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Plot to block MDC-T congress

Saturday, 16 April 2011 22:46


POLICE are reportedly trying to bar the MDC-T congress set for month-end in
Bulawayo in a bid to scuttle MDC-T plans for general elections which
President Robert Mugabe says should be held later this year.

The MDC-T, which won general and presidential elections in March 2008, is
favoured to win the coming elections and so the police moves to bar the
congress are meant to shore up Mugabe and his Zanu PF party’s chances of
upstaging the MDC-T.

The openly partisan police claim they do not have adequate manpower to cover
the meeting and are also demanding US$10 000 a day to provide extra
security. The party is also being barred from using education institutions
for accommodation, which might leave hundreds of delegates stranded.

Zanu PF uses schools and colleges whenever it holds its meetings and has
never paid the police for ensuring peace and security at its functions.

Since the Public Order and Security Act was passed into law, the police have
routinely used the lack of manpower as an excuse to bar political gatherings
and there are fears that the police were planning to stop the MDC-T’s
elective congress.

The police have been used by Zanu PF recently to thwart MDC-T programmes and
arrested MDC-T legislators on charges that have failed to stand in court of
law. They are accused of selective application of the law.

The police reportedly informed the party that they had reviewed the security
situation in light of MDC-T’s organising secretary, Elias Mudzuri’s
sentiments that the party could not guarantee peace during its congress.

Mudzuri is reported to have said: “I cannot guarantee peace during the
congress . . . Even God has never guaranteed peace but given some guidelines
of living with each other.”

But, Nelson Chamisa, the party’s spokesperson claimed that Mudzuri had been
misquoted and it was unfortunate that police could be using this as a guise
to throw spanners into the congress.

He said the congress would go ahead, as the police did not have the powers
to suspend it, after being informed on time.

Deputy spokesperson, Thabitha Khumalo said the police had informed them on
the shortage of manpower, but did not say what they would do to increase the
number of officers during the congress.

Khumalo said they had been informally told that they might have to pay for
extra security, although this was yet to be confirmed.

“There is nothing concrete yet, but we might have to pay,” she said. “Basing
on history, we might have to pay US$10 000 a day.”

The former trade unionist said in cases where police had said they did not
have adequate manpower, they demanded that organisers of meetings pay the
equivalent of daily allowances for the officers who would be on duty.

The MDC-T congress will be held from April 28 to 30, which means if the
police get their way, the party would have to fork out US$30 000 for the
three-day meeting.
Contacted for comment during the week, police spokesperson, Wayne
Bvudzidjena said he would look into the issue and provide more details.

However, efforts to contact him later were in vain, as his mobile phone was

With 5 000 delegates expected in Bulawayo, most hotels and lodges are
fully-booked and the situation is being worsened by the fact that some rooms
have been booked by delegates attending the Zimbabwe International Trade
Fair, which begins a week after the party’s congress.

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Mugabe wins on Bennett

Saturday, 16 April 2011 22:17


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will finally have his way in the stalemate over the
appointment of MDC-T treasurer general Roy Bennett as deputy Agriculture
minister when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai withdraws the former
commercial farmer’s nomination to Senate this week.

Tsvangirai has been forced to take the drastic action after the popular
politician missed 21 consecutive seatings of the Senate. He was forced into
self-imposed exile in South Africa by sustained Zanu PF persecution.

According to the law, if a senator misses 21 consecutive sittings he loses
his seat.

It was not clear yesterday who Tsvangirai had chosen to replace Bennett as
senator and deputy Agriculture minister designate.

Mugabe refused to swear in the former Chimanimani MP citing his race and
colonial past.

Bennett said he feared arrest if he returned to Zimbabwe after police
indicated that they were looking for him in connection with a US$1 million
lawsuit filed against him by High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu. His
legal woes came hard on the heels of his acquittal on terrorism, banditry
and insurgency charges.

MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa yesterday confirmed the new developments.

“It is true that Bennett’s period of absence outlived the stipulated time in
parliament,” he said.

“The next step would be taken in consultation with the other principal
Mugabe with the MDC-T informing him on who it wants to replace Bennett. As
you know, it’s a non-constituency post.”

However , Chamisa refused to shed light on Bennett’s possible replacement
although unconfirmed reports indicate that it would be a toss between
Marondera Central MP Ian Kay’s wife Kerry and united MDC founding youth
secretary-general Bekithemba Mpofu.

Bennett, also popularly known as Pachedu by many MDC-T supporters, is the
only ministerial designate Mugabe refused to accept. He is also likely to
lose his post at the MDC-T congress with Mpofu, who holds a PHD in Finance
from the UK, again being linked to the position.

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Workers attach minister’s property

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:24


EMPLOYEES at a company where Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere is a partner have seized property
worth US$63 440 to recover their overdue salaries.

The UTc Victoria Falls workers attached the property with the help of the
Deputy Sherriff after obtaining a High Court order against the destination
management company.

The company is said to have been struggling to pay workers since 2009
resulting in the wrangle spilling into the courts.

The High Court ordered UTc to surrender property worth US$57 427 and pay
other costs related to execution of goods, which saw the total figure
ballooning toUS $63 440.

Company vehicles, trailers, boats, furniture including desks and chairs,
fridges, computers, printers and even mailing trays were all expected to be
attached to compensate 26 non-managerial employees who staged the legal

Court documents show that UTc is facing serious cash-flow problems.

The company is part of the United Touring Group (UTG) Zimbabwe, formerly
owned by United Touring International based in the UK.

Non-managerial employees last year approached the High Court over unpaid
wages and salaries stating that the company completely stopped paying them
in September 2009 after they were forced to take 50% salary cuts at the
beginning of the year.

