TUESDAY, 13 NOVEMBER 2012 12:30
GOVERNMENT is planning to build a new capital city in Mt Hampden, which
falls under Zvimba Rural District Council, President Robert Mugabe’s home
The new city is designed in the mould of the wealthy Sandton area of
Johannesburg, South Africa.
The project is already underway at the site, some 40km west of Harare, along
Old Mazowe Road, where construction of a new Parliament building to
accommodate the country’s 210 MPs and 80 Senators has already started.
This is expected to be followed by the establishment of an affluent
residential area, state-of-the-art shopping centres, hotels and government
The capital will also be home to critical government buildings such as State
House, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Supreme and High Courts and several
government departments. It will be the seat of government.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo yesterdayconfirmed the development
which he said would give birth to a new modernised city at the scenic Mt
According to Chombo, the site was where colonialists originally wanted to
set up Harare before two emissaries sent to raise the British flag at the
mountain lost their way and raised it at the Kopje (Afrikaans for an
isolated hill), resulting in the construction of present-day Harare in the
“The satellite city will be properly planned with residential houses,
state-of-the-art shops, hotels and offices,” Chombo said.
“This will ease congestion in Harare, which has become heavily populated to
the extent that facilities such as water supply are under pressure.”
Chombo did not disclose the source of the funds or when most of the work on
the project would commence, but said his ministry already had the city’s
“The site has already been identified and it is now up to the responsible
ministries to start construction of the Parliament Building. Mt Hampden is a
scenic place, that would give Parliament a nice home and, better still, Mt
Hampden is not far from Harare,” Chombo said.
The minister said he would make sure that the new capital would have
adequate supplies of water and services befitting a modern city.
“Government will make sure that the city has multiple supplies of water by
setting up three to four water treatment plants near the city, unlike the
current situation in Harare where treated water is pumped about 40km from
the city,” he said.
Chombo said the water system for Harare would fail gradually if efforts to
ease pressure from the overpopulated city were not done now - Newsday.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
13 November, 2012
Plans to build a new capital for Zimbabwe are reported to be already
underway, with officials confirming the new capital city will be located in
Mt Hampden, which is in Robert Mugabe’s rural home of Zvimba District.
Construction of a new parliament building has begun at the site, 40
kilometres west of Harare. Shopping malls, hotels and a posh residential
area are said to be on the cards as well.
The independent Newsday newspaper said the development was confirmed on
Monday by the Minister for Local Government, Ignatius Chombo, who said the
site had been identified and the project was a going ahead.
Chombo said the new capital will also house other important government
buildings, including the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Supreme and High
Courts, State House and several government ministries. This would
essentially move the centre of government from Harare to Zvimba.
Political analyst Professor John Makumbe dismissed the project as
“ridiculous”, saying Mugabe is trying to crown his legacy by moving the
entire the capital city to his backyard. “These are dreams of old, wild
men,” Makumbe said.
Asked how such a huge project is being funded, Makumbe said: “We know that
the Chinese are in charge of it. They built the National Military Academy in
record time and are building the Gweru Conference Centre, which must be
finished before the 4th December. For both projects they are getting
diamonds,” Makumbe explained.
But the analyst, who plans to run for political office under the MDC-T,
warned that these projects are only being pursued because ZANU PF is in
power. Makumbe said should the MDC-T take over, they will put an end to what
he called “silly ventures that amount to diamond looting by the Chinese”.
According to Newsday newspaper, Chombo explained that the early colonialists
meant to put the capital at Mt Hampden. But the emissaries sent to raise the
British flag there got lost and raised it at the Kopje instead, establishing
the present-day Harare in the 1890s.
It’s interesting to see ZANU PF agreeing with the colonialists for once.
13th November 2012
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki was the keynote speaker on Monday
at the opening day of Zimbabwe’s diamond conference at Victoria Falls.
He was invited by Mines Minister Obert Mpofu in yet another ZANU PF attempt
to give legitimacy to the diamond process in the country.
It was of course Thabo Mbeki who was the chief negotiator between the MDC
and ZANU PF after the violent 2008 elections, which ZANU PF had lost. It was
Mbeki who persuade the MDC to ‘share’ power, which at the time was described
by Morgan Tsvangirai as: “That is not power sharing, it is power grabbing.”
There were many critics who said Mbeki was not helping to create a
government of national unity, but was in fact helping ZANU PF to hold on to
power and, in his speech at the diamond conference, Mbeki came out very
clearly on the side of ZANU PF.
He spent the first half of his speech making excuses for ZANU PF’s
disastrous land reform program and blaming the west for the problems it
He said he had come to Zimbabwe in 2000 as part of a SADC delegation, to
discuss the occupation of white owned farms by war vets. He said they failed
to get the war vets to withdraw from the farms, but that was the fault of
Mbeki added: ‘We did not get the funding commitments to the programmes that
were agreed at the 1998 International Conference on the Zimbabwe Land
Question. We failed to convince the world powers to honour the solemn
commitments they had made, including their funding of the Zimbabwe land
reform, and therefore the related creation of the conditions to end the
occupation of the white-owned farms.”
He went on to say that the West had promised to compensate white farmers for
the land they would lose.
But, this is not true.
At the 1998 land conference Western nations assured Zimbabwe that they would
in fact help fund land reform, if the rule of law was followed and it was
based on a willing seller, willing buyer.
These terms were rejected by ZANU PF.
In his speech Mbeki finally got around to the diamond question and suggested
that the Kimberley Process (which is an attempt to stamp out conflict
was being hijacked by those who wanted to undermine Zimbabwe’s diamond
industry and enforce regime change.
As Thabo Mbeki was standing on a platform defending ZANU PF for its land
reform and its diamond industry, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) released a
comprehensive report that showed that at least $2 Billion had been plundered
in the past few years, from the Marange diamond fields.
Alan Martin of PAC said they were always criticized for pointing out
‘inconvenient truths.’ He added that the KP is a regulatory system for
diamond trading companies and referring to Zimbabwe he said: “No other
country in the KP ever had the level of smuggling that you see in Marange
November 13 2012 at 01:02pm
By PIET RAMPEDI and SAPA-AP
Johannesburg - Former president Thabo Mbeki has urged members of the African
Diamond Producers Association not to allow Western powers to politicise and
abuse the Kimberley Process to overthrow Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s
This came as reports, quoting the international NGO Partnership Africa
Canada, that Mugabe and his Zanu-PF “cronies” had plundered the country’s
diamond discovery, costing Zimbabwe’s economy R16 billion.
The report condemns the Mugabe government’s control of the Marange diamond
field, which has made Zimbabwe a major player in the international diamond
“Marange’s potential has been overshadowed by violence, smuggling,
corruption and, most of all, lost opportunity,” the report said.
“The scale of illegality is mind-blowing” and has spread to “compromise most
of the diamond markets of the world”, said the report.
The report describes the $2 billion loss to the Zimbabwean treasury as a
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said in his 2012 budget he had been promised
$600 million in diamond revenue for the national treasury to help refinance
crumbling health care, education and other public services.
Biti said only one-fourth of that pledge had been received.
Addressing the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference gala dinner at Victoria Falls on
Monday night, Mbeki said the debate, started by various global role-players
and a significant section of the world media, had sought to present Zimbabwe
as a rogue state that deserved to be toppled.
“This narrative was advanced to place on the agenda the fundamental
proposition that because Zimbabwe was such a ‘rogue state’, it was perfectly
legitimate to use all means, including through decisions of the UN Security
Council, to overthrow the government of Zimbabwe, thus effecting regime
change in this country,” he said.
The Kimberley Process is a joint government, industry and civil society
initiative to stem the flow of so-called conflict diamonds - rough diamonds
used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments.
Mbeki said there had been an international debate that was “unjustifiably
hostile” to Zimbabwe in the short period the country had started mining and
exporting diamonds from its Marange fields.
The debate sought to use the Kimberley Process incorrectly to classify the
Zimbabwe diamonds as “blood diamonds”, which should not be traded
internationally, he said.
As was the case in 2000 when the southern African country started its
controversial land reform programme, Mbeki said, Zimbabwe had been subjected
to a “veritable and sustained political storm” over its diamonds.
He called on his audience to do everything in its power to “insulate” the
Kimberley Process from political abuse.
“I would appeal to you, as members of the Kimberley Process, not to allow
the important Kimberley Process, in whose success our continent is genuinely
interested, to be abused by anybody whatsoever for political purposes, among
others to achieve the objective of regime change in Zimbabwe,” Mbeki added.
However, he warned diamond producers and Africa in general against
supporting the production and sale of diamonds contrary to the spirit of the
Mbeki also implored the Zimbabwean government and political leaders to
ensure the country’s diamond mining industry was not “governed by a
predatory elite” that used access to power to enrich itself “in collusion
with mining companies” at the expense of the public.
His speech came as Partnership Africa Canada reported that the Marange
field – one of the world’s biggest diamond deposits – had been mined since
2006 and its vast earnings could have turned around Zimbabwe’s economy,
which has been battered by years of meltdown and political turmoil.
November 13 2012 at 11:14am
Former president Thabo Mbeki has warned Zimbabwe's “predatory elite” to stop
benefiting from the country's diamonds, Business Day reported on Tuesday.
“Diamond production must not be governed by a predatory elite which is in
collusion with mining companies for its own benefit,” said Mbeki.
“As elections loom in Zimbabwe next year, the country must prove that it is
not a rogue state.”
Mbeki was speaking at a Zimbabwe government conference on the diamond trade.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that at least US2 billion worth of
diamonds had been stolen from Zimbabwe's eastern diamond fields and enriched
President Robert Mugabe's ruling circle, gem dealers and criminals. - Sapa
Nov 13, 11:47 AM EST
By Gillian Gotora
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's diamond conference was rocked by
controversy Tuesday over the Kimberley Process, the world diamond trade
regulatory body, whose chairwoman was publicly asked to resign because she
Gillian Milovanovic, the American chairwoman of the Kimberley Process, came
under a barrage of criticism from African delegates at the Zimbabwe Diamond
Conference for allegedly not doing enough to persuade the U.S. government to
lift trade restrictions on Zimbabwe's state-owned diamond mining companies.
South Africa's Kimberley Process monitor Abbey Chikane accused Milovanovic
of having a conflict of interest because she is American. Chikane alleged
Milovanovic has failed to follow African delegates wishes to promote the
trade of diamonds dug up from Zimbabwe's notorious Marange field in Europe
and the United States.
The state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Company and Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe are on the U.S. sanctions list, because of evidence
of the Mugabe government's state violence and human rights violations.
"There is a danger of having a chairmanship that will fragment the
organization because you are conflicted ... you are then supposed to recuse
yourself," Chikane said to Milovanovic in front of the conference.
"When South Africa takes over the chair next year we will solve these
issues," said Chikane, who is chairman of the South African Diamond Board.
Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told Milovanovic that most traders and
investors at the conference, mostly of Indian and Arab origin, were "scared"
of her presence at the conference, which was sponsored by President Robert
"They are coming to me whispering, scared that they will be heard by the
Americans who will interfere with their accounts," Mpofu said. "But it will
not stop us from what we are doing," he said, referring to Zimbabwe's
diamond trade with India and Dubai, which has been criticized for alleged
corruption through price fixing.
Other delegates from Africa, India, Israel and Dubai told Milovanovic that
because of U.S sanctions against Zimbabwe, the Kimberley Process is
unwittingly promoting the illicit trade of Zimbabwe diamonds and creating
the same conflict diamonds it is trying to prevent from being traded.
Milovanovic told the delegates that she would not respond to their
"You are looking for something very dramatic from all this but you are not
going to get it," she said. "I'm not a dramatic person by nature."
