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Obert Mpofu faces defamation charge

Saturday, 10 April 2010 20:02

THE High Court is next month set to make a ruling in a case in which a
senior official at the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is suing
Minister Obert Mpofu for US$30 000 as damages for criminal defamation. In a
matter that is set to further bring Mpofu's Ministry under the spotlight,
Byl Manyange, a mining commissioner is suing Mpofu and the state owned
Chronicle newspaper over the publication of statements attributed to the

Mpofu reportedly accused Manyenge and other commissioners of corruption.

He said the commissioners were being transferred to other stations because
they were allegedly issuing mining claims to undeserving people.

Manyange is based in Kadoma. Mpofu, who is cited as the first respondent,
allegedly made the utterances during a police pass-out parade in
Ntabazinduna early last year.

The matter, recorded under HC2308/09 will be heard in chambers before High
Court Judge Justice Samuel Kudya on May 10.

Among other things, Manyange accuses Mpofu of uttering statements to the
effect that the commissioners (including Manyange) "issued licences
corruptly and for speculative purposes, and in the process turning away
genuine investors".

Mpofu is also being accused of claiming that Manyange and other
commissioners were refusing to be transferred.

"By reason of the defamatory words aforesaid, plaintiff has been injured in
his name, fame and reputation, prejudiced of advancement of professional
career and employment prospects and has a consequent threat, suffered
damages in the sum of US$30 000 for injuria and contumelia," reads Manyange's

But Mpofu dismisses the claims, saying he never made those utterances, and
does not know Manyange in person.

The minister is already fighting allegations that he parceled out mining
claims owned by the British registered African Consolidated Resources in the
diamond rich Chiadzwa area to unscrupulous investors.


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Constitution-making bogged down as fresh disputes emerge

Saturday, 10 April 2010 19:52

THE training of rapporteurs for the constitution-making outreach programme
ended last week with participants failing to agree with organisers on the
contents of a questionnaire to be used during the process. At least 210
rapporteurs selected from the three political parties in the inclusive
government and civil society received training in preparation for the actual
outreach programme last week in Harare.

However The Standard understands that the last day of the training, Friday,
was dogged by controversy after participants expressed reservations about
the questions to be used during the outreach.

Participants said they felt that some of the questions were too political
and too complicated for a simple process of sourcing the views of people on
the new constitution.

Others, they said, could scare away people who would want their voices heard
in the new constitution.

One of the questions that raised concern among the participants was: "Should
the founding principles of the constitution recognise the irreversibility of
the process of land reform having regards to the vision of the liberation
struggle and provision of the GPA?"

Another question was: "Should the founding principles of the constitution
recognise the calling for patriotism and loyalty to Zimbabwe."

One other contentious question was: "Should the right to land ownership
and/or occupation by people be entrenched in the constitution?"

A participant who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "Some of the
questions are too political and this might hinder the full participation of
the people. For example, some may not be comfortable to say anything against
land reform because you don't know who will be there and listening".

Sources said there was also disappointment over the fact that organisers
refused to reveal the allowances they would get for their work.

Representatives from the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) told
them the amounts would be revealed on the day of deployment.

"I think they are afraid that people won't turn up on deployment day if they
feel the allowances are too small but I think they are setting themselves up
for trouble later," said one participant.

Co-chairperson of Copac Edward Mukosi, who was present at the training on
Friday, told participants their issues of concern would be looked into
before their deployment.

Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said deployment would take place in
about three weeks as the committee was still waiting for financial
commitments from donors.

He said out of the US$8,5 million needed for the outreach, US$4 million had
been received so far.


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KP monitor orders RBZ off Chiadzwa diamonds

Saturday, 10 April 2010 19:45

KIMBERLEY Process (KP) monitor for Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane has slammed the
involvement of too many government agencies in the handling of rough
diamonds from Chiadzwa. Government agencies currently involved in Chiadzwa
include the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra),
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), among others.

But after a fact-finding mission on the Marange diamonds carried out in
March, Chikane has recommended the reduction of government agencies involved
in mining Chiadzwa diamonds.

Among those agencies that are unnecessarily involved in the diamonds is the
RBZ, which Chikane says should not handle rough diamonds.

"Too many government agencies are involved in monitoring and handling rough
diamonds. This poses the danger of diamonds being swapped or stolen in the
process," noted Chikane.

"Only the MMCZ, Zimra and ZRP should handle rough diamonds. Even with these
agencies, movement of rough diamonds should be subjected to a monitoring and
security mechanism that can detect the loss of diamonds."

In his 30-paged report, Chikane noted that the RBZ "currently holds rough
diamonds for safekeeping pending the court order and Appeal of the court
order by the government of Zimbabwe".

To solve this challenge, Chikane recommended that the RBZ should not keep

"(The) Reserve Bank be encouraged to keep rough diamonds only under
extraordinary circumstances, otherwise be discouraged from handling rough

To achieve this, Chikane recommends some legislative changes "to reduce the
risk of diamond swap or loss".

"In the event that legislation need not be amended, government may consider
the safe keeping of rough diamonds at MMCZ (on confiscation and during court
proceedings) and only release them when necessary," added Chikane.

According to Chikane's report, the controversy-infested Marange diamond
fields have produced 4,4 million carats between October 2006 and February

Of this, 1,6 million carats have been sold and 2,77 million carats were held
in stock by several stakeholders.
In addition to the reduction of government agencies involved in Chiadzwa,
Chikane recommended that the two companies mining diamonds in the
area -Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Mining - should operate in line with KP
minimum requirements.

He said on paper, the companies have good policies, processes and procedures
but these were not being implemented.

The report also notes that Mbada and Canadile "do not have adequate diamond
audit systems", and recommends that the companies employ "a full time
qualified diamond audit to increase their chances of complying fully with
industry self-regulating mechanism as agreed by the global diamond industry
and KP participants".

There is also "no visible paper trail to track the movement of rough
diamonds from the safe to cubicles" at both companies, and recommends that
the system "should be improved".

Chikane was again scheduled to tour Marange last week.

A week before Chikane's latest visit, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
on Mines and Energy was banned from touring the diamond fields and holding
meetings with different stakeholders, including families that are to be

It is understood that the committee would now meet on April 20 then tour the
diamond fields from April 21 to 23.

In a statement released on Friday, the committee said it had also "made a
resolution not to probe the issue before the courts relating to claims or
special grants ownership dispute between the ZMDC and ACR".


