The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Land theft case: Mayor charged with defamation

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Wednesday 21 April 2010

HARARE - Police have laid criminal defamation charges on Harare Mayor
Muchadeyi Masunda and eight councillors for allegedly "leaking or
 publishing" a report implicating top businessman Philip Chiyangwa in a
major scandal that saw him acquire council land without following procedure.

Magistrate Olivia Mariga on Tuesday remanded the nine city officials out of
custody to today when the court will make a ruling on whether the
councillors have a case to answer or not.

The state led by Chris Mutangadura alleged that the nine leaked a report
which was published last month by The Standard, a local newspaper, and The
Sunday Times of South Africa and which portrayed Chiyangwa, a relative of
President Robert Mugabe, as a "fraudster".

"The report was stinging (harsh) on another citizen, by alleging that he
committed fraud which is a criminal offence which can be established by a
court," Mutangadura told the court.

But Alec Muchadehama and Happias Zhou who appeared for the accused argued
that the councillors had played no role in the publication of the report in
the two newspapers which were quoting the 54-page document.

"The document points to evidence that the complainant (Chiyangwa) might face
criminal charges in future, why should the accused be charged when police
have not conducted their investigation on him?" asked Muchadehama.

"We see no remotest link to the publication of the report with these (the
accused). They do not own The Standard and The Sunday Times. There is no
proof that they leaked the report. It might be state agents who might have
intercepted communication at Town House and leaked it. This is a mere
fishing expedition to curtail the investigations. They (councillors) are
actually worried why the police have not started investigating the
complainant. They are dragging their feet. Why?"

The report compiled by a committee of Harare city councillors alleges that
Chiyangwa and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo - another relative
of Mugabe and senior member of ZANU PF party - with assistance of two
council employees, illegally grabbed vast tracts of prime land from the city
on the cheap, without following proper procedure.

According to the council report on land sales from October 2004 to December
2009 there were several cases of suspected fraud and irregular sales where:
"Chombo would identify pieces of land in the city, influence council
officials to apply to him for change of land use and then sit over the same
applications and approve the change.

"He would then write to council officials asking to buy the same stands and
obviously get them. Land reserved for recreational activities would end up
having title deeds in his company name."

Chiyangwa, a former ZANU PF provincial chairman, also influenced council
officials to sell him municipal land and in some cases paying well below the
market value for the property, according to the report.

The alleged land scandal which on paper appears a simple case of suspected
fraud and corruption has assumed a political dimension mimicking the power
struggle within the unity government of Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan

For example the police - who together with other state security institutions
are controlled by ZANU PF - have rushed to charge the eight councillors who
compiled the land report almost immediately after it was leaked to the

The police, who have ignored a report lodged last week by the mayor's office
asking the police to investigate and possibly arrest Chombo and Chiyangwa on
the alleged illegal land purchases by the two, have charged the eight
councillors who are all members of the MDC with criminal defamation.

On the other hand, Chombo, who has powers under the Urban Councils Act to
fire local councils for gross incompetence or misconduct, has hinted he
could invoke the Act against the Harare City Council.

A special committee appointed by Chombo to probe councillors for corruption
began public hearings last week in what appears an attempt by the minister
to set the stage for the dismissal of the Masunda-led council.
The MDC has accused Chombo of instituting the corruption probe to intimidate
councillors from pursuing the land case against him.  - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Trial date set for Mayor and 8 councillors in Chiyangwa case

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 April 2010

A Harare magistrate has set the 6th May as the start of the trial in the
defamation case brought against Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and eight
councillors, by businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.

The MDC led Harare council carried out an explosive investigation which
exposed how Chiyangwa and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo used
their political muscle and influence to acquire vast tracks of land in the

On Wednesday Masunda and the eight councillors appeared before magistrate
Olivia Mariga, who bailed them out of custody for $20 each. They are all
facing criminal defamation charges. As part of his bail conditions
councillor Warship Dumba, who headed the council probe, has been barred by
the magistrate from speaking to the media following allegations that he
leaked the report to journalists.

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us the case has generated a lot
of interest in the capital, following revelations that Chombo and the
controversial Chiyangwa illegally acquired vast tracts of land in Harare for
a pittance.

'The curious thing about this case is that council carried out an
investigation into corruption and they end up facing criminal and defamation
charges. The people who were probed (Chombo and Chiyangwa) and discovered
had a case to answer, are still free despite the serious allegations they
face,' Muchemwa said.

Last week the Harare council made a report to the police against Chiyangwa
and Chombo over the land allegations, but the partisan police have not moved
an inch in either questioning or arresting the duo.

Instead Chiyangwa has gone on to counter the allegations by launching a
massive $900 million defamation suit against the council and weekly
independent newspaper The Standard, for carrying the story.

Muchemwa said Chiyangwa accuses the council and the newspaper of'character
assassination' by labelling him a thief. After the story broke a month ago
freelance journalist Stanley Gama, and Standard staffers Jennifer Dube,
Feluna Nleya and their editor Vincent Kahiya, were all questioned after they
exposed the land scandal.