Kasukuwere and his partners used a loan from Barclays to buy UTc from
business tycoon Ketan Somaia.

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Civil servants ‘pawns’ in Govt turf wars

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:01


CIVIL servants’ salaries have become a politically contested area in recent
days with the ruling coalition of Zanu PF and the MDCs, poles apart on how
to treat the burning issue.

President Robert Mugabe has set a June deadline for the public workers to
have their salaries increased, but many claim this is a populist statement
and the country cannot afford a ballooning wage bill.

Critics argue that President Mugabe seeks to score political mileage and
such measures would only serve to weaken an already ailing economy.

Finance minister, Tendai Biti on the other hand maintains that the
government does not have the money to increase salaries.

Biti said 70% of the government’s revenue was already going to salaries and
with the seemingly opaque way diamond revenues were feeding into government’s
coffers, a salary review was impossible.

His assertions are finding currency with the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), which just concluded an economic assessment of Zimbabwe.

“It would also be important to guard against wage increases in both private
and public sectors in excess of productivity growth to prevent an erosion of
competitiveness of labour-intensive industries that are critical for
employment generation and poverty reduction,” IMF said.

But renowned economic commentator Eric Bloch said while he usually agreed
with IMF’s views he begged to differ when it came to the issue of public
workers salaries.

“A civil service salary increase is likely to generate economic benefits in
excess of concomitant economic negatives,” he said last week.

Bloch said although the increases could be a slight catalyst for a rise in
inflation, as there would be some increase in consumer spending power,
thereby raising demand, the inflationary impact would not be of magnitude
“and will probably be counterbalanced by the partial, albeit small, rise in
capacity utilisation of industry and commerce”.

The economist said even Biti was likely to agree that public servants needed
money because there was a growing likelihood of strikes and a salary review
could pre-empt that.

He said there were growing numbers of civil servants who were quitting their
jobs and the government had a responsibility to stem the tide.

Govt must trim the civil service — analysts

Economist Brains Muchemwa agreed with Bloch, saying the civil service had to
be restructured for any meaningful salary increases to be effected.

“The most important thing that the inclusive government should do now is to
reduce the size of the civil service so as to improve the conditions of
service and free up fiscal space to enable efficient application of
resources to competing needs of the economy,” he said.

An audit of the civil service has unearthed that over 75 000 ghost workers
are milking US$20 million from Treasury every month.

Most of them are reportedly part of a Zanu PF militia who were put on the
government payroll ahead of the controversial 2008 presidential election

Muchemwa said since Zimbabwe adopted the multi currency regime it had become
difficult for the country to come up with policies that promoted expansion
and job creation, hence the restructuring of the civil service was critical.

Civil servants are among the lowest paid professionals in the country,
earning an average salary of US$225 per month. For the past two years they
have been clamouring for a salary increase, but these pleas have so far
fallen on deaf ears.

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Govt hospitals get CD4 machines

Saturday, 16 April 2011 21:15


Government has bought CD4 count machines to be installed at all provincial
hospitals to help in the management of HIV and Aids cases, a senior official
has said. CD4 counts help determine the stage of infection, guide drug
choices and indicate the patient’s response to treatment and disease
The tests also help doctors know when HIV patients may start taking the
life-saving anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). Shortages of CD4 count machines
have been blamed for thousands of premature deaths of Aids patients in
Zimbabwe in the past. Tapiwa Magure, the National Aids Council chief
executive said the shortage of the machines had eased significantly in the
last few years.

“All central hospitals in the country now have CD4 count machines and very
soon all provincial hospitals will have them as we have already bought the
machines,” he said.
“Plans are also in the pipeline for all health institutions where testing is
initiated to have these machines.”

He said the country was moving away from the World Health Organisation
clinical staging method, which was being relied on when there were few CD4
count machines.
The method saw people being put on ARVs once they were diagnosed with
opportunistic infections such as Tuberculosis and cancer of the cervix.

“The CD4 count machines which we have in the country are the latest in the
world,” Magure said commenting on the quality of the imported machines. They
are just the same as the machines that are being used in the developed world
and people are guaranteed reliable results.”

Meanwhile, the Elizabeth Glaizer Pediatric Foundation (EGPF), a
non-governmental organisation, recently donated 200 CD4 count machines to
the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

The machines will be dedicated to serving pregnant women. Agnes Mawumba, the
EGPF country representative said the donation was meant to protect mothers
and their unborn babies.

“It’s no longer prevention of mother to child transmission only, but the WHO
new guidelines are now protecting the health of the mother, through having
their CD4 count checked,” Mawumba said at the handover ceremony.

“It enables them to be put on treatment on time.”

Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera, who received the
donation, said the health delivery system had recovered immensely since the
formation of the unity government in 2009 but more needed to be done to
consolidate the gains.

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Grace Mugabe mystery deepens

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:23

THE mystery surrounding First Lady Grace Mugabe’s whereabouts deepened
yesterday with President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman saying he does not know
where she is.

Grace is reportedly in Singapore where she is seeking treatment after she
allegedly dislocated her hip in an awkward fall at their Borrowdale house.

Last Friday her husband flew to the Asian country but returned home for the
burial of Central Intelligence Organisation deputy director general Menard
Muzariri who was declared a national hero.

His wife, who usually accompanies him to state occasions, was conspicuously

When asked whether she had returned home, Charamba who last week confirmed
that the First Family was in Singapore said: “I am not in touch with that

But last week, Charamba hinted that Grace could be battling an illness.

He disclosed that she had not fully recovered from a complication she
suffered while giving birth to her last-born son Chatunga 14 years ago. Her
principal private secretary Lawrence Kamwi yesterday refused to comment
saying he was not the Mugabes’ spokesperson.

