The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Minister for National Healing arrested

15 April 2011

Lupane – Arrested Roman Catholic Priest, Marko Mkandla has been slapped with
four charges. The charges are contravening Section 25 of POSA (holding a
public meeting without police clearance), contravening section 31 of the
Criminal Law Codification Act (communicating false statements against the
state) and contravening Section 42 of the Criminal Law Codification Act
(causing offence to particular tribe). The Priest was arrested on Wednesday
after holding a church service to pray for peace in Zimbabwe. He will appear
in court on Tuesday.

Lupane – There are reports that, Minister in the Organ of National Healing
and Reconciliation, Moses Mzila Ndlovu has been arrested and is being
detained at Lupane Police Station. Mzila Ndlovu was arrested on his way to
Victoria Falls where three Co-Ministers of the Organ of National healing had
been invited to make a presentation on how far the Ministry has gone on the
process of national healing. Police set a roadblock at Lupane and laid an
ambush. He was arrested around 0700hrs.

Considering that the Minister’s arrest is the second clampdown after the
arrest of the Roman Catholic Priest on Wednesday as well as another
disruption of a meeting in Matobo, there are strong indications that the
Police under the instruction of ZANU PF (not the Inclusive Government) have
reportedly declared zero tolerance on national healing programmes. The ZANU
PF party has been dragging its feet on issues of national healing, dodging
meetings while Mzila Ndlovu has been the most active and vocal.

Bulawayo – In a related incident, the MDC has withdrawn itself from the
Independence Day celebrations following the arrest of Minister Moses Mzila
Ndlovu (co-Minister of the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation).
Bulawayo Province Party spokesperson, Edwin Ndlovu said his party had
committed to donating towards the celebrations but they now cannot support
the celebrations while a minister is arrested on constitutional duty, adding
that there is no independence to celebrate. Mzila Ndlovu is an ex ZIPRA
liberation war hero.

Bulawayo Agenda is a civil society organisation that conducts advocacy on
issues of democracy. It is committed to providing an apolitical platform for
people to express their views and debate on matters that affect their lives.
It has active chapters in Gweru, Gwanda, Plumtree, Victoria Falls, Matobo,
Hwange, Binga, Nkayi, Lupane and Tsholotsho.

Bulawayo Agenda Information

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NCA activist detained overnight for organizing meeting

By Tererai Karimakwenda
15 April, 2011

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has condemned the arrest on
Thursday of Claris Madhuku, described as a veteran NCA activist and director
of the Platform for Youth Development (PYD). Madhuku was meeting with
community leaders outside a church in Birchenough Bridge when the arrest
took place.

The police, abusing legislation that merely requires that they be notified
of any public meetings, charged him with “holding an illegal meeting not
sanctioned by the police”.
Blessing Vava of the NCA told SW Radio Africa that the police had been
notified of the meeting as is required by law. Some police had actually
attended the meeting, but decided to arrest Madhuku as it neared the end.

Vava said the activist was detained overnight at Chisumbanje Police Station.
He appeared in court Friday and was released on $50 bail. The case will be
heard in court on May 19th.
The arrest is part of ongoing illegal bans of public meetings by the police,
which has seen MDC rallies and civic group meetings disrupted around the
country. The police have also been applying the illegal bans to church

Madhuku was arrested at a PYD meeting aimed at resolving a land row between
Macdom Investments and local villagers. The company is claiming the land as
their own, although it has traditionally belonged to the Chisumbanje people
as their communal land.

A statement by the NCA said Macdom destroyed over 135 hectares of maize and
cotton belonging to Chisumbanje residents during the 2008-2009 season,
claiming they had offer letters signed by Mugabe and the deputy President
Joice Mujuru. More crops were destroyed during the 2009-2010 season.

The NCA said the Platform for Youth Development has been “working tirelessly
with the Chisumbanje community in assisting them to reclaim their land.


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ZDF Commander Chiwenga flown to China for treatment

By Tichaona Sibanda
15 April 2011

The Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), General Constantine
Chiwenga, 55, has been flown to China for medical treatment after he
recently fell ill in Harare.

The whisky loving four-star General, whose estranged wife Jocelyn is
apparently also ‘very sick’, had to be sent to Beijing after military
doctors raised the alarm at his sudden ill-health. SW Radio Africa is
reliably informed Chiwenga flew out to China on 7th April.

Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed to NewsDay on Thursday that
the former liberation war fighter was in China for medical attention,
saying; ‘Yes, I can confirm that Chiwenga went to China to seek medical
treatment. What I know is that he had gone for medical checkups, we all go
for medical checkups.’

Chiwenga is one of several members of the shadowy Joint Operations Command
(JOC) a grouping of service chiefs that has managed to keep Robert Mugabe in

JOC is usually under the nominal control of Mnangagwa but is in fact run by
Chiwenga, who has boasted that during his long military career, he has been
involved in 19 battles and has never lost one.

