By Cris Chinaka Cris Chinaka - Tue Oct 6, 10:14 am ET
HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday Zimbabwe wanted
friendly relations with Western countries who have been critical of it in
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, also reiterated a
call for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be lifted.
"Our country remains in a positive stance to enter into fresh, friendly and
cooperative relations with all those countries that have been hostile to us
in the past," he said at the opening of parliament.
Mugabe has long been a pariah in the West, blamed by critics for plunging
his country, once the bread basket of southern Africa, into poverty through
mismanagement and corruption.
He has accused his Western foes of ruining the economy through sanctions in
retaliation for a policy of seizing white-owned farms for landless blacks.
Those countries say the sanctions only target him and close associates.
His government has also been criticized for human rights abuses, including
repression of opponents and the media.
After long negotiations, Mugabe formed a unity government with opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February to try to end a decade-long political
"Our re-engagement with the EU bloc is gathering momentum. However, as our
inclusive government re-engages the Western countries, we expect those
countries that have imposed illegal sanctions, which have hurt our people
and continue to hurt our economy...to remove them," Mugabe said.
CALL FOR UNITY
The fragile coalition between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is threatened by policy differences,
the slow pace of reforms and feuding over state jobs.
Tuesday opposition MDC parliamentarians applauded Mugabe when he called for
unity among Zimbabweans in a conciliatory speech.
"Together let us build the bridges of amity, forgiveness, trust and
togetherness," Mugabe said.
Analysts said Mugabe's comments were mild compared to his previous fiery,
anti-West speeches at previous parliament openings.
"It was a departure from his conventional style and the speech appeared to
be balanced and level-headed. The tone was quite impressive and is in synch
with that of national reconciliation. Maybe he wants to reconcile polarized
relations," said Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe.
MDC MPs booed and jeered Mugabe's speech to parliament last year as they
accused him of stealing a violent election run-off.
Foreign aid donors and investors remain reluctant to put money into Zimbabwe
until further progress has been made toward democratic reforms.
Government officials say the new session of parliament will consider
amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act and a bill governing the operations
of the central bank.
Mugabe said Tuesday that the government would pass a law on the mining
sector soon. This would address concerns raised by an earlier draft that
would have given locals control of mining operations owned by foreign
"The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, which should be finalized during
this session, will seek to strengthen the relationship between government
and the mining houses," Mugabe said.
Several mining firms, including the world's two biggest platinum producers,
Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum, have retained operations in Zimbabwe but
largely put new projects on hold, fearing the mines could be taken over by
(Additional reporting by Nelson Banya and MacDonald Dzirutwe; Writing by
Marius Bosch; Editing by Dominic Evans)
06 October 2009
|President Robert Mugabe inspects the guard of honour during the official opening of the second session of the seventh parliament of Zimbabwe in Harare, 06 Oct 2009|
Written by Gift Phiri
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 14:23
HARARE - A military parade accompanied with enormous bling and
splendour of a royal celebration brightened the gray of austere Harare
Tuesday as centruries old British pageantry once more opened Zimbabwe's
Parliament. (Pictured: Robert Mugabe)
The State opening of Parliament was a glittering ceremony when all the
pomp, fanfair, pageantry and majesty of colonial power Britain's ancient
royal and parliamentary traditions came together in full splendour.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans packed Africa Unity Square to see or deride
President Mugabe and his wife drive in State to inaugurate the second
session of Zimbabwe's 7th Parliament.
In spotless green uniforms, 200 soldiers from the elite presidential
guard paraded outside Parliament while the sound of horses' hooves heralded
the arrival of Mugabe.
Escorted by 32 mounted policemen, dressed in the 1890 uniform of the
British South Africa Police, complete with white pith helmets, the president
came into view in a ceremony beamed live on State television.
A regal Mugabe and his wife, resplendent in a blue outfit, was riding
in the gleaming Rolls Royce once used by Lord Soames, the last governor of
Rhodesia. As he mounted the saluting dais and the national anthem was
played, a chorus of jeering and salutes began.
A sea of red cards appeared directly in front of Mugabe and roars of
"Chinja" - the MDC slogan for change - drowned the efforts of the military
band. Mugabe's supporters responded with cries of support, chanting
"Gushungo, Gushungo" but were easily outnumbered by joyful MDC activists.
Only a flypast from four MiG jets silenced the raucous whistles and
cries. Looking inscrutable, Mugabe retreated inside Parliament and took his
seat on the Speaker's chair, facing opponents outnumbering his deputies .
As Mugabe sauntered into the building, a green stately cloth across
his shoulders, both MDC and Zanu (PF) legislators stood up as a mark of
respect. Bemedalled military generals, then judges in their colonial red
gowns and pink wigs, followed closely behind.
Mugabe made the customary opening speech to a joint sitting of both
Houses, outlining the government's legislative agenda for the new session,
and intimating that the session was crucial as it was the first after
formation of an inclusive government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
Mugabe said the Constitution-making process, which has hit snag over
funding shorfall, was "work-in-progress."
He said government was moving to estabish four commissions provided
for under Constitutional Amendment Number 19 that established the country's
inclusive government, namely the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), the
Independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (IZEC), the Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
Selection of candidates by a special parliamentary committee to sit on
two new commissions that will oversee the country's media and run elections,
has been mired in controversy after President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF)
party protested against the selection process after several of its allies
failed to make it to the final list of nominees.
The major legislative highlights in this Parliamentary session will be
the introduction of the Reserve Bank Amendment Bill which provides for major
amendments to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act, principally to bring the
powers of governor Gideon Gono under the control of the RBZ's Board, to
clarify the functions of the central bank and to require the bank to
increase its reserves.
Mugabe said the government would weigh the mining sector reform law.
Other key bills are the Finance (No. 2) Bill and the Appropriation
(Supplementary) Bill, the Labour Amendment Bill set to give full labour
rights to public servants, including the right to strike, the Elderly
Persons Bill and the Information Communication Technology Bill.
However, there is no plan to amend the repressive Access to Infomation
and Protection of Privavcy Act, AIPPA and the Public Order and Security Act,
POSA even though reforming these two key legislation is mentioned in the
global political agreement and in the economic blueprint, STERP.
By Violet Gonda
6 October 2009
A rather subdued Robert Mugabe finally opened the Second Session of the
Seventh Parliament on Tuesday, where Morgan Tsvangirai was also present at
the official opening for the first time as Prime Minister. Several
parliamentarians also said that for the first time there were no tensions in
the House while Mugabe was delivering his speech which was 'relatively
devoid of his usual nastiness.'
Observers say it appears the political rivals may have made some concessions
to be 'civil with each other'. Last August Mugabe was humiliated and left
rattled after MDC-T parliamentarians jeered, heckled and sang 'ZANU PF is
rotten' during his speech, but there was none of that this time around. Some
MDC MPs, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were told by the top
leadership in the inclusive government not to repeat last year's
One of the MPs said the instructions came via the party's chief whip in
parliament, Innocent Gonese, who allegedly told the MPs there would be no
heckling. One disappointed MP said: "It was one of those sad and boring days
in parliament where you just sat there and listened to an old, sickly man
delivering another useless message to the nation."
However Gonese denied ordering the legislators not to boo Mugabe. But he
pointed out: "There was a general discussion that this time things had to be
done a bit differently and we obviously discussed with members that we did
not expect there to be the heckling or the singing that characterised last
year's opening. But generally the MPs I spoke to were appreciative of the
need to have that different approach."
The MDC Chief Whip told SW Radio Africa that this was because things were
very different last year, as it was before the inception of the inclusive
government and decisions were being made unilaterally by ZANU PF. He said
this time around the Prime Minister was in chambers, as compared to the last
time when he was not even sworn in as an MP. Gonese said the environment
was completely different and relatively jovial Tuesday.
Meanwhile in his opening speech, Mugabe told the House that Zimbabwe is
ready for new and friendly relations with the West. He said: "Our country
remains in a positive stance to enter into fresh, friendly and cooperative
relations with all those countries that have been hostile to us in the
past." Just two weeks ago Mugabe accused western countries of trying to
divide the coalition government. Of course he didn't lose the opportunity to
also point out that the lifting of the targeted sanctions was essential for
this to become a reality.
Mugabe said the inclusive government would consult people on the issue of
creating a new constitution, although he revealed that the political parties'
negotiators will be part of a management committee to head the constitution
making process. There are fears that this management committee will remove
the authority of the Parliamentary Select Committee, which is supposed run
the affairs of the constitution making process. If this happened it would
put the constitutional process directly under the control of the political
The negotiators on the management committee are the same people who came up
with the controversial Kariba Draft constitution, which has been rejected by
the MDC-T itself and civil society, because it is not people driven.
However Gonese insisted that while the political parties have now more
direct involvement, it does not mean they are taking over control of the
process. He said the three co-chairpersons of the Parliamentary Select
Committee will also be part of the new management structure.
