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Zimbabwe has no money for elections: minister

By Fanuel Jongwe (AFP) – 3 hours ago

HARARE — Cash-strapped Zimbabwe is appealing for foreign help to fund
presidential and parliamentary elections planned for later this year,
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday.

"It's self-evident that treasury does not have the capacity to fund
elections," Biti told parliament.

He said the country needed $132 million (100 million euros) for the
elections, which veteran President Robert Mugabe's party wants held as early
as June.

However Biti said the government would not borrow this money from local
firms as it did for a March referendum on a new constitution, which paved
the way for the polls to be held.

"This ministry of finance has no intention to emasculate the economy for
this event, which will happen on one day. As far as we are concerned the
international community must come to assist."

Biti said that, on top of an appeal for funding through the UN, the
government recently wrote to South Africa and Angola to ask for loans for
the elections.

South Africa's cabinet has approved a $100 million loan for budgetary
support following discussions in September last year, the minister said.

He admitted that "all is not well" with Zimbabwe's economy, which is
battling to recover from a decade-long downturn marked by galloping
inflation which at one point peaked at 231 million percent.

This has since stabilised with year-on-year inflation going down to 2.8
percent in March, according to the national statistics agency.

While the economy is growing -- at five percent last year -- public finances
remain in disarray.

In March the government collected a total of $241 million in revenue against
a target of $301 million. Exports since January stood at at $689 million
while imports for the same period totalled $1.7 billion.

"We are already under pressure. We are being suffocated even before we
include the elections of 2013," Biti said.

He said the government received no revenue from diamond mines in January and
February and only $5 million in March against a target of $15 million.

"If there was honesty from diamond revenue we would not be asking for money
from anyone for the elections," the minister said.

Long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's camp has accused Mugabe's
ZANU-PF of pocketing diamond revenues.

"We essentially raped the economy for the referendum," Biti said adding that
the funds borrowed for the elections could have been lent to companies to
increase production.

Some companies that had closed at the height of the economic woes reopened
following the formation of the power-sharing government, but production has
remained low.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold elections at the expiry of a power-sharing
government formed four years ago by Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

There is no agreement yet on the date of the elections. Mugabe wants them
before June 29, while Tsvangirai wants the elections later in the year to
allow for reforms to ensure a fair vote.

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South Africa approves $100 million Zimbabwe loan: Biti

Reuters | 15 April, 2013 15:33

South Africa has approved $100 million in budgetary support to cash-strapped
Zimbabwe, which is due to hold elections in the second half of the year,
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on the mend since President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to share power after disputed 2008
elections but is still suffering a hangover from a decade-long recession
widely blamed on Mugabe.

Last year, Biti said Harare had approached regional economic giant South
Africa and oil-rich Angola for $150 million amid a lack of aid from Western
donors who have imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle over
charges of human rights abuses.

"Pursuant to discussions in September 2012, I'm aware the South African
cabinet has made a decision and it's a positive decision," Biti told a news

South African officials could not be reached for comment.

Biti said he had also made an additional plea to South Africa and Angola to
fund elections expected later this year. The government borrowed $40 million
domestically to fund a March 16 constitutional referendum.

"It is self-evident that Treasury has no capacity to fund elections. We're
not going to borrow again for the elections," he said, repeating his call
for foreign funding for polls which have an initial budget of $132 million.

Zimbabwe has also appealed to the United Nations for election funding. A
visit by a U.N. team to assess Harare's needs has been delayed due to
squabbling in the unity government but is now expected to take place soon,
he added.

Biti said government revenues remained depressed while expenditure, mainly
wages, continued to exceed receipts.

A poor farming season and lower-than-expected diamond revenues from the
government's Marange fields continued to weigh on the budget, Biti said.

He added that Zimbabwe expected to harvest 900,000 tonnes of maize, the
staple food, this year, down from just over 1 million tonnes in 2012 because
of a mid-season drought.

Zimbabwe would import 150,000 tonnes of maize, mostly from Zambia and South
Africa, Biti said, but the bulk of purchases would be by private millers and
not the government.

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Blocked UN team set to return to Zim after NGO deal

By Violet Gonda
15 April 2013

A United Nations (UN) team that was due in Zimbabwe to assess requirements
for general elections, returned to the US empty handed after being stuck in
South Africa for almost a week. ZANU PF was not happy with the mission’s
request to conduct a needs assessment first before agreeing to help Zimbabwe
fundraise for the polls.

Both Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa had
written a letter to the UN appealing for financial assistance. But Chinamasa
is said to have gone behind Biti’s back and told the world body that
Zimbabwe will not accept assistance that came with conditions, such as
meeting civil society organizations.

Government sources told SW Radio Africa the mission will be invited back
after  Chinamasa, Biti and local UN officials agreed on a shortened version,
which means NGO groups were removed from the list of stakeholders the
mission wanted to meet.

Biti on Monday confirmed the UN mission had been blocked from coming to
Zimbabwe because “one section of government decided it was not in the best
interest of the UN to come to Zimbabwe.”

“So we had a situation where from Wednesday to today (Monday) the UN mission
was still stranded in Johannesburg. I believe they are now trying to make
their way to New York,” Biti told journalists.

Desperate to resolve the matter, the two ministers held emergency
negotiations on Sunday with the head of the UN in Zimbabwe and his deputy,
and amended the mission’s terms of reference.

“We eventually panel-beat an agreement in our ugly handwritings to allow the
mission to come,” added Biti.

Under the revised agreement the world body will not meet civil society
organizations but will meet a carefully selected list of people.

Besides meeting Biti and Chinamasa, the mission will meet several other
government ministers including Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Eric Matinenga, Minister of Regional Integration Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone and Kembo
Mohadi and the principals.

They will also meet the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the body that
controls the elections; the Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede and the
Fishmonger Group of ambassadors –also known as Friends of Zimbabwe and SADC

Biti said there was no agreement on the issue of civil society
participation. “So we have agreed that the issue should be resolved at
principal level and I hope that will be done as a matter of urgency.”

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition coordinator McDonald Lewanika said the
developments are unfortunate but typical of the government. He said civil
society organizations have been shut out of important national issues
before, such as the constitution making process and the events that led to
the formation of the coalition government.

Lewanika said they have channels that allow them to meet the UN mission
outside formal invitations by the state.

The Finance Minister said it will be very tragic if the UN mission fails to
conduct this needs assessment, as failure to fund the harmonized poll
adequately will compromise the quality of the election.

“And if we have to raid the economy again the long term effects of that will
be catastrophic,” warned Biti.

Western donors have urged Zimbabwe to also look for election funding from
the country’s own resources.

Biti revealed that Zimbabwe’s diamond exports were $800m last year but only
$45m went to the Treasury. He said the country should have received at least
$300m. “If there was honesty in diamond revenues we should not even be
asking for elections money from anyone – and that is a fact,” Biti added.

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Zanu-PF bars UN election team

April 13 2013 at 12:14pm
By Independent Foreign Service

Harare - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF has stopped a UN assessment team
from entering the country to investigate funding the crucial presidential
and parliamentary elections to be held soon.

The team, put together by the UN Development Programme, cooled its heels in
South Africa this week, unable to get clearance from Harare to travel there
to assess whether it could or should fund the polls.

The UN virtually runs elections which it funds.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who belongs to Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told the cabinet
repeatedly last year that Zimbabwe could not afford to fund its elections.

He and Zanu-PF Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa were then instructed by
the cabinet to ask the UN for funding, which they then applied for. The UN
said it would see whether it could raise money from donors for elections,
but would first have to assess the situation in Zimbabwe, including
investigating the quality of electoral infrastructure such as the voters’
roll and judging the political climate.