Milovanovic said her position on the Kimberley Process had no power to
influence the U.S. imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The U.S Embassy said U.S. sanctions against Zimbabwe's state-owned mining
companies are separate from the Kimberley Process. Michael Gonzalez, the
political and economic officer at the embassy in Harare, said the American
sanctions against Zimbabwe's mining companies have nothing to do with the
Kimberley Process but are a bilateral issue. He said Washington has imposed
sanctions because of its concerns over state violence.
Zimbabwe's "attorney general and security chiefs must start honoring the
president's calls to end violence so the sanctions can be removed," said
Mugabe's government staged the conference in the resort city of Victoria
Falls to gain international credibility for Zimbabwe's huge production of
diamonds in the Marange fields in eastern Zimbabwe. But the Mugabe
government's efforts to win respectability have been overshadowed by
allegations that $2 billion of diamond proceeds have been stolen by Mugabe's
cronies. Zimbabwe government officials denied the charges of corruption in
the report by the Partnership Africa Canada, a group campaigning against
Since 2006, Zimbabwe has mined Marange - one of the world's largest diamond
deposits - producing rough stones worth an estimated $2 billion per year.
Yet the report charges that the funds have not reached the Zimbabwean
treasury to help the impoverished country. Instead the diamonds have
enriched Mugabe's close associates and an international ring of traders,
according to the report.
By Chris Goko, Executive Assistant Editor
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 10:03
Mines minister, Obert Mpofu
VICTORIA FALLS - Zimbabwe has lost nearly $30 million in diamond revenue and
dividends to seizures under a 2003 Western financial embargo on President
Robert Mugabe, and his inner circle, a top government official has said.
Although industry players said the confiscations did not necessarily mean
the country was losing parcels of its Marange gems, Mines minister Obert
Mpofu said the targeted measures — being implemented by America’s Office of
Foreign Assets Control — were not only hurting traders and mining companies,
but prices as well.
“We estimate that… about $30 million has been confiscated by the various
agencies that implement these sanctions,” he told the inaugural diamond
For a country hoping to supply 30 percent of global rough diamonds by volume
in 2015 and that has just attained Kimberly Process (KP) certification,
Mpofu said Harare felt disheartened by the continued existence of the smart
sanctions – just as it had to battle for KP recognition when it had removed
lawlessness at Chiadzwa.
In his headline speech, Mugabe also said Zimbabwe’s diamonds must be traded
or allowed similar market space as any product from across the world.
“The diamonds have been marketed at depressed prices owing to a negative
buyer perception resulting from these illegal sanctions,” he said.
To demonstrate its commitment to international best practice and that the
industry was key to its economic revival, the Zanu PF leader says the
country has adopted “concrete measures to promote accelerated diamond
exploration and transparency”.
“In view of the competitive nature and strict diamond trading… government
has committed itself to the observance of international standards attached
to diamond mining, storage and trading,” Mugabe said, adding the formulation
of the diamond policy and ensuing bill were further proof of these efforts.
In this regard, the deployment of specialised security units and the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority were further moves to prove this “seriousness
over good governance” in the trading of the country’s precious minerals.
Earlier, international diamond expert Chaim Even-Zohar had also told the
same summit that Zimbabwe’s diamonds were trading at a discount of up to 25
percent due to the western travel and asset ban on the Mugabe regime.
Although the country has attained KP certification, the handling of Marange
diamonds continues to be a source of rankle among civil sector players and
the west, but Mpofu and his allies, including Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation chairman Godwills Masimerembwa said they had no choice.
For a sector, which accounted for about 45 percent of total mining revenue
or earnings in the first nine months of 2012 and nearly 96 percent of the $2
billion exports achieved by the country since 2006, the Umguza legislator
says the figures could have been better.
With diamond deposits first discovered in Zimbabwe in 1903, the geological
hosts of the Marange-type of deposits is potentially greater and government
says there are also over 150 known kimberlites in existence – mostly in the
While Mpofu says Zimbabwe is in the top five producers of rough diamonds by
volume in the world, Mugabe and pro-government allies such as Zohar claim
the country could easily be in the top two.
On Monday, the two-day summit also heard that the country owed much of its
KP success to Namibia, which continued to provide technical and financial
assistance at Chiadzwa.
At the moment, Zimbabwe has four KP complaint diamond producing mines and
operations at various stages of development.
The meeting, which has drawn various international financiers, buyers and
other stakeholders, also saw India – a key buyer of Zimbabwean gems –
pledging its continued support for the Harare government.
President Robert Mugabe on Monday castigated western nations that he said
imposed sanctions on Harare and were using the so-called targeted measures
to stop Marange diamonds from being marketed competitively on the world
Addressing Zimbabwe’s inaugural diamond conference in Victoria Falls, Mr.
Mugabe said Harare was in compliance with all Kimberley Process (KP)
requirements in the extraction of the gems in Marange, adding that it is
unfair that the country’s diamonds are being classified as tainted.
He promised delegates and the international community that a diamond law was
in the offing as parliamentarians are set to discuss the proposed bill next
week in Kariba "to further assure the global diamond industry that the
government takes seriously good governance in the extraction and eventual
trading of diamonds."
Mr. Mugabe told the conference, also attended by Kimberley Process chair,
Ambassador Gillian Milavanovic of the United States, former South African
President Thabo Mbeki and other top diamond experts, Zimbabwe’s diamonds
should be allowed onto the international markets without conditions as
mining firms have met KP standards.
"Diamonds from Zimbabwe must ... be allowed market space in order to trade
competitively and fully benefit the nation," he said.
Mr. Mbeki told the conference that Africa should be allowed to benefit from
her natural resources, adding that the West is wrong in criticizing
President Mugabe’s land reform policies which saw white commercial farmers
being booted out of farms to pave the way for blacks.
Chaim Even-Zohar, president of the Tel Aviv-based diamond consulting service
Tacy Limited, told the conference that Zimbabwe is selling its diamonds to
few takers at rock-bottom prices as most foreign buyers are shunning the
Even-Zohar said Zimbabwe has the potential to contribute 8 to 10 percent of
global gem production but is not benefiting fully as potential buyers are
worried about trading with the country because "major companies are scared,
(and) insurance companies are afraid" of the US Office of Foreign Assets
Control, forcing the country to dispose of its gems at 25 percent less than
their full value.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told VOA Studio 7 recently that the U.S. Office
of Foreign Assets Control has been intercepting money raised from Zimbabwe’s
The conference coincided with a damning report released Monday by Canadian
group Partnership Africa Canada that says over $2 billion worth of diamond
revenues was stolen from the country since 2008.
The report says diamond proceeds have been enriching just a few, including
senior Zanu-PF officials and military officers.
Mines Ministry Permanent Secretary Prince Mupazviriho told VOA the
conference has been a success so far despite the damning report by PAC,
which he dismissed as “baseless and totally false”, especially the claim
that at least $2 billion worth of diamonds have been stolen from the Marange
Mupazviriho said the PAC was being sponsored by western nations that imposed
sanctions on Harare and still bent on ensuring that the gems are not sold on
the international markets.
Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Dewa Mavhinga said the conference
would not produce anything positive for the country, adding that the PAC
findings are not surprising.
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
Members arrested, beaten and 11 dumped in a cemetery out of down
WATER shortage protests continued in Bulawayo with 57 members arrested and
beaten. The first edition of the protest began at 11am targeting the Council
administration Tower block. A squad of 4 Riot Police disrupted the peaceful
protest and surrounded 35 members. After 15 minutes senior police officers,
one identified as the Controller, arrived and engaged the group announcing
that he was ‘driving them off’. He was semi professional and no one was
beaten or taken them into custody.
As midday struck 5 additional protests began separately all intending to
converge on the Government complex.
The first protest reached the Mhlahlandlela complex but a green truck
carrying the reaction squad with 12 Riot Police. They quickly arrested
11 members, 9 women and 2 men and took them across the road to the Drill
Hall, placing them under guard at 12:15.
The same vehicle then drove to the intersection H. Chitepo Street and 10th
Avenue. The police officers disembarked to beat members were marching
towards the complex. They indiscriminately beat even passes by. As they beat
people these officers loudly shouted insults and violently beat anyone in
their path. They shouted tribal and gender obscenities referring to the
Ndebele people and calling the women prostitutes.
The second 11 were then arrested by the same squad, one referred to as
Mukoshi who said he did not care if the activists knew his name. He also
said with great support and approving laughter from his colleague, ‘this
country was liberated by blood and only those who spilt blood can be the
ones to talk.’ He went on to ask them to answer his question in the Shona
language – Do they have their own dams, why are they asking for water.
The 11 were then forced to sit in the truck and driven to Bulawayo Central.
When they got there and as they were disembarking, Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights chief law officer was present. The officer
commanding Bulawayo Chief Inspector Rangwani arrived and shouted at the
officers asking them what they had brought these women to the police
station. He said take them back to where you got them. The driver of the
police truck in the hearing of Lizwe Jamela said he would not take them back
to Drill Hall but would drive them into the bush and dump them. He promptly
drove away toward Victoria Falls with the lawyer in pursuit dumping them at
a cemetery out of town. Four members are being seen by the doctor and many
others are being attended by the WOZA medical support triage.
The first 11 members arrested have also since been released so no members
are left in custody at this time.
WOZA have argued that there is a tribal element of the manner in which
police in Bulawayo treat WOZA members and this has today been further
confirmed by the insults of all the Riot Officers. The women were called
prostitutes and told not to speak to each other in the Ndebele language as
the Ndebele people were all killed off by Gukurahundi in the 1980s.
See the list of demands here -
by Staff Reporter
SOME 200 colleges and private schools have been shut down in a government
crackdown against sub-standard educational institutions around the country.
The Higher and Tertiary Education Ministry said the institutions were
operating illegally; having failed to comply with the minimum standard
requirements adding most of them employed unqualified teaching personnel.
Officials said the exercise would continue around the country adding 37 of
the institutions already closed were from the Bulawayo, Matabeleland North
and South provinces.
“(We are carrying out our) mandate of inspecting private and independent
institutions to ensure that they are compliant with the Manpower Planning
and Development Act and offering quality education and training,” the
Ministry said in a statement.
“Institutions in Harare, Chitungwiza, Bulawayo, Manicaland, Masvingo,
Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands Provinces have been
inspected (and) we listed and closed colleges that are not compliant.”
Some 33 of the institutions closed in the Matabeleland regions are from
Colleges shut down include Business Environment (BES) Sekusile Branch in
Nkulumane, Foundation College, Jesus Life International Bible School and New
Vision Technical College.
Also closed were the New Horizon Institute of Learning, the Academy of
Cutting, Designing and Commerce, Orion College as well as Sizinda Vocational
A similar exercise saw some 160 colleges and private schools being shut down
across the country in May.
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 11:24
HARARE - Zimbabwe is playing a risky game of brinksmanship by cracking down
on non-profit groups that promote democracy, threatening an emerging
relationship with Western countries that have brought billions of dollars in
aid over the past three years.
The southern African nation may be betting the Western countries cannot
afford to cut relations with Harare, which is rich in minerals.
But Zanu PF, which retains a stranglehold on the fragile coalition, may also
fear it has much more than foreign aid to lose if it fully embraces a
democratic transition that could bring accountability for 2008 election
atrocities and brings to an end its long-standing domination of politics.
Zimbabwe last week referred three civil rights campaigners of pro-democracy
non-profit group Counselling Services Unit to trial before a criminal court
on “trumped-up” accusations they illegally defaced a provincial information
office for President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in the second city of Bulawayo.
Observers, however, say the police raid on CSU — a Harare-based legally
registered clinic which provides non-partisan counselling to victims of
trauma — was aimed at destroying evidence of the 2008 atrocities.
