By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 October, 2011
Water shortages that have gripped Zimbabwe’s capital reached a crisis point
this week, with residents in some areas fighting each other to gain access
to boreholes. One resident was seriously injured while jostling for position
in a long queue in Glen Norah where there has been no water for 5 days.
There are also serious concerns from health officials that the water crisis
could lead to an outbreak of the deadly cholera disease, which killed an
estimated four thousand people in 2008.
The current shortages were caused by a burst distribution pipe at the Morton
Jeffray Water Treatment Plant. This has affected millions of people who live
in Harare, Ruwa, Chitungwiza, Epworth and Norton.
The worst affected areas have been Glen Norah, Budiriro and Glen View, where
most of the fights between residents are reported to have broken out.
Council officials have said reservoirs which feed the western suburbs do not
have enough water.
Experts say the city needs at least 1400 megalitres daily, but the council
produces less than half that amount of clean water. In addition, there has
been no maintenance of the existing boreholes that were drilled by the U.N
agency UNICEF, who put them there to help ease water problems in the high
Juliet Masiyambiri of the Glen Norah Residents Association confirmed that
only one borehole has been supplying water in her area and people are
desperate. She said one resident wound up with 15 stitches to the head after
a violent incident, which occurred at 3:00 a.m as people slept in queues.
Another group of residents organized a trip to the council offices, where
they demanded the situation be resolved. But according to Masiyambiri they
were told council workers are currently on a go-slow.
The activist said the situation was eased on Friday when electricity came
back on, after being cut all week. This allowed many residents who have
boreholes that work with electric pumps to help those without any water.
The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) say they got assurance from UNICEF that
they would provide more assistance if city authorities provided a letter
confirming there is a crisis. But HRT coordinator Precious Shumba told SW
Radio Africa that as of Friday the mayor had not signed the required letter
he promised them.
“The UNICEF boreholes have not been maintained because no-one takes full
responsibility for them. The city officials say UNICEF has not completely
handed them over so they are not responsible,” Shumba said.
He explained that residents receive exorbitant bills for services they do
not get from the city, and this is why they are angry. “We had to intervene
and tell them help is on the way in order to prevent a riot in Glen Norah,”
As of Friday, there was still no water in many parts of the capital,
especially the western suburbs. And the city has not developed any long term
solution for the problem.
Harare, October 21, 2011 - Some of Harare’s high density suburbs have gone
for a week without water raising fears of a cholera outbreak and bringing
back fresh memories of the 4 000 people across the country killed in a
cholera disaster in 2008.
Residents of Budiriro, Highfield and Glen View have been spending hours
queuing for water at a few available boreholes. There have also been reports
of violent clashes at the boreholes with some people getting impatient of
waiting for their turn to fetch water. The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) on
Thursday said two men were injured in Glen View after a fight over a bucket
of water. Anti-riot police had also to be called to quell violence in Glen
View B, which is one of the areas hard hit by the water shortages.
Harare City Council has blamed the water shortages on a “huge pipe burst” at
its Morton Jeffrey water works.
Juliet Masiyambiri, the HRT chairperson in Glen Norah said the situation was
getting worse by each day. “Now residents are demanding an audience with the
council management,” Masiyambiri said.
“Potential demonstrations might erupt anytime if this situation is not
immediately addressed. People cannot live without water. This is
HRT accused council management of bungling an offer by the United Nations’
Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to intervene and offer water bowsers.
The residents association said council was dilly dallying on a letter of
confirmation of the water crisis requested by UNICEF before it intervenes.
City council officials in the past have blamed the now frequent water
shortages on ageing infrastructure and a population explosion.
By Lance Guma
21 February 2011
After 42 years of uninterrupted rule in Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was finally
killed on Thursday in his home town of Sirte, by soldiers loyal to the
National Transitional Council. It brought to an end a 9 month uprising
against a man known as a ‘Mad Dog’ during four decades of brutal rule.
After calling those fighting him ‘rats’ Gaddafi was himself ironically
captured while cowering in a drainage pipe full of rubbish and filth. While
many Zimbabweans celebrated the demise of another African tyrant, ZANU PF
and Robert Mugabe, his friend and ally, were plunged into mourning.
Speaking to the US based Global Post website ZANU PF MP, retired Major Cairo
Mhandu, called Gaddafi “a true African hero.” He claimed “This is a sad day
for the people of Africa” and marked “the beginning of a new recolonization
of Africa. Through the forces of NATO and the West, we have lost one of our
With three African dictators toppled in Egypt, Tunisia and now Libya, the
nervousness within ZANU PF is apparently difficult to hide. Mugabe and
Gaddafi were close friends who have both over-stayed in power. Gaddafi in
power for a staggering 42 years is closely followed by Mugabe with over 31
Both Mugabe and Gaddafi have relied on the mass murder of certain sections
of their populations to remain in power. Both have constantly resorted to
massive anti-West propaganda and rhetoric.
One commentator told SW Radio Africa “dictators rely on creating the myth
that they are invincible whereas images of Gaddafi being dragged through the
streets prove people power will always prevail in the end.”
The so-called Arab Spring has seen oppressive regimes in the Middle East and
the North of Africa being put under pressure by restive populations. Young
people using new media tools like Facebook and Twitter have been able to
coordinate their protests to great effect. In response several of the
governments resorted to shutting down these sites.
In Zimbabwe panic at the events up North were evident when former MP and
trade union activist Munyaradzi Gwisai, plus over 50 other people, were
arrested for watching video footage of the protests in Egypt and Tunisia
during a discussion at a venue in Harare in February. In the end six of the
activists were charged with treason before the charges were later altered to
‘conspiracy to commit violence.’
Celebration at events in Libya by Zimbabweans was evident on social
networking sites. Asked why this was so, political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya
told SW Radio Africa ‘the celebration is a message to ZANU PF that they
think they are almighty, can rig elections and use the army to stay in
power, but everything has its end.”
