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Mugabe's wife in Singapore for medical care: report


– Sun Apr 10, 5:22 am ET

HARARE (AFP) – President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, has flown to Singapore
for a medical check-up after injuring herself and possibly dislocating her
hip, a report said on Sunday.

The privately owned Standard newspaper quoted "impeccable" sources as saying
that Grace "slipped and fell in the bathroom at (the Mugabes') Borrowdale
house and is suspected to have suffered a dislocated hip".

George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, confirmed the Mugabes had gone to
Singapore, but told the state-run Sunday Mail it was "a straightforward

Charamba would not confirm that the first lady had gone for medical reasons,
but told The Standard Grace had not fully recovered from a complication she
suffered 14 years ago while giving birth to her youngest son.

"What I know is that the first lady, after the birth of Chatunga, developed
some some slight discomfort with her back, but that was a long time ago," he

"However, it could not be anything serious," he added, referring to her

Charamba told the Sunday Mail in a statement that the Mugabes were expected
home Sunday.

"It is a straightforward visit. It cannot be anything more than that," he

In February and March Mugabe flew to Singapore for eye check-ups following a
cataract operation there.

Mugabe married Grace in 1996 following the death of his first wife, Sally,
in 1992.

Mugabe and Grace have three children together.

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Tsvangirai Urges His Supporters To Live In Peace With Zanu (PF)

10/04/2011 20:46:00

MASVINGO, April 10, 2011- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday called
on his party supporters to live peacefully with their political rivals in
Zanu (PF).

The MDC-T leader said this when he addressed hundreds of mourners at the
funeral of the first MDC-T mayor Engineer Alois Vhuramayi Chaimiti.The
funeral was held at the Masvingo Cathedral on Sunday and was attended by
hundreds of people from the town and some from other cities as well.
Chaimiti died at the age of 63.Tsvangirai described the late Chaimiti as a
man of integrity and urged youths in the party to  emulate his good works.

“ Chaimiti was the only mayor in the country who managed to work with Zanu
(PF) without any problems. Up to now, we have not yet managed to find a
mayor who can match his standards. He was a humble father in the MDC family.
Often people said our party was full of youngsters but the coming of people
like him showed that MDC was not a party for the young only, ” said
Tsvangirai took the opportunity to plead with ordinary Zimbabweans to stop
political violence.
“Why do you fight here when I can sit with Mugabe every Monday? You all know
that I was beaten before and often Mugabe laughs at me openly saying
‘chakadashurwa’ (he was thoroughly beaten) but I don’t fight him back when I
meet him for cabinet meetings. That spirit must also go down up to
grassroots levels, ” Tsvangirai added.

Top MDC-T officials including spokesperson Nelson Chamisa and national
organizing secretary Elias Mudzuri attended the ceremony. Zanu (PF)
politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire also attended funeral.Masvingo city mayor
Alderman Femias Chakabuda said he learnt a lot from Chaimiti whom he
described as his best mentor.
“ I learnt a lot from my mentor. Often I would go to him and seek solutions
on critical issues in the council. He did a number of projects to improve
the general life of an ordinary citizen in Masvingo, ” said Chakabuda.
Chaimiti was elected mayor for Masvingo in 2000 before he was re-elected
uncontested when Zanu (PF) candidate Patson Muzvidziwa failed to produce
adequate papers at the nomination court in 2005.
Chaimiti is survived by his wife Betty, four sons and three grand children.

MASVINGO, April 10, 2011- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday called
on his party supporters to live peacefully with their political rivals in
Zanu (PF).

The MDC-T leader said this when he addressed hundreds of mourners at the
funeral of the first MDC-T mayor Engineer Alois Vhuramayi Chaimiti.The
funeral was held at the Masvingo Cathedral on Sunday and was attended by
hundreds of people from the town and some from other cities as well.
Chaimiti died at the age of 63.Tsvangirai described the late Chaimiti as a
man of integrity and urged youths in the party to  emulate his good works.

“ Chaimiti was the only mayor in the country who managed to work with Zanu
(PF) without any problems. Up to now, we have not yet managed to find a
mayor who can match his standards. He was a humble father in the MDC family.
Often people said our party was full of youngsters but the coming of people
like him showed that MDC was not a party for the young only, ” said
Tsvangirai took the opportunity to plead with ordinary Zimbabweans to stop
political violence.
“Why do you fight here when I can sit with Mugabe every Monday? You all know
that I was beaten before and often Mugabe laughs at me openly saying
‘chakadashurwa’ (he was thoroughly beaten) but I don’t fight him back when I
meet him for cabinet meetings. That spirit must also go down up to
grassroots levels, ” Tsvangirai added.

Top MDC-T officials including spokesperson Nelson Chamisa and national
organizing secretary Elias Mudzuri attended the ceremony. Zanu (PF)
politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire also attended funeral.Masvingo city mayor
Alderman Femias Chakabuda said he learnt a lot from Chaimiti whom he
described as his best mentor.
“ I learnt a lot from my mentor. Often I would go to him and seek solutions
on critical issues in the council. He did a number of projects to improve
the general life of an ordinary citizen in Masvingo, ” said Chakabuda.
Chaimiti was elected mayor for Masvingo in 2000 before he was re-elected
uncontested when Zanu (PF) candidate Patson Muzvidziwa failed to produce
adequate papers at the nomination court in 2005.
Chaimiti is survived by his wife Betty, four sons and three grand children.

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Rights lawyers slam minister, police for unlawful detentions

Apr 9, 2011 10:57 PM | By HENDRICKS CHIZHANJE

Human rights lawyers have accused Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
Patrick Chinamasa and the police of misinforming Zimbabweans, by saying
suspects can be detained in prisons without being brought to court while
magistrates are on strike.

Chinamasa, of Zanu-PF, told the state-run Herald newspaper there was an
option of taking suspects to facilities such as Chikurubi, to "off-load some
of them there" while police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told the Financial
Gazette that all those in police custody would be detained until the strike
by magistrates ended and that the police would issue warrants for further
detention of suspects.

But Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has lashed out at Chinamasa and
Bvudzijena, accusing them of misinforming Zimbabweans by allegedly claiming
the only option available in the absence of magistrates would be to hold
detainees in prison.

ZLHR said Zimbabwe's laws - in particular the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act - provide that, in the absence of magistrates, the police
should take suspects and detainees before any high court judge for an
initial remand and that suspects be given the opportunity to be released on

"What is most worrying are reports that the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the
Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs are proceeding on the dangerous
misconception that accused persons can be lodged in remand prisons without
the right to be brought before a magistrate, or judge, to be placed on
remand and apply for bail.

"Our laws allow for such accused persons to be taken before any judge, thus
before the High Court of Zimbabwe, to argue for their liberty as guaranteed
in the Constitution of Zimbabwe," ZLHR told the Sunday Times.

Besides lashing out at the police and Chinamasa, ZLHR warned and called on
the Zimbabwe Prison Service to "refuse to accept detainees for incarceration
in remand prisons without a valid warrant for imprisonment, issued by either
a magistrate or a judge".

ZLHR urged Chinamasa and the police to "desist from misleading the public
into believing that detainees can simply be imprisoned without due process
of the law".

Scores of suspects arrested this week have been detained in police cells
since Monday, when magistrates downed tools to protest against poor working
conditions and the government's reluctance to give them salary increases.

Later in the week President Robert Mugabe, however, promised to review
salaries for government employees who earn between $150 and $300 a month.

After the pledge, the striking magistrates made an about turn, suspended
their boycott and resumed work.

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Mugabe out in the cold

Tsvangirai isolates Zanu-PF leader from SADC allies
Apr 9, 2011 10:56 PM | By ZOLI MANGENA

After managing to isolate Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
internationally, Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is now
driving a wedge between the Zanu-PF leader and his former supporters in the
Southern African region.

In the past few weeks, Tsvangirai seized vital ground from Mugabe on the
SADC diplomatic chessboard with a whirlwind trip around the region.

His meetings with regional leaders were crucial ahead of an extraordinary
SADC summit on Zimbabwe on May 20 in Windhoek, Namibia, which is likely to
be a watershed gathering.

Tsvangirai flies to Luanda tomorrow for talks with Angolan leader, President
Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who takes over as SADC chairman in August. Their
meeting was initially scheduled for Friday.

Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai's spokesman, said: "The prime minister visited
Lesotho yesterday. He will be going to Angola on Monday. We have so far
visited 10 SADC countries."

A senior SADC diplomat said: "Tsvangirai's meeting with the Angolans is very
important as they are going take over as SADC chair. Dos Santos is a very
important leader in the region. He is now running the second-largest economy
in the SADC and is the longest-serving, most experienced leader.

"Dos Santos was until recent years a close Mugabe ally. The two fought
together in the Congo war in 1998, backed by Namibia's former president Sam

"So for Tsvangirai to make inroads into Angola is a major step forward in
his bid to isolate Mugabe."

While Zimbabwe's relations with Angola remain cordial, Dos Santos has pulled
closer to the US. Tsvangirai has isolated Mugabe from the mainstream
international community, the US and European Union. The US and EU slapped
Mugabe and his cronies with travel bans and an asset freeze.

