The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Tsvangirai wants top army officer reined in
by Clara Smith Friday 16 October 2009
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has written to Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa asking him to stop a brigadier general from unlawfully
using national army soldiers to invade a white-owned farm, in a sign of
growing discord within Zimbabwe's coalition government.
Tsvangirai's letter, whose disclosure came as a court ordered a top official
of the PM's MDC party, Roy Bennett, back to jail to heighten tensions in the
shaky unity government, was copied to President Robert Mugabe,
Commander-in-Chief of Zimbabwe's armed forces and to Southern African
Development Community (SADC) chairman, Joseph Kabila.
The SADC is alongside the Africa Union a guarantor of last year's
power-sharing agreement between Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara that led to formation of the coalition government last
"I hereby . . . request that your office institutes appropriate action
against Brigadier (Justin) Mujaji to ensure his immediate cessation of
illegal activities, in particular, the use of the Zimbabwe National Army to
perpetrate unlawful acts," read part of Tsvangirai's letter, dated October
Mujaji, the director general in charge of planning and programmes at
Zimbabwe Defence Forces headquarters in Harare, several weeks ago deployed
armed soldiers at Charles Lock's Karori farm in Manicaland province in a bid
to drive the white farmer off the property.
The army officer, who has allegedly stolen some of Lock's crops, has openly
defied several court orders to allow the white farmer to retrieve his
personal belongings from the farm.
The soldiers threatened to shoot Lock and a court deputy sheriff who was
accompanying him to his farm to collect his personal belongings.
In his letter, Tsvangirai narrates how Mujaji has defied court orders and
how the brigadier has used national army soldiers as "private force" but the
Premier does not say what action he will take should Mnangagwa fail to act
against the army officer.
Tsvangirai wrote: "Charles Lock has obtained six High Court orders against
Brigadier Mujaji. The Prime Minister's office is aware of the fact that
Brigadier Mujaji has disregarded all of the six High Court orders and is
using attested members of the Zimbabwe National Army as a private force in
contravention of the country's laws and Constitution."
It was not possible to immediately get comment from Mnangagwa or Tsvangirai's
spokesman James Maridadi on the matter.
But sources in the Prime Minister's office said Mnangagwa - a powerful
Mugabe ally - had not yet responded to the letter by yesterday, despite a
demand by Tsvangirai for immediate response and action.
In addition, soldiers remained camped at Lock's farm as Zimbabwe's coalition
government appeared headed for more choppy waters especially after Bennett's
Bennett, the MDC's treasurer and its nomination for deputy minister of
agriculture in the unity government, was sent to jail pending his trail at
the High Court on charges of possessing weapons for the purposes of
committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism.
The MDC politician denies the charges that Tsvangirai has also condemned as
politically motivated. The MDC yesterday reacted angrily to Bennett's
jailing calling it a "serious attack on the credibility" of the coalition
The incarceration of Bennett and refusal by Mnangagwa to act against Mujaji
as demanded by Tsvangirai is certain to fuel tempers within the hardliner
camp in the MDC, already angry over what they see as attempts by Mugabe to
relegate the former opposition to a junior role in the power-sharing
government. - ZimOnline
MDC considers cutting contact with ZANU PF
by Own Correspondents Friday 16 October 2009
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party will today hold a
crisis meeting to consider suspending "nearly all contact" with President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party, sources said yesterday, as Zimbabwe's
coalition government looked headed for more choppy waters.
The sources said the MDC was not going to pull out of the shaky unity
government it formed with ZANU PF nearly eight months ago.
But they said the party was expected to resolve to drastically limit conduct
with Mugabe's party and to boycott Cabinet that is chaired by the veteran
leader to protest the detention last Wednesday of MDC treasurer general Roy
Bennett, who is facing controversial terrorism charges, is due to make an
application for bail at the High Court today.
The sources said there was a push for the MDC to hold its own Cabinet and
Council of Ministers meetings separate from ZANU PF and chaired by
Tsvangirai, in what would amount to virtually a split in the unity
government leaving Zimbabwe with two parallel administrations.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed today's emergency meeting but would
neither confirm nor deny that the MDC was considering cutting nearly all
contact with ZANU PF, only saying that there were several options that the
meeting will be asked to consider.
"We have options on the table which will be considered on their merit at the
national executive council meeting," Chamisa said.
Chamisa also said today's meeting would not be limited to the case of
Bennett but would examine several outstanding issues from last year's global
political agreement (GPA) with ZANU PF that is the basis of the
"There will be an extraordinary national executive council meeting tomorrow
(Friday) to spotlight on outstanding issues in the GPA, especially the
indictment of Roy Bennett," said Chamisa.
The MDC is unhappy that Mugabe has refused to rescind his unilateral
appointment of his supporters to head the central bank and the Attorney
General's office in breach of the power-sharing agreement that says such
appointments should be by consultation.
The former opposition party, which says the charges against Bennett are
political, says his prosecution of Bennett is a further breach of the unity
agreement under which Mugabe undertook to halt all political prosecutions.
Bennett, who has been on bail since March after spending a month in prison,
was indicted to the High Court on Wednesday on charges of possessing weapons
for the purposes of committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism. He denies
The 52-year-old Bennett is a white farmer who was named by Tsvangirai for
the post of deputy agriculture minister in the country's power-sharing
Mugabe has refused to swear in Bennett to his ministerial post citing the
charges against him although those close to the President says he has
conceded in private that the state has no case against the MDC politician,
while on the other hand the prosecution has looked not in a hurry to
conclude the case.