Turning to ZANU PF’s position that Gaddafi was a ‘true African hero’ Ruhanya
said “he is not a hero. He is a true African butcherer, a true African
murderer. But we are not shocked by what ZANU PF is saying. They are
mourning one of their own.” Gaddafi was close friends with Mugabe and in
addition to heavy investment in Zimbabwe he also provided oil and other back
hand deals to the regime.
By Nkosana Dlamini, Harare, October 21, 2011 – Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says slain Libyan leader
Muammar Gaddafi’s fall from grace is a lesson to African dictators who
continue to cling to power against the wishes of their people.
“This is an inevitable sad ending to an intransigent dictator,” party
spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told RadioVop in an exclusive interview
“His death has sent an important lesson to all the dictators that they must
govern within their mandate and must never exceed it. It also teaches them
that the winds of democratic change are unstoppable and can turn brutal if
attempts are made to suppress them."
Mwonzora said dictators must know when it was time to go.
“They must also know that when i’ts time to go it’s not up to them to set
the terms of their departure. What Gaddafi did was a typical act of foolish
bravery and this is typical of dictators in Africa especially Sub Saharan
Zimbabweans on Thursday clustered around televisions beaming live coverage
of the capture and killing of Gaddafi, an ally to their President Robert
Mugabe. Some of them said they were tired of Mugabe’s dictatorial rule and
reacted with excitement on the news of the fall of Africa’s longest serving
“Dictators must die,” a youth shouted from the back of a passing truck in
central Harare as ordinary Zimbabweans swarmed a newspaper stall with
screaming headlines of Gaddafi’s ignominious demise.
Zimbabweans view their President as no different from other long serving
leaders like Gaddafi.
“Gaddafi is not a martyr,” says one Tapiwa Magwenzi, an ordinary citizen,
“He was killed while defending not what he believed to true but his wealth.”
Former Zimbabwe ambassador to China Christopher Mutsvangwa condemned the
Thursday’s killing of the Libyan dictator by Libyan rebels assisted by NATO.
“He was killed by imperial powers,” said Mutsvangwa, “They should have
allowed the Libyans to solve their differences through the African Union
initiative facilitated by President Zuma (Jacob).”
Mutsvangwa was quick to say Libya’s political dynamics were very different
from those of Zimbabwe adding that the Arab country’s invasion was unlikely
By Tichaona Sibanda
21 October 2011
Farmers in Mutare South constituency are allegedly forcing dozens of
workers, who include MDC-T supporters, to work against their will, an
official in the party said.
The practice came to light last week Friday when six homes belonging to
workers at Chigodora farm in Mutare South were set ablaze by the farm owner.
The workers, well known MDC-T activists, refused to be pushed into forced
labour by the farmer, George Mureremba, a beneficiary of ZANU PF’s
controversial land grab policy.
Robert Saunyama, the MDC-T district chairman, told SW Radio Africa on Friday
that Mureremba was enraged when his orders were not complied with.
‘The workers told us Mureremba ordered them to work on the farm against
their will and for nothing, because he was punishing them for supporting
Morgan Tsvangirai,’ Saunyama said.
When it was evident the workers would not budge Mureremba, with the help of
others, went on a ‘frenzied attack’ beating up people, torching homes and
destroying property. Six houses were burnt down in the disturbances. One of
the farm workers sustained a broken hand.
A report was lodged with the police but no arrests have been made, though
Saunyama remained adamant he will pursue the issue.
‘We’ve received reports that farmers in Mutare South were forcing workers to
work against their will. Those that refused were being sent packing. But the
situation at Chigodora farm was different.
‘When the former white occupant fled the farm, it was sub-divided into
several plots, benefitting most of the farm workers. After a while Chigodora
came and took over the farm house and tried to force resettled farmers off
the property,’ Saunyama added.
Since the constituency is under ZANU PF, most workers were threatened with
punishment if they complained about working conditions or refused to take
‘These so-called beneficiaries of the land reform program could be breaking
anti-slavery laws. There is a lot of abuse going on in the farms and we need
that to be investigated,’ Saunyama said.
Political Violence: New Cases by District and Affiliation
1 January – 14 October 2011
Click on map to view
A truck full of police in anti-riot gear is reported to have descended on
revelers at an arts festival in Bulawayo on Wednesday, assaulting innocent
civilians. An increased presence of uniformed police has also been reported
in the Bulawayo city centre.
by Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme, talked to victims who said
the riot police were not provoked by anyone. Others said the attack may have
been an attempt to prevent demonstrations against the Transport Minister
Nicholas Goche, who was in the city centre on Wednesday.
“Goche as transport minister is not liked by railway workers in Bulawayo who
were recently on strike,” Saungweme explained. He added that this was just
speculation on the streets as no one really knows why riot police attacked
Our correspondent said there is also speculation the police are preparing to
shut down the city and monitor people’s movements, ahead of the ZANU PF
conference taking place there in December.
As our correspondent filed this report another truckload of riot police,
plate number ZRP 275-D, drove by.
Saungweme said the atmosphere is already feeling tense because of the
increased police presence. “This always happens whenever ZANU PF has a rally
or a function around here. People get assaulted just for being on the
streets and no-one feels safe.”
We were not able to contact the Bulawayo police for comment.
Harare, October 21, 2011 - Zimbabwe's Attorney General Johannes Tomana has
charged five leaders of the Zimbabwe Law Officers Association (ZILOA) with
misconduct and inciting prosecutors to stage a crippling work boycott that
lasted for two weeks.
Zimbabwean prosecutors and court officers embarked on a strike on 4 October
demanding salaries comparable to those received by magistrates, paralysing
the legal system. The prosecutors staged demonstrations outside Tomana’s
office and at magistrates courts dotted around the country.
The prosecutors bemoaned that magistrates received allowances not received
by other workers.
The prosecutors called off the strike last Friday and returned to work on
Monday after giving the Public Service Commission some time to address their
But Tomana on Wednesday served five leaders of ZILOA with letters accusing
them of misconduct and inciting law officers to embark on an industrial
action. The AG demanded written responses to the charges.