In the run-up to the 2008 harmonised elections Chiwenga, in what has now
become routine for the Junta, ruled out supporting anyone other than Mugabe
whom he said had sacrificed a lot for Zimbabwe. Chiwenga has been a faithful
Mugabe ally ever since he joined the liberation war in Mozambique in 1973.

He was born in 1956 in Hwedza and attended St Mary’s Mission in the area
together with Air Marshal Perence Shir. They left school at the same time in
Form 3, to join ZANLA in Mozambique.

His liberation war name was Dominic Chinenge and he rose through the ranks
to become a provincial commander for Masvingo/Gaza Province, operating
mainly in Chivi and Chiredzi. He was later promoted to the High Command in
1978 as the late Josiah Tungamirai’s deputy.

In 1981 Chiwenga joined the newly-formed Zimbabwe National Army as an
officer. In a 1982 failed suicide attempt he shot himself after failing a
promotions exam, but Mugabe promoted him anyway.

In 1994 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and made commander
of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). Upon the retirement of General Vitalis
Zvinavashe in 2004, he was promoted to the rank of General and Commander of
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

When ZANU PF’s controversial land reform got into full swing, Chiwenga was
one of the first to grab a white farm. In 2002, he and his wife Jocelyn
seized control of a major producer of flowers and vegetables near Harare.

According to court testimony Jocelyn told the owner, Roger Staunton, that
she had not tasted white blood since 1980 and that she needed just the
slightest excuse to kill someone. Both the Chiwenga’s are among those barred
from travelling to Europe and the United States.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Police Commissioner General, Augustine
Chihuri, has also not been in the best of health recently. Chihuri
reportedly suffers from hypertension and once collapsed just before the
start of a Joint Operations Command (JOC) meeting at State House.

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Zim fights SA ruling in favour of farmers

By Alex Bell
15 April 2011

The Zimbabwe’s government has this week resumed its fight to have three
South African court rulings, in favour of dispossessed farmers in Zimbabwe,

Last year, several properties and other assets belonging to the Zim
government were identified for auction, as possible compensation for South
African farmers who have lost land in Robert Mugabe’s land grab scheme.

A 2008 regional ruling, declaring Mugabe’s land ‘reform’ program as
‘unlawful’ has been ignored and legally dismissed in Zimbabwe, leaving
farmers with no choice but to seek justice elsewhere. Farmers then
approached the South Africa civil rights group, AfriForum, to have that same
ruling made by the human rights court of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), registered in South Africa.

The South African High Court last year ruled in favour of the farmers,
stating that the SADC Tribunal ruling, including a later order to pay costs
to the farmers, should be honoured.

But the attachment of the properties prompted Zimbabwe to launch its own
application to have the High Court decisions overturned, claiming diplomatic

Lawyers for the Zimbabwe government argued this week that a South African
court did not have jurisdiction to register the SADC rulings, on the basis
of ‘sovereignty’. The lawyer said it was “not appropriate” for the court to
have granted the order, and was ‘premature’ as Zimbabwe had raised the
question of jurisdiction with SADC.

In a shock move, SADC last year effectively suspended the Human Rights
Tribunal. This came after Zimbabwe’s refusal to honour the courts rulings,
but instead of criticizing Zimbabwe, SADC decided to review the role and
function of the Tribunal, effectively suspending all further cases.

The farmers’ legal representative, Jeremy Gauntlett, meanwhile described
Zimbabwe's application this week as “an out-of-time,

“They did not think their properties and aircraft were at risk. This
application is a misconceived tactic by a cynical and confused litigant,” he

The judge has reserved judgment in the case

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Zim minister denies attacks on Zuma

Apr 15, 2011 10:53 AM | By Sapa-AFP

Zimbabwe's foreign minister denied his government had attacked South African
President Jacob Zuma and the regional bloc SADC following unusually sharp
criticism of veteran ruler Robert Mugabe.

"Government has never and will never attack SADC," Foreign Minister
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said in the state-owned Herald newspaper on Friday,
after meeting with diplomats from the Southern African Development

"We are friends and allies. If there was an attack, it was not from
government but from somewhere. You know who speaks on behalf of government
or ZANU-PF. They have never said anything."

SADC's security organ called on Zimbabwe to end political violence and
respect basic freedoms, in a sharply worded communique from a March 31

"We will not brook any dictation from any source. We are a sovereign
country. Even our neighbours cannot dictate to us. We will resist that,"
Mugabe said the following day, according to the state news agency.

The state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper went a step further with a personal
attack on Zuma describing him as a "liability, not only to South Africa, but
also to the rest of the continent".

The two incidents sparked a war of words with Pretoria and prompted Harare
to dispatch an official on a damage-control mission to SADC states.

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Zimbabwe inflation eases to 2,7%

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Apr 15 2011 13:38

Zimbabwe's inflation eased in March to 2,7%, down from 3% in February,
thanks to lower prices for telecommunications and medicine, the government
said on Friday.

