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Zimbabwe’s president defends troubled coalition on nation’s 31st anniversary of independence

By Associated Press, Monday, April 18, 7:53 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s president defended the nation’s bitterly
divided coalition government as the southern African country on Monday
marked 31 years of independence from Britain.

President Robert Mugabe said the coalition he joined after violence-plagued
elections in 2008 missed some objectives “here and there” and faced
“outright misunderstandings,” but strove for national unity despite Western
interference. Monday is the anniversary of Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence.

Critics blame Mugabe for stalling reforms under the power-sharing deal and
not stopping surging political violence.

After recent, repeated medical treatment in Singapore, Mugabe, 87, strode
the length of two soccer fields to inspect a military parade in the blazing
sun during independence celebrations on Monday.

In a robust 30-minute address at a 50,000-seat sports stadium afterward, he
called for peaceful campaigning ahead of fresh elections he wants this year.

At a regional summit last month, an ailing Mugabe was transported around the
convention center in an electric golf cart.

“Please, let there be no violence, no fighting against each other,” Mugabe
said Monday.

In the past, calls for his supporters to settle their differences with
rivals peacefully have gone largely unheeded.

Mugabe has said he regretted joining the coalition with Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader, and wants early elections
to bring it to an end.

Tsvangirai, in a separate independence anniversary message issued by his
party, said the coming year holds “many challenges, dangers and difficult

“There will be many treacherous voices to try and convince you to cast away
your determination for a new, democratic Zimbabwe,” he said.

International human rights group Amnesty International said Monday that
Zimbabwe human rights abuses continue and give rise to fear.

“People in rural areas in particular remain in fear” after years of violence
orchestrated by Mugabe party militants and police and military loyal to
Mugabe, Amnesty said.

An opposition group once allied to Mugabe said three decades under the
control of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party had led to worsening poverty, hunger and a
crackdown on opponents.

“The question is whether people are really free,” said Methuseli Moyo,
spokesman for the revived ZAPU party in western Zimbabwe.

On Monday, Mugabe again accused the West of interfering in Africa.

He accused Western nations of breaching the United Nations charter with
their bombardment of Libya.

Europe and the United States wanted to make it their “sacred mission to
interfere” in other countries’ affairs, he said.

“When will they ever realize there is international law. They tear the U.N.
Charter to pieces” for their own political and economic interests, he said.

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More MDC ministers will be arrested: Mugabe independence speech

Monday, 18 April 2011 14:20

From Daniso Sibanda in Harare

THE aged Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has warned that more MDC senior
officials would be incarcerated - in a speech to mark the country’s 31 years
of independence.

Mugabe, 87, defended the arrests of MDC cabinet ministers saying the
uniformed forces would deal with “them”.

The National Healing and Reconciliation minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu is
languishing in police cells in Lupane while Energy minister Elton Mangoma
was arrested twice in a month over corruption allegations.

The Zimbabwean dictator defended the crackdown against ministers from MDC
formations and activists saying those who break the law would be punished.

Mugabe also spoke strongly against political violence which MDC-T blames on
his Zanu PF party and security forces.

But critics say the arrests of opposition ministers and legislators were
Mugabe’s part of intimidation tactics ahead of elections expected later this

Several MDC-T and MDC law makers and members have been arrested on mostly
trumped up charges in recent months. Observers say Mugabe’s clampdown on his
political rivals showed that dangerous times are coming before the

“If you break the law you will be arrested; lets respect the law,” said

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attended the Independence Day celebrations
at the National Sports Stadium while Mugabe’s wife who is unwell and is
receiving medical attention in Singapore was absent.

Mugabe said the national healing process should continue to promote peace
but the arrest of Mzila-Ndlovu is in sharp contrast of the ageing president’s
hypocritical message.

Mzila-Ndlovu was also barred from addressing a national healing meeting in
Kezi after police constables were unleashed to disperse villagers.

Mugabe made a summersault on his attack on Sadc, saying the regional block
has played a pivotal role in promoting peace in Zimbabwe. The president
early this month attacked Sadc after the block told him to fully implement
the Global Political Agreement and end violence against political opponents.

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Tsvangirai denounces Zimbabwe nationalisation plans

Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:43pm GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's main rival on Monday
denounced his plans to nationalise foreign-owned firms as "looting and
plunder" by a greedy elite.

In a statement for Zimbabwe's 31st independence anniversary, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai dismissed as "empty rhetoric" a drive by Mugabe's ZANU-PF
party to force foreign companies to transfer majority shareholding to local

Mugabe's seizures of white-owned commercial farms about a decade ago under
the banner of correcting colonial injustices had ruined the economy and
benefited "avaricious politicians" over the last decade, Tsvangirai said.

"Now thirty years after independence, we are being told by
multi-millionaires and multiple farm owners that indigenisation will set us
free," he said.

"By this, they are not referring to broad-based empowerment of the ordinary
man and woman, but the looting and plunder of national resources by a small,
parasitic elite," he added.

Mugabe, 87 and in power since Zimbabwe's since independence from Britain in
1980, signed an Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act in 2008, which
forces foreign-owned companies worth over $500,000 to achieve at least 51
percent black ownership within five years.

Mugabe defended the policy later in the day at an independence rally also
attended by Tsvangirai.

The president said a government notice giving foreign mining companies until
May 9 to submit their plans on the share transfer was part of a broad
economic empowerment programme.)

Mugabe also denounced political violence and avoided his usual attacks on
Tsvangirai in a reconciliatory speech.

Zimbabwe, Mugabe said, had stabilised politically after a power-sharing
government brokered by regional leaders in 2009 and could complete
constitutional reforms ahead of elections.

Mugabe has been pushing for an early poll this year before agreed democratic
reforms, accusing his opponents of wasting time on petty quarrels over state

Analysts say an election without reforms, including a new constitution, a
free media and improved voter registration, will favour Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF party. MDC officials warned an early election could lead to a

Although Mugabe called for national unity and peaceful political
co-existence, he made no direct reference to a spate of clashes between his
supporters and backers of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change or the
arrest of opposition officials.

Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, a minister from a small MDC faction led by Industry and
Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube, was detained at the weekend on charges of
addressing an illegal meeting and using hate speech.

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‘31 years of hell’

By Thelma Chikwanha, Staff Writers
Monday, 18 April 2011 10:35

HARARE - There has neither been an economic dividend nor real political
change which Zimbabweans could celebrate, analysts and ordinary Zimbabweans
interviewed by the Daily News ahead of today’s Independence Day holiday said

Hunger, diseases, poverty, human rights abuses, murder, torture,
unemployment, destruction of the economy, corruption, nepotism and disregard
of the rule of law among many other issues have characterised Zimbabwe’s

While a few individuals either in Zanu PF or with Zanu PF links are today
feasting on ill-gotten wealth, millions of Zimbabweans are wallowing in
poverty and unemployment is over 90 percent.

This has led to the public and analysts interviewed by the Daily News
arguing that they are still to get real freedom, three decades after

Like he has done every year, President Robert Mugabe will address thousands
of people today – most of whom will attend to watch the football match
between Dynamos and Highlanders – where he will attack the West, his
opponents and any other issues that have affected him personally and his
inner cabal.

Among those who will be ululating and clapping hands for Mugabe is the bunch
of looters who surround him and sit in the VVIP section and blasphemously
worship him so that they loot while the 87-year-old is blinded by the

But this has not brought food or shelter to the millions who are suffering
who will not be interested in his mantra.

In any case, Zimbabweans have not known real peace because soon after
independence, government forces and in particular state agents and the North
Korean trained Fifth Brigade unleashed a terror campaign in the Midlands and
Matabeleland provinces where 20 000 innocent civilians were brutally
murdered under the guise of hunting down less than 200 so called Zipra

Since then, government opponents have been cruelly suppressed and draconian
laws similar to those used by the Smith regime against the masses are still
being used.

As if to underscore the lack of real progress in the country over the past
31 years, most of the ordinary people who were interviewed by the Daily News
did not wish to be identified or have their pictures taken, for fear of
victimisation, as they slated the post-independence government for lacking
both the ideas and desire to empower black Zimbabweans in a real, tangible
and sustainable way.

Political analyst  Charles Mangongera,  said: “ I don’t think anybody will
stand up and say they are celebrating independence because Zimbabwe has not
experienced the fruits of independence. The privileged class have captured
the reigns of the state pursuing narrow interests for personal gains.

“Human rights defenders are being targeted and persecuted for standing up
for the poor voiceless people. People are being denied their freedom of
association and electoral freedoms are also being violated.