“I am not their spokesperson,” he said. “There is one spokesperson and you
should go to him.”

Sources last week said Grace actually left the country soon after the burial
of Harare governor David Karimanzira on March 27.

Some publications last week tried to rubbish The Standard story claiming
that it was planted to divert attention from Mugabe’s own health problems.

However, the 87-year-old Zanu PF leader appeared fit at Muzariri’s burial
and spoke for more than an hour.

—Patience Nyangove

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Patriachy slows down female condom use, says activist

Saturday, 16 April 2011 21:18


A prominent Aids activist has blamed culture for the slow uptake of the
female condom in Zimbabwe. The female condom, which was first introduced in
the country in 1997, has been touted as the best way of empowering women in
sexual relationships.
Mary Sandasi, the Women and Aids Support Network director told journalists
last week that Zimbabwean women were still not able to negotiate for safer
sex because of their upbringing.

“The way a child is groomed has effects on their future,” she said. “When a
girl child is growing up she is taught to be submissive to her husband and
boys grow up knowing they are more superior than girls.

“At the end of the day even those women who are well-resourced may not be in
a position to negotiate for safer sex as they lack confidence.”

Sandasi said age differences in many couples also made it difficult for
women to initiate the use of female condoms.

“Campaigns and marketing of the product is vital,” she said. “Training
workshops for women are also of great importance for them to value
“It’s time women learnt to protect themselves than to wait for men to
protect them.”

Patience Kunaka, the Population Services International (PSI) interpersonal
communications manager said they had embarked on many initiatives to promote
the use of female condoms.

“We have community outreach progammes where we are training hairdressers,
barbers, church women and we are also working with sex workers at border
posts and at growth points,” Kunaka said.

But she said more work had to be done to reach all parts of the country but
the efforts were being hindered by lack of funds. PSI has mainly been using
hair salons to distribute the female condom.

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Fish population below Sadc average

Saturday, 16 April 2011 21:20


IN a country where the majority live in abject poverty and struggle to put
food on the table, fishing is contributing immensely towards food security
and income generation in Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately, owing to detrimental fishing methods, the fish population has
been dwindling in the country’s lakes and rivers. Facts on the ground
continue to point to the fact that Zimbabweans are either generally ignorant
or are not interested in conserving the environment.

I’m strongly for the idea that fish and other aquatic life forms suitable
for human consumption found in our lakes and rivers be utilised to provide
food and a source of income for people, most of whom are impoverished.

However, to ensure sustainability, this should be done within the confines
of the law and the governing environmental policies. Like all other aquatic
life forms, fisheries in Zimbabwe are under the control and management of
the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, under the Parks and
Wildlife Act (Chapter 20:14).
It specifies that fishing in Zimbabwe is allowed only in some specified
waters and only after the issuance of a permit.

But because most people are evidently primarily concerned with maximum
self-enrichment without a care for the environmental impact, a lot of
illegal and unregulated fishing is going on in the whole country with
reports by FAO showing that Zimbabwe’s fish population is now way below the
Sadc average.

The fact that Zimbabwe is a landlocked country with a limited fishery output
does not help the situation. According to Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the
Zimbabwe Conservative Task Force (ZCTF), although also causing a
considerable amount of harm, mostly by fishing at the wrong spots, people
that fish with fishing rods do not pose as much of a threat to the fish
population as those who illegally net fish on a commercial basis.

He added that net fishing was not illegal as long as one had a licence and
adhered to the stipulated days allowed for netting and net at the authorised

“There is also a law regarding the type of net you should use. The holes in
the nets should be big enough to allow the smaller fish to escape,”
Rodrigues said.

Unfortunately, fishermen, especially those that are fishing illegally, are
either ignorant or wouldn’t be bothered to comply with such measures and
resort to the most regrettable fishing methods that do despicable damage to
the fish population.

A good case to point would be in Kariba where the law enforcers are having a
torrid time with kapenta rigs insisting on fishing in restricted breeding
areas, where the fish go to lay their eggs.

“The fish swim down to the rivers to hatch their eggs and if they are left
alone, the eggs hatch and the newly born fish would swim into the main lake
where they would grow, ensuring the stability of the fish population. When
these illegal fishermen go down the rivers and catch fish which are full of
roe, they are actually destroying tens of thousands because those eggs would
never get the chance to hatch,” lamented the ZCTF chairman.

Most of the fishermen, desperate for an easy catch, leave the main lake
preferring to fish in the rivers, all the while oblivious, or simply
uncaring for the extent of the damage they are causing.

Although the law enforcement agencies have been on high alert, fish poaching
remains rampant, meaning more has to be done if the country is to conserve
its fish population.

This calls for a relook at existing policies with a view of tightening them.

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Gukurahundi: Minister spends weekend in jail

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:20


NATIONAL Healing, Reconciliation and Integration minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu
who was arrested on Friday for attending a mass in memory of victims of the
post-independence army massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands is likely to
spend the long weekend in police cells, his lawyer said yesterday.

Ndlovu, who is the deputy secretary general of the MDC led by Welshman
Ncube, is being detained in Lupane, the Matabeleland North capital.  A
Catholic priest, Father Marko Mabutho Mnkandla has also been arrested in
connection with the event.

Ndlovu’s lawyer Matshobana Ncube of Abameli Human Rights Lawyers said the
minister is being charged under Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act for allegedly saying the police, intelligence service and
the army were being used by President Robert Mugabe to advance his

Ncube said his client was likely to appear in court on Tuesday because
tomorrow the courts would be closed for the Independence Day holiday. “The
minister, who is a war veteran, is disappointed that he may fail to follow
the independence proceedings yet he contributed to the liberation struggle,”
he said.