Police stormed the CSU offices on November 5 searching for “subversive”
material, and confiscated computers and medical records.
They rounded-up five employees at the centre, released two, and transferred
the rest to Bulawayo Central Police Station from Harare.
Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Geza were bundled in an open
pickup truck, registration number ACD 6377 up to Kwekwe. From Kwekwe they
were transported to Bulawayo in a twin cab registration number ABI 3608
where they were detained, charged and freed on bail.
The raid immediately prompted angry denunciations from the 27-nation EU bloc
and the US who both reminded Zimbabwe about its Global Political Agreement
(GPA) obligation to ensure that noone is subjected to harassment or
intimidation for addressing human rights.
Both the EU and the US demanded that Zimbabwe police return all assets
seized in the raid of the NGOs and immediately end the investigations and
The US embassy said non-partisan trauma and medical counselling was a vital
part of Zimbabwe’s work to re-build a strong, just democracy after over a
decade of political trauma.
“The United States calls on all Zimbabweans to support and protect that
work,” the statement said.
“This search represents the latest incident in a worrying trend of deploying
elements of state security sector institutions to threaten and intimidate
political activists and those who provide support to victims of such
intimidation and abuse.”
The US embassy slammed “the illegal access to confidential patient medical
“Patient record confidentiality is a critical part of medical services and
should be respected through strict adherence to the law.”
The depth of the tensions was evident in the EU delegation statement, which
expressed worry that the three have been charged and could be potentially
incarcerated for what are trumped up charges.
Describing the raid as “alarming”, the EU heads of mission expressed “deep
concern” on rising incidents of harassment of human rights defenders,
journalists and members of civil society in Zimbabwe.
“The freedom of assembly, association and expression are essential
components in any democracy,” the EU statement said.
“Under the GPA, Zimbabwe undertook to ensure that both its legislation and
its procedures and practices were in accordance with international human
rights principles and laws; the EU delegation also attaches importance to
Harare’s campaign against the pro-democracy groups could seriously damage
relations with far-reaching ramifications in a country beginning to recover
from a decade of economic meltdown.
The EU said the recent incidents of harassment raise particular concern in
the context of concluding the constitution-making process as well as in
preparing for peaceful and credible elections.
The US echoed that call.
“In the lead up to national elections, the United States looks to the
government of Zimbabwe to ensure that all security sector leaders and groups
strictly follow President Mugabe’s call for non-violence; and that they also
follow a policy of non-interference in democratic processes, including no
harassment, intimidation, or hints of retribution,” the US embassy statement
said. - Gift Phiri, Political Writer
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
The trial of Hon. Elton Mangoma, the MDC Deputy Treasurer General and the
Minister of Energy and Power Development failed to kick-off today after the
State failed to file its papers in court at the Bindura Magistrate Court.
Hon. Mangoma is facing frivolous charges of insulting Robert Mugabe at
Munhenga Business Centre in Bindura in May.
He was served with summons at his government offices on 10 October to appear
in court in Bindura today. The delay by the State in filing its papers
forced the trial magistrate, Felix Mawadze to postpone the matter to 12
Selby Hwacha is representing Hon. Mangoma while Emmanuel Muchenga is
appearing for the State.
Hon. Mangoma has maintained his innocence and with the support of the party
he is convinced that the arrest is nothing but political.
“There are some people who do not like the MDC’s commitment in government to
transform the country so that people can enjoy their liberty, freedom and
corruption free environment,” Hon. Mangoma said soon after his arrest last
“We should not short change the people of Zimbabwe but ensure that we stand
for the downtrodden, but it is sad that some people are against this,” he
The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Solomon Madzore, the MDC Youth Assembly chairperson was granted a US$500
bail this afternoon by High Court judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu.
Madzore is part of the 29 MDC members who are on trial facing false charges
of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare in May 2011. He was
granted bail together with Lovemore Taruvinga Magaya. The other MDC members
minus Cynthia Manjoro are still in remand prison. Manjoro was granted bail
by Justice Bhunu three weeks ago.
Madzore has been in remand prison for over a year since his arrest on 3
October 2011. The bail application for the other 26 members is expected to
be heard on Friday when the trial resumes.
Meanwhile, the cross examination of Chief Inspector Clever Ntini of the
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) ended today with the defence
lawyers, led by Beatrice Mtetwa accusing him of carrying “the shoddiest jobs
in terms of police investigations.” Ntini is the investigating officer in
Mtetwa said due to failure by Ntini and his team of dictators to verify
alibis of the accused, it resulted in innocent people being arrested and
“The investigations were done more to hide the truth than to find the actual
perpetrators of the offence,” Lawyer Mtetwa said adding that Madzore’s alibi
was suppressed in order to hide the truth.
The police also failed to carry out any identification parade on the accused
and had to solely rely on unnamed informers. “The failure to conduct an
identification parade constituted a very serious failure in your
investigations. You grossly failed to investigate as the investigation
officer to tie up each of the accused to the crime,” said Mtetwa.
The MDC has since last year maintained that the MDC members are innocent and
are on trial because of their belief in fighting for real change, a better
Zimbabwe for all with jobs, health and education.
The long incarceration of Madzore shows that the Attorney-General’s Office
is being used by Zanu PF for persecuting and not prosecuting MDC officials.
It vindicates our position that the Glen View murder trial is 100 percent to
do with politics rather than justice.
The Glen View murder case is just but one of the several instances where
national institutions such as the Attorney-General’s Office have been abused
by Zanu PF to achieve its political ends.
The trial resumes on Friday.
The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!
by Staff Reporter
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma will be asked to intervene in Zimbabwe to
smooth a new impasse over the new constitution, the MDC said.
A meeting of the Management Committee – made up of six officials from the
three parties in the ruling coalition – broke off on Monday without reaching
consensus on the draft constitution which has been in the works since 2009.
The Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference on the new constitution was held
last month at which rights groups, students, chiefs and political parties
made recommendations on amendments to be made to the draft first published
Before the Management Committee on Monday was a report by the Constitution
Committee of Parliament (COPAC) detailing the recommended amendments from
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the secretary general of the MDC led by
Welshman Ncube, said: “Zanu PF came in and said they wanted the COPAC report
and the draft submitted to the principals so that they can make amendments,
while the two MDC formations took the view that this was a report of a
committee of parliament which reports to parliament, and not the executive.
“It immediately became clear there would be no consensus on both the
amendments and the way to proceed.
“The view of the two MDC formations is that the people of Zimbabwe are the
ultimate arbiters and if we had our way the draft would be going through to
a referendum as it is so the people can make their determination, but it is
also true we cannot take that step without the other party (Zanu PF)
“We have no choice now but to write to SADC as the guarantors of the GPA,
and President Zuma as the appointed mediator, to try and make Zanu PF play
She said the COPAC report from the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference
showed there was a wide range of different opinions on the current draft
such that there was no hope of reconciling the various positions.
“For us it comes down to this: we have a draft constitution which all the
parties signed off on before Zanu PF made a U-turn. If Zanu PF are so sure
that the draft is not what the people want, then let them agree to take it
to a referendum so that Zimbabweans can weigh in on it.”
But Zanu PF's Patrick Chinamasa, who represents the party on the Management
Committee, said the two MDCs "believe comments and reviews from the Second
All-Stakeholders meeting are irrelevant and the COPAC draft should go as is
“Zanu PF wants to submit the report to the principals for a way forward and
how areas of disagreement could be reconciled. The Management Committee is
not a GPA creature and we need to take the report to the principals for a
“The views and comments of the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference should be
taken into account in producing a document to be taken to Parliament. The
Management Committee is not the final arbiter of this process. A national
constitution is very important and should take into consideration views
taken from the All-Stakeholders’ conference."
By Tichaona Sibanda
13 November 2012
The MDC-T has blamed ZANU PF for the latest deadlock to hit the crafting of
a new constitution, their spokesman said on Tuesday.
Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa the deadlock emanates from attempts by
ZANU PF to refer the COPAC report and draft to the GPA principals instead of
sending it to parliament.
‘They want to send the report to Mugabe in particular, so that he can
negotiate the constitution. The MDC is insisting the GPA must be followed
and that COPAC must present the report and draft to parliament,’ Mwonzora
The yawning gaps between ZANU PF and the MDC formations were apparent last
month during the opening of the second All Stakeholders conference when
Mugabe insisted the principals had the final say on the draft.
But this has been resisted by the other parties and as a result of the
stalemate there have been suggestions that SADC mediator Jacob Zuma of South
Africa should be brought in.
‘As a consequence of disagreement in this process it is natural that the
facilitator must come in. The GPA is explicit in that the
constitution-making process is a parliament-driven process and now Mugabe
wants to hijack it,’ Mwonzora explained.
The Nyanga North MP warned that there is no way the MDC will agree to
circumvent the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
‘The MDC will not short circuit the process. The constitution must be sent
to the people of Zimbabwe who are the best arbiters of this process.
Zimbabwean people are the best to tell us whether the draft captures what
they said or not and not Mugabe and ZANU PF,’
Asked why Mugabe is insisting on having the final say, the MDC-T spokesman
was unequivocal in saying that this was because Mugabe was desperate to hold
on to power.
‘Mugabe is unhappy with quiet a lot of things. He wants more presidential
powers than those prescribed in the draft. He wants the armed and security
forces to have a say in the political life of Zimbabwe.
‘He has always been against devolution, he wants to remove the
constitutional court and he also wants to retain the Attorney-General with
sweeping prosecutorial powers, something which the people of Zimbabwe
rejected,’ according to Mwonzora.
In July the draft constitution was released and although it is a less than
perfect document it did, to some extent, curtail the sweeping powers of the
presidency, enhance individual rights and give more power to local
A new constitution for Zimbabwe was an integral part of a power-sharing deal
in 2008 after a disputed election erupted in widespread bloodshed. The
violence killed over 500 MDC supporters, maimed thousands and displaced
close to half a million others.
Staff Reporter 11 hours 23 minutes ago
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the inclusive Government to work
together and avoid politicking in order to achieve greater economic growth.
Speaking at the launch of the First Annual Medium Term Plan (MTP) 2011-2015
Implementation progress report, the Premier bemoaned the discord in the
unity government and blamed it on premature election talk.
"There is no unanimity on how the country should be run. We are supposed to
be working with one plan but there is discord arising from political
competition. The issue of elections has brought discord in the vision we
have for the nation," the PM said.
The MTP is Zimbabwe's five year development plan whose trust is to ensure
that the country achieves sustainable growth and development which is broad
based and inclusive.
PM Tsvangirai implored that Zimbabweans work towards fulfilling the economic
blue print regardless of political affiliation. "This five year economic
blueprint should be implemented. We are going to have elections but whatever
government will emerge they should implement the MTP. It is Zimbabwe's
development blueprint no matter what government comes into power they should
The Premier vowed that despite the limited resources that the Government
has, he would continue to focus on the Government Work Program.
"Our efforts have to speak to the ordinary people. The bulk of the people
are still unemployed and we need a culture of accountability and
transparency in Government," PM Tsvangirai said.
The Premier called for peaceful elections and urged Zimbabweans to heed the
call by Principals in the inclusive Government to shun violence.
"Unless there is peace and stability then there can be no development," he
Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Tapiwa Mashakada said
the implementation of the MTP has progressed well despite challenges.
"From the assessment done by stakeholders, the implementation of the MTP has
been fair. However issues such as policy inconsistence and failure to
attract credit lines, energy supply and high imports have been some of the
challenges hindering us from achieving our targets," he said.
Mashakada said the evaluation was important as it gave direction to the
government on how implementation of the MTP can be enhanced.