“The right to political participation, e.g. through the media has been taken
away.  Laws like POSA and AIPPA are still there.
“Look at other countries in terms of electronic media. They have several
radio and television stations yet we only have one. Radio plays a pivotal
role to give ordinary Zimbabweans a voice. What about the voices of the down

Human rights researcher Pedzisai Ruhanya said he did not believe there can
be any independent state without sovereign people saying fundamental human
rights are being violated everyday by a government that brought independence
from colonial rule.

“We are still not independent from the colonial system as they have
sustained laws from the Smith regime. The police, army and CIO behaviour is
a replica of the behaviour of the police, army and CIO behaviour during the
Smith regime.

“It is a continuation of a colonial state being presided over by a black
elite masquerading as a saviour of the people when they are serving their
parochial egotistic self-interests.

“Prior to independence, people would go to Mozambique to have their meetings
there because they could not exercise their right to freedom of association,
expression and political participation. It is the same now as you can’t
group around to discuss anything under our own black regime.

“The ethos of the liberation struggle have been betrayed by this regime and
Zimbabweans should unite to liberate the country in a democratic, peaceful
way which means they should be shown the exit via elections,” said Ruhanya.

His sentiments were shared Reverend Jonah Gokova who said Zimbabweans with
all their frustrations needed to go back to the original values of why
people went to war.

“This was once upon a time a good story of heroism and commitment to
national values but now being messed up with politics of survival, greed,
repression and oppression,” he said.

The generality of the population are not spared in the misery that has
rocked the nation for the past 31 years.

A civil servant in Harare who cannot be named for fear of being brutalised

“To be honest, real Uhuru (independence) is a long way off. It has been 31
years of misery for most of us.  There was a fleeting ray of hope in the
first five years of the post-independence period and it has been downhill
since then.

“It is a shame and it leaves a large lump of sorrow in my throat to admit
that I was better off when I started working in government in Ian Smith’s
racist Rhodesia than I am now in the twilight of my career in an
independent, black-ruled Zimbabwe.  What is there for me to celebrate –
poverty, disease, hunger and more oppression, this time by my own people,”
said a Harare civil servant.

A Marondera teacher said that it was not an exaggeration to say that the
story depicted in the book Animal Farm was “a picnic compared to what is now
happening in our country”.

“Things are very bad for us teachers.  We have no money and we are not
allowed to have a political choice. We used to be looked upon as a serious
profession worthy of respect but today we are the butts of the worst jokes
imaginable, as we have been reduced to beggars.

“What riles me even more is that there is absolutely no appreciation of the
important role that teachers play in our country by politicians.  As a
result, Zimbabwe is going to the dogs, where the future is one of
illiteracy, ignorance and anarchy,” she said.

Indeed, with only 850 000 people formally employed out of an estimated
population of 12 million, leading Zimbabwean economic analyst John Robertson
revealed the shocking statistics on Friday, in an interview with the Daily
News, that the number of formally employed Zimbabweans was at the same level
as that which obtained in the country in 1970.

“Since 1970, Zimbabwe’s population has more than doubled, which means the
working populace should have more or less doubled. The country’s economy
remains distressed,” Robertson said.

Although the 2011 employment figures are a massive improvement on the 2008
figures of only 480 000 people who had formal jobs then, just before the
formation of the inclusive government, the United Nations office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reports that Zimbabwe’s
formally employed population stood at 3,6 million in 2003.

So bad is the political and economic climate in Zimbabwe that President
Jacob Zuma of South Africa has warned of revolts and "unprecedented
upheavals", similar to those recently seen in North Africa, if reforms are
not implemented in Zimbabwe.

The warning was contained in a damning report handed to Mugabe and his
partners in the inclusive government last week – which was also presented to
the recent Sadc troika on the Zimbabwean crisis, that was held in
Livingstone, Zambia.

Real freedom fighters like Edgar Tekere and Wildred Mhanda have in the past
also lambasted Zanu PF for throwing away the ideals of independence through
greed and corruption saying that Mugabe is now surrounded by bootlicking
looters who never participated in the struggle.

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Zim Independence Day protest in UK

by Irene Madongo
18 April 2011

Zimbabweans in the UK marked the country’s 31st Independence Day with a
protest against the increasing political violence in the country.

The demonstration was held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in Central London
and organised by Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the
Anti-Apartheid Movement. It was supported by several other organisations,
such as the Zimbabwe Association, Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe
(ROHR) and the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been protesting outside the
Zimbabwe Embassy since 2002 in protest at human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Ephraim Tapa of ROHR condemned the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. “We are
here to protest against the direction that the country continues to embark
on, in as far as human rights and democracy is concerned,” he said.

Around 150 people attended the gathering. Demonstrators sang protest songs
and slipped a petition a through the shut door of the Embassy, which was not
open today.

Despite calls from local civic groups, international organisations and other
political parties to stop the violence, ZANU PF’s youth militia and war vets
have continued with their campaign of bloody aggression.

On Monday Amnesty International also condemned the political violence and
the partisan role of the Zimbabwean police force.

“As Zimbabwe’s celebrates 31 years of independence, Amnesty International
today expressed concern about the lack of effort by the government to
address the legacy of human rights violations and respect for human rights
guaranteed in the country’s own constitution as well as international
treaties,” the organisation said.

“Since February, Zimbabwean civil society has faced an upsurge in incidents
of harassment and intimidation in what has been seen as a clampdown by the
Zimbabwe Republic Police, with arbitrary arrest, detention and torture
occurring with alarming frequency across the country.”

The partisan police are blamed for worsening the troubles, instead of
stopping them. Last week police broke up a prayer for peace, at the Church
of the Nazarene in Harare, using teargas and batons to disperse the
congregation, including children, who had to break church windows to escape.
Four priests were among those arrested.

Reporting on 31 years of independence the Daily News said; “Hunger, disease,
poverty, human rights abuses, murder, torture, unemployment, destruction of
the economy, corruption, nepotism and disregard of the rule of law, among
many other issues, have characterised Zimbabwe’s independence. While a few
individuals either in Zanu PF or with Zanu PF links are today feasting on
ill-gotten wealth, millions of Zimbabweans are wallowing in poverty and
unemployment is over 90 percent.”

While several MDC-T ministers and the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
attended the Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadiums,
the leadership of the smaller MDC faction, led by Welshman Ncube, tried to
spend their Independence Day at a Lupane prison with their deputy Secretary
General, Moses Mzila Ndlovu. However police turned them away, saying that
superiors had ordered them to close the premises to members of the public.

On Friday Mzila Ndlovu, who is also the National Healing Minister, was
arrested on his way to meet three other co-Ministers in the Organ of
National Healing and Reconciliation. They were due to make a presentation in
Victoria Falls on the progress they have made in healing the nation. But
Mzila Ndlovu never made it there, when police ambushed him at a roadblock
they had set up at Lupane.

On Monday, MDC-N spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said ‘celebrating Independence Day
is not synonymous with attending political gatherings at stadiums where
Robert Mugabe will be speaking, but is more about doing an activity which
reminds people of the country’s independence’.

He added; ‘The national executive of the party decided to drive to Lupane
and celebrate independence with our colleague and cadre in the liberation
struggle, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, who was arrested for making a statement akin
to the fact that we must find a common place to speak to the ills that
happened in this country after independence in the 1980s.”

Dube denied his party was boycotting the celebrations, saying party members
were free to commemorate Independence Day whichever way they chose to,
including attending the celebrations at stadiums.

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Celebrating independence amid fear - Amnesty International


April 18 2011
AI Index: 46/009/2011

Zimbabwe: Celebrating independence amid fear

As Zimbabwe’s celebrates 31 years of independence, Amnesty International
today expressed concern about the lack of effort by the government to
address the legacy of human rights violations and respect for human rights
guaranteed in the country’s own constitution as well as international

Despite the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2009,
human rights violations have continued unabated. Unjustifiable restrictions
of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly
are undermining the stability brought about by the setting up of the GNU.

For example, six activists, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Antonater
Choto, Welcome Zimuto, Eddson Chakuma and Tatenda Mombeyarara, are facing
treason charges after organizing a public lecture to discuss events in Egypt
and the Middle East. If convicted they face the death penalty. The six were
part of a group of 45 activist arrested on 19 February 2011. The other 39
were acquitted after a magistrate in Harare dismissed the charges against

A political culture where human rights are trampled upon in pursuit of
partisan political interests has given rise to fear. People living in rural
areas in particular remain in fear of the security forces because of their
involvement in the 2008 election violence and continuing failure to hold
perpetrators to account.

