The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Mystery over whereabouts of missing MDC activists

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
4 May 2011

Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of four MDC-T activists who have not been
seen for three days. They were last heard from when they made frantic phone
calls from Matapi police station in Mbare.

Remita Motiwa the Women’s chairperson for Chikomba district, Kudzanai
Taruvinga the youth treasurer, Timothy Mugari ward 19 chairman and his wife
Anna Peresu, the district women’s treasurer, have been missing since Sunday.

Amos Reza, the Chikomba district secretary for the MDC-T, told SW Radio
Africa on Wednesday that they believe the four are being held by the police
at a secret location. The four are from Mashonaland East province.

‘We don’t know where they are, but we accuse the enemies of the MDC, those
who are against change, of being behind their disappearance,’ he said.

The MDC-T said they have reports the group was abducted at the bus terminus
in Mbare by the well known Chipangano group. This Mbare based, violent
group, allegedly sponsored by ZANU PF, has in the past abducted, tortured
and later taken its victims to the police.

‘We know for a fact that immediately after they were abducted from Mbare
Musika they were taken to Matapi police because that is where they called us
from. I personally received a distress call from one of the four stating
that they are being held at Matapi police,’ Reza said.

He added; ‘No one would tell us anything about why they were taken and until
now, we still don’t know. No one has been able to speak to them and we don’t
know where they are being held. Although we are pretty sure who took them,
it remains unclear where they are being held captive.’
An MDC-T search party went to Matapi, but was blocked from gaining access to
the cells. An hour after the first search, Reza received another mobile call
from the group asking why no one had come to their rescue at Matapi. This
was to be the last communication between the group and Reza on Sunday.

He said it was disturbing that many MDC-T delegates, in transit at Mbare
from the congress in Bulawayo, were beaten and harassed on Sunday simply for
wearing party regalia.
‘We had many delegates who used Mbare as a transit point to get buses to
their final destinations. MDC delegates were easily identifiable because
they wore party t-shirts. Many were beaten up, harassed and left to proceed
but we don’t know why these four were abducted,’ Reza said.

The MDC-T MP for Mbare, Piniel Denga, said he’s been making frantic efforts
to locate the whereabouts of the group. The MP has twice visited Matapi
police station, but has also been denied access to the cells.

‘We’ve since engaged lawyers who are looking for them in Harare. We know at
one point they were being held at Matapi but the officer-in-charge there,
Inspector Shoko, has apparently professed ignorance to their whereabouts. He
told me he knows nothing about what is happening inside his police station,’
Denga said. The MP said the lawyers did finally get access to the cells, but
did not find the group.

The four join a long list of MDC-T activists who have been abducted or
arrested on flimsy charges in the last four months, as ZANU PF goes for
broke to intimidate and cow its opponents.

 


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ZBC Reporter Challenges EU Sanctions List

http://www.radiovop.com

04/05/2011 17:40:00

Harare, May 04, 2011 - Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reporter and
Zanu (PF) propagandist Judith Makwanya on Wednesday challenged the European
Union (EU) why it had included journalists like her on the targeted
sanctions list, saying it was an attack on press freedom.

“I am a journalist and I hear much about the talk of journalists and the
freedom of the media. I am one of those people who have been put on
sanctions and you have just wished us a happy media freedom day ....Since
you are the advocates of media freedom, is it not in contravention of those
policies which you advocate for if you put journalists on sanctions?”
queried ZBC's Makwanya at a media conference in Harare.

Makwanya together with her colleague, Rueben Barwe, were placed on sanctions
by the EU because of their association with Zanu (PF) a party whose
propaganda they propagate through the state controlled broadcasting station.

In response, EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Adol Dell Ariccia, said journalists
were placed on sanctions because of how they promoted violence and human
rights abuses.

“Some journalists were included on the sanctions list because of the role
they played presenting news in a specific period that was considered as
inciting hate and violence. I can tell you that there is a permanent
revision of that list. Frankly speaking I have been here for the past eight
months and we have started working seriously to see that indeed some of the
people who are on the list should they continue to be there or not and it’s
a continuous process..

“So in short I take your point that including journalists on the list of
people who are on EU restrictions could be considered as a violation of the
freedom of the press but the reason was not that because they are
journalists but because of what they were publishing or saying in their
work.”

Last week Rueben Barwe was denied a visa to travel to the Vatican to cover
the beatification ceremony of John Paul 11.

He and Makwanya are regarded as some of the chief propagandists of the
ruling party and they are regularly denied visas to travel to Europe and the
USA. The two are among journalists and executives in public media companies
that have been put on the EU and US sanctions lists.

President Mugabe who travelled to the Vatican said he was shocked and
surprised by the denial of the visa to Barwe.


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EU: sanctioned Zimbabwe journalists 'incite hate'



May 4, 12:28 PM EDT

By GILLIAN GOTORA
Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The European Union said Wednesday that six
Zimbabwean state-media journalists are on a sanctions list because their
reporting incites hatred that media groups say has led to political
violence.

EU Ambassador Aldo Dell'Ariccia said the journalists' work could be seen as
an "incitement to hatred."

The journalists who fiercely support President Robert Mugabe are among some
200 individuals linked to Mugabe's party who face banking and travel bans
from the EU, the US and Britain. The sanctions were imposed to protest years
of rights violations in the southern African nation.

Mugabe called for elections this year to end a shaky coalition with the
former opposition. Independent media groups say there has since been a surge
in inflammatory reporting in pro-Mugabe media outlets, which has in turn
fueled political violence.

Judith Makwanya, a reporter for Zimbabwe's sole television station, asked
the EU envoy at a routine news conference Wednesday why she and senior
colleagues were on the sanctions list.

Mugabe himself complained his state broadcaster was barred from accompanying
him to the Vatican on Sunday to witness the beatification of Pope John Paul
II. Chief television correspondent Reuben Barwe and representatives of state
media houses who routinely travel with Mugabe were barred visas to pass
through Rome.

In 2005, Mugabe was heavily criticized for attending the pope's funeral in
St. Peter's Square. The European Union's visa ban on him doesn't apply to
the Vatican.

On Tuesday, Mugabe's print and television media Tuesday accused Western
countries of "muzzling" its journalists by adding them to the sanctions list
during years of economic and political turmoil.

The state daily, the Herald, said the journalists had been "censored" by the
West in reporting on international issues.

An international media protection group on Tuesday rated Zimbabwe's
president among key "predators" against press freedom in Africa.

Reporters Without Borders criticized continuing harassment of the private
media in Zimbabwe.

Despite some reforms under a power-sharing coalition formed with the former
opposition in 2009, independent journalists have been arrested and
assaulted, the group said.

Mugabe militants in recent weeks also attacked street sellers of two new
independent daily newspapers and burned or tore up copies.

Unidentified raiders - believed by independent media campaigners to be
linked to the military and intelligence services loyal to Mugabe - last week
stole 11 computer hard drives from NewsDay, an independent daily launched
last year in Harare, after it reported powerful army chief Gen. Constantine
Chiwenga underwent medical treatment in China for an undisclosed but serious
ailment.

The military denied its commander was ill but the reporter involved was
detained by army officials and questioned about her sources.