At the United Nations, Mugabe's support has dwindled. He now relies on
Russia and China to help him out, although he is closer to the Chinese.
Mugabe's real allies internationally are Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, North
Korea and China.

Tsvangirai went to Lesotho on Thursday after visiting the leaders of Zambia,
Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania and
the Democratic Republic of Congo. He met President Jacob Zuma at his rural
Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal. Mugabe was reportedly miffed as that
signalled closer friendship between them.

The other key meetings Tsvangirai had were with Namibian President
Hifikepunye Pohamba, current SADC chairman. Pohamba is working with Dos
Santos and Congolese President Joseph Kabila as the SADC summit troika,
consisting of the regional organisation's chairman, incoming chairman and
outgoing chairman.

Tsvangirai also had talks with the leaders who sit in the SADC troika on
politics, defence and security, Zambian President Rupiah Banda, Mozambican
leader Armando Guebuza and Zuma.

"The sentiment of SADC leaders and thus the regional opinion has shifted
dramatically against Mugabe in the past few weeks. Tsvangirai has managed to
win the support of regional leaders itching to take on Mugabe," said an
official at the SADC headquarters in Botswana. "Just watch what happens on
May 20."

When the SADC troika met last week in Livingstone, Zambia, Tsvangirai had
already convinced Banda, Zuma, Guebuza and Pohamba that Mugabe was the

As a result, the SADC leaders dealt with Mugabe in an unprecedented way,
issuing a damning communiqué that left him shocked. For the first time, they
did not mention sanctions.

Mugabe reacted angrily, denouncing Zuma and other SADC leaders, further
isolating himself.

Feeling the heat and pressure of isolation, Mugabe on Wednesday sent an
envoy to meet Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika.

That day, Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, embarked on damage control,
distancing his boss from attacks on Zuma and other SADC leaders.

Tsvangirai is determined to continue tightening the screws on Mugabe.
Tsvangirai's MDC-T spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said on Friday that SADC now
"appreciates the Zimbabwe situation even more than ever before. We have made
phenomenal and tremendous progress on diplomacy in the region."

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Chaotic land reform is hurting timber industry

Apr 9, 2011 10:59 PM | By HARARE CORRESPONDENT

About 30000 hectares of land and $1.2-billion in potential revenue have been
lost to Zimbabwe's chaotic land reform due to unrelenting disruption on
timber estates.

With 5047 hectares of prime forestry land having been lost to
bounty-hunters, including 500 illegal gold panners in March alone, the
invasions have mainly affected Allied Timbers Zimbabwe, listed Border
Timbers Limited and the Wattle Company.

"The industry loss of 30000 hectares over a 10-year period has had adverse
and dire consequences for the country's gross domestic product. On a 25-year
rotation, the loss . is equivalent to an annual revenue loss of
$118.8-million," the Timber Producers Federation (TPF) said in an industry
review paper. "The forest-based land reform policy framework recognises that
timber plantations are an acceptable and viable land use option, and as such
should be allowed to thrive without conversion to other uses," it said,
adding that government support was needed in removing settlers to increase
hectarage and strengthening policies for forestry activities.

From a peak of 120000 hectares in the 1999/2000 season, only 90000 remain,
due to illegal occupation, harsh weather and relentless fires.

So bad have been the disruptions that sawn timber production has fallen by
more than 50% to 138000 hectares from a height of 395000 hectares 12 years
ago. Paper products manufacturing has virtually vanished from a height of
60000 tons.

Crucially, the TPF noted that the increase in squatter settlements has
fanned fire incidents. Twenty percent of the national resource was destroyed
or lost in 2008 alone. "It should be noted that prior to. settlements on
forestry plantations, fire losses did not exceed 120 hectares in any given
season," it said.

While the 14-member body has held preliminary talks with such funders as the
World Bank, the issue of Zimbabwe's land tenure system continues to haunt
the search for much-needed funds to restore production and revamp key

"Funding for such projects is readily available from international financial
institutions and the donor community, but they are sceptical about the land
polices," TPF said, adding the state must also help in capacitating the
industry through research and development.

Already hobbled by electricity supply, technological, utility and other
operational challenges, the industry desperately needs $115-million to
rebuild roads over a 9000 square-kilometre expanse of land in the key
producing eastern highlands districts.

The sector, which used to pay $14.4-million in annual wages, and support
thousands of its 10000 direct employees' dependants, remains largely

"It is worth noting that during the year 2009, a number of processing plants
closed down mainly due to viability challenges emanating from aged
equipment, high cost of borrowing and unsustainable cost of labour."

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China Buying Up The Board In Zim

10/04/2011 13:48:00

UNITED NATIONS, April 10, 2011- The People’s Republic of China has gone on a
buying spree on the resource-rich but economically underdeveloped African
continent. And central to the plan has been massive investments into raw
materials as well as political influence in a number of key African states,
notably Sudan, Angola, and Zimbabwe.

The reasons are starkly mercantile but equally politically motivated.
Mainland China’s high growth economy needs raw materials and oil to fuel
Beijing’s high octane business growth. While Beijing businesses and banks
have shopped the world to find access to mineral resources and the petroleum
to lubricate the economy, the plan in recent years has been to buy mines,
petroleum rights, and agri-business.
Oil rich Angola and Sudan are obvious choices. China needs the petroleum and
Beijing is hardly concerned about the authoritarian political pedigree of
such African regimes. Recently the China Development Bank announced its
intent to invest $10 billion in Zimbabwe, a resource-rich and once
prosperous southern African land which has literally been run into the
ground during the 30-year misrule of Comrade Robert Mugabe.
Think of it this way. The Marxist Mandarins running China Inc. view the
world as a giant Monopoly game board. Using their massive foreign exchange
reserves ($3 trillion) sloshing around, they buy nearly everything they land
on. In the Third World this can translate into whole countries, economies,
and often the allegiance of their political regimes, evoking latter day
tribute states.

Zimbabwe’s current GDP is about $2 billion annually; thus this foreign
investment would amount to nearly five times the country’s GDP! The
investment would bring influence and clout. Zimbabwe’s current per capita
income is a piddling $157 per year, a shadow of what it was at independence
in 1980.
Now look at the cool and calculated commercial logic. Gold, and the world’s
second largest platinum reserves, copper, as well as industrial diamond
deposits. Both gold and platinum are selling at record high levels. Add
investments in the country’s high quality cotton industry (for China’s
textile mills), and tobacco, and you see inroads into agriculture too.
Enhanced cotton production is planned after the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe
and a Chinese firm, Sinotex signed a $500 million deal to finance local
production and purchases through a contract growing plan, according to the
Zimbabwe Telegraph.The paper adds that the deal would allow Cottco, which
currently contracts 200,000 farmers to grow seed cotton, to support an
additional 100,000 growers.

According to Beijing’s official statistical office, the two-way trade
between China and Africa reached $115 billion last year, a 43 percent jump
in trade. In the 1960s and 1970s the PRC pursued a radical revolutionary
agenda in its relations with many African states.

Communist China, along with the Soviet Union, supported many “liberation
movements” in southern Africa. But today, political ties and revolutionary
solidarity are trumped by Beijing’s business bottom line.
PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jechi recently visited Zimbabwe and met with
Mugabe, to discuss budding business and political ties. Last year Beijing
invested $59 billion globally.At the same time regional states including
South Africa are pressing Mugabe for political and economic reforms. The
Southern African Development Community issued a strong statement calling for
an end to “violence, arrests and intimidation.”
Indeed Mugabe’s ruthless one-man rule has been characterized by political
harassment, intimidation, and forced expropriations of businesses. The
current government of national unity deal between the ruling ZANU-PF
political party and the MDC opposition has proved fractious at best.

Now Mugabe has called for new elections in June which will hopefully not
repeat 2008’s bloody contest. But given the civil war in Libya where his
long time comrade Gadhafi is under assault, Mugabe has become decidedly
nervous about the future. China recently signed a $700 million loan for
Zimbabwe during the visit to Harare by Vice Premier Wang Qishan.
Yet even Beijing’s buyers are concerned about Mugabe’s plans to nationalize
all foreign business, especially mines, worth over $500,000. According to
South Africa’s influential Business Day newspaper, Wang emphasized that “he
hoped Chinese businesses would be protected from Zimbabwe’s plans to
increase business ownership by black Zimbabweans.”
Mugabe’s rule has tragically turned Zimbabwe’s once bread basket and food
exporting economy into a pathetic basket case with massive food shortages
and hyper inflation. In recent years, the country’s major export has been
refugees, a few million who have fled to neighboring South Africa or to
Britain, the former colonial power. For Beijing, it’s a buyer’s market.
Though the Mugabe regime remains widely ostracized in the West, its business
partners in the PRC will provide political cover, at least for now.

John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and
defense issues. He is the author of “Trans-Atlantic Divide/USA-Euroland
Rift?” (University Press, 2010). He can be reached at

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Villagers forced to sign anti-santions petition

By Oscar Nkala
Saturday, 09 April 2011 11:06

BULAWAYO - Zanu PF activists in Matabeland south have forced thousands of
villagers into signing the anti-sanctions petition after threatening them
that it is a crime to defy an order from President Robert Mugabe.