It said it would send a UN Electoral Needs Assessment Mission led by a
member of the UN Electoral Assistance Division, Tadjoudine Ali Diabacte, to
do the evaluation.

Zimbabwe’s next polls will be simultaneous presidential, parliamentary,
senate and local government elections which must be held before the end of

With just 10 weeks to go before Zimbabwe’s inclusive government expires,
Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed yesterday that the assessment team
had not been cleared to begin work in Zimbabwe.

“My understanding is that the UN assessment team is making all sorts of
demands, and as far as we are concerned we cannot meet their demands. I don’t
know what their demands were,” Gumbo said.

Douglas Mwonzora, an MDC spokesman, said Zanu-PF was in such disarray that
it was blocking entrance to the UN team to “buy time”.

“Zanu-PF does not seem to want elections in spite of all its bravado about
elections,” he said. “It wants to win by disagreeable means.”

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Biti slams lack of diamond remittances

By Alex Bell
15 April 2013

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has slammed the ongoing failure by mining firms
to remit the government’s share of diamond profits to the Treasury, which he
said is the leading cause of Zimbabwe’s current economic woes.

Speaking at a press conference in Harare on Monday, Biti said that so far
only a fraction of the expected diamond remittances for 2013 have been
funelled into the State coffers. He explained that there was no money
remitted from the diamond sector in January or February, and only about $5
million dollars was remitted in March, despite profits of over $100 million
being realised.

Last year, the government only saw $40 million from the sector, which is
only a fraction of the $300 million Biti had estimated the Treasury would
receive. He said this money, if it had been channeled to the Treasury as is
supposed to happen, the country would be able to fund its own elections.

“If Treasury was receiving cash from the sale of diamonds, we should not be
begging for cash from donors since we own about 50% shares in diamond mines.
The funds that are being realized from diamond sales should be channeled
towards the conducting of polls in the country but the problem is that there
hasn’t been transparency in the remitting of diamond proceeds,” Biti said.

He added: “This business where we don’t receive anything from the diamonds,
and where some people in Cabinet act as private shareholders in the
diamonds, it must stop.”

Biti went on to reiterate that the government does not have the money for
the polls this year, and insisted that international funding was needed. He
went on to state that South Africa has approved $100 million in budgetary
support to Zimbabwe.

Last year, Biti had approached South Africa and Angola for $150 million to
help shore up Zimbabwe’s meager finances. In November last year, South
African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the government had not made a
final decision on the request by Zimbabwe but the Treasury was considering
various possible forms of assistance.

On Monday, Biti told a news conference: “Pursuant to discussions in
September 2012, I’m aware the South African Cabinet has made a decision —
and it’s a positive decision.”

There was no official comment from South Africa on Monday.

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Allow people to vote with IDs’: Khumalo

By Jeffrey Muvundusi, Own Correspondent
Monday, 15 April 2013 10:38

BULAWAYO - Thabitha Khumalo, MDC MP for Bulawayo East constituency, has
proposed the use of national identity cards for voting in the forthcoming
elections, arguing the voters’ roll is too trashy to be trusted.

Khumalo, who was addressing journalists during a discussion forum on
elections at the Bulawayo Press Club on Friday, said voter registration in
Zimbabwe was still a mammoth task and was being used to deny citizens their
democratic right to choose their own leaders.

She alleged that though international laws, which Zimbabwe is a signatory
to, necessitate the registration of all eligible citizens as voters,
authorities in Zimbabwe have ensured that thousands fail to register.

Khumalo claimed that the voter registration exercise “is partisan,
non-transparent, biased and prejudiced”.

“We have people who are not registered and sadly voter registration is
taking place but it has proved a mammoth task.

“For instance, in my constituency I have tried to take people to where voter
registration is taking place and shockingly, the requirements keep
 changing,” she claimed.

Khumalo said she believed its time national IDs were seriously considered as
the only requirement for voting.

“We have proved beyond doubt that we can do it when we voted for the supreme
document of this country using our IDs,” she said referring to last month’s
constitutional referendum.

“Why then can’t we do it to choose our MPs? What is more powerful, the new
constitution or a Member of Parliament?

“It is the constitution so why not allow people to go and vote using their
IDs. For the record in 1980 we voted using the same method so why not now,”
asked Khumalo.

Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede has repeatedly rubbished claims such as
those peddled by Khumalo, claiming that the voters’ roll is one of the best
in the world.

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Zimbabwe has '5,500 landmines per kilometre'

15/04/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE has 5,500 unexploded landmines per kilometre, a UK-based
organisation dedicated to removing the debris of war has claimed.

Despite clearance conducted by the military demining squadron following the
1970s liberation war, Zimbabwe still has more than 200 square kilometres of
ground assessed to be impacted by landmines, according to HALO Trust.

“Zimbabwe has one of the densest minefields in the world, with about 5,500
landmines per kilometre,” HALO Trust’s Tom Dibb said in Harare during a
discussion on landmines as part of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs ‘Food for
Thought’ public lecture series.

“The proximity of the people to the minefields shows that it is inevitable
that there will be a trickle of accidents due to the need to grow crops and
herd cattle.”

Dibb said Rhodesian forces laid an extensive series of minefields along the
borders between Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), Zambia and Mozambique in an
attempt to prevent liberation fighters from moving in and out of the country
for training and supplies.

These belts of landmines are located on Zimbabwe’s northeast border with
Mozambique and extend 335km from Musengezi to Rwenya and traverse major
border towns including Mukumbura and Nyamapanda.

Efforts to demine the country’s border are supported by HALO Trust and the
Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA).The western border in the Victoria Falls region
was successfully demined by the Zimbabwe National Army.

Dibb, who managed mine clearance programmes in Chechnya and Afghanistan,
co-presented the April 2 public discussion session with two University of
Zimbabwe researchers, Trust Masiya of the Institute of Mining Research and
Professor Charles Nhachi of the College of Health Sciences.

The academics shared information about how mercury is used in gold mining
and the dangers of mercury in general, as part of a public awareness
programme for International Mine Action Day (April 4) facilitated by Jean
Phillipson of the U.S. Embassy.

The disparate topics are tied together by a common misconception that
landmines contain valuable “red mercury,” resulting in people tampering with
the explosive devices.

Dibb and his co-presenters demystified the popular belief that there is
mercury in landmines, stating that there is no mercury of any sort in

Landmines claimed the lives of over 20 people in Zimbabwe throughout 2012,
said Dibb.
Early this year, five people were killed in Zengeza, a suburb of
Chitungwiza, by a landmine explosion. Police speculated that it was in an
attempt to extract this mythical red mercury which is believed to fetch
value elsewhere.

Misinformation about the presence of valuable “red mercury” in landmines has
encouraged people to tamper with dangerous explosive ordnances.  While not
present in landmines, mercury, if not used correctly, can be harmful to
people and has environmental impacts.

“Exposure to mercury could cause adverse health effects,” said Professor
Nhachi. “It is toxic to plants and the soil as well. When it is in its
organic form, it easily penetrates membranes in the body.”

He said that renal lesions are one of the symptoms of exposure to mercury,
which injures the urinary system and can lead to death in the most extreme

Small-scale miners continue to use mercury – not the mythical red mercury –
to extract gold, a situation Masiya described as unfortunate given the
health and environmental consequences that come with improper use. There are
more than 400,000 people involved in artisanal small scale mining

“Small scale miners use mercury because they believe it is the most
effective way to mine gold. It is cheap and readily available; it costs
about $150-$200 per kilogram; and there are no permits for purchasing the
product,” Masiya said.

