Harare, April 20, 2010 - Zimbabwe's controversial policy of transferring
majority control of foreign-owned firms to black Zimbabweans will begin in
the key mining sector, a minister said on Tuesday.
Under the regulations, which took effect on March 1, foreign-owned companies
must submit plans to show how they will sell 51 percent of their shares to
black Zimbabweans within five years.
"I am happy to announce that government has unanimously decided that
implementation of our indigenisation policy starts with the mining sector,"
Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told
reporters after a cabinet meeting in Harare.
The world's two largest platinum miners, Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum,
have multi-million dollar investments in Zimbabwe, while Rio Tinto has gold
and diamond interests.
Kasukuwere said government had noted investor fears that foreign firms would
be forced to give up shares without payment.
"Some of the concerns raised relate to the intepretation of the word 'cede'
in relation to shareholding, which was misconstrued to suggest compulsory
takeover without compensation," he said.
"The indigenisation programme is based on fair transaction where full value
is compensated for."
Kasukuwere said hundreds of foreign firms in Zimbabwe had submitted plans to
sell majority stakes to local blacks, despite confusion over an affirmative
action law that has divided the unity government.
Kasukuwere, an ally of President Robert Mugabe, last month ordered firms to
report details of ownership and plans to achieve majority local control.
The power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai last year is divided over the regulations, which Tsvangirai has
said were issued without consulting the cabinet.
A spokesman for Tsvangirai said last week the regulations had been
suspended, a statement quickly denied by both Mugabe and Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere told the state-controlled Herald newspaper earlier on Tuesday
that foreign firms were complying.
"We have so far received more than 400 submissions from various companies
and as government we are happy with such an overwhelming response," he said
Units of British American Tobacco Plc and Impala Platinum are among the
companies that have submitted plans, the newspaper said.
Firms that have not yet submitted plans will get a 30-day extension from the
April 15 deadline, Kasukuwere told the newspaper, adding the government
could terminate licences of companies that did not comply.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF government passed an indigenisation and economic
empowerment law in 2007, before the formation of the unity government.
Analysts have said the policy would discourage foreign investment and hurt
efforts to fix a crippled economy. Reuters
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) More than 400 white-owned and foreign companies have
submitted black economic empowerment (BEE) plans to the Zimbabwean
government as confusion surrounded the fate of controversial ownership rules
introduced in February.
Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told the state
media that the government was pressing ahead with the controversial Economic
Empowerment and Indigenisation Regulations despite opposition from business
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The regulations came into effect on March 1 and require foreign companies to
submit plans detailing how they intend to transfer at least 51 percent of
their shareholding to black Zimbabweans over the next five years.
The status of the regulations was thrown into doubt last week following an
announcement by the MDC that they had been shelved by cabinet pending
The MDC claims were immediately refuted by President Robert Mugabe who said
the ownership rules would remain in place.
Mugabe, who chairs cabinet, told reporters that a ministerial committee had
only been asked to study the economic empowerment regulations in order to
By Violet Gonda
20 April 2010
The four Women of Zimbabwe Arise members were finally released on Tuesday,
after spending five nights in police custody. Jenni Williams, Magodonga
Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani were arrested last Thursday
during anti-ZESA protests at the electricity supplier's headquarters in
The activists did not appear in court and the pressure group said they were
released from police custody because the Attorney General's office could not
press charges against them, due to lack of evidence.
"Officers from the Law and Order Department at Harare Central had tried to
force the women to pay 'admission of guilt' fines on Saturday to 'buy' their
freedom. WOZA will now be suing the Zimbabwe Republic Police for wrongful
arrest and detention," a statement by the group said.
Their incarceration also exposed the inhuman and degrading conditions in
police cells where the corridors and floors of the female cells were covered
in urine and human faeces, due to blocked toilets and only a sporadic water
WOZA said the four women required medical treatment after getting a rash all
over their bodies and diarrhoea, due to the filthy conditions in the police
cells. Their bodies also ache from being forced to sit and sleep on cold
concrete for six days.
The four reported that corruption and bribery is rife, with bribes being
paid by prisoners to secure their speedy release from the horrific
conditions and that the sale of mbanje (marijuana) is also commonplace.
The pressure group has been demonstrating against exorbitant ZESA bills and
appalling service delivery by the power supplier. The group said: "The
insistence of ZESA employees that the peaceful activists be arrested will
also be remembered. It appears that the electricity provider would rather
have its paying customers arrested than dialogue with them about their
concerns. This arrogant behaviour is further confirmation that ZESA is not
interested in providing a service to Zimbabweans but is only interested in
taking advantage of their need for a basic requirement."
Harare, April 20, 2010 - Four members of the Women Arise of Zimbabwe (WOZA)
arrested on Thursday outside ZESA headquarters, Jenni Williams, Magodonga
Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani, have finally been released
from police custody after spending five nights in cells.
"The four women endured hellish conditions in the cells - the worst that
these veteran activists, who have been detained on numerous
occasions, have ever seen. All women require medical treatment for a rash
all over their bodies and diahorrea due to the filthy conditions
and flu symptoms from the cold conditions. Their bodies also ache from being
forced to sit and sleep on cold concrete for six days," said WOZA in a
statement on Tuesday.
"The corridors and floor of the female cells were covered in urine and human
faeces due to blocked toilets and there was only sporadic water supply. The
women were also initially subjected to verbal abuse from police officers
until the non-violent activists refused to accept the abuse."