The six leaders are ZILOA president Leopol Mudisi, Patrobs Dube, Musekiwa
Mbanje, Dereck Charamba and Mehluli Tshuma.
Wildcat strikes are common in the country as state employees protest against
Meanwhile in another court case in Mbare a magistrate has freed a 52
year-old Harare resident, Zebediah Mpofu, who was under prosecution for
allegedly undermining the authority of insulting President Robert Mugabe
after his trial failed to commence.
Mpofu, a general hand labourer at a private security firm was arrested in
October 2010 after he allegedly taunted a workmate that he owed a fruity
drink and a packet of biscuits he was enjoying for lunch to economic
policies spearheaded by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Magistrate Mudondo turned down an application for further remand filed by
State prosecutors seeking to postpone Mpofu’s trial after State witnesses
failed to turn up in court including the complainant in the matter.
State witnesses and the complainant, Gilbert Matarutse-a known Zanu (PF)
supporter failed to turn up in court for the fourth time since August when
the trial was scheduled to commence. The trial was all along being postponed
to allow the witnesses and the complainant to appear in court.
The State alleged that Mpofu also stated that “President Mugabe had ruined
the country and that he was going to be dead by December 2010 then Morgan
Tsvangirai would take over as President of Zimbabwe.”
The prosecutors charged that by uttering such statements Mpofu had
undermined the authority or insulted Mugabe.
By Alex Bell
21 October 2011
Concern is rising in South Africa after a flare up of xenophobic violence
this week, which saw foreigners flee attacks by locals in Laudium, Pretoria.
Scores of foreign nationals, including a number of Zimbabweans, were on
Thursday night driven out of their homes by gangs of locals who also
ransacked foreign owned shops. Many people sought shelter in the surrounding
areas of bush, while about 40 of the evicted foreigners were housed
overnight at a community centre in Laudium. One of the victims included an
eight month pregnant woman.
The attacks came as foreigners elsewhere in Pretoria and in Johannesburg
have all been warned that they must leave the areas of Mamelodi,
Atteridgeville and Alexandra by Saturday. Gabriel Shumba from the Zimbabwe
Exiles Forum (ZEF) told SW Radio Africa on Friday that letters have been
circulated in these areas, telling the foreigners that they must leave
voluntarily or face being forced out.
Residents in the Alexandra township, which is in the north of Johannesburg,
have reportedly put up posters warning foreigners to vacate government
housing. Residents this week hung up posters which read: “You are violating
our rights to own our RDP houses.”
According to the SABC one of the letters read: “The residents of Alexandra
don’t want … xenophobia unless you give them a cause to do so.” Another
letter reportedly read: “We demand that you vacate at your own free will
without being pushed like animals or aliens.”
Alexandra was one of the centres of xenophobic violence which spread across
South Africa in 2008, leaving more than 60 people dead and thousands
displaced. The ZEF’s Shumba said the urgent intervention of the government
is needed to ensure that the violence of 2008 is not repeated.
“Unfortunately, the culture of impunity associated with attacks on
foreigners means that prejudice continues to take root. If you look at what
happened in 2008, more than 60 people died but to date no one has been
prosecuted,” Shumba said,
He added: “Xenophobic attacks at this juncture owe a lot to irresponsible
political statements by people in political parties, elements of the
business community that fear competition, even inflammatory reporting by the
Shumba also attributed this fresh violence to the resumption of deportations
of Zimbabwean nationals last week, saying it gives the impression that
foreigners should not be allowed to remain in the country.
“These deportations must be halted immediately, because they are ill advised
and premature,” Shumba said.
By Chengetai Zvauya and Bridget Mananavire
Friday, 21 October 2011 09:51
HARARE - On going Electoral Amendment Bill public hearings being conducted
by a special parliamentary committee across the country have exposed the
deepening cracks in the shaky coalition government.
Opinions from participants show that there is no unity of purpose among
coalition government partners.
The parties supporters on the ground are equally divided, as it turns out
that members of both MDC and Zanu PF are torn right in the middle on how
Zimbabwe’s next elections should be conducted.
Since the formation of the coalition government in February 2009 following
disputed elections, Zanu PF and MDC have been on a collision course,
fighting on various economic and political issues.
The differences are now playing out at the public hearings, where violence
has often been recorded.
Differences are mostly on the participation of foreign observers and civil
society in elections. The issue on whether to allow exiled Zimbabweans to
vote has also resulted in clashes between Zanu PF and MDC supporters at the
MDC participants during the Bill hearings demanded that election results be
announced within 48 hours after completion of voting, and that the incumbent
president should vacate state house three days before the polls.
“We want the results as soon as possible to avoid tempering of the ballot,
Zambia should be an example of good election conduct,” said one participant.
However, Zanu PF members want election results to be announced within five
days of voting.
Residents in Mutare’s poor Sakubva suburb said civil society should be
allowed to take part in the electoral process by offering voter education.
In Mutasa, most people were of the view that people in the Diaspora must not
be allowed to vote.
They were also against foreign observers and foreign funding for both
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and political parties.
Their argument was that Western countries that imposed financial and travel
sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his close associates should not be
allowed to influence Zimbabwe’s voting process.
However, an end to political violence was a point of agreement for
supporters of the different political parties. This comes after some of the
hearings were disrupted by violent Zanu PF militants.
Harare, October 21, 2011 – Prospective broadcaster, ZimPapers Talk Radio’s
impartiality has been thrown into further doubt after it emerged two of the
newspaper concern’s most prominent broadcasting licence bidders are aspiring
Zanu (PF) MPs in two Masvingo constituencies.
Medical practitioner Paul Chimedza, who is ZimPapers board chairman, is a
Zanu (PF) front runner in the race to succeed the late Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC-T) legislator and Public Service Minister Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro in the Gutu South constituency while Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono’s advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke, another ZimPapers board member is
eyeing Bikita West.