At the height of media repression in recent years, the printing press of one
independent newspaper was destroyed in a bombing using land mines and
military-style explosives and expertise. No arrests were ever made in
connection with that bombing in 2003.

U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray told a media gathering Tuesday there
was increasing self-censorship in Zimbabwe under pressure from authorities.

"Journalists and publishers continue to be under threat for doing their
work," he said.


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ZBC Cannot Be Transformed - Mtetwa

http://www.radiovop.com/

04/05/2011 13:01:00

Harare, May 04, 2011 - Top Harare media and human rights lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa says ZBC cannot be transformed into a true public broadcaster due to
years of politicisation saying its staff will need to be re-trained even if
that was to happen.

“I doubt that ZBC in its current state and in our current political
environment can in fact be transformed,” said Mtetwa while addressing a
World Press Freedom Day function in Harare on Tuesday.

“The route we ought to be taking is not the transformation of ZBC but
providing serious competition to ZBC.”

Mtetwa said it will be a tough ask to transform ZBC.

“To transform ZBC we need political will to do so,” said Mtetwa. “Our state
of governance and democracy will not allow ZBC to be transformed we will
need to transform ourselves first.”

She blasted the politicians in the inclusive government for wasting time
discussing transformation saying they should rather introduce alternative
media and see if ZBC will survive.

“If ZBC dies let it die because other broadcasters will be there and will be
favoured by those who require their services more than we are currently
getting from ZBC,” Mtetwa added.

She had no kind words for ZBC journalists who are used in the propaganda
phony war saying these will need to go back to school to understand the
basics of journalism.

“Transformation requires a change of the mindset to ensure that public
broadcasters do not become tools of political players that they can use as
and when they want to advance their own policies,” said Mtetwa.

“ZBC has been run-down and journalists will need retraining, imagine
journalists who for ten years have not really been able to practise
journalism because of a stifling environment in which they operate.

Imagine having all your stories spiked or edited to an extent where you don’t
recognise them. They will need to be retrained.”


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ZANU PF linked to Zim poaching syndicate

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
04 May 2011

Robert Mugabe’s party has been linked to a complex, international syndicate
that is specialising in the trafficking and poaching of Zimbabwe’s wildlife.

According to a report published on Tuesday by the Daily News newspaper, the
ZANU PF officials are part of an “intricate web of international trafficking
in wildlife that has raised the hackles of animal lovers and wildlife
conservationists.”

The party’s involvement has been revealed in the ongoing case against a
group dubbed the “Musina Mafia,” which is believed to be Africa’s biggest
rhino, elephant and lion poaching syndicate. Eleven members of the group,
led by South African national Dawie Groenewald, were arrested last year and
are facing charges of poaching, illegal gun possession and other crimes, in
the border town Musina. Their case has been remanded until September.

According to the Daily News, Groenewald is the principal director of a
hunting group called Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris, which was said to be
facilitating the illicit sales of rare animals from Zimbabwe. This included
the sale of 250 bateleur eagles to a sheikh in the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) in 2003. That sale raised international concerns because it was
allegedly handled by ZANU PF linked Ed Kadzombe, whose own safari hunting
group E.K. Safaris, was a partner with Groenewald’s Out of Africa group.

Kadzombe also used to own the misleadingly named Zimbabwe Wildlife Advisory
Council, a company known for its connections with Zimbabwe National Parks
and Wildlife Authority officials. It was this company that organised the
sale of about 160 sables from a private conservancy to South Africa, and at
least another 40 to Saudi Arabia in 2003. The wheels of those sales were
allegedly greased by another ZANU PF aligned official, Vitalis Chadenga, who
was then the acting director of Parks and Wildlife. He is now the current
director of the Authority.

Groenewald’s company was then supposedly banned from operating in Zimbabwe
in 2003. An investigation has however revealed that the outfit continued its
Zim operations well into 2006, through its Zim partners.

The Daily News report goes on to state that in 2003, “animal rights
activists started expressing concern that the rhino and elephant poaching
crisis was being fuelled by unscrupulous foreign safari operators in
collusion with government ministers, wildlife management officers, elements
of the security forces and ZANU PF henchman who had invaded the farms.”

The slaughter of four endangered black rhinos in 2003 was once again linked
to Groenewald’s hunting group, with the help of his Zim partner, Kadzombe of
E.K. Safaris, and a company owned by former Matabeleland North Governor and
ZANU PF provincial Chairman Jacob Mudenda.

The Daily News report goes on to detail Groenewald’s illicit dealings in
Zimbabwe, under the cover of international hunting trips, which has lured
hundreds of foreign hunters.

Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce, told
SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that he hopes the trial against Groenewald in
South Africa will have some kind of impact on the ongoing poaching crisis in
Zimbabwe. But he raised concern about the involvement of top level
government ministers.

“We have to ask if the law will take part in holding the high up ministers
to account. The poachers work hand in hand with top officials and the
Groenewald syndicate is not the only one,” Rodrigues said.

The Taskforce official added that the impact on tourism in Zimbabwe is huge,
because the number of animals in Zimbabwe has declined so steeply in recent
years. And he warned that things are not going to improve.

“We are going to see things get worse in the coming months because it is
peak poaching season. Unfortunately this little problem in Zimbabwe gets
overlooked because there are much bigger issues happening in the world,”
Rodrigues said.

He added: “But until we get Western involvement in this crisis then we face
the real risk of losing all these animals to extinction.”


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Iran turns to Zimbabwe for help with banned nuclear program

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tererai Karimakwenda
04 May, 2011

A relationship is reportedly developing between Iran and Zimbabwe over
uranium ore, which Iran needs to further develop what is suspected to be a
nuclear weapons program. According to Avi Jorisch, President of the Red Cell
Intelligence Group in the United States, Iran does not have great quantities
of the uranium itself and is on a global search for countries that could
provide it.

Jorisch said intelligence reports recently leaked by the U.N. International
Atomic Energy Agency, show that Iran has decided that Congo, Nigeria,
Senegal and Zimbabwe are the countries with uranium that are most likely to
provide it. And it appears Zimbabwe has been targeted as “the most promising
source”.

“It seems like a good marriage between two regimes that are under sanctions
from the West,” Jorisch told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday. He added that
Iran and China are willing to “play ball” with the Mugabe regime and are
“not terribly concerned” about human rights. In return Zimbabwe is mostly
interested in oil and financial support from Iran.

The U.S. and its allies already have strict sanctions in place against Iran
due to its refusal to cooperate with the Atomic Energy Agency. But Iran has
persisted with its program, claiming it is developing nuclear power and not
weapons. The Mugabe regime is also under targeted restrictions by the U.S.
and the European Union, due to continued human rights abuses.

Jorisch explained that negotiations took place when the Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Harare in April 2010 and “expressed personal
interest in Zimbabwe's uranium”. But the uranium is not located near any
traditional mining site and cannot be extracted without raising
international attention. “That could lead to further restrictions on both
countries,” said the former US Treasury Department official.

Jorisch said Iran has claimed that a contract for uranium from Zimbabwe was
drawn up and signed last year. Robert Mugabe denied the reports, but
stressed that Iran had the right to apply for the substance.