Police did not charge them but were trying to find the source of the
document, which is now public following its adoption by council.

The fact that the alleged accused are walking free and the accusers are in
court, gives some idea of how the rule of law does not exist in Zimbabwe.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF youths target son of activist murdered 10 years ago

By Lance Guma
21 April 2010

ZANU PF youths in Harare's Glen Norah suburb are reported to be persecuting
the son of an MDC activist murdered 10 years ago in the run up to the 2000
parliamentary election. Tichaona Chiminya, and fellow activist Talent
Mabika, were brutally murdered when ZANU PF state agents Joseph Mwale and
Kainos 'Kitsiyatota' Zimunya petrol bombed their election campaign vehicle
during an ambush.

Timothy, who claims to be the son of the late Tichaona Chiminya, says on the
8th April this year a group of ZANU PF youths went to the home of Esnath
Dhliwayo, a well known MDC supporter in Glen Norah C. Chanting provocative
party songs, the youths demanded to see Timothy.

Dhliwayo told Newsreel on Wednesday that when the youths realized that
Timothy was not there, and in fact did not stay there, they burned down her
house. She lost all her property during the blaze and expressed
disappointment that despite a coalition government in place ZANU PF youths
continue to engage in acts of violence. She added;  'There is no unity in
this unity government.'

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition newsletter The Daily Catalyst had issued a
report saying 'the following evening nine youths tried to assault Timothy
while on his way to Dhliwayo's house accusing him of selling out by joining
the MDC. He however escaped and is in hiding.' Last week on Thursday Timothy's
neighbours say the youths again gathered at his house around 3am in the
morning demanding to see him, while chanting provocative songs.

Maria Mache, the Information and Communications Officer with the Crisis
Coalition, told Newsreel that.. 'as you can see there is a high level of
impunity in Zimbabwe. As long as the issues of transitional justice are not
addressed the perpetrators will still think that it is okay and it is normal
for them to hunt down people and to threaten them.'

Mache also spoke about the common pattern of persecution where the families
of murdered activists are targeted.  She said when MDC activist Tonderai
Ndira was murdered, his wife was followed around soon after by state
security agents. The families of other murdered activists, like Gift Tandare
and Better Chokururama, were also harassed. 'This pattern of intimidation is
captured in the report 'Torture Cries from Goromonzi' produced by the Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition'.

Meanwhile the widow of murdered activist Tichaona Chiminya told Newsreel
from London that although she sympathized with the plight of Timothy
Chiminya she questioned his claims that he was Chiminya's son.

Adella Mutero Chiminya, who now stays in the UK with children Blessed and
Faith, told us there have been many instances of people claiming to be
Tichaona's children. 'Two of them claimed asylum in the UK and I only found
out from social services here.'

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tourism Minister Ordered To Return Mugabe's Missing Gifts

21/04/2010 11:36:00

Masvingo, April 21, 2010 - The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Walter
Mzembi, has been ordered to return President Robert Mugabe's missing
birthday gifts.

The gifts disappeared in February soon after they were donated.

Mzembi,  who is also Masvingo South legislator,  together with Masvingo
provincial governor Titus Maluleke, were being accused of taking 30 tonnes
of sugar donated by Triangle limited.

At a special hearing, sources said Maluleke denied taking anything and
blamed everything on Mzembi.

Maluleke, who is a very close friend to Masvingo party chairman, Lovemore
Matuke, was acquitted, leaving Mzembi in the mess.

"Mzembi failed to defend himself and he has no option besides returnimg the
sugar. The provincial executive said looting the sugar tarnished the party
image and they were having a lot of problems in convincing the public that
Zanu (PF) is not a party of thieves.

Matuke, said he was confident the party will recover all the missing gifts.

"I can not disclose what we are exactly doing but you have to know that
those missing gifts will be recovered sooner or later. Whether its  Mzembi
or whoever took them, we shall have the gifts back and for sure the
President will receive everything which is due to hm," said Matuke.

But Mzembi refused to comment saying he was very busy.

"Dont just phone me and demand a comment. You liars, never phone me again. I
am busy I have to attend better business," said Mzembi

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Biti Says Labor Laws Need Revision to Reflect Reality

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Finance Minister Tendai Biti as
saying existing labor laws do not reflect the reality of the economy

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 20 April 2010

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti was quoted in the state-controlled
Herald newspaper on Tuesday as saying national labor laws must be reviewed
urgently to make sure they are in step with economic realities.

The Herald quoted Biti as saying existing laws do not reflect the reality of
the economy, and put businesses in a precarious position because it is
difficult for them to lay off workers, so many as a result go bankrupt.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Institute
of Zimbabwe, an arm of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, said any
revisions should not disadvantage workers.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Parliament Mines Committee Again Blocked in Diamond Oversight Mission

Mines Ministry Permanent Secretary Thankful Musukutwa said his ministry is
not responsible for providing clearance to the Marange diamond field - but
police said they could not clear the lawmakers without Mines Ministry

Sandra Nyaira | Washington 20 April 2010

The Zimbabwean Ministry of Mines again prevented members of Parliament's
committee on mines from carrying out a fact-finding mission in the Marange
diamond field of eastern Zimbabwe.