Ncube said the lawyers’ organisation felt Ndlovu’s arrest was a form of
harassment to suppress independent views. MDC Bulawayo provincial
spokesperson, Edwin Ndlovu said one of their youth leaders Mbuso Fuzwayo was
questioned by police when they visited the minister yesterday for wearing a
t-shirt inscribed with the words Gukurahundi.

Fuzwayo was released without charge with police taking his details saying
they wanted to check with their Harare headquarters if he had a criminal

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No head of state at ZITF

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:18


GWERU — Africa Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank) president Jean Louis
Ekra is scheduled to officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
as organisers break with tradition at one of the major events in the country’s
business calendar.

Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube told The Standard on Friday
that the decision to invite Ekra was in line with their objective to refocus
the exhibition into a proper “trade show.”

This year’s exhibition will be held from May 3-7 in Bulawayo under the theme
“Optimising Business Synergies — Now and Beyond.”

“This year we have invited a person who is not a head of state, the
president of the Afreximbank as our guest because we realise that we need to
mobilise lines of credit for the industrial sector .

“The bank has supported Zimbabwe more than any other with lines of credit
and has a mandate to promote exports in Africa.

“In recognition of that, we have invited its president in the hope that he
would appreciate what local industry is doing with the money they have
advanced,” Ncube said.

But sources revealed that no foreign leader was willing to officiate at this
year’s fair. In the past decade nearly all leaders of southern African
countries have officiated at the fair.

Last year, controversial Iran leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had to be roped in
at the last minute. Ncube expressed optimism that this year’s exhibition
would be much better than recent ones.

“When the inclusive government was formed the trade fair was all but dead
and we had to postpone it in 2009 from the usual dates because of the
inability of local industries to participate.

“But as of last week 95% of the available space had been taken up and we
have 10 more local companies participating than last year,” he said.

More than 400 local and international exhibitors are believed to have taken
part at last year’s exhibition.

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New twist in Joshua Nkomo statue saga

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:17


FORMER Zipra commanders have vowed to block the erection of the
controversial North Korean-desig-ned statue of the late Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo at the Bulawayo international airport named after him.

Government was forced to pull down the statue a few days after it was
erected along Bulawayo’s Main Street following complaints from the
nationalist’s family.

The latest threat comes amid indications that government wants to erect the
effigy at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, whose construction is
almost complete.

But the Zipra Veterans Trust (ZVT) last week vowed to block the move saying
erection of the statue without returning his properties seized by government
in the 1980s was the highest form of hypocrisy by President Robert Mugabe.

The official said if government genuinely wanted to honour Nkomo it must
return his properties and those of Zapu.

“Mugabe and his cronies just want to get political mileage in Matabeleland,”
said one ZVT official.

“We cannot allow the erection of that statue without government returning
his properties, some of which have been taken over by senior Zanu PF

On April 1 2011, the Joshua Nkomo Foundation had a meeting with members of
the ZVT, where the issue of the statue was raised.

Sources said there were some disagreements with some saying if former Zipra
commanders block the erection of the statue, Nkomo might never be recognised

The former Zipra members insisted that it was better if Nkomo was not
honoured than for his name to be used as a “pedestal” for Mugabe and Zanu PF’s
political mileage.

The meeting was attended by chairman of the Foundation Francis Nhema, Nkomo’s
daughter Thandiwe, former Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and ZVT

Nhema last week confirmed the meeting but refused to give details.

“We wait for guidance from government because he (Nkomo) was de-clared a
national hero, as a result of that the matter ceases to be our issue but a
government matter,” said Nhema, who referred further questions to the
Ministry of Home Affairs.

Co-Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi, who has been dealing with the
matter, said he could not comment as he was attending a meeting. Chairman of
Zipra’s finance and projects committee Frederick Mu-tanda confirmed ZVT’s

“Yes, Zipra’s position is that government has to return the properties first
before they erect the statue,” said Mutanda.

Former Zipra commanders recently met with Air Force commander Perence Shiri
complaining about marginalisation despite the signing of the Unity Accord in

They also raised the issues of the seized Zapu properties.

They wanted Shiri, who they view as more accommodative, to present their
case to Mugabe and other security commanders.

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Ill-health, factionalism weigh down Mugabe

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:06


SICKNESS, pressure from neigh- bours and fissures in his Zanu PF party seem
to have conspired to slow down President Robert Mugabe’s push for elections
later this year.

Only a few weeks ago, Mugabe appeared unstoppable as he sought to defy
everyone who believed that Zimbabwe is not ready for fresh elections.

The Zanu PF campaign manifesto was anchored on an

ambitious lobby to get two million signatures on a petition that calls for
the lifting of punitive measures against Mugabe’s inner circle imposed by
the West.

The party, which ensured its resurrection a decade ago through a ruinous
agrarian reform programme, had also set its sights on grabbing what remains
of foreign-owned companies to use them as bait for reluctant voters.

But Mugabe appears to be having too much in his hands right now to worry
about elections. There are indications that his wife Grace is seriously ill
after she allegedly fell down at their Borrowdale home and dislocated a hip.

She is said to be receiving treatment in Singapore and this has seen Mugabe
making four trips to the Asian country since January. The last trip was on
April 8.

His spokesman George Charamba also confirmed that his boss had used one of
the trips to see doctors for his own health problems.

These problems have forced the 87-year-old former guerilla leader to make
fewer public appearances than usual. As if that was not enough Southern
African Development Community (Sadc) leaders who in the past have been
accused of being soft in dealing with an intransigent Mugabe have suddenly
changed their game plan.