Zimbabwe has an estimated 455,000 tons of uranium in Kanyemba, North of
Harare, but does not have the resources to extract the uranium ore.

Jorisch and the Red Cell Intelligence Group are recommending that Washington
closely monitor the relationship between Iran and Zimbabwe, with the aim of
taking punitive action should Iran secure uranium from the Mugabe regime.

They also recommend action against businesses and institutions that assist
Iran in its pursuit of uranium.


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Zim provinces face hunger

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Tobias Manyuchi     Wednesday 04 May 2011

HARARE – Four of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces face food shortages this year with
poor households in the affected areas expected to harvest food enough to
last only about two months, according to the Famine Early Warning System and
Network (FEWSNET).

The US-funded early warning system on Tuesday said a prolonged dry spell
from February to March destroyed crops in Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland
South and Midlands provinces, adding food shortages in the hunger-prone
provinces was expected to set in earlier than normal.

"The lean season is likely to set in earlier than usual in these areas in
the 2011/12 consumption year as the dry spell significantly reduced the
potential contribution of own household production to household consumption
and income," the FEWSNET said in a report.

"The poor households in the affected areas are currently dependent upon food
aid, most of which stopped in March leaving these households to depend on
their meager harvests that are likely to last for up to two months," it
said.

However the report said staple cereals and other basic food stuffs continue
to be generally available in other parts of the country outside the four
drought-hit provinces, adding that food availability in such areas would
receive a boost from this season’s crop currently being harvested.

But the report also said that despite general stable food supplies and a
relatively stable macroeconomic environment, poverty levels remain
relatively high in Zimbabwe, with low incomes amid high levels of both
unemployment and underemployment that continue to constrain the ability of
poor households to access adequate food.

The southern African country, which was once a breadbasket of the region,
has since 2001 experienced acute food shortages chiefly blamed on President
Robert Mugabe’s chaotic and often violent drive to seize land from
experienced white farmers for redistribution to blacks.

The farm seizures saw farm production tumbling by more than 60 percent after
Mugabe failed to provide funding, inputs and skills training to black
villagers resettled on former white farms to maintain production.

But agriculture has shown signs of recovery with maize production rising to
1.5 million tonnes in the 2009/10 season up from about 1.2 million tones in
the 2008/09 season.

However the FEWSNET estimates maize production this year to remain stagnant
at 1.5 million tonnes, which is 500 000 tonnes short of the about two
million tonnes Zimbabwe requires for consumption per year. -- ZimOnline


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Zanu PF explodes

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

By Thelma Chikwanha, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 14:49

HARARE - The vicious Zanu PF succession battle has taken a turn for the
worse, amid fears that this could scuttle the current delicate Global
Political Agreement (GPA) negotiations and fan more political violence in
the country.

Impeccable sources in Zanu PF told the Daily News last night that so bad had
factionalism in the party become that there were real fears that the party
could implode and split into two, with massive negative consequences for the
party and country.

“Things are that bad inside the party, with no quarter being given by either
of the feuding parties.  The worry is that these guys are so determined to
get their way regardless of the consequences that they may even resort to
brewing up more political chaos and violence across the country.

“In the end Zimbabweans must wake up to the fact that this coagulating
crisis has a negative impact beyond Zanu PF.  Some of these guys are mad
enough to completely destroy the GPA.  Just watch the next few days, Zanu PF
negotiators will harden their stance in the next round of negotiations,” one
of the sources who claimed to be neutral in the succession war said.

The two main factions in the party have been linked to Vice-president Joice
Mujuru and her husband, retired general Solomon Mujuru on the one hand, with
the other allegedly led by defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The two camps, while not officially owned by the alleged puppet masters,
have been at each other’s throat for more than a decade - and culminated in
the infamous Tsholotsho Declaration five years ago - which saw serial
political flip-flopper Jonathan becoming a major casualty of the infighting.

Another party source told the Daily News last night that while all the
players were agreed that it was time for President Robert Mugabe to go,
there was no agreement or consensus on who should take over from him.

“He (Mugabe) is too old and his health is not at its best and cannot be
presented as a candidate to the electorate and would lose dismally to Morgan
Tsvangirai in the next election.

Added to that, his sanctions mantra is no longer useful and people are no
longer interested in the issue.

“The indigenisation propaganda has also failed to get the president
meaningful support from the grassroots as it only benefits top government
officials as has happened with the land reform programme.

“This is what has brought matters to a head now and it is survival of the
fittest in the party. The biggest tragedy for the party is that even as
every one realises it is time for the old man to go, there is simply no-one
within the ranks of the party who has the stature and following to succeed
him without creating more chaos,” he said.

Both sources said Mugabe was aware of the challenges he faced from the two
main factions in the party - although no-one had been brave enough thus far
to broach the subject with him - given what happened to former attorney
general Sobuza Gula-Ndebele four years ago when he tried to advise Mugabe to
“rest” and was promptly dismissed from his post.

The Sunday Times of South Africa reported at the weekend that the battle to
succeed Mugabe had intensified as it had become clearer that the
octogenarian leader would not have the energy to run for another term in
next year’s elections.

So desperate is one of the factions that it is believed that it has
allegedly sought to form an alliance with MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai,
to ensure that they remain in power in case something happens to Mugabe.

However, the MDC has said it would never agree to such an alliance.

“Gloves are off and the Zanu PF camps are now openly holding meetings in
different provinces during weekends with the Mnangangwa camp mostly meeting
in Kwekwe and the Mujurus in Harare and the surrounding areas. Ultimately,
intra-Zanu PF violence is inevitable,” one of the highly-placed Zanu PF
sources said.

While the Mujurus and Mnangagwa were not available for comment on the matter
last night, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, dismissed the allegations.

“I do not know anything about it, I think it is just propaganda.

“We do not expect people from Zanu PF to enlist help from the MDC,” Gumbo
said.


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Smuggling robs fiscus of $1billion annually – Chimanikire

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Lovejoy Sakala
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 06:48

HAPPY VALLEY - Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire  has expressed grave concern
over the level of smuggling of precious minerals such as diamonds at the
country`s borders, saying government should improve security techniques to
curb such activities.
Chimanikire told journalists when he toured Happy Valley and Old Nick mines
outside Bulawayo that the borders were porous and this was costing the
country close to a billion dollars a year. “Government is losing close to a
billion to smuggling of minerals at our borders. We have discovered that
there is a lot of illegal exportation of minerals such as diamonds, gold and
chrome. There is need to beef up security and inspection at our borders to
address the problem of smuggling,” said Chimanikire.
The minister also said government was working towards assisting small scale
miners through procurement of  mining equipment from China, adding that
miners should organise themselves into groups and associations for easy
disbursement and sharing of the equipment, which is expected to be delivered
in few weeks.
“We are aware of the challenges being faced by small scale miners and we
have put in place a framework to assist them through procuring of equipment
from China,” said Chimanikire.
Small scale miners welcomed the government initiative to empower them
through procuring equipment from China.