Kereke will battle it out in the Zanu (P)F primaries with former lawmaker
and retired army officer, Colonel Claudius Makova. Kereke and Makova are
involved in a fierce factional fight for the control of the party in the
During a Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe hearing on shortlisted radio
stations in Harare on Thursday, the two anchored a fierce bid for ZimPapers
to be awarded one of the two free to air commercial radio stations being
offered by the BAZ.
Both claimed the station would shun the traditionally biased coverage of
news towards President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) as is now synonymous with
papers under the stable.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)-Zimbabwe director Nhlanhla Ngwenya
said two’s political background will further compromise the genuineness of
their claims ZimPapers was bringing on to the market, a brand that is
different from the stable's print division.
“This is a reflection of why we are being fed on by the ZimPapers and my
fear is the propaganda empire is going to be expanded should they get a
licence,” said Ngwenya.
By Alex Bell
21 October 2011
An active member of the London based protest group, the Zimbabwe Vigil, who
was facing being deported from the UK this week, was on Thursday night
granted a last minute reprieve.
Shamiso Kofi, also known as Caroline Shamiso Tagarira, was meant to be
deported on a Virgin Airways flight out of London on Thursday, but her
lawyer managed to stop the deportation order less than five hours before her
scheduled removal. She is still being held at the Yarls Wood detention
centre but her lawyer is working to have her released.
Shamiso was arrested and detained by UK immigration officials who originally
tried to deport her last month. She was put on a Kenyan Airways flight out
of London, but she put up such a fight that the pilot refused to take her.
She was removed from the plane and has remained in detention ever since.
A public protest was then launched to stop her deportation, with the Vigil
arguing that she could be at risk in Zimbabwean because she is a
recognisable anti-Mugabe activist. The group also raised fears about her
state of mind and well being, with Shamiso stating that she “feels like
dying” over the prospect of being returned to Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile Shamiso’s lawyer Mark Taylor has strongly criticised the behaviour
of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), accusing them of dismissing key evidence in
individual cases to the detriment on individuals like Shamiso. He said that
Shamiso’s case “has demonstrated how culturally inflexible the UKBA can be.”
“The cynicism, negativity and distinct lack of humanity demonstrated by some
(and I again stress not all) UKBA officials has resulted in their losing any
sense of perspective,” Taylor wrote on Friday.
20 October 2011
Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire said Zimbabwe is in talks with Essar
Africa to claw back rights to iron ore reserves granted to the new strategic
partner under the US$750 million deal
Gibbs Dube | Washington
Zimbabwean Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire says the government wants
to reopen negotiations on a deal it made with Essar Africa Holdings of India
to relaunch the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, now called New Zimbabwe
Chimanikire said Zimbabwe is in talks with Essar to claw back rights to iron
ore reserves granted to Essar under the US$750 million deal. The mineral
rights are held by New Zimbabwe Minerals, a subsidiary of the relaunched
national steel company.
The deputy minister said Essar is extracting iron ore and preparations to
refurbish the Redcliff steel plant are at an advanced stage. Neither
Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, who negotiated the deal, nor Essar
management, could be reached for comment.
Chimanikire said he hopes the new talks won’t derail the revival of the
long-moribund steel maker. “Our concern is that Ncube did not consult the
Ministry of Mines when they parceled out huge iron ore deposits to Essar,”
Economic commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga said the government should not have
signed the agreement with Essar without carefully scrutinizing its terms
Zimbabwe has been ranked 171 out of 183 countries in terms of ease of doing
business, a World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s latest Doing
Business 2012 report revealed.The sub-Saharan country came out 36 out of 46
African countries in the survey.
by Rebecca Moyo
According to the report which assesses regulations affecting domestic firms
in 183 economies on 10 areas of business regulation such as starting a
business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders, Zimbabwe is only
12 places away from the least competitive business destination, Chad.
Neighbouring South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique were ranked 35,
54, 84 and 139 respectively.
Zimbabwe ranked 144 on the ease of establishing a company, following
government’s introduction of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, a one stop
shop for business prospectors and reduce the time it takes for one to secure
a business permit to five working days.
In terms of dealing with construction permits, which considers records of
all procedures required for a business in the construction industry to build
a standardised warehouse for example obtaining connections for water,
sewerage and a fixed telephone line, the country ranked 166.
On other key indicators including access to electricity and getting credit,
Zimbabwe ranked 157 and 126 respectively.
Zimbabwe’s electricity sector is amongst the worst in the region due to
problems in securing funding because of the country’s perennial bad image
and an inconsistent policy environment characterised by the controversial
The power woes have resulted in massive load shedding that has crippled
industry or ballooned operational costs as companies have to rely on more
expensive alternative energy sources.
The survey ranked Zimbabwe 122 in terms of protecting investors due to a
lack of property rights, given the unlawful grabbing of commercial farmland
The country ranked 127 on tax issues, 112 on enforcing contracts, 153 on
resolving insolvency and 172 on its cross boarder trading practices.
Prominent economist, John Robertson, said the Government of National Unity
must pay the cash owed to major international creditors such as the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund for it to gain and maintain
by Ngoni Chanakira Harare
In an exclusive interview in Harare, Robertson said the country owed these
institutions billions of dollars and for it to retain its "credibility it
must pay up quickly".
The World Bank recently confirmed that the GNU owed $8,8 billion in
outstanding arrears. It owes the World bank about $2,2 billion of this
amount while the rest is owed to other creditors such as the African
Development Bank and the IMF based in Washington Dc in the United States of
"We owe many people lots of money and we must pay up quickly," Robertson
said. "If we do not pay up we will not be respected and will not receive any
more funding from them. We must also speak with one voice on the new
indigenisation regulations for investors to be able to plan about investing
There are many conflicting statements from government ministers about the
new investment regulations in Zimbabwe. Major commercial banking
institutions such as Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited and Standard
Chartered Bank Zimbabwe Limited whose head offices are in London in the
United Kingdom have expressed concern about the confusion surrounding the
Mining concerns such as Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Limited and Anglo American
Corporation Limited, whose head offices are in South Africa, have also
expressed concern bout the 51 percent requirement for locals pointing out
that this could be "too much".