The former ruling party, which is facing growing public resistance as it
struggles to hit the 2 million-signature target set by Mugabe, has allegedly
activated the remnants of its crumbling structures, war veterans and
traditional leaders to spearhead a campaign of coercing people into joining
the anti-sanctions bandwagon.

“We are getting reports which indicate that this is a growing pattern in
Gwanda South, Beitbridge, Plumtree, Insiza and parts of Matobo district. In
Insiza, a group of well known Zanu PF terror operatives aligned to area
Member of Parliament and Minister Andrew Langa is leading that campaign.

In Gwanda South, the people complain of the same tactics being used by war
veterans aligned to MP Orders Mlilo.

“Thousands of anti-sanctions petition forms are being kept at the chief’s
place, the kraalhead and the councillor’s homestead. Each leader is
responsible for ensuring that all the people under him or her signs.
Neighbourhood watch police, who are mostly war veterans, are always on
standby to arrest anyone who refuses and charge them with disobeying Mugabe’s
orders,” said Petros Mokoena, the MDC provincial chairman for Matabeleland

In Tsholotsho, all the teachers in schools across the whole district had
signed the anti-sanctions petitions by Thursday when schools closed for the
first holiday of the year. A headmaster at one of the biggest secondary
schools in the district told the Daily News that senior education officers
were tasked by Zanu PF to distribute the forms in person to all schools and
ensure that headmasters prevailed on all teachers to sign.

“They used the education hierarchy to make sure that the teachers force each
other to sign. The District Education Officer, a Mr. Phondo, personally
drove to all the schools with forms for every teacher to sign.

He would record the number of forms and leave the head with clear orders
that he wants the exact number signed and returned without failure to him
before schools closed. Headmasters spent most of the closing day in a queues
waiting to surrender the forms at the District Education Office,” said the
headmaster who asked to remain anonymous.

He said the resort to coercion followed the massive resistance shown by
teachers to the programme when they were  first encouraged to sign

He said teachers had shunned the signing centres set up in growth points and
rural service centres.

Civil servants from other government departments have not been spared

A senior officer attached to the Ministry of Youth and Gender sub-office in
Lupane told the Daily News that nearly all civil servants in the province
have signed the petition for fear of their superiors and the threat of

“The provincial heads of government departments were given an order to
ensure that all departmental workers wherever they are, sign the petition.
We have had similar reports from nurses in clinics, veterinary staff,
forestry employees and staff at the Grain Marketing Board mini-depots.

“Every civil servant in Matabeleland North, including the police, have
signed the petition under the watchful eye of their immediate superior, who
is also watched from the top by his provincial bosses. All civil service
chiefs report to their bosses in Harare and the provincial governor.
Everyone signed because they fear they will lose their jobs if they don’t,
and no one wants to be arrested for political reasons in this country,” she

Matabeleland North provincial governor Sithokozile Mathuthu professed
ignorance about the forced nature of the programme.

“I am aware that the signing of the anti-sanctions petition is ongoing
around the country, including Matabeleland North. Civil servants are
Zimbabweans and those among them who felt hurt by the sanctions signed the
petition on their own free will. I am not aware of anyone being forced to
sign against their will,” said Mathuthu.

A source within the Gwanda chapter of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association confirmed the use of intimidation and the threat of
arrest in forcing villagers to sign.

“When you fight a war, you use persuasion but if it fails, it becomes open
season for all other tactics. These forms have been available in every
village in this country for more than two weeks now but people have been
ignoring them.

“Now we want to ensure that even those who hate Zanu PF and support the
sanctions sign the petition. Call it a party programme or whatever you
choose, but you will also sign the anti-sanctions petition one day,” said
the war veteran.

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ZBC, MDC on collision course

By Maxwell Sibanda
Sunday, 10 April 2011 14:05

HARARE - Monopolistic Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has set itself
on a collision course with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) after the national broadcaster refused to play MDC

ZBC, which is used as a willing propaganda tool by President Robert Mugabe’s
Zanu PF, made it clear yesterday that they will not will not play music by
the MDC on its two television stations and four radio stations.

In the last three years, the MDC has like their Zanu PF counterparts
released a number of albums which they say were handed over to ZBC for
broadcasting but they have never been played.

ZBC’s public relations manager Sivukile Simango said he only saw one MDC
album which was presented to the corporation last year.

“I have not seen all these albums they are claiming to have given us,” said

Asked why they have not been playing the album Simango said:  “We did not
play it and we will never play it on ZBC, never. I can refer you to
Muchechetere (ZBC CEO) so that he can comment on issues of policy, but as of
now I can just tell you, we will never play that music,” said Simango.

A new MDC campaign album released last year has not received a single
airplay on ZBC’s four radio stations.

The five track album entitled Real Change was launched in Gokwe by MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai.

While the MDC album was launched almost simultaneously with a pro-Zanu PF
eight-track music compilation album by Mbare Chimurenga choir entitled
Nyatsoterera, Shona for “listen carefully,”  the later has been receiving
saturated aerial play on ZBC.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, said:  “They never play our music and we have
got it on good authority that as soon as the albums are received at ZBC, the
bosses there take them and play them in their cars. It is funny because we
are giving them these releases so they play them for the generality of
Zimbabwe,” said Chamisa.

Ironically ZBC finds it comfortable to play music by the Ministry of Media,
Information and Publicity sponsored Mbare Chimurenga choir led by Elizabeth
Bwanya who is also the Zanu (PF) district secretary for women’s affairs.

The album comprises songs that encourage Zimbabweans to rally behind
President Mugabe and denounce  the MDC party.

One of the songs on the album Ndikusetere team (setting the team) speaks of
setting up a team-ostensibly a political team, fielding Mugabe at the top,
followed by Vice President Joice Mujuru and vice president  John Nkomo in
third position. This trio, according to the song, is the team that rules

Upon its release, Information and Publicity Minister and Zanu (PF) political
commissar Webster Shamu is alleged to have ordered all four ZBC Radio
stations’ Disc Jockeys and the two television channels to play the album.
The minister is alleged to have personally handed the CDs and ordered the
DJs to play at least two songs per hour per shift.

A fuming Chamisa said this is wrong and said this showed media space had not
been completely opened up.

“Why can’t ZBC give people a choice? Zanu PF launched its own album that is
receiving massive air play on ZBC. We know how people at the station react
to our releases. There is a lot of politics at play here.”

Chamisa said his party had however distributed 50 000 copies of the album
Real Change throughout the country.

“You can hear it everywhere, in buses, in kombi taxies and most public
places. We are spreading the word through music,” Chamisa said.He said while
all these years they have been releasing music albums, their biggest
challenge was to have it played at ZBC “ZBC are allergic to MDC, but I am
sure with time they might be forced to play it.”

Chamisa said the album was celebrating the party’s successes as they fought
to bring real change to Zimbabweans.

“The songs on the album are about our struggle to build a new Zimbabwe. The
album depicts the future and celebrates the past road which has been very

Chamisa said the MDC had better music productions whose lyrics were not

Since 2008 we have been producing music but the ZBC does not give our music
airplay. We have used other multimedia communication devices like Internet,
where the songs can be downloaded from our party website.”

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Gorden Moyo Is New MDC-T Bulawayo Province Boss

10/04/2011 16:48:00

BULAWAYO, April 10, 2011- Former director of Bulawayo Agenda and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,s trusted cadre in Matabeleland Gorden Moyo on
Saturday won the chairmanship of the Bulawayo province of the Movement for
Democratic Change, MDC-T at an emotionally charged provincial elections in
the city.

Moyo who joined the MDC-T party two months ago romped to victory against all
odds after entering the race as an underdog as the old guard backed
prominent businessman and senator Matson Hlalo for the post.The old guard
regarded him as a nonentity after he was handpicked for ministerial post by
Moyo maintained close relations with the MDC-T party up to the elections in
2008 where he campaigned to ensure that the MDC led by Welshman Ncube did
not win in Bulawayo and in some parts of Matabeleland.

After his victory in Bulawayo Moyo received a golden handshake from the
Prime Minister when he appointed him a cabinet minister in his office and
later to the post of State Enterprises and Parastatals minister.
The party's provincial organising secretary Doubt Nyoni confirmed the
development last night soon after the elections held at the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Union offices in Bulawayo.Said Nyoni: "I can confirm that
minister Moyo is the new Bulawayo province chairman after getting against
Matson Hlalo's 172 votes.
Bulawayo Central House of Assembly member Dorcas Sibanda is the new deputy
after ganering 180 votes against the outgoing chairlady Agnes Mloyi's 155
votes," he said.

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Mugabe wheeled in to Vigil: Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 9th April 2011


Description: Description:

              Mugabe arrives at Vigil by bike in absence of cart


Vigil supporters were encouraged by indications of a change of attitude to Mugabe by SADC leaders meeting in Zambia. It seems to have suddenly dawned on them that he represents the past and not the future.


Have they been given the jitters by what is happening in North and West Africa – or (more far-fetched) by the Vigil’s renewed campaign for penalties against SADC leaders supporting Mugabe?


Mugabe’s arrival by ‘golf cart’ at the Livingstone meeting with a huge entourage of 60 (including a large medical team) clearly exposed both his increasing frailty and the big-man arrogance of Zanu PF. (Zuma was accompanied by only 12 people.) 