The Southern African country suffered a decade of runaway prices amid

The economy stabilised after the government abandoned the worthless local
currency in 2009, allowing trade in US dollars and other major foreign

The formation of a power-sharing government in 2009 by the main political
rivals, President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, has also brought
stability to the economy.

But foreign investors have maintained a wait-and-see stance amid concerns
over new equity regulations that seek to give locals majority stakes in
foreign-owned companies. -- AFP

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Southern African Regional Leaders to Bolster Mediation in Zimbabwe

Sources said the SADC troika comprising Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa
will develop terms of reference for the expanded mediation and facilitation
team including electoral and crisis resolution experts

Blessing Zulu | Washington  14 April 2011

The Southern African Development Community has taken steps to bolster South
African efforts to mediate a solution to the political impasse in Zimbabwe
with an additional team comprising electoral and conflict resolution
experts, diplomatic sources said Thursday.

The latest move by SADC follows a recent mini-summit in Livingstone, Zambia,
at which key regional leaders including South African President Jacob Zuma,
called for an end to mounting political violence, official intimidation and
state prosecutions. The communiqué was seen as a stinging rebuke to
President Robert Mugabe, whose ZANU-PF party, while in a power-sharing
government with the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change,
has been cracking down on its partners in government.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the MDC formation most often
targeted by the crackdown, and many others have long urged SADC to take a
more decisive role in the perennial crisis in Harare. In recent months,
clearly galvanized by the upheaval across North Africa and elsewhere, SADC
seems to have taken such admonitions to heart.

Members of the SADC troika on politics, defense and security agreed then
that besides assisting South African facilitators working under President
Jacob Zuma, SADC's official mediator in Harare, SADC will help Zimbabwe's
Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee oversee compliance with the
2008 Global Political Agreement.

Sources said the SADC troika comprising Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa
will develop terms of reference for the expanded mediation and facilitation
team, which is to present a progress report to a SADC summit on Zimbabwe in
Namibia on May 20.

The sources said officials in Harare initially rejected the additions to the
mediation team. President Mugabe and ZANU-PF hardliners have been pushing
for elections to be held this year, but SADC has made clear it wants to see
reforms before any ballot.

SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing
Zulu that the team has been assembled and modalities of operation are being
put in place.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga said SADC,
which has long been accused of being soft on Mr. Mugabe, is now showing that
it has teeth.

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Hundreds force-marched to Heroes Acre

By Chengetai Zvauya and Reagan Mashavave
Friday, 15 April 2011 17:27

HARARE - Hundreds of people were yesterday force-marched to attend the
burial of the late Central Intelligence Organisation, CIO, deputy
director-general, Menard Muzariri, at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

Muzariri died in Harare on Monday and the burial ceremony was officiated by
President Robert Mugabe, who as expected, resorted to attacking the West for
imposing restrictions on Zimbabwe.

Suspected Zanu PF youths forced vendors and people at Boka Tobacco Auction
Floors to attend Muzariri’s burial.

Business came to a standstill at the auction floors and vendors were the
most affected. Some farmers and hired truck drivers were also forced onto
buses and taken to the Heroes Acre, which has now lost its prestige after
Mugabe said only Zanu PF people will be buried on what is supposed to be a
national shrine.

Even after hundreds were forced to attend, soldiers and other military
personnel dominated the crowd.

Zanu PF uses cohesive means to draw people to their rallies and they did the
same when they held their anti-sanctions rally two months ago.
The party’s spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, denied that their youths forced
people to attend the burial.

“We don’t force people to attend these events, we have supporters
everywhere,” said Gumbo.

At Heroes Acre, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for
Democratic Change, MDC, boycotted the event, which they argue is now a Zanu
PF shrine. Bulawayo-based Zapu has also said they do not want their heroes
to be buried at the once glamorous Heroes Acre.

Also absent from the burial were First Lady, Grace Mugabe, police
commissioner-general Augustine Chuhuri and commander of defence forces,
Constantine Chiwenga.

The First Lady, who is recovering from hip complications, travelled to China
some three weeks ago for undisclosed “personal” business, while police
spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not aware why Chihuri had not

Speaking at the burial, Mugabe reiterated that the national shrine is only
for the burial of the liberation war fighters and Zanu PF stalwarts.

Zanu PF has maintained its autonomy on deciding who should be buried at the
national shrine. The Soviet-styled Politburo declared Muzariri a national
hero on Tuesday afternoon.

The 87-year-old leader also bemoaned factions in Zanu PF and party officials
who leak information, saying the CIO will always know and report back what
they would have leaked.

Mugabe also launched his usual mantra of castigating the European Union and
United States of America for imposing restrictions on him and his close
allies. He also blasted the EU and the US for discussing Zimbabwe in their

“We get alarmed when these countries have the audacity to schedule us as an
item to discuss in their parliaments,” Mugabe said, addressing mourners at
the Heroes Acre attended by mostly soldiers and military personnel.