The leaders, led by South African President Jacob Zuma are now demanding
that the 87-year-old leader plays ball and the weeks leading to a special
Sadc summit on Zimbabwe in Namibia next month will provide the sternest test
to Mugabe’s diplomatic skills.

Disloyal Zanu PF MPs who voted for MDC-T chairman Lovemore Moyo to be
Speaker of Parliament ahead of their own chairman Simon Khaya- Moyo have
also given the geriatric leader headaches.

The frustrations were evident at the burial of the deputy director general
of the Central Intelligence Organisation Mernard Muzariri on Thursday when
Mugabe lashed out at traitors from within.He said he was aware that there
were “sell-outs” within the ranks of Zanu PF.

Mugabe’s fallout with Zuma has also left one of his self-appointed
propagandists, Jonathan Moyo badly bruised. Moyo has been on a lonely but
damaging crusade against Zuma since the Livingstone rude awakening.

There are reports that just like in his first flirtation with Zanu PF, the
acerbic professor of political science has rubbed his seniors in the party
the wrong way.

Khaya-Moyo refused to discuss the allegations when The Standard sought his
comment last week.

However, the Tsholotsho North MP defended himself through an online
publication saying the storm that he precipitated was a “fake hullabaloo.”
However, another analyst Bril-liant Mhlanga believes Zanu PF was not bruised
as much as its opponents wanted to believe and its anti-sanctions campaign
would resonate with the electorate.

“Zanu PF’s elections strategy of using sanctions is selling,” he said.
“People have to be careful not to dismiss it so early.”

Mhlanga said the decisions of the Sadc troika were not representative of the
sentiment in the region and cannot give Mugabe sleepless nights.

Sadc communique shocked Zanu PF

BEKITHEMBA Mpofu, a political analyst said it was clear that Zanu PF was in
sixes and sevens, especially after the Sadc troika on peace and security
meeting in Zambia last month.

“It is evident that the Sadc communiqué was a shock to the Zanu PF system,
it was not expected and the fallout from it was not planned,” Mpofu said.

“Like any ordering or prioritisation of work and activities, their
electioneering programmes have to take a back seat while they firefight for
their very existence.”

He said Zanu PF had survived this long largely because of the solidarity
from neighbouring countries.

Mpofu said Zanu PF’s only option was to abandon its inflammatory programmes
such as the anti-sanctions campaign where its foot soldiers coerce people to
append their signatures and the grabbing of companies.

“The First Lady’s sickness and Mugabe’s own health challenge have not helped
the situation,” he said.

“Instead it has allowed the dark sinister forces within the party which were
identified by (Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai to have free rein in the
presidential office.”

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DPM Khupe rescues old people's home

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:04


BULAWAYO — The inclusive government has an obligation to look after the
elderly and infirm in society, Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe has

Khupe said this on Friday at Ekuphumuleni Old People’s home where she
donated food worth US$2 000, a day after the institution sent out an SOS for
food through our sister paper, NewsDay.

“I understand that besides lacking food, you have a number of challenges
here such as the need for an ambulance and medicine,” Khupe said.

“The government needs to come in and help.”

She promised to approach the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Henry
Madzorera and his Water Resources Development and Management counterpart,
Samuel Sipepa- Nkomo on access to medicine and the sinking of a borehole at
the institution’s  Nondwene Plot respectively.

The institution hopes  to start a market gardening project at the farm once
a borehole is sunk. The DPM said she was moved after being told that the
institution was running out of food.

There are 32 patients at Ekuphumuleni. The institution houses elderly people
who would have been discharged from hospital and looks after them until they

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ZCTU to name and shame top-earning managers

Sunday, 17 April 2011 14:22


THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) will soon embark on a salaries
disclosure campaign to force executives to improve workers’ conditions.
ZCTU chief executive Wellington Chibebe (pictured) last week said his
organisation would soon be distributing flyers with salary structures
prevailing in the various sectors.

“The flyers will show the highest salary being offered in the sector and
also the lowest,” Chibebe said. “The workers will then use these figures to
negotiate for better remuneration. If this does not force the executives to
improve workers’ conditions, we will then name and shame people.”

Chibebe said under the “name and shame campaign.” ZCTU would identify
executives, their companies, salaries and allowances, as well as identify
their children’s schools and how much the companies are paying in fees.

Also to be listed are the numbers and types of cars the executives have.
Under the first phase of the campaign, the lowest salary would be published
against the executive’s salary while under the second phase; the lowest paid
worker would be identified by name, their salary published together with
some detail on their living conditions.

“We have been doing research into salaries being obtained in the various
sectors and we have come to the conclusion that employers haven’t been
honest with their workers,” Chibebe said. “From the time we changed over to
the foreign currency regime, company executives pegged their salaries so
high that they have never felt the burden that the poorly-paid workers have
to endure daily. We are saying there is no confidentiality in times of
hardship so the executives should disclose their salaries so that workers
understand when they plead poverty.”

Chibebe said it was disheartening that some executives are earning as much
as US$11 000 monthly in basic salaries and numerous benefits while some
workers earned as low as US$150.

“We have cases of some parastatals and some timber companies as examples,”
Chibebe said. “We will also be knocking on parliament’s doors to seek
legislators’ intervention so the economic recovery burden is shared by
everyone. When the economic crisis hit the United States of America,
government intervened and some people’s salaries were slashed,” Chibebe

“Why should the current crop of executives be allowed to continue bleeding
the economy at the expense of productivity and everyone else?”  he said.

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Can AirZimbabwe survive operational turbulence?