"The implementation progress report gives an evaluation of the progress made
on the implementation of the MTP flagship projects and programmes. The
report also highlights the challenges that government experienced during the
period under review and the proposed sector strategies to ensure the
implementation of the MTP is on track," he told delegates.
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 10:02
HARARE - Law professor Alex Magaisa has joined Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s office where he is in charge of shaking up the premier’s
stuttering political strategy department.
Magaisa, a fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe’s regime joins
Tsvangirai after the Prime Minister’s most difficult weeks since forming the
coalition government almost four years ago.
His appointment is just one of a number of crisis responses to the events
that began with the PM’s marital woes.
Magaisa was locked in meetings yesterday when we reached him for comment.
But insiders say Magaisa unveiled a new team on Friday, roping in Abigail
Gamanya to stand-in for bedridden Luke Tamborinyoka who sustained critical
injuries in a car accident last week.
Gamanya was already attached to the PM’s office, and will handle aspects of
the communications operation while Tamborinyoka is on his road to recovery.
As part of the shake-up, Gamanya becomes the acting director of
communications in the Prime Minister’s Office.
However, Timba and Magaisa will speak on behalf of the PM; with the former
speaking on government business while the latter will be commenting on
Magaisa’s entry creates three centres of power in the PM’s office.
He will have direct access to the Prime Minister and will “focus on a
strategic approach to the political strategy” on the political desk.
Jameson Timba, minister of State in the Prime Minister office, will be
seized with international relations, while chief secretary Ian Makone, will
have responsibility for all civil service aspects as well as the government
Gamanya yesterday declined to comment, saying anything regarding the PM’s
office will be handled by the minister in the PM’s office.
Timba was unreachable for comment yesterday, but Tsvangirai said in a recent
press statement that the reshuffle — the biggest change in his office since
he became Prime Minister in March 2009 — was aimed at strengthening his
office and government. - Gift Phiri, Politcs editor
by Staff Reporter
TWO men have been charged over an incident last Friday in which President
Robert Mugabe’s motorcade was slowed down by a vehicle failing to give way.
Newton Mlotshwa, 58, appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa on
Monday charged with hindering or resisting a police officer.
The vehicle’s driver Prayer Gavhanga, 27, appeared separately before
magistrate Evelyn Mashavakure to answer charges of failing to comply with
lawful instructions given by a police officer.
Mlotshwa, who is the director of Nemacks Civil Engineering, and Gavhanga, a
civil engineer at the company, both pleaded not guilty and were released on
US$100 bail each.
Grace Zhou, prosecuting, said at 11.47AM last Friday, Gavhanga was driving
out of Bulawayo along Gwanda Road heading towards to National University of
Science and Technology.
As he passed Ascot Shopping Centre, Sergeant Jeche who was the lead biker in
the presidential convoy passed Gavhanga and signalled him to pull over but
he continued driving – becoming part of Mugabe’s motorcade.
Sergeant Jeche stopped his motorbike and blocked Gavhanga’s vehicle. He
removed the ignition key from the vehicle and Gavhanga was arrested.
Second prosecutor Malvern Nzombe told the court that after Gavhanga’s
arrest, Mlotshwa, who was a passenger, approached Sergeant Jeche, who was
standing by his motorbike, and held the motorbike by its two handles thereby
preventing the police officer from leaving.
The State will seek to prove that he removed the ignition key from the
motorbike, demanding to know why Gavhanga had been arrested.
Members of the Zimbabwe National Army Presidential Guard, who were part of
the motorcade, rescued Sergeant Jeche and Mlotshwa was also arrested.
President Mugabe was in Bulawayo to attend a graduation ceremony at the
University of Science and Technology.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
13 November, 2012
The Catholic Priest who played a key role in exposing the Gukurahundi
massacres of the mid-eighties, was laid to rest last Friday at a ceremony
attended by thousands.
Archbishop Henry Karlen, who was originally from Switzerland, died at Mater
Dei Hospital on October 28th, after a short illness.
He will be remembered most for the courage he showed in documenting and
exposing the brutal acts of the Fifth Brigade units, which massacred
thousands of supporters of ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo.
The Gukurahundi has long haunted Zimbabwe and just this week, a riot
policeman assaulting members of the Women Of Zimbabwe Arise at a
demonstration in Bulawayo, was heard to say: “Don’t speak Ndebele because
Ndebele people were all killed in the Gukurahundi”. The police know that the
memory of those murders still has power over Zimbabweans to this day.
Archbishop Karlen was transferred from Europe to Africa in 1951. After
several appointments in South Africa, he was appointed as the Bishop of
Bulawayo in May, 1974 and remained head of the church there for 38 years.
The Archbishop received reports from his colleagues who were in rural
churches and mission clinics and hospitals in Matabeleland province and the
Midlands. The notes he made grew by the day and eventually became a file
documenting the slaughter of Nkomo’s supporters and other perceived enemies
of Robert Mugabe.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Legal Resources
Foundation investigated the brutal events reported by Karlen and others in
Matabeleland, and eventually produced a detailed report called “Breaking the
Silence – Building True Peace”.
The report estimated that 20,000 people had been killed in Matabeleland and
in parts of the Midlands province. The killings only stopped after Nkomo
agreed to join Mugabe in an inclusive government in 1987.
The Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, Gorden Moyo, told SW
Radio Africa that thousands of people attended the funeral last Friday
because the Archbishop was involved in many developmental issues in
Matabeleland and around the country. He said many who came to mourn his
death were not even Catholic.
“Everyone around the world and in the region was busy celebrating the
Zimbabwe independence and people were blind to the human rights abuses and
brutal violence that was taking place under the Mugabe administration. And
it was Archbishop Karlen who stood up to them and opened our eyes,” Moyo
He added: “The Archbishop inspired a lot of religious, political and civil
activists and ordinary citizens. That’s why a lot of people attended the
funeral over and above the congregation of the Bulawayo archdiocese.
However, there was one notable absentee at the funeral, Robert Mugabe
Archbishop Karlen was buried at Athlone Cemetery in Bulawayo.
HARARE, 13 November 2012 (IRIN) - When Davis Moyo* was retrenched from his
job at a financial institution in the Zimbabwean capital Harare last year,
he counted himself lucky when he found another job almost immediately, and
even luckier when he secured a loan to start a chicken-rearing business that
he hoped would supplement his salary.
His application for a US$4,000 loan to be repaid over 12 months was swiftly
processed by one of the many banking institutions that had combed his
workplace for new clients, and Moyo was soon presiding over his dream
business. He envisaged providing employment to scores of the unemployed and,
with a bit of luck and hard work, being able to quit his new job to run his
business full-time within a few years.
But after only one and half years, Moyo lost his job with his new employer
and his business venture also fell on hard times. He was soon behind on his
loan repayments and accruing an even larger debt from the interest charges.
The bank initiated legal action against him to recover their money and Moyo’s
material goods - a refrigerator, a TV, a kitchen set and a wheelbarrow, went
under the hammer at a public auction.
Zimbabwe's newspapers are filled with public notices for auctions as many
other individuals and companies lose their property to banks and
money-lenders after falling behind on loan repayments.
The country's financial sector has enjoyed three years of economic growth
following the adoption of multiple currencies in early 2009 and an end to a
tumultuous trading period characterized by record inflation, bank closures
Buoyed by phenomenal growth in deposits and a steady currency, many banks
have introduced personal bank loans to attract new clients. The loans have
been very popular even among low-income earners. Qualifying amounts range
from as little as $500, while interest rates range between 18 and 20 percent
per annum depending on the bank.
Many Zimbabwean workers, including the majority of civil servants, still
take home salaries well below $500 a month - an amount considered inadequate
to sustain a family of six based on the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe's
estimate of $572 to meet a household's essential needs for one month.
Civil servants have repeatedly demanded salary increases but the government
says it lacks the revenue to meet their demands. In an effort to supplement
their poor salaries, many workers are taking out loans in order to start
small, income-generating ventures.
Proliferation of personal loans
The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ), a grouping of all registered
banks in the country, says that personal loans now dominate the country’s
credit/loan profile, accounting for more than 18 percent of the total $3.5
billion in loans taken out between January and November 2012. Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, in his mid-term monetary policy statement,
predicted that by year-end, personal loans would account for 25 percent of
all loans channelled through the banking sector.
Micro-finance loans have been widely lauded as a means for poor people in
developing countries to escape the poverty trap by providing them with the
means to start income-generating projects. But for the many whose businesses
fail, such loans only serve to entrench poverty further.
“I have learnt the hard way that taking a loan from the bank is such a risky
thing to do. The higher the loan, the more difficult it is to pay back,"
said Moyo. "If one is not careful things can go horribly wrong.”
The World Bank estimates that each year, the global economy adds an
estimated 150 million new consumers of financial services, most of them from
developing countries, where consumer protection and financial literacy are
still in their infancy. According to the Bank, consumers in many of these
emerging markets often fail to obtain sufficient information about
sophisticated new financial products.
Former bank executive and economic consultant Moses Mhlanga said that
financial illiteracy among the banking public and the absence of financial
education programmes by Zimbabwean banks were playing a key role in the high
levels of individual debt.
Many people rushed into taking loans using their personal property as surety
or collateral, oblivious of the risk, he told IRIN.
“Before taking loans, consumers must read the fine print and be aware what
they are entering into contractually,” he said.
*not his real name
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
November 13, 2012 5:02 pm by Irene Madongo
Who knew insurance could be so toxic? Two British insurers have pulled out
of an agreement to offer cover against political violence in Zimbabwe, in a
curious turn of events.
Earlier this year, insurance broker RK Harrison Group approached
Harare-based Champions Insurance about offering cover from Lloyd’s of London
against political violence. In October, Champions said that a deal had been
agreed for an undisclosed amount. But the plan is now off. What happened?
It was hoped the deal would inject confidence into Zimbabwe’s insurance
sector, which has annual revenues of around $178m. The industry is getting
back on track, having been generated an estimated $600m in the country’s
pre-hyperflation era. More recently, total gross premiums written by direct
short-term insurers increased from $117m in 2010 to $159m in 2011.
News of the deal emerged last month as Robert Mugabe repeated his calls for
elections in March next year. Zimbabwe’s previous 2008 poll was marked with
intense political violence, which left an estimated 200 people dead. Already
reports of fresh political violence are emerging, such as the bloody images
of wounded MDC-T Midlands North treasurer John, who was attacked in
The Zimbabwe government regulator, the Insurance and Pensions Commission,
confirmed that it approved a political violence coverage deal involving
Champions and RK Harrison, with Lloyd’s covering. In addition, beyondbrics
saw a document where Champions explains that it has partnered with Lloyd’s
broker RKH in its offering.
However, following Zimbabwe media reports of the partnership, Lloyd’s and
RKH denied that Champions was a Lloyd’s cover holder.
RKH said that, although discussions were held regarding Lloyds’ cover and
there was some interest from Lloyd’s to provide cover – a specimen policy
wording was also provided – no coverage was subsequently arranged.
Champions initially insisted that a deal had indeed been reached. But later
it clarified its position, explaining that although preliminary work had
been done, it could not say a facility was definitely in place. It added
that, while it was still looking at possibilities and gathering more
information, the potential deal was actually suspended.
So, what could have gone wrong and why? Observers speculate that Lloyd’s and
RKH may have come under pressure from the British government. When asked
about possible pressure two weeks ago, a senior official at Champions said:
“Obviously there is a lot of pressure, definitely.”
An insider at Champions pointed the finger at the British foreign office,
saying: “My thinking is [that it is] from the British embassy.”