He said most small scale miners use their bare hands to separate mercury
from the gold and when smelting gold over an open fire, resulting in them
inhaling the toxic vapours.

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Besieged High Court Judge Hungwe referred to Mugabe

By Nomalanga Moyo
15 April 2013

High Court Judge Charles Hungwe looks set to be removed from the bench
following a probe into alleged misconduct led by Chief Justice Godfrey

According to state media, which have been leading the crusade against
Hungwe, Chidyausiku wrote to President Robert Mugabe last week recommending
the judge’s sacking.

“In the wake of this communication, President Mugabe is obliged to set up a
tribunal to probe Justice Hungwe’s conduct,” according to ZANU PF mouthpiece
the Herald on Monday.

Quoting unnamed sources, the paper reported that Hungwe faces three charges
relating to firstly, an alleged delay in “finalising a case pitting Old
Mutual chief executive Jonas Mushosho and a man who bought the latter’s
property, after losing the court record.”

The second charge pertains to an order he issued granting the release on
bail of prominent lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, following her arrest in March.
Hungwe was sharply criticised and accused of hearing the Mtetwa bail
application at night at his Darwendale farm, instead of in court.

Thirdly, Hungwe is being attack for granting search warrants to the Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the offices of some ZANU PF

Many within the human rights circles in Zimbabwe suspect that the probe
headed by the pro-Mugabe Chidyausiku is nothing more than a smokescreen to
enable ZANU PF to get rid of those judges deemed to be sympathetic to the

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Monday reiterated the
comments made earlier this month when they issued a statement calling for
the government to intervene to stop the persecution of the judge.

“This is not only a measure to protect the judicial officer concerned, but
also one that is vital to reassure the entire bench at every level, as well
as the legal profession in the public and private sector, that they will be
free to undertake their professional and constitutional duties without fear
or favour and not be victimised as a result of non-legal concerns and
motives,” the ZLHR said.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe through its President Lloyd Mhishi also
condemned the attacks on Justice Hungwe, adding that the media onslaught on
the judge had “mischievous intent”.

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Zim 'may be helping Moz crush Renamo'

2013-04-15 09:43

Harare – At least 100 Mozambican troops have graduated after completing
intensive training in Zimbabwe, amid reports that Mozambique is facing a
threat from former rebels, Renamo.

The Mozambican military troops graduated on Friday at the Zimbabwe Military
Academy in Gweru after receiving training at several military bases dotted
across the country.

The training course content included foot and arms drill, physical training,
section and platoon battle drills, battle procedure, low intensity
operations and conventional warfare.

Mozambique is faced with a threat from Renamo rebels who are training in
preparation for "war" after demanding a re-negotiation of the 1992 peace

Zimbabwe last week said it was closely monitoring the situation in
Mozambique following reports of growing signs of a civil war breaking out in
that country.

The Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant General Phillip Valerio
Sibanda who officiated at the graduation ceremony said the two countries
shared a strong military relationship that dated back to the days of "our
liberation" struggle and also during the Mozambican disturbances in the
early 1980s.

Strong bond

Zimbabwe deployed thousands of combat troops and heavy artillery to shore up
the Mozambican army during the armed conflict with Renamo.

The Commander of the Mozambican Navy Rear Admiral Lazaro Mienete thanked
Zimbabwe for training their officers and said efforts should be made to
continuously hold joint military training programmes.

"The officers you have trained and are graduating today have an important
role to play back home," he said.

"We share a strong bond with Zimbabwe and this relationship dates back to
the days of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle and Mozambican disturbances in
the 1980s."

Dormant since October 1992 when the government and Renamo signed a truce,
the animosities were rekindled last week when attacks on police and
civilians resurfaced in central Sofala province.

An escalation of violence in Mozambique would have a serious domino effect
on Zimbabwe's shaky economy.

The landlocked country is currently importing 90% of its fuel requirements
through Mozambique via the 287km Beira-Feruka oil pipeline. - CAJ News

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Kasukuwere threatens Tongaat over indigenisation

By Alex Bell
15 April 2013

South African sugar company Tongaat Hulett is facing even more pressure to
comply with the ZANU PF led indigenisation drive, with the Empowerment
Minister threatening to expel the company.

Saviour Kasukuwere last week said if Tongaat failed to comply with the
country’s indigenisation regulations by July this year, it would be barred
from operating in Zimbabwe.

“Tongaat Hulett is a major cause for concern. They don’t respect the laws of
the country and that is unfortunate. Come July, they will not be planting
cane in Zimbabwe, maybe they will be in Durban. Those who don’t want to
comply must pack and go. They are a big company, it is fair they respect the
laws of the land. We are not against their investment, but their bad
attitude,” he said.

He also went on to accuse the company of harbouring a regime change agenda
to oust ZANU PF.

“Any company defying us is saying ZANU PF must go to hell. Some companies
are doing it for political purposes. They have a regime change agenda. They
think the bid to remove ZANU PF from power will succeed. But there is no
regime change, if you think MDC will win, forget it. If you are thinking
there is an electoral upset for (President Robert) Mugabe, you are lost,”
Kasukuwere said.

Kasukuwere has for months led a threatening campaign against international
companies that have been slow to give in to the indigenisation exercise, and
the sugar company has been facing worsening threats. Last November,
Kasukuwere said an investigation had been launched and threatened the
company directors with jail time, for allegedly lying about the ownership
structure of its Zim subsidiaries Triangle and Hippo Valley.

There were also other threat last year. In a letter dated October 23rd and
addressed to Triangle, the Ministry of Indigenisation warned that it was
losing patience with the sugar company and, “should we not receive a proper
compliant plan within the prescribed period, ministry and government would
take it that shareholders of Triangle are not interested in continuing to do
business in the country.”

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Zim welcomes new Global Fund funding model

Monday, 15 April 2013 10:45
HARARE - It is known globally as the region most affected by HIV/ Aids yet
southern Africa has for decades suffered from underfunding with lesser
affected regions getting donor attention ahead of the more deserving region.

That is about to change.

Last month, the international health financier Global Fund announced a new
funding model which would see southern African countries, including
Zimbabwe, get a lion’s share.

The National Aids Council (Nac), a quasi-government body which coordinates
HIV response strategies, has applauded the new Global Fund model that has
for the first time reversed the situation.

Programmes under the new funding model are expected to run between 2014 and

Nac says changes to the funding structure will help mitigate HIV in the

“It was surprising that all along we were getting far less than East Africa,
whose HIV burden is much lighter than ours,” said Amon Mpofu, the Nac
monitoring and evaluation director.

“We are very happy that we have now been allocated much more, $300 million,
under the new funding model,” said Mpofu.

Under the old model, East Africa, which has a lower number of infections was
getting 24 percent southern Africa received 15 percent of the funds.

Zimbabwe has about 1, 2 million people with HIV but less than half of them
are on treatment.

Mpofu applauded the Global Fund for coming up with a less cumbersome process
of applying for grants unlike the former grant application process.

“Instead of calling for applications yearly, countries will now be required
to apply when there is a need. Funding proposals would be done with guidance
from the Global Fund to ensure every application meets the criteria,” Mpofu

The Global Fund last called for applications for funding under the “rounds
system” in 2012.

Out of the 34 million infected people globally, 23,5 million of them are in
Sub Saharan Africa. Figures show that 34 percent of those living with HIV in
Sub-Saharan Africa are in southern Africa.

“East and southern Africa remains the area most heavily affected by the HIV
epidemic. Out of the total number of people living with HIV worldwide in
2009, 34 percent reside in 10 countries of southern Africa,” according to a
UNAids report.

According to the World Health Organisation, the Global Fund has disbursed
almost $16,2 billion for HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis in the first 10
years since 2002.