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Mliswa arrested for threatening white businessman

Saturday, 10 April 2010 19:43

CONTROVERSIAL Zanu PF businessman Temba Mliswa was arrested last week for
allegedly threatening a white businessman whose business he intends to
acquire in line with the controversial Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Act. The Act directs that all foreign-owned businesses should
cede 51% of their shareholding to local black entrepreneurs.

Critics of the Act say that the legisltion is open to abuse as it is likely
to benefit a few well-connected individuals who have benefited from similar
programmes that aimed to empower previously disadvantaged groups.

The Standard is reliably informed that Mliswa, who is also the secretary for
lands in Mashonaland West, was detained for 24 hours at Harare Central
Police Station.

He was later released.

Sources said Mliswa and his manager Godknows Murambiwa went to Benbar, a
company dealing in car accessories in Msasa sometime in January and informed
the directors that they were from the Affirmative Action Group. They
allegedly demanded 51% of the company's shares in accordance with the Act.

Mliswa is also alleged to have told the directors that according to the Act,
he was entitled to take ownership of the company. He gave them a week to
respond  (sic).

After one week Mliswa allegedly sent the company's operations director Paul
Westwood an SMS threatening that he would expose "the skeletons in his
cupboard" if he did not comply with his directive.
According to sources, part of the SMS read: "Listen Paul I was very patient
with you I have given you an option which you are not willing to respond.

"I am giving you 24 hours to respond to our offer. I have got skeletons in
your cupboard and I wouldn't want to expose them."

However Mliswa denied ever trying to invade Benbar Company or threatening

He said he already owned 50% of the company's shares.

"The company doesn't even fall under the Indigenisation Act. I got into this
company after somebody failed to pay me my money back (sic)," he said.

He said Westwood and some police officers were trying to fabricate a story
about him.

"It was a story manufactured by my own detractors. It is a major conspiracy
which I am going to expose soon and I am even in the process of writing a
letter to the President (Robert Mugabe) telling him what is going on," he

He also claimed that he had suspended Westwood from work because he had
allegedly defrauded the company of more than US$60 000.

Efforts to get a comment from Westwood were fruitless as his lawyer Victor
Zvobgo of Mhiribidi, Ngarava and Moyo Legal Practitioners refused to

"I can't comment, I will talk to my client first and get back to you,"
Police spokesperson inspector James Sabau said he was not aware of the case.

"I don't know about the case, there are many sections at Harare Central and
I can't know every case unless if it's for interest's sake."

There are fears that the recently enacted empowerment regulations were going
to benefit Zanu-PF officials only.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono who has openly clashed with
Youth Development, Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, over the Act
said he was worried with the way it was going to be implemented.

Speaking last week during a tour of his Donnington Farm by visiting ANC
Youth League president Julius Malema, Gono said people should "be on the
look out for those who would want to be greedy; those who would use
connections to get into factories. Let's guard against vices that might draw
us back. The process cannot benefit the same people who have benefited over
the years."

Kasukuwere insists that the Act was meant to empower the black majority.


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Malinga accuses police of trying to destroy his political career

Saturday, 10 April 2010 19:41

BULAWAYO - Zanu PF politburo member, Joshua Malinga on Friday accused the
police of trying to destroy his political career after he was dragged to
court for allegedly uttering inflammatory statements. Malinga appeared
before Bulawayo magistrate Sithembiso Ncube facing charges of insulting a
police officer.

The outspoken politician is accused of verbally abusing the officer
identified as Raphael Somerai who was guarding the Bulawayo High Court.

He is being charged with contravening Section 177 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 17.

It is the state's case that Malinga called Somerai a "stupid, idiot police
officer who speaks Shona in Matabeleland".

He allegedly made the remarks on February 11, 2009 after Somerai told him to
park his car properly as he was obstructing traffic.

Malinga pleaded not guilty.

In his defence, Malinga, through his lawyer, Job Sibanda of Sibanda and
Associates said he believed the allegations were part of a ploy to
"caricature" him and portray him as a tribalist.

The Zanu PF deputy secretary for disability issues said he had politely told
the officer that he did not understand the language he was using and wanted
him to speak in English.

The case was adjourned to May 7 when more witnesses would be called.


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Dams body hauls Harare Council to Court

Saturday, 10 April 2010 19:23

UPPER Manyame Sub-Catchment Council is suing the Harare City Council for
allegedly defaulting in paying close to a million dollars in levies for
water abstracted from various supply dams. In papers filed at the High Court
in January,  the Catchment Council is demanding that Harare pays US$894
885.20 for water from various dams within the catchment area it manages.

The dams include Chivero, Manyame, Seke and Harava.

The council says at the time of drafting the summons, it had invoiced Harare
for US$944 885,20, but only US$50 000 had been paid as at the date of the

Harare continues to fail to settle the debt despite demand, Upper Manyame

The council says the amount owed is broken into three invoices for a total
of 410 820 megalitres of water.

Upper Manyame also wants Harare to pay interest of 5% per annum on the
figure from the day of service of the summons filed on January 7.

It also wants Harare to meet costs of the suit on an attorney-client scale.

But in its opposing papers, Harare argues that it owns the dams in question,
and as such, Upper Manyame erroneously calculated the figure due.

It argues that Upper Manyame is using a formula that makes it seem as if
Harare is abstracting water from the said dams yet it is only storing its
water in those dams.

"The defendant is, therefore, not obliged to pay for the abstraction or
utilisation of water from its water sources," Harare argues. "Instead, the
defendant is obliged to pay levies for storage of water in these dams.."

The City Council also argues that the levying of storage of water in dams is
a mischief aimed at discouraging dam owners, particularly farmers, from
unnecessarily storing water in their dams at the expense of downstream

The measure was instituted before conclusion of negotiations on the
appropriate levy and formula for calculating the same, it argues.

Ratepayers will be prejudiced if a wrong formula is used, argues Harare
which also denies owing the amount being claimed and challenges Upper
Manyame to provide proof thereof.

The City Council denies receiving the said invoices and argues that it
received four invoices between June 4 2009 and January 15 2010, amounting to
a total of $321 852,23.

It also strongly refutes an invoice covering February to March 2009, which
totals US$47 24,84 saying the multicurrency regime was not yet in place

"The defendant cannot pay amounts that were erroneously calculated," Harare
said. "The parties were negotiating on the appropriate formula and the
amount that may be due, and the plaintiff abandoned the negotiations and
approached the court.

"The defendant will continue to pay what it considers reasonable rates .
until the parties reach an agreement.."

Harare wants the claim dismissed with costs.