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CIO must answer to Parly - Biti

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Chief Reporter
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 14:25

BULAWAYO - MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti  has called for legislation
to regulate the operations of the Central Intelligence Organisation.
The CIO, housed in the President's Office, operates without accountability
to anyone other than to President Robert Mugabe. Its expenditure is not
subject to scrutiny by the comptroller or the auditor general and its budget
is a murky affair.
Biti said the MDC would soon table legislation that will make the
organisation accountable to the public because it was chewing public money.
Biti said the CIO had committed acts of despicable atrocities and must be
held to account.
“The CIO must be regulated by an Act of Parliament which will ensure that
its operatives do not act unlawfully and remain scot-free," Biti told the
MDC congress in Bulawayo. "We want the victims of the CIO’s brutal acts to
be able to take them to court to answer for their heinous acts. It is sad
that Zanu (PF) is refusing to implement the issue.”
Biti said CIO operatives had been assigned to a myriad of commissions formed
under the GNU and to government departments, where they have spied on honest
hard-working people.
The spy agency was also complicit in electoral fraud and the ZEC was stuffed
with CIO members. "That must stop now," he said, adding that the new
electoral commission must be rid of all CIO operatives.

Biti said the roadmap to a fresh vote must ensure that all CIO operatives
are weeded out of the ZEC, saying they were the main culprits in terms of
electoral fraud.

“Revelations from the members of the public are that the CIOs are the most
reviled arm of the security sector because their operations are clandestine
and they are believed to have secretly unleashed terror campaigns on
numerous political opponents of Zanu (PF) during election periods,” said
Biti.

The MDC secretary-general, who is also one of six negotiators who drafted
the global political agreement, said despite resistance, there was need to
push for security sector reforms to ensure a smooth transition of power.


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Zesa loses $5 million to vandals

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Lovejoy Sakala
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 06:44

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company
(ZETDC) says it has lost equipment worth about $5 million between January
2010 and February 2011.
Zesa spokeperson, Sherperd Mandizvidza said vandalism has impacted heavily
of the power utility to expand its network.
He said ZETDC lost copper conductors worth $3, 9 million, while the theft of
transformer oil and general damage to transformers was in the magnitude of
$356 000.
Mandizvidza added that vandalism of electricity pylons cost the company $400
000.
“We cannot expand the network because we are concentrating on replacements.
This has slowed down our efforts to put new connections on the national
grid. Consumers are also being affected as some power cuts are a result of
vandalism,” he said.
Zesa transmission equipment is targeted by criminals because it fetches high
prices in neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Mozambique and
Botswana.


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300 foreign firms expected at ZITF

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

By Pindai Dube and Oscar Nkala
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 17:36

BULAWAYO - About 300 foreign companies will participate in this year’s
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), the biggest turn out ever since
the year 2000, general manager Daniel Chigaru has said.

The annual showcase, which kicked off in Bulawayo yesterday, was expecting
more to come during the course of the exhibition.

“We have more than 800 exhibitors this year and 300 of these are foreign
companies mostly from Germany, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Italy, South Africa,
Netherlands, Britain and France,” Chigaru said, adding they were also going
to hold a key and interactive conference today, which was aimed at
bolstering its “optimising business synergies” theme.

Chigaru said the multi-sectoral meeting would be attended by business
executives from across the world.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and vice president Joice Mujuru also
expected to address the gathering on various topics.

In the past decade, western companies — from mainly Britain and the United
States — have snubbed the trade gathering in protest to President Robert
Mugabe’s alleged human rights violations.

A survey by the Daily News also revealed that there were first time
exhibitors and returnees in 10 years, and some exhibitors said they were
expecting better business this year.

This year, ZITF also managed to attract quite a number of exhibitors from
various sectors of the economy, including banking, engineering,
manufacturing and mining.

Organisers said nearly all the available exhibition space has been taken up.
The five-day gathering also comes at a time Zimbabwe’s economy was showing
signs of recovery, with relative growth in industrial activity and capacity
utilisation expected this year.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last week the country’s manufacturing
sector was expected to grow 5,7 percent this year, while capacity
utilisation would grow 50 percent at the back of financing facilities from
Botswana and other multilateral lenders.

Jean Louis Ekra, president of the African Import and Export Bank
(Afreximbank) and whose institution also provided credit facilities to local
industries, will officially open the ZITF.

Exhibitors yesterday praised the fair’s organisers and management for
“inviting an industrialist as opposed to the traditional heads of state”.

Meanwhile, Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube said Zimbabwean
industries should seize opportunities presented by such fairs as ZITF to
“trade themselves out of the liquidity crisis” which is hobbling their
operations.

Ncube said it was encouraging to note that there has been an increase in the
number of local companies participating in this year’s trade fair, despite
the difficulties companies are still facing.

“When the inclusive government started, the trade fair was all but dead. We
actually had to postpone it in 2009 to a latter date precisely because of
the inability of local industry to participate meaningfully,” he said.

“We still have serious difficulties, but industry should recognise that one
of the ways of trading themselves out of the current problems is to be able
to participate at the fair so that they can advertise themselves,” Ncube
added.

The industry minister also said such exhibitions as ZITF not only offered
companies an opportunity to network and widen their potential markets, but a
platform for getting potential equity partners as well from within the
country, southern Africa and beyond.

“I am happy to say that this year’s event will be much better than last year’s
because there is an increase in the number of local companies taking part. I
do not have the figures off-hand, but l can confirm that there will be 10
more local companies participating this year compared to the last year,” the
industry minister said.

However, the minister said most local factories were still in the doldrums
with capacity utilisation varying from 95 percent in the beverages sector to
as low as 30 percent in other manufacturing entities.

Ncube added that the principal issues or problem confronting Zimbabwean
industry was access to cheaper, affordable and long-term lines of credit.

“That remains the single, most retrogressive challenge that we face as a
country. Government has tried its best in mobilising external lines of
credit to support industrial revival. That is why there will be no head of
state to officially open this year’s showcase,” he added.

“Instead, we have invited the president of the Afreximbank… so that he can
appreciate first-hand what local industry is doing under these difficult
circumstances and perhaps identify areas where the bank can assist by way of
the lines of credit local industry is clamouring for,” he said.

However, the showcase will run without the prestigious cattle exhibition,
which has been cancelled due to an outbreak of the foot and mouth disease in
Matabeleland South as well as anthrax alert across Matabeleland North
Province.
Only cattle from a few selected spots such as the Matopo research station
and Khami will be on show.


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Zanu (PF) Takes Jingles And Anti-Sanctions Petition To Trade Fair

http://www.radiovop.com/

04/05/2011 17:41:00

Bulawayo, May 04, 2011 - The Ministry of Information has been recruited to
solicit signatures for Zanu (PF)'s anti-sanctions petition at the country's
trade show case, the International Trade Fair.

A Radio VOP reporter covering the fair witnessed Information ministry
officials begging both foreign and local exhibitors to sign the petition
launched by President Robert Mugabe a few months ago.

Meanwhile a poster written: “VaMugabe chete chete-Hakuna umwe achatonga
Zimbabwe” (Only Mugabe shall rule Zimbabwe) attracted the ire of most
exhibitors.
The ministry's stand also incessantly played Zanu (PF) jingles throughout
the day, resulting in complaints by exhibitors.

“I have come here to do serious business but I am now greeted by these
jingles which we are also being fed to us daily by our national radio and
television stations. I think the organisers of the event should do something
about this in future. If you visit the Ministry of Information, you would
think Zanu (PF) is the only party in government,” said an exhibitor whose
stand is located near the ministry’s stand.