Mugabe also lashed out at homosexuals, saying they are worse than dogs. He
said: “We don’t worry about unnatural things that happen there (Britain),
where they turn men to women and women into men. For us, it sounds very
strange. If they want to call it British Gaydom, it is up to them. It’s not
part of our culture … We condemn that filth.”

Mugabe also bemoaned tribalism that has resulted in some tribes getting
opportunities in Government and everywhere, while other tribes have been
marginalised. He called for unity of purpose.

Mugabe’s statement on tribe comes at a time when the Mthwakazi Liberation
Front, a political party in Matabeleland, has called for a separate Ndebele
state, after they complained that the region has been marginalised by the
Central Government for too long.

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Masvingo Villagers Homeless After Refusing To Sign Mugabe’s Anti-Sanctions Petition

15/04/2011 11:11:00

Masvingo, April 15, 2011 - About 10 villagers here were left homeless after
they were sacked from Kanongovere village by President Robert Mugabe’s
controversial cousin, Chief Serima who accused them of refusing to sign the
anti sanction petition.

The 10 have since been instructed to pack their bags and leave their village
which is under Chief Serimas jurisdiction after they appeared before his
traditional court (Dare) on Wednesday.

It is said the Chief summoned the families after rowdy Zanu (PF) youths
reported to him that some Movement for Democratic Change IMDC) supporters
had refused to sign the petition.

Tonderayi Maungwe, one of the victims, told Radio VOP he had come to
Masvingo urban to seek assistance from the MDC provincial headquarters
office. He said his family was leaving in the open.

“We were summoned to a Dare after we refused to sign the petition that was
brought to our homes by Zanu (PF) youths. The chief told us that he could
not leave with MDC supporters in his chieftainship so he ordered us to leave
and he sent violent men and youths to chuck us out of our homes” he said.

He said he feared for his children since winter was fast approaching.
Patrick Chimbuya who had accompanied Maungwe said some children had since
drooped from school.

The two men said they were seeking assistance on behalf of the other eight
families. They said MDC leaders in Masvingo had pledged to offer them
temporary shelter in the city while it takes their case to the courts.

MDC-T information officer Honest Makanyire confirmed the incident and said
his party was would assist the supporters.

“They told us their ordeal and the provincial leadership has since sought
some shelter at some safe house in town where the ten families would live
temporarily while we challenge Serima in court, said

This is not the first time Chief Serima has been caught in controversy. Last
year the Chief took MDCT legislator for Masvingo Urban, Tongai Matutu to
court accusing him of assaulting him In Gutu. Matutu was subsequently
convicted of the charges but appealed against both conviction and sentence.

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Zanu PF disowns Jonathan Moyo

By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Friday, 15 April 2011 10:21

HARARE - Zanu PF has finally come to terms with Sadc's growing displeasure
with Jonathan Moyo's savage attacks of the regional body and South African
President Jacob Zuma - with the party moving swiftly yesterday to publicly
disown the erratic politician.

Analysts canvassed by the Daily News last night said the long overdue move
showed that Sadc’s, as well as Zuma’s pressure on President Robert Mugabe
and his party was bearing fruit.

What was now required for real and sustained progress to be made, and for
the inclusive government to be saved was that the region keeps this pressure
on the party, they added.

Speaking to journalists soon after he held a fence-mending briefing for
regional diplomats in Harare yesterday, senior Zanu PF member and Minister
of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mbengegwi went out of his way to distance Zanu
PF and the government from Moyo’s vicious and personal attacks on Zuma and
the region.

“There was such an appreciation from the Sadc diplomats and we have made it
clear to them that this (Moyo’s vitriolic attacks) is neither the position
of government nor the position of the party (Zanu PF).”

“You know who speaks for the government and you also know who speaks for
Zanu PF. Those are individual statements and we can’t be made to accept
individual opinions,” he said.

Mbengengwi said contrary to Moyo’s rantings, Zanu PF and the government were
satisfied with Zuma’s facilitation.

Mbengegwi’s damage control briefings yesterday complement Mugabe’s recent
moves where he dispatched envoys to Sadc leaders to explain and apologise
for his attacks on the region - which has shielded him for a long time.

Constitutional law expert and political commentator Lovemore Madhuku said he
was not surprised that Zanu PF was disowning Moyo’s statements “because that
is what had already been said by George Charamba”.

A regional diplomat privy to the briefing said Mugabe had “seen the signs”
and was smart enough to realise that this was “the time to put his ego aside
and grovel to the region”.

“Frankly, it was either this public and embarrassing mea culpa, or it was
bust for him and his party. The sentiment in the region towards Mugabe and
Zanu PF has been decidedly negative in the recent past and this belated
apology, albeit long-winded, may just see them getting a bit more slack,” he

It was not immediately clear last night whether the South Africans, who have
been seething with anger ever since the attacks began, would accept
Mbengegwi’s explanations.