There are still EU sanctions in place concerning human rights breaches in
Zimbabwe. The insurance proposal launch would not have been affected by the
formal EU sanctions that have been in place for a decade, which imposed a
travel ban and asset freeze on president Robert Mugabe and other senior
But such measures tend to set the tone for investors generally. Eurasia
Group Africa analyst Mark Rosenberg said: “The issuance of political risk
insurance is generally interpreted as a signal of relative stability, and
perhaps the British government pressured the insurers against sending this
signal while Mugabe is still in power.”
The British foreign office denied playing any role. In a statement it said:
“The British Embassy has not been approached by these companies for our
views, nor have we offered them advice on the reported partnership. The
Embassy does offer advice to companies wishing to operate in Zimbabwe and
regularly speaks to business groups about the economic and business
environment here. However, it is not the role of the Embassy to advise for
or against any investment decision.”
Another pressure may have been the numbers: analysts suggest that the
potential for profits may have dimmed. Rosenberg says: “The upcoming
election may bring more political violence than originally anticipated,
making the potential gains of providing insurance less appealing. This
calculation may have been spurred by the recent deployment of security
forces and ZANU-PF youth militia to contested provinces (Masvingo and
Manicaland) and military bombast about the violent consequences of a
Zimbabwean economic analyst John Robertson also says: “I suspect all the
pressures are on profit prospects from a scene so messy that it promises
nothing but huge losses.”
There is also the question of being associated with Zimbabwe, which although
it has improved its image in areas such as tourism, is still seen as
something of a pariah regime.
Mike Davis, deputy campaigns director at Global Witness, an international
rights group which has carried out an extensive investigation into the role
of foreign companies in Zimbabwe’s controversial diamond sector, says: “The
recent history of serious human rights violations has made any association
with Zimbabwe toxic for leading British brands. The perception that they are
profiting from [the] kind of violent suppression that accompanies elections
in Zimbabwe could be very damaging to their reputations.”
When asked to comment on these suggestions on Monday, RKH stated that its
position remains the same, specifically that it is no longer acting on
behalf of Champions in this matter and the latter is not a Lloyd’s
A Lloyd’s spokesman also said it does not have anything to add to RKH’s
statement. Champions said that it has no comment to make, adding that it did
not discuss counterparties in the press.
by Thabo Mbeki
Address by former South African President Thabo Mbeki at the Zimbabwe
Diamond Conference, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe: November 12, 2012:
Director of Ceremonies,
Our host, Minister Obert Mpofu,
Honourable Ministers from Zimbabwe and our region,
Leaders of the Kimberley Process,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and members of the
Ladies and gentlemen:
One of the occasions I was here at Victoria Falls was in April 2000. I came
here as part of a SADC delegation constituted of then Presidents Joaquim
Chissano of Moçambique, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, and myself, as President of
We came here to engage President Robert Mugabe specifically about what was
happening in this country at the time, relating to the occupation of
white-owned farms by this country’s liberation war veterans, intended to
address the historic Zimbabwe land question.
Specifically we discussed with the President how best to assist the sister
people of Zimbabwe in the noble quest to correct an historical injustice. At
the same time, our region fully accepted that land redistribution had to
happen in Zimbabwe, as in other countries of our region.
After the meeting here, I had to report to the South African Parliament
about the outcomes of that meeting. Here is part of what I reported to the
South African National Assembly and therefore the people of South Africa as
“To address both the fundamental and central land question, which has to be
solved, and the consequences that have derived from the failure to find this
solution, we have been in contact with both the Zimbabwe and the British
Governments. This contact sought to achieve a number of objectives. These
“1: to get a common commitment to solve the Zimbabwe land question,
according to the framework and programme agreed at the 1998 Conference and
thus, simultaneously, to speak to such questions as the rule of law;
“2: to end the violence that has attended the effort to find this solution;
“3: to create the conditions for the withdrawal from the farms they have
occupied of the demonstrating war veterans; and,
“4: to pursue these issues in a manner that would be beneficial for all the
people of Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa. As we informed the media
at Victoria Falls on Good Friday and other occasions since then, President
Mugabe fully supported these objectives.”
The truth is that we failed to achieve the global outcome we sought. This
was because we did not get the funding commitments to the programme that
were agreed at the 1998 International Conference on the Zimbabwe Land
This meant that we failed to convince the world powers to honour the solemn
commitments they had made, including their funding of the Zimbabwe land
reform, and therefore the related creation of the conditions to end the
occupation of the white-owned farms.
With regard to everything I have said, I must report that, at that time, the
view of the political leadership in our region was that it was still
nevertheless correct and vital that Zimbabwe had to address the land
This was particularly so given the fact that from 1990, a decade earlier,
Zimbabwe had delayed dealing with the land question in a new way, especially
after the expiry of the restrictive land provisions in the independence
Lancaster House Constitution.
As an outstanding act of African solidarity, the Government of Zimbabwe
decided on this delay expressly to facilitate the then on-going negotiations
in South Africa, from 1990 onwards, concerned that nothing should be done in
Zimbabwe which would so frighten the white South African population that it
would oppose our own country’s transformation.
With regard to the land question, the prevalent view in the rest of our
region, outside Zimbabwe, which we, the SADC delegation that came to Vic
Falls in 2000 represented, was that given the balance of power in Africa and
the rest of the world, it was strategically and tactically ill-advised to
resort to revolutionary methods to address the challenge of agrarian reform
in this country.
We were convinced and argued this with President Mugabe, that, rather,
Zimbabwe should indeed confront the matter of the land question, but address
it through a process of reform rather than through revolutionary means.
We understood very well that the process of the reform rather than the
revolutionary transformation of the inherited colonial system of land
ownership, meant that the Zimbabwe Government and people would have to
respect the principle of market based compensation of land owners for
improvements on the farms they would have to forfeit.
SADC took the position it adopted in part because its leadership was
convinced that the regional, continental and global progressive movement did
not have the strength to overcome the determined Western opposition
immediately to end the unjust colonial system of land ownership in Zimbabwe
and our region.
In this context we had also come to understand very well that the West had
absolutely no intention to provide the funds it promised solemnly, in 1979
in London and in 1998 in Harare, to compensate the white farmers for the
land they would lose.
Whatever we might have honestly communicated to Africa and the rest of the
world at the end of the April 2000 Vic Falls meeting between a SADC
Presidential delegation and President Mugabe, the historical record is that
the sister people of Zimbabwe succeeded to carry out a process of agrarian
transformation which has fundamentally corrected an historic injustice
relating to the land question in this country.
In this context I am happy to mention the united position taken by the
democratically elected Zimbabwe political parties on the land question, in
terms of which they said in the GPA that:
“(they accept) the inevitability and desirability of a comprehensive land
reform programme in Zimbabwe that redresses the issues of historical
imbalances and injustices in order to address the issues of equity,
productivity, and justice.” [GPA: Article 5.3.]
Directly relevant to all this, I would also like to highlight the 2010
seminal book, “Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities”, written by a
British academic, Ian Scoones, and his Zimbabwe colleagues, Nelson Marongwe,
Blasio Mavedzenge, Felix Murimbarimba, Jacob Mahenehene and Chrispen Sukume.
In essence this well-researched treatise, based on a detailed scientific
assessment of the Zimbabwe land transformation process over at least 10
years, makes two important statements.
One of these is that the Agrarian Revolution in this country has succeeded
to transfer the land to the people.
The second is that the new system of land ownership, favouring the
peasantry, has demonstrated its capacity successfully to address the issues
of food security and the provision of the agriculture raw materials required
by the manufacturing sector.
An academic review of the Scoones book said the book challenged “five myths
(about Zimbabwe’s Land Reform) through a detailed examination of field data:
“Myth 1 – land reform had been a total failure;
“Myth 2 – the beneficiaries have been largely political ‘cronies’;
“Myth 3 – there is no investment in the new settlements;
“Myth 4 – agriculture is in complete ruins, creating chronic food
“Myth 5 – the rural economy has collapsed.”
The same review says Professor Bill Kinsey of the Free University of
Amsterdam recommended to the readers of the book: “Whatever you thought
about the land issue in Zimbabwe, be prepared to change your mind.”
As the Zimbabwe Agrarian Revolution ran its course, our task as the
political leadership of our region focused especially on our obligation to
defend the right of the people of Zimbabwe to decide what they should do to
resolve the land question, and therefore, and inevitably, to defend their
fundamental right to self-determination.
Attached to this was the hope of our region that a successful Agrarian
Revolution in Zimbabwe would also address the imperatives of the economic
recovery of the country, poverty reduction and food security.
This arose because of both our concern for the welfare of the sister people
of this country and our knowledge of the level of regional integration, as a
result of which our countries could not isolate themselves from important
developments in this country, vice versa.
In this regard, I must make the point that Ian Scoones and his colleagues,
and other objective observers, such as the African Institute for Agrarian
Studies, have made the correct and important observation that further to
build on what has been achieved in this country in terms of successfully
transferring ‘land to those who work it’, a serious effort must be made to
support the new farmers with all-round assistance.
This would include upgrading the rural infrastructure, intensifying
agricultural extension services, and providing the necessary credit to
enable the new farmers to access the equipment, fertiliser, and other
inputs, as well as the market access they need.
Of course, this must also include addressing the corrupt practice which
occurred during the necessarily enormous upheaval of the Agrarian
Revolution, which led the Government of Zimbabwe to take the important
decision to conduct a land audit to ensure that those who had corruptly
acquired land are not allowed to benefit from such corrupt practice.
In this regard, the September 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA),
elaborated and adopted by the Zimbabwe Political Parties, states that the
“to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit…for the
purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm
ownerships.” [GPA: Article 5.9(a)].
I sincerely hope that this has been, or is being done.
Certainly the delegates present here from Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern
Africa will recall vividly that essentially because of the Zimbabwe Agrarian
Revolution, and as we feared when we met here with President Mugabe in April
2000, a veritable global and sustained political firestorm broke out,
seeking to incinerate the Government of Zimbabwe as well as those of us who
were seen as defenders of that Agrarian Revolution.
Accordingly, for many years now, various important political players in the
world, as well as significant sections of the global media, have presented
Zimbabwe as a ‘rogue state’ within our region, and in Africa as a whole.
This narrative was advanced to place on the global political agenda the
fundamental proposition that because Zimbabwe was such a ‘rogue state’, it
was perfectly legitimate to use all means, including through decisions of
the UN Security Council, to overthrow the Government of Zimbabwe, thus to
effect the necessary ‘regime change’ in this country.
It was perfectly clear to the political leadership in this Southern Region
of Africa, and indeed the masses of the people in all our countries, that
the determination by some from elsewhere in the world to effect this ‘regime
change’ in Zimbabwe had to do with fundamentally undermining and weakening
the historically and strategically important right of the peoples of Africa
In this regard, and contrary to the canards propagated by others from
elsewhere in the world, certainly our Zimbabwe colleagues will recall that
while it opposed such ‘regime change’, our region was deeply concerned about
the then situation relating to democratic practice in this country, as
stated in various SADC decisions.
For this reason, our region welcomed the commitment entered into by the
Zimbabwe political parties in the GPA, according to which, for instance,
“Recognising that the right to canvass and freely mobilise for political
support is the cornerstone of any multi-party democratic system, the Parties
have agreed that there should be free political activity throughout Zimbabwe
within the ambit of the law in which all political parties are able to
propagate their views and canvass for support, free of harassment and
intimidation.” [GPA: Article 10].
Taking into account the fact that Zimbabwe will have to hold its next
General Election next year, I would like to believe that the Zimbabwe
political parties will honour this agreement and that our region,
represented by SADC, will help the sister people of Zimbabwe in this regard.
We have convened here to discuss matters that relate to diamonds.