The suit comes at a time when the City Council has said it is owed about
US$60 million in unpaid water bills by residents, government departments and
the Chitungwiza municipality, forcing it to resort to disconnecting


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Catholic Official Charged with Indecent Assault

Saturday, 10 April 2010 19:20

A Roman Catholic choirmaster appeared in court last week on charges of
indecent assault. Joseph Chikove who attends a Roman Catholic Church in
Waterfalls was remanded in custody to tomorrow.

It is the state's case that Chikove attempted to rape a house maid on two
different occasions in February.

The court heard that Chikove went to fix electricity at a house in
Waterfalls where the woman was employed.

The state alleges that he proposed love to the woman identified as
Evangelista Mverecha and asked her how she survived without sex. He then
allegedly started fondling her private parts.

The woman said she tried to stop Chikove but failed. She did not tell anyone
as she thought he was not going to repeat it.

On Febraury 24, Chikove went to the house again and attempted to rape her
for the second time.
The woman reported the matter to her employer.

The employer who goes to the same church with Chikove called other church
leaders and in an attempt to cover up the offence they ordered the maid not
to report the case to anyone, as they wanted to solve the issue in the

However, the woman made a report to the police a week later leading to
Chikove's arrest.


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Zisco workers wallow in abject poverty

Saturday, 10 April 2010 16:51

PAULINE Siziba sits patiently at her market stall waiting for the odd
customer to stop by.

Despite her husband being employed by the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company
(Zisco), which was once one of the biggest steel makers in the region, life
has become a nightmare for the mother of four.

Pauline wakes up every day at around 5am to prepare for her day at the
market stall where she sells second-hand clothes acquired from Harare's
Mupedzanhamo fleamarket.

Most of the items she sells range from US$1 for two to US$2. But she says it
is not uncommon for her family to go to bed hungry.
"My husband Moses Siziba, is employed by the once popular Zisco, which is
now failing to pay even a gardener a full salary," she says dismissively.

Her husband also sounded resigned to fate. He said it was now a  common
perception among workers that the steel giant would never rise again. "We
have been patient enough thinking that the government was going to intervene
on time, but as it is, the crisis has become worse.

"We used to get half of our salaries, which saw us through the month as we
managed to pay for our rentals and other bills.
"As I speak, the company is now paying people any time they feel like, but
that's not because the management does not want. . .there's just no money.
"We are now getting a wage of two weeks after working for 45 days which is
too little for us".

Many workers have deserted the company and have resorted to informal
business activity to survive.
Pauline says she has already taken the responsibility to pay family rentals
and other bills as the money that her husband brings home is no longer
adequate for their needs.

Of their four children, the eldest, Tendai, is doing form three while the
second born is in form one, and the third child is in grade six. The last
born, a toddler of three years, is always at the market with her mother.

Apart from selling clothes at the deserted Torwood shopping centre, Pauline
has yet another market stall where she sells firewood.

Her husband has since adopted a routine of going out to the bush where he
fetches firewood for sale. "This has proved to be good business as many
households in Torwood do not have electricity since Zesa disconnected the
service long back after residents failed to pay their bills".

The husband has to play cat-and-mouse games with the police and municipal
guards who often raid them for "poaching" firewood.

But who does not need money? The police always accept bribes and the
business goes on.
Residents say they are forced to pay a US$5 bribe for a single pushcart load
of firewood.

Pauline leaves her market stall  at around 5pm to return home to start
preparing the family's evening meal.

She and other residents in the  neighbourhood have to travel a distance of 2
km to the nearest source of water since their taps stopped running months

Another troubling issue is that whenever Pauline's husband gets paid, he has
to travel to Kwekwe, 10 km away, in order for him to access the money. There
are no banks in Torwood and Rutendo with the exception of a CBZ banking hall
in Redcliff.

Siziba like many others who do not hold accounts with CBZ, has no choice but
to travel to Kwekwe parting with US$1 for a one way trip.

Due to the low business activity, backyard "supermarkets" have mushroomed in
Redcliff as there are no big retail shops such as TM, OK or Spar. Residents
have to buy their groceries from these "supermarkets" that tend to double
their prices as they take advantage of the situation.

Parents say a number of children have since dropped out of school in
Rutendo, Redcliff and Torwood as a direct result of Zisco's dwindling

Asked if there was any hope, Redcliff town clerk, Alfred Hunda, said that
they were trying hard as a council to lure investors.

"Taking into consideration that we have Zisco, Steelmakers, Zimchem and many
other small companies, we are looking forward to investors coming to set up
businesses in our town, but as you can see, there is nothing as of now", he

Hopes that Zisco will be revived soon are fading with reports that
negotiations with Indian and Chinese steel firms have not borne any fruit.

Zisco has been struggling for almost a decade as continued break downs have
led to the closure of almost all the furnaces.

The recently introduced economic empowerment regulations have made investors
who would have snapped the potentially profitable company skeptical.

The legislation requires all foreign owned companies to relinquish 51% of
their shareholding to locals.
To Moses and others who used to earn a decent living from the giant steel
manufacturing company, its revival is a dream that will never come true.


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‘10 soldiers took turns to rape me’

Saturday, 10 April 2010 16:43

SEVEN years ago 36-year-old Mary Pamire was allegedly raped by 10 soldiers
on the outskirts of Chitungwiza town.

Recounting her ordeal at a recent public meeting, Pamire said she had just
come back from a National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) mass action in
Chitungwiza when a car screeched to a halt outside her Mbare home.

Before she knew what was happening four soldiers had entered her home and
ordered her to follow them.
“My house is by the roadside so when I heard the car approaching I didn’t
think much about it. I thought it was my neighbour who had returned from
work,” Pamire said.

“Although I fought back, the soldiers overpowered me and dragged me out of
the house and pushed me into their car. Everything happened so fast that
even when I screamed no one heard me,” she said.

Outside Chitungwiza, Pamire says she was forced to lie down blindfolded as
the soldiers took turns to rape her.

She passed out during the ordeal but not before hearing the soldiers
threatening to stuff hot chillies into her private parts.

As her small frame shook and trembled in fits of despair and anger, Pamire
touched the hearts of many who listened to her testimony at a function held
at a city hotel.

After the rape Pamire said she was dumped by the roadside and left for dead.

“I woke up at the side of the road and when I saw a car approaching I
crawled towards the road and flagged it down,” she continued with tears
streaming down her cheeks.

“I spent weeks recovering at Avenues Clinic…each time I wanted to go to the
toilet I had to be assisted…I was badly injured. Up to now my womanhood is
not the same.”

Hers is just but one of numerous tales of women activists captured in a
report recently launched by the NCA and the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU)
exposing how women activists fighting for democracy in Zimbabwe have
suffered over the years.

