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Mugabe plan divides Zanu PF

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - President Robert Mugabe's plans to extend his rule beyond
next year under the guise of harmonising elections suffered another setback
last week when Cabinet failed to agree on the key electoral reforms, which
would allow him to remain in power.

Differences over the harmonisation of the polls were largely
unexpected in Cabinet after the Zanu PF central committee and a caucus of
the ruling party's representatives in the House of Assembly approved the
proposals without any objections recently.

But ruling party sources yesterday told The Standard warring factions
keen on pushing their candidates to succeed Mugabe had not given up the
fight after the veteran leader was controversially given the endorsement to
stand in next year's elections.

They resumed their fight in Cabinet on Tuesday where they blocked the
endorsement of a change in the way Senators would be selected.

Though Cabinet agreed in principle that Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa must push through
Parliament proposals by Zanu PF to synchronise the elections, they openly
voiced their disagreement on the issue of Senators.

This prompted the Cabinet to order Chinamasa to go back to the drawing
board and "refine the proposals".

Chinamasa's new proposals would again be sent back to the central
committee for adoption, before being sent to Parliament for approval.

Sources said open disagreement erupted in Cabinet after a number of
ministers protested against a decision to hold party primary elections ahead
of the polls.

On the table were strong objections registered by chiefs who vowed
they would "not give up their seats without a fight".

Chiefs are reportedly afraid that their appointment to the Senate
would not be guaranteed under the new arrangement where Senators would be
appointed through a system of proportional representation.

A senior ruling party official familiar with the deliberations in
Cabinet said ministers were concerned they might lose their seats.

Ruling party heavyweights were worried that proportional
representation might prove disadvantageous to Zanu PF in case of a strong
showing by the opposition in the polls, said the source.

This scenario would mean the opposition could end up dominating both
houses of Parliament.

The Minister of Information and Publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu,
confirmed that the proposals had been sent back to the central committee to
"thrash out some sticky issues".

"Cabinet agreed that there must be a synchronisation of elections but
referred the matter back to the central committee because there were some
issues that we did not agree on, such as the election of Senators," Ndlovu
said. "Nothing goes to Parliament without the approval of the central

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Chinamasa were fruitless as his
mobile phone went unanswered.

On Friday, Zanu PF commissar, Elliot Manyika said the ruling party
would discuss proposals by Members of Parliament to forego the primary
elections "to allow them to finish projects that they had initiated in their

A Zanu PF source said yesterday proposals have not been embraced by
most ruling party MPs, including ministers who fear losing their seats in
the event that elections are brought forward to next year.

"The MPs are adamant that they would not approve the proposals as they
are because Mugabe has been given the nod to contest elections without going
through any primaries, so why should they alone be expected to go for
primary elections," the source said.

"What complicates the issue is the proposal of proportional
representation, which means the President will have the final say on who is
elected to the Senate. This is why Chinamasa was asked to go and refine the
proposals before sending them back to the central committee for approval."

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Police intensify MDC repression

Zim Standard


POLICE last week continued abductions and arrests of opposition MDC
activists in a purge apparently ordered by a desperate government ahead of
next year's elections.

MDC deputy organising secretary Morgan Komichi was abducted from his
house in Hwange on Friday around 10PM while an MDC employee, Denis Murira,
together with his wife, were arrested on the same day.

Another MDC activist Shame Wakatama, who was arrested during a police
raid at Harvest House last month and released, was re-arrested on Friday.

MDC lawyer Alec Muchadehama yesterday said senior police officers from
the Law and Order section confirmed having arrested the trio but could not
reveal their whereabouts.

"I have not been able to see any one of them," he said yesterday.
"Police officers from the Law and Order section confirmed they had arrested
the three. The details are still very sketchy at the moment and we will
continue searching."

Komichi's wife yesterday described how the unidentified men in a
police vehicle raided their house and took away her husband.

She said: "They were driving a police traffic vehicle for Hwange and
they were about five of them. They knocked at the door around 10PM. At first
we ignored the knock since we were already asleep. But after a few minutes,
my husband just gave himself up to the men."

She said the men told him they wanted to investigate him over what
happened at his job.

