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Zuma/Obama Meeting Silent On Zimbabwe Sanctions

12/04/2010 17:40:00

Johannesburg, April 12, 2010 - South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday
met US leader Barack Obama to discuss among other issues the political
problems in Zimbabwe but there was no mention of Zuma's customary call for
the removal of targetted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his
inner circle.

"The two leaders met and agreed that it is up to Zimbabweans to solve the
political crisis in that country," SABC's SAFM reported on Zuma's meeting
with Obama on the sidelines of a nuclear summit he is attending in the US.

Zuma, the SADC appointed mediator, has in the past few weeks been calling on
western countries to remove sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner cabal
as one way to help the implementation of neccessary reforms under Zimbabwe's
coalition government. He first made the call on his visit last month to the
United Kingdom and repeated the call early this month during a visit to

He however did not repeat at one of the most opportune moment presented by
his bi-lateral talks with Obama. This silence coupled with events of the
past two week, in which Julius Malema - President of Zuma's ANC youth wing -
openly declared his support for Zanu PF, could be viewed as a tactical move
aimed at diffusion mounting tension over alleged favoratism in his mediation
role in Zimbabwe.

The MDC, the majority party in Zimbabwe's one-year-old coalition government,
has been up in arms with Zuma's ANC over Malema's comments, which it says
will affect his mediating capacity.

The Morgan Tsvangirai led party, which also accused the previous mediator
and ex-South African president Thabo Mbeki of favouring Mugabe's Zanu PF, is
of the opnion that a call for the removal of sanctions will only serve to
help Zanu PF, discouraging it from implementing the required political
reforms. The party has in the past said it would prefer a situation where
sanctions are lifted gradually depending on progress that the coalition
government makes.

Meanwhile, a multi-party ministerial team is expected to travel to Europe
soon to start the process of formal re-engagement with the  European Union
(EU), which stands out as one of the highest contributors to Zimbabwe's
humanitarian needs despite imposing sanctions  on Zanu PF officials.

Zimbabwe needs about US $ 10 billion to get the country's economy, once the
most promising in Africa, back on track. But western donors standing by to
help with neccessary financial requirements are demanding the implementation
of agreed democratic benchmarks before they can chip in.

The EU together with US further imposed financial and travel sanctions on
Zimbabwean officials and a selected companies early this year.

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Zimbabwe withdraws maize charges against Bennett

Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:24pm GMT

HARARE, April 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe prosecutors said on Monday they were
withdrawing charges of illegally keeping grain against Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai ally Roy Bennett, a former white farmer who is already on trial
for terrorism.

Bennett, treasurer-general in Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), will know on May 10 whether a High Court will drop the terrorism,
banditry and sabotage charges that carry a possible death penalty.

The MDC said the grain charges were further proof that the former legislator
was being politically persecuted by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, which is opposed
to him being sworn-in as deputy agriculture minister in the unity

In his most recent court appearance last month, police detectives served
Bennett with a summons to appear in court in eastern Zimbabwe on new charges
of unlawfully possessing 92 tonnes of maize at his farm in 2001 before it
was seized by President Robert Mugabe's government.

"We are withdrawing those (grain) charges against Roy Bennett," Chris
Mutangadura, a state prosecutor told Reuters. He declined to give a reason.

The state's terrorism case -- that Bennett planned to fund a 2006 plot to
blow up a major communications link and assassinate key government
officials -- hinges on e-mails prosecutors say link the former commercial
farmer to the crime.

But the case was dealt a blow last month when its chief witness, 49-year-old
former policeman and arms dealer Peter Hitschmann, disowned the e-mails and
denied Bennett was involved.

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PM summons ministers over land scam

April 12, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has summoned Home Affairs
Ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa to his office after the alleged
victimisation of Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and eight councillors over a
land scam report implicating a government minister and a businessman, both
linked to Zanu-PF.

The city council produced a report that alleged irregular acquisition of
land in the city by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and
businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.

The premier also held a separate meeting with the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) councillors in Harare. The Harare City Council is dominated by
the MDC.

On Monday, Mutsekwa who represents the MDC and shares the Home Affairs
portfolio with Zanu-PF's Mohadi, confirmed the meeting.

"The two of us met the Prime Minister," said Mutsekwa. "As you are aware,
there is a problem at Harare City Council where councillors have been
summoned by the police after having rightfully done their job, instead of
Chiyangwa. It is now up to us to act."

He did not divulge more details about the meeting. A Harare councillor,
speaking on condition of anonymity, also confirmed a separate meeting
between MDC councillors and Tsvangirai.

Last week the police summoned and charged nine councillors following a
special report by the council which revealed that Chombo had illegally
acquired 20 hectares of council land for a song, on top of various stands
registered in various names.

The report followed an audit done by a team that was led by Warship Dumba
the councilor for Mt Pleasant Ward. He represents the MDC..

The report also recommended Chiyangwa's arrest for what is said was the
fraudulent acquisition of vast tracts of council land.

Councillors also resolved that the council must reposes a council house that
was illegally acquired by then Harare Commission chairperson Sekesayi

Trouble for the councillors started when Chiyangwa, who together with Chombo
and Makwavarara hail from President Robert Mugabe's Mashonaland West
province, instituted criminal defamation charges against them, charging that
their report was false.

In an affidavit submitted to the police, Chiyangwa claimed Section 96 of the
Criminal Code had been violated, and therefore he wished to have Masunda,
members of the special committee and the full council and councillors
charged for alleged criminal defamation.

He said: "In ordering the investigation, the full council did not receive a
report from the head(s) of the relevant departments as is appropriate for
the purposes of setting into motion any investigation. I pray that these
criminal actions be prosecuted in the courts of law.

"On Page 10 of the report, the committee lied that Stand 389 had not been
surveyed, when in truth and in fact it was surveyed and the Surveyor-General
approved the plan on April 24 2008.

"On Page 12 of the report, the committee concealed the correspondence made
to Kilma authored by the Town Clerk after June 26, 2008, settling, with full
council approval the dispute, which had arisen from the breach of contract
by the city in relation to Stand 19345 and 389 and the cost of the survey
that was consequent to the agreement."

The Prime Minister's separate meetings with the Home Affairs Ministers and
the councillors were a sequel to the launch by Chombo of his own probe,
through a team led by Harare lawyer Pisirayi Kwenda, to investigate alleged
improper conduct by Harare councillors.

Chombo's team started work on Monday through public hearings. Monday's issue
of the state-run Herald newspaper reported that 11 councillors faced
allegations of taking over some houses.

"Allegations are that the councillors were only interested in people's votes
and once elected they abandoned the electorate," said a report in the
newspaper. "About 11 MDC-T councillors have so far been implicated in the
house takeovers."

The MDC has dismissed the allegations as an attempt by Chombo to silence
councillors over the corruption allegations that he is facing.

Last week, the MDC issued a statement alleging Chombo and Chiyangwa were the
criminals who should be charged by the police.

"An investigation needs to be instituted on Ignatius Chombo and Philip
Chiyangwa," said the MDC statement. "The police are also keen to question
Harare Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, over the matter.

"The MDC views the reprehensible arrests as politically motivated. There is
no way the police can arrest innocent people at the behest of (alleged)
criminals who should in fact be the ones to be arrested."

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Chiyangwa And Chombo Reported To The Police

12/04/2010 14:34:00

Harare - The Harare City councilors have reported Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo and business tycoon Philip Chiyangwa to the police over
illegal land deals unearthed by a land investigation done by the council.

Acting mayor Charity Bango on Monday confirmed they had made the report to
the police and the matter would be investigated further.

"I went with the report to the police and made an initial report over the
land scandal," said Bango without elaborating.

Mt Pleasant councilor Warship Dumba who was the chairperson of the special
committee that investigated the land deals, said the decision to take the
matter to the police was taken in a council meeting last week.

"The matter is now in the hands of the police and we hope to see people
being arrested. Acting Mayor Charity Bango went with the report to the
police on behalf of Muchadeyi Masunda who was unavailable on Monday," said

Masunda is away in Nigeria where he is attending a mayors' meeting in Abuja.

The committee has recommended that Chiyangwa must be arrested for
irregularly acquiring land in the capital.

In its 54 page report entitled 'special investigations committees report on
city of Harare's land sales, leases and exchanges from the period October
2004 to December 2009' the committee observed that there was no council
approval for all land acquired by Chiyangwa.

The committee also discovered that all land associated with him was acquired
fraudulently and council procedures were not followed.

Chiyangwa's Kilima Investments allegedly entered into land swap deals with
the council in December 2007.

In the past weeks, police have been quizzing journalists and councillors
involved in the compilation of the report following pressure from Chiyangwa
who alleged the report defamed him. Eight Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) councillors spent the whole day at Harare Central Police Station last
Friday awaiting to be taken to court but this never happened. Police said
they wanted to question Masunda.