The report titled: “Fighting for a new constitution: human rights violations
experienced by female members of the National Constitutional Assembly”
features the experiences of 231 women from various parts of the country.

Among the report’s key findings is that rape and sexual abuse were the most
common forms of violations against female political and civil rights
activists in post independence Zimbabwe.

It also notes that most of the violations occurred during times of elections
or decisive events such as referendums while perpetrators were usually
people with “strong links with the state, without necessarily being part of
the state”.

But for the delegates who attended the launch, the biggest worry was the
fact that the affected women never got any counselling to help them cope
with the trauma.

Pamire did not hide the fact that she was bitter that the NCA and MDC were
not helping her despite the fact that she had sacrificed her life for their

The only assistance she got was from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s late
wife, Susan, she said.
“Watching Pamire break down like this while telling her story is a sign that
she has not received the necessary support and counselling services,” said
Petronella Nyamapfene, the director of the Justice for Children Trust.

“It is important for civil rights organisations to work with other
organisations to counsel these women and help them move on after the abuse.”

HIV and Aids activist and director of Women and Support Network (WASN) Mary
Sandasi concurred saying it was important to help the survivors.

Kuda Chitsike, a researcher with RAU, said she was pleased the report had
brought out pertinent issues of victim support and the extent of the
violations in the country.


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Obituary: Bishop Abel T Muzorewa (1925-2010)

Saturday, 10 April 2010 16:34

ABEL Tendekayi Muzorewa, a former Methodist bishop and nationalist leader,
was prime minister of the short-lived coalition government in what was
called Zimbabwe-Rhodesia; he held office for only a few months in 1979.

In 1971 the British struck a deal with Ian Smith that provided for a
transition to majority rule in exchange for an end to sanctions against the
government. Muzorewa joined with an inexperienced cleric, Reverend Canaan
Banana, to form the United African National Council (UANC) to oppose the
settlement under the acronym NIBMAR: "No Independence Before Majority Rule."

The proposed referendum was withdrawn; Muzorewa found himself a national
leader and an international personality. The liberation movements - the
Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and
the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (Zapu) of Joshua Nkomo - both placed
themselves under the UANC umbrella even though they had some doubts when
Muzorewa founded a national party.

After Zanu, taken over by  Robert Mugabe after disagreements with Sithole,
and ZAPU undertook guerrilla warfare, the UANC was the only legal black
party in Smith's Rhodesia since it rejected violence.

On the March 3 1978, Muzorewa, Ndabaningi Sithole and other moderate leaders
signed an agreement at Governors Lodge, Salisbury, which paved the way for
the interim government, the leadership of which was an Executive Council
made up of Muzorewa, Sithole and Chief Jeremiah Chirau, along with Ian

This Executive Council would run the affairs of state prior to elections
taking place. A new constitution was drafted and in a Whites-only referendum
which took place in January 1979 there were seats reserved for the white
minority, as were a quarter of the cabinet positions. An overwhelming
majority of 85% voted Yes.

Elections were held, and the UANC won. Josiah Zion Gumede was the first
president, Muzorewa became prime minister and the country's name was changed
to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. But both Mugabe and Nkomo denounced the arrangement,
the war continued, and no international recognition was forthcoming from the
US and Britain because the external Marxist leaders had not been included in
the elections.

The civil war that Ian Smith hoped to stem when he worked out the "internal
settlement" continued unabated.

The British government then asked all parties to come to London for
face-to-face meetings, including Nkomo and Mugabe, and thrash out a final
settlement to the Rhodesian question at the Lancaster House Agreement. For
the conference, Nkomo joined with Mugabe as the Patriotic Front (PF). The
conference was held from September 10 1979 until December 15 1979 under the
chairmanship of Lord Carrington, Secretary of State for Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs. Muzorewa was persuaded to accept fresh elections, to
be held in early 1980.

The new elections took place at the end of February 1980, after a campaign
filled with much intimidation on both sides. These new elections resulted in
a resounding majority by Robert Mugabe and Zanu now renamed Zanu PF, with
the UANC only having three out of 80 seats reserved for blacks in the House
of Assembly. Muzorewa stood against Mugabe in the presidential election of
1995, but was resoundingly defeated.

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NAC takes HIV fight to the workplace

Saturday, 10 April 2010 16:30

THE National Aids Council (NAC) has taken the fight against the Aids
pandemic to the workplace amid concerns that men are not playing their part
in prevention initiatives.

NAC said its latest Aids prevention campaign would also target the informal
sector which has absorbed the majority of Zimbabwe's working population.

Adonija Muzondiona, the NAC Harare province Aids coordinator said targeting
people at the workplace was critical because three quarters of breadwinners
could easily be reached there.

"The informal sector needs particular attention in the programmes of
prevention of HIV and Aids as it has grown overwhelmingly in the past few
years," he said.

He said last year, NAC reached 5 636 workers out of a target of 15 000 and
the programme would be expanded this year.

NAC has 10 provincial offices with Harare metropolitan province being the
biggest as it caters for areas such as Epworth, Chitungwiza and Ruwa as well
as surrounding farms.

Although, the council's main theme this year is prevention, it will also be
looking at programmes such as support, advocacy, care and mitigation.

The main focus under prevention is the Prevention of Mother to Child
Transmission (PMTCT), Voluntary and Counselling Testing (VCT), condom
distribution and youth programmes.

Zakaria Mwatia, a nurse at a Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF) health centre in
Epworth said most men only come to the clinic when they are too sick to go
to work.

Mwatia said 70% of the patients were women with men only coming up when they
are already exhibiting advanced symptoms of Aids.

NAC has also encouraged employers to recruit peer educators at work places
to educate fellow workers on issues to do with HIV/Aids.

An estimated 1,7 million people are living with HIV in Zimbabwe.


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I will not be silenced, vows artist

Saturday, 10 April 2010 16:05

BULAWAYO - "Like a true warrior, I will die with my sword. I will use it to
deal with any dangers and die with it when I go down. I will not be cowed
into submission."

Faced with the real prospect of spending time in jail for allegedly
insulting President Robert Mugabe through his Gukurahundi paintings, Owen
Maseko, a leading Bulawayo visual artist says he is not going to be

Maseko (35) is out on bail after he was arrested on March 26, a day after
his exhibition on the 1980s massacres by the North Korea trained 5 Brigade
opened at the Bulawayo Art Gallery.

His trial on charges of "displaying certain pieces of art that were
allegedly insulting to Mugabe or causing offence to persons of a particular
race or religion" opens tomorrow at the magistrates' courts.

If he is convicted under the draconian Sections 33 and 42 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, he faces a maximum of one year in jail or
a hefty fine.