The Chief Whip said the Principals decided to create the management
committee, to speed up the constitution making process which has been hit by
severe delays. "There have been some challenges on the funding and there
have been some misunderstandings between some of the key players. But we are
now hoping that that this (management structure) will smooth things in such
a way that the work of the committee will now proceed without hindrance and
hope that now there will be less room for misunderstandings and hopefully
that this process will be concluded sooner rather than later," said Gonese.
The Parliamentary Select Committee is co-chaired by Douglas Mwonzora
(MDC-T), Paul Mangwana (ZANU PF) and Edward Mkosi (MDC-M) - Mkosi is
sometimes represented by David Coltart (MDC-M).
The negotiators are: Patrick Chinamasa & Nicholas Goche (ZANU PF); Priscilla
Misihairabwi Mushonga & Welshman Ncube (MDC-M) and Tendai Biti & Elton
Written by Farai Shoko
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 17:49
HARARE - THE Government has cherry-picked two investors to take over
the controversial Chiyadzwa Diamond Fields, President Robert Mugabe has
Officially opening the Second Session of the Seventh Parliament of
Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Mugabe said the engagement of the investors would help
bring progress to Chiyadzwa diamond fields.
He said as a result of positive steps being taken by the government
and the firming of mineral prices on the international market the mining
situation in the country was improving.
Mugabe said increased gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and
Refiners and the re-opening of several mines confirmed that the once
depressed mining sector was looking up.
"The diamond industry has continued to court the attention of
investors. So far, two serious investors have been selected," said Mugabe,
without naming the investors. "The engagement of the investors will help
bring progress to Chiyadzwa, where measures, to ensure the orderly
relocation of the local families to pave way for full-scale commercial
mining, are already underway."
The revelations of the parceling out of Chiyadzwa Diamonds fields to
unnamed investors comes at a time when High Court Judge Charles Hungwe two
weeks ago ordered the Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation to stop its
mining activities and directed the government to restore African
Consolidated Resources' right to mine in the area.
The government had taken over mining operations using the ZMDC and the
army which stands accused of gross human rights violations as it wrestled to
take control of the diamond fields.
Mugabe further said the proposed Mines and Minerals Amendment, which
is set to sail through the current session, would seek to strengthen the
relationship between government and mining houses.
He said the proposed amendments sought to broaden the ownership rights
in the mining sector in line with the Indigenization and Economic
Empowerment policy, promote foreign direct investment, enforce the "use it
or lose it" principle so as to decisively deal with speculative holding of claims
and to reform the Exclusive Prospective Order System in order to facilitate
exploration of new deposits.
There is international pressure to ban trade in Zimbabwe diamonds.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Tuesday urged President Robert
Mugabe to fully implement a power-sharing deal with the opposition and take
steps toward democratic reform if he wants better Zimbabwean-US ties.
The US State Department issued the statement after Mugabe said earlier that
Zimbabwe was ready for "fresh and cooperative relations" with Western
nations that have spearheaded global condemnation of his rule.
"We encourage Robert Mugabe to show his commitment to positive relations
with the US by fully implementing the Global Political Agreement, which he
signed in September 2008," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told AFP.
Mugabe has been accused of blocking attempts to fully implement the terms of
the agreement, under which Mugabe continues serving as president and his
long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai took office in February as prime minister.
The unity government is tasked with returning Zimbabwe to stability after
years of economic ruin.
Kelly, when asked to comment on Mugabe's bid to turn the page with the West,
said the veteran Zimbabwean leader could "take a number of steps to show a
commitment to democratic reform and political opening."
These include "ending politicized arrests and prosecutions and often violent
land seizures," he said in an e-mail message.
They also include "replacing the corrupt officials, ending media censorship,
and repealing emergency decrees and draconian laws restricting personal
freedoms," he added.
He also called on Mugabe to make a public commitment to draft a new
constitution and hold national elections under international supervision and
In Harare, at the opening session of the new parliament, Mugabe said: "Our
country remains in a positive stance to enter into fresh and cooperative
relations with all those countries that have been hostile to us in the
He said Zimbabwe's reengagement with the European Union is "gathering
momentum," after the EU last month sent a high-level delegation to Zimbabwe
to meet with Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
The United States and the European Union have imposed travel restrictions
and asset freezes against Mugabe and his key allies.
By Alex Bell
06 October 2009
Hundreds of disgruntled Harare residents took to the streets on Monday to
express their discontent with the city's continuing lack of service
delivery, and the exorbitant spending decisions made by the council in
At least 500 residents marched to Town House, singing protest songs and
waving placards, voicing their anger and growing impatient with a council
that has done little to ensure adequate services return to the city. Roads
are full of pot holes; street and traffic lights are not working and have
not been maintained; piles of garbage are littered at most street corners in
residential areas and shopping centers; raw sewerage is still a dreaded
neighbor in most high density areas. However, despite the visible failings
of the council to restore services, residents have still been faced with
letters of final demand, threats of legal action and unrealistic council
The protesting residents arrived at Town House with a list of demands to
present to City Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and his council. The demands include
an urgent review of council rates, immediately prioritising service delivery
over other council costs, and an immediate review of the salaries paid to
council directors. The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) said on
Monday the salaries are 'exorbitant', explaining they are "consuming more
that 50% of Council finances."
The council has come under fire recently after a string of controversial
buying decisions made in the face of its own appalling service standards.
Most recently, the council forked out more than US$100 000 to buy a luxury
Mercedes Benz for Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, who has scoffed at the complaints
by residents over the decision. He argued the vehicle, used in his official
capacity, was budgeted for and was merely a replacement car, but residents
in turn argued that the money would be better spent elsewhere. For example,
the amount of money spent by the council merely on cars for councillors
would have been enough to supply water treatment chemicals for the city for
at least six months. The residents' anger over the car purchases was again
demonstrated during Monday's march, with some protesters waving placards
reading: "Buy water treatment chemicals not Prados!"
The car fiasco came just days after an extravagant party was hosted by the
council in Masunda's honour, when he was inaugurated as Mayor in August.
Hundreds of distinguished guests from across the country, including Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, wined and dined apparently at ratepayers
expense. At the time residents told SW Radio Africa they were angry and
disillusioned by the council's spending decisions, given the city itself
remains in a state of dire disrepair.
Mayor Masunda meanwhile was conspicuous by his absence at Monday's resident's
march, refusing to address the crowds on their various grievances. CHRA
explained that Masunda had been formally invited to address the residents on
their grievances but instead, Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto, stepped out to
face the residents' anger. Chiroto, who was originally up for the mayoral
position, told residents the council would give their grievances 'due
By Lance Guma
06 October 2009
Ten Zimbabwean students at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa have
been kicked out of a Presidential Scholarship Fund, for allegedly supporting
the MDC. The programme is meant to assist under-privileged students, using
taxpayer's money, but has been dogged over the years by accusations of being
politicized in favour of beneficiaries aligned to ZANU PF. The MDC South
Africa spokesperson, Sibanengi Dube, told Newsreel that 10 of the students
had been elected as office bearers in the MDC local branch structures, but
were subsequently booted out of the scholarship programme.
To compound matters, another 10 students who participated in distributing
MDC t-shirts and other party regalia, have been notified their funding will
be withdrawn. Dube told us; 'As I speak to you there is a real risk that by
the end of the semester 20 students will have been struck off from the
scholarship programme.' He said the MDC provincial leadership was
dispatching a delegation to have meetings with the Vice Chancellor at the
university and also to meet Zimbabwe's Ambassador to South Africa Simon
Khaya Moyo. "We will appeal to the ambassador to have a fatherly approach to
this matter,' Dube said.
Last month 3 students under the same scholarship programme were thrown out
for allegedly saying 'bad things about Mugabe'. Manicaland governor Chris
Mushowe, who is the Fort Hare Scholarship Programme executive director,
wrote a letter to one of the students, Tonderai Kunyaye, accusing him of
refusing to submit his results to the sponsor. But on Tuesday Dube told us
the minister's argument was null and void, as it was not the responsibility
of the students to provide results to the sponsor. He said parents or
sponsors could easily get results from the university if they wanted.
The letter to Kunyaye was also addressed to the university registrar and
went on to say the student 'has been broadcasting hate, malicious and
defamatory propaganda through self-made music, postcards and addresses to
other students in and outside your university. Mushowe claimed this had
'elicited malicious controversy around the patron and sponsor of this
More worrying for Kunyaye were demands that he surrender his study permit
and return to Zimbabwe to 'assist' authorities there to substantiate claims
'contained in tapes and reports'. He was told that failing to do this would
mean he (or his guarantors) had to reimburse what the government had paid
for his education, under the sponsorship program.
Kunyaye vowed to clear his name saying, 'I am a victim of this unjust and
very oppressive type of autocracy.' He added that he was prepared to give a
testimony at any platform and that they were being politically victimized.