Committee members gathered Tuesday in Harare expecting to travel to
Manicaland, but were told the ministry had not cleared them to enter the
diamond-rich district of Manicaland province, also called Chiadzwa.

Mines Ministry Permanent Secretary Thankful  Musukutwa sent a letter to
Parliament responding to a letter from Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma
asking the ministry for clearance before the lawmakers set off for Marange.
He said the ministry was not responsible for giving clearances to classified
or protected areas, but the Home Affairs Ministry told Zvoma that police
clearance could not be provided until the Ministry of Mines had given its
assent, leaving the legislative committee in a seeming classic Catch-22
no-man's land.

The fuming lawmakers have vowed to continue to fight for access to the
Marange field, complaining that with Parliament in recess, bills for
committee travel and hotels are needlessly being run up.

Committee member Moses Mare told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that
members of his committee are exasperated by the failure of Mines Minister
Obert Mpofu to facilitate their inspection tour.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association Director Kucaca Phulu told VOA Studio 7
reporter Brenda Moyo that the latest obstruction of the committee reflects a
culture of impunity in many institutions in the country.

Farai Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare,
capital of Manicaland province, said continued resistance by the Mines
Ministry to the committee's oversight is an indication of strong forces in
government creaming off resources to their profit.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Authorities Set Up Emergency Clinics To Battle Deadly Measles Outbreaks

New measles cases have been on the rise following Easter observances by the
Johannes Marange Apostolic Sect and other religious denominations which
reject medical care including vaccination against measles

Sandra Nyaira | Washington 20 April 2010

With measles continuing to spread across rural parts of Zimbabwe and claim
lives, authorities have started to set up emergency clinics to treat
children, as was done to combat the 2008-2009 cholera epidemic.

Health sources said new measles cases have been on the rise across the
country following Easter observances by members of the Johannes Marange
Apostolic Sect and other religious denominations which reject medical care
including vaccination against measles.

Some 3,000 cases of measles have occurred in 48 of the country's 60 or so
districts since March, killing more than 200 people, most of them children.
Health officials have called on police to compel parents to have their
children vaccinated. Police said one family in Mutoko has lost nine
children. Most members of the Apostolic Faith churches in the country are

A new outbreak is suspected in Chipinge, Manicaland province, where children
are presenting with sores. Authorities are said to have had difficulty
limiting the spread of the outbreak, and one local hospital is said to have
been charging US$15 a child for treatment, frustrating desperate parents.

Dr Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
Human Rights, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that the government
must take decisive action to stop the epidemic.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Indigenisation deadline extended as minister targets mines first

By Violet Gonda
21 April 2010

Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said on Tuesday
that the government 'unanimously' agreed that the first target of the
indigenisation programme in Zimbabwe will be the mining sector. He also said
the deadline for companies to declare their shares had been extended to May

The controversial regulations which came into force last month require
foreign owned businesses, worth over US$500 000, to give the majority of
their shareholding to 'indigenous' Zimbabweans, within a period of five

Andrew Cranswick, the CEO of Africa Consolidated Resources, the company in
the middle of a legal wrangle with the government over the Chiadzwa diamond
mine, said his company is pro-indigenisation and that it makes sense that
the mining sector would be targeted first as it is the largest earner in the
economy. But he said the present indigenisation plans are unworkable and
need rationalisation.

"The rationalisation of a proper indigenisation strategy and a proper
policy, that is realistic and still encourages investment, while also
satisfying the aspiration of indigenisation is essential and must be done
soon.  There is no point indigenising an empty shell that cannot attract any
capital or investors," said the businessman.

Another concerned businessman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, believes
these are a set of negative regulations, which will weaken Zimbabwe's
already weak recovery prospects.

He said: "This is just an act of desperation. I believe in the
indigenisation model that focuses on creating new capacity within the
economy, like when Zimbabwe licensed new banks which brought new capacity
and competition in the financial services sector. That was a very positive
move. This forced dilution is similar to farm appropriation - this is just
political noise because no one has thought through how the acquisition of
shares will be financed. Remember the Zimbabwe financial services sector is
at its weakest and has no capacity right now. So I am afraid this is just a
recipe for disaster."

"Also look at this in the context of continued violation of property rights.
Yesterday it was farms, then indigenous banks, today its shares in existing
companies. What is in store tomorrow? Anyone with more than one house will
have to surrender some of his properties to blacks under some funny
indigenisation sick strategy. As an indigenous businessman I am worried
about this trend."

The Indigenisation Minister said at least 400 businesses had so far
submitted their handover proposals, but warned companies face losing their
operating licences if they fail to comply within the set deadline to submit
their empowerment plans. He also told journalists that some mining companies
had externalised millions, thereby prejudicing the state.