State sponsored violence and malicious prosecutions of perceived opponents
of President Robert Mugabe remain a major concern.

On 31 March, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ Troika
on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, in a communiqué following its
summit in Zambia, called for ‘an immediate end to violence, intimidation,
hate speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the
letter and spirit of [the Global Political Agreement (GPA)]’.

The sentiments expressed in the communiqué are undoubtedly a progressive
step. In the past the silence of regional leaders on human rights violations
in Zimbabwe has encouraged perpetrators to carry on committing violations
with impunity, but a question remains as to whether action on implementation
of the GPA will follow words.

Persistent violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association
and assembly in Zimbabwe have made a mockery of the GPA. SADC, as a
guarantor of the agreement, should not just make public pronouncements but
must follow through on all its resolutions with action against any of the
parties to the GPA who flout its provisions.

Amnesty International today called on SADC to ensure that in its
facilitation of the roadmap to free and democratic elections in Zimbabwe,
human rights protection is prioritized. This is crucial given the
recognition by SADC of persistent violations which have continued despite
the formation of the unity government and the extreme violence which has
characterized recent elections in the country.

Amnesty International is also concerned that the law to enable the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission to start its work is still to be enacted. Enabling
the Human Rights Commission to operate would be a good start in addressing
the human rights challenges facing the country.

Since February, Zimbabwean civil society has faced an upsurge in incidents
of harassment and intimidation in what has been seen as a clampdown by the
Zimbabwe Republic Police, with arbitrary arrest, detention and torture
occurring with alarming frequency across the country.

Talk of a possible election in 2011 is also fuelling tensions within the GNU
and in communities. Very little has been done to address the tension in
rural communities arising from the 2008 state-sponsored election violence.

Human rights activists have also come under immense pressure, mainly from
the Law and Order Section of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and face charges
for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed human rights.

On Independence Day the continuation of human rights violations in Zimbabwe
is particularly poignant, casting a dark shadow over the country’s
celebrations. The three Principals to the GPA should act decisively to
address the culture of impunity for human rights violations that has stalked
the county for a decade. They should strive to guarantee the safety and
security of everyone in Zimbabwe. Reforms to end partisan law enforcement
must be implemented without further delay.

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Repression escalates

By Thelma Chikwanha, Staff Writer
Monday, 18 April 2011 11:00

HARARE - As repression and intimidation against innocent civilians
escalates, some churches were yesterday barred from celebrating Palm Sunday
in a move which church leaders condemned as a criminal attack on the church
and an invocation of the power of God.

Palm Sunday represents the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem
and is held on the last Sunday before Easter.

Police barred thousands of Anglican Church worshippers from the
internationally recognized Chad Gandiya group from marching in celebration
of the day while the Methodists Church in Ruwa was also barred by police.

But the controversial and Zanu PF-aligned Nolbert Kunonga church was allowed
to celebrate Palm Sunday where less than 50 people in central Harare

Lawyers yesterday questioned whether under the draconian Public Order and
Security Act, churches should seek permission from the police to pray.

The latest attack on the churches comes hard on the heels of the brutal
suppression of a peace prayer meeting in Glen Norah last week as agitation
in President Robert Mugabe’s government increases.

It comes at a time when government is reeling from the rebuke they received
from Sadc for suppressing the people.

The Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe yesterday led the condemnation of the
government’s heavy handedness.

The Christian Alliance has condemned the barring of parishioners at the Chad
Gandiya led Anglican Church Harare Diocese from celebrating Palm Sunday
calling it a criminal attack on the church and invocation of the power of

An irate Christian Alliance Coordinator, Dr Levee Kadenge said barring
Christians from celebrating Palm Sunday which is celebrated by Christians
all over the world was extremely unreasonable.

He said it was criminal not to allow harmless parishioners wielding palm
leaves to gather and to pray at Africa Unity square, directly opposite the
Anglican Cathedral.

The thousands of parishioners were shocked when they learnt that they could
walking down the streets with palm branches in their hands in line with
their religion.

In Ruwa, Methodists parishioners where also denied permission to walk about
the city waving and distributing palm branches to people.

“How can they deny Christians their right to worship? That is criminal,
whoever denied them permission is a criminal it’s tantamount to invoking the
power of God. Who has ever invoked God’s power and succeeded?, Kadenge

Reverend Jonah Gokova also condemned the latest attack saying it was a sign
that government had decided to target the church on purely political grounds
in order to silence critical voices in the church.

“In my view, government has decided to target the church to make sure that
all critical voices in the church are silenced. They had gathered to
remember the steps of the cross which is a very important event in the
Christian calendar. This is political decision aimed at frustration the
Anglican Church parishioners who are deemed to be opponents of a certain
political party,” Gokova said.

When the Daily News arrived at Africa Unity square, a disheartened
parishioner from Anglican St James assembly in Warren Park was leaving
before the church service had ended as she feared the situation could become

“I am now going home, they have refused to give us permission to march so I’ve
decided to go home now because maybe the police might come and beat us up,”
said the parishioner who preferred anonymity.

However a few streets away, parishioners from the Roman Catholic Church to
which President Robert Mugabe belongs were a jubilant lot because they were
allowed to march freely in the city.

Last week police wielding guns, baton sticks and tear gas descended on
parishioners who had gathered at the Nazarene Church in Glen Norah to pray
for peace and to remember victims of police brutality of March 11, 2007
which claimed Gift Tundare’s life.

Elderly men, women and children were not spared as they sustained injuries
from the mayhem that was caused from the confusion.

MDC activist Shakespeare Mukoyi and two priests where severely assaulted
before they were taken into custody.
On Friday, the police arrested co-national healing and reconciliation
minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu and a Roman Catholic Church for attending a
memorial service for survivors of Gukurahundi massacres that took place in
the early 1980’s.

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ZANU thug strips Canadian tourists naked in Zimbabwe

by Mafu Sithabile
2011 April 18 12:42:05

On Sunday two Canadian tourist in Zimbabwe were allegedly stripped naked by
a ZANU-PF thug masquerading as a war veteran in Mutoko.

The incident happened at Nyamuzizi resettlement scheme as the two were on
their way to a farm once owned by their grandfather and where he is buried.

The tourist and his brother, only identified as Palmer, were stripped naked
by the war veteran identified as Stanley Chinake Mazarura, who was allegedly
at the forefront of unleashing terror in the area during the run-up to the
June 27 2008 presidential election runoff.

A report was made at Mutoko police, but no official comment could be
obtained from the police. Contacted for comment last night, police national
spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, said he had
received no such report.

"I have not received that report. I am not aware of such an incident,"
Bvudzijena said.

Our source said: "A war veteran by the name Stanley Chinake Mazarura of
Village Three in Mutoko stopped two white men who wanted to check on their
grandfather's grave.

"He stripped them and deflated the wheels of their vehicle. After that he
ordered his youths to deal with them while he went to find more youths. He
said white people were not wanted in Mutoko.

"Some of the youths however sympathised with the white people and helped
them but demanded $25 protection fees. However, Mazarura returned and beat
up one of the youths. The assaulted youth reported the matter to the

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National Healing Minister Ndlovu remains locked up

By Lance Guma
18 April 2011

National Healing Minister, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, remains locked up in police
custody in Lupane following his arrest last Friday, alongside a Catholic
priest. Both were accused of addressing a public meeting without police

Mzila Ndlovu was arrested on his way to Victoria Falls where three
Co-Ministers of the Organ of National healing had been invited to make a
presentation on how far the Ministry has gone in the process of national
healing. Police set a roadblock at Lupane and laid an ambush.

Catholic priest, Father Marko Mabutho Mnkandla, was arrested for holding a
service for victims of the Gukurahundi massacres at his parish. The service
was also attended by Mzila-Ndlovu.
In a sensational twist to the case, it’s reported Father Mnkandla will also
face charges of possessing pornographic material and will next appear in
court on Tuesday. A total of 4 trumped-up charges are being placed against

In addition to the pornography charge, he’s accused of holding a meeting
without clearance, publishing false statements and hate speech.
But those who attended the service said Father Mnkandla preached about the
need for national healing and accountability over the Gukurahundi Massacres.

“We want the truth of what happened to be acknowledged and accepted by the
whole nation. We want the nation to admit that they know what happened at
Silozwi (village) and to acknowledge it so that we heal. We want to be
allowed to talk about our pain. That is freedom,” he is quoted as saying.