The MDC accuses the Attorney General's office - which is fiercely loyal to
Mugabe - of conspiring to keep Bennett, whose farm was seized by ZANU PF
loyalists during the country's controversial land reform campaign, out of
government. - ZimOnline
EU presidency slams Zimbabwe for 'politically motivated abuse'
15 October 2009, 20:12 CET
(BRUSSELS) - The decision by a Zimbabwe court to send a close aide to Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to jail is an act of "politically motivated
abuse", the Swedish EU presidency said Thursday.
"The (EU) Presidency regrets that politically motivated abuse persists in
the country," Sweden said in a statement.
"The decision taken yesterday, together with reports during the last few
months of unsubstantiated legal measures taken against several MDC (Movement
for Democratic Change) members of parliament, is cause for serious concern,"
the statement continued.
Zimbabwean magistrate Lucy Mungwari earlier ordered ministerial nominee Roy
Bennett, a close aide to Tsvangirai, back to jail to face terrorism charges
She announced Bennett's trial will start on Monday in the high court of the
eastern town of Mutare and told the court: "The accused person shall be
committed to prison."
The move "indicates a lack of commitment to the letter and spirit of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA)," which allowed for the formation of
Zimbabwe's unity government including both Tsvangirai and President Robert
The EU presidency, held by Sweden till the end of the year, called for "an
end to politically motivated persecution in Zimbabwe", while stressing that
the European Union "stands ready to assist the inclusive government in
implementing the much-needed reforms... in the areas of democracy, respect
for human rights and restoration of the rule of law."
The EU statement recalled that the parties to the GPA "agreed last year to
build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation and hatred. This
commitment should be honoured without delay."
Bennett, the Movement for Democratic Change treasurer, is a white coffee
grower whose property was expropriated under the country's controversial
land reform laws.
Harare's progress on political front limited: UK
by Own Correspondent Friday 16 October 2009
HARARE - Political reforms in Zimbabwe have been "far more limited", British
ambassador Mark Canning said on Thursday, adding that the West would
continue withholding financial aid until a political agreement between Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe is fully implemented.
Canning said Western sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle would also
remain in place until Zimbabwean's main political leaders have implemented
all provisions of a global political agreement (GPA) they signed last year
and is the basis of their nearly eight-month old unity government.
"The progress of course, on the political front as we see from the current
developments relating to Mr (Roy) Bennett has been far more limited,"
Canning told reporters in Harare, referring to Wednesday's detention of
Bennett, the treasurer general of Tsvangirai's MDC party.
"We have seen tentative progress, we believe we have seen some tentative
progress towards fulfilling the terms of the Global Political Agreement, but
we are yet to see substantial progress in the area of governance and human
rights. We very much hope that does unfold in the coming months," the UK
Under the GPA Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
agreed to work to restore the rule of law, uphold human rights and to
implement a raft of political reforms including writing a new constitution
to ensure democracy in Zimbabwe.
But the agreement has been violated by hardline supporters of Mugabe's ZANU
PF party and military commanders who have committed political violence and
invaded white-owned private farms, while Tsvangirai's MDC party says the
detention of Bennett is in breach of the agreement that called for cessation
of all politically motivated trials.
Bennett, who will apply for bail in the High Court today, is being held on
controversial terrorism charges that he denies and which the MDC claims are
part of a scheme by Mugabe's hardline backers to persecute and jail the
former opposition party's leaders and activists on trumped-up charges.
On the other hand, Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from
Britain in 1980, has refused to swear in Bennett as deputy agriculture
minister, saying he faced criminal charges and needed to be cleared by the
Canning said: "The UK wants this inclusive government to succeed. We have in
place a travel ban on 203 individuals, we also have a ban on 40 state-owned
companies, and these are measures that do not bear on the population. The
issue of sanctions is frankly one that will go away if the spirit and the
letter of the GPA is carried through."
There was no immediate reaction from ZANU PF or Mugabe's office to Canning's
statement but the veteran leader and his party insist that they have done
more than their fair share to implement the GPA.
They also claim that Western sanctions have had a wider impact beyond the
more than 200 targeted individuals and companies to affect the entire
Zimbabwean economy and population.
The United States, European Union countries and other Western nations have
since 2002 maintained visa and financial sanctions against Mugabe and his
senior lieutenants as punishment for their failure to uphold the rule of
law, democracy and human rights.
EU officials who visited Zimbabwe last month said he bloc was keen to open a
new chapter of relations with Harare but said sanctions on Mugabe would
remain in place until there was full implementation of the GPA and full
restoration of human rights and the rule of law in the African country.
But Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state have called
on the international community to lift the sanctions, saying the unity
government the 15-nation regional bloc helped set up had made significant
progress in ending a devastating economic and political crisis in the
southern African country. - ZimOnline
Houses for Murambatsvina victims
October 15, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The inclusive government has committed itself to providing housing
for victims of an infamous clean-up exercise launched by President Robert
Mugabe's administration which left thousands homeless.
The Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Fidelis Mhashu, told
The Zimbabwe Times Thursday that his ministry was working on building houses
for the victims of Operation Murambatsvina/Drive Out Trash of 2005.
"We have a programme in progress aimed at responding to the victims of
Operation Murambatsvina," said Mhashu. "We are committed to providing
adequate housing to those people who lost their shelter in 2005."
He said his ministry has already done a survey which established that about
8 000 housing units would be needed to accommodate the victims.
"We have done a survey on the impact of Operation Murambatsvina and the
survey established that about 7 480 housing units will be required," he
said. "4 000 have already been built.
"We are just working on providing the necessary requirements such as access
to water and electricity before they can be occupied."
He, however, would not provide details of how his ministry was going to
identify the actual victims of the operation and the criteria of the
allocation of the houses to the victims.