The Sadc troika on politics, defence and security meeting in Zambia two
weeks ago issued a communiqué issued after the summit lambasting Mugabe for
continuing human rights violations in Zimbabwe, as well as the selective
arresting of opponents.

An angry Mugabe returned to Harare after the rebuke and dismissed Sadc’s
position as biased, and without force or effect – a matter that was picked
up with relish by the loose cannon Moyo, a former virulent critic of Mugabe,
but now turned bootlicker-in-chief.

Moyo, who was recently readmitted in Zanu PF after spending time in the
wilderness, where he even formed a loose alliance with the Movement for
Democratic Change, MDC, is said to have divided the former ruling party’s
presidium - with Mugabe the only one in the top four tolerating him.

Mbengengwi said yesterday the Sadc diplomats had been “quite” happy about
both his briefing and political developments in the country.

“The diplomats are very happy with what we have done so far and we are also
happy about the efforts being done by President Zuma. Even the report that
was tabled to the Sadc troika in Livingstone is what we will go by,” he

Malawian ambassador to Zimbabwe Richard Phoya said the meeting was a welcome
development, adding that it was the only way the diplomats could get the
government’s position, especially after conflicting statements in the press
over the Sadc resolution.

“This is a very good development and we wish we could be seeing such
meetings taking place more often because they offer us a platform to get
from the government what is happening on the ground,” Phoya said.

“There have been a lot of different messages from the print media both
locally and internationally about Zimbabwe so we need to have these meetings
so often,” he added.

Still, Phoya bemoaned the level of political intolerance at grassroots level
in Zimbabwe.

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Detained activist fired by employer

By Lance Guma
15 April 2011

One of the six activists charged with treason, after attending a meeting
where video footage of protests in Egypt and Tunisia was screened, has been
fired from his job. More shockingly he has been fired from his job at a
workers union.

SW Radio Africa understands Eddson Chakuma has been dismissed as an
Organising Secretary, by the United Food and Allied Workers Union.

In February Chakuma, alongside Munyaradzi Gwisai, Antonetta Choto, Tatenda
Mombeyarara, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto, were among a group of over
54 people arrested after police violently disrupted a meeting in Harare that
was discussing protests in the Middle East and North Africa.

The six, singled out as the ring leaders, were only granted bail after more
than three weeks in police custody. The judge granted them US$2000 bail
each, with conditions to reside at their homes and report to the CID Law and
Order section three times a week.

For some strange reason Chakuma’s employers accused him of being ‘absent
from work without reasonable grounds’ even though he was incarcerated. He
also provided receipts from the payment of bail as evidence but still this
was ignored.

SW Radio Africa spoke to Chakuma, who confirmed the dismissal and said his
lawyer has since appealed. “I am looking forward to the hearing. But it
might turn out to be academic since the appeal would be held within my
employer's structures. But after that stage if they uphold the dismissal
decision then I will be appealing to Ministry of Labour, where an
independent person will look at the case.”

Chakuma believes he is being victimized by the executive running the union
because they over-stayed their positions without going to elections and he
had previously advised the branch structures to write letters of complaint.

Several other unions are already fighting in Chakuma’s corner. In a show of
solidarity Tom Bramble, a Senior Lecturer in Industrial Relations at the
University of Queensland in Australia, has written to Chakuma’s union
employers, telling them; “This action strikes me as very harsh and unjust -
how could he have been performing his union duties while he was held in

“I have been a trade union activist in both Britain and Australia for nearly
30 years and have never before heard such a case. Your union should be
lending Edson support, not dismissing him from his post. I do hope that you
reconsider your decision and act now to reinstate him,” Bramble added.

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Chombo to return disputed property

By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Friday, 15 April 2011 12:20

HARARE - Local government minister Ignatious Chombo will surrender the
controversial prime land in Helensvale, Harare, which he is accused by
Harare City Council of illegally acquiring through his company, Harvest Nest

Chombo together with businessman Phillip Chiyangwa were named in a special
investigations report on the theft of land from the city council.

The committee, headed by councillor Warship Dumba ruled that the two had
used their influence to acquire the land without following proper

Chombo and Chiyangwa denied the accusations, but the councillors reported
the matters to the police who have refused to investigate.

The property rich Chombo argued that his company had properly acquired the
stand in Helensvale, but investigations showed that not only was the land
meant for recreational purposes, but the minister actually instructed
council to sell it to his company for a paltry amount.

Chombo, who owns vast properties in local authorities around the country, is
now mysteriously giving up the land, probably after discovering that the
Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, had turned the heat on him and other
Zanu PF officials.

Chombo’s surrender of the property, comes as the Daily News understands that
President Robert Mugabe has challenged the MDC to bring evidence that police
commissioner general Augustine Chihuri is biased in his dealing with

It is understood that Chombo’s case is among many contained in a dossier
being prepared for Mugabe, in which they will argue that council and
councillors have made a number of reports to the police against the Minister
of Local government, but none has been investigated.

