assembly Portfolio Committees & Senate Thematic Committees: Open Meetings 31st May to 4th June

[30th May 2010]

The meetings listed below are open to members of the public, as observers only, not as participants.  [See note at the end of this bulletin on public attendance and participation at different types of committee meetings.]

Meetings of Special Interest

Monday morning: Public Accounts Committee – evidence on ghost workers in the civil service

Wednesday morning: Peace and Security Committee – Evidence from Ministry of Home Affairs on their role in promoting peace and security in Zimbabwe

Thursday morning: Indigenisation and Empowerment Committee – evidence from National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board

Note: This bulletin is based on the latest information provided by Parliament late on 28th May.  Last-minute changes are, however, possible.  So, if you wish to attend any of the following meetings, Veritas recommends that you avoid possible disappointment by first checking with the relevant committee clerk that the meeting is still on and open to the public.  Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 or 252936-55.

Monday 31st May at 10 am

Public Accounts Committee

Oral evidence from Chairperson of Public Service Commission on ghost workers in the civil service

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Mashakada         Clerk: Mrs Nyawo

Portfolio Committee: Higher Education, Science and Technology

A brief from the College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe on challenges of the education sector

Committee Room No. 3

Chairperson: Hon S.M. Ncube         Clerk: Miss Chikuvire

Monday 31st May at 2 pm

Portfolio Committee: Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

Oral evidence from ZIMTA, PTUZ, PSA, TUZ on conditions of service for civil servants

Committee Room No. 1

Chairperson: Hon Zinyemba            Clerk: Ms Mushunje

Tuesday 1st June at 10 am

Portfolio Committee:  Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement

Oral evidence from the Attorney-General on the grain loan case

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Jiri                       Clerk: Miss Mudavanhu

Wednesday 2nd June at 9 am

Thematic Committee: Peace and Security

Oral evidence from Ministry of Home Affairs on their role in promoting peace and security in Zimbabwe

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Mumvuri              Clerk: Mr Daniel

Thursday 3rd June at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Education, Sport and Culture

Oral evidence from NAC and NAG on their operations

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Mangame            Clerk: Miss Mudavanhu

Thursday 3rd June at 11 am

Thematic Committee: Indigenisation and Empowerment

Oral evidence from National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board on its programmes and activities

Government Caucus Room

Chairperson: Hon Mutsvangwa        Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

Public Attendance at and Participation in Committee Meetings

        Not open to the public: Portfolio and thematic committee meetings in which the committees are doing private business – e.g. setting workplans, deliberating on reports and findings, or drafting reports for Parliament, or when the committees make field visits.  [Veritas does not list these in these bulletins.] 

        Open to the public to attend as observers only: Portfolio and thematic committee meetings where oral evidence is being heard.  [As listed above.]  If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament.  IDs must be produced.  

        Stakeholders by invitation: At some committee meetings stakeholders [and those who notify Parliament that they consider themselves stakeholders and are accepted as such] are invited to make oral or written representations and ask questions.  [These meetings will be highlighted in these bulletins.]  

        Public Hearings: When committees call for public hearings, members of the public are free to submit oral or written representations, ask questions and generally participate.  [Veritas sends out separate notices of these public hearings.]

Note:  Zimbabweans in the Diaspora can send in written submissions to stakeholders’ meetings if they consider themselves stakeholders, and to public hearings, by emailing their submissions to clerk@parlzim.gov.zw

 

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

 


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 29th May 2010

The Vigil has called on the new British government to support our demand for early elections in Zimbabwe. In a letter to Foreign Secretary William Hague we urge the UK government to ensure peacekeeping troops are sent to Zimbabwe to prevent Mugabe’s militias from stealing the elections. Here is our letter:

 

“Dear Mr Hague

 

“The Zimbabwe Vigil wishes to congratulate you on your appointment and express our best wishes. We trust that we will continue to have the support of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties in our campaign for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. We pay tribute to Michael Ancram, among others, for his long-standing support for our cause and were pleased to be visited by Mr Clegg of the Liberal Democrats.

 

“The Zimbabwe Vigil has been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy every Saturday afternoon since October 2002 against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe and for internationally-monitored, free and fair elections. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.

 

“The Vigil is calling for new elections in Zimbabwe as soon as possible provided they can be overseen by an international peace-keeping force. We have been collecting signatures for the following petition: ‘Petition to the UN Security Council. We call on the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new government and believe peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before, during and after the polling.’