No round was processed in 2013 as the Global Fund was in a transition phase.

Now Zimbabwe is one of the six countries in the world that has been invited
to apply as “early applicants” for funding for programmes under the new

The other five countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador,
Myanmar, Kazakhstan and the Philippines.

At least 47 carefully selected countries are targeted to receive grants from
the Global Fund through renewals, grant extensions and redesigned programmes
that can rapidly make use of funds in 2013.

Global Fund, which has provided $500 million plus to Zimbabwe since 2001,
finances, with other development partners, the bulk of funding for HIV
activities but officials admit it is hardly enough to achieve zero new

Due to inadequate funding, Zimbabwe has been forced to look at home-grown
solutions that are attracting the attention of other African countries such
as Uganda and has won more international funders.

With a paltry $30 million coming through national coffers through the Aids
Levy, taxed on the formally-employed, community-based groups are also a
large part of the matrix to beating HIV.

Nac launched the community initiatives in 2001, pooling a critical mass of
grassroots foot soldiers focused on behaviour change and home-based care.

Their efforts are making up for poor funding and hospital staff shortages
and today the country boasts of having achieved an incredible decline in
prevalence rates from 24,6 in 2004 and the current 15 percent. - Wendy

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MDC-T campaign targets one million Harare voters

By Tichaona Sibanda
15 April 2013

The MDC-T has kicked off its door-to-door campaign in Harare, where it is
targeting to recruit up to one million voters for this year’s make or break
presidential and parliamentary elections.

Party spokesman for Harare province Senator Obert Gutu told SW Radio Africa
on Monday the campaign that started on Saturday will cover all of the
metropolitan’s 24 political constituencies.

The MDC-T holds 23 out of the 24 constituencies. Only the Harare South
constituency was secured by ZANU PF’s Hubert Nyanhongo in the 2008 poll.
Gutu said they’re working flat out to ensure ZANU PF does not win any seat
in the province this time around.

“Our door-to-door campaign was jointly launched by Tendai Biti
(secretary-general) and Nelson Chamisa (national organising secretary) two
weeks ago at the Harare exhibition park,” Gutu said.

He continued: “So the campaign itself kicked off this weekend and from the
feedback I got, it has been a resounding success. This door-to-door campaign
is the most effective mass mobilisation and voter awareness exercise. For
instance in Harare East, the campaign covered 2500 households in 24 hours
and we will be doing this until election time,” Gutu said.

Metropolitan Harare is a stronghold of the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC and has
at least three million residents, by far the largest province in terms of

But turnout in past elections has been poor, forcing the MDC-T to devise new
ways of exciting young and new voters. With a few months before Election
Day, the MDC-T is spurring efforts to engage young and new voters even
before the mobile voter registration exercise starts.

Gutu said they are using a combination of social media, personal contact and
persuasion through door-to-door conversations to get young and new voters to
show up at the polls.

“Young people have the biggest stake in this election,” Gutu said, adding:
“If they don’t vote, their future will be in somebody else’s hands. If they
vote, the future will be in their hands.”

As the party intensifies its quest for votes countrywide, the police have
increased its crackdown on party officials.

Makoni South MP, Pishai Muchauraya has been ordered to report to the Harare
Law and Order section of the CID on Tuesday, while Charlton Hwende, a senior
official from Mashonaland West province has also been asked to report to the
Chegutu police law and order on Tuesday.

Hwende wrote on his Facebook page that he is being summoned to the police
for allegedly violating the draconian POSA legislation.

Muchauraya, the party spokesman for Manicaland told SW Radio Africa police
want to question him over the distribution of short wave radios in his

“Early this year I distributed radios to people in my constituency and that
was my democratic right to do so because they were being starved of
information in the rural constituency,” the Muchauraya said.

He added: “I didn’t break any law at all so I was quite surprised to receive
a phone call from the police in Harare inviting me for questioning over the

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Unity govt shows MDC can deliver: PM

14/04/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters in Chiredzi
that the MDC-T’s performance in the coalition government showed the party
was ready to take over power and turnaround the country’s fortunes.

The MDC-T’s top leadership addressed a series of rallies across the country
over the weekend as the party steps up its campaign for elections due later
this year.

In Chiredzi, Tsvangirai told supporters Saturday: “The four years we have
spent in the Government of National Unity (GNU) have been useful in soft
landing Zimbabwe’s crisis. These years in government have shown that we are
able to deliver.”

Tsvangirai agreed to join President Robert Mugabe and form a coalition
government after violent but inconclusive elections in 2008. The MDC-T
leader won the first round of the Presidential vote but pulled out of the
run-off, accusing his rival of brutalising his supporters.

The unity administration forced an end to years of world record inflation,
shepherding the country’s economy on a path to recovery and moved to prevent
the collapse of key social sectors such as education and health.

The MDC-T claims credit for the improvements and insists that it provides
the only hope of ending the country unemployment crisis and other problems.

“We encourage people to register and vote in the coming elections. We must
all mobilise to register and vote to complete the change,” said Tsvangirai.

“It is not Zanu PF that can solve our problems because they were the ones
who destroyed this economy. The MDC can create jobs, which can bring
investment and make the economy functional.”

Critics however, accuse the MDC-T leadership of dashing the hopes of
supporters by joining the government gravy train with Tsvangirai also
attracting unedifying headlines over his personal life.

But the premier assured supporters that Mugabe’s lengthy stay in power would
come to an end this year.
“We are here in Chiredzi to prepare for a new beginning. You will deliver
the victory and you have a job to make sure that the journey we started in
1999 will be achieved as you know that the vote was stolen from us in 2008,”
he said.

“At the congress in 2006, we agreed to pressurise Mugabe and Zanu PF to the
negotiating table. Our main objectives were a new constitution then a free
and fair election but there was a price to pay. Others were killed while
others were raped but we took the sacrifice.”

He also vowed to resist Mugabe’s bid to hold elections before the end of
June, insisting the Zanu PF leader lost the power to make unilateral
decisions when he appended his signature to the GPA deal in 2009.

“Mugabe and I will agree on the election date. Mugabe knows that he cannot
declare a date unilaterally,” Tsvangirai said.
The MDC formations favour a delay to between August and September to
facilitate the implementation of reforms they believe will help ensure a
credible vote.

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Eight people killed in a Byo accident


by Gladys Ncube

Eight people died in an accident 13 kilometres out of Bulawayo along the
Bulawayo-Gwanda highway when a Toyota Regius commuter omnibus vehicle burst
a rear tyre and plunged into a ditch.

The overloaded Toyota Regius vehicle was on its way from Gwanda when it got
involved in the fatal accident after a rear tyre burst near Kensington
suburb just outside the city. Seven people died on the spot while the eighth
person died on his way to hospital.

“What happened is that ,the driver lost control after a rear tyre burst
killing seven people on the spot. But for further details you can talk to
our national office I have forwarded everything there,” Bulawayo Police
Spokesperson Mandlenkosi Moyo told The Zimbabwean.

When The Zimbabwean visited the accident scene, police and fire brigade
officers were busy retrieving bodies from the vehicle wreckage while
ambulances were ferrying the injured to hospital.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans including some senior government leaders have
perished in road accidents that experts have largely blamed on the poor
state of roads and human error.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe Traffic Police show that road accident
fatalities have increases from 35 deaths per thousand accidents to 45 deaths
per thousand accidents.

According to the Ministry of Transport, 30 percent of the country’s roads
require rehabilitation, while the remainder needs periodic maintenance.

Zimbabwe introduced tollgates in August 2009 as a way of mobilising
resources for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the country’s road
network, but not much has been achieved so far.