The Vigil welcomes signs that President Zuma is now taking seriously SADC’s commitment to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe – and that regional leaders are alive to the danger of the Zanu PF thugocracy spreading its recidivist poison throughout southern Africa.  


We believe they are right to be fearful of a violent, corrupt, unrepresentative and paranoid regime, which is looting Zimbabwe’s potential for sustainable economic growth by selling out to China.


Now that SADC leaders have been subjected to the vitriol spewing out of the Harare cesspit we hope they will be prepared for the next stage – how to confront Zanu PF’s delaying tactics and arbitrary moves. As the Vigil has repeatedly warned, Zanu PF never changes: it always resorts to the same primitive but successful strategies of violence and vote rigging. As we gathered outside the Embassy to laugh at the two million people anti-sanctions petition, we wondered when SADC would have to apply their own sanctions against Zanu PF . . .


The Vigil management team met before the Vigil to review our position. It was agreed there was a need to stress that the Vigil and ZBN news are separate organisations (see our explanation below in ‘Events and Notices’). Among other matters, we revamped the Vigil management team and agreed to invite Josephine Zhuga to join.  We are happy to say she agreed. She spends every week on the front desk interacting with passers-by.


Other points

·         We have been invited by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) to join them outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in a ‘Stop the Violence in Zimbabwe’ Vigil on Zimbabwean Independence Day, Monday 18th April. We are encouraging everyone to come. ACTSA will be handing in an anniversary card (which will include the Vigil’s logo) to the Zimbabwe Ambassador. The card reads “Today, on the 31st anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence, we pay tribute to those who fought, suffered and sacrificed for the liberation of the country. That struggle was for democracy, rights and justice. This is why we are here today; to support democracy, rights and justice for Zimbabwe. We condemn the violence and harassment perpetrated against the people of Zimbabwe, including political and civil society activists, trade unionists and especially women by the institutions of the state, militias and those in and linked to Zanu PF. We urge you to pass on our calls for an immediate end to the violence, adherence to the SADC principles for free and fair elections and for democracy, justice and rights for the people of Zimbabwe now.” Please see ‘Events and Notices’ for more details.

·         A Zimbabwean reported that he had attempted to visit the Zimbabwe Embassy on normal business on Friday only to find it again closed. He wonders if it is ever open to anyone but the CIO. One Vigil supporter commented that it was just the CIO dormitory.

·         Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu for playing the role of Mugabe arriving at the Vigil on a municipal bicycle propped up by Godfrey Madzunga and Ronald Nxumalo.


For latest Vigil pictures check: For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check  


FOR THE RECORD: 146 signed the register.



·           The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.

·           ZBN News. The Zimbabwe Vigil management team wish to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to Dr Tim Rusike. 

·           The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit website:

·           ROHR Manchester meetings. Saturday 16th April: (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, Charles Nenguke 07925146757, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069. Future meeting: 14th May. Same times and venue.

·           ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 16th April from 2.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Kensington Methodist Church, 294 Kensington, Liverpool L7 2RN. ROHR President, national executive members present. A well-known immigration lawyer available to talk about the new country guidance ruling. Contact Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Netsai Karota 07767483180, Sheilla Mironga 07578541227 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.

·          ‘Stop the Violence in Zimbabwe’ Vigil. Monday 18th April outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand WC2. The protest, on Zimbabwean Independence Day, has been organized by Action for Southern African (ACTSA) who has invited the Vigil to join them. ACTSA will be protesting from 1 – 2 pm but the Vigil will be there from 12 noon – 3 pm. Check: for more details.

·          ROHR Newcastle general meeting. Saturday 23rd April from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Warwick Court, Warwick Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1EY. 3 mins walk from the Gateshead Interchange opposite Gateshead Civic Centre and Gateshead Police Station. Free parking available. Contact Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Allen Chamboko 07500246416, Kuda Derera 07411337933, Rugare Chifungo (Coordinator) 07795070609

·           ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 30th April from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi  07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, Charles Nenguke 07925146757, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069. Future demonstration: 28th May. Same time and venue.

·           Vigil Facebook page:

·           Vigil Myspace page:

·           ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to and 0send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe

·           Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust ( Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( if you are interested in taking part.


Vigil Co-ordinators

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:


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A Long Hard Winter Looms

This morning was a typical April day in Zimbabwe, brilliant, deep, clear,
blue skies, a chill in the early morning warming up to a comfortable
temperature by lunch time. Superb except for the knowledge that this marks
the end of the rains and the start of a long, hard winter. No rain now for 8
months, the veld is drying out rapidly and the bush fires will start
shortly. Water will become scarce and the hungry months lie ahead with
bitterly cold nights for those without adequate shelter.

This mirrors the political scene at this time. Tensions are rising and it is
clear that Zanu PF feel they are cornered. They are fighting back with every
tool at their disposal and show scant regard for the needs of the country or
the people. Retaining power is the only agenda, at any cost.

On the economic front, they are doing everything in their power to derail
the economic recovery. Their main tool is Savior Kasukuwere and the
so-called 'indigenisation' policies. They passed this bit of devilry in 2008
and are now using it as a means to curb inward investment and domestic
confidence. It has little or nothing to do with empowering anybody and even
less with the transfer of assets to local populations. It has been
stunningly effective, stopping investment and recovery in its tracks.
Because of its popularist overtones it has been difficult to deal with in
the Transitional Government but it is becoming apparent that we are going to
have to deal with it sooner rather than later if it is not to stop the
economy altogether.

My own memory goes back to 1968 when the President of Zambia stood up in the
Mulungushi Hall and announced that all Zambian companies, employing more
than 100 employees had to have majority Zambian ownership. The Zambian
economy reacted as if it had hit a wall. All investment stopped, within 18
months the major mining companies had been nationalized and for the next 30
years, little or no development took place. The country slid into poverty
and the copper mines saw their output decline from 800 000 tonnes a year to
barely 100 000 tonnes a year.

Only after the Kaunda legacy was totally wiped out and the indigenisation
strategies abandoned for a more conventional package of policies, did the
Zambian economy start recovering and is now in the midst of a commodity and
investment driven boom.

But why would a political party try to stop economic recovery? It’s quite
simple; any recovery in the economy would be attributed to the MDC and
contrasted with 30 years of stagnation and decline under Zanu PF. This was
highlighted for me when I visited one of the larger supermarkets in Harare
some 3 months after the MDC went into Government in 2009. In this store, 4
months before, only three items had been in stock - some cabbages, toilet
paper and bottled water. Now the store was packed and queues of customers
stretched back into the aisles. I said to the till operator that this was
quite a difference. He said to me just one word 'Tsvangirai'.

By contrast, Zanu is attributing the collapse under their watch to
'sanctions'. Their view is that since sanctions have not been lifted -
economic recovery cannot take place. Quite logical really, but it has
nothing to do with any desire to see ordinary people empowered in any way.
It also ignores the reality that the collapse had nothing to do with the
restrictions on some 200 Zanu PF leaders and everything to do with their
looting and corrupt activities coupled to disastrous macro and monetary

Talking about indigenisation, we could point out to anyone who would care to
listen, that today at least 75 per cent of the economy is in the hands of a
small clique connected to Zanu PF in some way. In the last 12 years we have
seen literally thousands of productive companies transferred to 'indigenous'
Zanu PF linked individuals. Nearly all these productive enterprises have
been stripped of their saleable assets and now lie derelict. And it’s not
all farming companies, just in case you think that - I can list several
hundred industrial and commercial firms that have been taken over by one
means or another and are now idle and derelict.

The most recent regulations promulgated by Kasukuwere in his drive to use
this instrument to stop the recovery were a Gazette Notice 10 days ago. This
has the effect of virtually nationalizing all mining firms in the country.
These regulations not only fly in the face of recent Cabinet decisions on
this issue but also bear no relation to any recommendations coming from the
industry itself or the specialist committees set up to study the situation
and make recommendations. The reality is that indigenisation has worked
nowhere in the world and it will not work here.

As if this was not enough, the political scene is about to get rough. SADC
and South Africa have put Zanu PF into a corner from which they cannot
escape. They will respond with violence and coercion. They will come out
fighting, of that you can be sure. As we can see in both Libya and Ivory
Coast, it is the people who suffer when those with power use it to defend
themselves and those with the power to stop them do not do enough to do so.
The half hearted and start/stop activities of those with hard power in these
situations have done little to curb the destructive power of those who feel
that they have nothing to lose and must protect themselves with everything
they have.

Mainly for these two reasons this is going to be a hard, long winter in
Zimbabwe. With our economy again in crisis, revenues to the State stagnant
or declining, companies throughout the country barely holding their own or
facing liquidation, people in all walks of life are finding it almost
impossible to survive. The struggle for power will intensify and without
effective and significant interventions by the region, the people are going
to suffer terribly. To compound these factors, food will be in short supply
in rural areas and aid programs cut back to the minimum.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 9th April 2011

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Ailing Zimbabwe First Lady, Grace Mugabe, rushed to Singapore

Sunday, 10 April 2011 14:18


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe again left the country for Singapore on Friday
evening amid revelations that it is actually the First Lady Grace Mugabe who
is this time seeking treatment in the Asian country for a serious ailment.