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF-led government embarked on the infamous
clean-up operation code-named Operation Murambatsvina in 2005. The exercise,
which was conducted in winter, saw thousands of houses being destroyed in
many parts of the country.
Thousands of people were left homeless. The United Nations Habitat Executive
Secretary, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, condemned the operation and visited
Zimbabwe to assess the damage the operation.
She estimated in her report that more than 700 000 people were affected.
The government responded by launching a rushed housing programme code -named
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle. Hundreds of sub-standard houses were built
ostensibly for the victims of the operation but were never occupied by the
Most of the houses went to either Zanu-PF supporters or civil servants while
many others were never occupied.
Most of these houses have no access to water, sanitary facilities and
Some political analysts still argue that the clean-up exercise five years
ago was meant to crash any possibilities of an outbreak of mass violence by
the many disgruntled city dwellers at the time.
They claimed the operation was a pre-emptive measure to stop the explosion
of mass protests from the groundswell of mass discontent which had already
built up among urban dwellers at the time.
Mhashu added that his ministry was moving to put in place a housing delivery
system in Zimbabwe. He said the policy would see the government building
houses for all classes.
"We have already identified land where the government will build houses for
the low, middle and upper classes of our society," said Mhashu.
"We would also want to change the legal framework of housing delivery in
He would not give the exact figures of Zimbabweans who need housing.
The government is going to host a national housing conference in Victoria
Falls at the end of this month. Several international speakers, among them
Tibaijuka, will attend the event.
Fort Hare washes its hands in Mugabe scholarship row
THE University of Fort Hare has distanced itself from the Zimbabwe
Presidential Scholarship Programme that struck off 12 students who attended
a campus meeting of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
The scholarship, established by President Robert Mugabe for children
from underprivileged families, was worth R72000 for each student.
Vice-chancellor Mvuyo Tom said yesterday the Alice university had
"received communication" from the Zimbabwean government indicating it had
withdrawn financial support to the students "allegedly for participating in
political activity, purportedly in violation of the terms of their bursary
Tom said about half of the 1500 Zimbabwean students at Fort Hare were
funded through the scholarship, "in terms of which the Zimbabwean government
selects students to study at Fort Hare and pays their tuition and residence
fees directly" to the Alice institution.
It was "not a party to the scholarship agreement between the
Zimbabwean government and the scholarship holders. As with any other similar
funding arrangement, the terms are a matter between the government and the
Fort Hare had asked the students to contact it so it could inform them
of Harare's letter and "discuss alternative payment arrangements".
But MDC campus branch chairman Ulete Juma said they had already been
briefed by the university, adding this was a constructive way of saying
"vacate our premises".
The business studies post-graduate student said: "In a nutshell, what
this all means is that if we can't settle our tuition fees, then we have to
vacate the university's premises because now we're on our own.
"The students can't pay for themselves. The scholarship is for
They were appealing for "humanitarian assistance" because the axed
students meal cards were "frozen".
MDC provincial chairman Rodrick Chimombe said they had written to
Zimbabwe's Pretoria ambassador Simon Moyo, MDC secretary-general and
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Education Minister David Colted
"to look at this issue".
Villagers boycott official agri-market
by Chris Anold Msipa Friday 16 October 2009
MVUMA - She has five tonnes of maize from last season and needs less than
two tonnes for her family. Yet she is selling none of the excess, at least
not to the government.
Mai Tsitsi Madzambwa, a villager of Mavise area in the Chirumanzu District
of central Zimbabwe, says the whole world abandoned her and other villagers
at a time when they were starving.
"We know the GMB (the state-run Grain Marketing Board) has pledged to pay
US$265 per tonne for maize. But we won't be fooled again. They can use that
money to buy from where they bought the maize they shared while we starved,"
Her comments refer to corruption GMB officials allegedly committed with
grain allocated to feed hungry people last year. Reports say the workers got
rich and fat from the loot, donated and imported.
Mai Madzambwa says she and her neighbours now find it is "risky" to do
business with the state body, which they also accuse of delaying payments
for produce it buys, seriously upsetting their plans:
"We depend on the money from our crops to buy inputs for next season, pay
school fees, buy other supplies needed in the home and get more livestock,"
"That is not possible if you deal with the GMB. In the past it was
different. We delivered our stuff, got paid and bought our inputs in one
day. Now it's another tale. You will wait and wait until it is too late to
catch up with the rains. It is so upsetting.
"This is why you find we now occasionally sell one bucket (about 20kg) of
maize for US$3 to raise just enough for daily essentials like salt, soap and
sugar. Otherwise we are not selling our crops. Farming is too hard for us to
just surrender tonnes of grain."
To the private buyers they are selling 50kg maize at US$7.50 and one tonne
for US$150, some US$115 less than what the state is offering. This comes
after the government this year liberalised the grain market.
Yet she says farmers prefer trading at such low prices on the open market
due to many problems, worsened by the neglect they have suffered and the
harsh economic climate the country has undergone over the past 10 years or
Experiences of 2008, when there were times a parent would watch helplessly
while her or his kids starved, are also still fresh memories.
Almost everyone in Chirumanzu District at one stage fed on chakata, a
sweetish rural Zimbabwe wild fruit from which drinks, bread and porridge can
be made, as villagers discovered during the hungry times.
Food had vanished from shop shelves, while items like cooking oil,
mealie-meal, salt, soap and sugar were occasionally available in private
homes at deterrent prices that reached figures only used in scientific
calculations in normal life.
Still, not much has changed even after the nation in January adopted use of
multiple currencies following the total collapse of the domestic dollar.
Conditions remain tough, also despite the calmed political situation.