But the prominent artist who spent four nights in police cells says failure
to confront one of the darkest periods in the country's history where more
than 20 000 civilians were massacred is preventing the country from healing

"That exhibition was an expression of what happened to the people in
Matabeleland, of course through the eyes of an artist," Maseko said in an
interview last week.

"There is no way people shall forget Gukurahundi. There is no amount of
force that will erase that era in the history of this country.

"And my arrest on these charges by the police will not erase Gukurahundi
from the memories of the people.
"I did not create Gukurahundi. I did not, through those pieces, insult
President Robert Mugabe in any way. That was an interpretation of those that
came to arrest me."

Mugabe has refused to apologise for the atrocities insisting that the army
was deployed to deal with insurgents who were threatening national security
but has described the massacres as "an act of madness".

However, human rights activists and politicians from the region say besides
being a ploy to destroy the support base of PF Zapu under the late
Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, Gukurahundi was an attempt at ethnic cleansing.

Women were raped for allegedly giving birth to "dissidents" and several
hundreds were also thrown into disused mines for supporting PF Zapu.

Maseko says his family was also a victim of the terror and this becomes
evident when he talks about the period, which he has tried to reconstruct
through his exhibition Sibathontisele (Let's Drip On Them).

"I witnessed Gukurahundi as a young boy because by then, I was able to make
head or tail of the events. I and my family members suffered emotional
distress during that period,' he says.

"My father is a victim of Gukurahundi as he was tortured during that era.
"My mother and my sisters also suffered the same stress. Given that
background, I will not stop talking about this issue because it is an issue
that is haunting a lot of people who suffer in silence," he said.

Although, his arrest by armed police officers initially shook him, he says
he has emerged stronger from the ordeal.

"I had never been arrested before. I was shaken for a moment but later
realised that this was real and I would have to be a guest of this place
(cells) for a few days.

"I was forced into a cell with seven other people. The next morning, I
realised we were now 17 in a cell meant for 10 people.

"I slept on the floor and it was very cold. That cell was to become my home
for the next three days."
"It was indeed an eye-opening experience as we managed through discussions
with my cellmates to build a small family while being guests of the state.

"I could not really sleep that night as I thought about a lot of things and
my family," he boldly declared.
Born on August 25 1975 in Bulawayo, Maseko was at the Mzilikazi Art and
Craft Centre between 1994 and 1996 where he produced art pieces using water
colours, acrylics and oils.

His paintings and sculptures have found a market in South Africa, Namibia,
the US, England and Wales. He has also produced various exhibitions
capturing the political and economic crisis in the country.


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David Whitehead Textiles fails to pay workers

Saturday, 10 April 2010 15:09

WORKERS at David Whitehead Textiles (DWT) have gone for 10 months without
pay as problems at the textile firm escalate. A new investor, Elgate
Holdings assumed a controlling stake at the textile firm in 2008 promising
to inject capital in the struggling firm.

But workers said over the past months, management had failed to live up to
its promises.

"This new investor is failing even to communicate with the workers beyond
stating that the company is facing problems like any other company," said an
employee at DWT.

"I doubt whether there is any other company which has not paid its workers
for 10 months."

Workers said on some occasions they were given US$10 by the textile firm for
their upkeep, an amount that is insufficient even for  basic household

DWT had not responded to questions sent to their office by the time of going
to press.

However, information gathered by Standardbusiness shows that the problems at
the Chegutu-based firm are two-fold: under capitalisation and poor corporate

In terms of the agreement for the takeover of the company, Elgate - led by
Andrew Toendepi - was supposed to inject US$5,4 million to recapitalise the
textile firm.

The Master of High Court was supposed to appoint an independent evaluator to
investigate whether the new investors had injected the amount as per the
High Court order.

Impeccable sources said last week that the new investor was making decisions
without getting input from key stakeholders such as workers.

"If you do that, you face problems. When (Cecil) Madondo came in, the
company had salary arrears for three months but he managed to settle the
matter," one employee said.

Madondo is the former judicial manager of DWT who was appointed in 2006
after labour unrest at the textile firm.

Upon his appointment, Madondo prepared a report which highlighted the
serious financial constraints at the company and the need to raise
additional capital through a share issue.

The issuance of additional shares saw a new investor, Elgate taking a 51%
stake valued at US$5,4 million and in the process diluted the shareholding
of Guscole Investment from 88,06% to a minority stake.
The investment was supposed to be done within 90 days of the conclusion of
the deal.

By the time the company was removed from judicial management in 2008, Elgate
had failed to inject the US$5.4 million as per agreement.

This was more than three months after the agreement of sale.

In an interview last week, Madondo blamed the new investor for the state of
affairs at the textile firm.
"When I was appointed judicial manager, the main task was to deal with
labour unrests where the company had not paid salaries for three months.
When I came in, I paid workers their salaries," Madondo said on Friday.

This was also corroborated by workers who told Standarbusiness that under
Madondo, DWT introduced long service awards where the textile firm rewarded
employees for their loyalty to the company.

Asked whether the new investors had injected the US$5.4 million as per
agreement, Madondo said: I cannot confirm that he invested the US$5.4
million as required in terms of the agreement and the High Court Order.

"There was supposed to be an independent person appointed to check whether
the money was invested and I don't know whether that was done."


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Zim forced to revise World Cup hopes

Saturday, 10 April 2010 15:05

WHEN South Africa won the bid to host this year's Fifa World Cup tournament
in May 2004 it was widely celebrated on the African continent. For regional
neighbours such as Zimbabwe, the soccer showpiece was seen as a boon for the
tourism industry. Tour operators rubbed their hands gleefully as they
savoured limitless opportunities to maximise on tourism arrivals.

Grand plans were laid out against exaggerated estimates of an expected

But two months before the start of the showpiece, the euphoria seems to have
died down on the local scene as reality starts sinking in that the
spill-over from SA could be minimal.

While at first Zimbabwe had hoped to attract five of the participating teams
to be based here, a revision of the list has been necessitated by hard facts
obtaining on the ground.

Even in South Africa, forecasts of expected arrivals are being revised
downwards as the world is still to find its feet after the global financial

Was the hype premised on false notions?

Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi confessed on
Thursday Zimbabwe  did not do its homework properly.

"It was a false euphoria. I recall two to three years ago, Zimbabwe was
talking of building stadiums in Beitbridge, Harare, Masvingo, Victoria Falls
. . . top leadership of this country were going out to inspect sites for the
new stadiums," he said.

"They were hoping to build stadiums and if the understanding was that there
were going to be matches played in this country, it means that those were
false premises or probably we were  misled."