However, the government has refused to budge.
"We must come clean on this," Robertson said. "If we do not come clean we
have ourselves to blame."
He said Zimbabwe needed to increase production levels in order to earn more
from exports. Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) currently stands at 8
percent, up from minus 17 percent in 2008 when inflation was more than 231
million percent, the highest in the world.
Robertson said tourism and agriculture could encourage growth even more if
the government was "really serious about what it is doing".
Inflation stands at four percent, the lowest in the region, while income
poverty still stands at more than 80 percent.
Robertson said there was "more room for massive improvement for Zimbabwe if
we pay up quickly and respect property rights".
The World Bank has already said it will not give Zimbabwe a cent if it does
not pay outstanding dues owed to international creditors including itself -
a staggering $2,2 billion.
Interference ... Former South African President Thabo Mbeki
by Staff Reporter
FORMER South African President Thabo Mbeki was a central player in a 2005
split in the Movement for Democratic Change, which Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai says “was a big blow” to him – “far bigger than Mugabe’s
The extraordinary claim is made by Tsvangirai in a new book in which he
accuses his former colleagues, the late Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube,
Tsvangirai claims Ncube, the party’s founding secretary general, held secret
meetings with a Zanu PF faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa to forge an
alliance in a bid to “secure Ndebele interests”.
“Numerous reports reached me of secret meetings involving Ncube and a Zanu
PF faction aligned to Mnangagwa, a close Mugabe ally and Speaker of
Parliament, and headed by Chinamasa. Ncube had the backing of Sibanda,
[Renson] Gasela, [Priscilla] Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Paul Themba Nyathi and
others, mainly from the western region,” Tsvangirai says in his book, ‘At
the Deep End’.
“I understood that Ncube and Chinamasa were working with Pearson Mbalekwa, a
relation of Mnangagwa from Zvishavane and with Chinamasa’s good friend
Jonathan Moyo. It appeared Zanu PF had managed to convince Ncube and some
parliamentarians that to secure the interests of the Ndebele minority, it
was important that they join hands with an influential section of Zanu PF.
“By ‘influential’, I mean a faction that enjoyed the backing of the military
and South African President Thabo Mbeki.”
Tsvangirai says he had never been a fan of Ncube, who became secretary
general at the MDC’s formation in 1999. Ncube and Gift Chimanikire received
an equal number of provincial nominations before the latter withdrew his
interest to become Ncube’s deputy, Tsvangirai says after “intense lobbying”
by the constitutional law professor’s supporters, including the late
Learnmore Jongwe, Mdlongwa and Getrude Mthombeni.
“Coming from the trade union movement, I was more inclined to go along with
my like-minded colleague, Chimanikire,” Tsvangirai says.
In the six years that followed, Tsvangirai claims he “spent the better part
of my tenure babysitting some of my highly unpopular colleagues, including
He adds: “For a long time, these senior politicians insisted that I should
never address a meeting alone. They all wanted to be where I was, especially
at mass rallies, in order to benefit from my personal political brand.
“My colleagues were simply riding on my popularity, in the forlorn hope that
part of it would rub off on to them. They were uncomfortable with me as a
person and a leader and I sensed that they wanted to build their political
careers using Tsvangirai as a seat warmer who could ultimately be dislodged
as soon as the right opportunity presented itself. Little did they know how
easily I saw through that.”
Tssvangirai says things came to a head in October 2005 when he led a charge
that a newly introduced Senate was “a waste of money in a nation that was as
poor”, but “MDC colleagues in parliament failed to see my point”.
“Ncube campaigned in the provinces, persuading them to back the re-creation
of the Senate. The carrot he offered, as I discovered from some of them, was
a chance to contest in the proposed Senate polls,” Tsvangirai says.
“As much as I resented it, I could see a looming split in the MDC... On 12
October 2005, the national council finally met in a tense session chaired by
Isaac Matongo, who – unknown to me – was in favour of the Senate. For hours,
councillors argued the issue, but as I listened to the disputes, I could see
a carefully planned strategy unfolding.
“My main fear was that the party was likely to split into two equal groups –
right down the middle. There was reason for hope in the fact that the
powerful youth and women’s assemblies, headed by Nelson Chamisa and Lucia
Matibenga respectively, were totally opposed to the Senate. I stood my
“I knew that Mbeki was in favour of a party split. He wanted the splinter
group to join a Zanu PF faction in the hope that their combined force would
weaken and eventually destroy the remaining MDC. Mbeki would then pronounce
to the world that he had resolved the Zimbabwean crisis.”
Tsvangirai claims Ncube “saw an opportunity to undermine me by advancing his
own and Mbeki’s strategy”, adding: “I had suppressed the split for the sake
of the party and the country. They thought I would do anything to prevent a
split. I hung on to my thoughts until the situation became so serious that a
split had to be faced.”
The national council voted 33-31 in favour of participating in the Senate.
Says Tsvangirai: “To allow for a vote on a major policy issue in the MDC was
out of line, unconventional and never part of our custom and practice. Isaac
Matongo, chairing the session, nevertheless allowed the process to go ahead.
As I have said, he was in favour of the Senate, although in the end he told
me that he voted against it.
“After the divisive vote, I picked up my papers and announced that I was
against the move. I was unwilling to take the MDC into the Senate election.
I left and drove home.”
The seeds had been planted for the split that would follow.
Arriving home, Tsvangirai says he told his wife, Susan, that he desperately
needed time to himself “though not in Harare but at my birthplace in Buhera”.
“I was very angry. I had realised that I was on my own at the meeting where
my most senior and trusted colleagues had let me down, and I felt betrayed.
To make matters worse, while I was literarily unreachable by telephone in
rural Buhera, MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi issued a counter statement
to mine, saying the MDC was going into the Senate election. Thus, for 72
hours, without my knowledge, the story of the confusion in the MDC dominated
the news,” he writes.