Eric Neshamba, a Mutare exhibitor added: “The ministry of Information and
Publicity has lost relevance. The ministry has lost a very good opportunity
to market the country. This year’s event is unique from previous trade
fairs. A lot of companies have supported this year’s event because of the
inclusive government.”

ZITF had over the last decade lost its prestige because of the political and
economic problems that the country was facing. In the past Mugabe used the
fair to attack his political opponents and the West.

This year’s event being held under the theme “optimising business synergies
now and beyond” will for the first time be officially opened by someone who
is not a head of state or government. It will be opened on Friday by Louis
Ekra, the President of the African Import and Export Bank.


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Business Conference on Fringes of Zimbabwe Trade Fair Aims to Spark Growth

http://www.voanews.com

Organizer Trust Chikohora, president of the National Economic Consultative
Forum, said the business conference meeting at the International Trade Fair
grounds is crucial to drawing new investment to fuel growth

Gibbs Dube | Washington  03 May 2011

Business people were arriving in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on Tuesday, for an
international investment conference organized on the sidelines of the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which could prove to be a useful barometer
of the business climate.

Trust Chikohora, president of the National Economic Consultative Forum,
organizer of the conference along with Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce, said the meeting at the trade fair grounds is crucial to drawing
new investment to fuel growth.

Chikohora said it is hoped that the summit will focus the attention of
international players on business opportunities in the country, “creating
linkages between local and international business people and in the long run
they benefit Zimbabwe."

Economist Eric Bloch said that while the number of deals struck at the
conference may not be large, such meetings can help revive the struggling
Zimbabwean economy.

The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair itself opened with more than 560 local
and 136 foreign exhibitors. They were drawn from more than 10 Southern
African Development Community nations, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Indonesia and
Pakistan.

ZITF General Manager Daniel Chigaru said the annual event, which often
features President Robert Mugabe or a top political figure will this year be
officially opened on Friday by African Export and Import Bank President Jean
Louis Ekra.


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Zim consul sets up makeshift base in Cape Town

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by Chris Ncube
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 07:16

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabweans in Cape Town and surrounding areas this week
received a major boost when the Zimbabwean Consulate set up a makeshift base
in the resort city where they can now collect their passports.

“Zimbabwe passport applicants based in Cape Town areas are advised not to
travel to Johannesburg to collect their passports. Consulate officials are
now distributing passports in Boston Centre, Bellview between 28 and 30
April 2011,” the Consulate said.

Before the setting up of the makeshift centre in Cape Town, hundreds of
Zimbabweans based in Cape Town and surrounding areas faced a frustrating
period travelling to Johannesburg and Pretoria to collect their travel
documents.

The Consulate in Cape Town was closed a couple of years ago under unclear
circumsttnces leaving the Consulates in Johannesburg and the capital
Pretoria to serve the millions of Zimbabweans estimated to be living in
South Africa.

Its reopening is a major boost for Zimbabweans ahead of the resumption of
deportations of undocumented Zimbabweans in the neighbouring country.

Last September, the South African cabinet lifted a Special Dispensation to
Zimbabweans, paving way for the deportation of such undocumented nationals.

The move resulted in a rush by Zimbabweans here to apply for passports at
the consulates. Officials in SA said the project to document Zimbabweans was
on track and it would resume deportations  in August.


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‘Bribes for passports’, say Zimbabwe officials

http://www.thenewage.co.za

May 4 2011 10:17AM

Rusana Philander

A group of desperate Zimbabweans who went to collect their passports
yesterday claim that they did not receive their documents because they
refused to pay bribes to Zimbabwean officials at their Bellville office.

The Zimbabweans have been queuing there since last Thursday to collect their
passports. This comes after the Zimbabwean Consulate informed people that
they could collect their passports at the Bellville office. About 8000
passports were to be issued.

According to Lucky Katenhe, from People Against Suffering Oppression and
Poverty (Pasop), the people urgently needed their passports.

“Their work permits need to be put into the passports, which prove that they
are legally in the country. And this is why the matter is so urgent.

One of the women who had been outside the offices since 7am yesterday
morning and who did not want to reveal her name, said, “Today is the third
day that we are here to collect our passports.

“On Friday the Zimbabwean officials asked some of the people to pay them
bribes before they gave them their passports.

“People had to pay up to R200. This, after we already paid R750 to the
consulate when we applied last year. Last month we received text messages
from them telling us to collect our passports.”

Another man, who also preferred to remain anonymous, said that when he came
to the office for the first time on Thursday, things were very disorganised.
There were only six people here to help more than a 1000 people. When we
came here the next day the same thing happened and we had to wait in the
rain. And return home without our passports.

“Other people came from as far away as Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth and
were not helped.”  When The New Age visited the office yesterday a caretaker
said that the “people had to go to Johannesburg” to collect their passports.

After numerous attempts yesterday the staff of the Zimbabwean Consulate in
Johannesburg could not be reached for comment.

Rusana Philander

A group of desperate Zimbabweans who went to collect their passports
yesterday claim that they did not receive their documents because they
refused to pay bribes to Zimbabwean officials at their Bellville office.

The Zimbabweans have been queuing there since last Thursday to collect their
passports. This comes after the Zimbabwean Consulate informed people that
they could collect their passports at the Bellville office. About 8000
passports were to be issued.

According to Lucky Katenhe, from People Against Suffering Oppression and
Poverty (Pasop), the people urgently needed their passports.

“Their work permits need to be put into the passports, which prove that they
are legally in the country. And this is why the matter is so urgent.

One of the women who had been outside the offices since 7am yesterday
morning and who did not want to reveal her name, said, “Today is the third
day that we are here to collect our passports.

“On Friday the Zimbabwean officials asked some of the people to pay them
bribes before they gave them their passports.

“People had to pay up to R200. This, after we already paid R750 to the
consulate when we applied last year. Last month we received text messages
from them telling us to collect our passports.”

Another man, who also preferred to remain anonymous, said that when he came
to the office for the first time on Thursday, things were very disorganised.
There were only six people here to help more than a 1000 people. When we
came here the next day the same thing happened and we had to wait in the
rain. And return home without our passports.

“Other people came from as far away as Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth and
were not helped.”  When The New Age visited the office yesterday a caretaker
said that the “people had to go to Johannesburg” to collect their passports.

After numerous attempts yesterday the staff of the Zimbabwean Consulate in
Johannesburg could not be reached for comment.


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Sadc takes over sanctions issue

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Tonderai Kwenda, Chief Writer
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 15:21

HARARE - SADC has taken the responsibility of seeking the removal of
targeted measures, taking away Zanu PF’s biggest scapegoat in their
desperate attempts to avoid full implementation of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA).

The move by Sadc leaves President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party with
very little room to manoeuvre in its well known plan to dodge the full
implementation of the GPA while hiding behind the targeted measures issue.

Full implementation of the pact has devastating effects for a party which
has over the years used unfriendly means to win elections and maintain its
grip on the affairs of the country.

Mugabe has in the past, vowed that he will not move an inch in implementing
the GPA until targeted measures imposed on him and cronies in his inner
circle are removed.