The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum in South Africa has been helping Kunyaye fight his
case. Newsreel spoke to Programme Manager Eddie Matangaise and he confirmed
Kunyaye approached them for help. He provided the organization with all the
documents pertaining to the case, including the letters from Governor
Newsreel has been told there is not much the University of Fort Hare can do
about the funding situation of the students, given that it's the sponsor who
has withdrawn funding in these cases. Students interviewed at the
university said there were known ZANU PF 'functionaries' operating on the
campus and supplying information on what students were doing, especially
those on the scholarship programme. Dube told us they will have a response
from the university by Friday and will then decide what to do next.
October 6, 2009
HARARE (IRIN) - Despite moves to salvage Zimbabwe's ailing education sector,
exorbitant fees are keeping many poor students from writing the examinations
that will allow them to gain a school-leaving certificate at the end of
A recent survey by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
revealed that up to 75 percent of the 300,000 children who could sit their
Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations in November had failed to
register before the deadline.
PTUZ president Raymond Majongwe said exams had to be written in eight
O-Level subjects at a fee of US$10 per subject, and in six A-Level subjects
at a fee of US$15 each, which was simply beyond the means of most parents or
"The situation is terrible. Students learning in rural areas and on farm
schools are the worst affected, with those coming from poor suburbs in urban
areas accounting for a substantial amount of the victims," Majongwe said.
The number of students who could not afford to write their examinations this
year was "the highest in the history of the country" said a PTUZ statement.
Hyperinflation, widespread food shortages, cholera outbreaks and an almost
year-long strike by teachers in 2008 led to the near total collapse of an
education system already undermined by the economic and political crises
besetting the country. The standard of learning has declined dramatically.
"We seem to be going back to the pre-colonial era, when education was a
privilege of the rich elite - the poor are slowly being edged out, even
though the goal should be to provide universal education," Majongwe said.
The Minister of Education and Sport, David Coltart, said there would be no
extension of the September 25 deadline for registering to write the exams
because it would delay the existing timetable and affect the printing of
"I am deeply concerned because children have been denied the chance to sit
for their final examinations after working hard for probably four or five
years," Coltart was quoted as saying by The Herald, an official newspaper.
Majongwe urged the government to allow all students to sit the examinations,
"and then give them time to pay up, failure of which [would mean] their
results should be withheld".
Public servants, including teachers, have been paid in foreign currency as a
hedge against hyperinflation since the formation of the unity government in
February 2009, which has brought back some stability to schooling, but there
are still mountainous problems to be overcome.
"Zimbabwe's education sector, once a model in Africa, continues to be
riddled with challenges. Public financing of the sector declined
significantly over the last decade, leaving most schools with no funds to
purchase even the most basic teaching materials such as text books and
stationery," said a recent statement by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
It is not uncommon for 10 pupils to share a text book, and despite the
government's move to drastically slash school fees in February 2009,
deepening poverty has meant that even the reduced cost of attending
government schools in some areas had put education beyond the reach of
thousands of children.
More and more have been dropping out: "Almost 50 percent of Zimbabwe's
children graduating from primary school were not proceeding to secondary
school," the UNICEF statement noted.
A school principal in Chitungwiza, a town about 30km south of Harare, the
capital, said that 80 percent of the more than 1,000 students at his school
had not paid fees since January.
"Of the hundred or so students who have paid to write their O-Level
examinations, only 16 have registered for five subjects and above. Worse
still, I don't have any reason to believe that things will change for the
better next year if the economy does not improve dramatically."
Majongwe said although it was unlikely, he still hoped that part of the
US$70 million Education Transition Fund unveiled by the government, UNICEF
and the international donor community in mid-September would be used to
rescue the stranded students.
The month of September began with Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF) announcing that Zimbabwe was withdrawing from the SADC Tribunal, and declaring that the Zimbabwe Government would not be bound by decisions made there. Chinamasa’s argument justifying his decision has been widely challenged in a range of legal opinions from credible organisations. It is by now widely known that the SADC Tribunal ruled in favour of 79 white commercial farmers, finding that the government’s seizure of their farms was racist, unlawful and violated their human rights. Chinamasa’s decision to ignore the Tribunal signals contempt for the region’s decisions, and indicates that the Zanu PF elements within the inclusive government have no intention of complying with legal and human rights standards set by our African peers.
Unsurprisingly, September saw an increase in land and farming related violations of the GPA, suggesting that those responsible for violent and unlawful behaviour were emboldened by the signal that they would not be held accountable for their crimes in either a local or a regional court. A report released in September illustrated the scale of human devastation caused by the farm invasions: approximately 66,000 farm workers have been left homeless in the wake of farm invasions since February 2009. All too often, it is senior Zanu PF loyalists associated with the crimes, enjoying the protection of people like the Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, and Attorney General Johannes Tomana.
Notable farming incidents in September alone include the following:
A comprehensive land audit is a key component of the Global Political Agreement: Article5.9.a agrees that the power-sharing parties will “conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit, during the tenure of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownerships” (emphasis added). Lands Minister Herbert Murerwa claimed in September that the government was unable to audit the land reform programme due to a shortage of funds.
Robert Mugabe has personally benefitted from the violent land reform programme and his farming empire illustrates the scale of corruption and personal greed at the heart of the Zanu PF policy. The Telegraph newspaper at the end of September identified that Robert Mugabe had built up an empire comprising 10,000 acres of land, made up of five different. SW Radio Africa further revealed that Robert and Grace Mugabe have ten different farms between them. It is not suprising that Mugabe said “The land reform is the best thing (that) could have ever have happened”, in a CNN interview in September. The fact that Mugabe – the most elite of the Zanu PF elite – is so steeped in corruption suggests that the land audit will probably be subjected to many more prevarications, excuses and unacceptable delays before the full scale of corruption is revealed.
September also saw Robert Mugabe publically vowing to never fire Attorney General Johannes Tomana or Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono: “… there’s nothing wrong that they have done” he said. “I have laid down my foot and said no, they will never be. You see, I won’t let them go”. Tomana himself this month said he would refuse to resign his post, even if it meant the collapse of the Government of National Unity. September offers some clear examples of things Tomana has done wrong, contrary to Mugabe’s view of events in the country and not limited to the crimes already detailed so far in this ZIG Issue.
Riot police shot and seriously injured three mine workers at Zvishavane who were part of a strike action towards the end of September. Rather than holding the police accountable (and thus supporting the principles in the GPA which protect the right to freely associate, and also supporting the GPA agreement to make the police aware of the public’s right to freely associate) the victims were charged with public violence and had to appear in court in wheelchairs.
The one bright spot in September was the wonderful news that Jestina Mukoko was granted a permanent stay of prosecution. But the fact that those charges existed at all, and the fact she was tortured and persecuted for so long, is another thing that Tomana has ‘done wrong’. Its worth noting that we have yet to hear an assurance from Tomana that those responsible for torturing Mukoko will be identified and brought to justice. The fact that the police have done nothing to try and find the seven MDC activists still missing after last year’s abductions stands as yet another serious indictment against Tomana.
The irrational persecution of those who seek to address human rights violations continues under the stewardship of Johannes Tomana and Patrick Chinamasa in spite of the critical ruling that found in favour of Jestina Mukoko. For example, Chris Dhlamini, the MDC Director of Security is wanted by the police in the Law and Order section in relation to a list of names of army personnel that he submitted to Johannes Tomana’s office. Rather than seeking to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of violence, the police under Tomana are pursuing Dhlamini instead. (A list of names of army perpetrators associated with last year’s violence can be read at this link).
The public perception that the Zanu PF party is not at all serious about addressing human rights violations or re-establishing non-partisan law and order in Zimbabwe is most heavily highlighted by the news that members of the disbanded Joint Operations Command – now the National Security Council – are said to be holding secret meetings with Robert Mugabe, excluding Morgan Tsvangirai who, under the GPA, is a member of the National Security Council. Analysts have reportedly said that these secretive meetings constitute the worst violation of the Global Political Agreement by the Zanu PF party.
Zanu PF’s struggle to dominate Zimbabwe’s media space continued in September. The state controlled ZimPapers are publishing two new daily newspapers, both launched in September, and both by-passing the licensing requirements that stifle the independent media from doing the same. Journalists at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings also revealed in September that they were being forced to denounce Tsvangirai in their articles, and that they were being instructed – on orders from Webster Shamu and George Charamba (Mugabe’s spokesman) – to re-write neutral articles about Tsvangirai and to interview selected members of the Zanu PF party.
September closed with worrying news that cases of cholera had been identified in the Chiredzi area. This news, just before the rainy season, is a disturbing reminder of last’ year’s health crisis. Equally worrying, is the resurgence of Zanu PF negative propaganda towards NGO and relief agencies that are so critical during these times of crisis. With familiar pugnacity, Mugabe described them as conduits of foreign money used in attempts to overthrow his regime. A day before this declaration by Mugabe, Major-General Martin Chedondo, Army Chief of Staff, warned NGOs to “stick to their core business” or risk the wrath of soldiers.