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Tributes paid to ‘good local governance’ advocate

By Nomalanga Moyo
15 April 2013

Tributes have been paid to Farai Barnabas Mangodza, who will be remembered
by many for his work with the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA).

Mangodza passed away at Harare Hospital on Saturday after suffering a
stroke, and was laid to rest Monday at the capital city’s Warren Hills

He served as the chief executive officer at CHRA before leaving the
association in 2011 to pursue other interests.

CHRA chief Simbarashe Moyo, who worked with the late Mangodza from 2005 to
2011, said Zimbabweans had been robbed of “a workaholic who gave his all to
improve the lives of Harare residents.”

“He was a hard-worker who managed to put things in place. He was passionate
about improving the status of residents and not just those of Harare but
also nation-wide through his work with the Zimbabwe United Residents’
Association secretariat,” Moyo said.

He added: “So he will be remembered by those who knew him and worked with
him as someone who was committed to his work despite the obvious political
challenges associated with representing residents in a highly-politicised

In another tribute posted on the social networking site Facebook, former
colleague and director at Harare Residents’ Trust Precious Shumba expressed
his sadness on hearing the news of Mangodza’s death, adding that despite
their differences on certain issues, the deceased was a great advocate for
good local governance.

Shumba said: “I recall the great moments we shared as local government
development practitioners. The narration for the struggle for good local
government in Zimbabwe will be incomplete without mentioning Barnabas

He went on: “We were worlds apart in specific areas of our life, but I will
always remember your contribution in my life and the movement. He was a
thorough man in terms of documentation, and he wanted documents to be
straight to the point. I learnt to structure presentations in a logical and
conclusive way, developing my personality in a significant way.

“He would also reminisce on the days he wanted to be a Roman Catholic
Brother, kupikira hufata, and we would laugh about it,” Shumba added.

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Detectives Summon Lawmaker for Threatening Geoff Nyarota

Jonga Kandemiiri

WASHINGTON DC — Political parties and their candidates for the crucial
harmonised elections, whose dates are yet to be announced, have started
opening their campaign offices for making contacts with voters.

In the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, daggers have already been drawn in a number of
constituencies where candidates are seeking endorsement by party faithfuls
to stand on the party's ticket in the crucial election.

In Makoni South, for example, incumbent Pishai Muchauraya may battle it out
for the hearts and minds of the people in the MDC primaries with media guru
and former Daily News editor Geoffrey Nyarota and several others.

But before that, it looks like they may have to settle some cases in the
courts first, if things go that far.

Muchauraya tells Studio 7 he has been summoned by detectives from the Law
and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station for allegedly threatening
Nyarota with unspecified action.

Muchauraya said a Senior Assistant Inspector Run’anga called him Monday and
told him to present himself to the police Tuesday to answer charges related
to his alleged threats to Nyarota and several other issues.

Studio 7 reached out to Nyarota, who in his own words said: “Apa hapana
nyaya (this is a trivial issue).” He preferred not to comment any further.

As electioneering reaches fever pitch, many more such cases are expected to
crop up in other political parties.

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Zim’s first toll plaza set to rake in US$1,7m annually

Monday, 15 April 2013 00:00

Michael Chideme Reporter

The commissioning of Zimbabwe’s first toll plaza at Ntabazinduna, a few
kilometers outside Bulawayo

is a major step towards boosting revenue collection and enhancing
inter-regional trade between Zimbabwe and other Sadc countries. The toll
plaza, which is one of the eight to be built along the Plumtree- Mutare
highway is said to have the capacity to rake in US$140 000 a month and
roughly US$1,7 million a year. This will help assure the nation of good user
friendly roads through some guaranteed funds for rehabilitation.

Inadequate funding from treasury over the years had hampered efforts by the
government to rehabilitate all the country’s major road networks.
Zimbabwe, which has road network of 87 654km comprising of 8 194km of urban
roads, 61 000km rural and 18 460km of state highways, needs about US$2
billion to rehabilitate the entire road network and bring it to
international standards.

But the introduction of toll gates in the past few years as a strategic way
of generating funds to maintain the country’s roads has brought a glimmer of
hope to motorists and the haulage transport industry.

Road construction and engineering experts say funding of  road development
through toll plazas and Public Private Sector partnerships has provided the
country with an effective solution for the rehabilitation of roads.

Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas
Goche said good roads promote national trade and efficient transit traffic
flow between Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries.

The Plumtree-Mutare Highway, which links Zimbabwe with Botswana, Namibia and
South Africa to the west and Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania on the eastern
side is expected to be complete by March 2014.

The road which is being rehabilitated using a US$206 miilion-dollar facility
secured from the African Development Bank will also help link Zimbabwe with
the interior — Uganda, Tanzania and other countries in the Great Lakes

A 2009 World Bank report says if all African countries were to catch up with
the best infrastructure, per capita growth rate could increase by 2.2
The report dubbed “Infrastructure in Africa” indicates that poor
infrastructure services are a huge handicap to inter-Africa trade, reduce
businesses productivity by 40 percent and holds back the attainment of the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Good road infrastructure can bring numerous benefits that include
employment, boosting tourism, reducing vehicle maintenance costs and other
social and economic issues.
Improved roads also support and strengthen regional integration right from
sub-regional trade blocs to continental trade groupings.

Group Five chairperson Mrs Philisiwe Mthetwa says her company is promoting
the use of sustainable energy practices through the installation of toll
gates that use green energy.

“All measures have been taken to ensure a substantially reduced carbon
“We can confidently say that what we have here is one of the most energy
efficient designs for a toll plaza in the world,” she said.
“Furthermore, the road protocols have been largely aligned to the rest of
the Sadc region, thereby providing consistency of interpretation for cross
border travellers and encouraging safer driving habits.”

Last year, Sadc adopted the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan
Vision 2027, a 15-year blueprint that will guide the implementation of
cross-border infrastructure projects from 2013 to 2027.

The plan will serve as a key strategic framework to guide the implementation
of efficient, seamless and cost-effective transboundary infrastructure
networks in an integrated and co-ordinated manner in six sectors, namely
energy, transport, tourism, ICT and postal, meteorology and water.

The master plan will be implemented in three five-year phases — short term
(2012-2017), medium term (2017-2022) and long term (2022-2027).
With a good road infrastructure, Zimbabwe can enhance its business
opportunities by tapping into the huge Sadc market of 234 million people
which generates a GDP of US$760 billion per year.

Additionally, it can also enhance its access into the Common Market for
Eastern and Southern Africa, a free trade area with 20 member states
stretching from Zimbabwe to Libya.

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Mutasa floors Mnangagwa

Monday, 15 April 2013 11:31

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s loyalist Didymus Mutasa is walking with a
spring after outsmarting a wing within Zanu PF linked to Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa at the weekend.

Mutasa successfully pushed for the dissolution of the Zanu PF Manicaland
provincial executive, which Mutasa floors Mnangagwa was packed with
Mnangagwa loyalists.

Ousted chairperson, Mike Madiro was part of the infamous Tsholotsho coup
plot in 2004.

Officials have been tight-lipped about the closed door Manicaland meeting
which lasted 14 hours.

But sources said a resolution was adopted to dissolve the entire provincial
executive, giving Mutasa a chance to influence the appointment of an interim
committee packed with Mugabe and his own loyalists.

Apart from dismantling the provincial executive, Mutasa is plotting the
downfall of Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, who was a key figure in the
2004 Tsholotsho coup plot, the Daily News can reveal.

With elections around the corner and factionalism rearing its head, Mutasa
is emerging as a stumbling block to the factions, some which already doubt
Mugabe’s capacity to win elections at 89, insiders say.