However, the latest plan by Sadc put paid to Zanu PF’s favourite past time.
Zanu PF is currently forcing villagers, schoolchildren and gullible
apostolic sects to sign a mundane anti-sanctions petition that seeks to
position the party as a victim of the self-induced measures.

A Sadc delegation made up of members of the South African facilitation team,
representatives of the current Sadc Troika and Sadc chairpersons, this week
travelled to western capitals to seek the removal of the measures. They have
so far been to Washington, London and Brussels.

A member of the South African facilitation team travelling with the Sadc
team told the Daily News, the region is trying to negotiate the removal of
the targeted measures.

“We are carrying a message that a decision was taken at the Sadc Summit and
African Union level that sanctions must be lifted,” said Lindiwe Zulu, South
African President Jacob Zuma’s International Affairs Advisor.

“It’s a decision that was taken by the three political parties and we are
mandated by our principals to go and explain the situation and encourage the
countries to remove the sanctions.”

The United States, European Union (EU) and other western countries such as
Canada and Australia imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his cronies in response
to the increase in human rights abuses and assault on democracy in Zimbabwe.

The sanctions include a travel ban to these countries, freezing of personal
accounts and property.

However, Sadc leaders, particularly Zuma, believe the travel restrictions
are serving no purpose apart from conveniently being used as a scapegoat to
avoid GPA implementation by Zanu PF.

The Sadc delegation has so far met with Ambassador Johnnie Carson,
responsible for African Affairs, White House officials, officials from the
Treasury and State Departments.

In London, they met the director general of the UK Foreign Affairs Ministry
who represented the UK Foreign Affairs Secretary William Hague and officials
from 10 Downing Street.

In Brussels, they met with EU commissioners from various countries.

The group was expected to return home yesterday, upon which, they would
brief the Sadc leaders who will take a decision on the outcome of the
diplomatic junket’s ahead of a special regional summit on Zimbabwe in
Windhoek, Namibia later this month.

The latest move by regional leaders further compounds Zanu PF’s woes which
started at the Sadc organ troika on politics, defence and security meeting
held in Livingstone, Zambia last month.

The move has taken away the burden of calling for the removal of the
measures off MDC which has repeatedly been accused by Zanu PF of being
responsible for their imposition.

“The sanctions became a Sadc issue when the summit in Zambia took the
decision to ask for their removal. The political parties have to help our
efforts by making progress in implementation on the ground,” said Zulu.

Asked if the meetings have so far produced any positives, Zulu said, “there
has been some mixed feelings, but they have expressed that they are flexible
on the issue”.

“The issue is that we are saying they are sanctions and they are of the view
that they are targeted measures,” said Zulu.

Meanwhile the facilitation team will later this week meet with Zimbabwe
political party negotiators in Cape Town to iron out differences on the
election roadmap.
The Zuma facilitation team is eager to wrap up the roadmap ahead of the
special summit on Zimbabwe.


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Dabengwa Disowns Matabeleland Separatists

http://www.radiovop.com

04/05/2011 13:02:00

Bulawayo, May 04, 2011 - Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa has disowned
politicians calling for the secession of Matabeleland from the rest of
Zimbabwe.

Paul Siwela and John Gazi, two leaders of the Matabeleland Liberation Front
(MLF) are in trouble with the government and are presently facing treason
charges for allegedly seeking the creation of a Matabeleland state.

But in a statement to the media on Wednesday, Dabengwa said ZAPU had no
intention of reducing itself to a tribal or separatist movement.

“We went to war to liberate all of Zimbabwe, which we achieved in 1980
together with the people of Zimbabwe and the splinter liberation movement,
ZANU. ZAPU remains a nationalist movement in every respect. The people of
Zimbabwe understand what ZAPU stood and stands for, as evidenced by the
positive response from all corners of the country towards the successful
revival of our party,” said Dabengwa.

“ZAPU liberated and wants to rule all of Zimbabwe, and not part of it. Our
party is different from the rest in that it has a new, fair and democratic
governance system called devolution of power. We envisage creating five
provinces or regions, namely, Mashonaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Manicaland
and Matabeleland, to be lead by an elected provincial mini-government,” he
said.

Dabengwa said there would be provincial or regional houses of assembly with
relevant legislative powers, adding, however, that there would still be a
national house of assembly to legislate national laws.

“There will still be central government lead by a president, similar to what
happens in South Africa. Regional premiers and their governments will have
the mandate to initiate and implement development policies and programmes in
their areas and to run social services such as health and education.

Central government will remain in charge of national issues such as the
army, police, national security, monetary and fiscal policies, revenue
services, among other key matters of the state. Zimbabwe will still have one
national flag, one national anthem, one president, one currency, and no
borders between regions. There will be a fair and proportional distribution
of national income to all the five provinces, as opposed to the current
secretive and discriminative distribution of national wealth to favour one
region at the expense of four others,” he said.

The ZAPU leader said devolution brought development to the people and
removed all bottlenecks and red tape created by the current “Harare-based
centralist governance system”.

“Devolution empowers the people to be self-determining. Clearly, devolution
is not cessation and we do not understand why anyone would want to link our
party to the MLF or cession,” he said.

Dabengwa, together the late Thenjiwe Lesabe, the former ZANU-PF leader of
the Women League, quit ZANU-PF in 2007 to revive ZAPU, which forged a unity
accord with ZANU in 1987.

In the run-up to the controversial 2008 presidential elections, Dabengwa
supported the candidature of Simba Makoni, the former ZANU-PF politburo
member, who formed Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn.

Siwela, one of the leaders of MLF, is presently remanded at Khami Maximum
Prison while Gazi is out on US$5000 bail.


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Mnangagwa says no vote for Diaspora until sanctions lifted

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
04 May 2011

The Global Zimbabwe Forum (GZF) has hit out at remarks by Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who said that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora will not be
allowed to vote until targeted sanctions imposed by the West have been
removed.

Mnangwagwa, who is also the ZANU PF Secretary for Legal Affairs, said the
two MDC formations in the coalition government “want those in the Diaspora
to vote simply because they are able to go out there and address them. We
have been barred from visiting those countries and how do they expect us to
do the same.

“Sanctions must go first and if they don’t, I don’t think those in the
Diaspora can also vote until they return home. For the ground to be level,
we are saying the illegal sanctions must go,” Mnangagwa said.

However Daniel Molokele from GZF told SW Radio Africa ‘this is a very
embarrassing excuse because the issue of Diaspora participation has nothing
to do with sanctions at all. It is more about citizenship and nationality
and it should be discussed at a different level all together and I think it
belongs to the constitutional making process.”

Molokele said the majority of exiled Zimbabweans were living in Southern
African states like South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and
these countries did not have any targeted sanctions on members of the Mugabe
regime. He said the coalition government had so far ignored the reality that
the country could benefit economically from involving the diaspora.

Other commentators believe ZANU PF is fully aware that the Zimbabwean
Diaspora is made up of a mixture of economic and political refugees. Most of
these people left because they were disillusioned with the destructive
policies of the ZANU PF regime and are unlikely to vote for that same party.

