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Mugabe looks to legacy with speech regretting violence

Jan Raath Harare

Last updated at 12:01AM, April 19 2012


President Mugabe made an unprecedented admission of past mistakes yesterday and said that he wanted to ensure political freedom in Zimbabwe.

The leader used an independence-day speech to tell an audience of loyalists at the national football stadium in Harare that he regretted the politically inspired violence of the past.


“When we look back we should say we have done wrong to our people because we were violent among ourselves,” he said.


“It is in our political organisations that we must take absolute care and caution and ensure that the fights of yesterday are buried in the past, and we organise ourselves on the basis of free belonging,” he said. “Membership is not forced. People must be free to belong to the party of their choice.”


The comments will fuel further speculation about Mr Mugabe’s health and whether he is trying to secure a more sympathetic appraisal of his years in office. In parts of the 50-minute speech he stumbled and slurred his words and his voice rose and fell unsteadily.


Mr Mugabe, who is 88, returned a week ago from his eleventh trip in 16 months to Singapore, where he is believed to have received medical attention.

Mr Mugabe has said that elections will be held this year — with him as the presidential candidate of his Zanu (PF) party — whether or not political reforms and a democratic constitution, currently being drafted, are complete.


Human rights organisations have reported a growing number of incidents of violence and intimidation by members of his party against the opposition.

Unusually, Mr Mugabe’s speech acknowledged this and recognised the in-fighting in his own party as factions within Zanu (PF) jockey for position.

“We are going to elections and troubles have already started. This is happening not only to the party against party, but also within parties,” he said.

Western diplomats questioned whether Mr Mugabe has belatedly come to recognise his vulnerability.


His officials have insisted that he is “fit as a fiddle”, but some of his closest aides have been quoted in WikiLeaks cables saying that he has prostate cancer that has spread to other organs, and that he cannot expect to live beyond next year.


His sentiments yesterday about freedom of political association, marking the 32nd anniversary of Zimbabwean independence, were in contrast to those he made before the last election in 2008 when he declared: “This is war!”


His supporters went on to murder 200 opposition supporters.


Some local observers said that it would take more than words to convince them that Mr Mugabe genuinely wanted reform.


“It doesn’t indicate a shift,” said Wilfred Mhanda, a former guerrilla commander whom Mr Mugabe had detained illegally for three years during Zimbabwe’s civil war that ended in 1980. “He has got something up his sleeve. He is lulling people into a false sense of security. He wants to appear reasonable, but he hasn’t changed.”



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Mugabe challenged to prove he wants peace

By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 April 2012

Repeated calls by Robert Mugabe for an end to politically motivated violence
have been described as cheap talk by many Zimbabweans, a day after the ZANU
PF leader addressed thousands during Independence Day celebrations in the

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa, who was at the celebrations in
Harare, said many people who listened to Mugabe do not believe he is sincere
and only actions will prove otherwise. Some said the challenge is for Mugabe
to ensure that perpetrators of violence are arrested, regardless of what
party they support.

Mugabe has been President of Zimbabwe since independence from colonial rule
32 years ago, and his party has used violence, intimidation and harassment
to hold on to power. In recent months the ailing leader has tried to dispel
this perception, asking supporters to refrain from violence.

“That is why when we look back we say to ourselves we have done wrong to our
people because we were violent amongst ourselves, we were fighting. You don’t
have to fight in order to win a football match,” Mugabe said.

Muchemwa explained that Zimbabweans on the ground, especially MDC supporters
and civic groups, say that nothing has changed since Mugabe first began
calling for peace and tolerance last year.

“He has the authority to stop the violence but he has not instructed (Police
Chief Augustine) Chihuri or the police to act,” he added.

Machinda Marongwe from the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (NANGO) described Mugabe’s comments as “just political
rhetoric,” saying civic groups are concerned with the lack of action in
terms of policy reform and the continuation of violence.

Marongwe explained that ZANU PF is caught in a difficult situation because
arresting perpetrators means putting away their support base, since the
“profile of the criminals” is that of ZANU PF youth who have been turned
into “mercenaries”. Mugabe himself said in his speech that party youths were
being abused by politicians who are fighting for positions.

Harrison Mudzuri, MDC-T spokesman for Masvingo province, agreed with
Marongwe’s assessment that Mugabe’s words are not matched by actions on the
ground. He said they are “happy” with the rhetoric but a different story
exists on a district and ward level.

“What he preaches during the day is very different from what happens during
the night. What we find at night is totally different here in Masvingo
because he advocates violence. Mugabe is either not in control anymore or
his orders are being ignored,” Mudzuri said.

Mudzuri said copies of Mugabe’s speech that were sent to the provinces did
not include his comments about peace and tolerance, since this was a
deviation from his prepared address, which dealt with “Indigenisation and
Empowerment” as the theme.

It is clear that many Zimbabweans believe arresting perpetrators is a
positive first step towards a more tolerant political culture. But some
observers have said such a move would present its own problems, because ZANU
PF is blamed for most of the violence.

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MDCs: Mugabe must walk anti-violence talk

19/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Gilbert Nyambabvu

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s mea culpa on political violence risks being
dismissed as an election campaign gimmick unless the Zanu PF leader backs
his words with action, his rivals said Thursday.

Mugabe made an unprecedented admission of past mistakes over political
violence Wednesday as he led the country’s Independence commemorations in
Harare and urged Zimbabweans to ‘bury the past’ ahead of fresh elections
expected this year.

The Zanu PF leader asked politicians vying for office to look back at how
"we have done wrong to our people" through violence and "fighting among
"We must now take absolute care and caution and ensure the fights of
yesterday are buried in the past," he said.

But the MDC formations which partner his Zanu PF party in a fractious
coalition government formed after violent but inconclusive elections in 2008
said Mugabe’s speech must be backed with substantive action.
Said Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara’s MDC-M: “We must all heed the
call (against violence) and walk the talk.