The volume of articles detailing breaches of the provisions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) last month was so great that we cannot do them justice in this short document. For further relevant information, readers are encouraged to visit http://www.sokwanele.com/zigwatch
Zimbabwe pulls out of SADC Tribunal
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 02/09/2009
Zimbabwe has pulled out of the SADC Tribunal, claiming the regional court has not been properly constituted and that the country will no longer take part in, or respect, any decisions from the Tribunal. The withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the SADC jurisdiction is a major blow to 79 white commercial farmers who had won their cases in the regional court, blocking the government from acquiring their farms. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the court did not exist by law and as such Zimbabwe would not appear before it anymore, and neither would the Government be bound by any decisions already made or future ones emanating from there. The Minister further said that the purported application of the provisions of the Protocol on Zimbabwe is a serious violation of international law.
New invasions leave 66,000 farmworkers homeless in
Monsters and Critics: 25/09/2009
Over 66,000 farmworkers in Zimbabwe have been made homeless since February and are fighting for survival following a new spate of invasions of white-owned farms, a farm union said Friday. The report by the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) claimed the farm’s new owners had hired the police to force farmworkers and their families off the land. GAPWUZ said the workers had been laid off by the new farmers – mostly military officials and/or members of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party – because they were seen as loyal to their previous white bosses and because the new farmers were not engaged in productive farming.
Zimbabwe Farmer In Court For 78th Time
A Zimbabwean farmer will on Monday mark his 78th court appearance, just for continuing farming activities and feeding a starving community that has largely been reliant on his help over the years. “I’m going to court next Monday for my 78th time on exactly the same charge. I have been acquitted three times, withdrawn before plea twice, withdrawn before appeal once and I’ve had a High Court order. Six acquittals altogether and have been in court for the same issue. These court issues don’t seem to be going away despite what we do,” said McKersie. Despite the myriad of charges or court appearances, McKersie has never been convicted on any single charge.
Mugabe says he will ‘never’ fire Gono and Tomana
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 24/09/2009
Robert Mugabe has told the Reuters news agency he will ‘never’ replace Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana. Speaking on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York Mugabe said he appointed Gono and Tomana long before the power sharing agreement had come into being. “I don’t see any reason why they should be discharged and new people found to replace them. And so I have laid down my foot and said no, they will never be. You see, I won’t let them go,” he said.
‘I will not quit’ Says Defiant Tomana
Zimbabwe Standard, The (ZW): 05/09/2009
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana says he will not to resign from his post even if it means the collapse of the inclusive government. Last week Tomana said if the GNU collapses because of the controversy surrounding his appointment it would not be his fault and would not feel guilty. “Politicians are the ones that would have let the nation down. I won’t feel bad. “I am not a politician,” said Tomana. “The nation would have been let down, but not by me.” Tomana referred to the call by MDC to have him fired as “mischief”.
Shabanie mine shooting victims charged with public violence
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 28/09/2009
Three Shabanie mine workers who were shot and seriously injured by police in Zvishavane on Friday, were dragged to court on Monday and charged with public violence. Taurai Zhou and Simbarashe Mashuku appeared in court in wheelchairs after they sustained gunshot wounds to the legs. Alois Zhou, who was shot in the hand, was able to walk, according to their lawyer Tichaona Chivasa. The three appeared before a Zvishavane magistrate with 10 other workers who were arrested during a peaceful demonstration at the mine complex. They were all charged with public violence and released on $10 bail each. They will be back in court on 21st October.
Law and Order hunts for MDC security chief
ZimNet Radio: 24/09/2009
Police details from the Law and Order Section are looking for MDC Director of Security Chris Dhlamini for questioning. Dhlamini last month presented a dossier of murdered MDC victims of violence to the Attorney-General’s Office … Dhlamini received a call today from an officer from the Law and Order Section advising him to report at the Harare Central Police Station in connection with the dossier submitted to the AG’s Office.
Private meetings ‘worst violation’ of GPA
Zimbabwean, The (ZW): 23/09/2009
Instead of setting policies on law and order in the National Security Council, security chiefs are said to be holding private meetings with Robert Mugabe – a situation analysts say is the worst violation of the global political agreement by Zanu (PF). The service chiefs, who are also members of the security council, continue to meet Mugabe privately, seemingly under the disbanded Joint Operations Command. The chiefs are Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Lieutenant-General Sibanda, Air Marshall Perrence Shiri and Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri.
Outrage as new state-sponsored daily newspaper hits the streets
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 08/09/2009
Media rights groups, independent newspaper publishers and other observers have reacted with outrage to the release of a new state-sponsored daily paper in Harare, which again highlights the undemocratic and politically skewed media environment in the country. The new daily tabloid, H-Metro, published by the state’s ZimPapers, hit the streets of Harare on Monday. The move has come as a shock to independent newspaper publishers, who are still awaiting the green light from the government to launch dailies to compete with state publications. Media and Information Minister Webster Shamu has insisted H-Metro, being a state owned paper, is exempt from needing a licence, but still managed to contradict himself by insisting that ZimPapers is not state owned.
Tsvangirai Media-Onslaught Intensifies
The public media has upped its media-onslaught on the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai with journalists at the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings complaining that they are being continuously forced to denounce him ahead of the forthcoming SADC summit in DRC this week. Television and radio producers at ZBC said they were being ordered to re-write scripts that seem to be objective on the Prime Minister, as well as being forced to interview ZANU (PF) officials selected by the editors – acting on orders from the ministry of Information and Publicity which is under the stewardship of President Mugabe’s favorites Webster Shamu, and chief propagandist George Charamba. Prime Minister’s spokesperson James Maridadi said the move by state media is against the spirit of the inclusive government.
Seven Abducted Zimbabweans Still Missing
Rights group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), disclosed that seven people, who were abducted at the time of the kidnapping of prominent human rights campaigner, Jestina Mukoko, were still missing up to now despite the issuance of several court orders ordering the police and state security agents to produce the abductees. The seven include Gwenzi Kahiya, Lovemore Machokoto, Charles Muza, Ephraim Mabeka, Edmore Vangirayi, Peter Munyanyi, and Graham Matehwa.
Relief Agencies Decry Fresh Attacks
Zimbabwe Situation, The (ZW): 26/09/2009
Renewed threats against Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) by President Robert Mugabe and the military will scare away relief agencies that are helping the majority of Zimbabweans with food aid, players in the sector have warned. In a tone reminiscent of the threats that preceded the disastrous ban on NGOs ahead of last year’s controversial June 27 run-off election, Mugabe accused the civic groups of being conduits of foreign money used in attempts to overthrow his regime. A day before Mugabe’s threat, Army Chief of Staff Major-General Martin Chedondo had warned NGOs “to stick to their core business” or risk the wrath of the soldiers.
By SARAH NCUBE
Published: October 6, 2009
HARARE - The MDC secretary-general and Finance Minister, Hon. Tendai Biti
has been awarded the Euromoney Emerging Markets Best Finance Minister in
Since 1992, Euromoney, the world's leading financial markets magazine has
singled outstanding institutions and individuals in finance.
All the awards have one central theme - they recognise institutions and
individuals that demonstrate leadership, innovation and momentum in the
markets in which they excel.
Minister Biti has brought sanity and transparency into the management of
public funds ever since he was appointed Minister of Finance in February. He
has stood firm in the face of attempts by individuals linked to a certain
political party to grab funds from the International Monetary Fund.
Tendai Biti, a stout, football-loving lawyer fond of wearing a bowler hat in
recent years, as secretary-general of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change and chief negotiator of the power-sharing deal with Zanu-PF, he has
proven himself an able politician.
But he is not a diplomat. Just days before being named and after a judge
suspended his treason trial, he referred to Robert Mugabe - who is the head
the of unity government as a "dictator".
"He's a very good foil to [MDC leader] Morgan Tsvangirai's reticence; he
speaks his mind," said Zimbabwean filmmaker and journalist Farai Sevenzo.
This no-nonsense attitude is perhaps something Zimbabwe's economy needs -
given the alarming statistics: 90% unemployment and world-record
At 44, compared to the old Zanu-PF stalwarts, Biti is very much the modern
He was a former union leader at the University of Zimbabwe, when clashes
between stone-throwing students and riot police were just about the only
public sign of dissatisfaction with Mr Mugabe's rule.
He then went on to become a lawyer with one of Harare's best-known firms,
Honey and Blackenberg.
HARARE- October 6, 2009 - Tsholotsho North legislator and former
Information and Publicity minister Professor Jonathan Moyo who was recently
re-admitted to Zanu PF is tipped to become the party's national political
commissar, a top Zanu PF source told Radio VOP on Tuesday.
The sources, who pleaded for anonymity revealed to RadioVOP that the
party's 'prodigal son' was the only candidate billed to take over from where
the late Elliot Manyika left.
"This is exclusive; Moyo is going to be the next party's political
commissar. We had no option besides calling him to lead us again. We are
just buying time for all members to get confidence in the Professor again,"
said the source. "In fact, it is not true that Moyo begged to be readmitted
in to the party, it is actually us who approached him and asked him to come
back. His letter was just a formality."