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UK, US relent on Zim ‘blood diamond’ ban

By Alex Bell
18 April 2011

Western calls for an international ban on trading in Zimbabwe’s
controversial Chiadzwa diamonds appear to have been silenced, after a
reported agreement on the country’s trade future was met in Dubai last week.

It’s understood that officials in China and India have managed to persuade
the European Union (EU) and the United States to soften their stance on the
export of the diamonds. The Western states had been resisting growing
pressure to allow Zimbabwean exports to resume, amid ongoing human rights
concerns at Chiadzwa, where its feared that at least 20 people are killed a

But this resistance has been put to the test, with support for Zimbabwe’s
diamonds steadily growing. Earlier this year, the new Chairman of the
international trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), unilaterally gave
Zimbabwe the green light to start exports. The DRC’s Mathieu Yamba is
believed to have broken KP protocol by not consulting other member countries
on the decision, causing the EU and other Western states to immediately call
for a boycott of Zimbabwe’s stones.

Yamba has insisted that he will not review his decision until the next KP
plenary session, expected later this year.

Meanwhile, the KP’s monitoring group for Zimbabwe met in Dubai for a two day
meeting last week, to try and get some kind of agreement on what to do about
the situation. The result has been yet another draft agreement on Zimbabwe’s
trade future, which will set the conditions for international exports, if
the Zim government accepts it. It’s understood that this agreement is the
result of the EU, the UK and the US all relenting on pressure to ban
Zimbabwe from trade.

The new agreement has reportedly been sent to KP Chairman, Yamba, who will
now hand it over to the Zim government for approval. It is not yet clear if
the government will accept this agreement, or what the details of the
agreement are.

But it’s widely believed that the agreement is pandering to the Zimbabwean
government, which has threatened to sell its diamonds without approval.
Diamond rights activist, Farai Maguwu, who heads the Mutare based Centre for
Research and Development, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that there has been
a general ‘softening’ towards Zimbabwe. He explained that KP members have
continued to weaken “to allow trade in (Chiadzwa) diamonds.”

“The KP is basically businesses oriented and its aim is to preserve the
diamond industry at all costs. It appears that everyone is getting very
tired about Zimbabwe, and the KP is lowering its standards to try and
appease Zimbabwe,” Maguwu said.

Maguwu said the KP is risking its credibility and risking setting a “very
dangerous precedent,” if Zimbabwe is allowed to export diamonds “while the
situation on the ground is appalling.” He said the KP will have lost all
relevance if it does not take human rights concerns more seriously.

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China and India want to end the Zimbabwe diamonds stalemate

by Mafu Sithabile
2011 April 18 08:09:50

The stalemate over rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe is likely to end soon
with India and China being successful in brokering a solution with the
United States and European Union at the Kimberley Process's Working Group of
Monitoring meeting held in Dubai on April 14. India and China are member
countries of international diamond regulatory body KP Certification Scheme.

Top sources in the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council said a
consensual draft of the Joint Work Plan has been prepared by the member
countries and it was submitted to the KP chair Mathieu Yamba of Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC).

The KP Chair is supposed to send the consensual draft to the Government of
Zimbabwe for acceptance in order to resume the exports of diamonds from the
Marange diamond field. Zimbabwe's diamonds have been at the centre of
controversy for three years now with African partners accusing their Western
counterparts of applying unorthodox means to keep out other players from the
lucrative diamond trading business.

Last month, KP chairperson Mathieu Yamba gave Zimbabwe the green light to
export its rough gems from Chiadzwa diamond fields. However, the decision
immediately sparked a debate with Western countries led by Britain and USA
opposing the decision.

A warning was issued by the US and EU to the diamond companies in India and
UAE not to buy the rough stones from Zimbabwe. The US and EU stated that the
names of those importing rough from Zimbabwe will be flashed on the
government websites and that the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which
administers all US sanctions procedures, will scrutinise these transactions.

"India and China have played a key role in brokering a solution for
Zimbabwe. If the Zimbabwe government accepts the consensual draft agreed by
the KP member nations, including US and EU, then it could resume the rough
diamond exports," a senior official from GJEPC said.

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Two million Zimbabweans lose cell phone contact

By Alex Bell
18 April 2011

About two million Zimbabweans have had their cell phones cut off by the
government Telecommunications Authority, for failing to register their sim

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz)
has announced that at least 2.1 million Econet Wireless and Telecel
subscribers have been disconnected. The authority had set the end of March
as the deadline for the registration of the estimated nine million cell
phone users in the country.

Figures from the authority show that 1.4 million Econet users have been
disconnected while 700,000 were Telecel subscribers.

Last August the government authority ordered cell phone operators to
register all mobile users to “combat criminal activities,” and abuse of
mobile communications.

But according to international research firm, IHS Global Insight, this
mobile registration process has the potential to stall growth in the
telecommunications sector. The international think-tank warned in a report
that the requirement might jeopardise the goal of access to mobile phone
service for all.

“The introduction of mandatory registration of sim cards in at least 10
countries, has resulted in a dramatic slowdown in subscriber growth and will
see the disconnection of millions of unregistered subscribers,” IHS Global
Insight warned in a recent report.

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All set for the MDC-T congress in Bulawayo

By Tichaona Sibanda
18 April 2011

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai has called on his party to unite, to counter
what he described as ZANU PF’s increasingly authoritarian and brutal streak
meant to destabilise the country ahead of a planned poll.

Tsvangirai has been on whirlwind tour of the country to meet with provincial
party structures following elections that have largely been disrupted by the
police. In other provinces some elections have been marred by vote buying.

The MDC leader says some individuals in ZANU PF and members of the Joint
Operations Command (JOC) are holding the country to ransom. ‘It is a fact
that there are some among us who are determined to take this country back to
the dark years of repression, violence and intimidation,’ Tsvangirai said
over the weekend.

In Chinhoyi on Friday night, he said people can have different points of
view on many things ‘but at a time of major challenges ahead, it was
important to maintain the unity of the party.’

He went on to say; “The MDC should come out of the third national congress,
stronger and with a clear agenda that it is a party ready and worthy to

5,000 party delegates from across the country are expected to attend the
congress in Bulawayo from April 28-30. But there are reports the police are
trying to bar the gathering.

Our Bulawayo correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, said it appears the police,
acting on instructions from the top, are hell bent on disrupting the ‘’rebranding’
of the MDC, because of the threat it creates to ZANU PF.

‘People should not forget that between January and February, the JOC met at
Rose camp police station in Bulawayo and ordered that all MDC functions be
banned. A fractured MDC will not be a threat to ZANU PF but a rebranded MDC,
with new faces and new ideas, will be bad news for Mugabe. This is why the
partisan police will want to make it difficult for the party to have its
congress,’ Saungweme said.

The Zimbabwe Standard newspaper reported on Sunday that police claim they
don’t have adequate manpower to cover the meeting and are demanding US$10
000 a day to provide extra security.

The MDC is also being barred from using education institutions for
accommodation in the city, raising fears hundreds of party delegates will be
left without anywhere to sleep.

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Zimbabwe's small scale miners considering forming consortiums

by Ndou Paul
2011 April 18 11:18:36

Following government's finalisation of  the indigenisation thresholds of the
mining sector, small scale miners are considering forming consortiums to
mobilise capital required to purchase stakes in foreign owned mines in line
with the indigenisation policy.

The plans are being made following a directive for foreign owned mining
firms operating within the country to submit their indigenisation  plans
within the next 45 days.

Zimbabwe Miners Federation President Mr. Trynos Nkomo said  forming
consortiums will  enable small scale miners who are reeling under capital
constraints to raise adequate capital and acquire shares in the foreign
owned mining  companies.

Nkomo said small scale miners are ready to work with relevant  government
ministries in ensuring that the indigenisation of  the mining sector
unlocks wealth for the locals and the economy.

Government has revealed that the indigenisation process will continue in a
move that is aimed at empowering locals through access to shares in foreign
owned companies operating within the country.

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Tycoon riles villagers over land

By Business Writer
Monday, 18 April 2011 17:03

HARARE - Tycoon Billy Rautenbach’s lowveld investment companies have
reportedly clashed with villagers in Chipinge over land rights.

Through Macdom and Rating Investments, the business magnate entered into a
joint venture with the Agricultural Rural Development Authority, Arda, to
build a US$600 million ethanol plant, which is scheduled for commissioning
this year.

Although company executives insist the two do not own the land as it is in
Arda’s hands, peasants in Chisumbanje accuse one of the companies of mowing
down 285 hectares of maize in the past two seasons.