WOZA said the Attorney General's office refused to press charges against the
four women due to lack of sufficient evidence. The women did not appear in
court as defence lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, spoke directly with the Attorney
According to WOZA, officers from the Law and Order Department at Harare
Central, had tried to force the women to pay 'admission of guilt' fines on
Saturday to 'buy' their freedom.
WOZA said it will now sue the Zimbabwe Republic Police for wrongful arrest
"What is clear is that police officers also have to work in these inhuman
and degrading conditions." said WOZA.
"The human rights defenders can also testify to the large-scale corruption
being practiced in the cells. Bribery is rife; with bribes
being paid by prisoners to secure their speedy release from the horrific
conditions. The sale of mbanje (marijuana) is also common."
However, WOZA said it was relieved that the four women had been released.
"This malicious harassment of human rights defenders is continued evidence
that very little has changed in Zimbabwe despite
the formation of a unity government over a year ago and the conciliatory
words of the President a few days ago," noted the statement
"The insistence of ZESA employees that the peaceful activists be arrested
will also be remembered. It appears that the electricity provider would
rather have its paying customers arrested than dialogue with them about
their concerns. This arrogant behavior is further confirmation that ZESA is
not interested in providing a service to Zimbabweans but is only interested
in taking advantage of their need for a basic requirement."
Bulawayo, April 20, 2010 - The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF),
kicked off in Bulawayo on Tuesday, with most of the exhibition space taken
by Iranian companies.
Information from the ZITF booking schedule indicated that a total of 40
Iranian companies were taking part at this year's trade fair. These
companies are exhibiting in Hall 3 and Hall 4, where they are showcasing
mainly electrical and food processing products.
Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is set to open the trade fair on
Friday this week. The Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, has disassociated itself from the Iranian leader's visit to
Zimbabwe, saying he is a dictator like Mugabe.
However, the first of the two traders days kicked off, to a slow start with
few people paying their way to view exhibits. Traders' days are not open to
members of the public but are reserved for business people to conduct
business among themselves.
"This year's trade far is slow, last year by this time we had already
generated much sales but this year there are no people maybe things will
improve during public days,"said Ishmael Moyo, an ice cream vendor with a
This year's ZITF is being held under the theme 'Unlocking investment
The main focus of the trade fair on Wednesday will be the annual business
conference that will be officially opened by Prime Minister, Morgan
Other key note speakers at the conference include Vice President Joice
Mujuru, Ministers Welshman Ncube, Nelson Chamisa and Elton Mangoma among
Western companies under the European Union (EU) banner and those from the
US are not featuring at this year's ZITF.
ZITF general manager, Daniel Chigaru, said over 96 percent of the space at
the ZITF was taken by end of day on Monday.
"This year's trade fair promises to be much improved compared to previous
years and almost 96 percent of the space at the exhibition centre has been
taken and we have more than 750 local and foreign companies taking part in
the exhibition,"Chigaru said.
He said this year's exhibition was much improved as 14 foreign countries
among them companies from Turkey and one from Germany were taking part at
this year's exhibition.
Last year not even a single country from the EU took part at the ZITF and
hopes were high this year that more countries were going to take part after
the three main political parties entered into a coalition government.
Bulawayo, April 20, 2010 - Some foreign exhibitors from Europe, who were set
to exhibit at this year's Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), which
began here on Tuesday, have cancelled bookings due to the volcanic ash from
Iceland that closed most airspace links in European countries.
Sources at the ZITF told Radio VOP that individual exhibitors from Germany,
Britain, China and Iran had made last minute cancellation of their bookings
due to the volcanic ash.
About 30 countries closed their airspace and some have extended flight bans
" We have received e-mails from some exhibitors indicating that they are
stranded at various airports in Europe. Although we really sympathise with
them, this is a big loss to our organization. It's now too late to rope in
other exhibitors," said a ZITF official who refused to be named.
The official said those affected mainly were exhibitors from European and
" The tourism expo, A' sambe Africa, which concurrently runs with the fair
have also been affected. I still have to check with the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority (ZTA) how exactly they have been affected as they are the ones who
organises the expo," said the official.
A' sambe Africa is a multi-sectorial and mult-international trade
exhibition, which targets among other groups hospitality players, tourism
agents and airliners.
The city's major hotels also confirmed cancelling bookings.
" We have cancelled some bookings from clients in Germany but I am not sure
if the cancellations are a result of the volcanic ash which you are talking
about. Please if you want more information call our headoffice,"said a
worker at Crest Churchill 's reservation office.
A total of 750 companies and organisations have confirmed their
participation at this year's trade fair.
Iranian, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to open the trade fair on
Friday. Ahmadinejad, is the first president outside Africa to officially
open the annual trade expo. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by
Morgan Tsvangirai, has described his invitation to Zimbabwe, as a "political
scandal" because of his record of dictatorship.
By Tichaona Sibanda
20 April 2010
Almost 300 MDC activists in Manicaland province are still to stand trial, a
year after police charged them with trying to reclaim their livestock looted
by ZANU PF supporters during the election violence in 2008.
The activists have been appearing in court for remand hearings at least
twice a month. For many it involves traveling long distances to appear
before magistrates in Mutare, Rusape, Nyanga and Chipinge.
The court delays have also become a huge drain on the financial resources of
the MDC in Manicaland, who have to pay legal and travel costs for their
Half were arrested in Nyanga North in March 2009 while another 70 were
arrested in Mutasa North. Others charged with 'theft' are based in various
districts of the province.