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1,000 WOZA and MOZA members hand over yellow cards to ZESA in Bulawayo today

Written by WOZA
Monday, 12 April 2010 15:14
Press statement from Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise 12th April 2010

AT noon today, 12th April 2010, approximately 1,000 members of Women and Men
of Zimbabwe Arise marched to the offices of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) offices in Bulawayo. Their aim was to deliver yellow cards
to the electricity service provider for poor service and high tariffs. No
arrests have been reported to date.Four simultaneous protests converged on
the Lobengula Street offices but officials quickly closed the gates and
locked the doors, refusing to come out to receive the 'yellow card'. The
peaceful protests were mobilised after members decided they needed to put
direct pressure on ZESA to provide a more efficient service and fair and
affordable billing system.
The issue of ZESA needing a telling-off seemed to have wide support and both
vendors and bystanders joined in the protest. The protestors sang a popular
song: ZESA - into oyenzayo siyizonda (ZESA we hate this thing you are
doing). Police officers who responded on foot and by vehicle were heard to
support the protest through direct comments to WOZA members. One police
officer said to a member, "you are back from telling ZESA off? Well done
keep it up." As the peaceful group tried to persuade ZESA officials to come
out and received the yellow cards, business activities in the ZESA building
and at the police headquarters opposite came to a halt, with staff seen
peering over the walls and out of windows supporting the protest.
A ZESA employee was overheard saying, "maybe we will get paid on time now
because of this pressure."
WOZA leaders knocked at the door to the offices for over 15 minutes trying
to get the ZESA officials to come and receive the 'yellow cards'. People
dressed up as 'bosses' were seen converging at the reception giving
instructions to the receptionist and also trying to call on their mobile
phones. They refused to come to the door to receive the 'yellow cards', but
once these were posted under the door, they quickly came to collect them.
The thousand-strong procession then dispersed, walking calmly past the
police vehicle, which was parking to monitor the protest. 11 police officers
just stood and watched. After the crowd had dispersed a ZESA employee came
out and started to kick the placards onto the street but a police officer
told him to stop and pick them up nicely. The same vehicle was then seen
driving around town for 30 minutes monitoring the dispersing of members,
including the tailing of WOZA leaders, Williams and Mahlangu.
The 'yellow card' for ZESA comes with a warning to shape up their service
during the month of May or face a ZERO service ZERO bill boycott of payments
from 1st June 2010. Members using fixed meters advised ZESA that the current
service only deserved a US$5 payment rather than the current level of
payment calculated for a full service. Along with the warning members are
only willing to pay US$15 for 24 hours 7 days a week service. Consumers are
aware of an ongoing consultative process to look at tariffs. This process is
at the public hearing stage hosted by the parliament appointed Competition
and Tariff Commission.  The card serves as a months notice to shape up or
face 'suspension'. WOZA is a community based social movement of 70,000
members countrywide and as such have capacity to mobilise a boycott.

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Police ban proposed anti-Mugabe march

April 12, 2010

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - While Zanu-PF supporters have unconditionally been allowed to
conduct marches throughout the country denouncing MDC leader and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai the police here yesterday banned a planned
peaceful  march by MDC supporters seeking to put pressurize on President
Robert Mugabe and his Zanu -Pf party to fully implement the Global Political
Agreement GPA.

The ban has angered MDC officials here. They feel that the police are
displaying bias against their party and have vowed to continue prepare for
other marches even without police approval.

According to the draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA) all
demonstrations have to be approved by the regulating authority, in this case
the police.

The police told the MDC that they did not have enough the manpower to deal
with any crowd of over 100 people, saying most of the officers are busy
preparing for activities to be held during the forthcoming Independence Day

The MDC supporters had submitted an application seeking permission to
conduct the march on Monday, 12 April. The police had initially given the
proposed event the nod. They allegedly changed their stance at the last
minute and warned the MDC supporters not to stage the demonstration.

The MDC Masvingo provincial, spokesman Tongai Matutu, yesterday said his
party had since rescheduled the proposed march.

"The police told us that we should stop the intended march because they do
not have enough manpower ", said Matutu.

"They also told us that if we wanted to hold the march we should not exceed
100 people, arguing that they did not have the capacity to deal with a huge

"We have however rescheduled the proposed march and this time we will march
with or without police clearance", said Matutu who is the legislator for
Masvingo Urban.

"We are very disturbed by these developments since some political parties
are conducting marches without hindrance"

The MDC supporters had planned to march through the streets of Masvingo in
an anti- Mugabe demonstration through which they planned apply pressure on
him to fully implement the GPA.

One of the organisers of the banned march said that they wanted Mugabe and
his party to fully implement the GPA by putting to finality all outstanding

"We have run out of patience because the problem is Mugabe", said one of the
organisers who requested not to be named.

"It is clearly spelt out that the government of national unity is a
power-sharing deal but Mugabe does not want to share power with us.

"It is clear that we have to share governors and that all key appointments
in government should be made in consultation with our leader Morgan
Tsvangirai but Mugabe is just playing it alone. We have planned to hold a
series of marches in the country so that Mugabe is aware that we are tired
of endless talks."

The officer commanding Masvingo Province Senior Commissioner Julius Zengeni
yesterday defended the police action arguing that they were busy conducting
drills in preparation for the Independence Day commemorations.

"Most of our officers are busy with Independence Day commemorations hence we
banned the proposed march", said Zengeni. "We are warning anyone not to
conduct illegal marches since the police will descend on them heavily."

It appears that while the police say they do not have the capacity to
facilitate marches by political parties they still have the capacity to
"descend heavily" on marches held without their approval.

Several marches have been conducted by Zanu-PF supporters to denounce
Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, for allegedly inviting the sanctions imposed by
western nations on Zimbabwe.

The restrictive measures were imposed on Mugabe and top Zanu-PF officials
for, among other reasons, gross human rights abuse and failure to implement
meaningful political, economic and social reforms.

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MDC says no progress, no movement in talks

By Violet Gonda
12 April 2010

The MDC-T has said 'no movement' has been made in the inter-party
negotiations that ended two weeks ago. The National Executive were briefed
during a meeting on Friday, on the issues covered in the final report of the
Global Political Agreement talks between ZANU PF and the two MDC formations.

Party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told SW Radio Africa on Monday: "It's sad
to note that there seems to be no progress, no movement on key issues that
we have always flagged. That is issues to do with the provincial governors,
issues to do with Roy Bennett, and the Attorney General and Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's offices. We are still where we were, possibly before President
Zuma came to Harare."

Chamisa said the political parties in the inclusive government have agreed
to disagree and the issues are now with the facilitator, South African
President Jacob Zuma, and the Southern African Development Community, the
guarantors of the Zimbabwean deal.

The political formations have been squabbling since signing the GPA in
September 2008 and Zimbabweans are still waiting for an official statement
to be made on the progress of the talks. The state controlled Sunday Mail
newspaper reported that the three parties have resolved 24 out of the 27
sticking points, contradicting most observers to the talks.

Chamisa said contrary to earlier statements this latest report on the talks
will not be made public, at least in the short term, claiming it is to
'protect and safeguard the integrity of the negotiations', saying; "But by
divulging that there is no progress we have actually done justice to members
of the public who may actually want to know what is happening. There hasn't
been any movement of significant note other than on issues that are possibly
not very substantial around the Electoral Act, but in terms of the issues
that have always been on the table they remain as was, and that's where we
This is in stark contrast to statements made by President Zuma at the end of
his two day visit to Zimbabwe last month where he said the parties had
agreed to a 'package of measures' to help rescue the fragile unity
However Chamisa said there had been 'correct body language and signals after
Zuma's visit, 'but what we are beginning to see is actually a negation of
the perception we had built earlier on. So I must say we really are worried
about the developments because everything seems to be now arrested and this
has also, in a way, arrested matters of governance."

Despite this general lack of progress in the implementation of the GPA,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is set to travel to Europe later this
month, to reportedly campaign for the removal of the targeted sanctions that
are still in place on Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.

But Chamisa said it was a 'gross misrepresentation of facts' that the MDC
was travelling to Europe to call for the removal of the sanctions. He said:
"We have no obligation at all to be accused of being the authors of the
misfortunes that have affected people in ZANU PF and equally we do not want
to be held accountable or to be asked to do things that we were not
responsible for in the first place. So this is all media hype and we are not
going to lead any committee as a party."

But he said there is indeed a 'government committee' that is going to Europe
on issues of 're-engaging' with the west.

Meanwhile the MDC-T has written a letter to the ANC Secretary General Gwede
Mantashe indicating its 'displeasure' at the conduct of its youth leader
Julius Malema, who seems to be 'excitable and trigger happy'.

Just days after returning to South Africa from Zimbabwe, where he was a
guest of ZANU PF, the controversial ANC youth president criticized the MDC
at a press conference in Johannesburg.

Chamisa said: "Malema's utterances complicate the negotiation process. We
have said we want to understand if there is a distinction between ANC policy
and the outbursts of this young person."

The MDC spokesperson went on to say: "Unfortunately we have no kind words
for such a young man who seems to have that misunderstanding of politics and
comedy. He doesn't know the difference between the two."

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SA to face more pressure during Zim independence day demo UK

By Alex Bell
12 April 2010

Pressure on South Africa to solve Zimbabwe's political crisis is set to
continue in the UK this weekend, where Zimbabwean protest group The Vigil
will be marking Independence Day.

Sunday will mark 30 years since Zimbabwe's independence but, as The Vigil's
Rose Benton explained: "There is still no true independence in the country."
Benton told SW Radio Africa on Monday that her organisation will be marking
the day by keeping pressure on South Africa, whose President Jacob Zuma has
been, so far, an unsuccessful mediator in Zimbabwe's political chaos. Benton
said that Zuma is a key figure in solving the ongoing crisis saying;
"Zimbabweans won't be truly independent until South Africa forces Robert
Mugabe to keep his word and abide by the Global Political Agreement."

The Vigil is set to stage a 'lights for freedom' demonstration at the South
African High Commission in London on Saturday, the day before Independence
Day. Groups of Vigil supporters are set to carry candles from the Zimbabwe
Embassy to the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square, in what
Benton called a symbolic gesture of hope.

"We want to illustrate our hope that President Zuma will give us a true
anniversary present and break the logjam which will otherwise continue until
the MDC is completely absorbed by ZANU PF," Benton said.

