by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Saturday 17 April 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe marks 30 years of independence this weekend but there will
be little to celebrate as the United Nations (UN) announced on Friday that
the country's humanitarian crisis is set to continue because of yet another
poor yield from the 2009/2010 agricultural season and donor fatigue.
Tomorrow President Robert Mugabe - Zimbabwe's sole ruler since independence
from Britain in 1980 - will preside over the celebrations in Harare.
Jamaican singer Sizzla Kalonji has been hired to perform Saturday night
ahead of Sunday's main event at the National Sports Stadium.
But for many Zimbabweans reeling under the decade-long economic collapse of
the former breadbasket of southern Africa, it will likely be just another
UN humanitarian coordinator in Zimbabwe Elizabeth Lwanga appealed to the
international world to assist the troubled country, saying last year's
appeal for $722 million for humanitarian aid - most of which was for food
assistance - had received "relatively successful response".
"Unfortunately, in 2010 we have so far been confronted with serious cuts in
funding. As of today, the CAP (Consolidated Appeal Process) is funded at 26
percent, an all-time low in the history of CAP in Zimbabwe," she said,
adding; "It is clear that humanitarian assistance is still urgently
Last year Mugabe formed a power-sharing government with his foe now Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, after a disputed election. The fragile coalition
has stabilised the economy but has failed to attract foreign funding to
support economic recovery due to power-sharing disputes between the two
leaders, with Mugabe being accused of resisting full implementation of the
global political agreement that gave birth to the unity administration.
A joint government and United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation
(FAO) crop assessment report released last month urged Harare to start
emergency food relief programmes to areas that have been affected by
drought, while 500 000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize should be set aside
annually to mitigate any food deficits.
The joint report follows projections that up to 11 percent or 200 000
hectares of this year's maize crop in the southern African country was a
Zimbabwe has grappled with severe food shortages over the past decade after
Mugabe disrupted the key agriculture sector through his chaotic and often
violent land reform programme.
The farm seizures reduced agricultural production by 60 percent resulting in
most Zimbabweans depending on food handouts from international food relief
But Mugabe denies that his land reforms - that he says were necessary to
ensure blacks also had access to arable land that they were denied by
previous white-led governments - triggered the food shortages blaming the
crisis on drought and economic sabotage by his Western enemies that he says
crippled the economy's capacity to produce key inputs such as seed and
fertilizers. - ZimOnline
April 17, 2010
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - As controversy on the new indigenisation laws continues, senior
Zanu-PF officials here have wasted no time in demanding shares in Bikita
Minerals - the country's sole producer of lithium.
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi is also fighting for shares in
Zanu-PF politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire, former Bikita West MP Retired
Colonel Claudius Makova and former Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi have
reportedly demanded shares in the company in return for protection of the
company from compulsory take-over.
Walter Mutsauri, Zanu-PF's losing candidate for Bikita East, is also
reported to have staked a claim.
Mavahire, who already sits on the board of Bikita Minerals, has demanded a
51 percent stake.
Mumbengegwi, Mutsauri and Makova are said have already approached the
company with the intention of being given shares as a "protection fees."
The politicians are claiming that ceding shares to them would avert the
compulsory take-over of the whole mine.
On Friday, Mavhaire confirmed he was interested in taking over the majority
stake in the company.
"I have been a board member of this company for years and I think the only
logical way is to empower me by giving me the shares," said Mavhaire.
"I have been involved in the administration and general operations at the
company and therefore giving me shares will not affect viablility if the
However, Mumbengegwi said the fact the Mavhaire was on the board of the
mineral company did not make him an automatic beneficiary.
"These people like Mavhaire are the ones we are saying should give us a
chance since they have been benefiting from government programmes since time
immemorial," said Mumbengegwi.
"We will make sure that even President Robert Mugabe intervenes because I
will not leave no stone unturned in making sure I benefit."
Although Makova, Mutasuri could not be reached form comment, sources said
they were also interested in acquiring stake in the giant lithium-producing
The government recently gazetted the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act
which compelss all foreign owned companies to cede 51 percent of their
shares to indigenous Zimbabweans.
However, the MDC and Zanu-PF - parties within the inclusive government -
have clashed over the content and implementation of the law.
President Robert Mugabe has already said that there is no going back on the
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for a revision of
the regulations, to ensure the law did not scare away potential investors.
Zimbabwean companies had until last Wednesday to submit their proposals on
how they would cede shares to locals.
Harare, April 17, 2010 - Phillip Chiyangwa, is not giving up on the land
grab scandal which was unearthed by the Harare City Council nailing him and
the Minister of Local Government and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo
illegally acquiring city land.
This time he has unleashed a lawsuit against Harare City Council and local
newspaper The Standard for a total of USD 900 million (R6,5 billion)
lawsuit for defamation over allegations that he illegally acquired city
Chiyangwa, who claims to be related to Mugabe President Robert Mugabe, is
accused in the explosive special council report together with Chombo for
conniving with top city council employees to steal prime land.
The businessman who is a former Rhodesian police officer is suing both in
his personal capacity and through his companies Kilima Investments and
In papers filed at the High Court on April 9, 2010, Chiyangwa says his
companies suffered damages for defamation in the sum of USD250 million and
revenue loss in the sum of another USD250 million. In his personal capacity
he says he suffered damages for loss of reputation and trauma in the sum of
"If you do not enter appearance to defend, the plaintiffs' claims will be
heard and dealt with by the High Court without further notice to you.
"The said words (of the report) in the context of the report, are wrongful
and defamatory of the plaintiffs in that they were intended and were
understood by readers of the report and the newspaper publications that the
plaintiffs are dishonest.
"Further, the content of the report is false and defamatory of the
plaintiffs in that it imputes, and was intended by the defendants to impute,
that the plaintiffs were involved in a fraudulent syndicate with city's
employees to steal the city's land," argues Chiyangwa in court papers
through his lawyer Farai Mutangamira.
As the see saw battle continues, council says police are so scared of
investigating Chombo and Chiyangwa over the land grab scandal, forcing them
to appeal to highly ranked police officers to intervene.
Council also wants senior employees - Psychology Chiwanga director of urban
planning services and Cosmas Zvikaramba the finance director- arrested for
conniving with Chiyangwa and Chombo to steal council land.
Council through acting mayor, Charity Bango reported the matter to police at
Harare Central Police but so far no arrests have been made.
(AFP) - 10 hours ago
HARARE - Rising food prices pushed Zimbabwe's annual inflation to 3.5
percent in March, a six-fold increase over the -0.7 percent rate posted the
previous month, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said.
"Prices as measured by the all-items Consumer Price Index increased by an
average 3.5 percent between March 2009 and March 2010," the CSO said in a
"The year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation prone to
transitory shocks stood at 1.23 percent in March while non-food inflation
stood at 4.55 percent," the CSO said.
On Thursday, finance minister Tendai Biti accused local businesses of
stoking inflation, saying speculative price increases were creating
"On analysis, the increase in the inflation figures have largely been
food-driven," he said.
"The inescapable conclusion in the absence of key fundamental inflation
drivers that are justifiable is speculation," he said.