"We have discovered that his (Moyo) absence was very expensive to us.
Both of us needed each other so we had no option besides calling him in. Now
that he can not be a minister instantly, he will get the lime light as our
commissar, everyone except a few are aware that he is the best for the job,"
said the source.
However, Moyo could not be reached for comment to confirm if he was
tipped for the post.
In a separate interviews, former Zanu PF Politburo member and now the
chairman of ZAPU, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa said Zanu PF made a serious blunder by
accepting Moyo again.
"Oh that one was the worst blunder they made. That chap is disastrous
I do not know why the accepted him. They will soon regret for he has
unfinished business with them," said Dabengwa.
Moyo clashed with Zanu PF in 2005 when he attended the controversial
Tsholotsho meeting which was seen as a coup to Zanu PF. He stood as an
independent candidate and won the elections for two consecutive periods.
Despite strong feelings that Moyo must not be readmitted, some top
party members like Nathan Shamuyarira, Didymus Mutasa, Patrick Chinamasa and
President Robert Mugabe himself want Moyo to be given a very powerful
"They are saying he is an asset to the party. They want him to be
astronomically elevated," said the source.
Written by Joel Mhizha
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 09:51
Minister of the Organ of National Healing Sekai Holland (Pictured) was
on Sunday booed by a church congregation after she tried to divert church
business into politics, in Harare.
Minister Holland who was the guest at a ZAOGA congregation at Glamis
stadium missed it when she told the congregation that her ministry was
making progress on national healing programme.
It was when she was addressing the church that the congregation got
angry and started shouting while others moved out of the ground.
"It's not fair for politicians to divert the agenda of this great
congregation. We are not hear for a political rally and we are not even
interested in hearing politics," said one of the people at the church.
"We have since told politicians to let the church do the
national healing and reconciliation process because the church is
more respected than politicians who are the perpetrators of the same
political violence that we experienced last year," said another follower.
Minister Holland was later saved by Pastor Eunah Guti who persuaded
the church to stay put and carry on with church business.
The minister had said "We are moving fast with the programme of
national healing, and we recently engaged chiefs and village heads who
have promised to cascade the information to the grass roots," before she
was interrupted by angry congregation.
The process of national healing like the Constitution writing process
has not yet showed any sign of progress since it was officially launched in
Zimbabweans are complaining that all the meetings being conducted by
the three ministers responsible are excluding the real people who suffered
from the last year's political violence. They are saying since the ministry
was formed no justice has taken place except holding hotel meetings where
the ordinary people are excluded.
Three ministers from all the three political parties appointed
ministers responsible for National Healing and Reconciliation.
They are John Nkomo (ZANU-PF), Gibson Sibanda (MDC-M) and Sekai
Officially opening the Occasion of the National Dedication Programme
towards Healing,Reconsiliation and Intergration,in July Prime minister
Morgan Tsvangirai said justice should prevail over all perpetrators of
"There can be no short cut on this journey and no easy way to
deal with pain and suffering that has been experienced by so many of
our people. The methods that will be employed for this essential
process can not be prescriptive or imposed upon the people, but must
be chosen and endorsed by the people if we are going to achieve the
goal of truly healing our nation," said Prime minister Tsvangirai.
By Tichaona Sibanda
6 October 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told his supporters to prepare for free
and fair elections in 2011. Addressing thousands of MDC activists during a
whirlwind tour of four districts in Matabeleland North over the weekend, the
MDC leader said the constitution-making process would bring in a free and
He said the new people-driven constitution will do away with repressive laws
such as the Access to Information and Public Protection Act (AIPPA) and the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Tsvangirai's rallies were at Manjolo Business Centre, Tinde Business Centre
in Binga on Saturday, Sipepa Business Centre and Tsholotsho Growth Point on
The MDC leader did express concern that ZANU PF was reluctant to reform,
saying it does not want to see progress and this is shown by the continued
disregard of the rule of law and the refusal to resolve outstanding issues.
Leading human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga, told us they've not seen
sufficient reforms and changes on the ground to guarantee that the next
elections will be free and fair.
'We've noticed that on the ground the military, police and ZANU PF militia
are still active and have the capacity at a moment's notice to unleash
terror in the rural communities,' Mavhinga said.
He added; 'This is the challenge that Tsvangirai has to overcome because the
conditions that prevailed prior to the June 2008 presidential election still
remain on the ground.'
Asked what the MDC could do to ensure a free poll, Mavhinga said extensive
electoral reforms and the disbanding of the militias and war veterans was
essential to start with.
'There should be a regional monitoring or a peacekeeping force that should
be sent months before the elections to ensure that the militias and war
veterans are not be able to mobilize again,' he said.
Mavhinga said the military, especially the top brass, should be reigned in
to ensure that they don't interfere with the transfer of power after the
'What happened last year was that although the MDC won the elections there
was no transfer of power to them because the military junta effectively took
over running the country. This should not be allowed to happen again and
there should be a system like the one at independence where a smooth
transition allowed Robert Mugabe to take over power from Ian Smith,'
MASVINGO, October 6, 2009- A Masvingo Magistrate, Walter Chikwanha,
on Monday issued a warrant of arrest for Zanu PF Member of Parliament (MP)
for Chivi North Tranos Huruva (52) for failing to turn up in court to answer
charges of assault.
Huruva, who controversially became the war veteran provincial chairman
early this year, stands accused of allegedly beating his habitual rival and
fellow war veteran- Isaiah Muzenda-at a government building in February when
the two were fighting for a vehicle which belongs to the National War
The event has exposed serious cracks in the party as national
secretary for the war veteran's association retired army major Alex
Mudavanhu is going to testify against his provincial chairman.
It is the State's case that on 9 February 2009, at Benjamin Burombo
Building around 1645 hours, Muzenda- a former war veteran
chairman-approached Huruva who was in a silver CAM pick up and grabbed the
keys of the vehicle from the ignition and tried to run away with them.
However, luck ran out of Muzenda as Huruva caught him and grabbed him
by the collar from behind while the other hand was searching for keys in the
pockets. After getting the keys, Huruva, allegedly clapped him once on the
Muzenda reported the case to Masvingo Central Police Station leading
to Huruva's arrest.
In applying for a warrant of arrest on behalf of the State, Prosecutor
Derek Charamba said Huruva was fully aware that he was supposed to appear in
court last Friday.
Huruva was served with summons on 20 August 2009 but he did not give a
reason why he failed to show up for trial.
The MP, also Zanu PF political commissar is also facing another case
of public violence following his involvement in a fight at Neshuro in
Mwenezi early this year when he was accused of trying to impose candidates
in the District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections.
"The Lion Who Lost His Roar"
It is eleven pm at the Bally Vaughan Sanctuary and twelve hours since I
returned from my honeymoon. As our trucks come home from a day-long mission
sourcing food for the animals, the throb of the diesel engines mask the
ubiquitous night chorus of a thousand syncopating crickets and tree frogs.
Three massive cow carcasses need to be processed immediately; dinner for two
weeks for our many predators at the Sanctuary, and as I help load sacks of
meat onto on of our elderly, rust-riddled wheel-barrows, I watch my
French-manicured fingernails flick off one by one into the gore.
At 2am I fall into bed, only to be woken an hour later by the frantic
ringing of the cowbell on my gate. A gigantic python has just seized a goat
on the other side of the river. We race down to the water's edge and see the
python half out of the water, with a still-writhing goat clamped between its
jaws. As we approach, it sinks beneath the surface, pulling the goat with it
and we spend the next hour thrashing about in the freezing cold water
trying, to no avail, to locate and rescue the goat.
There is no hot water due to a power cut and as I sluice mud, snails and
slime out of my hair with a jug of cold water I watch my mangled finger
nails turn blue. The honeymoon really is over!
When you consider how I met my husband, it is a miracle that we ever got
this far. Several years ago, a newly qualified vet, Vinay Ramlaul, came to
work at Dr Trace and Associates Veterinary Surgery, where I was a freqent
and no doubt infuriating client. At that stage of my life I only had
domestic cats. Arriving home from work one day I found one of my cats in the
driveway, convulsing and yowling excrutiatingly. I arrived at the veterinary
surgery at their busiest time and burst into the reception area screeching,
"Emergency! My cat is dying! My cat is dying! I need a vet immediately!"
Shoving my way past all the other patiently waiting clients, I accosted Dr
Ramlaul as he came out of the consulting room and thrust my pet into his
arms. "Save her!" I shrieked, "She's dying!". Dr Ramlaul backed into the
consulting room (I think he was too frightened to turn his back to me) and I
followed, literally treading on his feet in my determination not to let the
cat out of my sight. It was at this stage that I realised I had lost a shoe
somewhere in the mad melee of my arrival but there was absolutely no way I
was leaving the cat and going to look for it, so I hobbled into the
consulting room and hovered on one leg over the examining table like some
sort of manic sea bird while Dr Ramlaul looked at the cat. A few moments
later he raised his head and gazed at me in some consternation. "Miss
Carter," he murmured.