MDC spokesman for Manicaland and MP for Makoni South, Pishai Muchauraya,
told us Tuesday the livestock which their supporters tried to reclaim was
looted during the June 27, 2008 one-man Presidential run off.
In the run up to the election tens of thousands of MDC supporters across the
country had their homes and villages destroyed by ZANU PF youths and so
called war vets, to intimidate them from voting against ZANU PF.
During the mayhem villagers in the province lost cattle, goats, chickens,
ploughs and food stocks harvested from their fields. There has been no
intervention from the coalition government to ensure the return of the
looted property and no compensation has been paid to the villagers.
In the end, the villagers took the matter into their own hands and
approached the ZANU PF looters, demanding their property back. They were
promptly arrested by police and then released on bail.
'We are facing a serious challenge as a party because of the selective
application of the law. The irony of the arrests is that the police have so
far done nothing to help the people who had their properties destroyed or
looted by ZANU PF. The victims were arrested for trying to reclaim their
belongings,' Muchauraya said.
The MP said their activists cannot turn to the police for assistance and
have no alternative access to justice. 'If they try and take back what is
theirs, they are arrested. To us this is political persecution and the least
the inclusive government can do is to come up with a political solution to
this political crisis,' the MDC legislator added.
Muchauraya reiterated that there was a need for a workable transitional
justice and national healing mechanism, to deal with grievances like this.
Last year a Bikita court granted an order allowing 7 villagers to claim US$7
000 from ZANU PF supporters who looted their property. But even though the
villagers won the court order, they are unable to get it enforced by the
partisan police force.
By Violet Gonda
20 April 2010
Political tension is intensifying in Mashonaland Central between MDC and
ZANU PF supporters, resulting in two provincial leaders from the MDC-T being
arrested on Tuesday for allegedly disrespecting ZANU PF governor Martin
The MDC said their chairperson for Mashonaland Central Tongai Jeki, and
district treasurer Saymore Mhenhe, were arrested because they didn’t stand
up during independence day celebrations in Bindura, disrespecting the
The MDC provincial administrator for the area, Taedzwa Chikono, told SW
Radio Africa that hundreds of people from the political divide attended the
Independence Day celebrations at Chipadze Stadium on Sunday.
But tensions started when MDC Mayor Daniso Wakatama arrived, only to be
welcomed by MDC supporters. Chikono said the ZANU PF supporters remained
seated and in ‘retaliation’ the MDC supporters didn’t get up when the ZANU
PF governor entered the stadium, which annoyed the ZANU PF supporters.
The MDC provincial administrator said the two district leaders who were
picked up by police on Tuesday are being accused of instructing supporters
to disrespect governor Dinha. They are being held at Bindura Central and are
expected to appear in court on Wednesday.
We could not get a comment from Bindura police.
Meanwhile, it’s reported that people in some rural areas are being harassed
to stop them from participating in the constitutional outreach programmes.
ZANU PF is said to have launched 'Operation Hapana Anotaura', to block
people in these areas from participating freely in the forthcoming outreach
programmes. The MDC provincial administrator for Mashonaland Central said
people are already living in fear, and accuse the police of disrupting party
meetings to discuss the new constitution.
The whole constitutional outreach program has been completely stalled for
months. Rights groups say if intimidation has begun before any outreach into
rural areas, it’s an extremely worrying sign of what is to come in the
Masvingo, April 20, 2010 - A female informal trader, who was among 100
others who were brutally beaten on Saturday morning, for failing to
contribute money towards independence celebrations held on Sunday, has died.
Memory Chaduka (25) sustained broken ribs, which later jabbed her liver
resulting in her death on Monday, Masvingo General Hospital Medical
superintendent, Dr Stephen Chirengwa, said.
"While 20 were taken here for treatment, with five others admitted as they
had serious injuries, Memory failed to make it as her broken ribs pierced
her liver," Dr Chirengwa said.
Edmore Chaduka (45), father to the late Memory, wailed for her daughter on
Tuesday, saying he will not rest until justice is done.
"So what is so special about the independence day when you kill people? I am
going to see to it that whoever was responsible will pay
for my daughter's death," said the grieving Chaduka.
A day before Independence Day, a group of war veterans and Zanu (PF)
descended on Tanaiwa and Takawira flea markets demanding at least US $ 2
from each trader.
The traders had been ordered to pay the money by the end of last week, but
most failed to meet the deadline.
Those who failed to submit their contributions to Masvingo Informal Traders
Association (MITA) president, Gilbert Chikwata, were accused of being
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.
"We have already started contributing towards Memory's funeral expenses on
our own. They did not even bothered to at least say sorry
or contribute towards the expenses," said a fellow trader.
"I wonder if this is the independence that they want. Independent to kill
innocent people who are looking for money legally," said Amos
Mugari, another trader.
Gilbert Chikwata, who previously said the assaults were not that brutal,
professed ignorance over the deaths.
"No I do not know about that. Our intention was not to kill but make them
pay for the great day of the country. I do not know if anyone has died,
probably she was already ill, let me find out," Chikwata said.
Harare, April 20, 2010 - Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, and eight
councilors who carried out an explosive investigation in the land grab
scandal, were on Tuesday arraigned before the magistrates court facing
criminal defamation charges.
The report named Local Government and Urban Development Minister, Ignatius
Chombo, and controversial businessman, Phillip Chiyangwa, as among top
government officials that had illegally acquired vast pieces of land in
The court appearance comes after the Harare City Council made a report to
the police to arrest Chiyangwa and Chombo over the land theft allegations.