Aid agencies say an estimated two million Zimbabweans are in need of food
aid after a crisis that saw record-setting hyperinflation wreak havoc on the
In January last year, the government decided to abandon the essentially
worthless local currency, allowing trade in US dollars or other foreign
That quickly stabilised the economy, ending a freefall that had spanned
nearly a decade and allowing some businesses to begin piecing together their
But the use of multiple currencies has brought erratic pricing practices as
businesses set their own exchange rates between US dollars, South African
rands and other currencies.
2 hrs 24 mins ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has admitted that teachers
earn "a mere pittance" and pledged to restore the quality of the country's
education system, state media said Saturday.
"To the teachers, it is with regret and apologies that your reward has been
nothing but a mere pittance, not worthy to be called salaries at all but
just allowances," The Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying.
"Quite a number of children have dropped out of school and it pains us
because we had developed our system to a level that it was admired by many
in Africa, if not the world," he added.
Mugabe was addressing teachers and pupils at the annual children's party he
hosts before the country celebrates independence day.
Sunday marks 30 years since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain, an
occasion that has sparked extensive commentary about the country's
deterioration during Mugabe's three-decade-long rule.
Zimbabwe was hailed as a model for Africa at independence in 1980, but is
struggling to escape a spectacular economic collapse that has ground the
country to a virtual halt.
The country's public education system, once considered the best on the
continent, has crumbled over the last decade, with up to 15 pupils sharing a
Government school teachers in Zimbabwe earn 165 dollars (122 euros) a month.
Around 20,000 teachers have left in search of better pay.
"Our standards have fallen," Mugabe said. "But, of course, there is always
room for improvement and the hopes that things will get better.
"Let's keep the spirit that shows there is always optimism on the part of
parents, children and government that we are moving ahead, that there is
progress not regression," he said.
April 17, 2010
By Our Correspondent
HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party on Friday described as
a colossal political scandal an invitation extended to Iranian leader
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
President Ahmadinejad is reported to be visiting Zimbabwe on April 23 to
open the country’s International Trade Fair in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second
The announcement was made after Iran’s new ambassador to Harare, Mohammad
Pournajaf, presented his credentials to President Robert Mugabe.
But the MDC on Friday described the decision as unilateral, saying Zanu-PF
had insulted Zimbabweans and Iranians by inviting the sabre-rattling despot.
“The MDC condemns the scandalous invitation of Ahmadinejad,” the MDC said in
a statement to the Daily News.
“His visit will definitely send a wrong message about the kind of company
that we keep at a time when the people of Africa and the rest of the world
have begun to see us as a nation working hard to restore democracy and good
The MDC said Ahmadinejad had perforated human rights credentials.
“He has made his reputation as a war-monger, a trampler of human rights, an
executioner of those with dissenting voices and a leader of questionable
legitimacy due to his controversial electoral victory in last year’s
Presidential election in June,” the MDC said.
“While we understand Mr Mugabe’s shared values with Ahmadinejad, whose
legitimacy is in tatters following the contestation of presidential results
by the Green Movement party led by Mir Hossein Mousavi, we call upon the
inclusive government to desist from associating our peace-loving country
The day after Ahmadinejad’s victory celebrations in June last year, amid
congratulations from the Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,
millions of demonstrators in Tehran and around the country protested at what
they saw as a stolen election. The Iranian leader rejected calls for a
The MDC said while Ahmadinejad will be wining and dining in Zimbabwe next
week, nine opposition activists in Iran will be facing death sentences for
merely contesting the outcome of last year’s presidential election results.
“As a party, we feel that a country is defined by its friends,” the MDC
said. “We want to place it on record that judging by his record, Ahmadinejad
is coming not as a friend of Zimbabwe, but an ally of those that
unilaterally invited him. Choice of friends defines character and inviting
the Iranian strongman to an investment forum is like inviting a mosquito to
cure malaria. Hobnobbing with dubious political leaders confirms stereotypes
that we are a banana republic.”
The MDC said it was concerned by widespread reports from Iran of arbitrary
killing of protestors and human rights defenders in order to crash dissent.
“We feel that Ahmadinejad is a personification of the kind of society that
we are moving away from ever since Zimbabwe’s train of hope left station
with formation of the inclusive government on 13 February 2009,” the MDC
“Ahmadinejad’s visit is not only an insult to the people of Zimbabwe, but an
affront to democracy and to the oppressed people of Iran.
“The visit puts a big dent on the country’s image and will no doubt send a
negative message to investors who will be wondering whether their investment
is safe with those who play host to human rights abusers.”
Mugabe enjoys good relations with Iran since embarking on a “Look East”
policy in retaliation to vilification of his government by the West
following disputed elections in 2002 and his decision to seize land from
ZITF is a major calendar event in Zimbabwe and showcases products from the
southern African country and other nations.
Masvingo, April 17, 2010 - More than 100 informal traders, mostly women,
were brutally beaten on Saturday morning for failing to contribute money
towards independence celebrations on Sunday.
A group of war veterans and Zanu PF youth were demanding at least US $ 2
from each trader.
Over 20 traders from Tanaiwa and Takawira flea markerts here were taken to
Masvingo General Hospital for treatment.
The traders had been ordered to pay the money by the end of last week, but
most failed to meet the deadline. Those who failed to submit their
contributions to Masvingo Informal Traders Association (MITA) president,
Gilbert Chikwata, were accused of being Movement for Democratic Change
"We were informed that we should donate the money, which will be used for
Independence, but because we make very little profits here, we argued that
donations must not be compulsory," said Amos Mugari. "Most of us lost our
wares. They took some clothes among other things to compensate the money
which they wanted."
Gilbert Chikwata, describing the assaults said: "No .it was not that brutal,
they were faking pain and going to hospital was a matter of magnifying the
degree of assault. They were only forced to either pay or give wares
equivalent to money. People should take Independence seriously and
contribute towards it well in advance to avoid embarrassment."
However, a trader said: "We have been donating but you would later discover
that those who come to collect the money use it for their own benefit."
Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector, Prosper
Mugauri, said the police was yet to establish what actually happened.
He, however, confirmed that some people who were assaulted filed a report at
Chikato police station.
"I do not have actual details of what happen I must get in touch with
Chikato police station first and get the facts," said Mugauri.
April 17, 2010
By Our Correspondent
MUTARE - The MDC has told its councillors linked to corruption here to
desist from unscrupulous practice and put the council in order within two
months or face serious consequences.
The MDC accuses its councillors under the Mutare City Council of neglecting
their duties and engaging in corrupt activities.
The MDC recently fired all its councillors from Chitungwiza on allegations
of corruption and mismanagement.
Tapiwa Mashakada, the MDC deputy secretary general, who is leading an MDC
anti-corruption team, was in Mutare two weeks ago to audit the performance
He issued an ultimatum to the councillors to put the council in order within
This was after residents had complained the councillors were involved in
corrupt activities which included the irregular allocation of stands among
The councillors were also accused of borrowing money from the treasury
department for personal use. They owe the council up to $24 644 in unpaid
Residents allege some councillors have had their lifestyles change from the
proverbial rags to riches overnight.
They also complained about poor service delivery.
Mashakada said his team would be back in the eastern border city in two
months to assess the situation.
"We are coming back in two months time and we want to see water flowing into
people's homes," Mashakada told journalists. "Although we appreciate that
money is hard to come by, service delivery like road maintenance should be
He said his team met the councillors and read to them the riot act.
"A lot is happening in Mutare," Mashakada said. "We discovered that some of
our councillors were illegally disposing stands allocated to them while some
of them were borrowing from council."