Claris Madhuku’s Platform for Youth Development, PYD, says it has been
helping the villagers in reclaiming their land, which Rautenbach’s companies
were given to grow sugarcane for the multi-million Green Fuels plant in
south-eastern Zimbabwe.

The lobby group even claims it has petitioned State Enterprises Minister
Gorden Moyo to intervene in the matter and bar the company from seizing
communal land.

The Movement for Democratic Change appointee was not immediately available
to authenticate the matter.

Green Fuels, which envisages to churn out 100 million litres of fuel from 11
500 hectares of land in the first phase of the project, says it requires up
to 50 000 hectares of land to build up enough feedstock for the plant.

At full production — and phase three of the project — the Brazilian-modeled
plant will spurt out 250 million litres of product yearly, company
executives say.

With the company spending nearly US$70 000 a week in fuel money alone for
clearing the lowveld land, Green Fuels has pushed forward the commencement
of fuel sales and production due to the late delivery of critical components
for the plant.

At peak, the company says it will provide about 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s
fuel needs and there is a huge market for its product in the region going
forth due to the world’s move or change to cleaner energy.

The project will augment Zimbabwe’s renewable energy supplies and is also
providing huge employment opportunities for locals.

Zimbabwe is currently a net importer of fuels is susceptible to
international price fluctuations which in turn result in spiral effects in
the economy.

Sugarcane ethanol projects have been a success story in a number of
countries worldwide, with Brazil rated among the leading nations.

In 2009, global production reached 75 billion litres, which was a 64 percent
increase from 2007’s output.

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African farmers 'need more relevant climate predictions'

18 Apr 2011 12:38
Source: member // SciDev.Net - Gozde Zorlu
Seasonal climate predictions have been limited in their ability to meet the needs of rural farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study.
Uncertain rainfall and climate affect 70 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa's population, hampering efforts to promote agricultural production, improve food security and reduce poverty, according to a paper published in Experimental Agriculture this month (5 April).
Farmers could use seasonal weather predictions in many ways to boost food production, said the authors.
Research has shown that demand for climate information is widespread among farmers. A study in Burkina Faso found that 91 per cent of farmers participating in a pilot project applied seasonal forecasts to their decision-making.
Seasonal climate information can be a powerful tool for farmers, but there is a "significant gap" between the information available and what farmers need, said the researchers.
"When to crop is the biggest gamble of the season," Rose Goslinga, agricultural insurance initiative coordinator at the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, told SciDev.Net. By understanding farmers' requirements, climate information can be made more relevant, she added.
Poor access to relevant climate information for farmers results from a number of factors, such as the agricultural sector lacking ownership and a voice in climate services, the study concluded.
Interaction between researchers and farmers can reduce communication barriers and improve the use of seasonal weather forecasts, studies show. Workshop participation in Zimbabwe increased crop yields by 19 per cent, for example.
"A lot of co-learning can happen if farmers and meteorologists can work out the meaning and management implications of seasonal forecasting," James Hansen of Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society, United States, the study's lead author, told SciDev.Net.
Seasonal forecasts do not have enough information to help farmers, agreed Peter Webster of Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, who emphasised the need to respond to farmers' requirements.
The authors recommend five changes to enhance the use and benefits of seasonal forecasting.
These include integrating seasonal forecasting into agricultural research and development strategies, developing the capacity to use and demand climate information, and giving the agricultural sector and farmers an effective voice regarding climate information products and services.
Malaria outlook forums, which are operated by a user community, offer some lessons, the report suggested.
The authors also said that national meteorological services could provide services for development and that weather data should be viewed as a free public good and a resource for sustainable development.
Hansen hopes that the Global Framework for Climate Services and Climate for Development in Africa initiatives will re-invigorate seasonal forecast information for the agricultural sector by focusing attention on the design of climate information.
Goslinga agreed: "The agricultural sector has been neglected in Africa but now it's back on the agenda."
Link to full paper in Experimental Agriculture

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Moyo loses political grip

By Oscar Nkala
Monday, 18 April 2011 11:08

BULAWAYO - Serial political flip flopper, Jonathan Moyo is in the eye of a
storm in his Tsholotsho North constituency as voters say they will never
vote for him again for betraying the people by re-joining Zanu PF.

Moyo, who has in past decade changed political parties between Zanu PF and
its opponents, campaigned as an independent and duped the MDC into believing
that he was working with them and easily won the seat after Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out their candidate in support of the controversial

In interviews held at Sipepa, Jimila and Tsholotsho centre on Saturday, the
people said they had voted Moyo into parliament in 2005 because to them he
was a hero who had almost buried Zanu PF at Dinyane High School in the same
district in 2004 when he allegedly engineered a coup that would have
prevented Vice President Joyce Mujuru from ascending to her present post.

The failed Tsholotsho “coup” was also aimed at eventually removing President
Robert Mugabe from power.

Mugabe himself confirmed that Moyo including the Minister of Defence and
others had plotted a coup from inside Zanu PF against him.

"In the last two elections, I voted for Moyo because he was that hero who
had proven to the world that Zanu PF is not invincible but gullible in many
ways. He faced down President Robert Mugabe and the entire Zanu PF and got
away, not only with his life but totally unscathed as well.

“In 2008, I could see he was finished but I still voted for him because the
MDC factions produced the worst candidates, so I voted for him because he
was the incumbent. I was never going to vote him if he was Zanu PF," said
Johannes Ncube, a businessman at Sipepa Growth Point.

Others accused the former information minister, the brains behind the
draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, AIPPA,  of
turning his back on the people by not consulting them when he went back to
embrace Zanu PF.

"He knows we are angry with him for failing to consult us about his plan to
rejoin Zanu PF. He did not do so because he knew that we would have reminded
him that he got our votes back in 2008 because we fully agreed with him that
Zanu PF is our eternal enemy.

“He was the hero who had single-handedly shaken it to the core, that was why
we gave him the political life he so desperately needed then," said a
villager from Nembe who declined to be identified.

At Tsholotsho centre, people credit Moyo with leading an intensive
development campaign which led to great improvements in schools and rural
electrification prior to his 2004-2009 estrangement with Zanu PF over the
Dinyane debacle.

However, they said even that is not enough to pay back for the betrayal Moyo
committed when he crossed back to Zanu PF where he is once again causing
shockwaves and has already reportedly been disowned the party’s presidium
except Mugabe.

"Jonathan betrayed the people. He was very consultative when he sought our
votes. He did more door to door, one-on-one engagements with people and he
was very well understood because he railed heavily against Zanu PF and
people here hate Zanu PF.

“But by rejoining Zanu PF, he has estranged himself from the people because
he is dining with the enemy again. We can't forgive him for that," said a
civil servant at Tsholotsho centre.

Since rejoining ZANU PF, Moyo who views Mugabe as coward who joined the
liberation struggle by mistake, has only rarely been seen in Tsholotsho and
reportedly spends most of his time on party business in Harare.

On the ground Zanu PF structures canvassing for his candidature are trying
with very little success to explain Moyo's latest flip-flop which landed him
a seat in the Zanu PF central committee and politburo.

Moyo, who argues that Mugabe cannot beat a donkey in an election, has since
settled down to penning long articles spewing vitriolic criticism of the MDC
and of late has been viciously attacking regional leaders from the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) whom he rebuked for their sharp
criticism of Mugabe at the recent summit in Livingstone.

Efforts to get a comment from Moyo were fruitless.

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Zimbabwe, Zambia in tug of war over Vic Falls

By Jean Liou (AFP) – 17 hours ago

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe — "Tourists are back!" said Knowledge, all smiles
at the Victoria Falls tourism office.

His sentiment is shared widely in this resort town on the edge of the
mile-wide waterfall, where it's hard to remember that three years ago
Zimbabwe was trapped in a seemingly endless spiral of hyperinflation, hunger
and political violence.

Victoria Falls had become a ghost town as tourists opted for the comforts
and safety of resorts on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River, where the
once sleepy town of Livingstone enjoyed a tourism boom as Zimbabwe

"The Zambian side has definitively profited from all the problems in
Zimbabwe," said Sarah, who sells excursions for at the Zambezi Sun, part of
a South African hotel chain that opened on the Zambian side in 2001.

Hotels, lodges and other tourist attractions have mushroomed over the past
decade around Livingstone, which became so popular that it now boasts
several daily direct flights to South Africa.

But a brand new curio market on the main road lies empty as tourists fly in
and hop across the border.