"Children are dropping out of school here," Mai Madzambwa says, "Parents can't
afford the high fees charged in US dollars or South African rands . . . So,
instead of selling to GMB and wait indefinitely we are forced to trade our
crops privately to keep our families alive.
Problem of corruption
"There is also the problem of corruption. Right now we hear fertilisers have
been secured, but there is nothing here. And when they come, we know for
sure their cost will be too high for us because they will now be sold from
homes of big people," whom she refuses to name.
The widow is just but one of the many farmers who are resisting the call to
sell their crops to the government to replenish its empty granaries
scattered throughout the Southern African nation.
GMB officials early this year went around villages and small-holder farms
urging people to sell their crops to the entity, which would pay them within
two weeks after commodity delivery.
The authorities have since changed and are now buying with inputs like
fertilisers, which are highly expensive on the market. But farmers say they
want cash and they will buy their own materials.
A 50kg bag of fertiliser is going for up to $30 and one tonne demands some
$600. But producers of the inputs say they are optimistic the supplies this
year will improve slightly compared to 2008, raising hope prices would also
Farming officials also say the industry needs at least $30 million to raise
production by 60 percent this year and not less than $76 million in the next
three years for plant renovations to restore full production.
Village Headman Fidelis Matambo, in another area some 25km from Mavise, says
he also is holding on to his 10 tonnes of shelled maize and about a similar
amount not yet shelled. He says he will only sell to the state if he can be
assured of payment.
"It used to be very easy to market our crops. We would collect empty grain
bags from the GMB, pack our products, take them to the market, get paid and
buy next season's inputs all at once," says Headman Matambo.
GMB is broke
All has changed now, "The market has been liberalised; and the GMB is broke.
It can't buy our crops, leaving us no option but to go to the private buyers
and millers, who are milking us, making money that never reaches the
producer or the Treasury."
Headman Matambo says changed rainfall patterns demand early preparations if
one is to harvest. Yet access to chemicals, fertilisers and seeds is very
limited. Most tillers in his area often reap inadequate family supplies due
to the problem.
Zimbabweans have in recent years been forced to import inputs due to serious
industrial disruptions after their country's historic land reforms in which
black peasants seized white-owned farms with state support.
However, Headman Matambo says, "Authorities should ensure the farming
industry and its support sectors are resuscitated, to ensure experiences of
2008 are not repeated."
He says there is no reason, while it is also a shame, for Zimbabwe to go
begging for "things" like fertiliser and seed, when it is known worldwide as
an exporter of such commodities.
Sidney Otto, a self-employed man who runs a vegetable stall in the district
town, Mvuma, and also farms in the area, says the government is not showing
any sign that it is serious about agriculture and improved rural life in the
He says people should be enabled to market their produces without hitches
like what is being experienced:
Otto said: "We are not given the chance to do real business. The environment
is not friendly . . . services suitable for proper trading are also
unavailable. And there is no sign things are going to change any time soon.
"People here can feed themselves and serve other surrounding districts if
authoritative attention is focused on creating facilities to promote
production and marketing of our crops."
He says schemes introduced since independence in 1980 to help peasants
instead benefit a few big chefs (senior political and government officials).
And inputs that now occasionally come are also shared among the same people,
as poor farmers lack formidable representation.
However, an official of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) that says it brings
together more than one-million farmers, especially from rural areas like
Chirumanzu, says it will this season distribute 144 000 tonnes of organic
fertiliser to farmers across the country ahead of the cropping season.
ZFU spokesman Phil Chingwaru says the fertiliser is from a local firm called
Nico Orgo, which has a partnership with the union. The alliance, "the first
of its kind, will see ZFU members buying fertiliser at a discount".
Yet to the villagers in Chirumanzu, it is just another old song. Flowery
announcements have been made before but ended in the media, while they
continued to toil in search of inputs and markets. This season "will not be
any different," they say. - ZimOnline
Implats says Zimbabwe govt should honour agreements
HARARE, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe should honour investment agreements to
attract fresh capital and retain investors who have continued to operate in
the country, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (Implats) chief executive David
Brown said on Thursday.
The world's second largest platinum producer, Implats has the biggest
platinum mining operation in Zimbabwe through its local unit Zimplats.
Brown said Zimplats had signed investment agreements with Zimbabwe, which
the government had not yet fulfilled.
He did not say what the agreement was but Zimplats, which says it is
exempted from paying tax on imported capital goods under a 2001 pact, has
feuded with tax authorities demanding payment for imported equipment.
"We still have some issues that need resolution by the government, namely
obligations under the agreements we signed with the Minister of Mines in
2001," Brown said at the official launch of its Ngezi expansion project,
west of Harare.
"We have gone ahead with more investments in the country on the strong
belief that the delays are only due to bureaucracy's slow progress.
Conclusion of these agreements is important if Zimbabwe is to retain current
investors and attract new capital."
Brown said Implats had invested more than $600 million in Zimplats since
In 2006 Zimplats agreed to release a third of its mining claims in exchange
for empowerment credits as the Zimbabwe government pressed with a drive to
transfer majority shareholding in mining companies to locals.
The government has spooked foreign investors with an indigenisation law that
requires foreign-owned businesses, including mines and banks, to sell 51
percent of their holdings to blacks.
Brown said Zimplats was supportive of indigenisation and was, together with
the country's mining chamber, holding consultations with the government on
The government is expected to introduce in parliament amendments to the
mining laws seeking to ensure broader participation by Zimbabweans in the
"We trust that the amendments will take into account the concerns of the
investors while allowing for meaningful indigenous participation," said
Mining has become key to Zimbabwe's struggling economy after the collapse of
commercial agriculture, which is largely blamed on the seizures of
white-owned farms by President Robert Mugabe's previous administration.