I can therefore imagine that some among us here tonight would have wondered
why I have spent so much time talking about other matters, including the
politics of our region of even more than a decade ago, without so much as a
casual mention of the word – diamonds!
I must therefore explain that I have spoken as I have because we are meeting
at the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference and not any other Diamond Conference.
As I am certain we all know, in the very short years since Zimbabwe started
mining and exporting diamonds, this has generated much international debate
that I believe has been unjustifiably hostile to Zimbabwe, and which has
sought to use the Kimberley Process incorrectly to classify the Zimbabwe
diamonds as ‘blood diamonds’, which should therefore not be traded
In this regard I must confess that since towards the end of 2008, because of
other obligations towards our Continent, I have not had the opportunity to
pay much attention to various matters relating to Zimbabwe, including the
Kimberley Process as it bears on this country.
Last year, on April 13, I was privileged to address the Presidents Meeting
of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses held in Dubai.
I beg your indulgence to quote what I said then, eighteen (18) months ago,
which I believe remains relevant to this day. I said then that:
“I am certain that a positive response to Africa’s call focused on helping
to create the African lions of which (the 2010 McKinsey Report) spoke,
through adding value to its raw diamonds, would both benefit the diamond
industry as a whole and reinforce the growth and development of the global
“I am equally certain that everybody concerned should take seriously Africa’s
views about the resolution of the current standoff in the Kimberley Process,
centred on the issue of Zimbabwe diamonds.
“One of the critical points to bear in mind in this regard is the fact that
the core objective of the Kimberley Process, to end the practice of the use
of illegally mined diamonds to fund and prolong deadly wars, was of primary
concern to us as Africans, first and foremost.
“Africa’s determination in this regard has not diminished. I am therefore
certain that Africa, including the African Diamond Producers Association,
would not support or advocate the production and sale of diamonds,
especially African diamonds, contrary to the spirit and purposes of the
“In this regard I am certain that it will not help anybody, including you,
the distinguished participants at this Presidents Meeting, that the
Kimberley Process is politicised, to advance objectives other than those
originally agreed at the Diamond Capital of South Africa, Kimberley, which
gave its name to the Kimberley Process.
“In this regard I believe that all of us should take on board the weighty
observation made by the Chairperson of the Kimberley Process, Minister Lapfa
Lambang Mathieu Yamba, in his Notice of March 19, that, ‘the cessation of
exports in the KPCS must be subjected to a more credible mechanism which
includes verification of allegations and due process.’
“I believe that it was exactly to ensure such verification of allegations as
well as due process that a high-level delegation of the African Diamond
Producers Association visited the Zimbabwe diamond fields earlier this
month, led by the South African Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Hon
“I sincerely hope that the current dispute affecting this Process will be
resolved soon to avoid its breakdown, an eventuality which I am convinced
nobody would desire.”
Eight months later, after I made these remarks in Dubai, and earlier this
year, I was pleased to see media reports of important statements made by the
esteemed current Chairperson of the Kimberley Process, the KPCS, Ambassador
Gillian Milovanovic, on February 3, 2012.
I refer here to what it was reported she said, that:
“The (Kimberley) process went through great difficulty determining how to
deal with the question of diamond exports from Zimbabwe, given violence and
other matters. And this showed that there was a need to look at systems, to
look at definitions, to look at ways to ensure that the lessons were drawn,
and that the organisation could determine best ways to become more efficient
and to remain relevant. That would include the definition of conflict
“But at the present time, I am told, the only country whose diamonds are
fitting within the definition of conflict diamonds is diamonds from Côte
d'Ivoire. And that represents, overall, far less than 1 percent of all
As I understand it, perhaps wrongly, those of us who are members of the
Kimberley Process are engaged exactly in the processes to which Chairperson
Milovanovic referred when she spoke about “a need to look at systems, to
look at definitions, to look at ways to ensure that the lessons were drawn,
and that the organisation could determine best ways to become more efficient
and to remain relevant.”
In this regard, I am certain that all of us understand and respect the
fundamental practice in jurisprudence that consistent with the principle of
the rule of law, all law of general application, like the prescriptions of
the Kimberley Process, should not be written to target particular persons or
I say this because as Africans, we would surely agree that we should “look
at the Kimberley Process systems…and definitions”, as urged by Chairperson
At the same time, in this regard, I am certain that as Africans we should do
everything possible to ensure that the Kimberly Process is insulated from
any political abuse, and is therefore used to establish an equitable global
assessment system consistent with the agreed goals of the Kimberley Process.
I am certain that among others, we will work hard to ensure that the
Kimberley Process is not misused to compromise the right of Africa as a
whole, a major diamond producer, to the fundamental and inalienable right to
self-determination, and the right to development.
In this context, I must also emphasise that as Africans we must remain
especially vigilant that the export of African diamonds does not open or
widen yet another window to the immensely pernicious illicit outflows of
capital from Africa.
I trust that all of us at this important Zimbabwe Diamond Conference, will
understand what I have just said, with regard to both Zimbabwe and Africa as
a whole, about the absolute imperative we all share to end the illicit
export of capital from our continent – the sustained illegal and ‘legal’
transfer of capital from the African poor to the rich West, which have been
a critical and central contributor to the underdevelopment of our continent,
and therefore the criminal impoverishment of the African masses.
I hope that you now understand why, earlier, I spoke to you about other
matters not related to diamonds, such as this country’s tumultuous Agrarian
All of us know that all manner of negative allegations have been made about
diamond mining in Zimbabwe, no different in essence from the global
political offensive which sought to oppose and defeat this country’s
Basing myself on my experience, I would like to exploit the privilege I have
been given by Honourable Minister Dr Obert Moses Mpofu, the Zimbabwe
Minister of Mines and Mining Development, to say a few additional things as
I speak at this conference.
The first of these is that I am absolutely certain that the masses of our
people throughout the entirety of our region of Southern Africa, the
neighbours of Zimbabwe, are indeed very happy that the sister people of this
country, have found yet another natural resource which can and should be
used to ensure that our sister people achieve the sacred goal of a better
life for themselves.
In this regard, we really hope that this natural resource, Zimbabwe’s
diamond deposits, will be used genuinely to benefit the masses of the
This must also mean that this country’s political leadership, including all
the parties which serve in the current Inclusive Government established
because of the GPA, must absolutely ensure that the diamond mining industry
is not governed by a predatory elite which uses its access to state power to
enrich itself, against the interests of the people as a whole, acting in
collusion with the mining companies.
Accordingly, the Government of Zimbabwe must surely do everything possible
to ensure the greatest possible transparency about all matters relating to
the mining and marketing of diamonds, and the management and use of the
resultant financial resources, precisely because the Government would have
nothing to hide.
In this context, the Government would obviously have to put in place very
strict measures to combat any corruption that might arise, related to the
I have said all this because I have no doubt that there will be people both
from Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the world who will see the opportunity of the
exploitation of Zimbabwe’s diamond resources as, for them, a happy occasion
for self-enrichment by corrupt means.
In all humility, I would also say that the Government of Zimbabwe must put
in place a progressive and long-term policy about the management of this
important natural resource heritage, as it has done with regard to land, in
this case relating to this country’s diamonds.
This must mean sustained national access to the financial revenues deriving
from the exploitation of this resource, and the use of these revenues to
finance the necessary sustainable development, bearing in mind that what is
mined, including diamonds, is not a renewable resource.
I know that Zimbabwe, like much of our region, is rich in natural resources,
in addition to the land and the diamond resources we have spoken of this
I have absolutely no doubt that Zimbabwe will evolve into one of the African
Lions of which other objective observers have spoken, which will ensure that
the people of this country achieve the objective we all seek of achieving
the objective of a sustained and comprehensive better life.
Of critical importance in this context, will be how you, our Zimbabwe
friends, present here today, handle your management of your natural
resources, including land, diamonds, platinum, chrome, copper, coal, gold,
and others of this country’s many natural resources.
For many years now, our region, through SADC, has called for the lifting of
sanctions against Zimbabwe, which regrettably has not happened.
Our region made this call not to advantage the ruling party in Zimbabwe, but
to improve the socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe, in favour of the people
as a whole.
We acted as we did as the people in place who had intimate knowledge of the
situation in our countries and our neighbourhood. In this regard we were
very happy that earlier this year, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights,
Judge Navi Pillay, also called for the lifting of these sanctions.
The public position which many took relating to what UN Commissioner Navi
Pillay said about Zimbabwe confirmed to us as Africans, to our regret, that
the issue of human rights in international politics, certainly as it relates
to us, is little more than an instrument in a global political struggle
weighted to undermine the assertion of our right to self determination.
In this regard, as I did in Dubai last year, I would appeal to you as
members of the Kimberley Process, not to allow the important Kimberley
Process, in whose success our Continent is genuinely interested, to be
abused by anybody whatsoever, for political purposes, among others to
achieve the objective of ‘regime change’ in Zimbabwe.
In this regard I have no doubt that Africa, as a major producer and exporter
of diamonds, will participate actively and willingly in any process to
improve the functioning and other elements of the Kimberley Process, as I
However, Africa and Southern Africa as a whole share the hope for the speedy
economic and political recovery of Zimbabwe.
Together, as a billion Africans, we believe that the Zimbabwe diamonds will
help to achieve these important objectives which would benefit our Continent
Both the Zimbabwe political leadership and the world political powers owe a
sacred obligation to the peoples of Zimbabwe and Africa to ensure that this
country’s diamonds serve as the people’s best friend!
I sincerely hope that all of us gathered here at this World Heritage Site,
Musi oa Thunya, will take the decisions we must, which will enable the
peoples of Zimbabwe and Africa to acquire the benefit of the heritage of a
better life, and thus defeat all ill-intentioned attempts to inject into the
Kimberley Process objectives inimical to its original and noble purposes.
As Africans we can have no objection to the goal that Africa must succeed.
As these Africans, including as Zimbabweans, we cannot have any other
objective than that Zimbabwe re-establishes herself as one of Africa’s
preeminent pioneer counties.
You, Zimbabweans who are with us today, have an obligation to live up to
this task, and therefore to honour what Africa has done to help guarantee
your own right to self- determination, in Africa’s own interest.
Whatever your faults which as Africans we share with you, nevertheless we
demand of you that you must, at all times, act in a manner that upholds and
demonstrates our character as true and noble Africans.
In an important piece in the on-going Sokwanele debate on land entitled “The
significance of land compensation for rehabilitation of Zimbabwe’s land
sector”, Professor Mandi Rukuni, former chair of the Zimbabwe Land Tenure
Commission and professor of agricultural economics at UZ, offers his
thoughts on the compensation issue. As ever it is a measured, pragmatic
stance and one with much merit. He makes a number of key points and
by IAN SCOONES
He points out that existing legislation (from 2000) allows for compensation
for ‘improvements’ only. This has been confirmed in the still-disputed draft
Constitution, suggesting at least that the MDC agrees with this formula,
although the Constitution allows for full compensation including for land
for those farms governed by investment treaties. Around 125 farmers settled
on this basis in the early 2000s before hyperinflation kicked in. Now others
are contemplating this, among the former owners of the 1250 farms that have
been surveyed and valued. Thus since the Fast Track programme, 210 farmers
have been compensated for improvements. Compensation values which have been
paid out vary from about $200,000 to $1.2 million, according to Rukuni.
But what would the total cost? In order for the agricultural economy to move
forward and for investment to flow, with confidence once again being
restored, dealing with the compensation issue is a priority. Under the
existing law, compensation and so ‘quittance’ must precede the issuing of
any new lease. Without compensation then, especially for the larger A2
farms, lease arrangements are impossible, resulting in continued insecurity
for existing farmers.