“In the past 32 years, the country has been marred by political violence,
intolerance and intimidation that have left many of our innocent citizens
with emotional scars and others maimed or dead and property destroyed.

“This has been a great betrayal to the values of freedom and democracy for
which many brave sons and daughters of Zimbabwean died for during our
liberation struggle.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T said attacks against its supporters
continued in parts of Harare even as Mugabe was expressing regret over
violence and demanded that the Zanu PF leader back his words with action.

“If Mugabe’s speech is not cheap politicking it should be supported by
action. The MDC believes that Mugabe’s sentiments are meant to woo
sympathisers to support this sunset party and its ageing leadership,” the
MDC-T said in a statement.

In addition, Tsvangirai’s party said Mugabe could not suddenly claim to be
remorseful over violence without apologising for the post-Independence
Gukurahundi atrocities as well as the alleged brutal put-down of opponents
in subsequent elections.

“It is common knowledge that between 1983 and 1987 thousands of Zimbabweans
in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces were killed by the South Korean
trained 5th Brigade,” the MDC-T said.

“Mugabe had never apologised for these atrocities which have for long
divided Zimbabweans along political, regional and tribal lines.

“Mugabe’s admission vindicates MDC’s claims that Zanu PF should be held
accountable for the politically motivated crimes which the sunset party has
been denying.

“To hear this (admission) from a man who, in the past, has turned a blind
eye at gross human rights violations and politically motivated violence,
gives hope to the people.”
The MDCs said police must act impartially when dealing with incidence of
violence in the country.

“The police must investigate all previous cases of political violence and
bring the culprits to book. They must also act immediately against criminal
activities perpetrated in the name of political parties, for example by the
Chipangano in Mbare,” the MDC-M said.

New elections are likely to be held this year after parties to the coalition
government agreed that the arrangement was no longer workable due to policy
and other differences between them.

But there is no consensus over the timing of the ballot with the MDCs
insisting political reforms, including the writing of a new constitution,
must be completed first while Zanu PF wants the new ballot held before

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MDC-T member assaulted by ZANU PF on Independence Day

By Alex Bell
19 April 2012

As Zimbabwe was commemorating its 32nd anniversary of Independence on
Wednesday, a ZANU PF group of youths led an attack on an MDC-T member in

Samson Muripo Jnr, who is an MDC-T Youth Assembly ward chairperson was
attacked by known ZANU PF youths on Wednesday night. The MDC-T said on
Thursday that he was targeted by the ZANU PF group because he had used his
car to ferry MDC-T members to the burial of the late Senator Tichaona

According to Muripo, who had to seek medical attention, the ZANU PF youths
led by one Teddymore Chari approached him at Munyuki Shopping Centre and
demanded to know why he had used his vehicle to ferry people to the burial.

“They then assaulted him with broken bottles and booted feet before they
tried to handcuff him. Muripo managed to escape with the handcuffs and made
a report at Epworth Police Station,” the MDC-T said.

Muripo said it was discovered at the police station that the handcuffs used
by the ZANU PF youths had been supplied by a police sergeant based at the
police station.

No arrests have been made.

The attack came as Robert Mugabe on the same day used his Independence Day
speech to denounce political violence in the country. Observers have
commented that this violent display by ZANU PF demonstrates the insincerity
in Mugabe’s comments, because if he really wanted violence to end, he could
make it happen.

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ZANU PF factionalism reaches ‘boiling point’ in Bulawayo

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 April 2012

There was drama on Wednesday at the ZANU PF offices in Bulawayo when
suspended provincial chairman Isaac Dakamela tried to repossess the party
vehicle which was seized from him in March.

Dakamela was suspended by the party’s Provincial Coordinating Committee
(PCC) last month on allegations of incompetence, and the Toyota Hilux he was
given in his chairmanship role was seized.

Meanwhile, the same committee also resolved that Killian Sibanda, the vice
chairman take over as acting chairman.

Dakamela is however fighting the suspension and his attempt on Wednesday to
get back the Toyota Hilux with the help of the police shows he’s not giving
up the fight.

But his attempt to repossess the vehicle was thwarted by party cadres who
told the police the issue was an internal one that would be dealt with by
ZANU PF and not the police. The vehicle, plus its keys was forcefully taken
away by party youths days after Dakamela was ousted from power.

SW Radio Africa’s Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme said Davis Hall,
the party headquarters in Bulawayo has become synonymous with factionalism
that is torn ZANU PF apart in recent months.

Dakamela’s suspension is being linked to a serious turf war between rival
factions allegedly belonging to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. Politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu has
reportedly thrown his weight behind Dakamela dismissing the PCC resolution
as null and void.

According to Saungweme, Ndlovu argues that such resolutions are supposed to
be taken by the highest decision making body, the politburo. He said
Dakamela’s camp has the likes of Vice-President John Nkomo while Ncube’s has
the likes of Joshua Malinga, the former ZANU PF Mayor in the city and war
vets’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda. Sibanda is renowned throughout the country
for violent traits.

“The fight for power in Bulawayo is being fought from Davis Hall. He
(Dakamela) is from the Mujuru camp and his crime was to resist lawlessness
in Bulawayo. He’s the person who was against ZANU PF people occupying
buildings in the city,” Saungweme reported.

He added: “The people occupying buildings happen to be from the camp of
Mnangagwa, which has the likes of former dissident Themba Ncube. The ouster
of Dakamela is presumably made to give way to Ncube to take over.”

With the Mnangagwa faction having won the District Coordinating Committee
elections in the Midlands, the ZANU PF strongman’s grip on party structures
countrywide is tightening by the day.

Already his faction has taken control of Mashonaland West and Central. If he
wins in Bulawayo, he will then be able to use that powerbase as a
springboard to solidify his grip on the two Matabeleland North and South

His faction won most of the DCC elections in Manicaland but the results are
being challenged from those from the Mujuru faction, who came out losers
throughout the province.