Benton said that the planned demonstration is already attracting interest.
It is set to be joined by Lovemore Matombo, the President of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions, Irene Petras, Executive Director of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, and Gabriel Shumba, Executive Director of Zimbabwe
Exiles Forum. The three human rights defenders will be attending a
conference in London that day, organised by Action for Southern Africa, on
the state of Zimbabwe's human rights 30 years since independence.


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Inquest into death after alleged torture

April 12, 2010

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - A Bulawayo magistrate, Ntombizodwa Mazhandu on Friday ordered an
inquest into the death of a suspected gold panner who died while in police
custody last year.

Dumisani Moyo (25) from Umguza District, just outside Bulawayo, collapsed
and died last June as two police officers from Sauerstown Police Station and
a military police officer were questioning him on charges of gold panning
and of assaulting his wife.

Court  documents say police Constables Sangu, Mafukidze and a Corporal
Nomore Machemedze of the military police arrested Moyo on June 14, 2009 at
his homestead in Balu Village in Umguza on allegations of gold panning and
assaulting his wife

On their way to Sauerstown Police Station, the three officers are alleged to
have beaten and tortured Moyo until he collapsed and died.

In their defence the officers say Moyo collapsed and died while he was
trying to escape.

"After arresting the suspect we started recording his statement whilst we
were at his homestead, but as we were in the process he escaped and he ran
for about 100 metres before he fell down and Sangu managed to handcuff
him," said Machemedze in a signed affidavit.

"We then ordered him to get up but he couldn't, saying he was tired and
wanted some water to drink, as he was feeling extremely hot."

Machemedze also said Moyo asked for some water to be poured on his chest as
he was feeling extremely hot and this is when he fell unconscious and
presumably died.

In her statement Moyo's wife, Muchaneta Chikatani, said Moyo had assaulted
her the previous day at around 5 pm after she lost a small parcel wrapped in
plastic paper, which she was given for safe keeping by her friend.

The parcel contained an undisclosed amount of gold.

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Nigeria: White Zimbabwean Farmer Found Dead in Kwara

Vanguard (Lagos)

Demola Akinyemi

11 April 2010

Ilorin - One of the white farmers from Zimbabwe working in Kwara State, Mr
James Chisohm, was mysteriously found dead beside the stream in Labintan
village, Bakase in Asa Local Government Area of the state, weekend.

Informed source told Vanguard that the deceased had earlier sent his boys to
get him drinkable water around the area.

On their return, the source claimed that the boys could not locate
63-year-old Chisohm, a development that prompted the setting up of a search
party to look for him.

The search, which started on Friday, continued till the next day, Saturday.
They eventually discovered his corpse in the said village.

Police story

Contacted Sunday, Kwara State Police Command confirmed the development in an
interview with journalists in Ilorin.

According to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Dabo Ezekiel,
"The Kwara State Police Command wishes to announce to the general public the
death of a white Zimbabwean farmer.

"The deceased Zimbabwe-an farmer, Hamish James Chisohm aged 63, was
confirmed dead on Saturday at about 1206hrs after severe search. The
deceased was said to be in search of water in the stream said to be located
at Labintan village via Bakase in Asa LGA of Kwara State."

The PPRO added that "the incident occurred on 9 April 2010 at about 1150pm
when one Seyi Adedokun 'm' of Nigeria Starch Mill Farm Onire, along Alapa
came to the police station to report on the issue same date at about 145pm.

"Hamish James Chisohm, the deceased Zimbabwean farmer, Sunday, Baba Azeez,
Elemosho and Seyi Adedo-kun, all of Starch Mill Farm, went to measure the
land and set the boundary.

"At a stage, Hamish sent them to get him water from the office and later
directed them to meet him at another location of the farm. When they came
back with the water at the said location, Hamish was no where to be found."

Dabo continued: "A search party was put in place to go round the farm to
look for him, but the search proved abortive. On 10 April 2010 (Saturday),
the search resumed and about 1206hrs of the same date, the body was found
dead by the side of a stream in Labintan village via Bakase in Asa LGA of
Kwara State."

The police spokesperson, however, noted that investigation conducted on the
deceased showed no mark of violence or cuts on the body and therefore no
foul play was suspected.

He stressed that the corpse has been moved to the state specialist hospital
morgue where autopsy will be conducted after which the body will be released
to the family for burial.

Meanwhile, a high powered delegation compri-sing the state Police
Commissioner, Muhtari Ibrahim, DPO Francis, the Commissioner for Planning
and Economic Develop-ment, Abdulfatah Ahmad, Security Adviser to the
Governor, Yinka Aluko, Mike Fields and John Sawyer (both Zimbab-wean farmers
from Shonga) and other staff of the farm visited the place where Chisohm was
found dead.

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Mugabe Pushing Hard For Early Election

12/04/2010 13:52:00

Harare, April 12, 2010 - Embattled Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, is
said to be trying hard to push his Zanu (PF) party into buying into his idea
of an early election that will catch the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) unprepared, party sources told Radio VOP.

But his plan seem to be facing resistance from members who are too ashamed
of what appears an obvious defeat.

"President Mugabe is vying for an early election as early as next year but
many people are opposed to his idea because it can change the balance of
power and leave the party without any scape-goat this time," said a Zanu PF
source.  "Mugabe is not comfortable with a situation where the MDC is given
time to introduce most of the reforms it wants such as the security sector
and electoral reforms."

"He would rather ... go to an early election with half backed reforms which
leaves room for him to manoeuvre and tilt any election in his favour," added
the source.

Mugabe, 86 and hoping to lead his party into another election, is said to
have launched a serious campaign for the endorsement of his plan. However
his peers feel the party is better off in its current position where Mugabe
is in power.

Mugabe and his long time foe former opposition leader now Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, last month put up brave faces telling the world that an
early election should be called to break a long standing political dispute.

The two parties together with Arthur Mutambara, leader of a smaller MDC
party, signed a political agreement in 2008 leading to the formation of a
coalition government with a promise to democratise the country.

But since then they have been haggling over executive political power with
Tsvangirai, accusing Mugabe of blocking the implementation of neccessary
reforms which includes reversing unilateral appointments of senior public
servants and appointment of his party's senior officials into government.

On his part Mugabe has stuck to his guns saying there will be no movement
until sanctions imposed on him and his officials are removed as well as the
closure of so-called pirate radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe from
foreign countries. All this, he wants done by the MDC.

With the rift between the two parties seemingly permanent despite weekend
reports of partial agreements being reached on some of the outstanding
issues, the possibility of an early election can not be ruled out.

However rights groups and some civil groups working in the field of election
monitoring are saying it's too early for the country to talk of another
election. Their arguement is that the country needs time to heal from a
terrible electoral past as well as allow for the gradually democratisation
of the country's institutions before a new election can be called.

Despite such sensible arguments from these rights groups, SADC appointed
mediator and South African President Jacob Zuma, seems to be buying into the
idea that a fresh election is the answer.

He recently made it clear that Zimbabwe must be helped to overcome its
problems with the aim of calling for a new election as soon as possible
which will hopeful produce an uncontested result.

And this line of thought seems to be getting the backing of many in Zimbabwe
and beyond as the  only way out of the political impasse.

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Violent ZANU PF youths jailed

By: A Correspondent
Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2010

Harare - A High Court judge has jailed three ZANU-PF supporters for
conspiracy to kill an MDC-T supporter in April 2000.

Justice Bharat Patel on Friday convicted ZANU-PF’s Notice Kida, Obert
Muchemwa and Zvidzayi Marufu of Madziva of conspiring to murder Peter
Karidza in politically-motivated violence.

The three were slapped with varying sentences depending on the roles they
played but the sentences ranged from four years for Kida, two years for
Muchemwa and 24-month for Marufu but mysteriously wholly suspended for five
years on condition of good behaviour. Jacob Kagogoda, who was charged with
the trio — was acquitted after the court accepted his evidence that he was
ill with malaria when the incident occurred.

The four had pleaded not guilty to murder, assault and arson charges when
the trial opened three years ago. They were, however, acquitted of all the
three charges.

The court, however, convicted them of a lesser charge, that of conspiring to
murder over their involvement in the ‘death’ of Karidza.

The now deceased met his fate when more than 100 ZANU-PF gathered at his
homestead on April 23, 2000 and confronted him over his alleged alliance to
the MDC-T before he was assaulted and his homestead set on fire.

In his judgment, Justice Patel noted that while several people including
Kida had assaulted the now deceased, it could not be said with certainty
that the accused persons’ blows were the ones that killed him.

He noted that what became clear was that Kida, Muchemwa and Marufu who held
political leadership positions in their area were all present or near the
deceased’s homestead on the night in question.

“Additionally, they must have foreseen and by unavoidable inference did
foresee, the possibility of the attack on the deceased resulting in his
death,” said Justice Patel.

The judiciary services of Zimbabwe have been found to be questionable when
it comes to the prosecution of ZANU-PF supporters especially in comparison
with their MDC counterparts. Over the years MDC supporters, members and
activists have been either tortured or murdered and such acts have met
little legal action.

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Chombo to appoint more “special” councillors

April 12, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE – Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is set to appoint more
“special interest” councilors in line with amendments to the Urban Councils
Act which were fast-tracked through Parliament by ZANU-PF before the
formation of the inclusive government.

According to Statutory Instrument 79/2010 which was gazetted on April 2,
Chombo will appoint the special interest councilors in all the country’s
local authorities in line with section 4A of the Urban Councils Act which
was amended in January 2008.