Mashakada said the MDC did not have anything to hide and was prepared to
expose any wrongdoing in councils under its control.
"We gathered that some of the councillors who benefited from stands were
swapping them for vehicles, and we ordered the practice to stop because such
actions are driven by greed," he said.
"We will not tolerate malpractice by our members and I think the councillors
now know what their duties are, and not to do as they like."
He said it was wrong for councillors to borrow money from the council
because they were not employees.
Harare, April 17, 2010 - Zimbabwe Prime Minister and former opposition
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said he painfully took the decision to enter into
a government of national unity with long time foe President Robert Mugabe
and his Zanu (PF) party simply because he had declared war on him and his
He said it was painful to take the decision to enter a coalition government
after winning an election.
"...we did not enter this coalition freely. I could have easily said let
them sort out their own mess but it was for the sake of the people," said
Tsvangirai, speaking in a special one-hour-long 30th Independence Day
programme broadcast on Doha-based Al Jazeera news on Friday.
"We know we won an election and what then transpired was that there was a
roll-out programme by the army to intimidate the voters on behalf of Zanu
(PF) and President Mugabe."
Tsvangirai, won the March 2008 election, albeit with a margin not good
enough for him to take over the reins of power and was forced to go into a
second round with Mugabe. He later pulled out due to un-precedented violence
on his supporters and party activists.
"For us it was declaration of war. We said no more we will not take part in
that war," said Tsvangirai who himself suffered several injuries during the
election campaign period.
According to the United Nations statistics on Zimbabwe 2008 electoral
violence, 190 MDC supporters were killed while 5000 others were left nursing
an assortment of serious injuries, with 10 000 others displaced from their
Zanu (PF) although it admits that the gory electoral violence was carried
out by its supporters, it still says it was an inter-party activity accusing
MDC of also unleashing its supporters. However, it is a known fact that Zanu
(PF) operated several torture bases where MDC supporters were abducted and
taken in for punishment.
Tsvangirai, said he did not make any political mistake by entering the unity
government, although nothing much had changed in terms of the political and
human rights situation in the country. Several of Tsvangirai's members of
parliamentarians, political activists, journalists and human rights
activists were still being harrased during the course of their duties.
"It was the right decision to take because the amount of violence was
totally unprecedented. What's the use of fighting for political power when
i'ts just a contestation of political power and not to seek the mandate of
the people. It's not worth the life of any Zimbabwean," said Tsvangirai.
by Own Correspondent Saturday 17 April 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's government will avail US$2.3 million to finance a long
delayed key exercise to consult citizens on a proposed new constitution
while the rest of the funding will come from aid agencies, the parliamentary
committee driving the reforms said on Friday.
Bickering among the three governing parties over funding for the
constitutional reforms and personnel to collate the people's views and ideas
during the public outreach programme - that requires US$18 million to be
rolled out - has seen the reforms miss several targets already.
Douglas Mwonzora, a joint-chairman of the Constitutional Parliamentary
Committee (COPAC), said the Finance Ministry will release part of the money
for the outreach programme which would now start at the end of the month.
"The government has said it will be releasing US$2.338 million with the rest
of the money coming from donors," Mwonzora said, adding; "We are looking
towards the end of April and first week of May to begin the outreach
programme. We have just finished training the 210 rapporteurs. The funding
will come through from UNDP, DFID, the Danish and the Dutch. The money will
be used to buy other things such as recording equipment, and finance the
process on a quarterly basis."
He said if COPAC's plans are not disrupted they should be able to complete
the outreach by September this year and a referendum will be held
"If we fail then the referendum will be held sometime maybe early next year
by February," Mwonzora said.
Zimbabwe requires a new constitution to level the political field and act as
bulwark against political violence that has marked the country's elections
since the 1999 emergency of the MDC as potent electoral threat to ZANU PF.
Under a September 2008 power-sharing deal that led to formation of the
country's unity government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai the country is supposed to craft a new
constitution paving the way for new elections.
But funding constraints and reports of alleged intimidation by soldiers and
supporters of Mugabe's ZANU PF party campaigning for the adoption of the
controversial Kariba draft constitution as the basis for the proposed new
charter have tainted the credibility of the reform exercise.
ZANU PF and the two MDC formations of Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur
Mutambara secretly authored the Kariba draft in 2007 but critics say the
document should be discarded because it leaves Mugabe's immense powers
Addressing Zimbabwe's senior editors last month, Mugabe said elections would
be held once the country's troubled constitutional reforms have been
completed - regardless of whether the reforms produce a new charter or flop.
But Tsvangirai this week appeared to contradict the veteran leader telling
villagers in rural Magunje district, about 250km north-west of Harare that
Zimbabwe will hold new elections only after the new constitution is in
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will strengthen the role of Parliament
and curtail the president's powers, as well as guarantee basic civil,
political and media freedoms. - ZimOnline
Published Date: 17 April 2010
By JANE FIELDS
A BUSY hospital in Zimbabwe is asking its patients to select their funeral
directors - before they are admitted.
In a shocking reflection of the dire state of Zimbabwe's healthcare system,
Thorngrove Hospital in Bulawayo is turning away patients who refuse to pick
a parlour before treatment.
A mother whose daughter was admitted with measles last month said
: "One of the conditions for my daughter to be admitted was that we should
indicate which funeral parlour to call when she dies.
"I was shocked because I sent her to the hospital so that she gets life,"
said Siphathisiwe Nyathi, 35. Ms Nyathi's daughter, Sithabiso, -a year six
primary-school pupil - later died, according to a report in the state-owned
Chronicle newspaper this week. "Her death has confused me," said Mrs Nyathi.
"I don't know whether she got adequate medical care or not."
Another mother said: "They told me my daughter would be sent home if I
didn't make a choice. I was terrified because it had not dawned on me she
could die," said mother Earthlen Munyeza.
Fortunately, daughter Monalisa survived the measles attack.
A nationwide outbreak of measles has seen patients flocking to hospitals
such as local authority run Thorngrove. Bulawayo residents claim that poorly
paid nurses are receiving kickbacks from funeral parlours if they find
business for them.
Ms Munyeza said she gave nurses at Thorngrove the name of a prominent local
funeral director "but the nurses said I should choose another parlour
because (her choice] was expensive".
Bulawayo's director of Health Services, Zanele Hwalima, said: "I am aware
this has been a practice for all patients admitted to Thorngrove Hospital
for many years.
"This certainly does not mean that they are all going to die in hospital and
you can attest that some patients are discharged home."
A decade-long political and economic crisis played havoc with Zimbabwe's
once-enviable health delivery system, as simple drugs like paracetamol were
in short supply. Lifts broke, corpses were carried up and down stairs
wrapped in tattered sheets and hospital mortuaries went without electricity
In rural hospitals expectant mothers were told to bring buckets of water
with them ready for delivery. Doctors left en masse, fed up with salaries
that could barely stretch to a loaf of bread per day.
When cholera broke out in late 2008 some patients were treated with drips
strung from tree branches. Four thousand died in the epidemic.
The formation in February 2009 of a power-sharing government between Robert
Mugabe and former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has seen the situation
in hospitals gradually improve.
But more cases this year of cholera, as well as typhoid and measles, show
Zimbabwe's health care system is still tightly stretched. At least 200 have
died of measles since last December. There have been 3,585 recorded
infections, most in children.