The party in Manicaland has since the weekend been divided into two distinct
factions following the DCC elections this past weekend. ZANU PF officials
who lost the DCC elections thronged the party HQ challenging results that
they say were rigged by the provincial leadership in Manicaland.

According to sources in ZANU PF, the elections were heavily skewed in favour
of candidates backing Mnangagwa for the top leadership of the party, after
the eventual departure of Robert Mugabe.

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Govt urged to address ‘dire’ prison conditions

By Alex Bell
19 April 2012

Zimbabwe’s government is being urged to address the worsening conditions in
the country’s prisons, which a parliamentary group has said are ‘dire’.

A recent report by the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Human Rights
detailed that prisoners are living in squalor, lacking basic necessities
such as food, clothing, blankets, towels and soap among other things. The
conditions have been described as ‘deplorable’ by the MDC-T and the party on
Thursday said it was concerned that Zimbabwe’s inmates have been “condemned
to starvation and nutrition related sickness.”

The party’s Douglas Mwonzora, who is also a chairperson of the Parliamentary
Thematic Committee on Human Rights told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that
situation is very serious, particularly now that the Red Cross does not
supply food to the prisons anymore. The global charity announced last year
that it would be stopping its prison food aid, because the Zimbabwean prison
authorities are “far more capable of meeting the dietary needs of inmates.”

“We don’t know why the Red Cross is not assisting anymore, but it is very
serious. Inmates are surviving on the meagre rations supplied by the
government, but the government says it doesn’t have the resources to provide
proper food,” Mwonzora explained.

He explained that prisoners are supplied with only one meal a day, often
consisting of nothing more than a serving of sadza or cabbage, saying that
“malnutrition is rife.”

“There is also lots of overcrowding and there are no clothes or even basic
necessities. So the prisons are really in a dire state,” Mwonzora said.

The MDC-T official meanwhile said he was not surprised by the Parliamentary
group’s findings, explaining how he himself was an inmate for over a month
last year.

“I knew the conditions and was expecting to find that little had changed.
What did surprise me is the food shortages,” Mwonzora explained.

He urged the government to seriously study the recommendations made by the
Parliamentary Committee, explaining that “a lot needs to be done to convert
the prisons from torture centres to centres of humanity.”

He added that the government also needs to change the regulations that give
the Police Commissioner the power to approve prison visits requested by
government officials. He said that the MDC-T’s Deputy Justice Minister Obert
Gutu has been repeatedly barred from visiting prisons.

The MDC-T meanwhile called on the government “to eat its pride and send an
SOS message to development partners appealing for aid to avoid a repeat of
the pre-2008 period, which led to the deaths of thousands of prisoners due
to a serious lack of food sanitary facilities.”

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Minister barred from prisons visit

19/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

DEPUTY Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Obert Gutu claimed Thursday that
ministry officials are preventing him from visiting the country’s prisons
where inmates are said to be living under appalling conditions with
inadequate food and other basic requirements.

Senator Gutu said he had managed to visit prisons in and around Harare since
assuming office in June 2010 but claimed ministry officials were blocking
his attempts to tour facilities in other parts of the country.

“In September, 2010, I requested the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry to
arrange and facilitate the second leg of my prison tour … (but) was then
advised that … the Ministry did not have any resources,” Senator Gutu told Thursday.

“I took this to be a lame excuse because my prison visits do not gobble a
lot of money. All I need is fuel for my official government vehicle and
perhaps, hotel accommodation if I was going to sleep over; plus a few
dollars allowances for my official driver and aide.”

The Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Human Rights recently reported that
prisoners were “living in hell-holes” where they lack basic necessities such
as clothing, blankets, towels and soap among other day to day requirements.

Most were said to be using tattered blankets for clothing because they have
no uniforms and surviving on a single meal per day of sadza and roasted
peanuts or boiled cabbage with no salt.
However Prisons chief, Retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi dismissed the
reports as inaccurate.

“All the basic needs that are needed by prisoners are there and it is unfair
for members of the media to report falsehoods,” Major General Zimondi told
state radio.

However the MDC-T called on the government to appeal for assistance from aid
agencies adding institutions worst affected by the problems include
Chikurubi Maximum Prison, Harare Central Prison, Khami Maximum Prison in
Bulawayo and Hwahwa Prison in Gweru.

“The MDC calls upon the government to eat its pride and send an SOS message
to development partners appealing for aid to avoid a repeat of the pre-2008
period, which led to the deaths of thousands of prisoners due to a serious
lack of food sanitary facilities,” the party said.

“The MDC does not seek to pardon those who are guilty of crime from being
held accountable for their criminal behaviour but stripping people of their
dignity and basic human rights, then condemning them to horrible experiences
can never be viewed as fair punishment.

“It is a gross violation of basic human rights and a crime against

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President Mugabe Apologizes to Civil Servants for Poor Salaries

18 April 2012

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has apologized to civil servants,
teachers in particular, for the government’s failure to adjust their
salaries in line with the high cost of living.

Speaking at a children’s independence party this week, Mr. Mugabe said
government took responsibility, but heaped blame on Western sanctions that
he said were making it difficult for the country to sell its diamonds on the
international markets.

Civil servants are demanding a minimum wage of $538.00 a month.

Apex Council chairperson Tendai Chikowore told VOA's Jonga Kandemiiri her
union accepted the president’s apology, adding she hoped the unity
government would soon address their plight.

Chikowore is also president of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, or ZIMTA.

On the other hand, Takavafira Zhou of the militant Progressive Teachers’
Union of Zimbabwe said his union did not appreciate Mugabe's apology.

Zhou argued that Harare had too much resources at its disposal which could
be exploited to improve educators' living conditions.

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Zimbabwean killed in Ghana land dispute

April 19 2012 at 08:31am

Peta Thornycroft

Andre Meyer, kicked off his farm in Zimbabwe during President Robert Mugabe’s
violent land reforms, has been shot dead in a land dispute in Ghana this

Meyer, 49, was caught in the crossfire between a Ghanaian land owner and a
traditional leader.