"Dr Ramlaul!" I gasped.
"Erm, your cat is in season........"
Even to this day I can recall the terrible red tide of mortification that
roared through me, sticking my hair to my head with the cold sweat of utter
idiocy, as I seized my cat and lurched back out into the reception, throwing
my best laser death glare at my transfixed audience as I tried to muster
some sort of sang froid, hopping on one foot trying to put back on the shoe
the smirking receptionist silently handed to me over the counter whilst
holding my completely healthy cat under one arm. Tossing my hair back I
began to stalk towards the exit.
"Er, Miss Carter?" came the voice of Dr Ramlaul
"Dr Ramlaul?" I enquiredicily, one eyebrow raised haughtily.
"You haven't paid your bill."
I am sure if he had known that a few years later I would have a sanctuary of
over 200 animals in my care, he would have left the veterinary profession
without a backward glance.
Now I live with 3 caracals and as one of our volunteers said recently,
regarding the chewed and torn wreckage of yet another piece of furniture,
"It's hard to have anything nice." The purchase of a couch made of iron
means I have somewhere to sit now after the very unpleasant incident where
the caracals quietly removed the innards of the last couch and as I sat down
with my morning cup of coffe the whole precarious structure gave way and I
crashed to the floor. As well as believing that I should be happy lying on
the floor, the caracals are also believe that any food prepared in the house
should be for their consumption only. Most mornings Harry the caracal either
drinks the milk out of my cereal or licks the topping off my toast,
resulting in yet another meal rendered inedible. This despite the fact that
he is served a bowl of (warmed) milk and a scoop of yoghurt each morning
too. His most heinous act of sabotage yet occurred on Monday morning,
supposedly my day off, when he stepped off the edge of the kitchen sink onto
the handle of a pan full of tomatoe and tuna sauce. His weight flicked the
pan backwards off the stove, sending a wave of pungent, oily, indelible red
liquid across the kitchen, all over me and him, the windows, the cupboards,
the appliances...I even had a piece of onion in my ear.
As I applied a hosepipe to the slimy morass on the kitchen floor, my hair
plastered to my head with tomato sauce, dresed in knickers and gum boots,
alternately cursing and sobbing with self pity, I reflected grimly that no
one will ever mistake me for a happy homemaker with gingham kitchen curtains
and a line full of super-white washing.
Recently we have given sanctuary to a lion, three owls, a flock of pigeons
and a family of ducks, a vociferous group of chickens with fabulously frilly
feathers and a Goffin cockatoo. Margaret the sheep gave birth to a daughter
amid much drama. Flea Freel, one of our volunteers, and I were the presiding
midwives and Margaret had only been in labour half an hour before we were
both completely hysterical because of the terrible pain she seemed to be
experiencing. Deciding that our attempts to get Margaret to employ Lamaze
breathing techniques were not working, we prepared the truck for an
emergency rush to town whilst I shrieked down the phone to Dr Ramlaul, "Yes,
I know she's in labour, but she's in agony! This cant be right! We need to
do an emergency Caesarean!" Eventually we were persuaded by Dr Ramlaul, and
Farai the night guard at the Sanctuary, that excruciating pain over a long
period of time is actually quite normal during labour and Margaret
eventually gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Molly. Charlotte the donkey
produced the divine baby Angelo shortly afterwards; another traumatic
experience for us all as the foal was stuck! 'Charlotte was attacked by a
crocodile on the Mazowe river several years ago and the resulting scar
tissue made it impossible for her to give birth on her own. Fortunately her
great trust in us meant that she sought out the staff and allowed them to
ease the baby out. We are also bottle-feeding the nefarious Frankie the Goat
whose extreme cunning sees him receiving at least twice as many bottles as
he is entitled to on any given day.
Two puppies found their way to the Sanctuary, one found cowering behind the
hyena pen and the other tangled in our game fence. Both were starving,
terrified and filthy. Both are classic examples of the Buffet Dog ie: a
little bit of everything, with long tails and spectacularly big ears and the
wonderful nature common to these dogs. Meisie now lives the high life in
Harare; the proud owner of two pink, padded baskets and a set of red plastic
dinnerware and Rover is still at the Sanctuary, swimming and sunbathing and
hunting lizards in between dodging random assaults from the owls and the
mongooses and being carried about by doting volunteers.
Many of our animals owe their lives to the vets and staff at the Twenty Four
Hour Veterinary Surgery. Without this facility the Sanctuary would not
function. Their dedicated and donated care of our many animals and birds, so
many of whom come to us sick or injured, gives these creatures the chance
for healthy, happy lives that they so deserve.
Nduna the lion arrived in May. Contained in a travel cage and covered with a
tarpaulin, my first introduction to Nduna was the sight of his tail, hanging
forlornly over the side of the truck. The magnificent black 'brush' that
lions usually sport at the tip of their tail was missing. In its place was a
sparse, orange wisp of fur. The rest of his malnourished form was revealed
when we removed the tarp; pressure sores on his haunches and wounds and
scars on his face, one ear torn and tattered from an old wound, his ribs and
backbone in sharp relief under his dull yellow fur. Our plan was to put
Nduna with our lone lioness, the indomnitable and supremely beautiful Kadiki
but Kadiki has always been a princess before she is a lioness(and has the
blonde highlights and buffed nails to prove it), and we were unsure of her
reaction to sharing her space and her possessions with another lion so we
put Nduna into a management pen in the corner of Kadiki's enclosure with a
few of Kadiki's many toys to help him pass the time. One week later I
decided to introduce them and opened the gate with shaking hands. Kadiki was
so much bigger and stronger than the inbred, frail Nduna that she could have
killed him with ease. She raced into the management pen, snarling and
smacking her tail on the ground, and as Nduna cowered in the corner she
stood before him and uttered a great, guttural roar of rage, her legs akimbo
like some sort of furry super-hero and her chin tucked into her chest in the
classic aggressor position. She then stalked with great purpose over to the
pile of toys, picked them up one by one and carried them out into her
enclosure where she piled them up neatly. Finally she returned to the
management pen, glanced coldy at the quivering lion in the corner and then
urinated copiously into his water dish before strolling out again and going
to lie on the pile of toys. The message was clear - "That's what I think of
you. And, by the way, dont touch my stuff."
Eventually Nduna plucked up the courage to emerge from the pen into the main
enclosure, and embarked on a mission to win over his new housemate.
Everything Kadiki did, Nduna did too. Stretching, yawning, scratching, a
little stroll to the anthill, a snooze in the afternoon sun - he shadowed
her every move. Some areas were, however, out of bounds. Any attempts by
Nduna to join Kadiki on her climbing frame ended badly for him, he wasn't
allowed to touch any of the toys and God help him if he drank out of her
water dish because she would simply walk up behind him, grab his tail
between her teeth and drag him away, and off he would go, trudging sadly up
to the management pen to drink the water from the dish she persisted in
using as a toilet despite the water being changed by us several times a day.
At night I was frequently jerked awake by the sounds of Kadiki's furious
rages when Nduna got too close and I would run down to the enclosure,
illuminating her glowering face in the torchlight, and the spectre of Nduna
a silent, constant, slinking shadow behind her.
Weeks passed. Nduna was given nourishing meals every day and his own toys,
and he simply could not contain his happiness. Running for the sheer
pleasure of it, chasing a tyre across the enclosure, lying somnolent and
sated in the golden remains of yet another happy day with his treasured
blanket between his paws and scraps of his dinner scattered about him. When
Nduna first arrived he actually ate chunks out of a car tyre because he
thought it was food and he was so hungry. He would rip ravenously at his
meat, bolting it down in great chunks and then swallow the bones and then
eat the grass that the meat had lain on so as not to miss even one tiny
scrap of meat or drop of blood, just in case this miraculous bounty ran out.
He found scraps of ancient hide and bone left by Kadiki and ate those too.
Two hours before dinner-time he would be pacing the fence, panting with
anxiety and tension, his huge yellow eyes searching for the first signs that
dinner was on the way, terrified that he would miss out or be forgotten.
The incessant, commercial breeding of lions has reduced the King of the
Beasts to this. Nduna will spend his life in our care now, but how many
other lions are there out there who will not be so lucky, who are doomed to
lives in cramped enclosures, giving birth to yet more cubs that will be
taken from their mothers and bottle-fed for the entertainment of tourists,
that then grow up and become "difficult" and return to those same
enclosures, with too little food and no love, to perpetuate the endless
cycle of sadness. To this day, Nduna has not roared. Perhaps, as his fears
ease and his spirit strengthens, we will one day hear Nduna proclaiming
himself, roaring into the rising sun as the Sanctuary lions greet a new day.