Mugabe has been frequenting Singapore since his annual leave in January and
his spokesman George Charamba last month clai-med he was going for a review
after undergoing an operation to remove a cataract in his eye.

But impeccable sources have since told The Standard that Grace Mugabe
slipped and fell in the bathroom at their Borrowdale house and is suspected
to have suffered a dislocated hip.

She has reportedly not recovered from the injury and could be seriously ill.

Charamba yesterday confirmed that the First Family was in Singapore but said
he did not know the purpose of their visit as he was in Kadoma when they
flew out of the country.

Mugabe’s trips to Singapore are said to have gobbled US$12 million from the
public purse.

Charamba, however, hinted that the First Lady is battling illness.

He disclosed that she has not fully recovered from a complication she
suffered while giving birth to her last-born son Chatunga 14 years ago
adding he was not aware of the hip dislocation.

“I would not be privy to that kind of information,” Charamba said.

“I have not heard about it. However what I know is that the First Lady,
after the birth of Chatunga, developed some slight discomfort with her back
but that was a long time ago.”

Charamba also confirm-ed that the President had gone to Singapore but said
it was not an “official visit.” But the fact that the presidential spokesman
was not briefed about the trip hints to the fact that it was an emergency.

Charamba said there were two possibilities why Mugabe went to Singapore.

“It could be that they went to visit their daughter (Bona) who is on
attachment in China, because they usually meet up in Singapore but then
maybe there is something else,” Charamba said. “However it cannot be
anything serious. Usually, if I am in Harare, I will go and see him off at
the airport and I would be briefed on the reason on why he is travelling but
I am in Kadoma attending a Zimbabwe Media Commission conference.”

As usual Mugabe and his wife took an Air Zimbabwe plane and striking pilots
had to be recalled to fly them. Air Zimbabwe board chairman Jonathan Kadzura
justified the move yesterday saying the flight was not a commercial one but
the pilots were on “national duty.”

“There is a difference of going on strike for commercial flights and flying
on national duty,” he said. “You can’t say no to national duty because
yesterday’s flight wasn’t a commercial one.”

Grace Mugabe has not been seen in public in a long time, further fuelling
speculation about her health.

However, the speculation had mainly centred on her 87-year-old husband who
was driven in a golf cart during the Southern African Development Community
troika summit in Livingstone, Zambia recently.

Mugabe was seen struggling with his step. There have even been reports that
he is suffering from prostate cancer.

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Tomana accused of intimidating judges

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:12


LAWYERS for Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma have lodged
a protest against Attorney General Johannes Tomana accusing him of trying to
intimidate High Court judges into treating the top MDC-T official unfairly.

The protest letter to the Judicial Services Commission was in reaction to
reports that Tomana had lodged a complaint to the Judge President George
Chiweshe and the Judicial Services Commission alleging that High Court judge
Justice Samuel Kudya passed judgement on factual issues before Mangoma’s
Tomana was said to be not happy with Kudya’s remarks when he granted Mangoma
bail on March 15 on the grounds that the state’s case appeared to be weak.
The minister is accused of sealing a US$5 million fuel deal with a South
African company NOA without going to tender.
In remarks that have drawn parallels with comments that saw Zanu PF
apologists calling for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Speaker of
Parliament Lovemore Moyo’s arrests on alleged contempt of court charges,
Tomana appeared to be calling for action against Kudya.
But Mangoma’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, in a letter seen by The Standard
accused Tomana of attempting to bully members of the judiciary and
interfering with their independence.
“In our respectful view, if the Attorney-General was unhappy with the judge’s
findings in the bail application, his proper course would clearly have been
to seek to appeal against judgement,” reads part of the letter.
“Traditionally and taking into account what the state would have placed
before a court, judicial officers have always considered the strength or
weakness of a case in considering a bail application and we do not consider
that the judge in this case went  beyond this traditional consideration.”
She said although they had read about Tomana’s complaint in The Sunday Mail,
it appeared it was intended to intimidate the judges handling Mangoma’s
Tsvangirai last month threatened a “clean divorce” from the unity government
following Mangoma’s initial arrest last month saying the prosecution and
judicial system were being manipulated to persecute his party.
But he was forced to apologise after President Robert Mugabe’s sympathisers
pushed for his arrest. The complaint by Mangoma’s lawyers will resurrect
debate about the alleged conspiracy.
“Whatever the ‘complaint’, it is our view that the Attorney General’s
‘complaint’ is nothing but an attempt to intimidate members of the judiciary
into not exercising their independence in matters that come before them,”
Mtetwa wrote.

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Hunger stalks Matabeleland villagers

Sunday, 10 April 2011 16:01


BULAWAYO — Matabeleland is set to face food shortages as crops in the region
have largely wilted due to moisture stress, it has been learnt.

Most parts of the country, including Matabeleland region, experienced a
prolonged dry spell at the beginning of the year resulting in most crops

The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development last
month conducted a countrywide crop assessment exercise to gauge the effects
of the dry spell.
However, the report of the exercise that ended on March 31 has not been made

Matabeleland South governor, Angeline Masuku could not give details on the
crop situation in her province this week, referring questions to provincial
Agritex officer Bernard Sibanda, who was said to be out of office. Sources,
within her office, however,  said the situation in Matabeleland South was

“All the seven districts have been severely affected and you will find that
in places like Insiza, only three of its 23 wards have a good crop and the
rest is a disaster,”  the official said.

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Mediocre leaders blamed for violence

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:59


POLITICAL parties’ failure to invest in leadership training is among other
factors which have contributed to violence that has rocked the country
during elections, a Zanu PF committee member in the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (Jomic) has said.
Oppah Muchinguri told delegates at an induction workshop for Jomic’s liason
committees that many entrusted with leadership roles failed to promote peace
and harmony in their communities due to lack of  training on good

“The reason why people have defeatist attitudes which make them resort to
the use of anything else but not the brain is that our parties fail to
invest in leadership training,” Muchinguri said.

“We need leaders who forge team spirit and not favour members of their
particular party, accommodative leaders who take every member of their
community on board in everything they do.

“We need leaders who compromise and appreciate that violence does not work.
Leaders who acknowledge that we need both MDC and Zanu PF so that we have
more competing ideas, so that we choose the best,” she said.

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Farmers shake off ‘dependency syndrome’

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:55


A group of communal farmers from Nyanzira village in Murewa believe they
have graduated into commercial farming despite occupying very small plots.
One of the villagers, Beatrice Mapuranga (53) considers herself a
businesswoman even though all she has is a five-hectare plot and a small
vegetable garden. This year, Mapuranga is assured of harvesting enough maize
for her family’s subsistence just like last year and a surplus for sale.

“I am also looking at earning some money from selling my cowpeas, groundnuts
and sorghum,” she said. “Last year, I managed to pay my children’s school
fees and to buy a cow after selling my produce”.

The mother of nine is among 11 villagers from Nyanzira who are involved in a
project to grow cash crops under the seed company Agriseeds. Under the
project, farmers commit part of their five-hectare farms to grow the crops.

Agriseeds supports them with loans which they use to buy inputs, including
seed, fertilisers and chemicals.

A non-governmental organisation, SNV Zimbabwe provides technical training
whereby the farmers are taught business skills and how best to improve their
Government extension workers provide technical support while inspectors
visit the farms to assess if the farmers are adhering to requirements for
growing seed and to also endorse the crop.

“We encourage small-scale farmers to drop the dependency syndrome and be
business minded,” Agriseeds MD,  Walter Chigodora said.

“Some, like Mapuranga, have held on since the beginning of the project in
2009 while others failed to do well and had to be removed from the programme
this year.
“We started with 2 200 farmers covering Mashonaland Central, East and West
but this year we only have 1 448 after some failed to repay their loans.”

At the beginning of this season, Mapuranga borrowed US$371 from Agriseeds
and has so far harvested 10 bags of cowpeas, each weighing 50 kg and she
still has some of the crop in the fields.

She has also started harvesting groundnuts and the sorghum crop, which is
yet to mature, is flourishing.

The programme encourages farmers to set aside two hectares to grow maize for
family subsistence and Mapuranga’s maize crop is ready for harvesting.
“I can now safely say that I will repay the loan with the cowpeas I have
harvested so far because Agriseeds buys a tonne at US$700 and I have
harvested half a tonne already.

Some of the more enterprising villagers have since set-up small businesses
to tap on the benefits.

One such business is an agro dealers’ scheme spearheaded by a wholesaler
called Feyafeya.

Under this scheme, owners of retail shops are supplied with agricultural
inputs including seed, fertiliser and chemicals to sell to farmers.

“Seed and fertiliser companies in Harare provide the stock and we supply the
agro dealers,” Feyafeya sales manager Joel Mugariri said. “They sell the
stock and give us the cash after selling.”

Lookout Gotora from Musami Business Centre is among the 15 dealers who have
participated in the project since 2009.

“My hardware shop was closed for a long time because I did not have money to
buy stock,” Gotora said. “I then struck a deal with Feyafeya so I could
provide about
1 500 families in this ward with farming inputs without incurring too many

The dealers have also partnered with CABS to provide banking services to the

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Mbare Musika for upgrading

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:54


THE Harare City Council is pursuing an ambitious project to upgrade Mbare
Musika to match the standards of Johannesburg’s Parkstation.
Council’s business committee chairperson Wellington Chikombo said the city
entered a joint venture with a Chinese company, Ningbo Baitai Industry
Company Limited, to carry out the project.