Mzembi said Zimbabwe was working on hosting at least two teams to practice
in Zimbabwe two weeks before the finals kick off in South Africa.

He said Democratic People's Republic Korea was already in the bag and
Zimbabwe is working on attracting African countries.

But hosting teams, other than improving on branding does not impact on the
bottom line.

Mzembi says salvation lies on attracting tourists who can spend more other
than a team which can camp in Zimbabwe for just two days.

Hosting 100 000 tourists for 45 days is more economically beneficial than
hosting a team for two days, he said.
"Camping a team yes but to me it's just a passing visit. It will leave some
brand collateral at your destination but that is not sustainable," Mzembi

Information obtained last week shows that a country has to pay to host a
team and with the shoe-string budget in place, it would have been "immoral"
to splurge scarce resources.

Players in the tourism industry now see the World Cup benefits as a bonus
rather than put them on their forecasts.

Rainbow Tourism Group CEO, Chipo Mtasa told an analysts' briefing last week
the group had discounted the spill over from the World Cup.

"To be realistic, the opportunity might be there but we are not considering
it in our forecast," she said.
For locals who cannot attend matches, Mzembi said government had secured
sponsorship for fan parks to be dotted around the country.

A budget of US$25 million had been set aside for World Cup preparations and
Mzembi said the Ministry of Finance had met most of the obligation and it
was up to the line ministries to deliver.

According to Fifa's rotational system, the next World Cup would next be held
on African soils in 2034.


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Editor's Desk: Explain our fascination with rogue elements

Saturday, 10 April 2010 17:25

TWO bad things happened to our country over the Easter holidays. First, we
sadly lost 44 people on our roads. Second, that infant terrible of South
African politics, Julius Malema visited. The first could have been
ameliorated if our roads were in a decent condition and our drivers were
more careful to minimise human error. The second was a result of a wanton
error of judgement by those who invited Malema. The visit which some
sections of the media even went on to describe as a "state visit" although
the young man is not a head of state, left our battered international image
further bruised.

Not only did Malema's militancy seem to rub off on some important people in
our government but it also reinforced our nation's rogue status.

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere who
hosted the young politician, is in the middle of a war here at home over the
recently promulgated Indigenisation regulations which have proved
universally unpopular and may have done more damage to our economy in the
last three months than any quasi-fiscal activities undertaken by Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono in the seven years he has been at that post.

Kasukuwere himself has assumed a militancy that should worry even the
staunchest supporters of the indigenisation regulations which have seen
massive investor flight. Recently he walked out of a seminar discussing how
the regulations could be moderated citing racism.

Malema who is a self-confessed racist himself and who is fond of singing
songs such as Shoot the Boer that call for the extermination of Afrikaner
farmers  only helped to reinforce Kasukuwere's new-found militancy.

But what brought the folly of inviting Malema to Zimbabwe poignantly into
focus were events back in his native South Africa. These were the murder of
incorrigible white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche and the racial tensions
that followed.

The events show how fragile race relations are in a country and how one
careless undertaking by an otherwise illiterate person can damage a country.
South Africa's Rainbow nation status has been shredded. Zimbabwe has already
gone that same way. Described at the dawn of Independence as the "Jewel of
Africa" by no-less-a-person than the late revolutionary luminary Julius
Nyerere, now it lies, its image mere shards, on the international floor.

People are already beginning to question some people's fascination with
international pariahs. Before the Malema fiasco is over the nation has
already been assured that another character, who will not help enhance our
country's image but further damage it, is coming to officially open what was
once our premier trade showcase, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair

The main purpose of the ZITF is to market Zimbabwe as a modern country where
all who wish, to can come and do business. In the past 10 years the
luminance of the trade show has dimmed; and as the new dispensation in
government fights to redeem the country's status, it helps little to make a
person, who an important section of the international considers a rogue, the
face of ZITF.

Our "Look-East" policy has not met much success although our leadership
would like to make claims to the contrary. But the falsehood of its success
is betrayed by the now loud calls for the lifting of sanctions imposed upon
a section of our leadership. When the sanctions were first imposed the then
governing Zanu PF said they would look to their friends in the East and let
their enemies in the West keep their "filthy lucre".

But now it turns out, the preachers of this doctrine want a share of the
West's dirty money.

But the reasons that make Iran a pariah are not dissimilar from those that
make Zimbabwe have the same shameful status. Presidents don't have to win
elections in Iran; they force themselves to continue ruling even against the
will of the people. The last election held in Iran was heavily disputed and
demonstrations against the result were violently put down. All this is very
familiar to Zimbabweans.

Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - like our own President Robert Mugabe -
is vitriolic in his criticism of the West which he calls racist. His
speeches - like those of our own leader - have been described as "hateful".

Although Ahmadinejad points to Western racism, his own denial of the
Holocaust is nothing but racist. He has told his supporters that the
Holocaust was not a "real event" and called it a pretext for the creation of
Israel. According to him the Jewish state was founded on "a lie and a
mythical claim".

Like in the Malema case where he wants to "Shoot the Boer" Ahmadinejad wants
the state of Israel to be "wiped off the face of the earth". We have seen
how explosive the race card is wherever it is used.

And Oh my God, for sometime, we will be host to the North Korean national
football team which has chosen our country as its acclimatising base for the
Fifa 2010 World Cup in South Africa in June and July. Many Zimbabweans will
rightly find this development quite offensive considering the "act of
madness" perpetrated in some parts of the country by the North
Korean-trained Five Brigade in the 1980s. Indeed some victims of the
massacres which reportedly left 20 000 civilians dead are lining up protests
against the hosting of this team.

Like Iran, North Korea is a pariah nation which is accused of dabbling in
the creation of atomic bombs. What message are our leaders sending to the
rest of the world?


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Comment: Councillors’ arrest betrays intrigue

Saturday, 10 April 2010 17:25

THE arrest of City of Harare councillors last week betrays a law enforcement
system that has gone topsy-turvy. The arrest follows the alleged leaking of
a damning document chronicling irregular acquisition of city land by certain
powerful individuals who include businessman Phillip Chiyangwa and Local
Government minister Ignatious Chombo.

It follows hard on the heels of the visit to The Standard offices by the
police a week earlier over the same issue. This paper broke the story of the
illegal and irregular acquisitions of the land two weeks ago. The police
visited upon The Standard newsroom and questioned editors and reporters on
the matter. They also interrogated a reporter from another Sunday newspaper.