A new unity government formed by Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
has given hope that some of the controversial laws that have kept investors
away from the country would be reviewed.
Brown said platinum prices had firmed in the last quarter but sustained
price recovery was dependent on a rebound in the global automotive sector.
Ngezi mine has a production capacity of 2 million tonnes of platinum ore
annually and Brown said the mine could expand if the government created
favourable conditions for investment.
New Wells Protect Environment, Build Peace
By Vusumuzi Sifile
SHAMVA, Zimbabwe′, Oct 15 (IPS) - Twenty years ago, Isaac Chidavaenzi would
worry when his neighbours set up vegetable gardens on river banks, trying to
get closer to water sources. The number of gardens on the rivers' banks has
now decreased, but Chidavaenzi is even more worried.
"Vegetable gardens are no longer on the river banks as they used to be, they
are now right inside the riverbed," says Chidavaenzi. "River systems have
been greatly disrupted. Now it's all dry, and all the forests are gone.
Rivers and streams are literally dying as humans scratch everywhere for
Fifty years ago, five natural regions were mapped out in Zimbabwe,
identifying differing levels of rainfall. Chidavaenzi's district falls in
Region 2, which receives between 700 and 1000 mm of rainfall each year and
is considered ideal for intensive farming. This made the area one of the
best for the production of flue-cured tobacco, maize, cotton, sugar beans
and coffee, relying on rainwater, with supplementary irrigation used only
for winter wheat.
But as climate change takes its toll, rainfall patterns have changed
drastically in the area, triggering the slow creep of farms into the very
river beds. Worse, as the district's population has expanded over the years,
he says, people have moved into former protected areas. In addition to
clearing the area for farming, they also cut down many trees to get wood for
building new huts. Combined with general changes in weather patterns, this
has led to local watercourses drying up.
But the area has not been reclassified, much to Chidavaenzi’s chagrin. And
because the region Shamva lies in remains ranked as being very good for
agriculture, the assumption in government and among donors is that people
there do not need much support. Preference is given to Regions 4 and 5,
which receive little and erratic rainfall.
"The season is now shorter and precipitation volumes have decreased,
compared to the time were classified as Region 2A. But despite all these
changes, no-one has reclassified the area," added Chidavaenzi.
To solve the problem, Chidavaenzi established Chengaose Foundation Trust, a
non-governmental organisation that is spearheading the restoration of
small-scale agriculture in Shamva by drilling boreholes and sinking wells
"With the way things were deteriorating, I thought the best would be for me
to come up with a lasting solution. I realised that all the problems we face
in the district have their roots in the shortage of water, and that's the
problem we have to address. My approach has been to drill boreholes at
homesteads. We have so far drilled four boreholes and deepened two wells,"
Chengaose was registered in November 2008. The organisation started
mobilising funds in January, but only started the borehole project in
September after receiving a $50,000 grant from the Global Environmental
Constructing boreholes at homesteads, Chidavaenzi says, will help revive
agriculture in the area, which used to be among the most productive in
Zimbabwe. This will go a long way to reduce the growing reliance on food aid
in the area. Where a borehole is drilled, the foundation adopts one hectare
of land which the farmer is assisted to intensively put it under crop
production. When the farmer starts making profit, part of his or her
earnings would be used for a revolving fund to construct more boreholes.
"One of the saddest things I have experienced is to see people I know to be
good farmers queuing for food aid. At some point I saw old women fighting
over a small bottle of cooking oil, which was being distributed by a
non-governmental organisation. This kind of food aid is actually taking away
people's dignity. I thought what is needed to give these people food
security is to ensure they have water," said Chidavaenzi.
Through the programme, Chidavaenzi is killing two birds with one stone. He
is also using water to heal the rifts caused by political violence last
In 2008, Shamva was greatly affected by political violence especially in the
run-up to the presidential run off election. Some villagers were maimed,
injured and displaced by their own neighbours. Following the constitution of
an inclusive government by former political rivals, Chidavaenzi believes his
programme can also play a role in national healing.
"What we have done is group the villagers into farmers' clubs. We don’t care
which political party you belong to. I believe that when people are busy
with constructive development, they do not have time to waste on
unproductive things," he added.
The organisation’s name Chengaose means "gather all seeds".
"The aim is to ensure that all members of the community take part in
sustainable development without any discrimination. We gather everyone
together, regardless of political affiliation. For us what matters is the
sustainability of the development we are carrying out," added Chidavaenzi.
And according to one of the beneficiaries, septuagenarian Simon Musiiwa,
this is working. "We are more united than we have ever been," said Musiiwa.
"Everyone is so committed to the development of our area."
Musiiwa's well was deepened from 8 metres to 25 metres, and he is confident
it will now provide enough water to irrigate his one and half hectare field.
Another beneficiary, Arthur Marange, said when he struggled to get water to
irrigate his vegetables, he had no option but relocate his garden right into
the bed of a small river. But following the drilling of a borehole in his
homestead, Marange has now removed his garden from the riverbed.
"From the new borehole, I will get enough water to expand and commercialise
my garden at home," said Marange. Among others crops, he will produce beans
and cabbages to supply to the Bradley Institute, a neighbouring boarding
Addressing the 15th Congress of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU)
on October 9, Vice President Joice Mujuru didn't refer specifically to the
new Chengaose project, but said it was "imperative for farmers to revamp
their strategies". She encouraged farmers to embark on projects that will
preserve the natural environment.
"At the current rate of destruction, there will be no farming to talk about
in the next few years to come," said Mujuru. "The road to breadbasket status
is not an easy one."
Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the same meeting the great potential of
local farmers was hindered by bottlenecks in accessing water, equipment and
other inputs. He said the government would commit more funds towards the
provision of inputs to farmers, particularly their access to water.