“The plan is for us to develop a modern-oriented station like Johannesburg’s
Parkstation,” Chikombo said.

“This will restore order at our chaotic Mbare Musika and also enhance our
revenue collection capacity.”

Chikombo said the project would also result in the establishment of a
textile factory and a modern shopping mall in Mbare.

“Our partner will bring high-tech equipment to be used in the project and as
council, we are satisfied with their capacity to deliver,” Chikombo said.

“A feasibility study, environmental management assessment and plan designs
are currently underway.

“If everything is approved, we are likely to start the heavy construction
work in May,” Chikombo said.

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MDC-T congress: Tsvangirai faces stern test

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:49


THE MDC-T leadership must deal decisively with the factionalism that is
threatening to tear apart the labour-based political party if it entertains
hopes of dislodging Zanu PF from power in the next elections, political
analysts said.
Analysts said while competition for posts was healthy in any democracy, it
has to be managed in such a way that it does not become a destructive force.
Others, however, said the perceived factionalism was good for democracy.

One camp, said sources, is led by the party’s women’s assembly chairlady
Theresa Makone and her husband Ian while the other one is headed by Finance
minister Tendai Biti, who is also MDC-T secretary general.

Party spokesperson Nelson Cha-misa has always denied the existence of
factions in MDC-T but increasing intra-party skirmishes and violence,
especially during election time, reflect deeper and widening divisions among
senior members.

This rivalry has become open and brutal as the MDC-T gears for its national
congress slated for April 29 to May 1. Sources said Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, who will retain his position at the congress, fears this gulf
among factions could widen to levels similar to Zanu PF’s Solomon Mujuru and
Emmerson Mnangagwa factions.

The two factions are fighting to succeed President Robert Mugabe, who has
been ruling the country for the past three decades.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera urged the MDC-T leadership to nip
factionalism in the bud to avoid a repeat of the 2005 split that resulted in
the formation of the faction led by Welshman Ncube.

He said while leadership renewal was the hallmark of any democracy, the
process has to be well-managed.

“It’s natural in politics for competition for power and positions,”
Mangongera said.

“But the leadership has to manage that competition so that we do not witness
the implosion that we saw in 2005.”

Mangongera said it was worrying to read regularly of bloody clashes of
“youth vigilante groups” belonging to the two camps at Harvest House.
The clashes, which started in 2004, seem not to end.

Other party members last week accused senior  MDC-T officials of deploying
provincial campaign managers for their camps on the pretext of organising
party structures.

“The party leadership must deal with this in a decisive manner,” he said.

Another analyst said if the MDC-T leadership fails to address the issue of
internal violence and factionalism, that would give its critics enough
ammunition to label it a violent party.

“I think it will result in some people accusing the MDC-T of mimicking Zanu
PF,” said the analyst who requested anonymity.

Zanu PF, whose political symbol is a fist, has over the past decades been
labelled as a violent party.

President Mugabe has openly claimed to have “degrees in violence.”

But Pedzisai Ruhanya, a Harare-based analyst believes that the factionalism
in the MDC-T is healthy.

“There is no negative factionalism in the MDC-T,” declared Ruhanya, a senior
programmes manager with Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. “What is there (in
MDC-T) is benign factionalism Factionalism is taken negatively here in
Zimbabwe because it is usually associated with Zanu PF, a party which spills

Quoting one of America’s most influential founding fathers James Madison,
Ruhanya said in any case “benign” factionalism was healthy as it prevented
concentration of power on one group.

It remains to be seen if the MDC-T leadership would be able to control the
effects of factionalism as the dates for the party’s congress draw near.

Ironically, the congress, expected to draw about 5 000 delegates in
Bulawayo, will be running under the theme “United, Winning — The People’s
Covenant for Change.”

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Anti-sanctions petition will backfire —analysts

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:44


BULAWAYO — Zanu PF’s anti-sanctions petition drive could backfire if the
embattled party intends to use the signatures to gauge its popularity ahead
of elections expected later this year.
President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, insists that elections must be
held this year despite strong objections from his coalition government
Zanu PF is using the campaign to collect the anti-sanctions campaign
signatures to drum up support.

But analysts warned that most of the two million signatures Zanu PF is
seeking will not be appended voluntarily. University of Zimbabwe political
science lecturer John Makumbe said Zanu PF would get a rude awakening come
election time.

“It’s a foolish attempt by Zanu PF to want to think that the signatures are
votes already in the bag,” he said. “It would not work. In fact the petition
drive is further alienating Zanu PF from would-be voters as they are forced
to sign.”

Makumbe said at UZ, workers were signing the petition to save their jobs.

But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed claims that the campaign was
linked to the election.

“The programme is totally divorced from elections and people should not
attempt to make a link,” he said.

“Our popularity is solely based on our restructuring and mobilisation
drives, which we are managing well. The anti-sanctions drive is aimed at
showing the world that the illegal sanctions are not targeted at a few
individuals but the whole country,” he added.

Although Gumbo could not give indications on the number of signatures
gathered to date, he said the programme would be wrapped up this month.

“We are still collecting and also receiving forms from various centres and
by end on this month the programme ends,” he said.

There are reports that Zanu PF youths are coercing people including school
children to sign the petition.

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Families of slain MDC-T activists feel abandoned

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:40


FAMILIES of slain MDC-T activists have accused the party of abandoning wives
and children of members who died while serving the party.
At an emotional memorial service on Wednesday at the Dutch Reformed Church
in Harare, relatives of Tonderai Ndira, Better Chokururama, Cain Nyevhe and
Godfrey Kauzani told stories of broken dreams, untold suffering and abject

The activists were brutally murdered during the run-up to the June 2008
presidential election run-off election where the leading contender, MDC-T
president Morgan Tsvangirai was forced to withdraw because of violence.

Their mutilated bodies were found dumped in Goromonzi and Murehwa. Kauzani’s
wife Sarudzai Chiutsi told The Standard that her husband’s death had driven
her into abject poverty. An emotional Chiutsi said she now regreted why her
husband ventured into politics.

She chronicled how she struggled when her disabled son who had a hole in one
of his ears that stretched to the brain fell ill and eventually died in
Chiutsi claimed the MDC-T refused to provide her with transport to take her
seriously ill son to Harare Hospital.

“I am now both mother and father to my children,” she said. “I struggled
with my son alone and they even refused to give me a car to transport my son’s
body for burial. They only gave me US$100. The coffin cost almost US$200 and
I had to borrow money from work which I am still paying back. I have nothing
to show for my husband’s struggle.”

But Chiutsi exonerated Tsvangirai, saying she did not believe he was aware
of their plight. She said she last got assistance with school fees for the
children, rent money and food two years ago.

“I am grateful the party helped me get a job but the money is not enough,”
she said. “In the past we used to go to the MDC-T offices seeking audience
with Tsvangirai but those people who work there always denied us that
opportunity,” she said.

Ndira’s elder brother Cosmas, who was choking with emotion, also had no kind
words for the MDC-T.

“There is no money to pay school fees for Tonderai’s children,” he said. “It
pains us that his children are suffering and living in abject poverty.
Tonderai used to look after his children well when he was still alive.”

Cosmas said it pained them to see senior MDC-T officials driving luxury cars
and assisting their relatives to get jobs while people who bore the brunt of
their fight against Zanu PF were wallowing in poverty.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T spokesman maintained that the party had done a lot
for the families by helping some of them get jobs, start income generating
projects and secure scholarships.

“In fact we have exceeded our capacity to help the children, wives and
husbands of survivors,” he said. “Unfortunately, those who perished run into
hundreds if not thousands and survivors run into tens of thousands.
Considering the task before us, the party is bound to be overwhelmed and
this is why we have called for restorative and rehabilitative justice at a
national scale from the government of the day,” he said.

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Villagers lose 200 cattle to witch-hunters

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:37


ZVISHAVANE — Three self-styled traditional healers, popularly known as
tsikamutandas, have allegedly fleeced villagers of more than 200 cattle and
thousands of US dollars in a witch-hunt that began in October last year.

Investigations by The Standard revealed that cleansing ceremonies in the
Masunda and Shiku areas were being conducted with the blessings of
traditional leaders and police were allegedly clearing the movement of
cattle paid by villagers accused of dabbling in witchcraft.

Chief Simon Masunda allegedly authorised the witch-hunts last year. The
tsikamutandas were only identified as Gowurane, Ngwenya and Maguranyanga.

Headman Samuel Venge Shiku told The Standard at Masunda growth point that
Ngwenya and Gowurane had since moved away from his area while Maguranyanga
was still active.

“These people were recommended by Chief Masunda to us. We agreed to invite
them as villagers,” Shiku said.

He said all the livestock that had been collected from the area was cleared
by the police before it was moved to other areas by the witch-hunters.

“People are told of their evil possessions and they volunteer to be
exorcised,” Shiku said.

Shiku said “mysterious” things that were allegedly used for witchcraft had
been discovered in several homes.