Previously, special interest councilors were reserved for rural councils,
and Chombo was criticised for appointing only Zanu–PF supporters without any
special skill in running council affairs. According to the amended Urban
Councils Act, the minister has to appoint not more than a third of the
elected councilors into councils to represent special interest groups. Last
year, Chombo appointed a handful of the “special” councilors, but the latest
statutory instrument will see him filling all the gaps.

The appointments are likely to move a gear up as Chombo vies to control
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)- led councils, some of which he is
investigating for alleged corruption.

But to expose his real intentions on the graft issue, the minister has
refused to fire 23 MDC Chitungwiza councilors accused of corruption by an
internal party enquiry
The MDC has since fired the councilors in question but Chombo has dismissed
the whole affair as just “internal party differences.”

Over the past month, the minister has put in motion plans to fire Harare
councilors after they passed a resolution to reposes 20 hectares of land
from the minister which City Fathers say he acquired illegally. The
councilors have also been charged by the police following another report
detailing the acquisition of vast tracts of council land by businessman
Phillip Chiyangwa.

Apart from the police route, Chombo has also appointed a probe team led by
Harare lawyer Pisirayi Kwenda to investigate alleged improper activities on
the part of Harare councillors.

On Friday, the MDC condemned the questioning of its councilors. The party
said that it is Chombo and Chiyangwa who should be probed.

“The MDC condemns the arrest and harassment of eight Harare City councilors
on Thursday on spurious criminal defamation charges after exposing Zanu-PF
officials for illegally acquiring council land. The councilors, who are all
from the MDC, were arrested for carrying out a special council investigation
that unearthed illegal acquisition of prime council land by corrupt Zanu-PF
officials,” said as statement released by the MDC.

“An investigation needs to be instituted on Ignatius Chombo and Philip
Chiyangwa. The police are also keen to question Harare Mayor, Muchadeyi
Masunda, over the matter. The MDC views the reprehensible arrests as
politically motivated. There is no way the police can arrest innocent people
at the behest of (alleged) criminals who should in fact be the ones to be

The MDC said it calls upon the police to be non-partisan and to carry-out
proper investigations over the illegal acquisition of council land by senior
Zanu-PF officials and bring all the culprits to book.

“As a party of excellence, the MDC condemns any form of corruption and calls
for an immediate end to the ceaseless harassment of its officials,” the
statement added.

In 2004, Chombo fired all Harare councilors and then Harare Mayor Elias
Mudzuri, who is now Energy Minister for alleged misconduct and replaced them
with a commission headed by Sekesai Makwavarara.

The late Harare Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya accused Chombo of corruptly
facilitating the awarding of a council house to Makwavarara. The police
however charged Chideya for corruption on the issue. He died before the
conclusion of the issue.

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Minister in trouble over missing Mugabe birthday gifts

12 April, 2010 02:35:00

Masvingo, - Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Walter Mzembi and Masvingo
governor Titus Maluleke have been implicated in the disappearance of Mugabe's
birthday gifts which were donated by Triangle Limited, individuals and other

The gifts which include 30 tonnes of sugar, unknown amount of cash and
various other presents were supposed to be handed over to the ageing leader
of Zanu (PF) party at his birthday bash in Bulawayo in February but two
months down the line, the gifts are still missing.

Mzembi could not be reached for a comment but Maluleke remained silent for a
while before blaming poor network connection and switched off his mobile.

"Are you an auditor., I can't hear later I can hardly hear you,"
said Maluleke.

A Zanu (PF) party source said party politburo member, Dzikamai Mavhaire,
could also be involved.

The source said the disapperance of the gifts was not the work of one man .

"A lot of people managed to steal one or two things from the donations. We
suspect that less than half of the resources donated found their way to the
intended destination," said the source.

Masvingo provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke confirmed the gifts had gone
missing and said a serious investigation was underway.

Matuke also confirmed some "big fish" in the party could have been involved
and said they would soon be asked to attend a disciplinary hearing.

"There was a lot of confusion when people went out to source donations for
the 21st February movement. Some took everything they sourced. We are aware
Triangle donated sugar but no one in the provincial executive know what
happened to the sugar.

"Yes there are some big names that might include ministers but it would be
premature for us to name them now. We want the investigation to be over
first," said Matuke.

A private radio reporter of RadioVOP was informed that Mzembi and Maluleke
received the sugar and diverted it for their personal use.

"Mzembi and Maluleke collected the sugar but they kept it as a secret and
used it. The two were once called by national fund raising chief executive
officer Jaya to explain what happened to that sugar.

"More big names are likely to emerge if the investigation continues," said
the source.

A Mr Jaya refused to give any details claiming the issue was "too hot to
handle. Instead Jaya said he would want to know people who rushed to the
press with the issue.

"This issue is very sensitive; give me the names of people who rushed to the
press with the issue. Those people are more dangerous than those who are
said to have stolen the gifts," said Jaya.

Masvingo District Coordinating Committee (DCC) chairman Xavier Magweva has
since been dragged to a provincial disciplinary hearing twice for allegedly
looting 200 litres donated by Bikita Minerals.

"Magweva went away with 200 liters of diesel which was also donated by
Bikita Minerals. It is really embarrassing," said another source.

However, Magweva said it was Mavhaire who abused the fuel.

"Aah those individuals should be after killing my political career, its not
me maybe Mavhaire would tell you the person not me," said Magweva.

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Zimbabwe desperate for a hangman

April 12, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - More than 50 condemned prisoners languish inside Chikurubi Maximum
Security Prison on the outskirts of Harare today as they wait for their date
with the hangman.

That date does not appear to be imminent, however, as Zimbabwe has no

Some of the prisoners on Death Row have languished in solitary confinement
for more than a decade. Their petitions for mercy have been rejected by
President Robert Mugabe.

George Manyonga has spent 13 years while awaiting execution, while James
Dube and Bright Gwashinga have waited to be hanged for 10 and five years

At least 65 people have been executed in Zimbabwe since independence in
1980. But it is unlikely that those currently on Death Row will be hanged
any time soon. Chikurubi has searched high and low for a hangman for years
now, but in vain.

Prison officials say the job of a hangman involves techniques and procedures
that are very simple to learn. The candidate for the job need not possess
any previous experience, neither does he have to be literate.

Officials at Chikurubi confirmed to The Daily News that they had failed to
recruit a hangman, Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world that
still have capital punishment on their statute books.

With 50 prisoners on Death Row, there is a growing agitation for the
abolition of capital punishment through the ongoing Constitution-making

The Daily News was informed that of the 50 convicts on Death Row, a dozen
have petitioned the President for clemency. The rest are destined to hang,
once an executioner is identified and employed.

A convicted murderer, Shepherd Mazango, who robbed and hacked a man to
death,  has raised constitutional arguments in his March 30, 2010 Supreme
Court challenge against his death penalty, which was handed down in November
2009. He wants his sentence commuted to life sentence.

He argues that the availability of the death penalty under Sections 337 to
339 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act offends human dignity in
breach of Section 15 of the Constitution and amounts to arbitrary
deprivation of life, in breach of Section 12 of the Constitution.

But he says his major problem is the shortage of hangmen, and the anguish
the delay in execution has brought on Death Row inmates.

"This has caused (so much) severe trauma on the inmates that some of them
are losing their mind," Mazango said in his constitutional challenge in the
Supreme Court.

"The very thought that I am dying steals all my hope for the future, makes
me restless and the delay traumatises me,. It causes me emotional and
psychological trauma. Worse still, to think that I can spend 13 years before
execution, like my colleague, George Manyonga, crushes me."

Human rights groups have, for some time now, been circulating petitions
calling for the abolition of the death penalty.

A draft constitution proposed by civil rights activists says that judicial
executions should be stopped.

Pope John Paul II, during a visit to Zimbabwe in 1988, appealed to the
government to abandon the death penalty. So have several churches in the

Several prisoners on Death Row have had their sentences commuted to life
imprisonment after the Supreme Court ruled it inhumane to delay their

Gender bias in recruitment has also exacerbated the crisis.

The hangman's job is reserved only for men. The job demands strength and
unwavering focus. It is not for the faint-hearted. A hangman cannot have
second thoughts just before he pulls the lever.

If a hangman is found, jail officials would teach him how to tie the noose
and train him to maintain the correct posture while executing, as this is

But it appears the toughest part of the job is not about ropes and levers.
It is about conscience.

"A hangman should never have second thoughts, if he does he should be
retired," said a former principal prison officer, who spoke to The Daily
News on condition of anonymity.

Zimbabwe's last hangman quit the job back in 2005, one year after hanging
two notorious armed robbers in 2004. The condemned men had killed prison
officers at Mutimurefu Prison on the outskirts of Masvingo while escaping
from jail.

Since then there has been no taker for the job.

Officials at Chikurubi have no idea where the former hangman is today. He is
said to have been of Malawian origin. The former principal prison officer
who spoke to The Daily News says that the last executioner was a reluctant
hangman, always extremely remorseful about his job.

With death sentences piling up, jail authorities are battling with the
hanging crisis.

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Telkom in Zimbabwe venture but denies acquisition

Published: 2010/04/12 06:47:40 AM

FIXED-line telephone provider Telkom is in discussions to sign a contract
with Zimbabwe's TelOne to provide the state-owned entity with a wide range
of management services such as engineering expertise.

Telkom was reported to have been in discussions to buy a 49% stake in the
fixed-line operator TelOne but last week Telkom denied those claims.

Telkom is embarking on an expansion drive across the continent to increase
its revenue base following the sale of its shares in Vodacom , which
contributed substantially to Telkom's earnings. It is also positioning
itself to provide integrated services including IT, management services and
a wide range of telecommunications products and services including mobile,
which it expects to launch this year.