There have been reports that there is a group of power hungry Zanu PF
politburo members, who are plotting Mugabe’s ouster even before elections
arguing that at 89, it will be difficult to sell him as a Zanu PF candidate.

Warring factions within Zanu PF are engaged in a fierce battle to succeed
Mugabe, with Mnangagwa and Vice President Joice Mujuru reportedly leading
the two largest factions.

Like Tsholotsho in 2004, Manicaland has of late become the epicentre of the
factionalism affecting Zanu PF.

This forced Mugabe, who badly needs the factions to rally behind his
candidature, to appoint a special probe team headed by party chairman Simon
Khaya Moyo, which convened the weekend meeting.

Moyo yesterday refused to divulge details of the meeting or the factional

“I don’t think it is worth talking to you,” he said, before hanging up.

Sources said Mutasa appeared to be losing the war going into the meeting
after party heavyweights such as Chinamasa, politburo women’s league boss
Oppah Muchinguri and ousted provincial chairman Madiro appeared to have
successfully plotted a revenge mission.

The camp had been angered by the way Madiro was suspended after being
accused of looting close to $1 million donated to the party by diamond
companies. Madiro was also recently in court accused of stealing beasts
donated for Mugabe’s birthday bash held at Sakubva Stadium last year.

According to reports, the camp met at Muchinguri’s house in Mutare and
drafted a petition for Mugabe’s attention lambasting Mutasa, resulting in
the Khaya Moyo-led probe.

“He (Mutasa) turned the tables at the meeting. You see, he is fashioning
himself as Mugabe’s defender against the factions,” said a source.

Madiro and Chinamasa were both part of the infamous Tsholotsho declaration
which in 2004 sought to manoeuvre Mnangagwa to the vice presidency post
ahead of Mugabe’s preferred candidate Mujuru.

Even though Mugabe punished people who were involved in the Tsholotsho
declaration, including serial political flip-flopper, Jonathan Moyo, the
ghost is back to haunt his party ahead of a crucial poll which may be held
in less than two months.

Zanu PF’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday dismissed talk of

“I only know of one team led by Khaya Moyo that went to Manicaland
investigating challenges in that province.  There is no issue of
factionalism in the party,” said Gumbo.

But sources say the Manicaland debacle is the latest kick in the teeth for
the Mnangagwa faction, which suffered a massive setback when the party
decided to dissolve grassroots structures widely known as district
coordinating committees which were loyal to the Defence minister.

As the secretary for administration, Mutasa is a powerful figure in Zanu PF
and has often used his weight to get his way.

Apart from thwarting the interests of the Tsholotsho cabal, Mutasa is also
seeking to check Chinamasa’s bid to fight for the Makoni Central
Constituency by pushing his close ally Basil Nyabadza for the post.

Nyabadza in 2009 resigned as provincial chairperson in protest after Mutasa
lost the battle for the party’s national chairmanship to Khaya Moyo.

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Water Rescue For Bulawayo

Mon, Apr 15th, 2013

Bulawayo, April 15, 2013 – The Department of International Development
(DFID) in joint efforts with World Vision has donated $5,5 m for emergency
water provision in the second major city of Bulawayo which faces a perennial
water shortage.

Head of the DFID in Zimbabwe, Jane Rintoul, said the UK is providing the
assistance over the next 12 months to increase the water sanitation services
in Bulawayo.

“We intend to support the most vulnerable, urban communities in response to
recent water shortages. We expect 140 000 people to benefit directly from
the services and the rest of the city to benefit indirectly,” said Rintoul.

The programme will also deliver improved levels of school sanitation,
through construction and repair of facilities in 73 schools where 80
elevated 10 000 litre tanks will be constructed.

DFID has plans to provide clean water and sanitation to over three million
people in Zimbabwe by 2015.

“I do not remember any other city that has suffered such a crisis,” Dr
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said this while launching the Bulawayo Emergency Water
Supply Augmentation Project at the Bulawayo City Council Offices last week.

“You have suffered but managed well. It is commendable that you stuck to
your principles to ensure equitable supply of water to all residents,” Dr
Nkomo said.

Nkomo has called for a water summit, which will be held during the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair on April 22, in which water experts around the
country will discuss a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s water woes
particularly in arid regions such as Matabeleland and Masvingo.

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As elections loom, Zimbabwe crumbles

April 15 2013 at 12:39pm
By Peta Thornycroft

Will Robert Mugabe be in power at independence celebrations in 2014? Maybe.
He will be 90 then.
“It’s another year. Just another year.” That was the reaction of academic,
publisher and raconteur Ibbo Mandaza answering a question about how he felt
about Zimbabwe’s 33rd anniversary of independence on Thursday.

“People are despondent, and there is no engagement with upcoming elections
except in the newspapers. People don’t even know when elections are going to
take place.”

He should know, as at the side of his attractive NGO in Harare is a
restaurant where many of the main political talkers, across the political
divide, gather at lunch. Mandaza and everyone else, including Zanu PF
seniors know that the pattern of Zimbabwe’s independence celebrations hardly
changes. President Robert Mugabe will make a long speech in English and
Shona. He will be frail but his voice will resonate when he recalls the
liberation struggle.

Since the inclusive government was established early in 2009 he has eased up
blasting usual enemies, the West, and of course, Morgan Tsvangirai, his
rival from the Movement of Democratic Change who these days is usually
sitting in the stadium quite close to him.

Then, the main event begins, a soccer match which is why many ordinary folk
turn up to independence day celebrations. The second day of the holiday is
armed forces day where there are parades and where the man of few words and
even fewer smiles, defence minster Emmerson Mnangagwa will make a speech.

He is so desperate to inherit the Zanu PF presidency from Mugabe, who for
some reason does not trust him, and seems to prefer vice president Joice

Mnangagwa, blamed for organising or being involved in the worst political
violence since independence, is a rich man and has been into alternative
gold markets for years. However unapproachable he may be, however feared,
some MDC seniors say that despite this he gets things done and keeps his

There will be little security sector reform before the elections, but the
entire Zanu PF hierarchy is old, like Mnangagwa whose influence and that of
the generals has waned. The powerful, right-wing generals who many believed
ran the country behind the scenes, and who many fear will control elections,
are no longer nearly as powerful as they were five years ago, not least
because they are now very much richer than they were.

But for the first time since independence Zimbabwe cannot afford to fund
elections which must take place before the end of September.

The maize harvest is only a third of what Zimbabwe needs so huge imports of
grain from Zambia are on their way. But many thousand new tobacco farmers on
formerly white-owned land are making cash as Chinese buyers boost the price
of Virginia leaf, sometimes hitting R40 per kilogram. This year’s production
will be about two thirds of productions prior to land invasions.

Despite the despondency on the streets Zimbabwe has begun to change even
though Zanu PF’s opponents, human rights organisations, MDC activists and
protesters are still regularly arrested and usually released before being

There is more media now than ever before, and there is less political
violence now than at any time since the Movement for Democratic Change burst
on to the scene in 1999, while some of those who fled in the last decade
have begun to return.

That, human rights defenders say, does not mean that there won’t be violence
in elections this year. Zanu PF is used to winning. It cannot conceive of
not being in power, but the inclusive government gave them a taste of
reduced power.

Main roads linking all main border posts are being rehabilitated and
Zimbabweans are paying for this via income from tolls which feeds the loan
from the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Mining has surged ahead particularly new, controversial investments into
alluvial diamonds in the eastern Zimbabwe and some recovery in the gold
sector. There is Indian interest in large deposits of low grade iron ore and
expansion and capital investment in platinum production is actually
increasing despite talk of indigenisation.