Sunday, 17 April 2011 14:01


STRIKES have been synonymous with Air Zimbabwe since the turn of the
But no industrial action at the airline has been as debilitating as the
current strike which has grounded Air Zimbabwe planes for three weeks, with
pilots insisting on being paid their overdue salaries.

Analysts told Standardbusiness last week that the real problems at the
airline were not being addressed.

Instead, the airline was concentrating on stopgap measures.

“The real problem at the airline is that it is not generating enough revenue
while the costs are increasing and there is too much political
 interference,” an aviation expert said.

The airline says it has no money to run the operations while pilots believe
management at AirZim is top-heavy, which sees it gobbling the bulk of the
revenue generated.

The sentiment at the airline is that the equipment it uses is now antiquated
and expensive to maintain.

However, experts say even if the airline were to get new planes today, it
would still collapse because there is no appreciation of a good business

“To get a new 737 plane costs around US$60 million and it has to be paid in
10 years, meaning an installment of US$500 000 per month without factoring
in interest,” an expert said.

“This is unsustainable without a good business model and it will increase
the airline’s debt and accelerate its demise.”

On the issue of staffing, the expert said the organisation was not
overstaffed but there were structural defects which needed to be addressed
to utilise the existing resources.

“In the region each pilot flies a maximum of 100 hours a month and at Air
Zim, they fly around 20 to 30 hours a month and basing on their salaries,
pilots in Zimbabwe are actually expensive,” the expert said.

The airline has since independence witnessed a high turnover of chief
executives with government playing a role in recruitment. In some cases
appointed heads had no aviation experience and failed to breathe new life
into the airline. The situation has been compounded by the appointment of a
board with no aviation experience.

In the current board, chaired by Jonathan Kadzura, there is no single member
with experience in the airline business despite Transport minister Nicholas
Goche telling stakeholders in 2009 that the situation would be addressed.

The only hope for the national carrier is that there are some African
airlines that were in a worse position than Air Zim but turned the corner
when their governments stopped interfering.

How Kenya Airways was salvaged  from the ruins of EAA

Kenya Airways, created from the ashes of the East African Airways, is one
clear example of a moribund airline bouncing back to life. The East African
Airways (EAC) was jointly owned by the governments of Kenya, Uganda and
Tanzania but collapsed in 1977 due to ideological differences in the three

Following the breakup of the EAC, the Kenyan government embarked on plans to
set up its own airline which resulted in Kenya Airways (KQ) being
incorporated as a wholly owned government corporation and the flag carrier
of  the east African nation in January 1977.

According to a paper, entitled The Making of an African Success Story: The
Privatisation of Kenya Airways, the new airline was to face problems such as
little technical expertise, overstaffing since it tried to accommodate some
of the staffers from its predecessor airline.

Managerial problems were to haunt the airline and from 1977 up to 1995 at
least 10 chief executive officers were appointed to give the airline new
wings. Therefore, each successive holder of the office had insufficient time
to develop and implement effective strategies.

By 1991, KQ was unable to pay its debts, which had run into millions of US
dollars with government continually rescuing the airline. The Kenyan
government responded by setting up a committee to investigate the problems
at the airline and recommend solutions. The probe committee subsequently
recommended full commercialisation of the business. The committee
recommended the firing of the entire board, the position paper said.

“In order to turn the company around, the new board came to the conclusion
that the airline could only become a commercial success if its route and
fare structure, fleet acquisition decisions, hiring and promotion practices,
and financial systems were based on normal commercial principles, free from
political interference,” the paper said.

A consultant was hired to work on ways to improve the fortunes of KQ. When
the fortunes appeared rosy, the airline began a search for a strategic
partner culminating in the selection of Royal Dutch Airlines in 1995. In
January 1996, the Kenyan government sold 26% of its shareholding to KLM for
US$26 million. Now the airline is a roaring commercial success story.

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SundayView: How Mugabe turned the Zim revolution on its head

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:35

The word revolution in simple terms means a change in ways of doing things
either politically, economically or socially. In African politics the word
revolution has been commonly used to describe the uprising against colonial
governments in favour of majority rule.

The early 1960s were the early years of revolutionary movements by the
people of the then Southern Rhodesia against colonial rule. The
revolutionary era saw the brutal assault, oppression, injustice and unlawful
detention of political activists. Those who pioneered the revolution
promised milk and honey through democracy, the rule of law and other
elements of good governance on attaining independence in 1980.

Robert Mugabe was one of those nationalists who fought for the end of
colonisation in Zimbabwe but has betrayed the ideals of the struggle.

Regrettably, Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have over the past three decades
failed to deliver even one of the promises they made to the majority of
Zimbabwe despite the untamed propaganda that they always dish out to the
people through state media.

Mugabe has turned from a hero to a villain because of his failure on the
political front coupled with confusing economic policies which saw the
country being reduced to one of the worst economies in the world. The
emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai was Mugabe’s acid test on his party’s purported democratic

Mugabe inherited and even expanded the repressive, oppressive and
undemocratic style of ruling imposed by Ian Smith on the black majority. The
last decade saw fierce oppression, assassination attempts, arrests on
baseless allegations and prosecutions being levelled against Tsvangirai and
his followers in an attempt to avert the existence of real democratic

What Mugabe is failing to take into account is the fact that the political
gimmicks and tactics he is using were used by some politicians in the past
and ended in tragedy hence they are now deposed. Mugabe, just like Smith, is
now banking on his oppressive machinery in the name of the security forces
and the judiciary to suppress revolutionary movements by banning MDC
rallies, arresting and prosecuting party officials in a desperate attempt to
avoid real change.