However, the police have been reportedly said to be scared of making any
arrests because the two politicians hail from the same home area as
President Robert Mugabe.
Chiyangwa, a business tycoon, has gone to the extent of suing both council
and The Standard newspaper for a whopping US$900 million saying he had
suffered losses to his companies and damages to his reputation because of
the council report. He said the report was accusing him to be a thief.
The mayor and the councilors appeared before Harare magistrate, Olivia
Mariga who postponed the case to Wednesday.
The lawyer representing the councilors, Aleck Muchadehama, made an
application for refusal of remand. The lawyer argued the mayor and the
councillors were facing spruced up charges made up by Chiyangwa and the
police officers to divert attention from the businessman's involvement in
the land scandal.
Since the explosive report was made public through the media three weeks
ago, Chiyangwa had pressured police to harass the councilors as well as the
journalists who wrote about the matter.
Council intends to take back the illegally acquired vast tracts of land.
"Such harassment will only harden our stance and we are not going back,"
said a defiant councillor, outside the court. "We are going to recover the
land, which was stolen by these people while conniving with senior council
employees. They can do whatever they can but the report has been adopted and
will be used against them."
"They must understand that the situation has changed in Zimbabwe - there
will be no more corrupt practices in council especially the massive looting
of land. Even if they put us in jail, the recommendations of the adopted
report will remain intact and will be implemented," said the councilor.
While Chiyangwa, a former Rhodesian police officer who was also arrested and
charged with spying for the South African government six years ago, is busy
taking the route of instigating the arrest of councilors and journalists,
Chombo has been inciting Zanu (PF) residents to demonstrate against the
He recently handpicked a team to probe councilors for "illegally" chasing
away Zanu (PF) supporters from their homes in the townships. It is believed
that he wants to suspend the councilors to stop them from further
investigating the land scam.
Written by Staff reporter
Tuesday, 20 April 2010 17:27
GWANDA - 15 Zanu (PF) youths on Friday stormed the Gwanda Municipal offices
and severely assaulted the Director of Housing and Community services in a
row over 400 residential stands.
According to the Gwanda Mayor, Lionel DeNecker, the 15 youths who were
coming from Bulawayo and on their way to Manama High School to attend Vice
President John Nkomo's victory celebrations assaulted Sipho Mdlongwa with
clenched fists and booted feet.
Clr DeNecker said the youths stormed the council chambers at about 1pm and
demanded to see Mrs Sipho Mdlongwa whom they were accusing of insulting
"The 15 youths arrived in a white pick up truck inscribed Zanu (PF) Bulawayo
Province and demanded that she comes outside, dragged her and proceeded to
assault her with clenched fists and booted feet while accusing her of
insulting the President," he said.
However, DeNecker said the youths were not happy with the way Mrs Mdlongwa
was distributing the 400 housing stands in the town but chose to hide behind
the accusations of insulting the President.
"There are some divisions between Zanu (PF) and MDC councillors over the
distribution of 400 housing stands against a waiting list of about 10 000
home seekers," he said.
"Given a task of distributing the stands, Mrs Mdlongwa was bound to have a
lot of enemies but it has to be understood that her decisions are informed
by the Gwanda council. She does not maker those decisions on her own."
DeNecker condemned the youths' violent behavior saying the council dose not
take kindly to abuse.
"She is old enough to be a mother to all those youths who assaulted her.
It is also a violation of gender to see these young men severely beating an
elderly woman like that," he said.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Tafanana Dzirutwe confirmed
the assault but said the assailants were not known yet.
"I can confirm that we received a report of assault but we do not have any
evidence to prove that the assailants were Zanu (PF) youths. Investigations
are still underway," he said.
Watchdog group says President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party continues to restrict
independent reporting by controlling security forces
Scott Bobb | Johannesburg 20 April 2010
A leading international human-rights group says Zimbabwe's unity government
still has not implemented promised media reforms and that President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party still controls most levers of government despite a
14-month-old power-sharing accord.
Human Rights Watch says ZANU-PF continues to restrict independent reporting
through its control of the country's security forces.
The coordinator of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, Abigail Gamanya,
says there have been some improvements in freedom of expression since Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change joined
Zimbabwe's government more than one year ago.
"It is not as rampant as it used to be. However, the characteristics are
still the same, where you find journalists being harassed, intimidated,
fleeing the country. And the same instruments that were used for this
repression are still in place," Gamanya said.
The Human Rights Watch report says media laws that criminalize any criticism
of the government are still in place. Credentials for international
journalists are heavily restricted. It says at least 15 journalists have
been harassed, arbitrarily arrested or assaulted by security forces under
the unity government.
A spokesman for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Nixon Nyikadzino, says the
government continues to block new independent media outlets through
complicated licensing regulations.
"We still operate within the context of a [single] state broadcaster, a
state radio station, state-run newspapers and only a minimum number of
independent newspapers. So those factors point to an environment that is
still muzzling freedom of expression whereby the media is not yet able to
play its role critically, with the freedom it deserves," Nyikadzino said.
The Zimbabwean government recently announced a new media commission to
oversee the promised reforms. But critics have blasted the commission,
saying it is comprised of many of the same individuals who put together the
current web of media restrictions.
The unity government has stabilized the economy and eased some political
tensions. But the partners in the government remain deadlocked over certain
senior political appointments.
In addition, ZANU-PF insists ending foreign broadcasts to Zimbabwe by
stations such as SWRadio, the BBC and VOA.