He had been hired, with two other former Zimbabwean farmers, by British
compan Greenleaf Global to grow 1 000ha of maize near Juapong in the Volta

They didn’t know when they were hired that the land for the maize project
was the subject of a long-standing dispute between a local traditional
leader and another Ghanaian.

The dispute was expected to be settled by a traditional court later this

The farmers also didn’t know that the company which hired them was on the
brink of bankruptcy and had been declared insolvent in London.

The Ghana project farm manager Gary Grose, said that while the land dispute
remained unresolved, he and his colleagues had gone to help clear some other
land in the area on April 3.

On their way they were attacked by a group of about 20 people who opened
fire. Meyer was hit and died in the vehicle a few minutes later. Before the
Ghana job, he had been working for a security company in Afghanistan.

Ghana’s President John Evans Atta Mills condemned the murder and attack
against the Zimbabweans who have since left Ghana.

The police have made several arrests in connection with Meyer’s death, whose
body was expected in Zimbabwe this week.

Another Zimbabwean farmer, Bobby Irvine, died in a Harare hospital on Sunday
from injuries he suffered when he was attacked on his farm last October.

His family were among the pioneers of mass chicken production.

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Saturday Zim Protests Aimed At Zuma

Johannesburg, April 19, 2012 - Zimbabweans in South Africa will on Saturday
mark Zimbabwe’s Independence anniversary with protests targeted at South
African President Jacob Zuma to force him to speed up the mediating talks on

President Zuma was appointed by the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) as facilitator for talks to solve the Zimbabwe political crisis.

Chairman of the Global coordinator for the 21 st Movement organising the
protests, Den Moyo, said in a press release on Wednesday, Zuma had failed to
hold Mugabe accountable to the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

"It is as if we are back to the quiet diplomacy of President Mbeki, now
being perfected by President Zuma," said Moyo who criticised Zuma's recent
calls for Zimbabweans to be patient through the facilitation spokesperson,
Lindiwe Zulu.

Moyo said it was as if the MDC was demanding fresh reforms.

"How much more patient should we be, before we conclude that President Zuma’s
action is no different from Thabo Mbeki's, who denied from the onset that
there was a crisis in Zimbabwe?" he said.

"The world is watching and we are collecting empirical evidence which points
to SA's complicity in the on-going Zimbabwean Crisis. Round 4 of our
protests, on Saturday April 21, will be the final round where we target just
SA Embassies. We have sufficient evidence to take the protest to the next

In Round 5, focus will be shifted to SADC to expose SA’s failure to enforce
the implementation of the GPA and letting the political situation in
Zimbabwe deteriorate.

Other protests will take place in Washington DC, London and Australia,.

"We demand that President Zuma make a public statement that he, as the SADC
Facilitator is demanding that Zanu (PF) implement the agreed reforms, and
that he is not going to allow the holding of elections in Zimbabwe which do
not meet the SADC standards. So far we have only heard it from his
spokesperson, and we are starting not to believe it."

In London MDC Midlands South District is joining hands with the Vigil, which
holds protests outside the Zimbabwean Embassy every Saturday, to lead a
demonstration that will culminate in presenting a petition to Prime Minister
David Cameron.

The UK demonstrators will be calling on Cameron to use the UK’s position on
the Security Council to ensure that the next election in Zimbabwe is free
and fair.

"As Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) is clearly not interested in holding free and
fair elections, the demonstrators will be demanding that the United Nations
supervise the electoral process," said Moyo. "Cameron made an undertaking to
Morgan Tsvangirai to do what he can to ensure free and fair elections in

"SADC promised last year to send three delegates to help monitor the
implementation of the Global Political Agreement, but none has yet arrived"

"We fear a scenario, in which Zanu (PF), in desperation because of Mugabe’s
failing health, collapses the GNU, calls elections and again bludgeons its
way to a victory. Rather than wait for this crisis to happen, we believe the
international community should stop it now and force Mugabe to abide by, and
respect, the agreement which allowed him to remain as President."

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Support Census Count- Mugabe

Harare, April 19, 2012 - President Robert Mugabe has urged Zimbabweans to
support the census count scheduled for August.

In a speech to commemorate 32 years of independence on Wednesday, Mugabe
said:"The main aim of the census is to provide demographic and
socio-economic data required in the formulation, monitoring and evaluation
development plans and programmes. I wish to call upon every Zimbabwean to
fully support this process and ensure that we have a successful 2012
National Population Census."

The census count dates have been set for August 18 to 28.

Zimbabwe has been holding a population census every 10 years since 1982. The
southern African country is expected to use about $37 million for the

Zimbabwe's population has been increasing since the 1980s but over 2 million
are said to be overseas or living in neighbouring countries after people
fled the hard economic situation.

Apart from the census Zimbabwe is expected to hold a constitutional
referendum that will lead to elections whose date is yet to be announced.

Meanwhile independence celebrations in Bulawayo were snubbed by both
politicians from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations and
Zanu (PF) politicians despite a crowd attendance of about 10 000 people who
turned out at White city stadium on Wednesday.

The crowd could have been keen to watch the country’s biggest football team,
Dynamos, which was set to meet Hwange at the 15 000-seater stadium.

Zanu (PF) bigwigs in Bulawayo also snubbed the Governor’s ball held on
Tuesday evening. The  ball was only attended by politburo member Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu and the host Cain Mathema and other low-ranking officials including
the acting party provincial chairperson Killian Sibanda.

Observers said Zanu (PF) factionalism in Bulawayo had affected the
attendance at both the governor’s ball and the Independence celebrations.