A special committee investigating the irregular sale of the land had
recommended that Chiyangwa be arrested for irregularly acquiring land in the
capital. Council had appointed a special investigating committee chaired by
Ward 17 councillor Warship Dumba to probe the illegal and irregular sale of
land by previous administrations.

In the report the investigations committee observed that there was no
council approval for all land acquired by Chiyangwa. The report notes
several cases where council procedures were flouted.

Chiyangwa’s Kilima Investments allegedly entered land swap deals with the
council in December 2007. The committee noted that the land was exchanged
for salaries and two Land Rover vehicles.

In its recommendations the committee said the land exchange deal involving
Kilima Investments and HCC should be reversed and the land repossessed.
Dumba’s committee said Chiyangwa and some council employees, in particular
finance director Cosmas Zvikaramba and director of urban planning services
Psychology Chiwanga, must be arrested for carrying out illegal transfers.

But in an intriguing twist, the police instead of investigating the
individuals mentioned in the probe, or even questioning them, have arrested
the councillors who constituted the investigations committee. It was
reported last week that eight councillors were arrested on the instructions
of Chiyangwa.

Apparently Chiyangwa had reportedly countered the report by accusing the
councillors of criminal defamation.

What has raised eyebrows is why the police have not instituted an
investigation into Chiyangwa to ascertain whether the information in the
report is true of false. The evidence in the report looks staggeringly
incriminating and it would not have taken the police more than a few days to
verify it. The pieces of land involved are well documented.

The police have always commended the public for its assistance in
investigating criminal matters. Indeed without the help of the public many
serious criminal offences would have gone unprosecuted. But in the past,
where members of the public have whistle-blown on criminal activities taking
place in their areas, the police have not arrested these responsible
citizens but have seriously followed through the leads.

The probe by the councillors, who represent the city’s ratepayers, is a
legitimate way of safeguarding property that collectively belongs to the
residents of Harare. The police ought to respect what the councillors have
to say about graft in the running of the council, especially by previous
councils which mostly did not represent the interests of the people. Most
councillors in previous councils had been cherry-picked to serve certain
selfish interests.

The police have not only got to do the right thing but also have to be seen
to be doing the right thing. In this case the right thing to do would have
been to follow the recommendations of the city probe team and investigate
those its report says should be arrested. Or, at the very least, the police
should have been seen instituting their own investigation to prove right or
wrong the contents of the report. To turn upon the journalists who reported
on the issue and the councillors responsible for the report reeks of a
massive cover-up.

What is important about the report is not that it was leaked, as the arrest
of the councillors and harassment of journalists seems to suggest, but that
it named individuals who allegedly committed criminal acts. The police
should be seen to be acting accordingly.

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Sunday View: First lay foundation for free, fair poll

Saturday, 10 April 2010 17:18

BOTH the MDCs and Zanu PF have declared their interest in holding another
plebiscite in 2011. To the politicians and the political parties, this is a
gallant show of political bravado designed to show their readiness to lead
and mislead the people of Zimbabwe.

An election is viewed as a sign of progress, hope and continuity where
voters review and renew candidates' credentials. The recent announcement for
new elections in 2011 was greeted with scepticism and fear. It sent a chill
down the spines of many because, as Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese
rightly said, in Zimbabwe an election is a matter of life and death.

It's surprising that our politicians are showing enthusiasm for a new
election yet they have done nothing to lay the foundation for a free and
fair election. Government should walk the talk on elections and stop
behaving like puppies always whining for nothing.

How can we talk of a new election in 2011 when the organ on national healing
and reconciliation lies dormant on the paper which constituted it?

Can we really achieve national healing when the process itself is driven by
politicians who are themselves interested stakeholders whose integrity is
compromised? How do we achieve national healing by conducting seminars at
Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) close to daily conveniences
and far from the affected people?

It's like inviting Sadc observers to our elections who come to loiter in
hotel lobbies while people are being murdered in the countryside then fly
back to their respective countries and declare "The elections were free and

Has the Human Rights Commission done anything on human rights abuses
perpetrated during past elections by state agents and the Zanu PF militia?
Have the police been reformed to serve the defenceless citizens and not
their political masters? What about the army and intelligence service; are
they working for the security of the nation and not individuals?

The pace at which the constitution-making process is proceeding does not
inspire confidence. Many are wondering whether a new constitution will be in
place in time for the proposed 2011 election. I do not think Zimbabweans are
ready for another election when there is no constitution at all because the
Lancaster House one has proved to be grossly flawed.

Our memories are still fresh on ZEC's conduct in the 2008 election. Word is
already filtering that the next election will be harmonised again. Will the
new electoral body be able to deliver professionally  on its constitutional
mandate without interference for the benefit of Zimbabweans or are we going
to end up with another electoral fiasco that will push Zimbabwe further into
electoral chaos?

Having grown up in the rural areas, I still remember those days of being
force marched to Zanu PF militia bases where we would spend the whole night
singing Zanu PF and Chimurenga songs as well as patrolling the neighbourhood
looking for MDC "sellouts".

In 2002 I was lucky that my uncle, in the army back then, was the base
commander so I could sleep at home once in a while. Most  people in the
rural areas spend at least five days a week attending rallies during
election time. They are not given time to tend their vegetable gardens yet
that's where they derive their livelihood .. What measures have been put in
place to curb such harassment against the populace before the next election?

Traditional leaders; chiefs and headmen also threaten people with expulsion
from their respective areas of jurisdiction if they are suspected of
harbouring anti-Zanu PF sentiments. Together with parliamentarians, these
traditional leaders behave like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who blow up their
own brothers and sisters yet claim to have their interests at heart. That is
not the kind of environment that is fit for an election.

In essence, post colonial Zimbabwe has never been ready for any election
whatsoever and against such a background; government should play its role if
Zimbabwe is ever to lose its pariah tag. Again that tag can not be weaned
off by holding an election next year when the wounds of previous elections
are yet to be diagnosed and properly treated.
Instruments of terror and torture such as militia bases in the rural areas
ought to be dismantled. Politicians should just campaign in the media and
hold their rallies as other civilised societies do. We do not need militia
in our villages.

Joachim Garikai
Midlands State University

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Sunday Opinion: Kicking out paternalism

Saturday, 10 April 2010 16:49

I have never been too fond of radical feminism or any form of extremism for
that matter; finding it to be an aggressive, usually narrow and unhelpful
approach to conflict resolution. Radicalism is often reactionary,
manifesting as a reaction to some undesired reality and is usually the
preserve of those who feel they have something to defend at all costs and
something to fight for against whatever odds.