According to government, the total settlement bill on this current basis
would be US$1.5-2 billion. However, the Commercial Farmers’ Union disputes
the legislation, arguing that compensation values should include land,
improvements, interest and consequential damage. They estimate the total
would come to between $6 and $10 billion. Clearly there is a big gap between
the estimates. What then is a pragmatic solution? The fact that the
government is serious about compensation is clear from the budget
allocations up to 2014, over which period some $30 million has been
earmarked for compensation. This is clearly not enough, and other support,
including from the international community will be required, to resolve
this. So, what else needs to be done?
Rukuni identifies two things for immediate action. First, valuations must be
speeded up. Currently over 5000 properties still need to be properly valued,
and if valuations are disputed, they must be dealt with in the
Administrative Court. Second, a Land Acquisition Compensation Fund needs to
be set up to allow swift and complete payment of all compensation. The fund
would be made up of contributions from the national budget, contributions
from international donors and development banks, and from transfer fees and
ground rents from A2 farmers once leases were issued.
Above all, Rukuni argues for a pragmatic and flexible process. While there
are some who will stick out for a full settlement and will continue to
pursue this in any court that will hear them, there are many others –
perhaps the majority – who want an end to the uncertainty. For many the
economic collapse, as well as the loss of their farm assets, has resulted in
severe hardships, very often in a vulnerable period of retirement, given the
age profile of most former white farmers.
Rukuni comments, showing his frustration with all sides: “…frankly the
country needs a more proactive leadership from both government and organized
farmers on this matter. It is better for government and farmers to face
donors with a negotiated position than the current huge gulf in positions”.
In other words, he suggests, until there is a sense of joint movement on
this donors, whose budgets are being squeezed in any case are unlikely to
touch the politically charged prospect of compensating a few thousand white
former farmers, prioritizing them above other perhaps more pressing
humanitarian and development needs in the country.
Yet for the country to move forward some compensation deal, at least for the
majority, is essential. This must emerge from a national consensus, driven
jointly by former farmers and the inclusive government. This must represent
a reasonable, not a maximum, claim, more likely in the ballpark of the
government’s estimate. My personal view, expressed in an earlier blog, is
that, rather than expecting the constrained national budget and aid budgets
to bankroll this, any compensation settlement must be wrapped up in a deal
around national debt. Yet sadly on this too, there remains little consensus.
So, while the administrative and legal mechanisms for resolution exist, the
political commitment from key players must be there too. Sadly, this may
still be something that has to wait until a new political settlement is
reached, hopefully in the next year, with a new agreed Constitution being
the basis for moving forward on this thorny consequence of the land reform.
November 13th, 2012
By Dale Doré, a discussion paper in the Zimbabwe Land SeriesExecutive Summary
Ian Scoones and his co-authors caused a splash with the publication last year of their controversial book Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities. Accompanying the book were a series of 8 videos, Voices from the Field, as well as downloadable summaries, YouTube debates, blogs, and interviews with BBC World TV. Articles were serialised in The Zimbabweannewspaper and a website was set up, replete with congratulatory sound-bites from distinguished professorial colleagues. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This review therefore assesses the evidence behind this mass of publicity for the study’s findings. It begins with a synopsis of the book as told by its lead author. It then examines some of the book’s main themes. The first is the authors’ insistence that their study is based on solid empirical evidence that is used to analyse the complexities of resettlement. Second, it reviews the study’s research methods, especially the analysis used to dismiss the so-called ‘investment myth’. Third, it looks into the book’s assumptions, objectives and narrative to explain the gaps in their story of resettlement. Finally, the conclusion discusses whether there is any substance to the hype, and it compares two visions of land policy in Zimbabwe.
[For ease of reference, page numbers for quotes from the paperback edition, published by Jacana, are given in parenthesis.]
The Scoones’ story
Ian Scoones has told his story to many different audiences, but always in the same well-practiced and carefully scripted way. In essence, he claims that the realities on the ground reveal a far more positive picture of resettlement than the negative images or ‘myths’ portrayed by the media. He begins his story by noting that the issues surrounding resettlement are complex and nuanced. He then disarms his audience with certain caveats by admitting, with hand on heart, that the story of resettlement is mixed. Yes, he says, the process was deeply problematic. Violence, abuse and patronage certainly did occur, and Masvingo Province’s experiences were of course different to other parts of the country. But these contentious issues are quickly shelved as he deftly steers the debate towards the study’s main objective, which is to find out how the livelihoods of those who were resettled had been transformed. ‘To be honest,’ says Scoones in all sincerity, ‘we were surprised. We had a whole set of unexpected results.’
Contrary to the myths that there was no investment in resettlement areas and that a rural economy had collapsed, their research revealed an important and as yet untold story of land reform. They found that new patterns of mixed small-scale farming based on crops and livestock had transformed the dual agrarian economy. He tells how resettlement has benefitted a broad set of people: the land hungry from nearby communal areas, townspeople making a go of farming, and civil servants investing their skills. One of his main claims was that two-thirds of the settlers were just ordinary people. Only a few were cronies. In sum: they found hard working and entrepreneurial new farmers who made significant investments to create a vibrant and dynamic rural economy.
But he goes further. Just as commercial farmers were assisted in the 1950s, and smallholders supported in the 1980s, newly settled farmers deserve external support and investment to build on their entrepreneurial dynamism. Given this opportunity, he claims, new farmers will rise to the occasion by contributing to local livelihoods, national food security and broader economic development.Empirical evidence and complexity
There are two key facets of their study that the authors emphasise. The first is the strongempirical foundations of their work. Their research, they say, was based on detailed, solid evidence bought to light by real, on-the-ground facts involving 400 households across 16 survey sites over a 10-year period. Moreover, they aver that their study was both objective and balanced because they were “agnostic to the diversity of theoretical positions”.  The second facet they emphasise it the complexity of resettlement issues. One of their stated aims was to challenge simplistic generalisation (or myths) with solid data on complex realities. For Scoones it was therefore indefensible for the BBC to treat his ‘mountains of research evidence’ (reality) as if they were equivalent to an ‘unsubstantiated commentary’ by the Commercial Farmers Union (myths).
But is Scoones claiming too much for their study? Is it plausible for a study to be both detailed, empirical and objective as well as also being capable of analysing complex systems? Noam Chomsky (a famous scientist and human rights defender) recently said that “As you deal with more and more complex systems, it becomes harder and harder to find deep and interesting properties.” He believes that research needs to confine itself to simple questions to find credible and convincing answers. Not surprisingly, Scoones struggles hard to sustain the contradiction between analytical rigour and complexity. Good examples of this difficulty are the book’s chapters on labour markets (Chapter 6) and ‘real’ markets (Chapter 7).
According to the study, the researchers found a “variety of origins of labour circulating through a number of relationships and connections. This is a highly complex labour market. For example, we have new in-migrants to households, attracted by the new opportunities of the new settlements.”  They then go on to describe the circulation of labour in detail, including all the combinations and permutations relating on kinship, gender, age, and so on. But to what end? Because the labour markets they describe are typical of most rural areas, and because there is no analysis of their complexity, their detailed description is neither novel nor revealing. Similarly for ‘real’ markets, which are described as a “complex web of connections, and a very informal market – illegal and legal.”  Real markets for maize, beef and sugar are illustrated by way of ‘spider’ diagrams. These consist of lots of little boxes all connected to one another in various ways, but few if any of the linkages are analysed. So, apart from being complex, the diagrams add little to our understanding of ‘real’ markets.
Of course, it is not possible to analyse every relationship in detail. To resolve Chomsky’s conundrum, researchers usually first develop a conceptual framework where a few key relationships, based on strong theoretical foundations, are analysed in depth. The conceptual model helps reduce the complexity into hypotheses that can be tested rigorously using empirical data to draw generalised but illuminating conclusions. Without this model, the researchers have been left floundering with piles of detailed data that cannot possibly be analysed properly. Inevitably the researchers have had to rely on a more discursive approach. Rather than allowing the data and analysis to speak for itself, the researchers ‘interpret’ their data to convince readers of their veracity.Empirical research methods
The investment myth
One of the most common research requirements is to have a benchmark or baseline against which to measure and evaluate performance. This becomes all the more necessary if the criterion – in this case, the level of investment – has been blown up to the proportion of a ‘myth’. In Chapter 4, Investing in Land, the study measures the value of all kinds of investments, from clearing land and purchasing equipment to housing and transport. However, the study has no criteria, benchmarks or statistical methods by which to assess the significance of their data, which consists of absolute numbers and dollar values of investments. This difficulty can be illustrated by their analyses of investment in sanitation (latrines) and farm equipment.
The facts were these: 68 toilets were constructed across all study sites by 2008, representing 38.4% of households. To some minds that might seem rather low. The study then estimated that the average cost of constructing toilets was $77 per household. Without a benchmark – of, say, the cost of building a Blair toilet – this level of investment is not possible to evaluate. So the researchers help us decide. We are told that in the absence of external support the investment has been “substantial” and that “people showed a real determination to improve their sanitation facilities.”  Throughout the chapter indiscriminate praise is lavished on each and every investment, however small. For farm equipment the average investment was $198 per household, or just $25 per household per annum. Insignificant? Not at all. “Across schemes and success groups,” we are told, “investment in equipment for farming has been significant.”  Undeterred by its misleading methodology, the researchers simply added up the investments, came up with a figure of $91 million, and claim it is a “substantial amount by any calculation.” They then triumphantly declare that, “The myth that there is no investment on the new resettlements can thus be safely dismissed.” 
In truth, the figure of $91 million is quite meaningless. But, leaving aside the study’s lack of scientific method, the researcher’s construction of the myth deserves further comment. The first is the genesis of the myth. Whoever claimed that there was absolutely no investment in new settlements? We are not told. Was it – as some suspect – a straw man invented for the purpose of the book’s narrative? Another concern is the phrasing of the myth. By setting their benchmark at zero (i.e. ‘no investment’) the researchers could dismiss the ‘investment myth’ by showing only there was as least some investment, however meagre. The notion of an investment myth – let alone dismissing it – is therefore sheer nonsense. It only serves to make the study team look like patronising academics who use the epithet of a ‘myth’ to unfairly denigrate the views and experiences of others.
Resettlement: for better or worse?
The problem of the study’s methodology goes deeper, however. It is not only a matter of having benchmarks for the investment assets, but for having an evaluative standard or criterion for the study as a whole. How can the success or otherwise of resettlement be judged unless researchers have similar areas by which to measure and compare data from their own study sites? Two immediate options spring to mind. One is to use the communal areas from whence many of the settlers originated. The other is the old resettlement areas where families were also allocated plots based on Model A schemes. But, here the researchers are quick to trump any such analysis with their well-worn reference to complexity. According to the researchers, these new resettlement areas, with new people, and different livelihoods and production systems, are very different from either the communal areas or the old resettlement areas. As such, claim the researchers, the new resettlement areas deserve an analysis which does not carry the assumptions from elsewhere.  This reasoning lacks credibility. Were they afraid, perhaps, that comparisons may throw up evidence that spoilt their narrative? Either way, this methodological misstep further diminishes the integrity of the study.
But there is an even more compelling comparison to be made – productivity before and after resettlement – that goes to the heart of land reform programme. Indeed, the first question put to Scoones by the BBC World TV interviewer was, “How does productivity compare to the past where these [resettlement areas] were owned by white commercial farmers.” Bill Kinsey, a leading researcher on the resettlement programme, had already predicted the economic consequences of replacing commercial farms with resettlement schemes. He estimated, for example, that the resettlement of 170,000 families would eliminate 177,000 farm workers’ jobs, resulting in a $148 million loss in wages annually. Less that half of this – i.e. only $70 million – would be made up by the earnings of settlers. He also estimated that the commercial area population of 1.67 million would fall below 1.19 million after resettlement, suggesting that more people would be displaced than resettled, “creating pressures for further rounds of resettlement”. A model was therefore ready and waiting to be tested empirically by Scoones’ team.