Charlotte Mokoena, the CE of Telkom Management Services, said last week
Telkom "is not in any discussion to purchase equity in TelOne. However, the
company has been discussing, and is close to concluding an agreement, to
provide management services (such as professional engineering and other
functional services) to assist TelOne to prepare and build for the future."

The Zimbabwean Herald newspaper reported last week that the negotiations
between the parties were under way. It quoted TelOne's spokesman Collin
Wilbesi saying the negotiations "are under way, but we signed a
nondisclosure agreement".

According to the Herald, its sources from TelOne said the cash that would be
received if a deal was struck through the partial privatisation would be
used for refurbishment of equipment. Equipment at the country's sole
provider of fixed-line telephone services has been vandalised and some of it
worn out by age.

Telkom has operations in Zimbabwe through its internet service provider
subsidiaries Africa Online and MWeb Africa.

It also owns telecommunications group Multi-Links, which gave it a presence
in Africa's most populous country, Nigeria.

Although Telkom has a presence in 33 countries in Africa, the performance of
those businesses, especially Multi- Links, which it bought for more than
R2bn three years ago, have been sluggish.

Telkom was forced to write off about R2bn after losses from Multi-Links in
its interim results for the six months to September last year.

The Nigerian subsidiaries remained a focus area for Telkom, which is
restructuring the business to return it to profitability as it believes the
Nigerian market had significant growth opportunities.

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Anti-Corruption commissioners are illegal

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

Harare - Zimbabwe's Anti-Corruption commissioners are operating illegally it
has emerged. This revelation comes as the The Law Society made calls that
the government should now urgently appoint members of the Anti-Corruption
Commission and remove the current commissioners who are operating without

In a statement President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe Josephat Tshuma said
it was high time the government should reform the Anti-Corruption Commission
which is being headed by the Dr. Rutendo Faith Wutaunashe since 2006.

According to documents leaked to ZimEye, Zimbabwe's controversial Attorney
General, Johannes Tomana also has a standing seat as a Commissioner  in the
organisation. Another member of the commission is a retired army head,
Retired Brigadier Elasto Madzingira.

Clause 8 of the Global political Agreement signed between ZANU-PF and MDC in
September 2008 provides for the appointment by the president of the members
of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must be done in consultation with
the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.

"We call upon the responsible authorities to urgently appoint the Anti
Corruption Commission. Recent reports that members who have already served
two terms in the Commission have been appointed for an illegal third term
are worrying. If these reports are true, the responsible authorities are
called upon to put in place corrective measures and comply with the law by
not appointing people who are no longer eligible," he said.

The commission's responsibilities among others include combating corruption,
economic crimes, abuse of power and other improprieties in Zimbabwe through
public education, prevention, investigation and prosecution.

The Inclusive government has so far established the Human Right Commission,
Electoral Commission and the Media Commission. Since its establishment in
2006 the Anti-Corruption Commission which was supposed to name and shame
corrupt government official did nothing to show its existence leading
observers saying it was instead covering up shoddy deals of the then ZANU-PF
government officials.

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Mugabe, the Russian billionaire and basketball

By Lance Guma
12 April 2010

A Russian billionaire's attempt to buy US basketball team the New Jersey
Nets is now on the line, following demands for a government inquiry into his
possible business links with the Mugabe regime. New Jersey lawmaker Bill
Pascrell Jr is leading the campaign to have Mikhail Prokhorov and his
companies investigated, for violating US targeted sanctions that forbid
American citizens and companies from doing business with those in Mugabe's
inner circle.

The story has received huge headlines in the US given that Prokhorov, worth
an estimated US$17 billion, was willing to plough in US$200 million to help
the struggling basketball team. But Pascrell Jr wants Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner to investigate Prokhorov's association with Mugabe's
oppressive regime, specifically the February business summit his company
organized in Zimbabwe, in violation of United States targeted sanctions.

The Renaissance Capital investment bank owned by Prokhorov has interests in
the Zimbabwean stock exchange, via holdings in banks, a cell phone company,
mining and a private game reserve. This same company is connected with
Onexim, the investment fund that is behind the deal to buy the New Jersey
Nets. Pascrell Jr said; 'This is disgusting. Obviously, the Board of
Governors of the NBA (National Basketball Association) didn't do their job
properly when they vetted this deal. It's being financed partly by the
taxpayer, and the public has a right to know.'

In June 2009 Renaissance Capital sponsored an economic forum in Harare in
which they organized special access to government ministers. In February
this year it's CEO for Africa, Andrew Lowe, is reported to have taken part
in a business panel with a ZANU PF official, banned from entering the US.
Usha Haley, an expert on U.S. sanctions at the Economic Policy Institute,
told the New York Post; 'Looks like sanctions-busting to me. It looks like
this company is setting up administrative layers that are obfuscating
(obscuring) the effects of the sanctions. It's done all the time.'

Exiled investment banker, Gilbert Muponda, is familiar with Renaissance
Capital's involvement in Zimbabwe and told Newsreel; 'They specialize in
emerging markets that have a high return, but high risks, and they are
experts at quantifying and spreading risk.' He told us although the company
did what any investment bank would do (i.e. seek opportunities) this was in
violation of US targeted sanctions and the lawmakers in that country had a
good case to charge them.

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Beitbridge border chaos continues

Welcome to Zimbabwe

Shame on customs and immigration officials at the Beitbridge border post!!

When are they going to eliminate the Touts from the border area and put and end to the horrendous behavior and chaos which results from their unlawful presence?

When are the ZIMRA officials going to realize that tourists are a valuable part of Zimbabwe's extremely strained economy?

Recently a group of seven young professional men and women from Johannesburg and Cape Town bravely decided on a visit to Zimbabwe via Beitbridge Border post.

They got through the SA side in no time at all but it took them three and  a half hours to negotiate the  border on the Zim side.  They are are still shaking their heads in amazement at the confusion and corruption they witnessed.

The touts are totally out of control: ordinary honest folk who refuse to "pay" for the border services are completely swamped and sidelined and it was only after these young people formed a "human barricade" and enlisted the support of other uncorrupt people in the lines, did they manage to make any headway with the sloppy and haphazard road tax, TIP and customs systems.

The officials at the border made no attempt to stop the touts from pushing straight to the front of the queues, with fists full of passports for desperate travelers who had paid for their 'assistance'. Indeed it was apparent that the officials were in cahoots with the touts as no one could help but notice what was happening.

Two and a half hours of this horrifying entry to our country and they were then stopped by a further "official" directly before the gate leaving the border post.

This so called official was wearing a pair of denim jeans and a pink shirt with no official identifying mark at all. Her name was Blessed and she added another hour to the border chaos with her totally unnecessary behavior.

The tourist party were told to unload their entire trailer which contained only personal effects, and a small amount of food and drink for their fishing trip to Lake Kariba.

Every case was opened, every box, every handbag! Blessed searched the glove compartment, and even under the seats. Her attitude was both threatening and abusive and she made insinuations against virtually everything the tourists were carrying, finally settling upon a small camera and a pair of binoculars as her main target.

Now the ZIMRA customs declaration clearly states that an allowance is granted for personal effects, cameras, cell phones, binoculars and laptops etc but Blessed insisted that the owner of this camera and binos accompany her back to the ZIMRA post  for further questioning!!

What on earth was she searching for? Why should tourists be subjected to this sort of behavior?

This group of professionals will certainly not have kind things to say to their large circle of influential friends once they are back home and yet again irreparable damage has been done to Zimbabwe's reputation.

Would someone please send a copy of this to anyone senior in ZIMRA or the relevant ministries. Its time our disgusting border posts were sorted out for once and for all.

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Mutare choir to sing in China

Written by Staff Reporter
Monday, 12 April 2010 06:20

MUTARE  - The Mutare based Dangamvura Old Students Association (DOSA) choir
that has been carrying Zimbabwe's musical flag high on the international
scene, has been selected to take part in the 6th edition of the World Choral
Games in China set for July.

The prestigious Choral Games - the world's biggest choir competitions - will
be held in the Shaoxing and Shanghai cities of China from July 15 to 26.
The event is organised for amateur choirs from all over the world and
engender whatever musical genres, are represented in the choirs' repertoires
or their artistic ambitions.
The popular choral group that has also won other international awards will
make its debut appearance on the prestigious international arena.
The high-status invitation came as a merit for the popular choir group that
impressed at the Old Mutual-sponsored Southern African Choir festival where
it won several accolades in the past years on regular basis.
Taurai Dhliwayo who is the DOSA chairman said the preparations were already
at an advanced stage and were gearing up for the event.
"We are naturally excited by the prospect of taking part at such a grand
occasion where we will get to interact and compete with other choral groups
from across the world.
"We will like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners with whom
we have travelled the path to get this far, who include churches, companies
and individuals, and have been instrumental to our cause," said Dhliwayo.
While trumpeting to well-wishers for assistance to make their trip to China
a success, the group has vowed to use this platform and seize the
opportunity to effectively market Manicaland and the country as a whole.
"The main item of expenditure will be airfares as well as uniforms for the
group. The choir also needs help with stationery, printing and production,
as is also with transport for our escapades as we prepare for the July
jamboree. Pledges in cash or kind are, therefore, welcome," he said.
The group is also in the process of setting up a website to effectively
catalogue its operations and market itself.
With several instrumentalists and singers in the choir, the group also does
commercial and promotional jingles for corporate entities.