A former Zimbabwean banking executive said: "This sounds very familiar. As
bankers we were accused of externalising money to justify the appropriation
of our businesses. How many cases were taken to court and how many bankers
were convicted of this offense? It is the usual lie to justify a criminal
act. There is no banker in jail right now after all that noise. I can assure
you that there is no substance in Kasukuwere's allegations. In any event if
some mining companies have externalized why punish the whole sector? The
mining sector is highly capital intensive and will the new shareholders have
capacity to refurbish the mines which have been run down over the years when
the Zimbabwe economy has not been performing? I am afraid Kasukuwere is
killing the mining sector and the whole country is just watching."

Critics of the regulations say the government should focus on creating an
environment where businesses thrive and the government strengthens the tax
base, rather than scaring investors and weakening the tax base. It is feared
the regulations in their current form will are planned to do nothing more
than deliver short term benefits - to a chosen few.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe empowerment laws worry foreign investors

Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:06pm GMT

By Marius Bosch and Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - Controversial new policies to give black Zimbabweans
majority stakes in foreign companies in the country have scared off
investors from abroad, stock exchange Chief Executive Emmanuel Munyukwi said
on Wednesday.

Munyukwi said in an interview orders from foreign investors had dried up
since the end of January when Zimbabwe moved to implement the Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Act that requires foreign firms sell a 51 percent
stake to local blacks.

"Last year our market was being driven by foreigners, upwards of 40 percent
were foreigners and net buyers. But from the end of January with the
gazetting of the indigenisation regulations, there has been a lot of
uncertainty and foreigners have put a hold on their transactions," Munyukwi

A minister said on Tuesday the transfer of control of foreign companies
would begin in the key mining sector.

Under the rules, which took effect on March 1, foreign-owned firms must
submit plans to show how they will sell 51 percent of their shares to black
Zimbabweans within five years.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has 79 listed companies and a market
capitalisation of $3.2 billion, down from around $11 billion in 1997-1998.

The exchange re-opened in February 2009 after closing in November 2008 at
the height of the country's hyperinflation which devastated the economy and
made its currency worthless.


During the economic crisis, many Zimbabweans used the stock exchange to
invest as it was the only investment option which gave some measure of
protection to savings.

"When you started seeing vendors in the street playing the the market, you
knew something was wrong," Munyukwi said.

Since then, volumes have picked up and until the controversy about selling
off stakes of foreign firms, foreign buyers -- including South Africa's
Investec and investment bank and asset manager RMB -- were acquiring
Zimbabwean equities and providing much of the exchange's liquidity.

Daily turnover, which averaged $2 million in 2009, fell to about $700,000
after the empowerment law was published, although there has been an
improvement to $1.3 million in recent days.

Munyukwi said although some foreign interest had returned, the uncertainty
over the empowerment laws remained an obstacle to badly-needed foreign

"We are hearing that the regulations are going to be reviewed but the
unfortunate thing is, investors don't wait for you. They will go elsewhere."

The new laws have divided the fragile power-sharing government formed by
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last year, with
Tsvangirai saying they were issued without consulting the cabinet.

Munyukwi said new listings on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) all depended
on the economy picking up further. He singled out tourism and mining as
sectors for possible new listings.

The ZSE, which opened in 1896, was looking to modernise and set up a central
securities depository as a precursor to moving to electronic trading from
open outcry, Munyukwi said.

It may look at South African bourse operator JSE Ltd (Johannesburg Stock
Exchange) for help, he said.

"We are looking at all the various options. If you look worldwide, people
are trying to piggy-back on the big exchanges because technology is always
moving. I see scope in linking up with the JSE," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Japan Donates U.S.$13,3 Million for Health, Education Ministries

21 April 2010

Harare - Government has received a US$13,3 million grant for education and
health from Japan that will be disbursed through five United Nations

This follows another US$1,4 million humanitarian grant given to Unicef in
January this year.

Japan's Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Koichi Morita said the grant would go a
long way in improving the standards of living for vulnerable groups in

"The grant has two components; one for basic education and the other for

"The education component focuses on several elements to improve the learning
environment in primary schools, while the health component concentrates on
maternal health and infant mortality," he said.

Ambassador Morita said the health component would concentrate on maternal
health and infant mortality.

"Midwifery, obstetric and neo-natal resuscitation kits for basic and
essential care to be procured and distributed to 62 district hospitals
including two delivery beds per hospital," he said.

Ambassador Morita said the project would also rehabilitate "Mothers' Waiting
Shelters" at hospitals.

He said Japan had already funded refurbishment of 10 such wards that were
almost complete.

Japan also signed grant agreements with the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society worth
US$97 000 for the Midlands Youth Training Centre in Gweru.

The centre specifically targets vulnerable youth, especially child-headed
families and children infected with HIV and Aids.

About 120 youths per year will be trained in carpentry and sewing.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare, EU reschedule talks

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 21 April 2010

HARARE - The Zimbabwean government and the European Union are working on new
dates for talks to discuss mending of relations between Harare and Brussels
following cancellation of a meeting which was due to be held yesterday as a
result of volcanic ash which disrupted flights.

Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma and leader of the Zimbabwean
delegation yesterday said: "We are now trying to work on new dates, but
nothing has been set yet."

Mangoma from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party was due to attend
the re-engagement talks along with Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of
Justice and a senior member of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party.

Regional Integration Priscilla Mishairabwi-Mushonga from Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara's smaller MDC formation completes the Harare

Relations between Harare and Brussels took a hit following the holding of a
violence-marred presidential poll won by Mugabe in 2002. The EU and its
Western allies condemned the election as a fraud and imposed visa and
financial sanctions against the Zimbabwean leader and his top allies in ZANU
PF and in the military.

ZANU PF will want to use talks with the EU to push for lifting of the
sanctions but analysts do not see Brussels scrapping the punitive measures
until its calls for more political and democratic reforms in Zimbabwe are
heeded. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SABC's Special Assignment scoops international award

April 21 2010, 6:40:00
The SABC's investigative news programme, Special Assignment, has won the
coveted Amnesty International Award for Human Rights. It was presented at
the Commonwealth Broadcasters' Association (CBA) Awards in Johannesburg last
The winning Special Assignment documentary titled 'Hell Hole', is about
prison conditions in Zimbabwe. The documentary was co-produced by Johann
Abrahams and Godknows Nare. The award was described by SABC's acting  Head
of News Phil Molefe as a golden feather in the investigative cap of SABC
Molefe was himself honoured for having served the public broadcaster, the
CBA as well as the principles of public service broadcasting. The five-day
CBA general conference heard yesterday that hundreds of journalists are
killed or come under attack around the world every year, simply for doing
their jobs, and that many  others face threats and intimidation.
The conference ends today.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Russia keen to invest in Zim mines

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Herald Reporter

RUSSIA has expressed interest in investing in Zimbabwe's mining sector as it
moves to enhance diplomatic ties.

Speaking to journalists after meeting Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon
Khaya Moyo at the party's headquarters in Harare yesterday, Russia's
Ambassador in Harare Professor Vladimir Shubin, who was accompanied by a
delegation from his country, described Zimbabwe as a safe investment

"We want to enhance economic relations between our two countries.

"I have come with officials from the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute
for African Studies because we want to invest in Zimbabwe, particularly in
the mining sector," said Ambassador Shubin.

He said the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe was different from
what was portrayed by the Western media.

Ambassador Shubin said Zimbabwe has potential to revive its economy through

Cde Khaya-Moyo said Zimbabwe and Russia enjoy good relations dating back to
the liberation struggle.

He applauded Russia for defending Zimbabwe's cause on land reform by
blocking efforts by Britain and its allies to have the United Nations
Security Council impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

"Russia is our all-weather friend and has weathered a lot of storms on our
behalf. Together with China, they have stood with us during these times and
we are very grateful about that.

"We want to see closer ties between us in terms of trade.

"We want to see airlines flying between the two countries and the entire
world should see that the relations between Zimbabwe and Russia remain
extremely cordial," Cde Khaya-Moyo said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo’s company struggles to construct Harare’s Joshua Nkomo Airport Expressway Road

By Gerald Chateta

Published: April 20, 2010

 The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has ordered the suspension of the
controversial US$90 million project to dualise the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo
Airport Express Road in Harare over the non payment of environment impact
assessment fees of US$500 000 by the contractor, it has emerged.

This comes after PM Morgan Tsvangirai’s office had ordered Airport Express
Road Project to go ahead in february following a standoff between Government
and Harare city council over allegations of irregularities in the tender
process involving a government minister and a former city council employee
Michael Mahachi who later joined the company awarded the contract.

The project which was corruptly awarded to a joint Ukraine/Zimbabwe company
linked to Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo without going to tender
has been on halt for the past few weeks now as the contractor for the
expressway is failing to pay up EMA.

A special investigations by the Harare City Council has recommended the
withdrawal of the tender which was imposed by Chombo, arguing that Augur
investments has no capacity to implement the project.

A report by the special investigations committee revealed that Augur
Investments charged council about US$90 million for the project, yet much
bigger projects such as the construction of the 77 kilometres Ngezi road in
Chegutu by Zimplats in 2001 cost only US$19 million.

The investigations also revealed that council will not benefit from the
project as initially anticipated as Augur investment has proved that it was
just a ‘middleman’ and ‘briefcase’ company which has gone on to hire a South
African company, Power Construction to implement the actual project.

Council said under the agreement, Harare was supposed to inherit the
equipment and machinery used in the construction of the project, but this
would no longer be possible as Augur investments has sub-contracted a third

Council recommended that a more competent and affordable contractor should
be awarded the Joshua Nkomo Expressway project instead of the Zanu PF linked
company which was only after fleecing the local authority and the city’s

Chombo and former Harare Commission chairperson Michael Mahachi are accused
of having corruptly engineered the deal which saw the Ukrainian company
being awarded the tender to construct the Expressway which will link Harare
International Airport with the Capital’s City Centre.