Zimbabwean media analyst Rasweat Mukundu says this position is
"[The] call for these radio stations to be banned is contradictory to the
principles that we are trying to push [in the area of] media freedoms. What
the Zimbabwean government simply needs to do is open up the broadcasting
sector and let the public choose which station they want to listen to,"
Human Rights Watch called for parties to the unity government to guarantee
and promote freedom of expression and the media. They say such reforms are
vital as they work to draft a new constitution and prepare for elections.
Harare, April 20, 2010 - Former Finance Minister and now leader of the
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MDKD) party, Simba Makoni, on Tuesday took the blame
for the political mess caused by President Robert Mugabe, saying he did not
"Mugabe hasn't done these things alone. I place more responsibility for the
condition of our country on the people around Robert Mugabe than on Mugabe
himself. If the rest of us - and I include myself in this - had put our foot
down and said, 'President, we must do land reform but not this way, we must
do empowerment of the people of Zimbabwe but not this way,' I don't think
that singlehandedly Mugabe would have done it," said Makoni.
Makoni who was interviewed by a British newspaper, the UK Guardian on Sunday
said "I clearly regarded him as a hero, someone to look up to, I had a
sense of what kind of a character he was. Definitely the hero, definitely
the people's leader, very committed and at that time genuine about the
welfare of the people."
Makoni also said he was not sure if Mugabe regretted the infamous
Matebeleland massacres commonly known as Gukurahundi.
"I am quite sure that even as Gukurahundi was taking place, there was a lot
of pain in Robert Mugabe's heart, if I think back to
conversations we had at the time. But then again, it could have been
crocodile tears," said Makoni.
Contacted by Radio VOP, Makoni said the inclusive government had failed.
Makoni, a former Zanu (PF) politburo member before his dramatic resignation
from the party in 2008, said the country needed a broad-based dialogue that
cuts across political divides.
Makoni who came a distant third in the first round of Presidential election
in 2008, said: "I encourage Zimbabweans not to give up on themselves, the
failings of the coalition government should not discourage them to continue
looking for a lasting solution to the crisis facing the country currently,"
Makoni told Radio VOP in a telephone interview.
"We should not believe that the coalition arrangement is the only solution
available. Now that it's failing we need genuine engagement of
citizens across sectors without confining ourselves to a few political
Makoni said issues such as the indigenisation drive currently being pushed
by the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, should
be discussed with the active participation of the business sector and not to
be left to politicians alone.
Turning onto the 30th Independence anniversary of the country, Makoni said
there wasn't much to celebrate.
He said there was a serious need for leadership change in his former Zanu
"We need leadership that will lead us to the ideals of the original struggle
not the practise of the current crop of leaders who only think about
themselves," said Makoni.
By Lance Guma
20 April 2010
Finance Minister Tendai Biti last week Friday released over US$6 million for
the laying of a fibre optic cable, connecting the country to the Beira
under-sea cable, in a project expected to dramatically boost internet
speeds. According to Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson
Chamisa, the country is on the verge of becoming an 'information tiger of
the continent with Zimbabweans able to send and receive high volumes of
video, data and voice; access 3G and 4G because of the increased bandwidth.'
Current internet speeds are slow and expensive because of the use of
satellite technology. This has made internet use prohibitive for many people
already struggling to survive the harsh economic climate. The fibre optic
project will however result in the country using a much more reliable and
'This is going to change lifestyle, work style. It's going to change the way
we do business, the way we run our government, the way we interact with
customers, the way we interact with citizens. It's just going to be a game
changing development,' Chamisa said.
The minister explained that there was already a fibre optic link between
Bulawayo and Plumtree, but this had not yet been completed. With the
addition of the Mutare to Beira cable they expect to be able to link all the
major cities by the end of the year.
Chamisa said that in time 'Zimbabweans will be able to apply for birth
certificates, view their school results and get prescriptions online. We'll
see a boom in e-commerce and online transactions. Broadband is coming, from
Tsholotsho to Chirundu people will be empowered to explore all manner of
online businesses which they have so far been unable to do because we were
While Minister Chamisa says his prime concern is the benefits of the project
to the business, education, health and government sectors, pro-democracy
activists will look forward to the opening up of more media and activism
space. In a country where the media has been suffocated with repressive laws
and harassment, improved internet speeds and affordability allow people a
wider access of information.
Asked if they looked forward to the opening up of democratic space as a
result, Chamisa told us; 'This is simply to make sure we have connectivity
for business, education, health, government and politicians. The rest will
By Alex Bell
20 April 2010
The European Union has pledged an estimated eight million dollars to
Zimbabwe's quest for constitutional reform, as the outreach phase of the
process remains stalled.
Efforts to rewrite the constitution, as stipulated by the Global Political
Agreement, have stalled as officials complain they lack the money to conduct
the outreach campaign, meant to gather public opinion.
"In order for the project to move forward, we are therefore pleased to grant
our approval to the first quarterly work plan which amounts to 8,117,831
United States dollars (six million euros)," Xavier Marchal, EU head of
country delegation, said in a letter to Zimbabwean ministers.
A Zimbabwean MP involved in the country's constitutional revision process
said Monday that there is still no firm date for the launch of the public
outreach phase. Edward Nkosi, co-chairman of the parliamentary select
committee in charge of the process, has cited funding issues as the key
reason behind the delay. He explained that the government and international
donors are "haggling" over how various costs, set aside specifically for the
process, will be met.