The outbreak began in eastern Manicaland province, among the white-robed
members of an Apostolic church sect that considers taking children for
vaccination or treatment a "sin". Authorities are now considering
legislation to force parents to take their children for immunisation.
Mutambara was invited by members of the Congressional Black Caucus to detail
progress in Harare that might warrant the normalization of ties including
the lifting of sanctions on President Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials
Blessing Zulu | Washington 16 April 2010
U.S.-Zimbabwean re-engagement continued this week with meetings between
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and Congress members in Washington.
Mutambara was invited by members of the Congressional Black Caucus to detail
progress in Harare that might warrant the normalization of ties including
the lifting of sanctions targeting President Robert Mugabe and about 200
other ZANU-PF officials.
Analysts say the U.S. administration is not likely to lift the sanctions any
time soon because the national unity government headed by Mr. Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change has
not fully implemented the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing.
Mutambara told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that he hopes his mission
will make a difference in easing tensions between Harare and Washington.
Three ministers of the inclusive government, meanwhile, were to head to
Brussels early next week for a similar mission to the European Community.
Headed by Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma, the delegation will meet
with EU Foreign Minister Cathy Ashton, Development Director Stefano
Manservisi, and Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, government sources
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, International Cooperation Minister
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, and Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary
Joey Bimha are the other members of the delegation.
Sources said ZANU-PF wanted Mr. Tsvangirai to lead the delegation and
personally urge EU officials to lift their sanctions, but Mr Tsvangirai
Mangoma said in an interview that Harare hopes the visit will strengthen
ties with Europe.
Zimbabwe has faced many problems since it shook off white colonial rule in
1980 including internal warfare between the two main liberation parties, an
often violent land reform exercise and a seemingly intractable political
Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington 16 April 2010
Zimbabweans across the political spectrum were gearing up for a weekend of
Independence Day observations culminating on Sunday with all parties
encouraging their supporters to join festivities in a nonpartisan spirit.
To depoliticize the Independence Day holiday, long a monopoly of President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, the national organizing committee has banned
political party regalia and slogans at the main event on Sunday at Harare's
National Sports Stadium.
Committee chairman and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo urged
Zimbabweans to "bury their political differences" at least for the day.
Political sources said both formations of the former opposition Movement for
Democratic Change will be represented Sunday as Mr. Mugabe gives the keynote
address. Though the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
declined to confirm whether he would be there, sources indicated this was
The Tsvangirai MDC issued a statement saying that Zimbabweans should unite
regardless of their political affiliations in celebrating 30 years of
Nonetheless, the party said that for many years the national holiday had
been tainted by politics.
Elsewhere, the activist group Restoration of Human Rights said Zimbabwe had
little to show after three decades of independence.
But spokesman Methuseli Moyo of the revived ZAPU liberation party - a
ZANU-PF rival at independence in 1980 but subsequently absorbed - said
Zimbabweans should focus on the nation's accomplishments as well as its
failures after the end of colonial rule.
"As a party that pioneered the struggle for independence, we urge our
supporters to cherish this historic day," Moyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Ntungamili Nkomo. "We still face problems as a nation, but independence
should unite people despite their political affiliation."
Political analyst Qhubani Moyo commended the political parties for resolving
to set politics aside for the day.
Zimbabwe has battled an array of problems since it shook off white colonial
rule, including conflict between ZANU-PF and ZAPU in Matabeleland in the
1980s in which thousands were massacred, an often violent land reform
exercise that most observers blame for a decade of economic decline, chronic
political crisis following the emergence of the MDC in 1999 to challenge
ZANU-PF supremacy, political violence, HIV/AIDS, cholera, hyperinflation and
The formation of a national unity government in February 2009 following the
traumatic 2008 elections offered hope that the country might emerge from
crisis, but the so-called inclusive government according to most analysts
has yet to live up to expectations.
April 16, 2010 National
Harare - Rangarirai Zvauya, the government lawyer allegedly framed by CIO
operative and (Zanu PF) politician Christopher Mutsvangwa has finally been
freed on bail after languishing at Chikurubi Prison farm for two months.
Harare Regional Magistrate William Bhila accepted defence lawyer Lucky Mauwa
of Mutezo and Partners' submission that Zvauya was a strong candidate for
acquittal by the High Court.
Zvauya was jailed for two years by another Harare magistrate after the court
convicted him on charges that he demanded a $400 bribe from Mutsvangwa,
which amounted to criminal abuse of office.
Bhila freed Zvauya on $100 bail with no reporting conditions.
Zvauya argued that the State's case was weak and was likely to fall apart in
the High Court after Mutsvangwa's wife Monica had failed to produce text
messages which she earlier claimed the lawyer had sent to her demanding a
The trap document used by the CID was also found to be defective as it was
dated October 2006 while Zvauya was arrested in November 2009.
It has also been established that Zvauya's brother, Chengetai, a
correspondent for the Associated Press news agency had not written any story
about Mutsvangwa's alleged involvement in a murder case.
Mutsvangwa had claimed that Chengetai Zvauya had written the story and
Rangarirai Zvauya approached him asking for a bribe to stop its publication.
The defence also argued that Mutsvangwa's statements were inconsistent and
that Monica, who was listed as a complainant had failed to give any evidence
of the lawyer's wrongdoing during the trial which concluded in January.
Zvauya claims that there was an element of entrapment. Mutsvangwa told the
court under cross-examination from another defence lawyer, Chris Mhike, that
he had used his CIO skills to trap Zvauya in order to prevent him from
interviewing his wife. After Monica invited Zvauya, who was a law officer in
the Attorney-General's office, to her home to interview her, Mutsvangwa
brought the CID to arrest him.
Apart from Mutsvangwa, no-one else claimed to have heard Zvauya asking for a
bribe, the court heard.
Bhila concluded that on the basis of those arguments, Zvauya would be a
successful candidate for acquittal when the case was heard in the High Court
at a date yet to set.
Zvauya argues that he was framed to prevent details of a murder case
allegedly involving Mutsvangwa from becoming public. Mutsvangwa was
reportedly involved in an illegal diamond deal. He failed to pay Costa
Mateta and several other people who had given him diamonds. Mateta and his
associates then went to Mutsvangwa's Highlands home and seized cash and
goods in the presence of Monica.
Mutsvangwa is reported to have ordered the CID to arrest Mateta and his
partners. The Homicide Squad detectives are said to have taken Mateta and
two others to Granville Cemetery on the outskirts of Harare, where they
brutally tortured them and shot them to death.
Mateta's wife Saliwe Nduna sued the CID for the murder of her husband.
Zvauya's job was to represent the State's interest in the case.
However, during his investigations, he stumbled upon evidence incriminating
Mutsvangwa in the illegal diamond deals and the subsequent killings. Zvauya
was due to gather information from Monica about the case when he was
Meanwhile Nduna is still pursuing her case. She is represented by Zviko
Chadambuka of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). ZLHR has accused
Zanu (PF) functionaries in the government of harassing State lawyers who
sought to do their jobs professionally.
Several State lawyers involved in high-profile cases to do with human rights
violations have been arrested or harassed
Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Friday, 16 April 2010 11:13
HARARE - Zanu (PF) youth militia yielding iron bars and machetes descended
on Dandare Primary School in Murewa and frog marched the school's
headmaster, John Chananda, out of the building after accusing him of being
an agent of the MDC-T.