He claimed that only the Johane Marange Apostolic sect members were
boycotting the ceremonies for religious reasons.

Some villagers claimed that they were misled to believe that the
witch-hunters were sent by the government.

Shiku volunteered to help track down Maguranyanga at Tom Chivi village,
about 5km away from his home.

On arrival at the base, the crew was introduced to kraal heads, Munikwa,
Boilous Shonhayi Chimamiwa and John Mafuma Mafurire.

A herd of 10 cattle that had been surrendered as payment for the cleansing
services by villagers was still tied to trees nearby.

However, Maguranyanga was said to have travelled to Zvishavane on business
while his assistants were said to have gone to another ward 20km from Tom
Chivi village.
The three kraal heads also said no one was forced to attend ceremonies.

They said as leaders they supported Maguranyanga’s activities.

The witch-hunters are allegedly charging “witches and wizards” two beasts
each while victims pay one beast to be exorcised. A villager, Mafuma
Mafurire said he had paid two goats after the tsikamutandas had removed a
bad spell affecting his family.

The witch-hunters are said to be between the ages of 30 and 45. Shiku said
he does not know their full names. He said Maguranyanga is originally from
Officer Commanding Zvisha-vane District, Chief Superintendent Alphio Maphosa
was not available for comment last week as he was said to be in Harare.
Chief Masunda was also not reachable for comment.

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MDC-T courts Welshman Ncube

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:34


MDC-T is pushing for reunification with the Welshman Ncube-led faction as it
seeks to build from the support it received from their bitter rivals in the
re-election of its chairman Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of
MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti on April 1 wrote to Ncube thanking him
for the support in parliament but said their struggle for the democracy
could be shortened if they worked together.

MDC had initially resolved to abstain from the election but decided to vote
for Moyo after noting that Zanu PF was trying to use unorthodox means to
help its chairman Simon Khaya Moyo to land the post.

“It goes without saying that the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe will be
a long and arduous journey,” Biti said. “However, it can be shortened if all
democratic forces work together as we did on March 29  2011.”

Analysts last week said the tone of the one-page letter was a clear overture
for the two formations, which split in 2005, to start unity talks.

The labour-based party split over whether to contest the 2005 senatorial
elections or not.

But Regional Integration minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is
the MDC secretary general, said they had not discussed the issue as a party.
“There are no talks,” she said. “The party has not discussed the issue.”

Misihairabwi-Mushonga could not say whether her party would entertain the
talks, saying she was in a meeting.

Efforts to get a comment from Ncube were fruitless as he was said to be in
the same meeting.

But sources said some senior officials in the MDC-T were not prepared for
any form of talks as their positions would be threatened by such a

They said if the two parties united, there would be need to accommodate
officials like Ncube and Misihairabwi-Mushonga in the new set-up.

Attempts to reunite the two factions ahead of the 2008 elections floundered
at the last minute after some senior MDC-T officials expressed fears they
would lose their posts.

Sources said there are plans by all political parties in the country to
unite against Zanu PF in the next elections slated later this year. In
previous polls, political parties contested elections as single entities,
giving Zanu PF an advantage.

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Zanu PF tried to bribe me: Mtetwa

Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:32


AWARD-winning human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa says Zanu PF officials
tried to bribe her so that she would stop representing President Robert
Mu-gabe’s opponents.
Mtetwa, who was last week announced the winner of the United States’ Case
Western Reserve University’s 2011 Inamori Ethics Prize said she had resisted
offers of a farm and appointments to boards of parastatals.

But she refused to name the officials who attempted to bribe her.

“I have also been offered perks if I abandon my human rights work,” Mtetwa

“In 2001 in particular I was offered various positions, boardships in
parastatals, even a farm if I abandoned my human rights work.

“I found it very interesting because the people making those offers were
people I had once represented when their own rights had been violated by the
very system.”
Mtetwa said she turned down the offers because she was not doing her work
for financial benefitbut simply because she believed in what does.

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Import duty on basics to return

Sunday, 10 April 2011 16:45


GOVERNMENT will lift the suspension of import duty on basic commodities once
local industry capacity utilisation improves, Economic Planning and
Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada has said.

Finance minister Tendai Biti extended the suspension of duty on imported
rice, maize meal, flour and  cooking oil, which was imposed at the height of
the biting shortages of basic commodities to June 31.

Mashakada said the market liberalisation policy had been forced by the
country’s economic crisis and government was aware that it was adversely
affecting local manufacturers.

“Local industry can look forward to food and textile imports eventually
being phased out, but this reform will only be in line with the country’s
economic performance levels where companies can viably produce for the
market,” he said.

The minister pointed out that the dispensation would continue for critical
industrial products such as raw materials, machinery and spare parts among

A number of manufacturing companies are surviving at break- even levels
while others, especially in the once vibrant textiles sector, have folded
altogether as imports continue to flood the market.

However, manufacturers have in the past come under fire from consumer groups
for overcharging and  taking advantage of the food shortages.

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SundayView: Moyo’s diatribe on Sadc destructive to Zanu PF

Sunday, 10 April 2011 16:21

Like a decapitated bird, Zanu PF has been running aimlessly following one of
Sadc’s most successful summits in recent history.
Professor Jonathan Moyo was among the first to fire the salvo.

Sensing danger, George Charamba played the fire-fighter but not before Moyo’s
careless comments had reached the ears of those who matter. There are times
when Moyo talks like a comical lunatic. This was one such moment.

Calling Sadc, the AU and President Jacob Zuma all sorts of names, including
Judas Iscariot, was the height of madness and political suicide. This is the
same Moyo who used to fervently support the notion of quiet diplomacy and
African solution to African problems when it worked in Zanu PF’s favour.
Today, he stands for the opposite. Those who give a toss about international
relations were baffled by such self-destructive innuendos which shall always
influence Sadc in its future dealings with Zimbabwe.

In his typical fashion, Moyo chided Sadc leaders for delaying official
deliberations of the summit to 8pm when Mugabe and his delegates had been
waiting and waiting. He went on to say the official session only took less
than an hour. In his mind, Moyo is totally convinced that Sadc can only
transact when Mugabe is in attendance and also that the length of the
sessions should resonate with the amount of Mugabe’s waiting time. Is he
aware that Zimbabwe is not part of the Troika and that Mugabe did not
convene the meeting?

“Decisions were made without much dialogue, which is traditionally essential
for the success of such summits,” moaned Moyo.  What he seems to forget is
that there is nothing happening in Zimbabwe that Sadc is not aware of. The
fact that the body has taken this long to flex its muscles is not a sign of
gullibility. Rather, Sadc leaders patiently and respectfully assumed that
Mugabe and his party would one day stop acting like kids and start doing the
right thing. Having realised that this was not to be, the only option was to
crack the whip. It is now time for action, not rhetoric.

An outstanding aspect of Moyo’s post-summit analysis was his reference to
Zanu PF as the Republic of Zimbabwe. For a political science professor to
fail to distinguish between a political party and the state is just

Moyo also predictably attack-ed Sadc for suggesting to constitute a team
that would clo-sely work with Jomic in implementing the GPA.

Two points need to be highlighted; it is Sadc which created Jomic,
therefore, only Sadc has the prerogative to review Jomic’s mandate,
restructure its composition or reinforce its operations. Such simple logic
should be too obvious to Moyo.

Nevertheless, he doesn’t stop wondering, “If there is resurgence of
violence, why should there not be any arrests?” This is a question any sane
citizen would have directed at the Police Commissioner-General Augustine
Chihuri, not Sadc. We hope Chihuri will find time to answer this question
honestly and educate Moyo on why perpetrators of violence are being
protected while the victims are arrested.

In a seemingly well-calculated attempt to inflict as much damage on Zanu PF
as possible by further insulting African institutions including Sadc, Moyo
said the African vote on UN Resolution 1973, together with the Livingstone
Troika communiqué, epitomised the work of puppets and sell-outs who should
be abandoned by Zimbabwe as it turns to those friends who can provide
weapons and military co-operation. For some strange reason, he religiously
believes that those who fought in the liberation war are all alive, well,
unchanged and ready to be used.

If anything, a good number of the ex-combatants have since moved on in terms
of political affiliation and ideology while a lot more have passed on. Moyo
will one day get his just rewards.

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FromtheEditor'sDesk: Who advises dictators when endgame looms?

Sunday, 10 April 2011 16:20

The question on many people’s minds right now is: Who advises dictators when
endgame looms? This question is important when one looks at events in the
Ivory Coast and Libya.

In the Ivory Coast former president Laurent Gbagbo, deserted by most of
those who propped his regime, is holed up in a bunker under his home. Only a
handful loyalists surround him, hoping against hope that some miracle would
save them and their master, but in the process committing crimes against
humanity which he will, in the fullness of time, be asked to answer for.  He
knows, unless he has become totally delusional, that he does not stand a
chance in heaven of coming out of there and reclaim his former powers as the
president of the republic.

The world has recognised his rival Alassane Ouattara as the legitimate
winner of the presidential poll held last November. Gbagbo, in spite of
world consensus on this issue, has refused to cede power. The result has
been the resurgence of civil war which last year’s polls set out to end.