"We are not happy, the situation is bad," said the Livingstone Tourism
Association. "They come here for activities and they go to Zimbabwe for

Livingstone still runs a brisk trade in business travel by hosting
conferences and corporate team-building workshops, but now faces stiff
competition with Victoria Falls for leisure travellers.

Zimbabwe's tourism earnings jumped 47 percent last year to $770 million, as
the number of visitors rose 15 percent to 2.3 million nationally, with
Victoria Falls the country's biggest attraction, according to the tourism

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi hopes to grow that number to five billion
dollars by 2015.

"However, this is on condition that the current peace and stability in the
country prevails and the country is able to spin a more positive image of
itself," he told reporters last month.

Since Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar two years ago, prices are lower in
Victoria Falls than in Livingstone, where entrance to the derelict Railway
Museum costs $15 for foreigners.

"It is cheaper here, and people can walk to the falls. They don't have to
take a taxi or whatever," said Duni, a Victoria Falls hawker offering sunset
cruises, helicopter rides, rafting, bungee jumps and safaris to passers-by
on the sidewalk.

While Victoria Falls sits at the river edge, Livingstone is 10 kilometres
(six miles) away, with a fleet of blue taxis shuttling visitors around for
$10 a pop.

Opinion is divided on which side offers the better view of the 108-metre
(360-foot) high falls, though the Zimbabwean side has a greater variety of

Confident in its renaissance, Victoria Falls has asked for Chinese aid to
expand its airport to accommodate bigger planes.

But the throngs of street vendors trailing tourists are a constant reminder
that it's still not business as usual.

Among the souvenirs on offer, a 100-trillion-dollar note from the old
Zimbabwe currency, a worthless amount during the age of hyperinflation. Its
relegation to the trinket shelves is what allowed to Victoria Falls to
welcome visitors again.

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Botswana civil servants begin 10-day strike

(AFP) – 6 hours ago

GABORONE — Botswana civil servants on Monday began a 10-day strike over pay
increases, hampering public services across the country as more than 90,000
workers stayed off the job.

Schools, clinics and public offices were operating on skeleton staff, as
workers vowed to bring services to a standstill.

The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions is demanding a 16 percent
wage hike, after a three-year freeze on salaries blamed on the global
economic crisis.

"We are going ahead with the strike because it is legal and we will continue
until our demands are met," said union spokesman Goretetse Kekgonegile.

The economy of the diamond-rich country was shaken by the global financial
downturn in 2008, which knocked resources prices and slashed demand for the

Government says it cannot afford the double-digit hike and is offering a
five percent increase from September 1.

"The government cannot afford what the public servants are demanding and
since they have decided to stay away from work they should know that it's no
work, no pay," acting vice president Ponatshego Kedikilwe said on state

Workers complain that salaries have remained the same despite rising living
costs. Inflation was at 8.5 percent in March.

The workers have also threatened to shut down the country's major border
posts with South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

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Speculation rife over Grace Mugabe whereabouts

18 April 2011

Zimbabweans have been left to speculate on the whereabouts of Grace Mugabe,
with her husband and family still not coming forward to clarify the

Mugabe’s wife has recently been conspicuously absent from the public eye
after she reportedly left the country with him a short while ago for
Singapore, and has not been seen at official events since. Although she
usually accompanies Mugabe to state events, on Monday she was not present at
the Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare,
where Mugabe addressed the crowds. Last Thursday she was also not present at
the Heroes Acre funeral for the Central Intelligence Organisation Deputy
Director General, Menard Muzariri.

On Sunday the Standard newspaper reported that Robert Mugabe’s spokesman
George Charamba claimed he does not know where she is. When asked whether
she had returned from Singapore, Charamba said: “I am not in touch with that

Meanwhile, the Daily News claims that Grace is actually in China, not
Singapore, and is believed to be studying towards a degree. “Through the
studies in China, Grace is probably looking at sorting sort out her future,
as it becomes increasingly clear President Robert Mugabe is slowly losing
his grip on power due to advanced age,” the newspaper stated. It also
claimed she is receiving treatment for a hip problem that allegedly arose
from complications during the birth of her youngest child, Chatunga, 14
years ago.

The mystery of Grace’s whereabouts was stirred up just over a week ago, when
Charamba said the couple had travelled yet again to Singapore, Mugabe’s
fourth trip this year. It has been reported that the trips are for routine
checks after an eye cataract operation. However, for a while now, others
have said the ageing leader is actually suffering from prostrate cancer and
gets treated in Singapore.

This time round Charamba claimed he did not know the reasons why the Mugabes
had travelled. Instead he suggested that it was possible they had gone to
see their daughter Bona (who is studying in China).

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s independence message to the people of Zimbabwe

Monday, 18 April 2011

My Fellow Zimbabweans

It is my fervent hope that today, as we celebrate 31 years since we liberated ourselves from colonial rule, we are surrounded by family and friends as we all reflect on the true meaning and significance of the great struggle that we waged. I hope we will all have time to reflect on what this nation has gone through and whether our current status reflects what thousands died for as they sought to bring freedom, peace and prosperity to a country ravaged by plunder and racial segregation.

For a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe, is the Zimbabwe that our liberation heroes fought and died for. That is the Zimbabwe that has now been hijacked by a small group that is determined to betray our heroes who bravely sacrificed their lives to liberate every Zimbabwean regardless of race, creed or religion.

This small clique has ensured that people’s freedoms are repressed and fear and intimidation brought into our homes, our villages and our townships. I am confident that today, more than at any time in the last 15 years, we are closer to reaching the ideals for which all our true heroes paid such a dear price to achieve.

But I also acknowledge that we still have a hard road to travel before we reach the ultimate goal of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe. What we have learnt over the past three decades is that there are some among us who are determined to make this country slide back to the dark years of repression, violence and intimidation.

We have also learnt that we are ultimately responsible for our own destiny, even though we remain heartened by the brave stance of SADC in standing with the people of Zimbabwe as shown by its recent commitment to ensure and guarantee peace in this great country that we all love.  Just as we decided to take up arms against the white minority government and subsequently, in 1999, to launch a peaceful democratic struggle against a regime that had imposed sanctions and declared war upon its own people, so we today must take responsibility for where our nation is headed.

We must take responsibility for the type of society we are trying to build, for the future that we want for ourselves, our children and our loved ones. It is probable that by the time we celebrate 32 years of Independence, we will be in an intricate and watershed period that will shape and decide our collective future.

Thus, we have a momentous and exciting year ahead of us. A year that will enable us all to choose, determine and put in place mechanisms to ensure we build a strong  foundation for the new Zimbabwe that we demand and deserve. The coming year will also hold many challenges, dangers and difficult choices. But we have already shown that we have the conviction, the courage and the belief in our own capacity to overcome any hurdles and to build the society that we want.

As we enter our 32nd year of liberation, there will be many treacherous voices trying to convince you to shed away your determination for a new and democratic Zimbabwe. All I ask you is to trust in your heart and to embrace the democratic ideals of our fallen heroes and to remain steadfast in your dedication to building a truly free society. Twenty years after independence we were told that the land would set us free. The same land was later grabbed by avaricious politicians and the well-connected in our society.

Now, thirty years after independence we are being told by multi-millionaires and multiple farm-owners that indigenisation will set us free. By this they are not referring to broad-based empowerment of the ordinary man and woman, but the looting and plunder of national resources by a small, parasitic elite.

Let us not be diverted or distracted by empty rhetoric. Let us not grasp at seemingly easy, short-term gains while continuing to live under the yoke of repression, by individuals driven by partisan political motives and personal greed. Our police and armed services should defend the people and should do their job, without fear or favour, in terms of our Constitution and by upholding the rule of law will we be nearer to true freedom.

Only when we are free to fulfill our potential as employers, entrepreneurs or employees, as mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters will we be truly free.

Only when our youth are not forced to sacrifice their education in return for empty promises peddled by the false-prophets of patriotism will we be truly free.

Only when we begin to enjoy basic freedoms of assembly, movement, speech and association can we say we have achieved what our gallant sons and daughters fought and for.

My fellow Zimbabweans, let us make this 32nd year of our Independence the most significant time in our history. Let us stand together, work together and pray together so that we can all experience true freedom, lasting prosperity and universal security. That is the Zimbabwe we deserve and the nation that I am committed to building.

And that is the Zimbabwe for which many of our heroes and heroines lost their lives. I make a commitment today that I will lead the collective national effort to complete the unfinished business of the liberation struggle by ensuring that true freedom returns to this great country of our birth.