The financial pledges by the EU come as the government is trying to
'reengage' with the West, mainly to try and convince bodies like the EU to
drop their targeted sanctions, recently extended against Robert Mugabe and
other key figures of his regime. A Zimbabwean ministerial delegation was
meant to travel to Belgium this week for talks with EU representatives, with
the sanctions issue high on their agenda. But that meeting has reportedly
been postponed as a result of ongoing European travel restrictions brought
on by a volcanic eruption in Iceland last week.
The pledges by the EU have meanwhile come despite Mugabe's and ZANU PF's
repeated vilification of the West, whose targeted sanctions Mugabe blames
for Zimbabwe's economic collapse. Ironically, the government would not need
to rely on international aid, if it properly harnessed the value of Zimbabwe's
natural resources. Zimbabwe's diamond fields are said to be capable of
producing a staggering US$1 billion a year, and yet corruption and abuse
have seen no money entering the government's dry coffers.
© Amnesty International
20 April 2010
Amnesty International has urged the Zimbabwe police to end their
intimidation of activists and stop preventing them from exercising their
right to peaceful assembly.
The call came as four female activists arrested and kept in custody without
charge for five days following a peaceful demonstration were released after
the Attorney General's office refused to prosecute them.
Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani,
members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), were arrested on 15 April while
attending a peaceful demonstration protesting rising electricity prices in
the country's capital Harare. They were arrested along with 61 others who
were subsequently released.
"We welcome the release of the women activists, but are concerned about
systematic abuse of the law by the police to frustrate human rights
defenders engaging in peaceful protest," said Simeon Mawanza Amnesty
International's Zimbabwe researcher.
"It is unacceptable that 30 years after independence, Zimbabwe's activists
still have to deal with ongoing harassment, fear and threats."
Amnesty International calls on Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity to
halt on-going harassment of human rights defenders. Persecution of human
rights defenders for their legitimate activities is a contravention of
Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
Amnesty International has documented consistent politicised and partisan
policing by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), in particular the
Law and Order section, aimed at silencing the voices of human rights
In March police arrested Mr Okay Machisa, the director of the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Association (ZimRights) and Owen Maseko, an artist, in separate
Owen was arrested and charged under the Public Order and Security Act after
holding an exhibition on the atrocities committed by state security agents
in the 1980s in Matabeleland. He was detained and later granted bail. Okay
Machisa was forced to temporarily leave the country as a result of his
"The Zimbabwe Republic Police need reforming to end the culture of impunity
that thrives especially within the Law and Order section. These cases are
testimony to the need for such reforms if the Global Political Agreement is
to deliver on peace and stability."
145 Robert Mugabe Road, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website: www.chra.co.zw
...as a commuter omnibus overturns after its tires were deflated by municipal police
20 April 2010
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and the generality of the residents of Harare are not amused by the rowdy and irresponsible behaviour of the municipal police officers who are constantly harassing residents for petty issues. The overzealous officers threw a spike in front of a moving commuter omnibus in a bid to stop it after the driver was accused of flouting the City’s parking by-laws. The commuter omnibus overturned and crashed into another vehicle at Corner Julius Nyerere and Robert Mugabe. The accident occurred at around 1pm yesterday. The two municipal police officers took to their heels as the bus was overturning. About eight people were injured and there are unconfirmed reports that some died.
This unfortunate and unnecessary incident has taken place barely six months after municipal police caused the death of a vendor at Mupedzanhamo Market in Mbare. It is shocking to note that the City of Harare seems to have done nothing to keep its unprofessional police force in line considering that they have caused the loss of life in the past. The municipal police officers are operating in an increasingly militarized fashion; a situation that has made them to become a nightmare to residents. It defies logic to note that the Council seems to be more inclined towards unleashing violence on residents instead of exploring professional and amicable ways of disciplining offenders. Compromising the safety and lives of residents for a $20 fine on wrong parking is simply unacceptable and it is tantamount to serious human rights violations.
Furthermore, municipal police are now infamous for their constant harassment of street vendors. The officers even have the audacity to beat up the vendors as well as confiscate their goods; a situation that has increased the impoverished populace in Harare. Council is well aware of the need of residents to make a living for themselves, but no plans have been made to construct more market stalls for the vendors to do their business without harassment. The tens of thousands of US Dollars that are being used to employ military municipal police officers who spend most of their time chasing vendors can be actually used to build market stalls. It is of no gain to employ a huge number of municipal police officers who have no knowledge of their key result areas.
CHRA calls on the Council to address this issue as a matter of urgency before municipal police shed more blood. The Association makes the following demands;
CHRA remains committed to advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance as well lobbying for quality and affordable municipal services.
145 Robert Mugabe Road, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website: www.chra.co.zw
20 April 2010
…as City of Harare’s land audit report makes shocking revelations
The shocking Land Audit report that was produced by a Special Committee led by Councilor Warship Dumba has set heads rolling in Harare. The report, which exposes the unprocedural way in which business tycoon Philip Chiyangwa and Minister of Local Government, Ignatius Chombo acquired large tracts of land for next to nothing, has generated a lot of anger among residents. The report has caused serious headaches for the two political bigwigs and the mega rich politicians and business people who have been thriving on allegedly stolen land. The report has been able to name and shame other individuals like Harare’s Town Clerk Dr Mahachi, the unpopular former Harare Commission Chairperson Sekesai Makwavara, C.Nemera, Psychology Chiwenga, and Michael Mahachi. CHRA has it on record that this report is the spark plug to the political quagmire that has seen the Minister of Local Government and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo, summersault on top of councilors demanding their heads on a silver platter!