In an interview, Zapu president, Dumiso Dabengwa, a former liberation war
commander, said he believed the celebration of Independence Day was a show
of respect to, “the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our

“It (Independence Day) should be a reminder that Zimbabweans have to strive
hard to fulfil all the remaining freedoms that people fought for such as
freedom of expression, and freedom to choose leaders of their choice,” he

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Mnangagwa deny Mugabe succession deal

Defence minister and ZANU (PF) Legal Affairs Secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa
today denied reports that he entered into a “gentleman’s deal” with
President Robert Mugabe which would see him succeeding the octogenarian
by Brenna Matendere Munyati

Media reports became rife during Mugabe’s recent absence in the country
after he travelled to Singapore for a week that the two had arrived on a
plan which would see Mnangagwa taking over leadership of the party in case
of an eventuality.

Mnangagwa who leads a faction of hardliners in the revolutionary party, is
understood to be a confidante of President Mugabe. His faction which is
rivalry to another led by the Joice Mujuru family, include spin doctor
Jonathan Moyo and a youthful squad of party cadres known as Generation 40.

Mnangagwa who was delivering a public lecture at Midlands State University,
blamed ZANU (PF) enemies of influencing the origins of the reports in order
to weaken the party.

“These are efforts by our detractors to cause mistrust within our
leadership. However I think people are so mature as to know these
mechanisations,” said Mnangagwa.

He added: “The reports are also a product manufactured by the media.”

During the inconclusive 2008 elections, the defence minister was Mugabe’s
chief campaigning agent. He tabled Mugabe’s nomination papers before the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for him to stand as a presidential candidate.

However, people outside ZANU (PF) despise Mnangagwa for his alleged culture
of violence following his reported involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres
and the bloody pre-2008 polls era.

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Gukurahundi not a crime: Magagula

When the Mthwakazi Liberation Front was launched in December 2010, it
pursued the idea of succession in a desperate attempt to alert the
government to the anger felt in matebeleland about being continuously
over-looked for development.
by Mxolisi Ncube

Barely two years later, the MLF has disappointed. Instead of being a force
for good, it has become despised as an extremist movement spreading tribal
hatred and deceit.

The organisation’s drift out of line first became manifest last April when,
during an inter-party march against continued human rights abuses, its
leaders ordered members, to turn against MDC-T supporters, whom they
attacked with clubs. They also burnt MDC-T regalia, chanting their notorious
hate song, “Boph’ ijamboukhab’ iShona” (Tighten your boots and kick a

Instead of presenting a united front against Zanu (PF), the Sandton protest
became a show of tribal division. The Congress of South African Trade Unions
threatened to stay out of Zimbabwean protests in future – thus weakening
regional pressure on President Robert Mugabe to reform. The two parties
expected to draw their support from the Southern region - ZAPU and the
smaller MDC - have already distanced themselves from the pressure group.

People who do not want to toe its line are branded “enemies of the
revolution” or “Shona puppets”, with journalists who write critically of the
organisation not being spared physical threats and demonising on the MLF’s
Facebook wall.

Many now believe the MLF to be a Zanu (PF) project. This view is
strengthened by the Sandton incident, last year’s attack on George
Mkhwanazi - a former Zapu-SA faction leader who left that party to join the
MDC-T, continued attacks on the MDC-T on Facebook, MLF leader, Fidelis
(General Nandinandi) Ncube’s confirmation that he is best friends with army
commander, Philip Valerio Sibanda and alleged meetings with Zanu (PF)
officials by the party’s executive members.

But it is a recent statement by MLF national spokesman, David Magagula that
brought the matter to a head.

After rumours that Mugabe had secretly handed over the reins to Defence
Minister Emerson Mnangagwa, Magagula ululated.

“We note that Emerson is first and foremost a Mthwakazian. He hails from
Shurugwi, a district in Mthwakazi East (Mpumalanga province.) When he
ascends to power a Mthwakazian will be a president of our neighbouring
country,” he said.

“We gladly await his taking over of that office as information in our
possession indicates he is in favour and in full support of the restoration
of our country. We are privy of the fact that Mnangagwa has already prepared
himself to talk to MLF so as to clean his image before he takes over office,
but as MLF we await an official approach by his emissaries.

“We are aware of Mnangagwa’s involvement in the Gukurahundi genocide and
that Gukurahundi is not a crime or better put, we know that killing Ndebeles
in Mthwakazi is not a crime in Zanu similarly we do not see it as a crime to
kill all Shonas who are in Mthwakazi now or when an ultimatum for them to
leave our country and go to Zimbabwe comes,” said Magagula.

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Vic Falls gets offshore financial zone status

Thursday, 19 April 2012 00:00

Bright Madera Senior Business Reporter

VICTORIA Falls will assume offshore financial zone status in the second half
of the year to harness foreign direct investment in the country. An offshore
financial zone is a jurisdiction that provides financial services to
non-residents on a scale that is

commensurate with the size and the financing of its domestic economy.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti recently told journalists that operational
modalities, drafting of legal and the administrative framework were in
“We are finalising a number of pieces of legislation, worked out in the
first quarter of the year and they would be implemented in the second half,
including Victoria Falls becoming an offshore financial zone,” he said.
He added the Banking Act, Income Tax Act, RBZ Assumption Bill and the
amendments to the Securities Commission Act would also be implemented in the
second half of the year.
It is usually a small, low-tax jurisdiction specialising in providing
corporate and commercial services to non-resident offshore companies, and
for the investment of offshore funds.
There are four main types of IFC’s — primary, funding, booking and
collection centres. They are distinguished by their operations in terms of
the origin of the clientele they deal with.
Primary financial centres are hubs of international banking and finance in
their market area and offer a wide variety of financial services.
In his 2012 National Budget Minister Biti announced the concept of
cluster-driven growth strategy in which provinces will be developed
according to their respective resource endowments.
Once the IFC is set up, it would become the growth nucleus of the
Matabeleland provinces, transforming the region into the financial capital
of the country.
Zimbabwe has over the last decade been receiving adverse publicity, which
has been compounded by the enactment of the repressive Zimbabwe Democracy
Economic Recovery Act 2001, which has aggravated the deterioration in the
country’s macroeconomic conditions.
The Government has been working on a number of strategies to improve FDI,
including focusing on improving of key indicators where Zimbabwe had
These include starting a business, dealing with permits, registration,
credit availability and protection of investment.
Meanwhile, the One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre launched in 2010 will be
strengthened through the secondment of officials from line ministries to the
Zimbabwe Investment Authority to reduce bureaucracies on the key indicators.
This will result in the processing of all investment applications and
licensing to within five working days.
The World Economic Report 2011 shows that Zimbabwe recorded FDI of US$105
million, compared with Angola’s US$9 billion for the same period.
These figures are in the context of a US$55 billion FDI inflow for the
African continent, reflecting the poor performance of the country in
attracting new investment.
During the same period, Zimbabwe’s outward FDI flows amounted to US$15