Under the deal, Harare City Council is supposed to transfer to Augur
investments prime land which include Warren Hill Golf Course and several
other municipal properties as payment for the construction of the

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Website Tracks Illicit Traffickers for Aid Groups

Alisha Ryu | Nairobi 20 April 2010

A Swedish research institute that tracks illegal arms and narcotics trade
has established the world's first Internet-based information clearinghouse
to help stop humanitarian and peacekeeping organizations from hiring air
cargo carriers suspected of trafficking illicit goods.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, better known as SIPRI,
launched a pioneering information website after reporting more than 90
percent of global air cargo carriers accused of trafficking illicit goods to
and from conflict zones, have also been contracted by U.N. agencies,
European Union and NATO member states, defense contractors, and leading
humanitarian organizations to transport aid, peacekeepers, and equipment.

SIPRI says in Africa, air transport companies named in U.N. Sanctions
Committee reports as having made illegal arms shipments to Angola, Chad,
Congo Kinshasa, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and
Zimbabwe, have all been hired to deliver humanitarian aid or to provide
logistical support for various peacekeeping operations.

SIPRI Project Leader Hugh Griffiths tells VOA the new website,, is an attempt to raise awareness of these companies and to
change a long-established business model.

"The key word is 'business', because these gentlemen, who own the companies
named in arms trafficking-related reports, are simply businessmen," said
Griffiths. "And for many years, whether it was a lack of awareness or
because there were not many companies available on offer or willing to fly
to conflict zones, the only criteria of humanitarian aid and peacekeeping
organizations was one of price.  So, that meant ethical considerations,
moral considerations just did not come into the picture."

In addition to trafficking arms and narcotics, some air cargo companies used
by humanitarian organizations are also said to be  playing a key role in the
extraction and transfer of precious minerals, particularly from Congo
Kinshasa.  Home to one-third of the world's cobalt and one-tenth of its
copper, diamonds, coltan, tin ore, and gold, Congo Kinshasa is hosting a
number of resource-driven local conflicts that have involved air cargo

Griffiths says he hopes the SIPRI-administered website will help
humanitarian agencies and peacekeeping missions adopt a logistics program
that encourages air cargo companies to be ethically responsible.

"We are not recommending banning anyone," he said. "We are seeking to
transform company behavior through a coordinated, united approach so that
the global humanitarian aid and peace support communities really begin
thinking about who they contract their logistics with in conflict zones and
how they can make them behave better, in accordance with values focusing on
respect for human rights, anti-corruption, transparency, accountability, and
good governance."

The most famous alleged arms dealer in the air cargo business is Viktor
Bout, who, in the 1990s, is believed to have shipped huge amounts of arms to
a number of war-torn countries in Africa while under contract with the
United Nations, and the United States among others.  Nick-named "The
Merchant of Death," Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim criminals raising money for good defense

Eyewitness News | 4 Hours Ago

Getting a top defense lawyer is crucial if you facing jail.

A gang of armed robbers in Zimbabwe knows this only too well.

The gang members say they are going to carry out a few more robberies so
they can afford the best legal representation.

Not every criminal phones the police to say he is about to hand himself in
but that is just what happened in Zimbabwe's small town of Kadoma.

Police officers received a bizarre phone call from a robber on their wanted

He said he and his gang would surrender soon but only when they had raised
enough cash to get the best legal team possible.

The official Herald newspaper said the gang of four, who were armed with an
AK47, were holding up individuals to boost their funds.

Towns and cities in Zimbabwe have seen an upsurge in armed robberies and
bank heists, now that the country trades in currencies that are worth


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sleight of Hand
Repression of the Media and the Illusion of Reform in Zimbabwe
April 20, 2010

This 26-page report says that the Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the former sole ruling party, still holds the balance of power in the coalition government forged with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the former opposition movement, in February 2009. ZANU-PF promotes political propaganda and restricts independent reporting through repressive laws that remain unchanged, and it retains its control of security forces and key resources, Human Rights Watch said.

Read the Report
ISBN: 1-56432-622-5

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP lands South Africa-to-Zimbabwe Remittance Corridor

Written by
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 10:12

London-based remittance company recently won South African
Reserve Bank approval to assist Zimbabweans in South Africa in tandem with
local partner Inter Africa. The dispensation is a massive boon for Mukuru,
becoming a member of a unique clique of remitters that are able to service
the two million plus diaspora of Zimbabweans eager to send support back
home. Other members include heavyweights Western Union and Moneygram, the
usual suspects in old-school traditional remittances, yet, enter nimble, an encouraging sign that South African regulators are becoming
more progressive as global pressures mount for more fluid systems for the
unbanked remitter.

How can you use the service?
Travel to your nearest Inter Africa branch, with your passport, proof of
employment and proof of address. Following your in-store signup you will be
able to call Inter Africa's sales team and place all subsequent orders over
the phone, paying by cash deposit at your nearest First National Bank
branch. Your lucky Zimbabwean recipient will receive an SMS to his cellphone
instructing him to collect cash from the nearest local bank offering collections. Currently Mukuru collections are available at a host
of CBZ and CABS banks around the country.