Four months later Nduna is showing signs of becoming a typical Sanctuary
resident - complaining loudly if he gets beef two days in a row and pulling
faces and rolling his eyes on Thursdays (liver day). Recently Kadiki came
into season and Nduna decided that now was the time to assert himself as the
alpha male, despite having had a vasectomy immediately after his arrival at
the Sanctuary. Despite his very best testosterone-fuelled attempts to be a
cool cat and flex his feline muscles, he could not quite get over his very
real fear of Kadiki's razor-sharp temper and claws so his great seduction
did not really go according to plan. Firstly, he approached his target in
ever-decreasing circles while Kadiki lay and watched him with inscrutable,
hooded eyes, only the miniscule flick of her tail giving away her rising
irritation (if she had fingernails, she would have been tapping them, fast).
Then he leaned over and tentatively tapped her on one golden shoulder with a
trembling paw as if to say, "Um, sorry to bother....I was just wondering if,
well, you know, I thought maybe we could.....sometime, perhaps...only if
you'd like to, of course, and I understand totally if you dont...." and with
that Kadiki did the lion version of "Oh, for God's sake!", leaping up and
smacking him in the face with a full set of recently sharpened claws before
stalking off to pee in his water dish again.
The month of October approaches and the air is heavy with heat and dust and
the smoky grey residue of bush fires blunting the sharp golden edges of the
sun. Burning fire breaks is a task we perform every year, to protect the
Sanctuary from the vicious fires that rage through the parched dry landscape
before the rains. It is a task I hate; the animals are instinctively fearful
of fire and are unsettled for days after we have burnt and I am always
worried that we will lose control of the small, carefully monitored fires we
set to burn back the bush and create a safe perimeter around the Sanctuary.
My concerns are not shared by the staff, for whom burning the land is a
cultural and pastoral habit and they wander nonchalantly through the
incandescent sparks and drifting filigree of ash in their bare feet,
chatting and laughing as they beat down the flames with leafy tree branches.
This year, however, Silas was a little TOO casual. As we set fire to the
head-high Adrenaline Grass that grows behind my house, a quick finger of
flame snatched at his dangling shirt tail and set it alight. As he leapt in
the air with a screech of fright, Chatu ran up behind him brandishing an
immense Msasa branch and felled him with one mighty blow across the butt,
and then proceeded to beat out the flames with a vigour that went way beyond
heroism and suggested the settling of old scores. Silas lives apart from the
other staff in a massive, mouldering mud hut behind the banana plantation in
the compound where he spends each evening happily pickling himself with an
evil homebrew that consists of everything from tobacco fertiliser to chicken
manure, and then facing the ugly consequences of starting work at first
light each morning. With the looks and demeanour of a tortoise, it is seldom
Silas is galvanised into speedy action but on this occasion he leapt to his
feet with astonishing agility and slapped Chatu around the head. A wrestling
match ensued as the fire breathed out a scorching dragon's breath of
luminescent red heat and unfurled a great flickering tongue of flame around
them. Screaming invective and spraying the protaganists furiously with the
hosepipe I put out the fight and the fire and went stamping down to the
restaurant for a glass of water.
There, in the playground, I found yet another drama. The thatchers hired to
do exhorbitantly expensive repairs to our roof were squatting sullenly in
the sand pit, throwing glowering glances at Woody the Eagle Owl who was
perched jauntily on the swing, feathers ever so slightly askew. There had
been a fly-by assault, apparently. One of the thatchers insisted he had a
head injury although there was no wound to be seen. The thatchers were
convinced that the owl had deadly intentions and that they could not work
under such dangerous conditions. It was not normal for owls to fly around in
the daytime, there were murmurs about witchcraft and spirits and then
further murmurs about a price increase if the work was to be finished under
these circumstances. In local culture superstitions about owls abound - they
are believed to be harbingers of misfortune, and we have rescued many
injured owls that have been stoned by people. Explaining that Woody the Owl
was no more a Messenger of Death than I was (although sometimes on a Monday
morning its a close call...) and that we have all suffered her aerial
assaults from time to time did not mollify the workforce. Cans of Coca Cola
and bags of Simba Cheese and Onion Crisps did the trick instead.
Fear and superstition ruled the day once again when we received reports of a
leopard apparently rampaging through an upmarket suburb of Harare. Together
with the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force and the Aware Trust, we set out to
investigate the claims that a leopard and its cub were killing dogs and
other animals in the area. Leaving baited traps for the leopard, the plan
was to capture it, locate the cub and release both in a wilderness area. In
the meantime, the story grew...and grew. I kept receiving infuriating phone
calls from people asking me if it was true that Khan, our leopard, had
escaped and was feasting on dogs in the Northern suburbs. Eyeing the
supremely sleek and languid Khan lolling lazily in his tree house at the
Sanctuary, waiting for his chicken dinner to be delivered, I just couldn't
see it somehow. Someone reported the leopard drinking from their swimming
pool in broad daylight. Someone else said they awoke in the dead of night
and the leopard was gazing intently through the bedroom window at them. Then
came the report of FOUR leopards running in a pack down the main road past
the Spar supermarket. Perhaps they just popped out to get milk. The clincher
came early one morning when I answered my phone to a frantic muffled hissing
down the line. Not that that is unusual on the Zimbabwean cell phone
network, but this distorted mumble had a definite air of panic. It
transpired that a lady was out walking on a busy suburban road and had come
across two leopards. One was sitting in a tree, apparently, and the other
one was on the ground.
"What should I do?" she whispered in a tremulous voice.
"Ok,Sharon," I murmured soothingly, "Just back away verrrry slowly. No
sudden movements. Just walk backwards slowly and then phone me back."
The phone then went dead. After about fifteen minutes the suspense was
killing me and I managed to get back through to her cell phone.
"Sharon? Are you ok? You didn't get back to me."
"Well that's because I'm still walking backwards. You didn't tell me how far
A subsequent investigation revealed that it was possibly two serval cats
causing all the alarm and despondency, but it still doesn't explain the
large and aggressive guard dog we saw that had been killed and half-eaten by
a mystery assassin
Our OVERSEAS VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME is fully functional again, offering a
unique and memorable experience to volunteers of all ages from all over the
world. We only take two volunteers at a time which allows for a very
personal, genuine work experience as part of the Sanctuary team. Volunteers
accompany us on rescues, feed and care for our ever-increasing family of
animals and birds, help to source, transport and process the huge amounts of
food we need every day, assist with veterinary procedures, raise orphaned
animals and learn how to adapt and achieve their full potential in a very
challenging environment.Evan Owen and Ellen Dyer and Risha Patel from the UK
spent time with us in August and we have just said a very sad goodbye to
Kevin Kruger and Mathew Gibson from South Africa. Kevin and Mat have,
however, been immortalised here by the South African rugby slogans they
carved into the wet cement of the Hyena Plunge Pool they designed and
constructed during their time with us. Volunteers from Germany, America and
England will be with us over the next two months. Details of the Volunteer
Programme can be found on our website www.ballyvaughan.co.zw
Chaotic power cuts continue to make life difficult as we struggle to keep
freezers cold and water pumps functioning. Power surges knock out
compressors on at least 2 of our 16 deep freezers and coolers each month and
surge-protection devices dont work because most of the time our power is at
such a low voltage that the appliances keep switching themselves off. A
shortage of diesel fuel a couple of months ago brought back the misery of
queueing endlessly or buying dubious black market fuel at exhorbitant
prices. Our sincere thanks to Rob Follet-Smith of Alro Shipping for once
again coming to our rescue during this particular crisis. A defunct geyser,
leaking roofs, broken water pipes, licences and insurance, vehicle repairs
and a thousand other things gobble up funds faster than they come in. The
continual arrival of injured, orphaned and displaced animals and birds puts
further strain on our limited resources. Without our friends, donors and
sponsors the Sanctuary would not exist. Our stockfeed programme is sponsored
by Angus Melrose, George Kille, Mike Tones, Anne Lowe, Golfing and Giving,
Di Fyn, Sue Roberts, Rose and Rogan McClean and Johnny Rodrigues of the
Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.