As an activist, I have found that radicalism has its place, its use and its
benefits in pursuing the elusive goal of attaining social justice for

Some months back, I read with glee, that Emilia Muchawa and a group of women
had broken into song and dance protesting against the negligible female
representation in the constitution-making process's committees and even had
the gumption to threaten to derail the process altogether.

Now I reckon there are those who found such conduct distasteful, extreme and
even uncalled for - but every once in a while, it is necessary for
discontent to erupt into something more than passive resistance.

I do not know whether these women intended to make such a vocal display of
their displeasure but I would like to think it was neither premeditated nor
meant as a gesture of disrespect for the process - I'd like to think it was
a spontaneous and extreme reaction to long-suppressed frustrations that
women have felt at having to be side-lined time and again in critical
decision-making processes.

And I daresay, no one can argue that women's grievances are not legitimate
and their frustration a natural consequence of ineffectual words never put
to practice as our country has a great gender policy on paper and absolutely
nothing to back it up on the ground.

The transition from theoretical gender policy frameworks to the
implementation and practice of the same has yet to manifest; and while one
can appreciate that it is not easy to reverse the thinking of years and that
gender equity will be a process - one expects to see a degree of commitment
towards living up to the words enshrined in the treaties, legislative
instruments and laws which Zimbabwe has signed, ratified and enacted.

From the CEDAW to the Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development, and other
treaties focusing on the need for gender parity, Zimbabwe has made a
commitment on paper that is yet to manifest in actuality; so with the
imminent crafting of a new Constitution, women have every right to insist -
no - to demand equal representation.

Article VI of the Global Political Agreement having stated without
equivocation that the parties are: "Mindful of the need to ensure that the
new Constitution deepens our democratic values and principles and the
protection of the equality of all citizens, particularly the enhancement of
full citizenship and equality of women," it is only natural that a deviation
from these noble goals be met with resistance, and if need be, outright

However, cognisance must be taken of the fact that men- folk have deeply
internalised cultural values and have often related to women on a
paternalistic level - an unfortunate consequence of being born and raised in
a patriarchal society.

Having said this, I found the gesture made by Muchawa and the other women
present at that gathering to be a definitive act of kicking paternalism to
the curb.

Emphatically, Zimbabwean women are making a statement they have no use for
paternalistic gestures; men do not ever need to make decisions (regardless
of how well-meaning the intention) on behalf of women.

We can and we will speak for ourselves.
In this context, my view is that paternalism is premised on two
considerations; the first being that men adopt a benevolent and "fatherly"
attitude towards women and by assuming this attitude they (men) then make
decisions ostensibly meant to benefit women without the inclusion, consent
or will of the women themselves.

So perhaps, it was with good intent that these men gathered, figuring that
they would "know what was best for women" and go ahead with the business of
crafting the constitution without the permission, participation or
involvement of women.

Inexorably, the women's movement in this country has over the years
consistently challenged and resisted patriarchal and paternalistic
attitudes - suffice to say, the constitution-making process presents the
most volatile battlefront yet. -

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Life in Zimbabwe remains grim, say Christian students

By Ecumenical News International
11 Apr 2010

Poverty is so bad in Zimbabwe that students sometimes resort to prostitution
to survive, says a new report by women in the country's Student Christian

A power-sharing government formed in 2009 from Zimbabwe's two main political
rival parties and a small splinter group, brought scant relief for young
people who battle to survive economically, Christian students have
documented in a booklet.

President Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, but his ruling
Zanu-PF party lost parliamentary elections in 2008 to Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change.

Mugabe also lost the first round of a presidential poll, but later
convincingly won a second round presidential election after Tsvangirai
refused to take part due to intimidation of his supporters.

Under Mugabe, what was once a strong African economy has descended into an
economic crisis, where many are starving and millions are fleeing to South
Africa and other countries after there was sky-rocketing inflation that hit
231 million percent at one point.

Many say they are yet to enjoy the fruits of the government of national
unity brokered by South Africa and other African nations.

"The only thing I can say is that there is food on the shelves and we can
have our workshops as the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe without
being intimidated," says Matsiliso Moyo, who recently graduated from teacher
training college.

"But to those students who are still at college, things are not so rosy.
They are expected to pay tuition fees which are six times their parents'
salaries," continues Moyo.

His testimony is part of a collection published recently by the SCMZ.

The book, entitled Students' Experiences in Times of Governance Crisis,
contains descriptions of arrests by state security agents and stories of
students struggling through their studies on a meagre budget.

Melissa Green describes how she and her peers turned to sex-for-money with
older men in order to supplement their money.

"It's quite a painful experience to see beautiful girls selling their bodies
as a means of survival," Green laments in her contribution. "That's the only
way we can survive because most of us come from disadvantaged backgrounds. I
used to do it myself but thank God for SCMZ and my Christian background, I
can't do that anymore."

Another student describes how she was detained together with her
five-month-old son after attending a workshop organised by the SCMZ, while
another tells of her escape from her home after a raid by militant members
of Mugabe's party.

ENI cannot use its Zimbabwe correspondent's name due to restrictions that
remain against the media.

[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly
sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation,
the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European

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Mnangagwa chief coup plotter failed to escape because of drunkenness

By: Gerald Chateta
Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2010

Harare  - The said 'Mnangagwa' detained attempted chief coup plotter,
Captain Albert Matapo, after being tortured by state security agents on
Friday told the police and prison officials that he failed to escape from
prison because he was drunk.

Sources from the police's law and order section and the prison service said
Matapo told them that if he was not drunk, he could have escaped from prison
last weekend after he successfully broke his cell burglar bars.

"He testified that he drank three 750ml of Mainstay spirits undiluted. He
said after taking the alcohol he failed to find the way out of the cell
after successfully breaking one of the burglar bars. The officer involved
also admitted that he smuggled the alcohol," said the sources.

Matapo was arrested in 2007 together with six other suspects namely Nyasha
Zivuku, Oncemore Mazivahona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure, Shingirai
Mutemachani, and Rangarirai Maziofa, on allegations of plotting to replace
President Mugabe with a senior ZANU-PF official Emerson Mnangagwa

A ZPS source said the attempted escapees are being tortured by the police to
establish their relationship with Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa.

"The police and CIO operatives on Thursday chased us from the underground
Harare central cells where they are torturing the inmates. They said our
presents were 'disturbing' them from torturing the
inmates," said the source.

During the period between March 29 and April 3, Prison Officer, Donald
Tapera Gwekwerere bought a hacksaw, seven hacksaw blades, five glass
cutters, a pair of pliers, a claw hammer and a 10-metre long rope from Mbare
Musika.He was on Tuesday sentenced to an effective 5 years imprisonment for
the commission of the offence.

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