This question did not escape them. As they noted, “A question often posed is whether the resettlements are an improvement on what was there before.”  They also recognised that, “With land being removed from commercial production, the benchmark for the performance of the new agrarian configuration is high”.  But they conveniently fall back on their excuse of complexity – full of ifs, buts and maybes. “This is an impossible question to answer easily”, they said, “it all depends on what was there before.” [ibid.] But there is nothing to suggest that they made the slightest attempt to find out; despite the availability of very detailed information on commercial farms that had been collected for the purpose of estimating compensation. Instead, they lamely claimed that calculating returns are “social and political choices, and so are not amenable to simple economic analysis.”  Yet this did not deter them from making highly misleading estimates of productivity to suit their purpose. After using per hectare estimates of net revenue from cattle ranching to give them “simple orders of magnitude”, they concluded that the “new mixed farming systems of the A1 and informal systems are clearly outperforming extensive cattle or wildlife ranching on a per area basis by a substantial margin.”  For a study making grandiose claims, this analysis is wholly inadequate.
Triangulation is a social science research method of cross-checking data from different sources to reduce intrinsic biases and improve the credibility and validity of the results. In particular, it is used to more fully explain the complexity of human behaviour and provide a more balanced picture of the situation. Yet, despite the study’s avowal of explaining complexity and representing reality, triangulation is conspicuous only by its absence from the study. Virtually all the data, and certainly their advocacy material, comes from a single source: the beneficiaries of land resettlement themselves. The 8 promotional videos, Voices from the Field, are evocative images and carefully scripted voice-overs that repeat the study’s central storyline of successful settlement by enterprising settlers. We do not hear the voices of those who could not or would not invade the farms, or those settlers who did not succeed. We do not hear the voices of those who were denied the opportunity to acquire farming land fairly and lawfully. In particular, we do not hear the voices of the farmers and their farm workers who were forced to flee their homes and livelihoods. If and when we do hear these alternative voices, the study tends to treat them not just with condescension, but as ‘myths’.
Triangulation not only underpins credible research, it also has an ethical dimension. It is a fundamental tenet – even to a layperson unfamiliar with formal research methodologies – that in fairness, everyone should be given the right of reply. To take cognisance only of the opinions of beneficiaries of the resettlement programme, and present them as fact, opens the study to a perception of bias. The researchers’ reticence to embrace triangulation therefore does little to reassure the reader about the validity of their findings.The inconvenient truth
Perhaps the book’s most egregious claim, and which is central to the book’s discourse, is that “it is simply impossible to say whether the events of 1999-2000 were the result of a ground up social protest movement which took hold, or whether the process was set up and manipulated by ZANU(PF).” Anyone as perceptive as Scoones, or anyone who has followed events or read the Supreme Court rulings during this period, would know that this claim is patently untrue. The entire fast track land reform programme was driven by President Robert Mugabe’s Third Chimurenga against white commercial farmers, aided and abetted by the state security apparatus and party-sponsored militia. The Lord Justices of the England and Wales Court of Appeal agreed that farm invasions “were part of widespread systematic attacks against the civilian population of farmers and farm workers, carried out not just with the full knowledge of the regime but as a deliberate act of policy by it, with the intention of advancing its grip on power, suppressing opposition, and helping its supporters.” Nothing could be clearer.
So why did Scoones and his team feel the need to make such a self-evidently false claim? Because, for the purpose of their narrative, they needed to distinguish the many supposedly hard-working ‘ordinary’ settlers (accumulation from below) from those few greedy, rent-seeking ‘cronies’ who grabbed multiple farms (accumulation from above). They wanted to portray smallholder settlers as part of a legitimate social protest movement reclaiming their right to land, as opposed to cronies – the few bad apples – who, through the use of violence and intimidation, supposedly compromised the creditability of the land reform programme.
Only by establishing the legitimacy of the land invasions by ordinary Zimbabweans could the authors claim that resettlement was a fait accompli and ‘irreversible’. It also allowed them to “chart a way forward, and not dwell excessively on the interpretation of past events.”  In other words, they could dispense with agonising over the worst excesses of land invasions, such as the forced removal of 150,000 farm workers’ families. This left them free to focus on carefully constructing a sanguine picture of committed and deserving settlers. Past event involving gross human rights violations could simply be airbrushed out. Thus, no settlers are held to account for the violence, lawlessness, and impunity that forcibly evicted the owners and workers from the farms. No cognisance is taken of the legality of farm seizures, or of international law, or of the rulings by the SADC Tribunal that Zimbabwe was bound to honour by international treaty. No questions need be asked about the fairness of land allocation and the opportunity cost of allowing party supporters and opportunists to grab land at the expense of Zimbabwe’s many trained, experienced and worthy farmers. No concern need be expressed about land allocated to civil servants who already had jobs, who could not possibly farm full time, and who were duty-bound to foreswear involvement in such a politically partisan programme.
The study’s attempt to heap the blame on only a few cronies in order to exonerate ordinary settlers cannot be sustained. Settlers were, after all, part and parcel of the land invasions led by hardened war veterans acting on behalf of the party’s leadership and cronies. Emboldened by the predatory policies of an all-powerful party, it was all too easy for would-be settlers to convince themselves of their entitlement to land belonging to whites. Settlers, like their leaders, were therefore quite willing to break the law and use violence to evict the rightful owners and their workers for a free piece of land. Indeed, one of the tragic ironies of the land invasions, emphasised by Lord Justice Stanley Burnton (quoting Justice Rix) was that:
“By far the great majority of the victims of the invasions were the black employees of the farmers, who together with their employers suffered extreme physical violence and the loss of their homes and livelihoods, but who could least afford to bear their loss.” 
Even if some settlers did not commit the crimes themselves, they were most certainly accessories and beneficiaries of those crimes. They may have been ordinary people, but they were by no means innocent. Independent and impartial courts of law refute any illusion that that land invasions were some sort of legitimate and autonomous social protest movement by ordinary people that was somehow disconnected from the wider political violence and lawlessness.
The rulings of the SADC Tribunal, an international court, ruled that the very law underpinning the occupation of invaded farms, Constitutional Amendment 17, violated international law as well as Zimbabwe’s Treaty obligations to respect human rights and the rule of law [Article 4(c)]. It also held that Amendment 17 discriminated against commercial farmers on the grounds of race [Article 6(2)]. Regarding the culpability of those invading land, the England and Wales Appeal Court, quoted earlier, found that an appellant, who had participated in the land invasions, was not only “plainly criminally liable” under domestic law but that the “actions taken by the group in which the appellant participated were acts involving crimes against humanity.” It is not just that Zimbabwe’s disgraced and corrupted criminal justice system had failed the victims of violence; the England and Wales Appeal Court found that the land invasions, in terms of the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court, had caused such great suffering that they constituted the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The land invasions were, in other words, an exercise of state criminality, aided and abetted by senior politicians and cronies, the entire security sector establishment, war veterans, party militia and, let it be said, ordinary settlers. That is the inconvenient truth.Conclusions
Scoones, the team’s leader, is undoubtedly a gifted writer and an articulate advocate. How else could he have created such a persuasive and idyllic narrative of the resettlement programme? But it also shows that his evidence was necessarily subjective and selective as well as being socially and politically constructed. His empathy with radical social movements and the informal sector, and his aversion to neo-liberalism and globalisation, hardly suggests a study which is “agnostic to the diversity to theoretical positions” . Unfortunately, his compelling narrative does not compensate for the methodological weaknesses of the study. Those expecting a robust academic study based on sound research principles and solid analysis will be disappointed. The study’s references to understanding ‘complexity’ based on ‘mountains of data’ turns out to be detailed descriptions of localised complexity and a reticence to make meaningful and objective comparative analyses. Nor do the study’s caveats stop the authors from inappropriately extrapolating their finding from Masvingo Province to cover the entire land reform programme. By the final chapter of the book, Lesson’s from Zimbabwe’ Land Reform, the study’s data and analysis becomes detached from the narrative, as the authors’ make wide-ranging but ungrounded recommendations for land policy reforms.
Scoones and his team remind us that the land policy debate is essentially about two different visions for Zimbabwe. The first vision, based on the ‘new normal’ of realities of Zimbabwe, is captured by their book. It holds that however ugly past crimes may have been, they are now water under the bridge. We should put the past behind us, no matter how grave, and recognise that the land reform was a necessary and irreversible process to correct historical wrongs which ridded Zimbabwe of the dual agrarian structure. We must make the best of a bad job by providing security of tenure and supporting those now occupying the land to improve productivity. With donor assistance, some compensation may even be paid to former white commercial farmers for the assets they lost. It is a vision with an appealing narrative – replete with reconciliation, land rights for indigenous people, a land audit to weed out cronies, political compromise and stability. It is also one that could find traction amongst SADC leaders and certain members of the international community. It would allow them to rid themselves of a festering regional problem and get back to business.
The other view is that a highly partisan and predatory campaign of land invasions that caused such great suffering through gross human rights violations, and which ran counter to principles of international law, are impossible to ignore. It is unconscionable, adherents believe, to leave land in the hands of those who wilfully, unlawfully and often violently took others’ land, while leaving their victims without their homes or livelihoods, without compensation, and without a shred of justice. It also leaves many other potential farmers with the resources, training and skills bereft of the opportunity to make productive use of the land, much of which lies idle in the hands of those who illegally grabbed it. In their vision of the future, the foundations of a fair, inclusive and just land policy must be built on the principles of fundamental human rights and international law. It is a vision based on a legal and institutional framework that provides security of tenure, sound land administration, genuine compensation to all, and a pro-poor strategy to commercialise smallholder agriculture. It involves developing fair criteria and market mechanisms that puts agricultural land into the hands of dedicated Zimbabwean farmers – irrespective of their colour, creed or gender – to bring out the full potential of the land, of agriculture generally, and the country as a whole.
Is it possible to move beyond the poisoned policies based on race and predation, beyond a culture of victimhood and entitlement, beyond the politics of populism and patronage? Is it possible to forge, in other words, a just and inclusive policy on land in which all Zimbabweans can play an active and productive role? In the articles that follow, I explore the various policy options in search of an emerging consensus for a lasting solution to the land question. It involves delving into issues of constitutionality, compensation and a land commission, as well as the requirements of a land audit. It also lays out a vision for Zimbabwe based on secure property rights and a market economy. These are the imperatives that underpin the commercialisation of smallholder agriculture and economic structural transformation. And these, in turn, are the prerequisites for inclusive and sustainable economic growth on which the hopes and livelihoods of generations of Zimbabweans will depend. But any such hope will remain an elusive dream until Zimbabweans rediscover their shared international values by creating a culture of tolerance, by deepening democracy, by defending human rights, and by respecting international law.
 Ian Scoones, “A media glasnost for Zimbabwe coverage?” African Arguments. Royal African Society (28 July 2012) http://africanarguments.org/
 Noam Chomsky, New Scientist, 17 March 2012 (p.28)
 Kinsey, B.H. (1984) The Strategy and Tactics of Agrarian Reform: Resettlement and Land Policy in Zimbabwe. Discussion Paper 136. University of East Anglia: Norwich.
 SK (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 807 (19 June 2012)
 Section 5.5 of the Global Political Agreement between Zimbabwe’s main political parties signed in September 2008 accepts that land acquisition and redistribution are ‘irreversible’.
 SK (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 807 (19 June 2012) [para. 90]