Mugabe is unnecessarily rewinding the sad memories of the liberation
struggle through the so-called exhumations and Chimurenga files using the
public media in an attempt to regain lost glory. The events of June 2008
leave many people wondering whether the exhumed bodies are indeed a result
of the Rhodesian brutality of the 1970s or Zanu PF brutality of June 2008.
The ageing politician does not seem to understand the meaning of the term
“reconciliation” which he propounded in 1980.

He is still preaching the brutality of the Rhodesia today as if they never
sat down and agreed to set aside past political differences. The extent to
which Mugabe and his party are preaching about the brutality of the
Rhodesian regime appears as if Zimbabwe is the only country that was under
British colonial rule. Many former British colonies are working harmoniously
with other countries and their economies are flourishing. Zanu PF and Mugabe
want to use the past as justification for their failed policies.

The general outcry over anarchy, political and judicial injustice, unfair
land distribution and autocratic governments levelled against the Smith
regime are still evident in the Mugabe regime. So it is new wine in old

Having realised that he has lost grip on the political front to Morgan
Tsvangirai, Mugabe is left with no option than to introduce terror to gain
fear and not support.

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From the Editor's Desk: Not much to celebrate on 31st Independence Day

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:28

Tomorrow is Independence Day. Do we have any reason to celebrate? Yes and

Anyone who was there in 1980 will remember the palpable euphoria that
greeted the dawn of our Independence. It was the greatest day of our lives.
Zimbabweans came from literally all over the world to celebrate. The
previous decade had been most painful as the liberation war painfully played

With its back to the wall the Rhodesian military outfit, comprising
professional soldiers, mercenaries and askaris, waged a war of attrition
that is said to have claimed 200 000 lives. The guerrillas too were not
saints in this. Tens of thousands of civilians died at their hands. Only
those who were armed were safe; most of the civilian casualties were people
caught in the crossfire.

Thousands of people had emigrated in search of refuge; lucky youths got
scholarships to study abroad. But on the eve of Independence Day, thousands
flooded the country as they came back to celebrate.

But what were we celebrating?

We celebrated the end of the war. We celebrated the end of colonial rule. We
celebrated the prospect of freedom, peace and justice. We took for granted
that under our own black government freedom, peace and justice were natural
and prosperity would follow.

We celebrated our young leadership, which while executing the struggle, had
also acquired knowledge. It was a cosmopolitan lot; some having studied at
some of the best institutions in the Americas, in Europe and in Asia.

We had an intellectual for Prime Minister. Robert Mugabe boasted seven
university degrees (none of which was in violence). He was erudite,
charismatic and conciliatory. All permanent secretaries in our ministries
had PhDs. Most ministers had doctorates too. There was no way this group of
talented individuals could ever fail us. There was such a lot of
international goodwill that aid poured in to rebuild the country.

Our economy was in the hands of a capable man, some said about the best on
the globe.  Bernard Chidzero (1927-2002) had worked for the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from 1968 to 1980, for the last
three years as deputy secretary-general.

His UN career had begun in 1960 as an economic affairs officer in the
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and afterwards as the first black
African to be named UNDP resident representative (in Kenya, 1963-68).

When he returned to Zimbabwe at Independence in 1980, he became successively
a member of parliament and Minister of Economic Planning and Development and
later Senior Minister of Finance; he was still working as an adviser to the
government when he died.

He presided over the Seventh Session of UNCTAD and chaired the Joint
Ministerial Committee of the World Bank and the IMF (1986-99). He was
educated at the University of South Africa, Ottawa and McGill Universities
in Canada, and Oxford University.

There were many more illustrious sons and daughters of the soil who made up
the inaugural government

So, when did the rain begin to beat us, so to speak?

The answer, unfortunately, is that the rain began to beat us right at the

We had emerged out of a painful war and we had a very hostile regime ruling
the country to our south. South Africa was under apartheid and was staunchly
fighting liberation movements not only on its own soil but also in the whole
region. So there was a real reason in the new government of Zimbabwe to fear
a reversal of our fortunes.

But that fear was transformed into a culture; the ruling elite became

According to psychologists “paranoia is a thought process believed to be
heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality
and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs
concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. Historically, this
characterisation was used to describe any delusional state.”

In 1980 it was clear that Zanu PF felt insecure on the throne. Moves towards
a one-party state were attempts to bring security. It began to see threats
all round it. The greatest of these it saw as coming from its partner in the
unity government, PF-Zapu, led by liberation luminary Joshua Nkomo. Zanu PF
then set on a path to crush it. What followed will remain one of the darkest
periods in our country’s history.

Battered and humiliated PF-Zapu had to sign a unity accord in 1987 if for
nothing else but to save the people of Matabeleland and the Midlands
targeted as an ethnic group.

That Zanu PF “victory” did not cure the paranoia. People within Zanu PF
itself were beginning to speak out on the evils of a one-party system. It
was about this time that another liberation luminary Edgar Tekere, an ally
of Mugabe, was to form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, a political party he
created singularly to halt Mugabe’s drive towards his greatest dream.

It must be at this sta-ge that Mugabe’s paranoia heightened. The
revolutionary leadership was slowly purged from government to be replaced
mainly with bootlickers who had no revolutionary history. The reason for
their ascendency was simply that they promoted the leader’s dream. That was
the birth of the cronyism that has bedevilled the country and has led us
into the mess we find ourselves in.

The new leadership was of two types. The first comprised small but
buccaneering business people who saw an opportunity to grow their
businesses. They knew if they became part of government they would easily
get government business by manipulating the tender system. In government
they were also able to clinch big business deals with foreign companies.

The second comprised hungry individuals who had nothing to their name. They
were mainly related to the head of state and saw the opportunity to make
money through the clientelism that had taken root.