According to the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) the
School head has since left the school as he fears for his life.
"Zanu (PF) youths are on the loose in Murewa and the police are doing
nothing about it even though reports have been made. We went to the police
and we were assured by the Officer in Charge, Mwatsike Simbe, that the
police were going to investigate the matter, but they seem to be reluctant
to open up dockets against Zanu (PF) activists," said Philip Pasirayi, CCDZA
This Christian Aid audio-slideshow features some of those who contributed their stories.
With support from Christian Aid, the booklet is being distributed nationwide through SCMZ groups in schools, colleges and universities to its 5,000 members.
April 17, 2010
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander says the absence of
private broadcast media in Zimbabwe has affected the smooth distribution of
humanitarian assistance in a country still facing massive starvation,
disease and the shortage of clean water.
"Zimbabwe is now lagging behind most African countries when it comes to
promoting a free flow of information and communication in humanitarian and
development work," Rylander said Friday.
"Vital instruments such as community based radios are still not allowed to
operate freely. It is my strong hope that some quick and constructive
catching work can be done by the new Media Commission and the Government of
national unity. "
Rylander was officially presenting US$5,5 assistance to Zimbabwe , a
response by his country under the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) made on
behalf of the country for 2010.
CAP is a tool used to jointly plan coordinate, implement and monitor
humanitarian activities by organizations that participate under the auspices
of the United Nations system.
In his address, the Swedish diplomat was quick to acknowledge that the
country's humanitarian situation had significantly improved.
"At the same time," he added, "the margins are narrow and the situation
"It is predicted that Zimbabwe may face food insecurity following the
protracted dry spell and poor rainfall this year."
Speaking at the same occasion, which was held at government's Munhumutapa
offices, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khuphe said a third of the country
was affected by the dry spell which has reduced crop yields in the country.
"The dry spell has raised concerns as it may affect food security," she
"Despite the support that was extended to farmers through inputs,
preliminary crop assessments show that the country is headed for another
Khuphe, who was officially accepting the donation from the Swedish
government, also implored the rich countries to go beyond just offering
humanitarian assistance by extending support to sustainable development
programmes in Zimbabwe .
Western countries are adamant they will not release their tax payers' money
to Zimbabwe if the latter does not fully implement terms of the Global
Since the formation of the unity government by President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties, political power is still firmly in the
hands of the veteran leader.
The CAP was co-launched by the United Nations (UN) Under Secretary General
for Humanitarian Affairs, Cathrine Bragg and Misihairabwi-Mushonga in early
The total funding request for CAP 2010 was US$379 million.
As of 13 April 2010, CAP funding to Zimbabwe was at US$105 million which
represented 28 percent of required funding.
The agricultural sector was the cluster that had the highest appeal of $107
million followed by health which had US$64 million, food (US$59 million)
while an appeal of US$46 million was made under the water sanitation and
Other clusters include Education, multi-sector, protection, nutrition; early
recovery; and coordination and support services.
The targeted beneficiaries included 1,9 million people who are food
insecure, 6 million people with no access to basic water sanitation and
hygiene services, 1,2 million people living with HIV and Aids, 1,6 million
orphans and vulnerable children including 100 000 child headed households as
well as 650 000 communal farmers.
Sweden has also contributed US$30 million towards CAP in Zimbabwe between
2006 and 2009.
It also contributed US$4,8 million towards non-CAP projects in Zimbabwe
between 2006 and 2009.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The Harare International Festival of the Arts is now so firmly entrenched in
the city's cultural calendar that thousands plan for months, saving up the
money for the tickets and booking their leave for late April so that they
can, for a week, live, eat and dream the widest range of cultural
Hifa was born, grew up and came of age, through the vision and efforts of
And thanks to the backing of local business, cultural attaches at diplomatic
missions and some sheer hard slog by many Zimbabweans, it has been a
Founded in the genteel 1990s, it has managed to survive the horrors of the
great inflation and now seeks to become ever richer.
Each year there is a theme, which sets the tone for the several activities.
This year's theme is "About Face".
The experience of this festival over its many years is as diverse and varied
as the people. HIFA brings together Zimbabweans from all groups in a
cosmopolitan society comprising so many different ethnicities, spiritual
beliefs, languages, backgrounds and economic circumstances.
The opinions reflect just as much diversity as the many varying appearances,
as the places we grew up, whether rural village or urban high rise, low or
high-density suburb, city or small town, here in Zimbabwe or elsewhere, as
the education we were lucky enough to enjoy - or not.
But regardless of differences, there is a whole lot in common too! The
Zimbabwean collective psyche has some very distinct, recognisable, likable
and laudable traits - traits that are much commented upon by visitors to our
country both as sight-seeing tourists and at HIFA itself. These
characteristics lead many visiting artistes to HIFA to say: "Please, please,
let me come back again!" What are they?
We know how to have fun, for a start! Where better to put this into practice
than at HIFA?
For the most part, Zimbabweans are able to let go of their worries, not take
themselves too seriously, and make the very most of every good opportunity
for total enjoyment that comes their way, into which HIFA most certainly
Our collective ability to laugh at ourselves, see the humour in all
situations, however dire, and share a smile, have led to our reputation as
one of the friendliest nations on earth.
Our culture of always greeting one another warmly, wherever we go, adds to
this reputation. Such openness and friendliness in the modern world is all
Then, there is the Zimbabwean spirit of connectedness and togetherness,
which is perhaps nowhere better demonstrated than at an event such as HIFA.
There are, of course, always going to be those who like to draw attention to
where we are divided.
How we throw ourselves into the joy and delight and friendliness and
togetherness, the grand carnival of HIFA, belies such a view.
At the end of the day, regardless of our background, race, tribe, home
language, religion, Zimbabweans actually DO stick together, struggle
together through difficulties, we join hands to surmount obstacles, we
gather to enjoy, celebrate and engage with each other in so many positive
Never more than at HIFA each year!
What then are the many experiences of HIFA Life?
A day or two of wandering around the Festival, attending some shows,
relaxing on the Coca-Cola Green, grooving to late night music, will show you
some of these, and these observations will warm your heart and show you what
Zimbabweans are really about.
HIFA is very much a family affair.
Our sense of family in this country is very powerful and the cornerstone of
our society, no matter where it is that we fit within the diverse
communities of our nation. We care for our elderly folk, we adore our
children, we are totally involved in their lives and we love to spoil them
when something exciting comes along. Watch this happen at HIFA, it's a
So many families, enjoying time together, watching shows, listening to great
music, dancing, singing, picnicking or just plain sitting and relaxing!
In the HIFA Youth Zone (this year supported by UNICEF) in particular, many
children gather with their parents to enjoy shows with special focus on the
young and, indeed, many amazing shows presented by the young themselves.
The kids can participate in workshops and learn how to express themselves
artistically in totally new ways, too.
You will see the same family togetherness at the Telecel Main Stage, where
there are shows both day and night. Many bring their picnic rugs and
baskets, their snacks and drinks, settle down on the grass and just soak up
some fabulous show in the company of the people they love best!
Surrounded by family and friends, it's a glorious experience.
This could be the chilled and beautiful sounds of Emeline Michel from Haiti
or highbrow opera arias from London Festival Opera.