For the time they have been in the industry, DOSA - which is a member of the
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe - now intends to record a debut album set
for release sometime this year and will be taking their music to different
churches around the city.
Said Dhliwayo: "We hope to record and release an album this year and we will
soon be going around local churches for performances as well as
fellowshipping with them."

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North Korea's soccer team brings bad memories

Photo: Graeme Williams/UNICEF
Unaccompanied children at the Zimbabwe/South Africa border
HARARE, 12 April 2010 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's plan to host a North Korean soccer side for the June 2010 FIFA World Cup in neighbouring South Africa is rekindling memories of the Matabeleland massacres in the 1980s, amid a current climate of political intolerance.

Soon after independence from Britain in 1980, President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF launched Operation Gukhurundi - a Shona phrase for "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains" - on the pretext of tackling insurgents and counter-revolutionaries sponsored by apartheid South Africa.

He unleashed the Zimbabwean army's North Korean-trained 5th Brigade in the provinces of Matabeleland North and South, and Midlands in southwestern Zimbabwe, strongholds of the rival ZAPU party, led by Joshua Nkomo. More than 20,000 people were killed in Operation Gukhurundi.

Now, the planned visit by the soccer side is leading to a resurfacing of emotions and vows of protests against the "unwanted visitors".

Political temperatures have also been ratcheted up recently by disagreement within the unity government - a fragile coalition between Mugabe's ZANU-PF, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and an MDC splinter party led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambura - over a new constitution.

ZANU-PF favours the adoption of a constitution drafted ahead of the violent March 2008 elections - known as the Kariba Draft - which concentrates power on an incumbent president, while the MDC favours a people-driven constitution, and argues that such a provision was made in the September 2008 Global Political Agreement, which paved the way for the unity government formed in February 2009.

Outreach teams have been trained to gather and compile information from Zimbabweans about what they expect in a new constitution, and will be deployed once funding is available.

Tariro Makumbe, a member of the MDC youth wing in the ZANU-PF rural stronghold of Muzarabani, in Mashonaland Central Province, in the north, fled to the capital, Harare, after her home was razed. She had objected to a ZANU-PF aligned chief's decree that not everybody would be permitted to contribute their views when the constitutional outreach team visited the area.

Censoring the constitution

"We were told that only selected ZANU-PF officials, youth and war veterans would be allowed to speak - anybody who spoke without authority would be beaten up after the constitutional outreach teams had left," she told IRIN.

''We were told that only selected ZANU-PF officials, youth and war veterans would be allowed to speak - anybody who spoke without authority would be beaten up after the constitutional outreach teams had left''
Those selected to speak at the consultative meetings would favour the Kariba Draft, which includes the position that the fast-track land reform process launched in 2000 is irreversible, and that Zimbabwe will never again be a colony.

In recent weeks ZANU-PF and its youth wing has apparently launched Operation Hapana Anotaura (Nobody Speaks) to allow only the views of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to be expressed to the constitution evaluation teams during meetings in rural areas.

"We have it on good authority that ZANU-PF has launched Operation Hapana Anotaura to stop grassroots people from freely airing their views during the constitutional outreach programme to be done by the Parliamentary Select Committee," the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ), an NGO working with traumatised communities, said in a statement.

"CCDZ is working in deeply polarised communities where Zimbabweans live in fear, and violence and intimidation is a living reality that haunts them on a daily basis," the statement said.

Elias Mudzuri, energy minister in the unity government and organising secretary of Tsvangirai's MDC, said he encountered increasing levels of political intolerance while travelling recently to the opening of a clinic in the Mashonaland Central Province.

"ZANU-PF youth militia set up roadblocks and threatened villagers from attending the function. We should not be allowing such acts of brutality to be taking place in modern Zimbabwe. I shudder to imagine what villagers in the remote parts of the country, who support the MDC, have to go through at the hands of marauding ZANU-PF militia who take the law into their hands at will."

Secretary-general of the MDC's youth wing, Solomon Madzore, told IRIN his organization was planning to visit rural areas to "conscientise" people, so that they should actively and openly participate in the constitution-making process.

"We want to remove the element of fear by talking to our parents and the general populace in the countryside," he said. "There is nothing illegal about the constitution-making process, which is a product of the inclusive [unity] government." 


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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A Zimbabwe native helps refugees from her country in South Africa

Terry Hodson, who now lives in South Africa, delivers food and offers comfort and advice to refugees from the troubles in neighboring Zimbabwe.

Terry Hodson (center, with three men she helped resettle) began assisting refugees in 2007 after a man from Zimbabwe died while awaiting legal papers in Ms. Hodson's home city of Cape Town, South Africa.

Anna Telford/Adonis Musati Project


By Beth Maclin, Correspondent / April 12, 2010

Cape Town, South Africa

Terry Hodson drives behind a white station wagon, almost identical to her own, carrying fellow volunteers around the curve of the road and under the highway overpass. In the shadows, five men huddle around a fire. Two wave. The others just stare.

The two cars park. Within 10 minutes, more than 75 men emerge from the shadows under the bridge and form disorganized lines behind the cars. Most of them are from Zimbabwe. They are between 16 and 30 years old, and nearly all are unemployed.

They are the refugees under the bridge.

Once a week, members of the Adonis Musati Project bring food to them - today, three sandwiches, an orange, and a bottle of water for each person. The project is one of several organizations in Cape Town that work to fill the void left by what Ms. Hodson sees as the inability and unwillingness of the South African government to provide refugees and asylum seekers with anything more than a long wait to apply for legal papers.

Hodson and some fellow Zimbabwean ex-pats formed the project in November 2007 after Adonis Musati, a Zimbabwean, starved to death while waiting for his papers at the Nyanga Refugee Reception Center in Cape Town.

The project also helps refugees compile résumés for job interviews, distributes clothes and sleeping bags, and recently opened a halfway house for 12 refugee orphan boys.

Under the bridge, Hodson recognizes a new face in the crowd. She will find out who he is, how long he has been here, and what help he needs.

Her organization is funded solely by donations and run entirely by volunteers, a fact Hodson proudly emphasizes. Everything the organization has goes directly to the refugees and asylum seekers. "I think we're probably the most grass-roots refugee organization" in Cape Town, she says. "We're on the ground, in the streets as much as we can be."

Despite not having a large budget, Adonis Musati works to help as many as it can.

"They have done an amazing amount of work with very little resources," says Braam Hanekom, chair of PASSOP, a refugee advocacy organization in Cape Town.

Hodson, a former schoolteacher, maintains strong ties to Zimbabwe. Family members still live there. She returns almost every year, and she hopes she will be able to persuade her South African husband to retire there.

While she has always empathized with refugees from the economic, social, and political trauma in Zimbabwe, it was the death of Mr. Musati that pushed her into action to help those who cross the border - from Zimbabwe or other countries - in any way she can.

"I feel really strongly about all the suffering," she says. "So much has been messed up [in Zimbabwe]. The whole social structure and fabric has been torn apart."

As of January 2009, South Africa had 43,546 refugees and 227,125 asylum seekers, according to the United Nations relief agency UNHCR. South Africa hosts people from 52 countries, including Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Somalia.

But Zimbabweans make up the majority of refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa. In the past five years, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans - some say millions - have crossed into neighboring South Africa to escape political persecution and economic destitution, according to Human Rights Watch.

The Zimbabwean economy has suffered from hyperinflation - it peaked at 321 million percent in October 2008, according to the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph - because of policies instigated by President Robert Mugabe. Hyperinflation made it nearly impossible for Zimbabweans to buy anything with their own currency, leading many to seek opportunities in South Africa.

Recently, a new unity government has eased political tensions. And last March, Zimbabwe switched its currency to the US dollar, which squelched inflation.

Yet many Zimbabweans remain skeptical about the safety and opportunities of living at home. The United States and the European Union remain critical of the Mugabe government.

South Africa has an integrated refugee policy, meaning refugees are allowed to look for jobs and housing and go to school. This is in contrast to an encampment-style policy, which separates refugees from the local population.

But the integrated policy, viewed by some as more humane, also means that refugees are left to fend for themselves - leaving many homeless, hungry, and vulnerable to exploitation.

"I think it could be [good] if they really put in a program that's going to work," Hodson says about the integrated policy. "There's no use just dumping [refugees] back in the townships."

One man staying under the bridge walks up to a volunteer Hodson brought along and asks her for a job. When she tells him that she is not from South Africa and therefore has no job to provide, he asks for a job in her country. He arrived in South Africa from Zimbabwe three days earlier, he says.

Henry, a 21-year-old from Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, has been in South Africa for nine months, but has found work for only two of those months.

"It seems like there are no jobs," he says. "If possible, I'd like to go home because home is best." Looking over his shoulder at the bridge, he adds, "In Zimbabwe, we live in our houses, but here, it is very hard."

The expense of returning to Zimbabwe is often beyond a refugee's means. The project raises funds to send home one Zimbabwean a month who wants to go back.

"If anything went right [in Zimbabwe] tomorrow, and they could get work, they would go home," Hodson says. "A lot of them just want to make a better life for their families. So they come here thinking they can make a lot of money to send back, but it doesn't work. [Then] they want to go back to their families."

With all the food gone, it's time for the Adonis Musati volunteers to go home. They pile back into their cars, leaving behind the dark underpass that these refugees call home.

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Elephant ambassador

Kate Eckman sits down with Sharon Pincott, author of The Elephants and I, to
hear her personal story of hope and heartbreak while trying to protect the
Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe.

Sharon Pincott may not have any biological children of her own, but she
serves as a nurturing, loving and protective mother to more than 400 African
elephants who are known as the 'Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe'.

Although this large herd of wild elephants comprises more than 20 family
groups, Pincott can recognise and name each individual.