Tsvangirai says he returned to Harare on October 15 to be met by Sibanda who
called for talks.
“I told him that for our discussion to make sense, we needed the other four
senior member of the management committee. Sibanda pretended to hear me out
and left, promising to bring them along. But he never returned. Instead, and
without my knowledge, Ncube had already booked flights for the five top
leaders to see Mbeki that afternoon.
“As I waited at home, they were already in the air on the way to Pretoria.
Matongo, now unsure about his political future, had refused to accompany
them, but he made some serious allegations about my leadership qualities in
a discussion he had with Ian Makone. According to Makone, Matongo was very
emotional. He suggested that I had failed and must hand over the leadership
to a more capable replacement, but did not name possible alternative
Tsvangirai says Mbeki “immediately granted the four [Ncube, Sibanda, Nyathi,
Mdlongwa] an audience”, and had called him during their meeting.
He recalls the extraordinary phone exchange that followed.
Tsvangirai writes: “‘Well, I have got some of your leadership here . . .’
Mbeki began. ‘I understand there is a problem... Can you come here and we
talk? I think we need to talk over the fall-out in your party.’
“I was stunned. After greeting him politely, I asked bluntly: ‘What has the
politics of the MDC got to do with you? This is an internal matter which
should not bother you as I understand you have much more serious matters of
state to attend to.’
“After a long pause, I continued, ‘I am not coming to South Africa. Tell
them that I said they must come back and we will discuss the issues here.’
“To that, Mbeki replied: ‘I thought it may help if you come and we thrash
out the issues.’ I felt Mbeki had gone too far, and I snapped, ‘Mr
President, with all due respect, those people have no right to be there.
They have to come here so that we can discuss and sort out the matter. I am
open to discuss matters. As I speak to you, Your Excellency, I am waiting
for Gibson [Sibanda] to bring the others here for a meeting at which I hope
we can thrash out our problems.’
“‘Well, let me talk to them . . . they are here with me,’ he replied.
“Sibanda and his group were listening in as Mbeki had switched the
conversation on to a speaker-phone. I asked Mbeki to let me talk to Sibanda,
but Mbeki refused, saying, ‘No. No. No. Let me talk to him first. I will
call you later.’
“As I clutched my mobile handset, anxiously waiting for Mbeki to call back,
an array of scenarios raced through my mind. What was going on? Why Mbeki?
What role had he played in the MDC split? Where was Mugabe in all this? What
were the implications for democracy?
“I had not eaten anything for the whole day. A worried Amai Edwin [wife
Susan] asked me to take a break and have something to eat. I looked at her,
then got up and paced around the garden, my mobile phone squeezed in my
“Finally, Mbeki was back on the line. ‘Mr President,’ I said, in a stern and
exasperated voice, ‘this is a party issue. It has nothing to do with anybody
but ourselves. There is no reason why a head of state and government of
another country, a foreign country, can come and involve himself in the
opposition party politics of a neighbouring country.’
“No response. ‘Hello. Hello. Mr President . . .? Your Excellency . . .?’
Mbeki was gone – never to return.
“But if I thought that Mbeki had backed off I was wrong. After that
incident, his involvement in the MDC’s affairs became even more obtrusive.
It was clear to me now that the entire MDC split was externally influenced.
It had nothing to do with our internal fights; and Mugabe and Zanu PF were
involved in the matter.”
On reflection, Tsvangirai says he learned that “in politics, apparent
victories may be illusions and seeming defeats turn out to be successes in
“As things were to turn out, both the breakaway group and Mbeki
miscalculated the outcome of the whole game – but not before a few setbacks
to my cause ...
“Ncube and the others failed to read my mind correctly. They thought I was
still the same trade unionist they had persuaded to take over the leadership
of the MDC, a position I reluctantly accepted in January 2000. Little did
they know that over the years experience had transformed me, teaching me to
live with diversity and to manage adversity,” he writes.
Tsvangirai admits that the criticism that followed the split, and his
inability since then to unseat Mugabe, got to him.
“I was variously described in newspapers and on internet discussion forums
within tired social networks as shallow-minded, weak in policy formulation,
lacking a decisive killer-punch, a pathetic leader and a poor strategist. I
absorbed everything like a sponge and turned it all over in my mind. Taking
these punches was never the high point of my day but I had no choice and if
I kept my wits about me I could learn valuable lessons,” he says.
To suppress his frustrations, he says he turned himself into a “voracious
reader of a myriad of books and texts on leadership, donated by well-wishers
“I devoured all that came my way, from medieval and biblical scrolls to
contemporary academic surveys and memoirs of kings, queens, dictators,
politicians and captains of commerce and industry. In the process, I built a
comprehensive personal library with many works on leadership ideas,
experiences and stories – from ancient Greek icons to Nelson Mandela.”
Tsvangirai says the split “was the result of pure mischief”, and he was
convinced that pulling through it would be a sure sign that he “would
survive to fight another day and possibly win the struggle for democracy in
the national interest”.
He adds: “There was a strong perception that the Ncube group was nothing but
a tiny, power-hungry and sectional outfit. Nevertheless, it inflicted much
damage on the MDC’s cause. The group was working against me, even planning
my final ousting as party leader.
“The splinter group now invoked their man in Pretoria to put me at a
disadvantage. President Thabo Mbeki had shown antipathy towards me and the
cause I represented on several occasions but he was now pulled directly into
the MDC’s domestic dispute.
“I believe Ncube was externally supported by none other than Mbeki, and
encouraged by many senior Zanu PF officials to have a go at me. I heard
later that Mbeki was even financing the Ncube group to destabilise the MDC;
among other things, he covered their travel expenses.
“In discussions with diplomats, journalists and his colleagues, Mbeki went
out of his way to pursue an international crusade against the MDC and me.
Every effort was being made to isolate me.