A new constitution being drafted by the Constitutional Parliamentary
Committee (COPAC) is expected to determine whether the Diaspora will be
allowed to vote. Throughout the controversial process, ZANU PF has been
voicing its objection to exiles voting, while the two MDC formations have
supported the proposal.

Activists like Gabriel Shumba from the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum have in the
past said the Diaspora voting process does not have to be complicated or
expensive. “The government can simply use its embassies around the world as
poll centres and allow Zimbabweans with identification to vote,” he said.


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Malaria Outbreak Hits Beitbridge

http://www.radiovop.com

04/05/2011 18:21:00

Beit Bridge, May 04, 2011 - An outbreak of the deadly malaria disease has
been detected in the border town of Beitbridge.

This comes amid reports that almost a hundred Somalis are stranded in the
border town after being denied entry into South Africa to seek asylum. The
refugees were reportedly denied entry into South Africa after failing to
provide proper documentation.

Beitbridge District Environmental Health Officer, Notho Dube confirmed some
Somalis had been admitted to hospital suffering from malaria.

“Ten Somali refugees were admitted for malaria, while some of them have been
discharged, two remain in intensive care” ‘he said.

Dube urged government to intervene to avoid a health catastrophe at the
border town, one of the busiest borders in Africa.

“There is a possibility of a disease outbreak hence we urge Government to
join hands and come up with a solution as a matter of urgency, “he said.


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Villagers Demand Compensation For Being Moved From Diamond Fields

http://www.radiovop.com/

04/05/2011 13:00:00

Mutare, May 04, 2011 - The remaining 40 families in Chiadzwa diamond fields
are demanding US$50 000 per family as compensation before they are moved to
ARDA Transau in Odzi area.

Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) chairman Malvern Mudiwa said the
families had agreed not to be moved before receiving their compensation in
full. CCDT is a trust that was set up by the people of Chiadzwa to fight for
the rights of the people.

“We have been talking with the government and the companies that are mining
diamonds that families want to get their full compensation before leaving
the Chiadzwa area," said Mudiwa.

Mudiwa said the money will be used to buy shares in the companies that are
mining the precious gems so that the Chiadzwa community fully benefit.

“Our aim as a trust is to negotiate with the companies mining there to let
the villagers buy shares so that they also become part of it as well, we
have been negotiating to get claims but it looks like all the claims have
been finished,” said Mudiwa.

Mudiwa also said families in the area would also want the issue of graves of
their relatives to be addressed before they move.

“Where they are extracting diamonds graves are not going to be spared so
family members want this issue to be addressed before being relocated to
ARDA Transau,” said Mudiwa. “They want their relatives to be given a decent
re-burial,” he said.

Farai Maguwu director of Centre for Research and Development, CRD, an NGO
that looks into human rights abuses in Chiadzwa area said the US$50 000 per
house hold that is being demanded by the people of Chiadzwa is justified.

“It’s very much justified and it’s also in tandem with the UN habitat
minimum standards for relocation. First there must be prior concern for the
people to be moved, secondly there must be adequate preparation in the
relocation site before people are moved and thirdly there must be
compensation because normal life is disrupted when people are being moved
and cultural values are being violated,” said Maguwu.

Maguwu said the families that are being relocated need to have their people
reburied and it is this cultural dislocation that is caused by these
movements that companies that are mining in Chiadzwa need to compensate.

“There is also infrastructure that has been developed by these families over
the years and there is disruption to health, education, agriculture and many
other basic necessities of life that they are being deprived as the
government and companies are trying to make the new place habitable. Finally
it's not by choice that they are being moved from this area and this forced
movement is because companies want to make money from Chiadzwa and there is
nothing wrong with the families getting US$50 000 as compared to the
billions of dollars that the companies will be making,” said Maguwu.

About twenty families have been moved to from Chiadzwa to ARDA Transau and
they were paid about US$1 000 per household.

Five companies that are already mining in Chiadzwa are Marange Resources
formerly Canadile Miners, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin Zimbabwe, Sainol Zimbabwe
and Pure Diamonds.


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Members of Zimbabwe's MDC Contend for Top Party Posts

Peta Thornycroft | Bulawayo April 28, 2011
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister and opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai addresses delegates at the party's National Congress in Bulawayo, April 28, 2011 class=credit>Photo: Reuters

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister and opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai addresses delegates at the party's National Congress in Bulawayo, April 28, 2011

There is strong campaigning within Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the top 12 positions in the party.   Many analysts believe the MDC will win the next countrywide elections against President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.  

Around the football stadium in a poor part of Bulawayo, more than 5,000 MDC delegates began gathering for the congress.

Many groups were campaigning for candidates seeking one of the top 12 spots on the party's national standing committee, which runs the MDC on a day-to-day basis.

Groups of supporters for various candidates were singing catchy campaign songs on the outside of the stadium.  Other groups were handing out promotional material.

Only MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also prime minister in Zimbabwe's inclusive government, has been unanimously re-elected prior to the congress.

Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the MDC, and finance minister in the inclusive government, said it was remarkable that the party has survived since it was launched more than 11 years ago.

"To be alive in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe... Some of us have been tortured, some of us have been imprisoned, some of us have been exiled, we died 10 times over, to be here, in our third congress in spite [of] everything that has happened to us, I think is a miracle. So we deserve to celebrate," said Biti.

Biti has significant support to retain his post, but others, including well-known MDC provincial and national leaders are being challenged for the first time since the party's formation.

Biti said the stiff competition for top jobs is healthy, but he said it has also led to some regrettable intra-party violence.

"It is an extremely healthy party, the exuberant competition in all the provinces: that is democracy, but also there is a bad side that has come out of this - violence and other illegal practices. This is unacceptable.  Also sometimes the victim becomes the perpetrator.  We are in a very violent society because of ZANU-PF," added Biti.

In the 26-month-old inclusive government, Sekai Holland represents the MDC in a ministry created to promote national healing between victims and perpetrators of violence. 

She said the MDC will have to confront the pre-congress violence and ensure that it never happens again.

"I have told Tsvangirai urgently we have to put a program together inside the party where we do national healing internally, meeting this dimension we were never aware of," said Holland.

Holland is standing for election as deputy treasurer-general.  The present treasurer, Roy Bennett, who many say is the most persecuted member of the MDC, is living in exile in London, as he has been warned that if he returns to Zimbabwe he will be arrested.

He has made himself available, from exile, for re-election.

The congress is due to be officially opened  Friday  by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga.



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Resolutions Of The MDC 3rd National Congress Of Held At Barbourfields Stadium, Bulawayo Between The 28th To The 30th Of April 2011

CONGRESS met in Bulawayo and; 

NOTES, acknowledges, celebrates and hails the Party for surviving 11 years of tyranny, violence and repression by an unloving criminal predatory State and political party. 

EXPRESSES its indebtedness to the people of Zimbabwe for standing by it and its leadership and for remaining firm and resolute for fighting for democratic change in Zimbabwe. 

FURTHER hails and acknowledges the importance of broad and strategic alliance it has with the working people of Zimbabwe through organisations such as the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, National Constitutional Assembly, Crisis Coalition, Zimbabwe National Students Union, Media Institute of Sothern Africa, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Church, progressive businesses and many other organisations. 