It could not be established if this prompted Chombo to give back the piece
of land.

According to a letter written by the secretary for local government recently
to town clerk Tendai Mahachi, Chombo is being moved away for “security”
reasons as the “stand falls within the security zone of the Presidential

“Pursuant to the above, the state through the Ministry of Local Government,
Rural and Urban Development is therefore requesting the city of Harare to
facilitate the transfer of the above mentioned piece of land from Harvest
Nest Enterprise(pvt) Ltd to the state as a matter of urgency,” reads the
letter to Mahachi signed by R.A Shawatu.

Chairman of the investigation team, Dumba however, said he suspected that
Chombo was feeling the heat and had found a way of returning the piece of
land before he is nailed.

“It’s obviously a way of saying I am surrendering the piece of land in
question. There are so many houses around the area and I am surprised that
only Stand 61 in Helensvale is a security threat. What is even puzzling is
that a letter to take land from Chombo is being written by a very junior
officer. I think Chombo must have been advised by someone to quit ownership
of the land before it is too late,” said Dumba.

Efforts to get a comment from Chombo were fruitless as his mobile phone went
unanswered. Chombo fired two of the councillors who carried out the probe.

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Arrested South Africans stranded in Zim

By Alex Bell
15 April 2011

Four South African men, hired to drive trucks for a former business
associate of Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace, are still stranded in Zimbabwe,
after their arrest in February.

The four men have been caught in the crossfire in a legal case between Grace
and their alleged employer, South African businessman Ping Sung Hsieh who is
fighting extradition to Zimbabwe. The men were arrested in February when
they tried to deliver four trucks to the Mugabe family, which formed part of
a US$1 million deal between the First Family and Sung Hsieh.

It’s understood that the deal dates back to 2007, when the Mugabe family
agreed to buy six haulage trucks from South Africa. The Reserve Bank
transferred the money to Sung Hsieh’s company in South Africa, but the
trucks were not delivered. Finally, in February this year, the businessman
sent the four drivers to deliver the trucks. But the South Africans were
arrested shortly after arriving in Harare and charged with fraud.

They were granted bail after two weeks in jail. But they are not allowed to
leave the country, either before their June trial or until their employer is
extradited to Zimbabwe. They are being kept in a ‘safe house’ with strict
conditions to report to police twice a day.

Sung Hsieh operates companies in South Africa and China and has done
business with the Mugabe family before. The businessman was reported to have
helped Grace and her ageing husband buy an opulent home in Honk Kong in
2008, where their daughter, Bona, is studying. He also used to have an
office in Harare and was a regular guest at Meikles hotel, according to the
UK’s Sunday Times newspaper.

Meanwhile, the wife of one of the South African drivers, Cassimjee Bilal,
has made a desperate plea for her husbands return home. 28 year old Nazmeera
Ebrahim has had to delay preparations for her heart transplant by two months
because of her husband's ongoing incarceration.

According to South Africa’s Times newspaper, the mother of two young
children is mostly confined to bed after her heart was damaged by
chemotherapy she underwent last year. She had been hospitalised in the
intensive care unit and is waiting for an emergency heart transplant. But
for that operation to happen, her husband must travel to Johannesburg
immediately to process and authorise the urgent medical procedure.

The four families have also written to South Africa’s Minister of
International Relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, asking her to intervene. A
spokesman for the department, quoted by the Times, said the Minister would
consider the request.

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Independence day in Zimbabwe?

15 April, 2011 01:55:00    by Pamenus Tuso, VOP Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE celebrates 31 years of independence from British rule on Monday,
amid a host of repressive and draconian laws which ironically have been used
to curtail the same freedom which sons and daughters of Zimbabwe died for
during the liberation struggle.

“The problem with independence celebrations is that over the years, they
have been highly politicised and monopolised by Zanu (PF) to a point
everyone now thinks the celebrations are a Zanu (PF) private function," said
Methuseli Moyo, ZAPU spokesperson. ZAPU’s armed wing, the Zimbabwe People’s
Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) waged the liberation struggle together with

"Independence day is a very important day in the calendar of our history
which should not abused by political parties to gain political mileage.
Everyone fought in a way or another for the liberation of this country,” he

Moyo pointed out that as long as Zanu (PF) continued to impose its agenda
and dominate proceedings at national events such as independence
celebrations it should not expect patriotic and progressive Zimbabweans to
attend the celebrations.

“At individual and organisational level ZAPU supporters commemorates and
respect Independence Day. Commemorating a national event does not mean force
marching people to a venue and start to verbally abuse and bash your
political competitors. ZAPU is worried about the language which is used at
these national events,” he added.