"I allocated a letter of the alphabet to each elephant family, and then gave
each elephant within that family a name beginning with that letter," she
says. "So there are, for example, the 'Ls' - and everyone in that family has
a name beginning with 'L'. Just like people, elephants have their own
individual characteristics that make them who they are."

The nicks, rips and notches in the elephants' ears caused by ploughing
through the bush, and the length and shape of their tusks make
identification easy for Pincott. The magical part is that the elephants
recognise and accept her too.

"The Presidential Elephants know my voice well," she remarks. "I'm always
speaking and singing to them when they're close to my 4WD. When there were
unethical sport-hunting problems here, I found that it was only my voice
that was able to calm them."

But Pincott never allows herself to forget that these elephants are wild and
could kill her with relative ease.

She adds: "Over the years, I've learned to read their moods, and I never
push their level of tolerance. I also would never try to get out of my 4WD
and walk amongst them. If a situation looks like it might become dangerous,
I move off."

This elephant whisperer of sorts says she's developed a mutual trust with
the elephants over many years of working together.

"Perhaps they now see me as just one of their own, an 'honorary elephant' so
to speak."

Pincott's journey to Zimbabwe (and, in turn, to the elephants) began in 1993
during an impromptu visit to South Africa's Kruger National Park. That's
when the then 31-year-old said she fell in love with her first elephant.

"It took my breath away," she recalls. "With that first encounter it was
their sheer size, their majesty, their wise persona. But as I got to know
more about their lives, it was their very human-like qualities - their
intelligence, their close family bonds, the way they care for their young
and for each other, their sense of  humour and playfulness and their obvious
love of life - that truly captured my affection."

Four years later, Pincott began spending much of her time in the African
bush volunteering on various wildlife conservation projects. But it wasn't
until the sudden death of a close friend (a warden in Hwange National Park
who was killed while tracking rhino) at the turn of the new millennium that
the Australian-born beauty decided to give up her cushy life as a
high-flying information technology consultant and pursue the life of her

"I've realised that the high-powered job, the flashy house, the flashy car,
the flashy holidays - all of which I once had - aren't what make me happy,"
she explains. "I've learned to fully understand and appreciate the calming
effect that animals in wild places can have on your soul. And I've grown to
know that helping those who have no voice can be a very rewarding thing."

The Presidential Elephants are supposed to symbolise the country's
commitment to responsible wildlife management. Robert Mugabe declared the
clan protected in 1990, but according to Pincott, these elephants, who spend
the majority of their time on the Hwange Estate - an unfenced area bordering
Hwange National Park in the western part of the country - have been plagued
by problems.

"Conservation land dedicated to photographic safari tourism all of a sudden
became a playground for illegal sport-hunters and poachers. The fight for
the end of this poor land management (and all of its associated
repercussions) lasted for quite a few years," she remarks.
Now Pincott's focus is to encourage tourists from throughout the world to
return to Zimbabwe. She said tourism dollars are crucial to the preservation
of all Zimbabwe 's wildlife, including the elephants.

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With friends like Malema ; who needs enemies?

'' From the moment the results were out and it was apparent that the ANC was
to form the government, I saw my mission as one of preaching reconciliation,
of binding the wounds of the country, of engendering trust and confidence.''
I quote these wise words from the book , ' Long Walk to Freedom' (1994)
written by none other than  the iconic Nelson Mandela. A internationally
celebrated statesman now in the sunset of his life, Nelson Mandela must be
deeply disappointed and annoyed by the buffoonery of one Julius Malema.It is
a fact that the ANC is arguably Africa' s oldest liberation movement that,
in the past, has been very ably led by luminaries such as Chief Albert
Luthuli, Oliver  Reginald Tambo and the larger than life Nelson Rolihlahla
Mandela.Naturally, therefore, when the ranks of the ANC start producing such
half-brained people like one Julius Malema; all progressive Africans, living
on the continent and in the Diaspora, should start getting worried; very

One of Africa's biggest challenges is the scourge of demagogues, pretenders,
looters and dictators.This is an unfortunate breed of men and women who are
solely driven by lust for absolute political power as well as the paranoid
pursuit of self-enrichment and self-aggrandisement.When challenged by
democratic forces seeking the adoption of good governance and the rule of
law, these rabid dictators and tyrants will huff and puff ; screaming that
they are Africa's '' liberators and revolutionaries''. Alas! These men and
women are Africa's disgrace; a shameful grouping of looters who are corrupt
to the core; ruthless and absolutely tyrannical.A certain boy called Julius
Malema recently visited Zimbabwe during the Easter holidays; as a guest of
the terminally ill and moribund former ruling party; ZANU(PF). Excitable and
effervescent as ever; this boy wasted no time in showering praises on the
disintegrating political party called ZANU(PF).Adorning the infamous
ZANU(PF) regalia, this boy literally blew his top and ran short of
adjectives to eulogise his guests and to simultaneously lambast the most
popular and largest political party in Zimbabwe; the Movement for Democratic
Change.To students of political science and to all right-thinking people the
world over, this did not come as a surprise at all.Some of us have carefully
followed the rise of Julius Malema within the ranks of the ANC Youth
League.We all know that he succeeded the very able and sober Fikile Mbalula
who is now an ANC member of parliament as well as the Deputy Minister of
Police.We know that for some reason, Julius Malema now regards himself as
the kingmaker in the ANC ; riding on the wave of success of President Jacob
Zuma's faction at the last ANC congress held in Polokwane, South Africa.Post
Polokwane, Malema has grown to be very boisterous, stubborn and downright
unruly.He falsely thinks that he was personally responsible for the rise of
Jacob Zuma to be President of the ANC as well as the Republic of South
Africa.Malema is wrong.To begin with, there were bigger forces at play at
the ANC congress at Polokwane.Admittedly, Malema is very noisy and loud but
he is certainly not a political strategist.He needs someone to handle him;
to think for him because he, himself, is severely challenged;
intellectually.Remember, this boy only managed to pass woodwork at
matriculation! He needs help; badly.

Because Malema is intellectually challenged, we can forgive him for
referring to the MDC as '' unpatriotic''.I am convinced that Malema does not
know the meaning of patriotism.Yes; he is too dull to understand the
ramifications and complexities of the MDC's decade long fight against
ZANU(PF) tyranny and thuggery.Being a thug himself, Malema justifiably felt
cosy and comfortable in the company of ZANU(PF) functionaries.I am one of
the ANC's greatest admirers.Some of my political role models are found
within the ANC.Born to a Zulu domestic worker, Jacob Zuma  rose to become
the President of Africa's strongest and biggest economy; South Africa.Whilst
Zuma was openly humiliated by Thabo Mbeki by being fired as the Deputy
President of South Africa in 2005 in the wake of the Shabir Shaik corruption
scandal, he has never publicly lambasted nor demonised Thabo Mbeki and all
those ANC leaders who were fighting in Mbeki's corner; such as Terror
Lekota, Mbazima Shilowa and Bulelani Nqcuka.For all his other shortcomings,
I admire Jacob Zuma for being a man who calmly and maturely weathered the
storm of his obvious persecution by the Mbeki faction in the ANC.Zuma never
publicly lost his cool and shouted at his political detractors; real and/or
imagined.To me; that is the hallmark of a revolutionary and a true
democrat.Contrast Jacob Zuma's charm and coolness with Julius Malema's rabid
and increasingly incoherent public outbursts, then you will realise why the
ANC has to urgently reign in this loose and foul-mouthed political waif.

Lest Africa be fooled; Malema is not and has never been an exponent of
genuine broad-based black economic empowerment.He is nothing but a shameless
demagogue who is pretending to be an empowerment hero.He claims to be
representing the poor, marginalised and unemployed black youths of South
Africa most of whom stay in empoverished townships.He drives the latest
Range Rover and owns properties in Sandton.He wears a watch worth R 250 000
and wines and dines in some of Johannesburg's most expensive joints.Whilst
the majority of black youths of South Africa are wallowing in abject
poverty, Malema lives the high life; wins tenders worth millions of rands
and has companies that perform shoddy work.He is, indeed, a ''
tenderpreneur'' and not an enterpreneur.Malema is 100% fake. Who is Malema
to label the MDC a party of '' puppets''?  Does Malema look down upon the
majority of Zimbabweans who justifiably see that real change can only be
brought about by the MDC? I have absolutely no problem in having Malema
associate with whomsoever he wants in his tormented life.However, all true
democrats and fighters for good governance and the rule of law will have
serious issues with a hare-brained demagogue coming over to Zimbabwe to
spread heresy, hate and intolerance.

Besides spreading hate and intolerance, can Julius Malema tell us what he
has done to practically empower the poor and marginalised black youths of
Kwamashu in Durban, Mamelodi in Pretoria and the Cape Flats in Cape Town?
Africa has had enough of these thieving demagogues.We need a serious
paradigm shift in the manner in which African politics is run.The politics
of hate, anger and intolerance can only bring more strife and poverty to the
toiling masses of Africa.To Julius Malema, I say '' Go back to school young
man and ensure that at the very least, you pass five subjects at
matriculation.Never open your mouth again before you think.Amanhla!''

With friends like Malema, who needs enemies?

Written by:

Senator Obert Gutu

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Empowerment should be pragmatic: Firm

by Caroline Mvundura Monday 12 April 2010

HARARE - Canada based Caledonia Mining, one of Zimbabwe's largest gold
producers, has said the southern African nation should adopt a pragmatic
approach to its controversial empowerment laws to come up with solutions
that help improve the country's economy.