 

“We urge the United Kingdom to insist that new elections in Zimbabwe are held under international supervision, including a military force to protect against violence already being planned by Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

 

“The view of the Zimbabwe Vigil is that the interim Zimbabwean government is a charade and that there is no alternative other than to have new elections as soon as possible as Mugabe has refused to honour his undertakings under the Global Political Agreement signed more than 18 months ago.

 

“We take this opportunity to draw your attention to another petition being run by the Vigil: ‘A petition to the UK government. We welcome the UK’s humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe but call on the UK government to withhold development aid until it is confident that the money will benefit the people rather than the corrupt Mugabe regime.’

 

“As you will know, the Movement for Democratic Change has been coerced into calling for the removal of targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies. A delegation from the Zimbabwean government is expected to have talks soon with the European Union at which this matter will no doubt be discussed. It will argue that progress towards implementing the Global Political Agreement depends on the lifting of these sanctions. The Zimbabwe Vigil hopes that the UK government will reject this implicit threat. The MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has learnt that giving in to Mugabe does not advance the cause of freedom.”

 

Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani explained to ZimVigil TV the reasoning behind the letter. He said it was important that the Vigil’s view was clearly presented at a time when other Zimbabwean groups in the UK were seeking to engage with the British government. He said that we represented activists and shouldn’t be side-lined by others who spent their time talking instead of engaging the public and campaigning for change.

 

The Vigil was glad to see an address by Jacob C Ngarivhume, Chair of the group Voice for Democracy, on the occasion of the International Day of UN Peace-keepers today. In it he refers to the UN principle ‘Responsibility to Protect’, which was endorsed by the Zimbabwean government five years ago. Mr Ngarivhume said ‘As there is nothing to suggest that the Zimbabwe government can or will protect its own people, the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ voters in the run-up to elections falls squarely on SADC, the AU and the international community.’ It is encouraging to see other groups working on the same lines as we are. For the full address check:

http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may30_2010.html#Z1.

 

With a meeting of the countries comprising the group Friends of Zimbabwe due to be held in Oslo in June, the Vigil urges them to put pressure on the unity government to take seriously the negotiations on implementing the Global Political Agreement. We are disturbed that the negotiations that President Zuma said last November should be over in weeks are still going on more than six months later. The latest meeting of the principals – delayed since early April – was due to take place on Friday but was postponed by Tsvangirai’s late return from his latest jaunt abroad. Perhaps he should be under the same travel sanctions as Mugabe to force him to stay at home and deal with the matter.

 

The brilliant spring weather broke today and rain greeted the start of the Vigil. Thanks to Moses Kandiyawo of the Vigil management team who came early because he thought there would be problems setting up in the rain. He grabbed the tarpaulin and had it up in record time – within 15 minutes the tarpaulin, banners, posters and tables were all in place and we were ready to start. The Vigil wants ‘Vigil set-ups’ to be introduced as a sport in the Olympics in London in 2012. After all our practice we are confident of carrying off the gold.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website. For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check: http://www.zbnnews.com/home/firingline.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 127 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

       OTIENO by Trevor Michael Georges. A contemporary reworking of Shakespeare's Othello, set against the continuing deprivation of present-day Zimbabwe. Till Saturday 12th June at 7.30 pm, matinees 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.), London SE1 2TF. For tickets ring 020 7407 0234 or book online here.

       ROHR Northampton general meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue:  Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL. ROHR Executive members present and Guest Speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775,Wadzanayi Mpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi  07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.

       ROHR Bristol launch meeting. Saturday 5th June 2010 from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Joseph's Presbytery, 232 Forest Road, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3QT. Come along and hear what's happening back home and see if we can do something to help. ROHR President, National Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Bridget Mubaiwa 07789084534, Cecilia Ndhlovu 07545118593, Emelia Sydney 07789991197, P Chibanguza 07908406069, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070

       ROHR South East London general meeting. Saturday 12th June from 1 – 3 pm. Venue: 16 Sydenham Road, Sydenham, London SE24 5QW. Contact P Chitsinde 07897000075, C Chiromo 07894586005 or 07838153217.

       ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 12th June from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Fairfield Police Club, Prescot Road, Fairfield, LiverpoolL7 0JD. T-shirts available for 10.00. NEW MEMBERS ARE VERY WELCOME. Contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758. Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161

       ROHR Liverpool demonstration. Saturday 19th June from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161 Next Demonstration: Saturday 26th June from 2 – 5 pm at Paradise Street, Liverpool City Centre. Future demonstrations: Saturdays from 2 – 5 pm at Church Street (Outside Primark), Liverpool City Centre. Dates: 24th and 31st July, 7th and 21st August, 4th September.

       Church Service in Support of Zimbabwean Victims of Torture. Saturday 26th June from 12 -1.30 pm. Venue: Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8EP. This is an annual event organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The Zim HR Forum has asked the Vigil to provide a choir. After the service there will be a procession to the Vigil.

       ROHR Peterborough launch meeting. Saturday 3rd July from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: 37-38 Copeland, Bretton, Peterborough PA3 6YJ. Present will be the Founder of ROHR and National Executive plus a well known lawyer. Contact: Alista Mabiya 07724540506, Nyarai Maziso 07732545514, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070

       Campaign on behalf of Zimbabweans with disputed nationality. There is a possibility that the group known as London Citizens may launch a campaign on behalf of Zimbabweans with disputed nationality (such as arriving in the UK on a non-Zimbabwean – for instance Malawian – passport). This campaign can only go ahead if there are sufficient numbers to warrant the expense. If you are in this category please email your name to Vigil management team member Luka Phiri: lukaphiri25@yahoo.co.uk. Your information will be treated in the strictest confidence and not passed on to anyone in authority.

       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check: www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

       Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

       Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: zimbabweinternship@cof.org.uk.

        For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 24/04/2009, check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=lvwikOhO3Fk
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qqXJ7jfVY.


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.

 

 

Vigil co-ordinator

 

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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NEW ARRESTS OF NYAMANDHLOVU FARMERS

S•A•C•F•A
Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance

On the afternoon of Friday 28 May 2010 police went to James Taylor’s Cedor Park Farm and arrested him. He is allegedly to be charged under the Gazetted Lands (Consequential Provisions) Act for being in occupation of State Land without a Permit, Offer Letter or Lease. His son Matthew who was temporarily working in the Figtree district nearby went to Nyamandhlovu police station to assist his father and was also arrested on arrival.

James Taylor has suffered a stroke and is diabetic. He is by no means well and his stroke has left him no longer the man he was previously. The police refused to allow anyone to bring him his medication until much later in the evening. The following morning, Saturday, Advocate Tim Cherry went to Nyamandhlovu in an endeavour to have James and Matthew released. He spoke to the acting Officer-in-Charge Assistant Inspector Monyera (cell phone number +263 712-599676) who refused to accept any documentation from Advocate Cherry.

Eventually Advocate Cherry was obliged to read out to Monyera in front of witnesses a letter from James Taylor’s medical physician Doctor Legg concerning the fragility of James Taylor’s medical condition and the risks to his life should Monyera continue to keep him in custody. Assistant Inspector Monyera then threw the letter down on his desk. As a policeman he should understand the consequences of such reckless behaviour which may result in a charge of culpable homicide should James’ health deteriorate into a diabetic coma and bring about his death.

The senior officer in charge of this totally illegal exercise is a Superintendent Ngerazi who looks particularly young to have attained such high rank. He has been sent down from Lupane to oversee the expulsion of the Taylors and others in the Nyamandhlovu and Inyathi districts. Superintendent Ngerazi refused to entertain anything that Advocate Cherry had to say, nor would he take any notice of an imminent High Court ruling which must be given in Taylor’s favour.

Taylor years ago gave up his Shirville Farm alongside Cedor Park for resettlement. In return the notice under the Land Acquisition Act to acquire Cedor Park was withdrawn by the acquiring authorities. It therefore does not qualify as “State Land” in terms of Constitutional Amendment 17 which in any event has been struck down as illegal in terms of the rules of the Southern African Development Community Treaty. Nevertheless the farm was invaded some months ago by one H Chiguru who proffered an Offer Letter which “authorised” him to occupy Shirville Farm next door. Offer Letters have no basis in Zimbabwe law but are regarded as valid legal instruments by our police. Offer Letters for somewhere else can surely have no validity whatsoever. The whole hodgepodge is an illicit brew of illegality actively supported by an incompetent or complicit police authority.