Not a moment too soon
The Inter Africa Mukuru offering will offer Zimbabweans working in South
Africa a cheaper avenue of remittance. Currently the majority of support is
sent back by taxis travelling the length and breadth of the country charging
rates as high as 20% to deliver cash to the Zimbabwean recipient several
days' drive away.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A traumatised generation

20/04/2010 00:00:00
by Panyika Anselm Karimanzira

FOR a people that had endured over a century of oppressive and
discriminatory imperialist colonial rule, the lowering of the Union Jack
and, in its place, the raising of the Zimbabwe flag at Rufaro Stadium on
April 18, 1980, was an enduring symbolic occasion for celebration.

Generations of black Zimbabweans had been oppressed and denied basic human
rights and freedoms for about three decades, counting from the day, in 1890,
that The Pioneer Column set foot in what was later to be called Southern

Imperialist colonial rule was imposed on the hapless people of Zimbabwe and
endured right through a number of colonialist eras, notably Southern
Rhodesia, Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasaland, Rhodesia, Rhodesia post UDI
and Zimbabwe Rhodesia.

During those eras, oppression and discrimination was institutionalised,
legislated and dire. The black majority endured oppressive, degrading and
almost sub-human treatment from self appointed supremacist white settler
rulers. This ill treatment was to lead to rebellions which were brutally
quashed by the better equipped settlers.

African Nationalism was to follow and this ultimately evolved into the
protracted guerilla war of liberation, variously referred to as The Second
Chimurenga. Ultimately, pressure was brought to bear on Ian Smith's regime
until he agreed to sit down and negotiate the orderly hand-over of power to
the black majority at the Lancaster House Conference in 1979. The process
culminated in the independence celebrations of April 18, 1980.

We need to understand what it is that we were fighting for all those years
and what it is that we expected from black majority rule, in order to fully
appreciate the euphoria of our celebrations of April 18, 1980.

The constitutions of both ZANU and ZAPU, the organisations that led the
liberation war effort were very clear about our expectations. These could be
summarised as;- land (to the extent that it is the base resource on which
all other factors of production are based), equal access to all other
resources, universal suffrage (one man one vote),  equality before the law,
justice, peace, democracy  and respect of human rights.

One can be excused for thinking that these expectations were premised on the
United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It just seems so
natural that humanity should crave and strive for equality, justice and
peace regardless of ethnicity or race.

AdvertisementWhat was to follow after those first celebrations was an enduring 30-year
nightmare from which we hope to wake up one day. From as early as circa
1981, following the Entumbane and associated Matabeleland and Midlands
disturbances, brutal repression and intolerance by a black "majority"
government reared its ugly head. This was to be followed by a
five-or-so-year siege of Matabeleland by the ad hoc Five Brigade, ZanuPF
Youth Brigade and CIO.

Whilst this was happening, the press was not only gagged, but literally
barred from following the atrocious events taking place in Matabeleland.
Over 20,000 of our fellow unarmed innocent civilian citizens were killed,
genocide style.

It then became clear that the new black government was more intolerant to
divergent views and more ruthless than the previous white regimes. The Zanu
PF led government set out to impose a one party state on Zimbabwe. They
decided that they alone had the right to rule Zimbabwe and the people had to
be forced, violently if need be, to accept their ideals.

A new social order was imposed upon the people of Zimbabwe. There was a
suffusion of Zanu PF's system of patronage, corruption and violence. One
could be excused for thinking that Zimbabwe was "Animal Farm". All sorts of
leagues, committees, movements, brigades were set up by all sorts of
comrades with the ultimate aim of indoctrinating the masses. Over the years,
the ideals that we fought for were changed.

Some people became more equal than others. Universal suffrage assumed a
whole new meaning. It now meant one of two things. Either that a person was
being watched while casting their vote, or where it was deemed not expedient
to watch a person vote, ten or more ballots in favour of Zanu PF were
stuffed for every person that could not be watched. The vote was even
extended to the dead in some instances and even in death, our dear departed's
votes were always in favour of Zanu PF.

Freedom of speech now meant that one was indeed free to speak BUT if what
they spoke was deemed to be against the government, one lost their freedom
immediately thereafter, sometimes for indefinite periods of time. All sorts
of conditions became attached to all our rights and freedoms. Our basic
human rights became conditional to being seen to be partisan to Zanu PF.

Effectively, we even lost our right to elect a government of our own choice.
Whenever people fought for that right, they risked losing even more rights
in the process, not least, the right to life. Every election was time for
intimidation, physical torture, displacement and even death for those who
dared openly campaign for the opposition.

Sad as it may sound, reality is such that the people of Zimbabwe have been
made to chase illusions by Robert Mugabe over the past three decades. So
much has been forced down their throats. Here are some of the illusions, in
Timely Elections

The Zanu PF government has held timely elections, without fail, according to
the constitution. The trick though lay in the fact that the process was
fraught with bias and irregularities. The process was just a formality. The
result was always pre-determined. The notion of one man one vote lost its
meaning and purpose. What good is it to hold regular elections when the
process is rigged and the results are predetermined?
Freedom (s)

Despite the government boasting that we were and are a free people, reality
is that one is never free to exercise their rights to freedom of speech,
association, worship etc. You have to watch over your shoulder whenever you
want to say something that is against the government.