“The attack on my authority had everything to do with manipulation by Zanu
PF in connivance with Mbeki and Welshman Ncube. It was extraordinary – a
conspiracy in all but name, stretching across the border.”
Three years later, following disputed elections, Mbeki became a central
figure in Zimbabwe as he persuaded Mugabe and Tsvangirai to share power
following disputed elections. The third partner in the government is Ncube,
who now leads a rival MDC faction.
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21 Oct 2011 10:52
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VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE Â- Balbinah Nyoni, 37, grew up in Sianyanga
village, a rural area that lies in the semiarid region of Matabeleland North
province in western Zimbabwe.
Although the province is home to the world-famous Victoria Falls, the people
here suffer from long dry spells and high temperatures, thanks to climate
change and environmental degradation.
Nyoni is tall and slim. She has eyes that draw everyone's attention. Her
skin is very dark, testifying to her ceaseless expeditions in the scorching
sun to provide food and water for her family from the dry land. But her
robust walk and rapid talk reflect her fighting spirit as she resists the
daily fatigue that seems to sap the energy out of many women, men and
children in Sianyanga.
Nyoni stares vacantly at the lifeless, dry lands in front of her and takes a
deep breath. She says the land used to be beautiful and that a small
perennial river flowed across her village when she was a little girl. Nyoni
adds that livestock had plenty of food and water.
She says that there were many trees for shade, remembering how it was
difficult to walk in the bush because of the dense vegetation. She says
walking in the bush used to give her goose bumps because she feared snakes
and getting lost.
"This is where we used to swim when we were young," she says, trampling on
the mounds of sand under her feet. "My friends and I used to come here to do
our laundry, bathe and swim for hours."
But now there is little sign that flora and fauna were once in abundance in
this area. Nyoni sighs deeply and points to an old hut up the hill about 50
meters away where her grandmother used to live.
"She thatched that hut using grass that was harvested there," she says,
pointing to a piece of land about 10 meters away.
But the land she points to is bare. The soil is hard, and there are gullies.
Nyoni says she has witnessed drastic changes. It has become extremely hard
for the people and livestock to live and thrive here. She says women and
children bear the bulk of the hardships, as they are the ones who are
involved in domestic work.
"I wake up very early to travel several kilometers to fetch water before it
gets too hot," she says. "By the time I return home, I will be so exhausted,
but I still have to fetch firewood, prepare a meal for my family and do an
endless list of other domestic chores such as cleaning and washing clothes."
In light of these hardships, Nyoni says her community has realized the need
to restore the land.
Local residents say that years of irresponsible agricultural practices have
left the land dry and barren. A local organization has been employing
alternative strategies, namely using livestock in community herds to restore
land and natural water sources. The project has yielded results, which
organizers say especially benefit women, the primary caregivers here.
Organizers say the main challenge is getting the community to actively
participate and work together. The organization has been training other
nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, to expand the project's scale.
Meanwhile, the government has been working through various agencies to
preserve Zimbabwe's natural resources.
About 70 percent of Zimbabweans rely on farming for their livelihood,
according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Livestock and crop production are the most important agricultural
enterprises because low and erratic rainfall make dryland farming risky in
more than 80 percent of the country.
Lesizi Bhebhe, 47, another villager from Sianyanga, says she regrets the
reckless manner in which she and her fellow villagers used to handle the
ecosystem. She says poor agricultural practices and unplanned grazing have
destroyed the land, and now the villagers are paying heavily for their
"I was one of the culprits who destroyed this area," Bhebhe says
Bhebhe, dark-skinned and pint-sized, says that when she was young, her
family used to plough next to the Nalomwe River. This type of farming was
highly productive, as the farm had abundant moisture. Her family also had a
vegetable garden close to the river and enjoyed fresh vegetables throughout
the year. But all that is gone now.
Deep and wide gullies are the scars left from Bhebhe's land. There are some
smooth granite pebbles, a sign that water used to flow over these rocks.
Erosion has washed away the soil, leaving trees with exposed roots hanging
on for dear life.
Bhebhe particularly remembers the 2004 water crisis in Sianyanga and
"The borehole that was sunk by a local nongovernmental organization dried in
2004," she says. "We used to wake up at 0400 hours [4 a.m.] to go and fetch
water, and we would queue the whole day as families from distant villages
were using that one source of water. Water had become a precious commodity
that some families were even buying it."
Bhebhe says families survived on an average of five liters, 1.3 gallons, of
water a day for drinking and cooking.
"Our cattle were dying because there was no water in the rivers and streams
nearby," she says. "To save our livestock from dying, we were forced to take
them to Gwayi River, 12 kilometers away from Sianyanga. The men would stay
there for three to four months before returning home."
Community members say the 2004 water crisis was a turning point in their
decision to seek help.
As the heavy environmental catastrophe weighed on Bhebhe, Nyoni and their
fellow villagers, a local organization moved into Sianyanga and other
neighboring wards in 2006 to replicate a land restoration project it had
been implementing at its learning site at Dimbangombe Ranch, located south
of Victoria Falls.
Elias Ncube, 54, the training manager for the nonprofit organization, Africa
Center for Holistic Management, says that previous attempts at land
restoration focused on symptoms of desertification, such as rapid soil
erosion and increasing droughts and floods.
He says that the government, NGOs and other stakeholders invested resources
into combating these symptoms instead of addressing the cause. For example,
he says that drilling boreholes in Sianyanga provided only a short-term fix
for the water shortage because the boreholes eventually dried. Instead, his
organization focuses on long-term solutions, such as covering the land to
make sure that the soil retains water when it rains.
Ncube says water in Matabaleland region is scarce, and many boreholes
continue to dry because the land is bare and very little water manages to
infiltrate the ground. Therefore, he says the soil needs to be covered to
reduce runoff and evaporation.
So the Africa Center for Holistic Management has introduced an alternative
solution: bunching livestock, or grouping them closely together, to restore
land and natural water sources.