This unwarranted invasion by Chiguru resulted in a spoliation application to the High Court and an interim order was granted against Chiguru ordering him to vacate the property which had not been allocated to him. The application to have the interim order made final has been heard and the final order should already have been issued, but because according to law it must embarrassingly go in Taylor’s favour it is apparently being delayed.

Initially in terms of the interim order Chiguru vacated the property, but today Sunday 30 May 2010 at about 10.30 am Monyera took young Matthew back to Cedor Park and forced him to empty two rooms in the farm homestead so as to assist Chiguru’s two sons to occupy the wrong property. Even under the supposed “legality” of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme this is out of bounds. The two sons demanded that James’ boerboel dogs be removed to town before they could summon up the courage to occupy the home of an ill man incarcerated in police cells some ten kilometres distant.

The manoeuvre is strangely reminiscent of Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Edmore Veterayi’s actions when he insisted in occupying Digby Nesbitt’s guest room in Digby’s house in Chiredzi until the Nesbitts were eventually forced to vacate. Yet again, Ed Grenfell-Dexter was ordered to prepare a room for the destined beneficiary in Ed’s farm house. It was this that led Ed to move to Bulawayo.

Matthew, having cleared the two rooms as required, Monyera took him back to the police cells in Nyamandhlovu where he and his father will spend their third night in custody.

Over the last three days Superintendent Ngerazi and Assistant Inspector Monyera have been harassing and haranguing the jailed James Taylor and his son demanding why they have not vacated his farm as instructed by the police when Chiguru first invaded the wrong property. With no offence meant to James, he is not well after his stroke and is in no condition to withstand this sort of illegal pressure and harassment. His son is very young and as a result not sufficiently legally learned and schooled to deal with such illegal compulsion either. In terms of the law they are under no obligation to vacate their property.

Finally, for those who recall our previous press release of 27 May 2010: With the assistance of Imran Simmins, First Secretary Political, South African Embassy, Harare, both kidney transplant recipient Goff Carbutt and the 78 year old Ed Grenfell-Dexter were released from the police cells at Inyathi and taken to the Attorney-General’s office in Bulawayo. After much consultation behind closed doors the two were released without charge but were told they would not be allowed to return to their homes. They were not advised of the legal grounds on which the Attorney-General’s office was able to make this ruling. They were told that should it be required, the State would proceed by means of summons.

In other words they were wrongfully arrested and detained and are therefore entitled to demand suitable redress. Their evictions also breached the South African and Zimbabwe Bilateral Investment Treaty. In spite of blandishments by politicians, Zimbabwe remains a dangerous investment destination.

Tomorrow morning Advocate Tim Cherry will proceed to Nyamandhlovu to see what is in store for James Taylor and his son. In terms of the law they must both be brought before a magistrate and charged since 48 hours has passed since their arrest. Looking at the similar experiences of Goff Carbutt and Ed Grenfell-Dexter it may be reckless for the authorities to consider laying charges.

C M JARRETT – CHAIRMAN

SOUTHERN AFRICAN COMMERCIAL FARMERS ALLIANCEZIMBABWE

30 May 2010


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Zimbabwe: Analysis of Trade, Regional Integration

Financial Gazette (Harare)

13 May 2010

________________________________________

Harare — An analysis of trade and regional integration will reveal that virtually all African countries have embraced regionalism since the independence era.

From the beginning of decolonisation process in the 1960s, the establishment of sub regional economic communities was a significant part of Africa's development strategy for collective self-reliance in development and political independence.

Today, there are more regional organisations in Africa than in any other continent and most African countries are engaged in more than one regional initiative.

There are 14 major regional economic grouping in Africa with varying degrees of integration, and of the 53 countries, 27 are members of two regional groupings, 18 belong to three and one country which is Swaziland is a member of four that is SADC, COMESA, Southern Africa Customs Union and Common Monetary Area .

Only seven countries have maintained membership in one bloc.

Multiple arrangements and institutions, as well as overlapping membership in the same region, tend to confuse integration goals and lead to counterproductive competition between countries and institutions.

The best workable solution is for a country to properly analyse these regional trade agreements and decide to participate in a trade bloc(s) which serve its economic interest better than to be a member of all with conflicting goals.