Every other person has been enlisted to spy against fellow citizens. You
cannot trust even your own siblings. One has to toe the Zanu PF line in
whatever endeavour in order to be said to be free. What good is it, then, to
be told that you are free when you can only be free if you are doing things
after a predetermined fashion?

This is an emotive issue indeed, but for all the hullabaloo that comes with
it, hands up all those who legally own the land that was allocated to them
under the land redistribution exercise. Do you hold title to that land? Can
you use it as collateral to secure loans from financial institutions? Do you
have security of tenure?

When the law is applied selectively, as is the case in Zimbabwe, what we end
up with is a society in which there is no justice. A society is probably
better off without written laws than with written laws that are applied
selectively. Laws have been broken willy-nilly by selected individuals and
the government has turned a blind eye. People are literally getting away
with murder on a regular basis. On the other hand, some laws are
tailor-made, in haste, to punish certain individuals and / or certain
sections of society.

I could go on and on about democracy, peace, equality etc. but the point is,
nothing is as it is said to be by Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF. Our country
is in tatters. We have a traumatised generation to contend with. The hate
that has been repeatedly preached to our people in general, and our youth in
particular, the atrocities that they were made to commit and the general
state of displacement of our people have left their mark on our society.

The psychological damage is immeasurable and dire. These are some of the
downstream consequences of Mugabe's reckless policies and ruthless
oppressive rule.

Oppression is really painful to the oppressed regardless of victims' race
and regardless of whether oppressor is black or white. Sometimes it is even
better to be oppressed by someone other than of your own race. At least the
oppressor is distinct in that case and there is less deception then.

There is not much benefit that has accrued to the average person in Zimbabwe
from black rule since 1980. The subsisting political dispensation only
benefited and continues to benefit a chosen few. Simply put, we are not a
free people.

If my interpretation of the definition of the word "independent" ("free from
the control of others") is correct, then the majority of Zimbabweans are not
independent either. True independence and real freedom remain elusive. We
are not there yet. We have more reason to worry than to celebrate. We are
being governed by one of the worst dictators the world has ever known.

To celebrate "independence", would be like celebrating bondage,
institutionalised physical and psychological repression, family breakdowns
resulting from members of the same family living in different parts of the world, murders etc..

We should look forward to the day when we shall have genuine cause for genuine celebration.
That day is not April 18.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Impacts of drought on a community in Matabeleland South

Crops - Kezi, Zimbabwe

I visited my Auntie who lives past Kezi over the long weekend. She needed some pills urgently and was unable to get in to Bulawayo to obtain them. I had last been to her rural home, which is past Maphisa , some four years ago and I was shocked and horrified at what I found there.

My Auntie is an excellent farmer, four years ago her granary was bursting with food . sorghum, maize, nimo beans, pumpkins, melons, but this year she had managed to harvest only a few ground nuts and some yellow melons. Her entire maize crop was a total failure.

The rainfall south of Bulawayo has been exceptionally poor this season. Rains were good in Bulawayo and in Matabeleland North, but Mat South very definitely and urgently needs to be declared a disaster area.

Crops - Kezi, Zimbabwe

Crops - Kezi, Zimbabwe

There is a small dam near my Auntie's house but it is drying fast, and a small irrigation area had been started near her homestead, but there were very few crops that had survived the heat and drought.

small dam is drying up fast

The small dam is drying up fast

Pro Africa had very kindly distributed fertiliser which my Auntie had in her bedroom for safety, but there is little use having a wonderful donation of fertiliser when there is no rain.

My Auntie was very thin, she has not been eating as she cares for her two grandchildren whose mother died several years ago, and she cares for a young girl who has no surviving relatives. She is almost sixty years old but toils in the fields tirelessly, her yard was the cleanest yard I have ever seen and her real brick bedroom and three mud and thatch buildings are spotless.


My Auntie has one cow, five goats, and a few chickens. She is not well off and yet she is not included in any of the NGO feeding schemes. She has not had a food donation from World Vision, Christian Care or any of the donors for several years. My Auntie also works for the Salvation Army who sometimes assist her, but there is so much poverty and desperation in this area .

I am appealing to people for help. Please visit the Maphisa/ Lingwe area and see just how very bad things are there. My Auntie's children worked at a factory in Bulawayo but the factory closed two years ago during the price control by the Gono crazies. Her sons have gone to South Africa and she seldom hears from them.

I have taken photos of the fields, photos of the crops, photos of my Auntie's dogs who are starving.

Starving dog

Starving dog

When there is no food for people, the animals certainly do not get fed. The three dogs were eating the husks of the ground nuts were were throwing away, they were so terribly hungry.

Please can the world help us at the Kezi / Maphisa / Lingwe area: they are starving due to the drought.

[This heartfelt appeal was sent to Sokwanele by email]

Back to the Top
Back to Index