God Bless You.
God Bless Zimbabwe.

Morgan Richard Tsvangirai - Prime Minister and MDC President

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ANALYSIS: After 31 years, Mugabe caught between rock and a hard place

By Jan Raath Apr 18, 2011, 14:38 GMT

Harare - The human rights organization Amnesty International spoke of a dark
shadow over Zimbabwe at the 31st anniversary of its independence Monday, but
the darkness, diplomats say, has also begun to envelop President Robert

Two choices face the man who has ruled the country since independence, they
said. He can follow the demands of his Southern African neighbours to end
the reign of fear and violence he has inflicted on Zimbabweans for the last
11 years since he first encountered a strong opposition, or he can tell them
to go to hell, as he has often told the West, the World Bank, the IMF and
the Commonwealth.

The first choice means holding free and fair elections under international
supervision, which he appears almost certain to lose. In March 2008, the
country was able to hold its first violence-free elections and he lost.

He held his grip on power by unrolling a savage campaign of violence against
his pro-democracy opponent Morgan Tsvangirai in the following second-round
vote. In opinion polls since then he has lagged way behind Tsvangirai, now
his prime minister in a coalition government to which Mugabe was forced by
his neighbours to agree.

If he makes the second choice, the diplomats said, it will be so he can hold
elections his way, as they have been held since 2000, marked by violence and
rigging, and he can stay in power. Defiance to his neighbours, united under
the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, carries the high risk
of being banished by the group.

'It will entail total international isolation,' said one Harare- based
Western envoy.

Mugabe and his cronies are already under targeted sanctions imposed by the
West, and he withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003 when it threatened to
kick him out for cheating in elections.

He found himself facing these uncomfortable choices not three weeks ago when
a group of four SADC leaders, led by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma,
told him to stop the violent persecution of Tsvangirai's party, the Movement
for Democratic Change, and to carry out a wide range of long-overdue
democratic and electoral reforms. SADC had kept silent about Mugabe's abuses
for over a decade until the leaders meeting on March 31, and Mugabe was

Mugabe is finding himself in a world that has shifted position radically
only since January, said the diplomat. Mugabe was specifically warned by
Zambian President Rupiah Banda at the March meeting of how the popular
uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East had shown what could happen
when leaders do not listen to their people.

Mugabe's ministers and militias have been warning that in the next
elections, which he says he wants held by September, the violence will be
worse than the second-round ballot in June 2008 when more than 200 of
Tsvangirai's supporters were massacred and thousands brutalized and maimed.
This was followed by the crash of the economy and the currency, collapse of
infrastructure, national famine and one of Africa's worst cholera epidemics.

The economy has staged a modest recovery since then, the currency has
stabilized and both basic and luxury commodities have become widely
available since the MDC took control over the country's finances in the
coalition government.

'Over the last 31 years Mugabe and his ZANU(PF) (party) have evolved a
regime that is corrupt through and through, and the state is their private
cash box,' said the diplomat. 'Mugabe having unfettered control over the
economy means chaos again.'

Any respectable legacy the aged and ailing Mugabe had to leave is now long
gone, observers say.

But he still has a chance to redeem something by letting the right things
happen and conceding gracefully, the diplomat said.

If he doesn't, he's got the example to look to of Laurent Gbabgo, the loser
in elections in Ivory Coast late last year, who fought to hold on to his
elapsed presidency, causing the loss of thousands of lives, until foreign
troops had to dig him out of a bunker.

'Does Mugabe want to be like that?' asked the diplomat. 'I don't know, but
the prognosis is not good.'

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At 31 Zimbabwe should move towards maturity -

ROHR Zimbabwe joins the rest of the nation in commemorating the gallant sons
and daughters of the soil who sacrificed sweat and blood for the birth of
Zimbabwe from the yoke of colonial rule by the white settler community. We
honor those across our borders, from the neighboring countries who stood in
solidarity with the noble cause for attainment of sovereign rule,
territorial freedom, and equal distribution of wealth, upholding of human
rights and among other things fighting the gangrene brought about by

In commemorating this year’s independence celebrations, we are forever
conscious and we do not take it lightly, what we have in mother earth our
beloved country Zimbabwe, she is blessed with some of the most gifted minds
and talents in human resource; she boast of amazing wonders in scenery,
minerals, fertile farming land, tourist attractions resorts among other

Cognizant of the significance of the times we find ourselves in as a nation
in our 31 years journey, we emphasize that Zimbabwe would not have been, if
not for the relations she enjoyed with other progressive forces who
subscribe to the incorruptible principle of people’s freedoms. Once again as
the nation is battling to go unto maturity to champion the freedom of her
people, Zimbabwe is again calling upon those in the region particularly the
Southern African Development Community SADC and the entire international
community to provide progressive development, people oriented support.

Looking back to the road we have traveled, our 31 years journey has been
littered by stunted growth and it does not reflect where we would have
wanted to be as a people. If we use the baseline of what drove our heroes to
take up arms during the liberation struggle, it’s unequivocal that we have
remained in the past and in the process suffered from hysteric amnesia. The
ideals of the struggle have been sacrificed for precedence, power hunger,
entitlement, monopoly on resources by a small elite, partisanship and as a
result an oppressive system has taken root on our land denying the people
the fruit of the liberation struggle.

As we commemorate this year’s independence we are reminded of the heroes and
heroines who continue to tumble in the hope to realize and safeguard the
gains that were unanimously celebrated by Zimbabweans from all walks of life
on April the 18th of 1980 when Zimbabwe got her independence.

We are further reminded of the oppressive Ian Smith regime which has now
become synonymous with the system that people find themselves battling with
today. The sacred right to life and human dignity has been violated with
impunity. Rights to association and free political engagement are still a
pipeline dream despite the contradictory unsinkable thought that the country
has obtain self rule as opposed to the pre-independence regime.

Who would have thought that our sons and daughters overthrew an oppressive
regime which sought to rule by coercion and brutality, only to realize that
the same forces have now became part of the governance model that is
operational in our present day beloved country Zimbabwe.
Women were the cornerstone for the liberation struggle in all things, bore
the brunt and carried the weight of some of the most unimaginable crimes
against humanity so that one day they would enjoy a liberated Zimbabwe but
sadly they continue to suffer as their rights are fiercely trampled upon on
selfish grounds of political gain. Women have become the largest community
of victims of political violence as they are literally made the battle field
in times of violent conflict in an independent Zimbabwe.

An independent Zimbabwe still questions the principle of the equality of all
persons before the law. The right to a free trial has been politicized to
discriminate on grounds of political affiliation.

The ever growing friction between the parties in the coalition government is
a smokes screen of the immaturity that has dominated our body politic since
we found independence. Politicians can not distinguish duties and roles in
which they have to serve the people and the nation above partisan parochial
interest. The conflicts and crises that the nation has endured in principle
they have not sharpened us to be stronger but we continue to be haunted by
the ghost from our past. Contested elections marred by violence perpetrated
by Zimbabweans against fellow countrymen resulting in internal displacements
also reflects gross lack of maturity and unity on behalf of the citizenry.

For what Zimbabwe has gone through for the past decades, she must have
stories to tell about what she has learnt from the past and where she came
from having conquered the enemies of development. At independence in 1980
the government of Zimbabwe took over arguably better infrastructure from the
white settler regime but as years fell by the signs of immaturity in lack of
development have surfaced in the evidence of poor road system, run down
railway system, dilapidated water system, under equipped hospitals and
schools. As human rights defenders, we note with grave concern that in the
midst of lack of maturity and development, it is the ordinary people who
suffer the most. The economic and social welfare of Zimbabweans and the
standards of leaving continue to tumble not to mention that the life
expectancy is reported to be 49 years .

Having obtained independence and freedom from colonialism, Zimbabwe has
faced a major crippling crisis of bad managers who have been entrusted to
govern and manage resources on behalf of the entire nation attest to the
stunted growth in most things.

As ROHR Zimbabwe our deepest desire is to see the country go unto maturity,
for the state to be people conscious, for the government to be accountable
to the people, for human rights to be protected, up holding of the rule of
law, for people to exercise their universal right to vote freely in peace
and engage in political activities without persecution.
ROHR Information Department
For Peace, Justice and Freedom

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Will Zimbabwe be toasting to 31yrs of self-rule or moral decline?