In search for unity and development strategy, African countries have pursued a number of external partnerships. Among them is a partnership in the framework of the World Trade Organisation), the African, Caribbean and Pacific group (ACP)-European Union (EU) partnership, through economic partnership agreements (EP-As), and growing number of bilateral initiatives in support of African development.

In the majority of regional economic Communities, over 80 percent of exports are still destined for markets outside Africa, with European Union and United States accounting for 50 percent of this total.

With the coming of China as a serious trading partner to Africa more will be going out as raw materials.

Notwithstanding geographical proximity, African countries trade more with the EU than with other countries inside Africa. Why is it so?

On his accreditation as Britain special representative to COMESA, Tom Carter, the British High Commissioner of Zambia confirmed that around 80 percent of poverty alleviation in recent years has been ascribed to growth in trade and yet Africa, which is 42 percent of the world's population, only accounts for three percent of global trade.

This is really true as evidenced by the reduction of poverty in China and India which used to be countries of the poorest of the poor.

This happened after the two nations embarked on an aggressive export strategy after their market-based reforms in 1978 and 1991 respectively. Regional initiatives in Africa, however, did not deliver much to uplift the economic conditions of its members nor ensure sustainable growth and liberalisation.

Intra-regional trade as a proportion to total trade remains much low in Africa compared to those of the Asian and Latin Americans regions. According to the United Nations UNCTAD 2009 report, some of the issues were largely a consequence of the pattern of trade favoured by colonial rulers, which was extractive and outward-oriented, and did not encourage African countries to develop strong trade linkages among themselves after the independence era. Other explanations of these failures essentially rely on initial conditions, the problems of implementation, and basic design deficiency, as well as lack of complementarities among regional partners.

In addition, most African regional integrations were established without strong private sector support, while many of the schemes lacked viable mechanisms for redistributing benefits from the net gainers to more disadvantaged regional partners.

Non-implementation of agreed trade liberalisation schedules as well as other obligations by members also affected most of the regional integration schemes.

A close analysis of trade in southern Africa which is affecting cross-border movement of goods include poor infrastructure development particularly roads, rail and air links.

Other problems are related to unclear, bureaucratic and irrelevant customs procedures, excessive documentary requirements, undeveloped facilities at borders, understaffing, excessive charges, corruption and lack of transparency.

Moreover, poor international payment and insurance mechanisms is a big obstacle to African trade.

All these add to the already high transport and communication costs in Southern Africa which are 75 percent higher than in Europe and 40 percent higher than other developing countries.

This is further compounded by delays at customs as long as five to 10 days for clearance to trucks.

These delays and additional costs make it very difficult for African goods to get to market at competitive prices.

Traders, especially small and medium enterprises, often lose business opportunities due to these border delays. It is only trade facilitation which will bring more benefits to SMEs which are normally unable to cope with the high costs of compliance.

A trade facilitation initiative recently launched by COMESA bloc in collaboration with the Governments of Malawi and Zambia launched the Simplified Trade Regime at the border of Zambia and Malawi known as Mwami Border Post on April 30 2010 is of high interest to trade. This applied to consignments valued at US$500 or less for simplified documentation on trading. It recognises that cross-border trading is an important source of employment in this era of high unemployment and is an income generating activity that sustains families.

This initiative will result in small cross-border traders abandoning the use of illegal ways such as smuggling.

It will be of interest if Zimbabwe can facilitate such initiatives with neighbouring countries like Botswana, South Africa and Zambia to allow cross borders to trade easily within the southern region.

 


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Zimbabwe paper says US is trying to stop Zimbabwe from selling its diamonds internationally

By Associated Press

8:21 a.m. CDT, May 30, 2010

 

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A newspaper loyal to Zimbabwe's ruling party is accusing the U.S. of trying to stop international sales of Zimbabwean diamonds.

 

The Sunday Mail quotes an e-mail from a U.S. State Department official urging the international diamond control body to ban Zimbabwean diamonds. The paper calls it "a well-orchestrated Western-led campaign" against the regime of President Robert Mugabe.

 

An official from the international diamond control body, Abbey Chikane, claims documents — possibly including the quoted e-mail — were stolen from his luggage by Zimbabwean security agents earlier this week.

 

Kimberley Process investigators have previously recommended Zimbabwe's suspension over their findings of illicit trading and human rights abuses.

 


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