Tabitha Khumalo, the MDC-T deputy national spokesperson, said although her
party cherished and respected Independence Day commemorations, the problem
was that they were always hijacked by Zanu (PF) for its own political

“There is world of difference between commemorating and celebrating an
event. As MDC we have always commemorated Independence Day even before the
formation of the inclusive government. We have serious problems however with
the celebration functions where one party dominate proceedings. We are also
worried about the hate language that is sometimes used at these functions,”
said Khumalo

Khumalo’s concerns were also shared by Michel Krista, a Bulawayo based

“I cannot attend a function where I obviously know my colleagues are going
to be verbally bashed .If politicians want us to attend national events such
as independence celebrations, they should talk about the way forward rather
than resort to tarnish the image of a certain community” said Krista.

Most white people interviewed here by Radio VOP requested anonymity. They
said they were willing to participate in national events but indicated they
were also worried about the hate language used at these occasions.

“I think it is very unfair for leaders to try to cover up their shortfalls
by denouncing whites at political gatherings. Whites are also citizens of
this country who should not be used as scapegoats for government’s failures
“said one white man.

Whites and MDC officials have in the past received a vicious tongue lashing
from President Robert Mugabe for allegedly boycotting national events.

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Zimbabwe’s tough line on nationalisation

By Alec Russell in Harare

Published: April 15 2011 16:48 | Last updated: April 15 2011 16:48

The official in charge of implementing Robert Mugabe’s policy of
nationalising foreign-owned banks and mines has a penchant for colourful
put-downs, a deep belly laugh and little time for those who say he risks
destroying the tattered remnants of Zimbabwe’s economy.

As for suggestions that investors may pull out, his message is stark: good

“This is an imperative we cannot avoid,” says Saviour Kasukewere, minister
of indigenisation and empowerment, of the law recently gazetted in
parliament which calls for foreign-owned businesses to sell a 51 per cent
stake to a local partner. “They have been having it too good for too long.”

Zimbabwe will thrive, he says, even if mining companies in the platinum
fields, one of the few remaining successful sectors, leave. “If they think
by closing a mine they are affecting us, tough luck. Closing a mine doesn’t
change anything.”

It is just over two years since Zimbabwe introduced the US dollar as the
official currency, ending hyperinflation of 100,000 per cent and drawing a
line under a decade of economic implosion. Now however, economists fear the
fledgling recovery is at stake and the populism of the previous era may be

At the very least Mr Mugabe’s coalition partners from the former opposition
party the Movement for Democratic Change fear putative western investors may
throw up their hands in despair and give up on Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe today is totally different from two years ago,” says Welshman
Ncube, the minister for industry and commerce, who is from the smaller of
two wings of the MDC. “You can now plan a project and invest. We stopped the
free-fall. But investors want certainty. The problem with our indigenisation
law is that it’s up in the air. I can’t explain it fully to an investor and
we all know if you’re explaining, you are losing.”

For four years Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, which has been in government since
independence in 1980, has been threatening to follow its takeover of more
than 3,000 white-owned farms with a move on foreign-owned businesses. The
rhetoric has ebbed and flowed in accord with the political temperature.

Now, however, as Mr Mugabe limbers up for a potential new election this
year, his allies have seized on “indigenisation” as an election issue,
portraying it as an overdue move to overcome the injustices of the colonial

According to an emergency government gazette, every foreign-owned mining
company has to submit its “indigenisation” plan by May 9. It is not clear
how the 51 per cent stakes will be paid for. Analysts fear the process could
be open to abuse, recalling how the land reform led to some farms being
taken over by government cronies.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC prime minister, who is in an awkward partnership
with his old rival, says it is right to give Zimbabweans more of a stake in
business but that the 51 per cent target was a mistake. “We don’t support
grabbing property and seizing companies. We support a process of willing
seller, willing buyer.”

MDC officials insist they will seek to block the move in cabinet. Some in
Zanu-PF suggest privately that they will settle on a 26 per cent stake. But
Mr Kasukewere publicly has little time for the doubters. He highlights
recent signs of recovery in the agricultural sector, initially devastated by
the forced expropriation of most commercial farms.

British companies have to pay a price for Britain’s history as the old
colonial power and also for their role in steering international pressure on
Mr Mugabe, he says.

Mr Mugabe’s allies have been buoyed by investor interest from elsewhere.
Both he and Mr Tsvangirai hailed the sale of just over half of the state’s
89 per cent stake in Zisco, the ailing state steel giant, to a Mauritian
company, Essar Africa Holdings, the biggest privatisation since 1997.

“Brazil is coming, India is coming,” says Mr Kasukewere. “What we have a
problem with, is companies with a colonial ownership structure.”

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Zanu-pf’s damage control on SADC and Pres Zuma - too little, too late

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 15/04/11

Sadly, Zanu-pf has dismally failed an important test of credibility and
sincerity in its belated damage control on the recent attacks on Sadc and
South African President Jacob Zuma by its propagandist Jonathan Moyo and the
Sunday Mail.