The mining company, which owns Blanket gold mine near Zimbabwe's second
largest city of Bulawayo, said in its latest annual report although it was
not against the empowerment of locals, it was important that the country's
power sharing administration took into consideration the level of investment
in capital and skills some foreign owned companies had done in Zimbabwe.

"We remain hopeful that the government of Zimbabwe will adopt a pragmatic
economic approach to the issue of indigenisation which recognises the
investment of companies like Blanket in Zimbabwe's infrastructure and human
capital, and which facilitates investment to create new jobs and wealth for
all Zimbabweans," said Caledonia chief executive officer, Stefan Hayden.

"The government of Zimbabwe recently introduced measures which give effect
to the legislated requirement for 51 percent of all businesses in Zimbabwe
to be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans within five years. Caledonia, as a
member of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (COMZ), continues to work closely
with the COMZ regarding the ongoing discussions with the government
regarding the level and terms of indigenisation for the mining industry," he

Under the empowerment laws announced by Kasukuwere last February,
foreign-owned firms have 45 days from March 1 to submit to plans showing how
they will transfer shareholding to black Zimbabweans.

Kasukuwere, who threatened to impose punitive taxes against
foreign-controlled firms that fail to transfer majority stake to indigenous
Zimbabweans by March 2015, did not say where impoverished locals will get
cash to buy shareholding in large mines banks and other businesses.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week promised business leaders new and
"more progressive" empowerment laws, as Zimbabwe's ruling coalition
continues to give conflicting signals over its controversial plan to place
more of the economy in the hands of local blacks.

Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist seen as friendlier to business compared
to veteran President Robert Mugabe who has backed the earlier version of the
empowerment laws announced by Kasukuwere, said the unity government was
reviewing empowerment laws.

But despite the uncertainty, Caledonia said it was pressing ahead with its
expansion programmes in Zimbabwe.

Hayden said gold output at Blanket Mine increased to 22 000 ounces in July

He added that production is expected to shoot to 40 000 ounces after the
company completes the expansion of its Number 4 shaft.

"Notwithstanding frequent electricity outages, gold production increased to
an annualised rate of approximately 22 000 ounces per annum by July 2009, a
level not achieved since February 2007," Hayden said.

"Blanket's immediate focus is the completion of the Number 4 shaft expansion
programme, scheduled for completion by the fourth quarter of 2010 and which
will enable gold production to be increased progressively to an annualised
rate of approximately 40 000 ounces," he said.

Critics fear that President Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF - who wield greater
power in the unity government - could be plotting another chaotic seizure of
property in the style of farm seizures that destroyed Zimbabwe's farming
sector to leave the country facing acute food shortages. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe - State of Denial

Monday, April 12, 2010
17:19 Mecca time, 14:19 GMT
Has Zimbabwe fulfilled the hopes so many had at independence?

Thirty years after becoming a nation, and 30 years after Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF came to power, Zimbabwe does not appear to have fulfilled the hopes that so many had at independence.

A country which was meant to have buried the racism of white minority rule has once again become a place where some Zimbabweans are more equal than others. A land which once exported billions in agricultural products will, it seems, spend another year reliant on food aid.
The disputed 2008 election brought about a government of national unity in which ZANU PF, in theory, ceded some of its power to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

But this is a marriage of convenience which appears to have satisfied neither party.

ZANU PF feel they should not have to share power with a party they consider to be a puppet of the West, while the MDC are unable to exercise authority as an equal partner in government.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the head of the MDC, has been sworn in as prime minister, and the MDC have been given several other ministries, including finance, but ZANU PF refuses to swear in their choice for deputy agriculture minister, Roy Bennett, or to sack Gideon Gono, the former head of the Reserve Bank whom the MDC see as responsible for many of the country's current economic problems.

The fact that the MDC's demands fall on deaf ears says a great deal about where power still lies. ZANU PF retain control of the police, the army and the ministry of justice and no successful prosecutions have been brought against ZANU PF for the acts of violence perpetrated against the MDC. Conversely, MDC members, including many of its MPs, have found themselves the subject of a series of court cases for crimes as serious as high treason.

The explanations for this crisis are equally polarised.

The MDC says it is the result of 30 years of bad governance and kleptocracy. ZANU PF says it is the responsibility of the international community which has, it claims, isolated Zimbabwe economically in response to ZANU PF's policy of land reform.

Both ZANU PF and the MDC appear to be in a state of denial about the true condition of Zimbabwe at 30, and this cannot be the best way for the country to start its fourth decade as a nation.

The Rageh Omaar Report: Zimbabwe - State of Denial can be seen from Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 0300, 1400; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 1900; Sunday: 0300; Saturday: 0300; Sunday: 1900; Monday: 1400; Saturday: 0300; Sunday: 1900; Monday: 1400.


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CHRA Weekly City Watch 12 April

CHRA Weekly City Watch 12 April

Harare goes without water
Most areas in the city (including the city centre) experienced a long dry
spell during the weekend. Reports from the City of Harare indicate that
water supplies had to be temporarily discontinued so as to carry out
refurbishments at Morton Jeffrey water works. It is not yet clear when water
supplies will be resumed.
The Zambezi Flats in the Mabelreign area has been experiencing water
shortages since February 2010. Supplies are usually available during the
late night hours and the pressure of the water will be so low that residents
who live in the upper floors do not get water.
Pipe leakages along Fallon Road and Louis Road have negatively affected
water supplies in the area as the supplies are no longer constant. Residents
fear that if the pipes are not fixed, prolonged water cuts might resume in
the area.
 Harare Drive   has become a commercial   dumpsite and residents living in
Latimer and Abel Roads have said that the dumpsite is a health time bomb as
it has become breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Power   cuts   occur   on a daily   basis   for 2to 4 hours a day.
The Eviction Saga unfolds...
As Councilors put the blame on political rivals
The  councillors  for   Glen Norah  and  Highfields  denied  the
allegations of  evicting   people  from   council  houses  that   were
being  nailed   against  them. They dismissed   the stories as mere
political sabotage strategies   by their rivals.
Councillor Marange and seven other unnamed Councillors met with a few
residents in Glen Norah A on Friday the 26th Of March 2010 to clear the air
surrounding the issue. The Councillors maintained that they had not evicted
anyone and expressed shock at the allegations that their names were actually
appearing on the bills of the said houses. CHRA sought comment from
Councillor Masiye Kapare (Ward 7) who pointed out that the Director of
Housing and the Town Clerk are the ones who gave the green light for
Councillors to apply for houses from Council. He said that Councilors had
only made applications but they were not told that the houses were already
occupied, neither were they involved in the alterations of ownership and
subsequent evictions.
The Councillors have said that the whole fiasco is a calculated ploy by the
Minister of Local Government and his cronies at Town House to tarnish their
image and make them lose favour with the residents. They   also pointed out
that they are being victimized for carrying out investigations to expose the
unprocedural acquisition of large chunks of land by Minister Chombo and
business tycoon, Philip Chiyangwa.
Residents have however, castigated the Councilors for trying to acquire
houses for themselves when thousands of residents are still living in shacks
for lack of decent housing.

Residents accuse Council of unprofessionalism
The residents in Mutare have accused the Council of being unprofessional in
its conduct and engaging in corrupt activities. At a public meeting that was
conducted by CHRA on the 29th of March 2010 in the suburb of Sakubva,
residents pointed out that Council was demanding money for non existent
services.  It emerged that Council had actually evicted residents with
outstanding bills from Council houses. Some of the residents were actually
said to be living in the open.
There are also households in Sakubva that had their water disconnected for
unspecified reasons in November last year and they have not had water
supplies ever since. About 250 houses were disconnected. However, these
residents still receive water bills from the City Council and they are
actually paying the bills for fear of being evicted from their houses.
Residents who live at the Macgrecors Flats in Mutare also complained that
the Council is not crediting their monthly bill payments into their
accounts; a situation that has caused unnecessary inflation of their monthly
bills. Residents are in constant debt as a result. The Flats are also in bad
shape as the Council has not made any efforts to renovate or carry out
necessary maintenance.
The residents at the OTS area in Sakubva are receiving two bills for the
same services on a monthly basis. The bills are labelled A and B but they
indicate the same information although the amounts differ. Residents have
tried to seek clarification from Council on this issue but to no avail.
Efforts to get comments from the Town Clerk for Mutare City were fruitless.

Water supply
Residents in Rimuka are now relying on boreholes that were drilled by some
NGOs as the Town Council is finding it difficult to provide constant water
supplies to the area. However, residents have complained that even the water
from the boreholes is not safe to drink and there are fears of another
cholera outbreak.
One of the Councilors who were present at a public meeting that was
conducted by CHRA Kadoma said that the acute water shortages were a result
of a 24 meter electricity cable that was stolen. The cable supplied
transmitted electric power to Chloe Dam for pumping water into Kadoma Town.
The absence of the electricity cable has seriously compromised the Council's
capacity to pump water to residents. Reports from ZESA have revealed that
about US$33 000 is needed to purchase the cable but the power utility does
not have the money yet. Rio Tinto mining Company had pledged some money for
the purchase of the cable but nothing had been done at the time of the
ZANU PF youths have been harassing residents and forcing them to attend the
party's constitutional meetings. Residents have also said that the party had
selected people who are supposed to speak and make contributions during the
COPAC outreach meetings. Residents are being warned to support the Kariba
Draft and remain mum during the consultation meetings except for those that
have been selected by ZANU PF.

CHRA is the Secretariat of the National Residents Associations Consultative
Forum (NRACF). The Association is committed to advocating for good and
transparent local governance as well lobbying for quality and affordable
municipal services on a non partisan basis.


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