The report has revealed that Council (Item 8, Finance Committee meeting dated 12th December 2007) resolved for a land swap of Stand 389 Derbyshire measuring 17, 6ha (from Kilima Investments) with City of Harare’s Gun Hill Stand 19345 measuring 10,23ha. However, Chiyangwa"s company (Kilima Investments) was given 17.6 hectares contrary to the resolution of Council. Council Officials did not follow the resolution that was made on 26 June, 2008, that rescinded the decision on the Kilima’s land swap deal but took it upon themselves in collaboration with Chiyangwa (Director of Kilima Investments) to allocate alternative land to the company with neither authority from Council nor a report of their decision to Council.
The Minister was also involved in multiple property ownership; a situation that has seen him with vast tracts of land despite a Council policy that no one should own more than one residential property. The Land Audit report also reveals that Chombo has since registered all this land in his company’s name. Land reserved for recreational activities would end up having Title Deeds in the Minister’s company name .A case in point is Stand 61 Hellensvale, Harare, measuring almost 20 hectares. According to the Advice of Payment, the Minister paid US$2 300 for this stand!
These shocking revelations come at a time when thousands of Harare Citizens do not have decent accommodation and Council is failing to meet the housing demand. Harare is surrounded by squatter camps; the Housing Department has thousands on its housing waiting list and yet Minister Chombo, who claims to have the interests of residents at heart, has decided to effectively empower himself with the City’s land resources while thousands of residents stay homeless.
In a normal situation, one would expect the police to carry out investigations into the issues raised in the Land Audit report so as to prove its authenticity. However, to everyone’s chagrin, the police arrested the accusers instead of the accused! Police arrested some Councillors who are members of the Land Audit Committee after Chiyangwa instructed his lawyers to write a complaint letter accusing the Councilors for defaming his character. One wonders what power Chiyangwa has over the police; or is it his political muscles and connections?
CHRA does not condone any form of corruption. The police should stop harassing the City of Harare Land Audit Committee. In fact, Chiyangwa and Chombo must be brought in for questioning. They should prove themselves innocent instead of trying to intimidate the Councilors. Moreover, if they have nothing to hide, they should lead by example and lay themselves bare for the law to take its course.
CHRA is committed to advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality and affordable municipal services on a non-partisan basis.
145 Robert Mugabe Road, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website: www.chra.co.zw
20 April 2010
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is in solidarity with the civic youth formations and other progressive forces, state and non state institutions in the campaign against the reintroduction of a militarized National Youth Training Program (National Service). The program in history has produced youths, most of whom were used by some political bigwigs to unleash violence on innocent citizens and advance political agendas of selfish politicians.
CHRA has been conducting public meetings on youths and local governance reform in different parts of the country and the youths have raised concerns on the National Youth Programme saying that the programme first came as an annexure to Zanu PF’s agenda of clinging on to power given that the impact of opposition politics in the country were being felt in every part of the country. The Program was heavily militarized and most of the youths were used in ZANU PF’s violent campaigns for the elections. It is suspicious that there are calls for the re-introduction of a National Youth Training Programme at a time when the country is still in a transitional period. It is also known that Zanu PF has been on the overdrive of advancing the election agenda regardless of the non completion of the constitution making process and simultaneously calling for the restoration of the National Youth Training Program without prior consultation with youth organizations. History has it on record that the Youth Training Centers have been used to train youths to be Zanu PF sycophants and in turn campaign for the Party especially in the marginalized rural areas.
In that respect, the Association feels that the country is not ready to reintroduce the program unless it is totally reformed in consultation with the concerned stakeholders. The problem that has surrounded this Program is that the Minister of youths, Mr. Saviour Kasukuwere, is on the record of having said that he is not going to take any input or recommendations from the civil society given that “the civil society would like to compromise the spirit and letter of the G.P.A”. However it is quite unsettling that Saviour Kasukuwere would want to acknowledge the spirit of the G.P.A but refuses to subscribe to the very salient tenets of democracy, paramount of which is the consultation of the masses in the formulation of policies that directly affect them. In light of the former, we believe in the common civic saying which says “nothing for us without us!”
According to article 15.1(a) of the G.P.A, we believe that the eligibility to participate in the National Youth Training program should be made voluntary. This Program should be introduced in such a way that youths have got to volunteer during their spare time or weekends to participate in these programs and not necessarily create base camps as is the norm in Zimbabwe of operating in (Military) bases.
According to the Deputy Minister of Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment, the country has received close to 80 000 youth graduates from this Program between 2001 and 2007. In light of the former, it seriously fearsome to re-engage in a program that has adversely affected this nation and still cannot be accounted for in terms of its gains. With that in mind it is imperative for the government to temporarily postpone the program giving space for reforms to be done and also allowing the constitution making process and the forthcoming elections to pass then introduce the reformed program.
CHRA is ready to be part of a shared national vision that is characterized by full participation of residents, which is transparent and accountable to the generality of the Zimbabwean citizenry. CHRA will not be part of a one man band whose desire is to thwart the voices of young people by using them to advance a political agenda that does not benefit youths but rather the octogenarian leadership which does not recall its youthful days!
Mar 8th 1980 | From The Economist print edition
Britain has discharged its responsibility to Zimbabwe, its last African
colony, with what even the most suspicious must see as democratic punctilio.