It could be the grand spectacle of the Opening Show, Carmina Burana, the
stage packed with Zimbabwean artistes of every kind in a show brought
together with the special skills of international artistes and directors
from both Spain and the United Kingdom as well as HIFA's own talented
It could be our very own Sulumani Chimbetu and his Orchestra Dendera Band,
or the Golden Voice of Africa, Salif Keita.
Whoever it is up there whom we enjoy performing, this taking in of
world-class art (both homegrown and from outside our country), under our
beautiful clear blue sky by day, or starry moon lit sky by night, has to be
the most quintessential HIFA experience, is never to be forgotten - but
thankfully to be repeated - next year! What of those who don't have enough
funds to go to lots of shows? Do they miss out on the joy of HIFA?
Thankfully, no. The modestly priced general HIFA admission ticket gets you
into the HIFA site, the Coke Green and the Youth Zone - as well as the
National Gallery and the Nugget Global Quarter which hosts the Nugget Global
In these areas of HIFA you can enjoy all the buzz and hype that HIFA brings,
you can watch many shows for which there is no charge, on the Coca-Cola
Stage and Nugget Global Quarter Platform, and you can happily spend an
entire day, well into the late night! You'll hear the exciting sounds of
other stages pretty clearly, too!
HIFA organisation is also practical.
Tickets can be booked in advance. The municipal car park next to the
Monomatapa Hotel is kept open at night so there is secure off-street
parking. Even the car guards on the street are Hifa-registered. Security
guards and police patrol the area, so crime is negligible. And adequate
public lavatories are installed.
Coca-Cola Green is a constant hive of activity, music, dance and impromptu
performances, the smell of delicious food wafting through the air from
various food outlets, and a carnival atmosphere of intense enjoyment,
excitement, real happiness. Could HIFA possibly fail to lift the spirits of
those downhearted and hopeless?
This is an environment that fills our hearts with hope and possibility for
our lives, our futures, our country.
In these areas at HIFA, we can gain exposure to a vast range of different
cultures, most of these to be found in our own land, and again demonstrating
our amazing diversity. We are a talented colourful and vibrant nation
artistically speaking as well as in so many other ways.
But what of those for whom even a general admission ticket may currently be
beyond reach? Times have indeed been tough, and money can get very tight.
Well, HIFA can also be found, on First Street in the city centre, where free
shows are put on for the public at the First Street Platform daily, at no
change at all.
Similarly, various HIFA outreach projects take some of the HIFA shows and
workshops, including some of the visiting international artistes, out into
high-density suburbs as well as into Chitungwiza.
HIFA does also spill out onto the streets of our capital city! This is the
nature of arts festivals! Both scheduled and impromptu street performances
also take place during HIFA.
And what this does is to tell us art is a unifier, a leveller.
Art speaks to all of the people, whether rich or poor, black or white or
yellow or brown, male or female, young or old.
It is a universal language, which articulates for us our heartfelt hopes and
darkest fears, our deepest sorrows and our greatest joys, in ways that often
defy the formulation of our own words, descriptions, giving coherent
expression to our feelings.
Art reflects the lives we lead, the environments we inhabit, speaks for us
where sometimes we cannot find the words.
Art uplifts us, inspires us, can spur us into new action and direction, may
even alter our opinions completely, by giving us pause for thought.
Art is powerful.
Where we are inarticulate with grief or sadness, art in its multifarious
forms, may ease our pain by expressing it on our behalf and so helping us
In attending a festival like HIFA, which draws so many people from so many
different backgrounds and walks of life together into one microcosm of the
larger society of which we all form our own unique and important part, we
are reminded of all the common ground we share.
We are reminded of our very best qualities in this magnificent land; our
humour, our love of family and friendship, kinship and celebration, our love
of music, rhythm, theatre, visual art, craft, dancing, in fact, all
creativity! And, our talent for it!
Whatever differences people may have, these are cast aside at HIFA.
By the end of another festival, we know that we are not divided, after all.
That there are so many values we all share, across all communities.
Our hopes, fears, difficulties, our joys and sorrows, are very much the
same. We see these depicted through art in every possible form and genre at
HIFA, we relate to them, they resonate, and we know, none of us is alone! -
Additional reporting from HIFA.
Sat, 17 Apr 2010 07:42
Zimbabwe would like to piggy-back on at least 30 percent of all tourists who
visit South Africa, its tourism minister said on Friday.
"Minister [Walter] Mzembi said his country's vision is to intensify tourism
co-operation between South Africa and Zimbabwe. He would like to see
Zimbabwe secure about 30 percent of South Africa's international arrivals,"
said a statement released jointly by the South African and Zimbabwean
Mzembi said that Zimbabwe benefit from a partnership with South Africa as it
was a means of attracting foreign visitors.
Mzembi and SA Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk addressed the media in
Victoria Falls on Friday after a meeting to discuss a tourism agreement
between the two countries.
The Tourism Agreement outlines ways in which the two countries can work
together to create jobs and promote tourism in both countries.
South Africa and Zimbabwe are expected to sign the agreement in May at the
National Tourism Indaba in South Africa.
Apr 17, 11:03 AM EDT
By ANGUS SHAW
Associated Press Writer
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- When will all this end? It's a common refrain in
Zimbabwe. "Only when the old man goes," said Tinaye Garande, a street
Zimbabwe on Sunday marks 30 years of the rule of President Robert Mugabe,
swept to power during the country's heady and optimistic independence in
1980. Three decades later, the country - once an agricultural powerhouse and
educational beacon - is mired in a continuing political stalemate and an
impoverished, stagnant economy.
Garande, 27, sells cheap sunglasses and trinkets in a parking lot outside a
suburban Harare store. He is of a generation known as the "born frees" who
never suffered under British colonial rule.
But the unkempt Garande, with worn clothing and untended dreadlocked hair,
knows the hard life. He lost his menial job at a paper and packaging firm
when it went broke in the economic meltdown four years ago.
He has two children and like many Zimbabweans educated in Mugabe's
post-independence boom in schools and health services - making "born frees"
some of the best taught and healthiest students in Africa - he battles to
survive and blames Mugabe for blocking real improvements in living
It is still an offense to publicly insult Mugabe - several cases are pending
in the courts - and Zimbabweans know it.
"Surely it is time for him to enjoy retirement," said Garande guardedly.
But Mugabe, 86, who dyes his hair unnaturally black and still walks with a
spring in his step, is going nowhere. The ascetic former school teacher
holds a firm grip on his ZANU-PF party that in December chose him to lead it
for another five years. And he has no plans to yield the reins of state
power, said John Makumbe, a political scientist at the main University of
Zimbabwe in Harare.
"He is afraid of the consequences of leaving office, he wants to die there,"
Critics say Mugabe, a political leader of the guerrilla army that ended
white rule in 1980, has shown a toxic streak in his character all along.
"He is like a chameleon who looks good when things are going well but now
the dark side is showing," he said.
He had been viewed favorably in the West for the strides in education and
health services in the 1980s that gave Tinaye Garande and his "born free"
classmates Africa's highest literacy of more than 80 percent.
But schools and social services collapsed in recent years.
Human rights organizations have called for Mugabe to face trial at the
International Criminal Court on charges of political violence, vote-rigging
and human rights violations by state agents over the past decade. The
allegations stretch far back: groups say Mugabe should be held responsible
for the massacre of up to 20,000 civilians by loyalist troops who crushed an
armed uprising against him in western Zimbabwe soon after independence from
1982 to 1987.