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Zimbabwe's outstanding arrears to IMF reach US$140m

ZIMBABWE'S outstanding arrears to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have
now reached US$140 million at a time when the country owes the
Washington-based group US$550 million, Tendai Biti, the Minister of Finance,
has confirmed.
by Ngoni Chanakira Harare

Biti said the country's outstanding arrears under the Fund's Extended Credit
Facility (ECF) now amount to US$140 million.

The ECF replaced the Fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.

"Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to pay off the IMF's arrears from its
own resources," Biti said in Harare.

"In this regard, the country will need to request cooperating partners for a
concessional bridging loan or grant to settle arrears to the IMF."

He said clearance pf ECF arrears would unlock new financing arrangements
from the IMF, within the context of a Fund supported financial arrangement,
which would then be used to repay thye bruidging loan obtained from the
cooperating partners.

"Zimbabwe will, however, need a track record of implementing sound
macro-economic policies and assuarnces that arrears to other official
creditors are programmed to be cleared," Biti said.

He said in this regard, it was very important to note that since 2009, the
country had had a very successful track record of implementing sound
macro-economic policies as witnessed by the stabilisation of the economy
through the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP I) and STERP II.

Biti has already confirmed that Zimbabwe owes multilateral institutions a
grand total of US$2,504 billion, of which the World Bank is owed US$1,126
billion, the IMF, US$550 million, the African Development Bank (AfDB) US$529
million, and the European Investment Bank (EIB), US$221 million.

Minister Biti said the government was implementing a series of reforms
focusing on many areas.

He said these included strengthening public finance managment, budget
implemetation and execution, review of national tax laws, effective aid
coordination, debt management, as well as privatising, restructuring and
commercialising state enterprises.

He said government would also boost its financial sector stability sector.

President Robert Mugabe has said there is an urgent need for zimbabwe to
achieve external debt sustainability through a comprehensive debt relief and
arrears clearance programme.

"This must be stringly supported by my government and all the development
partners and creditors," President Mugabe said.

Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvagirai, has also said it is "clear that Zimbabwe
cannot rehabilitate its infrastructure and move forwrd with its
socio-economic transformation reforms if the debt overhang challenge is not
urgently resolved".

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Zim GDP to grow by 4,7pc: IMF

Written by Editor
Thursday, 19 April 2012 14:00

HARARE - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecasted Zimbabwe’s
real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 4,7 percent this year.

The IMF in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) also anticipated increased GDP
growth for 2013 to 6,3 percent while a slowdown is expected in 2017 to 3,6

The Bretton Woods Institutions in January had predicted a 3,5 percent growth
for the local economy in 2012.

The IMF said the economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa will be driven by
high commodity prices, while South Africa will continue to stumble due to
its deep ties to Europe.

Growth in the region according to the WEO will pick up to 5,4 percent this
year thanks to new mineral and oil production and the growth of export
markets outside Europe.

South Africa, the region’s largest economy, will grow by a modest 2,7
percent this year as it struggles with weaker terms of trade and a decrease
in business confidence.

The country’s 2012 growth forecast was revised up from 2,5 percent in
January, while a projection for regional growth in 2012 was revised down
modestly from 5,5 percent.

Many other sub-Saharan countries have benefited from limited exposure to
Europe as well as rebounding agricultural sectors after last year’s
droughts, the report said.

The IMF predictions come on the back of Finance minister, Tendai Biti’s
projections of 9,4 percent, underpinned by strong performance in finance,
expected to grow by 23 percent, mining 15,9 percent, tourism 13,7 percent
and agriculture 11,6 percent.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has however warned Zimbabwe’s 9,4
percent growth in 2012 rests on a stable political environment which could
be undermined by a proposed election.

The institution also raised concern over the negative impact of the
indigenisation drive currently being undertaken in the country.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe earlier in the year also cautioned that under
the multi-currency system were the country does exercise control of its
currency, it made it difficult to intervene with appropriate stimulus
packages in the event of exogenous shocks.

The WEO presents the IMF staff’s analysis and projections of economic
developments at the global level, in major country groups and individual

The report focuses on major economic policy issues as well as on the
analysis of economic developments and prospects.

Published twice a year, as documentation for meetings of the International
Monetary and Financial Committee, and forms the main instrument of the IMF’s
global surveillance activities.

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Zimbabwe warned against adverse policy choices

    Posted on Thursday 19 April 2012 - 10:45
    Justice Zhou, AfricaNews reporter in Harare, Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe has shown growing ambitions to charm foreign investors, with
the coalition government increasingly calling on the world to embrace the
country as a worthwhile and safe destination. Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai recently said investors should refrain from a "wait-and-see"
attitude towards Zimbabwe but snatch the plentiful opportunities the country

    But the foreign capital that Zimbabwe craves, as it seeks to reconstruct
its economy, comes at a high price: the repulsive effect of the political
rhetoric around the country’s economic empowerment laws which compel foreign
firms to cede 51 percent to local black investors.

    Zimbabwe realised about $125 million worth of investment last year
according to the local investment agency figures, representing a tiny
portion of the foreign direct investment inflows into Africa which
accounting consultancy Ernst & Young reported recently.

    Analysts this week told Africa News that while Zimbabwe’s indigenization
policy was not entirely bad, it could render the country uncompetitive in
the face of potential international investors if poorly handled.