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 17/04/11

As Zimbabwe celebrates 31years of independence on 18th April, succession
concerns have re-surfaced amidst reports of deep divisions while the
biological clock ticks loudly for the Supreme leader and those in his inner
circle. A Mugabe ally Jonathan Moyo once declared ‘ Zanu-pf does not have
any ‘rule-bound, transparent and democratic succession plan’.

Volatile and unpredictable

Media reports suggest that ‘the situation around Mugabe is getting very
volatile and unpredictable largely due to what is happening in the Middle
East and North and West Africa’, (Timeslive ‘Knives out for Mugabe’,17/04/11).
While this may be seen by the naïve as purely a Zanu-pf problem, it is
actually a Zimbabwean problem because without a smooth transition from the
ageing leader, there can be no guarantees of political stability in a
post-Mugabe era.

What is more curious about the power-games behind the scenes is the current
position of Mugabe’s propagandist Jonathan Moyo  who once observed when he
was his critic that it was ‘the God-given truth that their boss is made of
weak human flesh and has a temporary spirit just like the rest of us and is
therefore not immortal. In view of Mugabe’s clear old age, he can succumb to
the inevitable’, (Time running out for Mugabe to step aside,

Dishing out patronage

Jonathan Moyo accused Mugabe of creating a crisis by ‘dishing out patronage
which he confuses with patriotism .. and breeding cronysim and instilling
fear all over the place’. In a rare statement of courage, Moyo claimed that
no-one ‘wants’ to build bridges with Mugabe to help him escape consequences
of his misrule.

‘As things stand’, he wrote, ‘all hell would break loose and there would be
blood on the floor should Mugabe not wake up tomorrow precipitating a
presidential election within 90 days. Zimbabwe would be on fire under these
explosive conditions.’

Moyo argued that when made aware that Zimbabwe could slip into anarchy and
chaos within 90 days of Mugabe meeting his God, his propagandists and
securocrats take the delusional view that the country’s security forces have
an unparalleled capacity to maintain law and order by nipping any trouble in
the bud as they did during the dreadful Operation Murambatsvina.

Delusional security men
He warned: ‘What this means is that there are some delusional security men
in our midst who do not understand how, for example, the Soviet Union, East
Germany or apartheid South Africa collapsed when their security agencies
were among the world’s most feared and most notorious in terms of their

Contrary to claims of success peddled by the regime’s propaganda in the
areas of indigenisation and land reform, factual revelations suggest
otherwise. For example, the exemption of Chinese firms from the
controversial indigenisation regulations means there is one law for everyone
else in Zimbabwe and another law for the Chinese. Furthermore, on realising
its errors, the Zimbabwe government has bowed to pressure from timber
producers and agreed to evict thousands of illegal settlers from the country’s
prime timber plantations in the eastern districts (Fingaz, 15/04/11).

Prime land

Critics argue that Mugabe and his allies own 40 percent of prime land in
Zimbabwe and in particular him and his wife own 14 farms, worth at least 16
000 hectares in size (Zimonline, 30/11/10) and that by 2009 Mugabe and his
family had amassed a secret personal farming empire comprising about 12
large commercial farms (Timeslive, 17/10/09). After the collapse of the
Zanu-pf leadership code the gap between the rich and poor within the ruling
party has widened. One striking example is that of the poor living
conditions at Geneva flats in Harare’s surburb of Highfields where a
correspondent of the Financial Gazette said a family of four shared a room
that is divided by pieces of cloth or cardboard boxes since independence. On
the other hand a good source of assets owned by the inner circle appears to
be court records of their divorce cases.

Messy divorce

For example, in a messy divorce, one of Mugabe’s Ministers, Ignatius Chombo
was said to own 15 motor vehicles, 2 houses in Glen View, 2 flats in
Queensdale, a property in Katanga Township, a stand in Mount Pleasant
heights, 4 Norton business stands, 3 Chinhoyi business stands, 4 Banket
business stands, 1 commercial stand in Epworth, 2 residential stands in
Kariba, 1 stand in Ruwa, 1 stand in Chinhoyi, 2 stands in Mutare, 2 stands
in Binga, 4 stands in Victoria Falls, 1 stand in Zvimba Rural, two
residential and 2 commercial stands in Chitungwiza, 2 stands in Beitbridge,
20 stands in Crow Hill,  Borrowdale 10 stands in Glen Lorne, 2 flats at
Eastview Gardens, 1 flat at San Sebastian Flats in the avenues and many more
(Zimbabwemetro, 05/11/10).

Recently, one of Mugabe’s ministers, Sylvester Nguni was reportedly fighting
tooth and nail to keep his ex-wife’s hands off his millions which include
eight houses, a South African flat, and a Norton plot, one house in
Borrowdale, two in Mandara, two in Alexandra Park, one in Newlands, one in
Norton and a flat at Northfields in the avenues among other accumulations of
wealth (The Zimbabwean, 08/04/11).

Sadly, as some people celebrate, the tragic legacy of Mugabe’s land reform
programme is represented by the recent death of the ‘White African’ Mike
Campbell who led a historic legal battle against Robert Mugabe in the
regional human rights courts.

Food shortages

Ironically, Zimbabwe is facing food shortages and has reportedly stepped up
maize imports from Zambia (RadioVop, 02/03/11). Major sectors of Zimbabwe’s
economy have operated at 40% capacity since 2006, starting with the freight
industry which was operating at about 40 percent in October 2006 as a result
of ‘continued dislocation of macro-economic fundamentals’ (Zimbabwe
Independent, 20/10/06).

As of September 2010, quoting the London-based researcher GFMS Ltd, the
state owned Herald newspaper reported that the gold sector was operating at
around 40 percent of installed capacity and that it required US$4 billion to
‘re-capitate its energy sector to boost output of the precious mineral’.

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit widened last year as imports outstripped exports by
US$2.4 billion according to Zimstats. Like a patient recovering from a deep
coma, the country is emerging from an economic slump in which the economy
contracted by more than 50 percent from 1996-1998 peak of US$ billion to
about US$2.5 billion in 2008 (The Herald, 07/04/11).

Strong earnings

While manufacturing counters on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange reported strong
earnings during the year ending 31 December 2010, there was not much cause
of celebration as capacity utilisation was still below 50 percent having
increased from 10 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in August 2010 (Financial
Gazette, 31/03/11). With unemployment at 70 percent, erratic power supply
and poor governance, the country will need to heed the warnings by industry
experts to shelve the indigenisation campaign in order to improve the
investment climate and tourism.

Political Governance

Similarly there is an urgent need for the country to improve political
governance and create an environment that is conducive for free and fair
elections. According to media reports hundreds of people were Thursday
force-marched to attend the burial of the late Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO)  deputy director-general, Menard Muzariri,  at what the
opposition prefers to call ‘the Zanu-pf cemetery in Harare. Contrary to
Muzariri’s hero status , political parties and civil society groups in
Matabeleland allege Muzariri was involved in the Gukurahundi killings in
which at least 20 000 civilians mainly Ndebeles  who supported PF-Zapu were
killed by the Fifth Brigade (Timeslive, 17/04/11; The Zimbabwe Mail,

As some Zimbabwean ambassadors and their guests would be lifting their
glasses in a toast to 31 years of independence shouting ‘Bottoms-up’ many
sober displaced nationals would be asking: “Will Zimbabwe be toasting to 31
years of self rule or moral decline?

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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Stop the Violence in Zimbabwe Independence Day Protest – 18th April 2011


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             Ephraim and Tony with anniversary card                                              Slipping card under Embassy door


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                   ZBN interviews Tony Dykes                                                 Can’t keep Zimbabweans down


Some 150 people gathered outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London on Monday 18th April to protest on Zimbabwe’s Independence Day against increasing Mugabe violence.


Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa summed up our mood on the 31st anniversary of independence: ‘we have nothing to celebrate’, he said. Ephraim, who is President of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), went on to say: ‘We are here to remind ourselves of our power for change’.


The demonstration was called by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the successor organization to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. The Director of ACTSA, Tony Dykes, delivered an anniversary card to the Zimbabwe Embassy calling for an immediate end to the violence, free and fair elections and justice for the people of Zimbabwe.


We leave comment to the Daily News reporting on 31 years of independence: “Hunger, disease, poverty, human rights abuses, murder, torture, unemployment, destruction of the economy, corruption, nepotism and disregard of the rule of law, among many other issues, have characterised Zimbabwe’s independence. While a few individuals either in Zanu PF or with Zanu PF links are today feasting on ill-gotten wealth, millions of Zimbabweans are wallowing in poverty and unemployment is over 90 percent.”


For pictures check: For ZimVigil TV coverage check  


Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe:


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