RECOGNISING and acknowledging the roots of our Movement, our umbilical cord to the struggle for the national liberation in Zimbabwe and our mandate of fulfilling the ideals of the liberation struggle. 

CELEBRATING the lives of the millions of Zimbabweans that have been butchered, tortured traumatised and victimised at the hands of the regime and remembering the lives of our own martyrs and heroes including Isaac Matongo, Gift Tandare, Gertrude Mthombeni, Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika, Nomore Sibanda, Trymore Midzi, Joshua Bakacheza, Tonderai Ndira, Learnmore Jongwe, Machiridza, Remius Makuvaza, Susan Tsvangirai, Nicholas Mudzengerere, Shepherd Jani and many others whose blood and bravery continues to water the tree of our struggle. 

COGNISANT of the strategic importance of entering into dialogue with the regime but fully aware of the limitations of the GPA and the Inclusive Government. 

MINDFUL of the obligation to completing the struggle for democratic change in Zimbabwe and that of establishing a New Zimbabwe. 

FULLY aware the obligation on an MDC government of constructing a New Zimbabwe based on a common vision founded on key foundational canons. 

RECOGNISING the role of our African brothers and sisters and the rest of the international community in solidarity with our cause and for standing with us through all these years. 

NOW we as Congress;

  1. Recommit ourselves to the continued obligation and vision of completing the struggle for democratic change in Zimbabwe through peaceful, Constitutional and non-violent means.

 

  1. Recommit ourselves to the key values of the Party which include democracy, transparency, equality, freedom, justice, humble and obedient leadership, nonviolence and love for our people.

 

  1. Restate our commitment to the drafting by Zimbabweans and for Zimbabweans of a new people-driven Constitution and while supporting the constitution-making process envisaged in the GPA, recognise the right of Zimbabweans at any stage in the future of exercising the right to make a Constitution by themselves and for themselves.

 

  1. Acknowledge the strategic importance of the GPA and the transitional government and calls for the holding of a credible, legitimate and free election only in terms of a Roadmap guaranteed by SADC and the African Union.

 

  1. Abhor the use of violence, in particular Zanu PF and State sponsored violence in Zimbabwe and anywhere else as a means and tool of achieving political aims and restate the commitment that the MDC will never use violence as a means of political arbitration.

 

  1. Aware of the trauma caused by violence and other illegal actions by the State, call for the completion of a restorative and rehabilitative programme of National Healing and more importantly the implementation of a matrix of transitional justice in Zimbabwe.

 

  1. Acknowledge the critical role of State institutions and security organs in preserving the integrity of the national State but express deep disappointment with the partiality of some State institutions, in particular a minority section of the Securocrats, thus restate that State institutions do not belong to any political party, they must remain neutral and must serve the Constitution and the people of Zimbabwe.

 

  1. Acknowledge the importance of united or popular alliances and recommit the unequivocal commitment of the Movement of working together with civic society in particular the Unions, the Constitutional organisations, the Church and all other democratic and like-minded organisations in the task of dislodging dictatorship in Zimbabwe.

 

  1. Recommit ourselves to the struggles and suffering of the working people of Zimbabwe, in particular, the pursuit of pro-poor economic policies, a decent living wage and guarantee the rights of the worker including the right to strike.

 

  1. Restate our commitment to gender equality and the upliftment of women and endeavouring to ensure that women hold 50 percent of all elected positions in within and outside the Party.


 

  1. Equally, restate the unquestionable commitment and solidarity with regional and international organisations including other likeminded political parties.

 

  1. Fully aware of our role in Government and the disruptive actions, omissions and commissions in Government and trusting that the Party will receive the full mandate of the people in the next election, we undertake as a Government, to pursue the implementation of a New Zimbabwe blueprint that will;

 

 

Congress acknowledges the people of Zimbabwe and more importantly God the almighty for guiding and protecting us at all material times.

GOD BLESS OUR PARTY; GOD BLESS ZIMBABWE

 



--
MDC Information & Publicity Department


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U.S., media partners pay tribute to newspaper vendors

vendor1.JPGHarare, May 3 2011: The United States Embassy and local media partners on Tuesday hailed the contribution of newspaper vendors to press freedom, noting that they are on the sometimes dangerous frontlines of promoting press freedom by making information available to citizens. Various speakers, including Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, noted the many instances in recent years of vendors being targets of political violence or demonstrations, with some having their products taken from them or destroyed while others are chased or attacked for selling media products.

 

“While I face strong and sometimes brutal verbal attacks in my line of work, I have not gone through that,” said Charles Ray, U.S. Ambassador.  “This is our chance to say ‘Thank You’ to you hard-working and brave people.  You are an integral part of information freedom because you facilitate our access to the printed media,” stated Ray speaking at the vendor recognition ceremony hosted jointly by his Embassy, Munn Marketing Private Limited and the Media Centre to mark World Press Freedom Day (May 3).  Nearly 150 newspaper vendors gathered at the Embassy’s Eastgate auditorium for the event.

 

“If it was not for all the things that you did, the Daily News would not have taken off in the manner it did from 1999-2003,” said Masunda, mayor of Harare and former chairman of  Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe. Masunda noted that the editorial team at the time attributed much of the success of the Daily News to suggestions for news and information content made by vendors.  The mayor invited the vendors for tea at Town House to discuss how city authorities could make the vendors’ work more safer as well as collaborate to keep the city clean.

 

“Quite often when we write about the lack of media freedom, we ignore these people, but they really are critical, and like journalists, they also pay income tax,” said Raphael Khumalo, chief executive officer of Alpha Media Holdings Private Limited, parent company of Munn Marketing Private Limited. Khumalo noted that the number of individual subscriptions is very low; most Zimbabweans buy newspapers from vendors on a cash basis. Khumalo said the vendors under the Munn Marketing stable sell various titles under the Alpha Media Holdings and the Financial Gazette in addition to regional publications.

 

Earnest Mudzengi challenged publishers to empower vendors and encourage them to use social media which is now available via mobile phones. “Vendors should be part of the new media to facilitate the practice of citizen journalism,” said Mudzengi.

 

Three vendors - Feres Gogo (Central Harare), Noah Mukandiona (Mbare Bus Terminus) and Norman Chibanda (Chitungwiza) – received prizes for having sold the highest number of copies in the month of March.  The vendors received World Press Freedom Day t-shirts especially designed for the day by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section.

 

The United Nations Education, Scientific, & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organizes World Press Freedom Day commemorations every year around the world to focus on some of the most important questions about free media.  The Day is also meant to support those people who are on the front lines working to advance free expression, including newspaper and magazine vendors. - ZimPASİ May 2011.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sharon Hudson-Dean

Public Affairs Officer

US Embassy – Public Affairs Section
Harare, Zimbabwe
Eastgate Mall, 7th Floor, Goldbridge
HudsonDeanS@state.gov

 

Cell: 263-772-559-784
Tel: 263-4-758800/1
Fax: 263-4-758802
       


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Zimbabwe's forgotten children

A BBC production which has been put on Youtube in several parts.

Shot entirely undercover over the course of nine months, a beautiful and
moving documentary which tells the stories of three children growing up in
today's Zimbabwe.

See Part One here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDezIzugLXU

And follow the links to other episodes.

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