Moves by the former ruling party to play down the attacks claiming the
individuals who criticized the facilitator did so in their personal
capacities are not convincing because the regime has not dissociated itself
from other similar attacks on local and foreign leaders by the same people
in the name of the party. A typical example is how the State-owned media and
the president’s spokesman as well as army of propagandists take turns to
pour scorn on MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zanu-pf’s damage control on SADC and President Jacob Zuma is insincere and
just too little too late. It is a regrettable climbdown after soul searching
and realizing how the regime has committed political suicide at the click of
the mouse – thanks to the internet and the party’s laisez- faire approach.

It is insulting public’s intelligence for the regime to try to split hairs
when the Supreme leader is the one who started it all and his followers were
only lending him a hand in his attacks on a fellow African leader and
regional body.

There is no way SADC and indeed President Jacob Zuma should have been
treated so badly by a regime that has lost friends through out the world
some of them still in the process of being deleted by grassroots jasmine

The admission by Zanu-pf Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi that there
were attacks but only that they were not coming from the government shows
the regime knows how much harm was caused.

With increasing international isolation regionally and overseas, Zimbabwe is
fast coming to terms with the limits of behaving like a pariah state and the
risks of treating other world leaders and their representatives with
contempt. One important point though is that no matter how much the regime
will try to pull wool on the public’s face, the damage has already been

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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A letter from the diaspora

Friday April 15th 2011

The sight of the former president of Ivory Coast pleading for mercy as he
was arrested by UN and French troops must have struck fear into dictators’
hearts everywhere, not least the Old Man in Harare. Apparently, Gbagbo had
sent an envoy to Zimbabwe back in January asking for Mugabe’s help. Whether
that request was granted – in troops or weapons – we don’t yet know. In a
typical act of childish spite, Robert Mugabe this week reportedly turned
down a UN offer to fund and supervise elections in Zimbabwe on the spurious
grounds that the UN had backed Alasanne Outtara, the (legitimate) winner of
the Ivory Coast elections who Zanu PF chose to label as the man backed by
the ‘western imperialists’. Yet, the one thing Mugabe really needs to
restore any kind of credibility is a free and fair election, not ‘Flee and
Fear’ as a cartoon in The Zimbabwean so cleverly put it! But violence is the
tried and tested Zanu way and up and down the country Mugabe’s goons
continue to inflict mindless violence on defenceless people.

The attack earlier this week by Riot Police on a Prayer Meeting at the
Church of the Nazarene in the suburb of Glen Norah exemplifies the ‘ruling’
party’s paranoid fear of all perceived dissent. The cops were armed with AK
47s, baton sticks and tear gas as they burst into the church where 500
people had gathered to pray for peace. There were clerics from all over the
country; it was in fact an almost exact replica of a similar bloody incident
back in 2007 when the activist Gift Tandare was killed. One can only imagine
the terror as people desperately tried to get away from the riot police’s
baton sticks and tear gas. Women with babies on their backs, older people
and children scrambled through windows as the blows continued to fall on
their innocent bodies. A total of 13 people were arrested, including
priests, bishops and church goers. They were all released after two days
but, significantly, the MDC Vice Chair for Harare Province, Shakespeare
Mukoyi was held for a further day. He had been very badly beaten whilst
still inside the church.

The truth is that if we thought Mugabe would moderate his behaviour in the
light of all the unrest in North Africa, we were sadly mistaken. It seems,
if anything to have made him more desperate to quell all opposition. But
even Mugabe must be concerned at what is happening in Swaziland; it is the
first sign of uprising in the Southern African region and Mugabe’s friend
King Mswati III is using strong-arm tactics to ensure it goes no further.
His police have fired rubber bullets, used water canons and tear gas to
disperse crowds of demonstrators. Reports speak of hundreds in gaol and the
King appears to have succeeded at least for now in quelling the potential
unrest. The writing is surely on the wall for African dictators but they
seem unable to grasp the simple truth that they are where they are by the
will of the people and they will be ousted by the will of the same people,
however long it may take.

Meanwhile, judging by the media coverage here in the UK, the rest of the
world remains unaware of what is going on in Africa south of the Sahara.
Laurent Gbagbo’s fall caught their attention for a day or two but now they
have returned to Libya and Gadaffi’s continuing resistance to all efforts to
unseat him. Gadaffi is, of course, another friend of Mugabe’s and the Old
Man in Harare is surely watching and learning perhaps how to stick it out to
the bitter end – for bitter it surely will be. As Zimbabwe approaches the
31st anniversary of Independence, we shall once again see the service chiefs
in all their finery, loaded down with medals, white-gloved hands smartly
saluting Robert Mugabe as their commander-in-chief. Interestingly, within
hours of Laurent Gbagbo’s arrest his chiefs of staff were lining up to swear
allegiance to Alassande Outarra. The top military chief, Phillipe Mangou,
who had only recently declared that his soldiers ‘would fight to the last
man’ to defend Gbagbo, climbed onto the podium and swore an oath of
allegiance to the new President of the Republic. Food for thought there!

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH. aka Pauline Henson author of the Dube
books, the last of which Sami’s Story is available on

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