JAG - farms situations communique -
Dated 15 October 2009
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org : email@example.com
JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799410. If you are in
trouble or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here
1. Stockdale citrus estate - Peter Etheredge
2. UPDATE ON KARORI FARM - Charles Lock
1. Stockdale citrus estate - Peter Etheredge
It has been brought to our attention that senator Edna Madzongwe has
moved 28 cattle onto the farm, it would be interesting to know where they
came from! She is building 2 guard houses near the entrance and the
bricks cement and sand were all stolen on Stockdale .
Madzongwe's son Valentine seems to be resident on the farm and according
to information there is a lot of equipment missing. Small expense stuff
that can be put into a pickup and sold in Chegutu and the surrounding
area, it appears that his friends are also involved. Very little
attention has been given to the management of citrus, no fertilizer or
chemicals have been applied.
The other day I was in Chegutu giving evidence in last year's case
of robbery (ZANU PF driver) and I was approached by the Chegutu police
(ass inspec Bepura) who asked me when we were going to move our furniture
from the houses. He seemed very keen to help us with assistance from the
police to move so Madzongwe can move into the houses (that is all she
wants). I told him that we are going through the courts to move all our
Equipment as well which he replied that that would be a problem. I told
him that we have a record of every single thing on the farm including
serial no's etc and that there will be another civil case against the
Senator Madzongwe in the future if anything is missing.
There appears to be a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the authorities,
in progressing criminal cases against Gilbert Moyo and his mob. One
wonders if there is not any interference with these cases going forward.
Peter Etheredge - Chegutu
2. UPDATE ON KARORI FARM IN HEADLANDS
My name is Charles Ingram Lock, I.D No 63-884252 Q, and I was residing at
Karori Farm until I was illegally evicted by brigadier Mujaji and
soldiers of the Zimbabwe National Army two weeks ago.
My workers and I, were all illegally evicted from the farm at gun point
when we tried to remove our crops and possessions in accordance with our
High Court Order Case No 3244/09. The statements by our workers who were
beaten by the soldiers and dumped off the farm have been recorded at
Headlands Police Station. We managed to centralise our workers and
organise food for them. One woman had been raped by the soldiers.
After the removal of our workers no one was allowed back to the farm and
the police in Headlands are too scared to go there. I received reports of
lorries leaving the farm at night time from people based off the farm.
I requested the Police to visit the farm and check on our goods if they
could or would not help enforce the Order. Nothing happened. I was told
by the Officer in Charge and DISPOL that they were awaiting instruction
from their superiors.
When we were evicted from the farm we left approx 300 tons of maize, we
have the exact amount in our store book, and 150 tons of tobacco,
fertiliser and equipment of considerable value. On Wednesday 7th
October, we discovered a broken down thirty ton lorry at 2km from Halfway
House at Headlands. The lorry was full of our maize. My Manager and
workers arrived at the scene and confirmed it as our maize, same bags,
same stitching pattern and twine, and the lorry was on the road directly
from Karori Farm about 4km away.
We managed to get 6 police officers from Headlands to attend the scene
and they said they would impound the lorry. I had about 15 of my own
workers there. The driver was accompanied by a soldier from the farm. A
few hours later Mujaji arrived and threatened all the police and
workers. They left in a hurry and demanded we take them back to the
station. They allowed Mujaji to take the lorry. I discovered the lorry
had been hired out by a Company based in Ruwa . We contacted the owner
who confirmed the lorry had gone to Karori Farm, but explained he had no
idea that the maize was stolen. He had not paid for it at that stage and
confirmed Mujaji had ordered the lorry. I went to visit the maize on
Friday 9th October and photographed it and confirmed it as mine.
I reported all of this to the Officer in Charge at Headlands and Dispol
Rusape. They told me Inspector Musariri was handling the case and when I
contacted him I found out he was on leave. On Monday we sent a lorry to
Headlands Police to ask for Officers to accompany us to Ruwa. Again they
refused. The owner who has the maize is anxious to have it removed, but
the Police will not investigate it there. I phoned the DISPOL who said
deal with Headlands
We have explained the situation and written to the senior officers for
Crime at PGHQ. We have also appealed to the three principals of the GPA
to resolve this absolute lawlessness.
I have summarised the crimes committed by the soldiers under Brigadier
Mujaji and what action has been taken.
Sgt Makoni charged with attempted murder, by firing shots at Takesure
Mashikado in CRF NO 54/8/2009. Remanded out of custody and told not to
go back to the farm but ignored this and goes to the farm regularly and
was responsible for the eviction himself.
8th September 2009, Pvt George Murambiwa fired shots at the workers and a
ricochet hit Edina Wilson in the hand in CRF 23/9/2009. Accused has not
been arrested yet, believed to have escaped.
10th September 2009, Mujaji and Mukoni broke into the farm office and
stole two shotguns that we use to protect our crops, CRF NO 10/9/09. I
discovered the shotguns under the bed of one of the soldiers and told Sgt
Bunda who told me not to take them or I would be arrested. The shotguns
have not been retrieved yet.
20th September 2009, Pvt Gilbert Chibvunje raped Wongai Harrison in CRF
37/9/09. The accussed was remanded in custody for two weeks and is now
back on the farm.
26th September 2009, the following soldiers under the command of Brig
Mujaji evicted our entire work force and beat up eight staff. Sgt Mukoni,
Sgt Mutami, Corp Kuuya,Tevera, Choukani,Mushonga, Murambiwa, Chibvunje,
Tatenda, Mutamba, Sithole. Cr No 8/10/09 and CRNo 7/10/09.