Having brought about a tolerably clean election, and ended a seven-year war,
it is about to hand over Zimbabwe to a man who is the indisputable choice of
most of his people. Mr Robert Mugabe's sweeping victory gives him a claim to
the prime ministership which nobody, inside Zimbabwe or outside, should
attempt to obstruct. Mrs Thatcher's Conservative government, hard pressed at
home, has against the odds and to most people's surprise carried through a
major act of foreign policy to its intended conclusion.
Well, half its intended conclusion. It is no secret that the British
government had hoped, and its foreign office had expected, that Mr Mugabe
would not be the country's unchallengeable new leader. The puncturing of
that expectation produces inevitable tremors. The pursuit of a high Tory
colonial policy has put an avowed Marxist in power in Zimbabwe. The man who
was most reluctant to accept the Lancaster House agreement, Mr Mugabe, has
triumphed from it, and Bishop Muzorewa, the ex-prime minister whose desire
for peace made the settlement possible, has been trounced at the polls. All
those tortuous attempts to write checks and balances into the constitution
have been made irrelevant by an election that has given Mr Mugabe an
unpredicted 57% of the parliament.
Can he resolve the contradiction?
There was always a potential contradiction between Britain's commitment to
settling the Zimbabwe problem by a one-man-one-vote election, and its
interest in seeing the new Zimbabwe follow a moderate, pro-western course.
The commitment has been carried out, but at the price of putting the
interest at risk. Everything now depends on which is the real Mugabe.
Intelligent, joyless, dapper, tough, Mr Mugabe is as difficult to gauge in
his politics as in his personality. On the evidence of his past five years,
and of his behaviour in London during the Lancaster House talks, Mr Mugabe
takes his Marxism seriously. His articulate defence of "scientific
socialism" and his coldly ascetic personality raise understandable fears
that, after a conventional bow to national unity, he may try to impose on
Zimbabwe the doctrines that have brought economic inefficiency and political
repression to so many other countries.
But the past few weeks, and particularly the past few days, hold out a
qualified hope of a new Mugabe. Though still without a smile, nobody could
have sounded more the man of reassurance. There will be a place for whites
in his cabinet; there will be a job for his ex-partner and rival, Mr Joshua
Nkomo, which could prevent a disastrous tribal split. General Walls, the
leader of the former government's security forces, will stay on to integrate
the rival armies into a single force. Marxism has been put aside-or
postponed-with promises that there will be no widespread nationalisation,
and that the (much needed) land reform will not, according to the new
Mugabe, mean displacing white farmers, but will simply redistribute the
large tracts of land now either under-used or held by absentee landlords. In
foreign policy, Mr Mugabe's Zimbabwe may remain in the Commonwealth, will be
non-aligned and will coexist peaceably with South Africa. Recognising that
the country's present, very successful, economy is run along capitalist
lines, Mr Mugabe says that any changes will be "built on that structure".
It is little short of a miracle, and calls for the half-raised eyebrow that
miracles evoke. But the transformation is not entirely unbelievable. Marxism
has seldom taken root in ex-British colonies. Some men who used the rhetoric
of the left while working for their countries' independence disavowed it
when they came to power. Jomo Kenyatta and Hastings Banda were once African
socialists. Lee Kuan Yew, of prosperous, capitalist Singapore, was once
widely thought to be a communist.
Mr Mugabe may follow their example. He has only to look at neighbouring
Mozambique and Angola to see the devastation wrought by Marxist economics
and the mass exodus of Europeans. Indeed, it is Mozambique's President
Machel who, having learnt the hard way, has been the most moderating
influence on Mr Mugabe. Mr Mugabe's opportunity is great. No other African
leader, on coming to power, has inherited a country with so large a white
tribe (some 230,000 people) or so substantial a black middle class. That
black middle class has been given a taste for some luxuries rare in Africa:
a relatively free press, multi-party elections and vocal political
opposition, well-stocked shops and, despite the war, a remarkably
Mr Mugabe, unlike most African leaders, is in a position to deliver on his
election promises of peace and prosperity. Peace is already delicately at
hand; prosperity could rapidly blossom once the country's long-isolated
free-enterprise system is opened up to western markets, loans and
investment-none of which Marxism can deliver. If the rate of growth that the
economy clocked up before the imposition of sanctions can be restored (and
that means keeping the whites confident and investing), the country could
soon be one of the richest in black Africa.
There is a wider issue upon which the new Mr Mugabe should also fix his
steely eyes. Zimbabwe, trading freely with the west, peaceful at home and on
its borders, could soon prove the natural leader, in wealth and influence,
of the nine black nations of southern Africa that ring the Republic of South
For the moment these countries are in pathetic disarray. Some, such as
Zambia, are on the verge of bankruptcy; others, such as Angola, are in a
self-inflicted communist isolation. Zimbabwe is the second most populous,
the most prosperous and, for the moment, the most stable. If the old Mugabe
attempts in Zimbabwe the economic experiments that have failed elsewhere
ever since they left Karl Marx's pen, the chaos would be felt throughout
southern Africa. South Africa would become more isolated, more convinced of
its racist theories and more ready to fight off any challenge by military
force. But a Mr Mugabe running an open economy, tolerant of whites and
leading a prosperous Zimbabwe-another Kenya, in effect-would make a profound
impression on South Africa. Nothing would be a greater spur to the gathering
mood among Afrikaners that they must give more wealth and responsibility to
their black people and learn to live at ease on a black continent.
It is the peace of southern Africa that is at stake. Britain's success in
giving Zimbabwe its democratic chance would prove pyrrhic indeed if all its
efforts had handed this vital corner of the world into Marxist hands. It is
a legitimate fear. Will the new Mr Mugabe dispel it?