Ncube says livestock harness the power of their hooves to break up hard
ground, which allows soil to better absorb water, and compact soil, which
encourages seed-to-soil contact, resulting in better seed germination. He
says they also trample old grass, which would prevent new grass from
growing, so that it lies flat on the ground, covering the soil and sealing
in moisture. Their dung and urine also fertilize the soil, and planned
grazing prevents overgrazing.
"Livestock can also lay down old grass so that the soil is covered and less
prone to the process of evaporation," he says. "And that animal dung and
urine help enrich the hoof-prepared soil and their grazing, which is timed
to prevent overgrazing of plants, keeps perennial grasses healthy, thereby
minimizing the need to burn and expose soil."
Before the initiative, the community used to burn the grass, a common
practice in Zimbabwe. But the fires threaten biodiversity and have led to
Ncube says that animals are corralled in a field for approximately seven
days, depending on the size of the herd and field, giving each animal
adequate space to sleep. Sianyanga locals bring together their livestock to
form a community herd, which currently consists of 100 cattle, 50 goats and
Ncube says that this simple process has proven to restore degraded land and
natural water sources. The activity also helps increase plants and wildlife.
"Our work at Dimbangombe learning site and in the Hwange communal lands has
shown us that it is possible to restore the land and natural water sources
to health," he says. "We have learned that healing the land using livestock
restores people's dignity and hope."
Bhebhe says the water crisis in her area has improved since they began to
practice planned grazing, a procedure that involves an orderly series of
grazing to give plants time to recover. The process gives plants a chance to
grow and multiply, steadily increasing the amount of high-quality plants
available per acre.
"I used to get poor harvest," Bhebhe says. "But after using livestock to
prepare my crop field, I harvested 150 kilograms of maize where I previously
harvested 50 kilograms."
Africa Center for Holistic Management is currently working with 10
communities, including Sianyanga, to heal the land, natural water sources
and livelihoods. Farmers in these areas who have been using animals to treat
their lands have seen boosts in crop yields, according to the data
management department of the Africa Center for Holistic Management.
"Animal-treated crop fields in Monde, Sizinda, Dibutibu and Mabale in Hwange
communal lands had higher yields than control crop fields," says Doreen
Murove, data manager for the Africa Center for Holistic Management.
Murove says her department used Monde, Sizinda, Dibutibu and Mabale to
create a sample for gathering data to assess the impact of animal-treated
"Maize harvested in the animal-treated crop field in Monde was 2 tons per
hectare, while the field which was not animal-treated produced 0.1 tons per
hectare," she says. "In Mabale, the animal-treated field yielded 5.5 tons
per hectare, while the control field produced 0.4 tons per hectare."
In Sizinda, the animal-treated crop field produced 4.4 tons per hectare,
while the control field bore 1.8 tons per hectare. In Dibutibu, the
animal-treated crop field reaped 2.6 tons per hectare, while the field that
was not animal-treated yielded 0.68 tons per hectare.
Bhebhe says more women are involved in the project because they are left to
fend for the family when men travel out of town to look for work. She says
HIV/AIDS has also left many households headed by women.
Communities have a community herd, and families maintain their livestock
together under the planned grazing scheme. Bhehbhe says sharing the
responsibility cuts down on the women's work.
"We take turns to look after the animals, and this makes the work less
strenuous, giving us the opportunity to do other chores at home," Bhebhe
Ncube says the village may soon get water closer to home, thanks to the
initiative, which should also make women's daily routines easier.
"The situation has improved significantly with the introduction of planned
grazing," Ncube says. "The land is retaining moisture, and more grass is
growing. Although the Nalomwe River in Sianyanga is still silted, the
situation has improved a lot. The water table has risen, and villagers may
soon be having more water close to their village."
Ncube says the major challenge to the program's success is persuading the
whole community to actively participate, citing skepticism among some
members. He says cultural beliefs also make it difficult for communities to
work collectively toward achieving a common goal.
"Keeping and herding animals together is a challenge," he says. "Some
community members believe that other community members use witchcraft to
prevent their livestock from reproducing. Others fear that their livestock
will get diseases if herded with other animals."
He says shifting these mindsets is essential.
Africa Center for Holistic Management is training other nonprofit
organizations, such as Chikukwa Ecological Land Use Community Trust, Action
Against Hunger Zimbabwe, World Vision Zimbabwe and Land O'Lakes, to use its
livestock strategy to restore land and natural water sources.
The Zimbabwe government has mandated the Environment Management Agency to
promote the sustainable management of natural resources and protect the
environment through stakeholder participation. The agency is involved in
projects, such as preventing wildfires across the nation.
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 21/10/11
Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-pf party should draw lessons
from the demise of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya who met his brutal death in a
dramatic way in Sitre on Thursday 20 October 2011.
There are many people in Libya and abroad who would have liked Gaddafi to
stand trial for his abuse of power. But there were others too who felt
otherwise. The rest is now history.
Nobody ever thought that Libyans would be celebrating the death of their
leader as a climax to a revolution which started in February after Gaddafi’s
42 years in power.
Even before Gaddafi is buried, Libyans are already preparing a roadmap for
free and fair elections. Libyans now have the opportunity to taste
democracy, the rule of law and respect of human rights.
It just goes to show how intransigence and arrogance by dictators help
galvanise public outrage and courage to take retributive justice whenever
the chance avails itself.
It is ironic that Zanu-pf is now saying who should be included in the
National Transitional Government of Libya when at home is refusing to
implement the Global Political Agreement at least by reforming the security
to build confidence..
The lesson Zanu-pf should draw from Libya is that there is nothing that can
get in the way of peoples power, even with the most well paid army, secret
service agents, billions of dollars to spare.
The time for political, constitutional, legal, media and democratic reforms
is now. The ideal starting point is opening up the airwaves in a transparent
way and declaring the end to a culture of intolerance and impunity.
Zanu-pf must disband Chipangano and allow for free and fair elections by all
at home and exiles when there is still a chance for a peaceful solution to
the Zimbabwe crisis.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, London, firstname.lastname@example.org