In 2000, Mugabe ordered the often-violent seizures of thousands of
white-owned farms that disrupted the agriculture-based economy and led to
acute food shortages and world record inflation. He argued the program
corrected colonial era imbalances in land ownership.
Bespectacled and always impeccably dressed in suits with color-matched
neckties and breast-pocket handkerchiefs, Mugabe insists Western sanctions
caused the economic collapse. A scholar with a string of academic degrees,
he speaks perfectly British-accented English interspersed with the local
Shona language and has admitted being an "anglophile" despite his avowed
hatred of British colonial rule.
Western embargoes include financial and travel bans on him and his
Before the visa restrictions that sparked his growing isolation, Mugabe
often visited his London tailor and the upscale Harrods department store in
the British capital.
Mugabe counts among his dwindling international supporters such pariahs as
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, scheduled to be his
guest of honor at a trade exposition in the second city of Bulawayo on April
A recent hoax on the social networking site Facebook said Mugabe was looking
for friends to join him in "fighting imperialism."
Despite a yearlong coalition between Mugabe and the former opposition
Movement for Democratic Change critics blame Mugabe for holding out against
Disputes between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former
opposition leader, have crippled the coalition government. In the latest,
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said this week laws to take over
51 percent of mostly white businesses that scared away much needed
investment were scrapped. Mugabe declared that incorrect the next day,
saying such reports were "peddled" by hostile media.
Farm seizures that enriched cronies but were disastrous to the economy
didn't win the last elections outright for Mugabe in 2008, forcing him to
enter the coalition with Tsvangirai, said Makumbe, the political analyst.
He said with new elections proposed under the coalition agreement, possibly
early next year, business takeovers would not work either.
Mugabe has been described as "the spoiler" in the coalition and likened to a
sportsman who intentionally kicks the ball off the field of play to buy time
while his elite enjoy the spoils - profits on land, business deals and
speculative construction and import and export contracts enabling them to
buy cars and mansions and live in luxury.
"They've gone past getting rich, it's now a sick obsession with money,"
Garande, the "born free" street vendor, said he will go to the main stadium
on Independence day Sunday not to listen to Mugabe's speech but to watch
military displays and a soccer match without having to pay admission.
He said he's resigned to more of Mugabe.
Long life runs in Mugabe's family; his mother died in her late 90s. He also
employs a Malaysian physician known as a specialist in "longevity and
"Nothing is going to change for a long time," said Garande.
Peter Goodspeed, National Post Published: Friday, April 16, 2010
Robert Mugabe, who has ruthlessly ruled Zimbabwe without interruption since
it won independence 30 years ago on Sunday, likes to court controversy.
Seven years ago, after he started seizing his country's white-owned farms,
the former school teacher eagerly compared himself to Adolf Hitler.
Speaking at the funeral of Chenjerai Hunzvi, a thuggish cabinet minister who
led the "war veterans" group that spearheaded violent seizures of
white-owned farms, Mr. Mugabe noted Mr. Hunzvi had adopted the nickname
"Hitler" because he admired the Nazi dictator's use of force and despised
"I am still the Hitler of the time," Mr. Mugabe boasted.
"This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for
his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights
over their resources."
"If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold," he went on. "Ten times,
that is what we stand for."
In fact, after 30 years in power, Mr. Mugabe has presided over the most
dramatic collapse of any country in history since Weimar Germany.
He has turned one of the most beautiful and bountiful lands in Africa into a
disaster zone that mixes corruption, mismanagement, violence and human
rights violations on a scale that almost ranks alongside the genocides in
Rwanda and Darfur.
An aura of hope clung to Zimbabwe at its birth. Reggae rock star Bob Marley
performed at an Independence Day concert in Harare and Prince Charles came
to watch Southern Rhodesia morph into Zimbabwe.
The new country was presented to the world as a new model for Africa and Mr.
Mugabe was hailed as a statesman who offered reconciliation to its white
minority, telling them, "If yesterday I fought you as an enemy, today you
have become a friend."
Having endured nearly a decade of guerrilla warfare in which 30,000 people
were killed, the new government promised to temporarily guarantee seats in
Parliament for whites, while seeking a new partnership to build a new state.
But Mr. Mugabe's penchant for crushing all possible dissent didn't take long
In 1983, the Zimbabwean army's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, killed up
to 20,000 Ndebele dissidents, members of a rival liberation group led by
Joshua Nkomo, in Operation Gukurahundi, a Shona phrase for "the early rain
that washes away the chaff."
Over the years, as Mr. Mugabe struggled to stay in power, he endorsed
one-party rule and increasingly relied on censorship and intimidation.
He adopted a catastrophic policy of land seizures in 2000, after he lost a
referendum that had aimed to entrench his power in a new constitution.
Resuming the fiery rhetoric of the liberation struggle, he promised to
"correct the colonialist legacy" by giving white-owned farms to landless
Once the bread basket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe became a basket case, as
productive white-owned farms fell into the hands of members of Mr. Mugabe's
ruling Zimbabwean African National Unity-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party.
It soon had the world's highest inflation rate - 231 million per cent a
year - 90% unemployment and shortages of everything.
As government incompetence led to disaster, Mr. Mugabe blamed Zimbabwe's
nightmares on Britain and "white settlers," whom he described as "thieving
A quarter of Zimbabwe's population fled. Now, one in three families depends
on remittances from relatives abroad and the UN's World Food Program feeds
nearly three million Zimbabweans. Still, Mr. Mugabe continues to rule as if
Zimbabwe were his personal fiefdom. He has manipulated the political process
through violence and intimidation, and crushed his opposition.
In 2005, after ZANU-PF lost control of Harare to members of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), he launched Operation Murambatsvina
(Clean Up Filth). This destroyed 92,460 homes of squatters, rendering
700,000 people, mostly MDC supporters, homeless.
Two years later, when Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo,
became a vocal critic of Mr. Mugabe, government-controlled media outlets
broadcast a secretly taped video of the bishop in bed with a woman. The
Two years ago, Zimbabwe faced political deadlock, when MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won the most votes in the 2008 presidential elections, but was
unable to avoid a runoff.
Mr. Mugabe claimed victory three months later in a June runoff, after Mr.
Tsvangirai dropped out because of the violence aimed at his supporters.
Zimbabwe fell into chaos, facing famine and economic collapse. The country's
red $500 bills were nicknamed "Ferraris" because they lost their value so
With millions running short of food, the bankrupt government found itself
unable to cope with a cholera epidemic that killed more than 2,000 people.
The international community, led by South Africa and the Southern African
Development Community, stepped in and pressured Mr. Mugabe to form a unity
government with Mr. Tsvangirai.
Under a power-sharing agreement that went into effect 14 months ago, Mr.
Mugabe remained president, while Mr. Tsvangirai became prime minister;
ZANU-PF took 15 cabinet seats, while the MDC got 13; and an MDC splinter
faction led by Arthur Mutambara got three.
The parties were supposed to govern jointly, introducing reforms that would
pave the way for a new round of elections.
But 14 months into the experiment, little has changed.
"Torture, harassment and politically motivated prosecutions of human rights
defenders and perceived opponents have persisted, while villagers in parts
of Zimbabwe have suffered ceaseless intimidation by supporters of former
ruling party ZANU-PF," says a recent Amnesty International report.