    “Zimbabwe’s policy choices are seriously discouraging to foreign
investors because it is showing no respect for their civil rights or their
property rights,” the country’s top economist John Robertson said.

    “Shares in their companies are their property and Zimbabwe’s declaration
that they will be required, by law, to give up 51 percent of them is seen as
an attempt to legalise the theft of assets. Those not here already won’t
come and those who are here feel they are being robbed and have stopped
almost all development.”

    Tsvangirai has reiterated that he shared the same ideals with his
coalition partner President Robert Mugabe about economically empowering
Zimbabweans, but differed with him over how to implement the law.

    In a country reeling from widespread poverty, rising social inequality,
and unemployment rates of around 90 percent, some critics say Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party has hijacked the policy as a way of scaring foreign firms into
bankrolling its often violent election campaigns.

    “Zimbabwe is attractive to foreign investors. However, this interest has
not been translated into actual investments on the ground,” said Alpha
Pesanai, an investment analyst, in an exclusive interview.

    He added: “There is a talk of indigenisation in the mining sector which
some people see as a deterrent to FDI in that sector, to me real investors
will not be scared by such a move. Investors are not concerned about the
level of equity they possess in an entity but the level of return they are
going to generate from their investment.”

    However, Pesanai concurred the indigenisation thresholds in their
current form which does not allow for negotiation even in some priority
areas, were a deterrent to some extent.

    “My advice would be directed to the government to clearly explain the
policy to remove misconceptions,” he said.

    Asked if Zimbabwe’s strategy of turning to some Asian countries for
investment and trade, including the so-called BRICS countries was going to
turn around the country’s investment fortunes, Robertson was sceptical.

    “Trade with BRICS or anyone does not make up for reduced investment. As
it is investment in additional and new capacity that is needed, the country
has to become competitive to those who have funds to invest.

    Pesanai said the strategy on its own will not bring back the country’s
economic glory days. A balance, he said, needed to be struck by engaging the
West to mend the broken relations and win technical support as the countries
had well developed industries and well experienced industry leaders.

    “Re-engagements with the Bretton Woods institutions are vital to enable
the country to get long term funding for critical projects and technical
support,” he stressed.

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Aquarius plunges as Zimbabwean notice to miners spooks investors

Aquarius Platinum and Impala Platinum say the resubmission of exploration
applications does not affect their Mimosa mine
Published: 2012/04/17 06:58:03 AM

AQUARIUS Platinum’s shares plunged yesterday, coinciding with a notice from
the Zimbabwean government that ordered mining companies to resubmit
exploration right applications.

Zimbabwe’s empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, expects to finalise the
transfer of majority stakes in foreign mining companies to local black
investors by the end of this month.

Aquarius, listed in Australia, Johannesburg and London, has mines in SA but
the Mimosa mine it shares with Impala Platinum in Zimbabwe is the most
profitable. "I think investors are taking a view on Aquarius because Mimosa
is the only mine in the group that’s making money and anything that
threatens it goes right to the core of the company," an analyst said.

Aquarius’s shares fell 7,4% on the JSE to R15,92. In London, the share
dropped more than 5%.

A notice published by the mines ministry in the government-owned Herald
newspaper yesterday ordered 469 foreign and locally owned mining companies
to resubmit exploration rights applications, detailing proof of funding,
holding structures and technical capacity.

Both Aquarius and Impala said they had not been directly contacted by the
ministry and could offer no comment. "We’ve seen the notice in the Herald
but we’ve not been officially notified. It does not appear to affect us,"
Aquarius spokesman Gavin Mackay said yesterday.

Impala’s Bob Gilmour said: "We have heard nothing official. We are in
production," pointing out that the notice appeared to be directed at
companies with exploration assets rather than those in production.

The notice could be geared towards adding uncertainty to Zimbabwe’s mining
environment, lowering the share prices of companies operating there and
making it cheaper for the government to acquire the 51% stake in
foreign-owned companies as stipulated in its indigenisation legislation. The
government could also simply be conducting an audit of all projects and
prospects in Zimbabwe to discover what it can acquire.

Impala, after a bruising engagement with the government, reached an "in
principle" agreement last month to transfer a 51% stake in its 87%-owned
Zimplats. The fair value of a 31% stake to be sold to the government’s
National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund for cash is yet to be
determined. Impala will fund the purchase of a 20% stake in Zimplats to
communities and workers. A similar agreement has been struck for Mimosa, but
the matter has been handled with far less fanfare.

Mimosa’s owners and the government are now talking about the fair value of
the stake and funding of the deal. The parties will make an announcement
once there is clarity on these matters.

Mr Kasukuwere said yesterday that he was "pretty certain" that the
empowerment transactions already agreed to would be completed by the end of

"I would say in the main there has now been compliance and now it’s just a
question of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s," he said in an interview
in Johannesburg.

Mr Kasukuwere remained vague about the policy’s details or how it would be

He said only $10m had been allocated for it in the national budget this
year, a fraction of what the stakes would cost.

He gave no indication that the government planned to pay for any stakes in

"We are at a delicate stage now in terms of the conclusion of the Implats
agreement…. What I can clearly state here is that we are taking into account
the sovereign; the rights of our people to the resources. That is a key
factor in the computation of the final agreement," he said.

"The right to operate is granted by the people of Zimbabwe, by the country —
that is the sovereign ownership.

"So the right to mine must be taken into account."

At its current share price, a 31% chunk of Zimplats would be worth about
$350m — 35 times the amount the Zimbabwean government has in its budget for
such transactions.

Mr Kasukuwere said there was a proposal to bring in a tax to help fund the
programme and said it was not akin to nationalisation as the local private
sector was also raising money to buy stakes.

"People thought we were going to wake up overnight and start grabbing these
companies. We’ve not done that," he said.

"We are not saying to the private sector: don’t become involved. So people
are sitting down and structuring these deals through vendor financing,
borrowing … commercial banks, collective groupings coming together to
acquire stakes."