Our predators are fed every day at 4pm on a balanced and varied diet. This
is made possible by Stof Hawgood of Tavistock Estates, Darryl Mills of Koala
Park, Arlington Farm, Rob and Les Duncan and Mark Harper of Montana Meats,
Hannes Cruger of Crugs Chooks, Steve Curle, Robyn Joughin and all the other
people who make the considerable effort to contact us with offers of
Gus and Amanda le Breton recently offered a wonderful home to two of our
rescue donkeys. As always, the trip to their game park was fraught with
technical difficulties (thinking back to the rampaging wart hogs and the
arrest of Margaret the Sheep....) and after spending most of the day perched
on the side of an almost perpendicular slope with the horsebox in front of
us and the horsebox axle behind us we were finally rescued by Dr Ramlaul and
limped back to Harare with the whole contraption tied together with bits of
Sincere thanks from everyone at the Sanctuary to Rob Greebe - longtime
sponsor of the irascible Sweetie the Serval, Scott Rae of Xpress Print Shop
who donates laminating services, Steve Watt who updates our website, Avani
Mooljee, Emma Robinson and Phil Barclay who sponsor Cruela the Caracal,
Nikki Kellow, sponsor of our serval cats, Beverley Bridger who works
tirelessly to raise funds for us, Bernice Guthrie who is voluntarily taking
on the terrible task of teaching me time management, Chooks and David
Langerman and Vicky Campion who sponsor Smeegal the Serval, Sharon Nichols -
a stalwart volunteer who somehow copes with the chaos I leave in my wake,
Andrew and Leanne Revolta, Joe Lees, Hansi ("the carrot man"), Moira
Potgeiter - my true friend, Kim Devlin, Sarah Savory and all at 9 Drew Road
for their generous support of Babu the baboon, Meryl Harrison, Clive Field,
Trevor Fernihough, Johnny and Cheryl Rodrigues of the Z.C.T.F, Lorraine and
Gavin Randall, the Kristensens and Catherine Carter who so kindly remember
our rescued dogs and provide delicious treats, Dr Ev Cock, the Aware Trust,
April Greek, Wayne and Belinda Whitaker, Troy and Liz Prinsloo of Zimbiz,
Webdev, Yo Africa, Max and Chris Ilsink, Heather Israel, Christina Rolfe,
Rhonnie from C.F.U and Mike Garden for your continued support and
assistance. The Middleton family made it possible for us to buy a
desperately needed new deep freezer, Rose and Rogan McClean provide generous
monthly support for our hyena, Blossom. Angus and Rowena Melrose and Brian
Stewart are very special friends of the Sanctuary - they have held several
functions at the Sanctuary to raise funds for us, most recently the Harare
Athletics Club cross country run. Sophie and Alexandra Bean remain devoted
and generous sponsors of Khan the Leopard and Karen and Stacey Gent continue
to give Kadiki the Lioness the fabulous lifestyle she demands.
At this time of year our vehicles are constantly hauling massive loads of
food for the animals. With very little grazing, we have to supplement feed
all our herbivores constantly and we would be lost without the efficient and
reliable assistance of Rodney Beckly of Smooth Runnigs, who so kindly
services and maintains our trucks.
The rehabilitation of Nduna the Lion would not be possible without the
hugely generous support of Richard and Tanya Betts, Paul Healey, Clive
McClean, The Mallow Family, Karen Bean and the Book Borrowers Club who
donated their substantial book club subscriptions and boxes of books in
pristine condition for re-sale in our shop, the Cancer Association who
kindly allowed us to run their book sale for them and donated $50 to Nduna's
care and many visitors who left donations for him.
Thank you from us all to Sylvia Carter for the care she gives to us - both
the people and the animals benefit so much from her kindness and generosity,
Flea Freel - friend to us all and especially to Jacob the Donkey, Di Twiggs
who is the longest-serving volunteer at the Sanctuary and has seen me and
the animals through good times and bad, Mike Trask for cement, donuts and
building advice, Les Ives - the Great Motivator, and as always to Vin
Ramlaul, without whom it would all be so much less.
The support of Zimbabweans locally and overseas is all that keeps the
Sanctuary going. We take in starving, neglected, unwanted and terrified
animals all the time and you are the reason we never have to turn any of
them away, the reason they are loved and cared for to the very best of our
ability. From Ngozi the 300 kilogram lion to Trigger the Eagle Owl, Cruela
the Evil Caracl to Thumbelina the endangered Blue Duiker, the chickens, the
donkeys and our fearless little family of Banded Mongooses - thank you from
the heart for your friendship and for making us feel that we are not doing
The Twenty Four Hour Vet Surgery, cnr Upper East and Second St is our ONLY
collection point where items for the animals, payments etc can be left for
We are only 40 minutes from the city centre on the 21km peg on the Shamva
With love and thanks from us all
Sarah and The Bally Vaughan Sanctuary Family
*The contents of this newsletter remain the property of the author, Sarah
Carter, and may not be reproduced by any other persons for any commerical
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
PRESS NOTICE – 7th October 2009
Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe and his wife ‘Shopwell’ Grace will be visiting Harrods on Saturday 10th October to stock up on luxuries. Two members of the human rights organisation the Zimbabwe Vigil will impersonate the couple on the shopping expedition to illustrate what will happen if the sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies are lifted as demanded by Zimbabwe’s neighbours.
Targeted sanctions prevent about 200 Zimbabweans travelling to the European Union but the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which brokered the power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe, has blamed sanctions for the country’s economic collapse. At the same time, SADC has refused to discuss complaints that Mugabe has failed to honour the agreement.
The couple impersonating the Mugabes will return to the Vigil by rickshaw and present a petition to the European Union demanding punitative action against SADC. Vigil members representing SADC High Commissioners and Ambassadors will be there (wearing suitable masks) to welcome them in traditional posture – kneeling at Mugabe’s feet.
Programme for the Day
2 – 6 pm Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR
3 – 3.15 pm Mugabe (represented by Fungayi Mabhunu wearing a Mugabe mask) accompanied by his wife Grace (played by Gugu Tutani) outside the central Hans Crescent entrance to Harrods. They can be photographed with their shopping.
4 pm Mugabe and Grace arrive at Zimbabwe House by rickshaw with shopping and present petition to Mr Geoffrey Van Orden MEP for East of England (or representative) who will say a few words about Zimbabwe.
The petition has been signed by thousands of people passing by the Vigil, which this month marks its 7th anniversary – the longest running large demonstration in London. The petition reads as follows:
“A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe.”
Event: Mugabe’s Shopping Spree on Vigil’s 7th anniversary
Venue: Outside the Zimbabwe Embassy
Date: Saturday 10th December 2 – 6 pm
Photo Opportunities: Mugabe and Grace with their shopping. Mugabe presents petition to EU.
Zimbabwean singing, dancing and drumming
Interview Opportunities: Political activists, torture and rape survivors
Further information: Rose Benton (07970 996 003), Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775), Ephraim Tapa (07940 793 090), Fungayi Mabhunu (07743 662 046), Dennis Benton (07932 193 467).
Bribery Policy: Media representatives covering the event will be presented with Zimbabwean 100 trillion dollar notes.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
"President Robert Mugabe plans to expel all white farmers from farms and
seize all the land, according to a document obtained by The Zimbabwe Times.
The document, compiled by ZANU PF, states that no foreigner should be
allowed to own rural agricultural land in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe has refused to accept white commercial farmers as Zimbabweans.
The revelation of the planned seizures came as the United Nations warned
that Zimbabwe would grow one-quarter of the food it needed to feed its
people, with the next maize harvest expected to drop to only 450,000 tonnes
or a 70 percent slump.
Zimbabwe needs 1.8 million tonnes to feed its people."
It was my understanding that the Land Appropriation exercise starts with the
Lancaster House Agreement dating back to 1979 - and Mugabe states as often
as he can, the Britain did not stand up to their side of the deal. the
compensation to be paid to farmers.
But let it be said that Mugabe didn't stand up to his side of the deal
either, choosing to forcibly seize the land instead of taking it on the
agreed "willing buyer - willing seller" basis.
Be that as it may, the land grab continues today and was begun in early 2000
when, in a fit of rage after having lost the referendum on a new
constitution, Mugabe set his war veterans to work.
Beatings, abductions, theft, arson and murder ensued - not that anyone has
ever been prosecuted for these crimes - although Mugabe will have farmers
prosecuted for remaining on their land - some of which were purchased after
independence, so Mugabe's government has been paid for the land, and is now
intent on taking it back without recompense of any sort.
For these purchases to have taken place, the Mugabe government would have
had to declare "no interest" in the land. Why then, are they intent on
removing the land legitimately purchased - with no compensation?
"Land acquisition and redistribution is an ongoing process which should
continue given the incremental demand for land," says the document.
"Therefore government should continue to acquire land as provided for in the
Constitution. No foreigner should be allowed to own rural agricultural land
John Worsley-Worswick of farmers lobby group, Justice for Agriculture (JAG)
said the document has been widely circulated among white farmers and they
were alarmed by it.
"It makes a complete mockery of the global political agreement that
committed parties in the GNU to the return to rule of law," Worsley-Worswick
said. "It shows the regime is planning to forge ahead with the so-called
land reform programme even against everyone who has some of protection."
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Deon Theron said: "In short the
content of the document does everything needed to confirm the unjust,
corrupt and unsustainable position in which the commercial agricultural
sub-sector now finds itself as a result of the lack of transparency
associated with the land reform programme."
The fact that the agricultural sector has all but collapsed should be
sending out major warning signals to the Mugabe camp, but he has realised
that the seizure of farms cannot stop as it keeps a portion of the
population in check, employs another portion of the population (even though
he will not consider farmers Zimbabwean), and he can continue to sell the
lie to the whole population and those that might be interested in the free
Zimbabwe was once a farmers' paradise and provided for the people easily and
the country made money by exporting the surplus.
Mugabe is singularly responsible for the decimation of agriculture and
horticulture in Zimbabwe - but no one in the free world seems to care.
How sad that one man can pull the wool over so many eyes at once.
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man