7th October discovery of maize lorry taking 30 maize from Karori Farm in
an armed robbery by Mujaji and his soldiers. Lorry impounded by Police
then released out of fear after Mujaji arrived and threatened everyone.
RRB NO 0578070
10th and 11th October reported theft of maize by locals and selling it in
Headlands RRB No 0578070. Police visited the farm I am told but chased
away by the soldiers.
Bennett Case Shows Rule of Law Still Suspended in Zimbabwe - Analysts
By Patience Rusere
15 October 2009
The prosecution of Zimbabwe Senator Roy Bennett has been an issue in the
fragile "inclusive" government since its inception: he was arrested trying
to leave the country on the very day most of the Cabinet was sworn in on
February 13, and President Robert Mugabe has adamantly refused to swear him
in as deputy minister of agriculture.
But Bennett's indictment and re-arrest this week has outraged the Movement
for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai while
highlighting that the rule of law remains to be restored after years of
close control by Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
For a closer look at the latest turn in the Bennett case, reporter Patience
Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Ozias Tungwarara, director
of the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project in Johannesburg,
South Africa, and Earnest Mudzengi, director of the National Constitutional
Assembly, a Zimbabwean civic group.
Both said Bennett case and the ongoing prosecutions of numerous MDC
lawmakers show that the unity government has yet to restore the integrity of
the judicial system.
Governance advocate Tungwarara said however that Bennett's arrest was not
surprising to him as ZANU-PF does not seem committed to the success of the
A Rebuttal to testimony given by Donald Steinberg, Deputy President,
International Crisis Group
Submitted by Dale Doré
Speaking Truth to
A Rebuttal to testimony given by
Donald Steinberg, Deputy President, International Crisis Group, to the United
States Subcommittee on Africa, on 30 September 2009 at a hearing:
“Exploring U.S. Policy Options toward
The Imperative of a Democratic
Many Zimbabweans, especially those
who had been fighting for democracy and justice for nearly a decade, felt
betrayed by the MDC forming an Inclusive Government with Robert Mugabe and his
party. The MDC portrayed their capitulation to the forces of tyranny as the
‘only option’ to save ordinary Zimbabweans. Even when it was abundantly clear
that they had entered a power-sharing agreement in which they had surrendered
power, the MDC touted the illusion that the Inclusive Government was ‘working’,
that Mugabe was part of the solution, and that the new government represented
the views of Zimbabweans as a whole. In fact, none of this was
The ICG has argued that the
reluctance to engage more fully with the Zimbabwe Government is thwarting the
very changes the international community is seeking because it will weaken the
hand of the MDC and moderates in ZANU(PF), thereby undercutting support for the
reform process. We respectfully disagree.
The hand of the MDC has not been
weakened by the United States and the international community’s lack of support,
but by the MDC’s own capitulation and appeasement. In its naive endeavour to
make the Inclusive Government ‘work’ it has, for example, colluded in the
injustices of the land reform programme, accepting that it is ‘irreversible’ and
that Britain bears responsibility of compensation. When the MDC’s powerlessness
to stop the ongoing land invasions was rudely exposed, Mr. Tsvangirai claimed
that these invasions were only ‘isolated incidents’ that had been ‘blown out of
all proportion’. In the same breath he lamely pleaded for help from the
international community, saying, ‘Don’t make us pay for working with Mugabe.’
The MDC has lost contact with its support base, not because it has been unable
to deliver services to the people, but because it has ceased to be a symbol of
justice, democratic change and resistance to dictatorship.
Even if there were no contradiction
in terms when speaking of ‘moderates in ZANU(PF)’, these moderates defer
completely to their source of power – Robert Mugabe. The MDC has peddled the
illusion (bought by the ICG) that Mugabe is either ‘backing’ or beholden to a
cabal of hardliners, such as the generals, who are bent on thwarting the new
government. Yet it is precisely the opposite. The problem lies at the pinnacle
of power within the new government – with Mugabe himself. It is the President
who is dutifully referred to as the ‘Commander of the Armed Forces and Head of
the State and the Government’, who presides over Cabinet and who is the real
power behind the generals. It is the President who has abused his wide
discretionary powers to make appointments in direct contradiction of the
agreement between the political parties. It is the President who is at the
centre of a massive patronage system that allows his supporters, from ministers
and MPs to generals and judges, to act with impunity – especially with regard to
land invasions – and in total disregard for the rule of law. It is this near
absolute power that defines the Mugabe dictatorship. There may be moderates, but
they have precious little power to sustain or indeed undercut any reform
The risks of
The effort by the
States and other
international donors to bring humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe is roundly applauded. There is also
a strong case for the ‘humanitarian-plus’ assistance that is now being provided.
However, the ICG’s advocacy for further engagement is ill-advised while Mugabe
still holds the reins of power (including control of the state security
apparatus) which he continues to abuse with equanimity. This applies especially
to notions of reforming politicised government institutions, such as the
judiciary. As Robert Calderisi observed:
Efforts to clean up the judicial
system – training judges, computerising records, strengthening the role of
clerks – have borne little fruit because the politicians have found it more
convenient to have a crooked and malleable judiciary than an independent
This applies all the more to an all
powerful Mugabe. We need to disabuse ourselves of the idea that judicial reform
under his regime is either advisable or plausible.
The ICG says it wants to see new
trade and investment in a country where a self-enriched ruling elite now
controls most farms and businesses and still calls for 51% ownership by
‘indigenous entrepreneurs’. This corrupt elite will almost exclusively benefit
from reengagement through increased trade and investment. The ICG also
wants to empower a civil service that includes the very state security agencies
that have been deeply implicated in torture and violence.