One can only surmise that Gbagbo’s defiance is a result of bad advice. His
circumstances are now more complicated than they were on the day he refused
to accept the results of the election. Now, even if by some dint of fortune
he emerges from that bunker alive, there are many things he would have to
answer for. Because of his ill-advised stance, thousands of people have
died, most of them at the hands of brigands loyal to him.

No country is now prepared to offer him asylum because that might invite the
ire of its own citizens who most likely are also fighting dictatorship. In
the new world outlook few leaders, even in Africa, would like to associate
themselves with leaders who have been rejected by their own people.

The humiliating picture a few years ago of former Iraq dictator Saddam
Hussein being pulled out of hole surely must haunt anybody who thinks he can
hide away from justice forever.

In Libya Colonel Muammar Gaddafi chose war instead of capitulation when his
people revolted demanding the civil liberties they have been denied for more
than four decades. Who advised him to follow the path he took? It seems
clear that he got his advice from his sons who have singularly enjoyed the
fruits of their father’s rule.
For some reason Gaddafi thinks that he can come out of it all alive and
continue from where he left off.

But this has become well nigh impossible. Not only is world opinion rallied
against him, but he has also run out of allies both in sub-Saharan Africa
and in the Arab world. He will also be made to answer for the crimes he has
committed against unarmed civilians.

Gaddafi could have left a legacy had he acted differently. In spite of
everything else, Gaddafi had used billions his country earned from oil
revenues to develop his country. This fact is indisputable. Gaddafi survived
on a bloated ego. He wished to show to the world what he had done for his
people in terms of infrastructural development. He meant this to disguise
his darker nature which made him to accumulate a personal fortune running
into tens of billions of dollars while his people starved.

It turned out, when he moved around the world saying that he was a devout
Moslem, deep down he was not. He was paying millions of dollars to American
women to dance naked in front of him and his clan.

With good advice he could have instituted the changes that his people
demanded or, better still, he would have relinquished power and retired a
true “benevolent dictator”, respected by his people. But his legacy is all
gone now. In its place is the story of a man who built a nation and
cynically destroyed it.

Africa is replete with dictators who have failed to recognise their moments
to achieve greatness and have had inglorious ends to their lives.

There have been exceptions though. Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere is a good
example. His reign was not the greatest in the world because he experimented
with ideologies which failed to move his country forward. But he was able to
recognise the time he had to live. Now, in spite of everything, he is
considered one of Africa’s greatest statesmen.

Nelson Mandela too knew that after successfully leading the transition from
apartheid to democracy he had to step down after only one five-year term in
office. He too is considered one of the world’s greatest statesmen of all

The same cannot be said of Malawi’s Hastings Kamuzu Banda who sought to die
in power and used youth militias called the Young Pioneers to achieve this
by bludgeoning into submission those who sought change. When he died, a
centenarian, for the world it was a joyful riddance.

The world has refused to grant Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda the same status it
has given Nyerere and Mandela. In the 27 years of his rule, he had run his
country into the ground and was stoutly refusing to let go. He had also
created his own legacy by helping all of southern Africa’s liberation
movements. But all that was destroyed by his failure to recognise just the
moment when he had to let go.

Events of the past two weeks have shown that the world, particularly the
southern African subcontinent, has lost its patience with our own President
Robert Mugabe. That the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Troika
summit held in Livingstone, Zambia was a turning point in the way the
Zimbabwean story will play out from now onwards is not in dispute.

But what is important from now onwards is the question of who is advising
him. The diplomatic furore that arose after that summit gave us some insight
into how his think-tank works. From the insufferable Jonathan Moyo spewing
vitriol against a foreign head of state to mere civil servants writing
newspaper editorial to buttress an ill-conceived reaction to the Sadc Troika’s
chastisement, it was all on the table to see. It is obvious his advisers
like him to hang on, but what effect will this have on his legacy?

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SundayOpinion: Urgent action in Sadc’s interest

Sunday, 10 April 2011 16:14

Is the latest resolve by the South African Development Community (Sadc)
troika in Livingstone, Zambia on Zimbabwe any cause for celebration and
This is a pertinent question that any Zimbabwean, and any citizen of the
sub-region is inclined to ask in view of what seems to be continuous
stalling in the implementation of the Global Political Programme (GPA)
signed in 2008.
Three years or so after the signing of the GPA, the only thing that seems to
have happened is a nominal government of national unity (GNU) with Morgan
Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, with some of his Movement for Democratic
Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) colleagues in some ministerial positions.

Whether this GNU has been more than just in name, and good intentions, my
guess is good as anyone’s.

To date, since the signing of the GPA as on which most, especially our
Zimbabwean brothers and sisters, and we their Southern African neighbours,
pinned hopes, it remains only a pipedream with hope of its implementation
fading slowly, if not forever off the rail.

Frankly, the process has been iced and whether it shall ever thaw remains a
million-dollar question. Political agreement on outstanding issues such as
ministerial powers and duties, the appointment of provincial governors,
media liberalisation and a national audit of land ownership in the country
still have not been reached, as important as these are as milestones toward
putting Zimbabwean on a new plain of reform, including amending the country’s
constitution and eventually free and fair elections.

This is not to say that there have been no positive developments, notably in
the economy, where some degree of normalisation has been observed, including
a dip in hyperinflation. But all these still remain a far cry from the
necessary foundation and head start Zimbabwe needs to embark on meaningful
change. And that is why Sadc eventually seems to adopt a hands-on attitude
towards the Zimbabwean issue by the appointment of a team to assist the
Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee of the GPA on Zimbabwe.

Certainly, this must be a sober re-wakening on the part of the Sadc states,
that unless they do something drastic to defuse the Zimbabwean situation,
and to spur her towards real transformation, the country, as much as the
entire region, run the risk of manipulation by Western powers.

One needs to look no further than Libya. What is currently happening in
Libya can partly be blamed on the regional blocs, notably the Arab League,
first and foremost, and secondly the continental body, the African Union
(AU). For their own hegemonic reasons and strategic interest the Western
power bloc of Britain, France and others, through the United Nations
Security Council, the body through which they usually advance their hegemony
on the world platform, exploited the delayed boldness, if not lack thereof,
on the part of the Arab and African regional blocs to intervene in Libya.

Sadc should be forewarned that the longer they dilly-dally on the Zimbabwean
issue, and play Big Brother to President Mugabe, the more they risk the
country, and the region, to the hegemonic Western powers’ self-interest. The
Arab League and the African Union did not lose the initiative only with the
adoption of UN Security Council Resolution but with their obliviousness to
the cry of the Libyan people in the face of alleged state brutality and
disregard for human rights and freedoms.

African and Arab leaders hesitated on the pretext, first, that what was
unfolding in Libya was an internal matter. Secondly, that the Libyan
government was dealing with Western-sponsored rebellions. They seemed to be
ignorant of the fact that what started in Libya started as genuine
aspirations by the Libyan people for liberalisation.
That is the moment African and Arab leaders should have been bold and
intervened. During the initial stage of the demands of the Libyan people,
there was no talk of the people being armed. To date we cannot for sure know
how many people may have been killed by the Libyan authorities, as there was
total media black-out on the protests and retaliation by the authorities.

African leaders simply and strangely seem too slow, reluctant and ominously
blind to signs of human rights abuses? One cannot but conclude in the face
of such blatant dereliction of leadership that with a few exceptions, most
of our African leaders’ democratic credentials are simply artificial,
transient and parochial.

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SundayComment: Respect court ruling on exhumations

Sunday, 10 April 2011 16:09

A Bulawayo High Court ruling stopping the activities of the Fallen Heroes
Trust in Mount Darwin has come as a welcome relief to all Zimbabweans
appalled by the horrid spectacle of human remains being paraded for all to
see at the disused mine shaft.
After weeks of being bombarded with grisly pictures of dead bodies, Zipra
veterans made a bold decision to challenge the exercise in court and won an
interdict to stop heartless individuals from exploiting a human tragedy for
political gain.

It was not surprising that the so-called Fallen Heroes Trust did not oppose
the court application. The shadowy group, which is linked to Zanu PF, simply
does not have any mandate or basis to carry out such an exercise and
justifying their activities in court would have been impossible.

Although the exhumations were meant to portray “Rhodesian atrocities” during
the war, the political charade was robbed of its credibility when the
Gukurahundi massacres were not given equal attention. The manner in which
they were conducted also left people not only disgusted but alarmed that
Zanu PF, in its desperate bid to remain in power, was now exploiting even
the dead for political gain.

The exhumations turned out, like so many other election-related
performances, to be a self-inflicted shot in the foot for Zanu PF.

It remains to be seen whether or not the court ruling will be respected and
adhered to. There is room for scepticism. We have witnessed the systematic
disregard by government officials of court rulings which they deem
politically inconvenient.

The court application has clearly shown that the whole country is nursing
festering wounds of great proportions.

Ill-conceived, self-serving exhumations by shadowy groups with no expertise
whatsoever can only poison further a nation that desperately needs to forget
its dark past.

What is needed is a process that goes beyond giving those dumped at Chibondo
mine shaft a decent burial; the process must encompass restorative, social
and economic justice that will result in perpetrators of past violations
being brought to justice and victims compensated as part of a comprehensive
healing endeavour.

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