Mr. Mugabe treated the power-sharing agreement with disdain. He arbitrarily
handed powerful ministries, including Defence, Justice, Foreign Affairs and
Home Affairs, which controls the police, to his supporters. He also swore in
two vice-presidents, both from his party.
Nonetheless, the unity government has restored some economic stability,
scrapping Zimbabwe's currency in favour of the U.S. dollar and using foreign
aid to re-float the government, and put civil servants, school teachers and
doctors and nurses back to work. But little has been done in the line of
political or constitutional reform.
"The transitional power-sharing government is a sham," says Georgette
Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
"From a human rights perspective, nothing has changed for the better. Robert
Mugabe and ZANU-PF are still fully in control."
In fact, Mr. Mugabe is preparing to tighten his hold. Last month, he
promulgated a new law under which all companies valued at more than $500,000
had until last Thursday (April 15) to submit proposals on how they plan to
sell 51% of their shares to black Zimbabweans over the next five years.
At the last minute, Mr. Tsvangirai said the new "indigenisation law" was
"null and void" and will be sent back to parliament for further debate.
Mr. Mugabe insists the law will go ahead after a brief period of
Critics claim it is "pernicious racist legislation designed to facilitate
the theft of property by an avaricious and venal ZANU-PF-affiliated black
"With lucrative white farming enterprises no longer available for
distribution as largesse (the resource having been depleted), the
regulations create the conditions for a new source of patronage for the
ZANU-PF elite and a weapon against businesses and individuals perceived to
support the MDC ahead of the next elections," says Derek Matyszak, a
researcher with the South Africa-based Institute for Democracy in Africa.
BILL WATCH 17/2010
[16th April 2010]
The House of Assembly has adjourned until Wednesday 30th June
The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday 15th June
Indigenisation Regulations Not Suspended
The Indigenisation Regulations [Statutory Instrument 21/2010] have not been suspended. They continue in force in the form in which they were gazetted on 29th January. One amendment is expected to be gazetted in the near future to accommodate the views of the Parliamentary Legal Committee [see below]. There are still ongoing consultations which may result in further amendments but until these are gazetted – and there is not sign of this yet – the present regulations hold good.
Amendment to Meet Parliamentary Legal Committee Objection
The Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] found section 3(a) of the Indigenisation Regulations violated the Constitution. [Section 3(a) of the regulations requires businesses above the prescribed threshold [asset value above $500 000] to “cede” a controlling interest of not less than 51% to indigenous Zimbabweans within 5 years.] The PLC concluded that the word “cede”, without any requirement of payment or the giving of value for a controlling interest ceded, infringes section 16 of the Constitution [which prohibits compulsory acquisition of property without proper compensation.] The PLC decision was discussed with Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Kasukuwere, who gave the PLC a written undertaking to amend the regulations in order to make it clear that the cession of a controlling interest is a cession “for value at the option of the owner” – i.e., that a compulsory free handover is not required. A draft statutory instrument drawn up by the Minister giving effect to the agreed amendment was approved by the PLC, which then sent a non-adverse report on the regulations to the Speaker, conditional on the Minister’s honouring his undertaking to amend section 3(a). The report states that if the Minister does not amend section 3(a) as promised, the PLC will replace the non-adverse report with an adverse report. The Minister is expected to gazette the agreed amendment in the next few days.
Indigenisation Regulations Still in Force Notwithstanding “Null and Void” Announcement
Conflicting reports on what Cabinet decided about the Indigenisation Regulations at its meeting on Tuesday have caused much confusion. A statement was issued by the Prime Minister’s spokesman, and later confirmed by the Minister of State in the PM’s office, that following a Cabinet decision the regulations were “null and void”. This was roundly dismissed by the President and Minister Kasukuwere the following day. The President did say, however, that a Cabinet committee is looking at the regulations and that there would be some revisions after consultations.
The present legal status of the regulations is clear:
· The regulations can only be suspended or amended or repealed by the responsible Minister – the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment – by the gazetting of an appropriate statutory instrument.
· The regulations can only be declared null and void by a court of law.
· A Cabinet decision that the regulations are null and void/suspended/will not be implemented has no direct, immediate legal effect – and the same applies to an announcement of a Cabinet decision, whether made by the Prime Minister’s spokesman or by the Prime Minister himself. Until the responsible Minister gives effect to the Cabinet decision by gazetting a statutory instrument, the regulations continue in force in their original form, and businesses must conduct themselves accordingly.
· Implementation of section 4 of the regulations can certainly be slowed down by the Minister – by the simple expedient of delaying action in cases where businesses have failed to submit their IDG 01 forms and indigenisation implementation plans [see below].
Comment: Attempts to lay down the law by Ministerial or official announcement are to be deprecated. They are inconsistent with the rule of law and they almost invariably cause unnecessary confusion – as has happened in the present case.
15th April was Last Day for Submission of Forms and Indigenisation Plans
15th April was the last day of the forty-five day period within which businesses above the $500 000 asset value threshold had to submit their completed IDG 01 forms and “indigenisation implementation plans” [section 4 of the regulations] – unless they had applied for and been granted an extension. [Section 4(4) of the regulations provides for the Minister to grant an extension of up to thirty days if a business has “good cause” for it.]
Failure to Meet Deadline Not a Criminal Offence
Contrary to many press reports, failure to meet the 15th April deadline – or an applied for extended deadline which has been granted by the Minister to a particular business – is not an offence. There is no penal sanction for such failure. But the Minister has an administrative remedy [see next paragraph].
Minister’s Powers If Indigenisation Implementation Plan Not Submitted
If the deadline – or extended deadline – passes and a business has not submitted its IDG 01 form and indigenisation implementation plan, section 4(4) of the regulations allows the Minister to, in effect, order the business to do so. The Minister may do this by adopting either of the following procedures:
· the Minister may have a copy of form IDG 01 served on the business in any of several specified ways, including personal delivery to the owner or a responsible person at its head office or by registered mail; or
· if service on a business in any of the specified ways is “not possible for any reason”, the Minister may publish a notice in the Government Gazette notifying the business of “the requirement to collect and complete Form IDG 01”.
The effect of such an order is that the business concerned has thirty days from the date that the IDG 01 form is served on it, or from the date of the notice in the Government Gazette, within which to submit its completed form and indigenisation implementation plan. [Note: a thirty-day extension is possible in individual cases, on “good cause shown”, but has to be applied for.]
Failure to Comply with Minister’s Order an Offence: An offence will be committed if a business fails to submit its Form IDG 01 and indigenisation implementation plan after being required to do so by the Minister under this section 4(4) procedure. The owner of the business, or the directors of the company concerned, will be liable on conviction to a $2000 fine or 5 years in prison or both.
Room for Slowing Down Implementation: The regulations do not state a time-limit within which the Minister must take steps under section 4(4) to compel the submission of forms and indigenisation implementation plans, so this phase of the exercise could be indefinitely delayed at the Minister’s discretion.
All Acts of 2009 have now been gazetted. [Note: the Audit Office Act, which was gazetted on 2nd April, is not yet in force; its date of commencement will be fixed by statutory instrument in due course.]
Bill in House of Assembly: Public Order and Security Amendment Bill. [Private Members Bill in second reading stage]
Statutory Instruments: Statutory Instrument 81/2010 fixes, very belatedly, employers’ assessment rates for 2010 for the purposes of the National Social Security Authority’s Accident Prevention and Workers’ Compensation Scheme.
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