The ICG avers that without
engagement there is a risk of a return to conflict and repression. But the very
instruments of violence and repression are already in the hands of the
dictatorship. Rather, it is the ICG’s engagement strategy that runs the high
risk of further enriching, entrenching and rewarding the Mugabe dictatorship,
allowing a rapacious elite to keep its ill-gotten gains, avoid justice, and
extend its rule. A senior ZANU(PF) member in charge of the constitution making
process has already suggested that the Inclusive Government be extended for a
further 5 years.
Given the United States’ understandable doubts about any
agreement with Mugabe, their ‘wait and see’ attitude was not only wise but
necessary. Like many Zimbabweans, their fears have been realised. The ICG’s
belief that Zimbabwe is a re-emerging and vibrant society that now has the best
chance of recovery serves only to gloss over what is now painfully obvious: a
brutal and unrepentant dictatorship that has brought nothing but ruin and
despair to Zimbabwe is now firmly back in control. This is no time to reengage.
The Zimbabwean people should not be made to substitute expedience for principle
by sacrificing justice and democracy for peace. To quote David Miliband,
Britain’s Foreign Secretary:
"We must resist the arguments on
both the left and the right to retreat into a world of realpolitik. In
fact, the goal of spreading democracy should be a great progressive project; the
means need to combine soft and hard power.”
Neither the people of
Zimbabwe nor the United States must succumb to the realpolitik of collusion,
compromise and giving comfort to dictatorship. They must remain resolute and
focused on the great progressive project of supporting justice, human rights and
democracy to bring hope, dignity and freedom to all the people of
Democracy is not about stitching up
agreements between leaders of political parties. Democracy is the government of
the people, by the people, for the people. The sole source of a government’s
authority and legitimacy lies with the people. This must be the inspiration that
drives solutions to conflict and repression.
Free and fair
It should be noted that Section 4 of
Democracy and Economic
Recovery Act of 2001 refers
explicitly to Support for Democratic Transition and Economic Recovery. The
conditions for lifting financial restrictions by the United States President
include, inter alia, the restoration of the rule of law and a commitment to
equitable, legal and transparent land reform. Neither condition has been met.
Another condition is that
Zimbabwe has held a presidential election that is widely
accepted as free and fair by independent national monitors, and the
president-elect is free to assume the duties of office. Alternatively, the
Government of Zimbabwe must show that it has sufficiently improved the
pre-election environment to a degree consistent with accepted international
standards of security and freedom of movement and association.
Having waited and seen that Mugabe
has no intention of abiding by the Global Political Agreement, and that a
captured MDC is loathe to quit the Inclusive Government, the United States
should seize the opportunity to use its renewed diplomatic power to steer the
debate towards the type of democratic transition that the Democracy and Economic
Recovery Act calls for.
Currently, any talk of fresh
elections is dismissed because of the visceral fear that Mugabe will again
unleash his state security and militia on a traumatized electorate to maintain
his grip on power. The problem for the MDC is that this prospect is just as
likely today as when Mugabe decides to call elections at any time of his
choosing in future. Contrary to the MDC’s hopes, the negotiation of a new
constitution holds no guarantee whatsoever against future election violence.
The best the MDC can hope for,
therefore, is a peaceful electoral process in the run-up to free and fair
elections and the orderly transfer of power. As Mugabe obviously has no
intention of holding free and fair elections, the only viable option for the MDC
is to begin the process, first, of convincing the electorate, SADC, and the
international community that free and fair elections are essential for a
democratic transition; second, that these elections are only possible if they
supervised by an international body,
such as the United Nations; and third, that the international community puts in
place a peace-keeping force at least three months before elections to prevent
violence and intimidation, and at least one month after elections to ensure the
orderly transfer of power.
In the event that the MDC finds it
impossible to maintain a pretence of sharing power and decides, as one senior
party member suggests, to ‘go back to the people and settle this once and for
all’ through elections, then the United States and its international allies
should begin a dialogue that fully support such a democratic transition.
This is the other path to justice
and freedom for which the people of Zimbabwe yearn.
Now This Is It
The incarciration of Roy Bennett on trumped up charges and without due
legal process is the last straw that broke the carmel's back. At least that
is what all level headed citizens would think and hope for.Technically Roy
Bennett has been imprissioned by the GNU and not just by ZANU PF alone.Has
MDC still got the appetite to continue within the GNU where it has been
proven countless times that they hold no semblance of power? Has MDC
sent Roy down? If the answer is "no" then MDC has no choice but to abandon
The continued stay of MDC in this farcical marriage can only prove one
thing - that is, MDC and ZANU PF are trying to outdo each other at a game of
Assuming MDC is playing a good cop, then I have to remind them of a few
- Mugabe is now the recognised president of Zimbabwe because of the
GPA that ZANU PF is refusing to implement.
- MDC is helplessly floating in a life boat on a Tsumani wave and
pretending to be in control. Sooner rather than later they will be
- There is no rule of law in Zimbabwe. There is rule by ZANU PF chefs.
Where there are remnants or symbols of law there are there
for selective use by ZANU PF.
- MDC has thrown a life line to ZANU PF via the GPA gimmick and
constitutional reforms that will never materialise. Instead ZANU PF is using
this lifeline to regroup the forces of evil and restrategising.
- ZANU PF will not broker any free and fair elections because they
know they will lose.
- ZANU PF has no interests of Zimbabwe at heart. It is now reduced to a
banch of criminals hiding behind state power and state institutions.Blowing this
cover is the last thing they would want.
- People's patience is limited.
Now this is it. MDC has to say enough is enough and end this marriage made
in hell. I have had some people say, and then what? Alternatives abound and
greatly assisted by the impact of the pull out. I will share these with you
tomorrow. For now this has to be it.