The paranoia intensified. The ruling elite saw enemies everywhere; in the
West, in the Commonwealth and even in regional blocs such as the Southern
African Development Community. We all remember the diplomatic tiff that
arose when the chairmanship of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and
Security was taken away from Zimbabwe.

So, the events that have made Zimbabwe a pariah state characterised by
political violence, electoral fraud and Machiavellian leadership are a
manifestation of the paranoia in the country’s leadership. The freedom,
peace, justice and prosperity we are supposed to celebrate each Independence
Day have not materialised three decades down the line.

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SundayOpinion: Defining moment for MDC-T

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:27

By Blessing Vava

The Movement for Democratic Change headed by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai will soon hold its watershed congress in Bulawayo. Since the
dates for the congress were announced there has been fierce jostling for
positions. Sadly factionalism and divisions are now rearing their ugly heads
in the party. But a question which quickly comes to mind is: what is the
importance and significance of this congress, both for the party and the
nation as a whole?

This I say mindful of the fact that the MDC got the majority of votes in the
last elections held in Zimbabwe and therefore they remain arguably the most
popular political party in the country.

For us ordinary people, I think the congress presents the party with an
opportunity to redeem itself and return to its founding principles and
ideologies they have since negated. This is unlike what we witnessed in the
last congress held in Harare in 2006 at the City Sports Centre where some
cadres with no clear ideological standpoint gate-crashed and found
themselves into leadership positions without really understanding their
roles and the basic principles governing the party.

This time around those of weak ideological grounding should be exposed and
should not be allowed to occupy any position in the party.  But the
misfortune that may haunt the congress is that a majority of the delegates
might be largely a pool of mediocrity as we have witnessed in the past. So
there is need during the ongoing provincial congresses to elect quality

What should be the focus of the MDC as they conduct the congress?

Fundamentally it should be noted that the congress is the highest
decision-making body outside the National Council in the MDC and it
converges after every five years.  Hence there is need for seriousness when
the party goes to congress. To some the congress presents an opportunity to
grab those positions they have been yearning for so dearly while to others
it will be an occasion to mix and mingle and make merry. But the most
important aspect of this watershed congress is not about electing a new
leadership as some might think.

The single most important objective of this congress is to lay bare the
aspirations, frustrations and struggles of the suffering people of this
country, the working class people, the unemployed youth, the vulnerable
groups, those infected and affected by the HIV and Aids who are finding it
difficult to have their issues raised and listened to in a country where
polarisation and intolerance have become the order of the day.

This congress should be able to develop a clear action plan to advance the
aspirations of the party and the  people of Zimbabwe since it is now
evidently clear that the Zanu PF regime has totally failed the people. The
congress should be able to debate and interrogate the failures and successes
made by the party since its formation and also usher in new strategies of
dealing with other opposing political players. It should be able to address
the issues of violence, factionalism and the cracking alliance between the
workers and the students’ movement.

When the MDC was formed in 1999, it was a product of a coalition of the
students, the working class and other vulnerable groups of our society and
its main objective was to address the aspirations of the poor. Remember the
National Working People’s Convention (NWPC) in 1999 organised by the ZCTU,
NCA and the students movement was the alliance which stood by its baby the
MDC for all these years. Sadly the MDC, like a stubborn child who refuses
advice from its parents, decided to run away from home unceremoniously. To
put it straight, they failed to maintain the alliance with partners largely
due to the fact that those with money were now dictating the pace and
thereby deliberately sidelining the working class and the poor people.

The congress provides the MDC with an opportunity to address this anomaly if
they still seek to remain a viable force in the country. Indications are
that if they remain rigid the alliance would be faced with no option but to
transform itself into a formidable political movement that will address the
aspirations of the poor.

The ANC of South Africa is a party that can stand the test of time. It has
managed to maintain its allies whose grassroots organisations have played a
key role in maintaining its power.

The alliance comprising COSATU, SASCO and the SACP has remained the ANC’s
support base.

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SundayComment: Lupane arrests crude, deplorable

Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:25

The crude arrest of Lupane priest Marko Mabutho Mnkandla and subsequently
that of National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration co-minister Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu for holding a mass in memory of Gukurahundi victims  should be
condemned in the strongest terms.

Although details about the fate of these two were scant yesterday, the mere
fact that police detained a priest for conducting his normal church work is

The Zimbabwean constitution guarantees freedom of worship, and arresting
priests smacks of attempts by the regime to emasculate the church.

The church’s work in seeking justice for victims of Gukurahundi is
well-documented and it is not surprising that Zanu PF is keen to muzzle it
ahead of elections anticipated later this year.

The problem for President Mugabe and Zanu PF is that the Gukurahundi
atrocities cannot be wished away and no amount of repression will stop
people from demanding justice.

The massacres remain a massive time bomb that will haunt Mugabe to his

It would certainly be in the country’s interests if Mugabe initiated a
process that would result in compensation for victims and bring to justice
all those responsible for the massacres.

Simply arresting leaders such as Mzila-Ndlovu whose job it is to promote
national healing on allegations of failing to notify police of a meeting
held at a school in Lupane will not solve the problem at hand.

Mzila-Ndlovu has of late been outspoken on the need to address people’s
grievances and his arrest can only poison the political environment further.
It will also show all and sundry that Mugabe has learnt little from the
revolts gripping North Africa and the Middle East.

Just as autocrats in those regions have realised — belatedly — the will of
the people cannot be repressed forever, and Mugabe is better advised to make
amends while there is still time.

A good start would lie in complying with the recommendations made by the
Sadc Troika to end the politically-motivated arrests and violence and allow
for the crafting of a proper roadmap for credible elections.

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