Unlike the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to black
Zimbabweans launched more than a decade ago, Mr Kasukuwere said no company
had been grabbed under the banner of the indigenisation policy.

"There’s not been any compulsory acquisition of a business in Zimbabwe. All
that businesses have done themselves is comply with the laws of our country.

"Everybody expected us to carry out this indigenisation process in a very
chaotic manner…. We will follow the laws of our country," he said.

Resource-rich Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest known platinum
reserves after SA, and also has lucrative gold and diamond deposits.

With Reuters

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Zimbabwe’s Continuing Struggle for Freedom
| Posted by: Sarah Hager, April 18, 2012 at 3:18 PM

zimbabwe flagApril 18th is Zimbabwe National Day. This year, Zimbabwe will commemorate 32 years of independence from colonial rule. While today is a day to celebrate, freedom has its limits in Zimbabwe.

Specifically, the rights to freedom of expression and assembly are sharply curtailed by the government. In March, six people were convicted of “conspiracy to commit public violence.” Just how did they conspire? They gathered with others last year to watch video footage of the Arab Spring events in Egypt and Tunisia.

Other activists frequently face harassment, intimidation and persecution through the judicial system. Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu of Women of Zimbabwe Arise are currently on trial for specious charges of kidnapping and theft. Others in the past have experienced charges and trials for activities perceived threatening by the government. Jestina Mukoko of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was abducted by security agents, tortured, and then tried on charges of treason.

These are only a few examples of political, human right and civil society activists who have faced harassment through the legal system in an attempt to silence their voice. Help us urge the Zimbabwe government to cease the use of politically motivated judicial prosecutions. Take action now!

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic US, please join us for Get On the Bus!, a day of activism on April 27th. We will visit the Zimbabwe embassy in Washington, DC to bring attention to these issues.


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Zimbabweans present petition to 10 Downing Street




MEDIA NOTICE – 19th April 2012


Zimbabweans present petition to 10 Downing Street


Exiled Zimbabweans are marking the 32nd anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence by presenting a petition to 10 Downing Street in an attempt to ensure that elections threatened this year are supervised by the UN.


A letter accompanying the petition thanks David Cameron for his recent promise to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to help Zimbabwe hold free and fair elections


The petition reads: ‘We call on the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new government and believe peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before, during and after the polling.’


The petition has been signed in the past two years by more than 12,000 people from all over the world who have passed by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past 10 years in protest at human rights abuses.


The Vigil fears that President Mugabe will illegally call elections before reforms have been made and again bludgeon his way back to power.


Before the petition is handed over, the Vigil and supporters of Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change will demonstrate outside the South African High Commission to urge President Zuma to force Mugabe to adopt the promised reforms.


Date:                Saturday 21st  April from 2 – 6 pm

Venues:           Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2

                        South African High Commission, Trafalgar Square

                        10 Downing Street SW1

Timetable:       2 pm – meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy

                        2.45 – move to the South African High Commission

                        3 pm – speeches and activities outside South Africa House

                        3.45 – move to 10 Downing Street

                        4.15 – Vigil petition handed in to 10 Downing Street

4.30 – return to the Vigil at the Zimbabwe Embassy

Contacts:        Rose Benton 07970 996 003 / 07932 193 467, Fungayi Mabhunu  07746 552 597


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 by the current regime 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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Book review: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Farmers’ Voices from Zimbabwe
The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Farmers’ Voices from Zimbabwe

Rory Pilossof presents

*The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Farmers’ Voices from Zimbabwe

Book reviewed by Mike Rook

It is interesting to note that the surrender of Rhodesia and the end of Apartheid in South Africa closed down the last bastions of white supremacy in Africa.

In the newly independent Zimbabwe it is a matter of fact that the large scale commercial farmers under the banner and leadership of the newly formed Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) continued to represent white power. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and the Zimbabwe National chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) never posed such a threat.

Pilossof’s focus on the white farming community therefore, and its desperate efforts to adjust to the new order without loss of privileges: provides a riveting read an invaluable legacy and a fascinating and pertinent historical record.

In a nutshell The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Farmers’ Voices from Zimbabwe vividly documents the ensuing post independence power struggle between two powerful and obdurate protagonists. In the red corner is the power hungry ruling ZANU/PF party, and in the blue corner the wealthy white farmers owning “70″of the best arable land and producing most of the food. As the saying goes, when two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.

The resulting rumble in the jungle created economic chaos and confusion: and Zimbabwe reversed backwards with a dash of speed, loosing its ability to feed itself as well as its currency and credibility.


“The position and security of white farmers was totally undermined by the land occupations. They no longer owned the land (and all that was on it) and this fundamentally undermined their paternalistic relationship with their labour. Many blamed labour for its part in the deteriorating situation, unable to see that the farm workers had no way to resist the wave of violence unleashed by ZANU-PF and its supporters. Some white farmers even blamed the farm labourers for the situation by voting for Mugabe as far back as 1980.”


“Within the white farming community, the paternalistic attitudes that were so prevalent during the colonial era, remained intact at the turn of, and beyond, the new millennium. There was an overwhelming failure to redefine labour relations in the post-colonial setting. As the quote used for the subheading above attests, Farmer 32 viewed the labour on his farm as ‘his’; his blacks, his workers, his ‘houts’.76 This sense of ownership arises from the white farmer’s possession and control of the land, on which everything belongs to him.”

About the author

Rory Pilossof is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. His research interests include cultural and social history, colonial/pos t-colonial transitions, land and current politics in Zimbabwe.


Book details

Imprint University of Cape Town Press
Country of origin South Africa
Release date February 2012
Authors Rory Pilossoff
Dimensions 230 x 152 x 18mm (L x W x H)
Format Paperback
Pages 266
ISBN-13 978-1-920499-97-6
Barcode 9781920499976
Categories African history
Agriculture & farming
Ethnic studies
Social issues
LSN 1-920499-97-0


Available through the Internet URL


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