Zimbabweans have not found money to buy the 51 percent shares offered by all
large foreign companies to the government.

A few community trusts have been set up at some of the larger foreign-owned
mining companies and there are credible reports emerging that some of these
trusts are being looted by the network of people feasting on the
beaurocracies set up to process indigenisation.

Mugabe is likely to tell people on independence day that no Zimbabwean will
have to pay for the 51 percent of shares in mining companies because the
underground assets of those mines belongs to the country and therefore sets
off the share value.

But what Mugabe says is not law, and despite a largely pliant and
underqualified judiciary, the rulings emerging from the courts in the last
few years are more often rooted in the law. Diaspora, diamonds and divinity
dominate recovery in the property market in Harare, according to one of the
busier and most established estate agencies.

In the rest of the country few properties are being sold and there are
spectacular bargains around for brave investors.

Everything including the birth rate is shrinking and statistics point to
urban drift for the first time since independence, according to preliminary
figures of last year’s census which recorded a 1.1 percent population
increase to 12.9 million.

Will Mugabe be in power at independence celebrations in 2014? Maybe. He will
be 90 then.

He has long-lived genes from his late mother, and although he will struggle
to beat Tsvangirai in the presidential poll next year, he wants to die in

Sunday Independent

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Breaking the Silence
Picture of
Oppression, Fear, and Courage in Zimbabwe
By Alexandra Fuller
Photograph by Robin Hammond

There are at least two things to know about Zimbabweans. The first is that they have an immoderate attachment to their land, and no wonder. Anyone who has seen the spring-red blush of musasa woodland at the beginning of the rains, or felt the crackle-hot wind of a lowveld summer afternoon, or absorbed the scents of sweet potato and marigold as dusk settles over the bush will know that theirs is a soul-snagging land. Of course such an attachment to land comes at a price. For it, and over it, there will be wars and revolutions, and the inevitable loss of land by the vanquished or the politically unlucky will be so unendurable that the unmoored people will end up true ghosts, souls in search of soil.

The second thing to know about Zimbabweans is that they are a small but persistently noisy nation of storytellers and musicmakers. The Bhundu Boys were pop diva Madonna’s supporting act at Wembley Stadium in London in 1987. Thomas Mapfumo, the Lion of Zimbabwe, created a genre of protest music—chimurenga(uprising). Africa’s most prestigious literary award, the Caine Prize, has twice gone to Zimbabweans in its 13-year history (Brian Chikwava in 2004, NoViolet Bulawayo in 2011). Charles Mungoshi won two Pen International awards in 1976, and Dambudzo Marechera won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1979. Doris Lessing, who spent her formative years in the country, won the Nobel Prize in literature.

I am not now Zimbabwean, but for several years in the 1970s my British-born parents owned a farm on the eastern edge of what was then the rogue state of Rhodesia. They fought—my father as a conscripted soldier, my mother as a police volunteer—to keep the country white-run and avowedly out of the hands of communists. By any calculation, it was a questionable cause: Ian Smith, Rhodesia’s prime minister, campaigned in 1965 on a slogan of “A whiter, brighter Rhodesia,” and for the next decade and a half a decreasing minority of whites (just over 200,000 in the early ’60s to about 150,000 in 1980) tried to hold on to power in a country populated by a black majority that grew from about 3.5 million to more than 7 million during that period.

By late 1979 liberation forces were coming into Rhodesia from camps in neighboring Mozambique and Zambia faster than government troops could kill them. A peace was negotiated. The following February general elections were held and won by the Zimbabwe African National Union—Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Its leader became Zimbabwe’s first prime minister. Robert Gabriel Mugabe exuded an air of conciliatory magnanimity. My mother wasn’t buying it. My parents moved north to Malawi.

Working along fault lines well established by the white minority government before him—which is to say, ethnic, racial, and political—Mugabe went about further dividing his nation and securing absolute power for himself.

There are two main ethnic groups in Zimbabwe: the majority Shona and the minority Ndebele. Mugabe is Shona. In 1983 Mugabe deployed his North Korean-trained Five Brigade into the west of the country to preempt any Ndebele political opposition. Over the following five years, an estimated 20,000 Ndebele were massacred. “He understood and manipulated our weaknesses very well,” Wilfred Mhanda, a formerZANU-PF liberation commander who fought along with Mugabe, told me. “There is nothing more deadly than someone so profoundly insecure mimicking the aggression of his oppressors and becoming an oppressor in turn.”

Mugabe tolerated corruption in his cabinet, as long as it came with loyalty to him. The country’s economy was collapsing, and by the mid-1990s there were fuel shortages, civil servants were striking, and liberation war veterans began to demand the compensation they had been promised at independence. Then, in 1998, Mugabe sent troops into the Democratic Republic of the Congo to prop up the teetering regime of Laurent Kabila, at an eventual cost equivalent to a million U.S. dollars a day. Zimbabwe’s economic fate was sealed.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was launched in 1999, headed by a former labor union leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe countered the new political outspokenness this came with and the increasing dissatisfaction among his own supporters by allowing them to appropriate white-owned commercial farms without compensation. In 2000, with Mugabe’s explicit blessing, unemployed ZANU-PF supporters led by war veterans armed with axes and machetes invaded the farms, shouting, “Hondo! War!” Domestic food supplies plummeted. In 2005, after the MDC won several parliamentary seats, Mugabe retaliated with Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Clear the Filth). Across the country market stalls and homes belonging to the urban poor, who constituted much of ZANU-PF’s opposition, were razed. An estimated 700,000 people lost their homes or livelihoods, and more than 2 million were driven further into poverty.

Then, in a first round of elections held in 2008, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF finally lost to Tsvangirai’s MDC. Calling for a runoff election, supporters and officials of ZANU-PFwent on a vicious state-sponsored rampage. Hundreds of MDC supporters were killed and thousands injured, hundreds of women and girls were raped, and tens of thousands of people became internal refugees. “If you wanted to commit suicide in 2008, you just wore an MDC T-shirt,” I was told. By November of that year, Steve Hanke, an economics professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, had calculated Zimbabwe’s monthly inflation rate at 79.6 billion percent, second only to Hungary’s in 1946.

To avoid worse bloodletting and even more unimaginable economic collapse, Tsvangirai withdrew from the race, and Mugabe declared himself the winner. Thabo Mbeki, then president of South Africa and a bafflingly uncritical Mugabe supporter, persuaded the two men to negotiate a power-sharing agreement. Mugabe retained control of the mines, the army, and the police and intelligence services—in other words, everything that ensured his continued dominance. Tsvangirai inherited the ministries of finance, education, health, environment—in other words, everything that ensured he couldn’t run away with power.

A tenuous purgatory of waiting ensued—waiting for Mugabe’s grip on power to ease, waiting for Mugabe to die (he was born in 1924). But in spite of rumored puffy ankles—cancer was one of the whispered speculations—Mugabe appeared as robust as ever. In 2010 Foreign Policy magazine named Mugabe the second worst dictator in the world, after North Korea’s late leader Kim Jong Il. In 2012 the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization the Fund for Peace ranked Zimbabwe fifth in its annual Failed States Index.

Still, when I arrived in the country in mid-October 2012, things in the capital, Harare, seemed to be business as usual. An influx of diamond money—the 2006 discovery of diamonds in the east of the country has been called the biggest find of its kind—had lent a Botoxed sheen to the place: adoption of the U.S. dollar had simplified trade, new cars were on the roads, shops were full of South African imports, mansions mushroomed behind massive walls in the suburbs beyond State House.

But beneath the impression of regularity, disquiet remained. Ahead of tentatively scheduled elections in July 2013, ZANU-PF youth gangs were stirring in densely populated market centers; on international television ZANU-PF officials were blatantly threatening that they would not support a Tsvangirai win. At the same time headlines reported Tsvangirai’s domestic intrigues, culminating in his recent marriage to Elizabeth Macheka, daughter of a ZANU-PF central committee guru. His position as a robust alternative to Mugabe seemed in question.

Meanwhile personnel from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) were reportedly monitoring citizens’ activities everywhere. “Yes, there are people who say I should watch out,” Tafadzwa Muzondo, a 33-year-old Zimbabwean playwright told me. “But I have to do my duty. I am a citizen first. I am an artist second. And isn’t it better to say at the end of your life that you tried to make a difference?” Muzondo had suggested we meet behind the National Gallery in the Harare Gardens. It was a steamy morning, and thunderstorms threatened, but we stayed out in the open, the better to spot any government-sponsored eavesdroppers, although I didn’t see how a dried-up patch of lawn was going to do much to protect us against the CIO. But Muzondo had written a play that had provoked the government, and he was talking to a foreign writer, and to do either of those things in this place and at this time was to court trouble.

A concerned person can’t help but keep track: In the decade from 2001 to 2011 official oppression has forced at least 49 Zimbabwean journalists into exile, the fifth worst record in the world. Within Zimbabwe’s borders, scores of national and a few international human-rights activists, writers, and photographers have been intimidated or arrested, and one local cameraman, suspected of passing photographs of a beaten-up Morgan Tsvangirai to foreign media, was murdered in 2007. Since 2000 Tsvangirai has been arrested numerous times and once nearly beaten to death by Mugabe’s henchmen. In theory, freedom of speech is protected. In practice, a series of imaginatively broad laws attempt to ensure silence. Regardless of when or how Mugabe leaves power, it’s going to take his country a long time to recover from him.

“How do we intend to solve our violent history if we can’t talk about it?” Muzondo asked. “You combine my poverty with my fear, with my silence—life is not worth living. They might as well just do mass killing.” Zimbabweans are in the fearful position of watching themselves become the unspoken, the unheard—the mute, whose stories will be told only by foreign correspondents and Western aid workers. Once boasting the highest literacy rate in Africa—more than 90 percent—some predict that Zimbabwe’s literacy rate will fall to 75 percent by 2020.

“We know this. Without our voice, we have no choice,” Muzondo said. “Without choice, where are we? We’re forever stuck in violence.”

But Zimbabwean writers, artists, and playwrights haven’t given up yet. Robust, sometimes mordantly funny, politically controversial novels, art exhibitions, and plays appear faster than CIO agents can object to them. In the past eight years Muzondo has written half a dozen plays dealing with pressing social and political issues. His latest—No Voice, No Choice—was banned in August 2012 after an enthusiastically received run around the country. “People were coming up to us afterwards and saying, ‘We were scared of what would happen to us if someone noticed us watching your play, but then we noticed you were not scared of performing it. We felt more courageous because of your bravery.’”

The letter from the national authorities banning the play was Orwellian in its nonsensical doublespeak: “Please be advised that the Board of Censors read your Play Script and observed that the play is about discouraging youths participating in political violence … The play is inciteful and against the spirit of national healing.” I turned the letter over, as if shaking up its words would make it more coherent, to say nothing of rectifying the unintentional pun (inciteful/insightful). “Someone felt uncomfortable with the truth,” Muzondo said. “But that truth is this: We’re all in this together. Neighbors have assaulted neighbors. Now we have to sit down together and face what it is we’ve done to one another. The government doesn’t want us to have that conversation. But what if we did?”

This was never part of the political calculation. Eventually Zimbabweans might be brought together by their common bond of suffering and begin to insist on their own liberation. In fact, Mugabe seems to have deliberately turned so many ordinary Zimbabweans—soldiers and police officers, obviously, but also schoolboys ordered out of their classrooms to rape and torture—into perpetrators that there is now widespread fear a change of government might bring with it recrimination. “Victims of the political violence are afraid it will resurface with every election; perpetrators of the political violence are afraid it will end,” Rutendo Munengami, an advocate for victims of rape, told me. “Everyone knows who the culprits are; they are our neighbors and officials. They are not hard to find. Those people are afraid of a government who will call them to account.”

I met Munengami and fellow activist Margaret Mazvarira in the garden of a quiet Harare restaurant a few mornings after my meeting with Muzondo. The sun appeared to take up the whole sky, and musasa tree pods cracked, showering seeds on the barely rain-softened earth. The two women spoke over each other, finishing each other’s sentences, confirming the connecting braid of shared experience between them.

In the early hours of June 3, 2003, Munengami—whose husband was then an MDC councillor—was torn from her bed, her nursing nine-month-old son still in her arms. While soldiers looked on, Munengami told me, she was raped by a prominent ZANU-PF minister. Afterward, the minister drove her to a police station in Harare, where she and her son were dangled over a pit of acid while the soldiers decided whether or not to kill her. “They wanted to throw the baby to the ground,” Munengami said. “They shouted, ‘He will be the same as the father. He will want to give the country to the white man.’”

Mazvarira was abducted in 2000 from her home in Chivhu, a small town south of Harare, and raped by two ZANU-PF CIO officers after her 17-year-old daughter, an MDC organizer, was killed by a petrol bomb. Mazvarira contracted HIV from the assault. “They told me, ‘You and your daughter are Tsvangirai’s bitches.’” When Mazvarira went to the police station to report the attack, the officer in charge refused to hear her case. “The police are only ZANU-PF,” she said.

The two women are not placid about what happened to them, but what converted them from victims into activists is that they were never able to hold their attackers to account. “The government won’t help us. No one can help us. It is up to us, ourselves, now. That is where we are.” In 2009 Munengami launched Doors of Hope, a nonprofit organization that supports and speaks for victims of politically motivated rape. Doors of Hope now has 375 members from all over the country. “We are standing for women,” Munengami said. “Those so-called war vets raped so many women during the liberation struggle, but they don’t want to talk about it. So we are going to talk about it. Whether it’s 1975, or now, we don’t want this to continue. We have had enough. We are sick and tired of being quiet. Where has silence got us?”

In a nearby jacaranda tree, the call of a cape turtle dove echoed Zimbabwe’s eternal lament, “My mother is dead, my father is dead, all my relatives are dead.” From my recent travels across the country, I knew that organizations like Doors of Hope existed all over Zimbabwe. I had spoken to the director of Radio Dialogue, a small station in Bulawayo that had circumvented a ban on independent broadcasting by distributing cassettes and CDs to minibus drivers. I had spoken to survivors of political torture who had organized healing circles with their erstwhile attackers and were now running a nonprofit, Tree of Life, which had gone into scores of communities throughout the country holding workshops to help both victims and perpetrators recover from past political violence. I had spoken to the editors of Weaver Press in Harare, which still published brave, politically sensitive books, and I had picked up copies of poetry published by amaBooks in Bulawayo. I had spoken to artists and writers and doctors who were challenging the inevitability of a silent, violent future.

“I am like that tree,” Mazvarira said suddenly, pointing toward the jacaranda. “I’ve had my branches cut, but I am not dead. I am attached to this soil, and it feeds my roots.” She pushed her plate away. “Today I got to tell my story. I was heard. That is my rain.” She leaned forward with a smile of the kind that can come only when there is still hope in a nearly hopeless place. “So please tell your world not to turn the page on us yet. Tell them to keep hearing us. We are still speaking.”

Alexandra Fuller’s family memoir, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, appeared in 2011. That year Robin Hammond received the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award, which enabled him to spend five months in Zimbabwe last year.

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