"This morning (Saturday) I went to Hwange police station with his
breakfast but to my surprise they told me that there was no docket for him
there. Right now, I don't even know where he is and we are worried," she

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the abductions were a calculated
attempt by Zanu PF to cripple the opposition party "but it will never never

"In the history of mankind, thuggery and terror have never worked as
instruments of resolving national problems. The MDC is an official
opposition party and the abductions and assaults are not going to intimidate
us, but they will militate against the existence of a conducive environment
for the holding of free and fair elections," Chamisa said.

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai two weeks ago claimed that more than
600 supporters had been abducted, arrested and assaulted by State security
agents while in police custody over the past two months, adding that of
these, at least 150 had sustained life-threatening injuries.

He said President Robert Mugabe's government had intensified a
long-standing programme designed to destroy the MDC ahead of the
"harmonised" presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

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'I now fear for my life,' says top prosecutor

Zim Standard


OUTSPOKEN prosecutor Levison Chikafu, still languishing in police
cells after being arrested on Thursday in Mutare, says he now fears for his

Chikafu was arrested and released on Thursday but re-arrested on the
same day on the same allegations of fraud and irregularly granting bail to

Chikafu, who is detained at Mutare rural police station, yesterday
said he feared for his life since the arrest on Thursday.

"These people want to demonise me, saying I am a criminal, then
isolate and eliminate me. I now fear for my life," he said.

Chikafu was handling two high-profile cases involving the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, and Lands and
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa.

He was also trying to have Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
operative, Joseph Mwale, prosecuted for his alleged role in the gruesome
murder of two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists Talent Mabika
and Tichaona Chiminya during 2000.

The two were virtually incinerated in their car near Murambinda growth

The police have ordered that no one should communicate or see Chikafu
at the station, except his lawyer, Chris Ndlovu, of Gonese and Ndlovu legal

"I am just sleeping in this cell for the past 48 hours and no police
officer has come to talk to me. They just dumped me here," he said.

Chikafu said the detectives from the Law and Order section, who
re-arrested him, told him they had instructions from police commissioner
Augustine Chihuri to lock him up.

"Just write that Chikafu wants to know why Chihuri wants him arrested.
If he has conscience he would think seriously about it. Now, I am not
allowed to see or talk to my wife, friends and relatives," said Chikafu.

The former Manicaland area prosecutor, now studying at the Staff
College in Harare, said he suspected his arrests had more to do with the
cases he handled than with the alleged criminal accusations.

"The same detectives I had an altercation with after I demanded that
they produce Mwale's docket are the same ones who arrested me. Is this a
mere coincidence?" asked Chikafu.

Chikafu's efforts to have Mwale prosecuted have not succeeded. The CIO
officer is widely believed to be the beneficiary of political protection at
the highest level.

Ndlovu, Chikafu's lawyer, said by "illegally detaining" his client in
a solitary cell the police wanted to disorient him and cause him so much

Ndlovu said he strongly suspected there were "political motives" in
his client's arrests.

"I can't rule out political manipulation. Why would detectives from
the Law and Order section arrest a fraud suspect? They have to deal with
political and security related matters," he said.

When Chikafu was briefly released on Thursday the Attorney-General's
Office, the police and Ndlovu had agreed to proceed by way of summons
because of lack of evidence.

"The decision was reached by all stakeholders after a clear analysis
of the available evidence." said Ndlovu. "When I asked them why they had
re-arrested him, they said 'we have orders from above', meaning there was
another hand behind (it all)," said Ndlovu.

He said Chikafu's detention was a clear sign of intimidation of the

Police chief spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed that Chikafu was
re-arrested and "had a case to answer".

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ZESA sit-ins: Woza activists

Zim Standard

  By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - Police last week arrested scores of women for staging
protest sit-ins at Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) offices in
Bulawayo, against frequent power cuts that have destroyed many costly
electrical appliances.

About 82 Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activists were released on
Friday after spending a day in police custody, following their arrest the
previous day for picketing various ZESA suburban offices in the city.

They were charged under Section 46 of the Criminal Law and
Codification Reform Act.

After their release, the police said they would proceed by way of

One activist, Clara Makoni, is reported to have sustained severe
injuries after she was allegedly tortured by the police while in custody.

The sit-ins were held simultaneously at ZESA offices in Bulawayo's
high-density suburbs of Pumula, Mpopoma, Entumbane, Old Lobengula, Magwegwe,
Nkulumane, Nketa 6 and Luveve.

WOZA leader, Jenni Williams, said the activists were protesting
against the now frequent load shedding by ZESA that has left thousands of
residents with damaged appliances.

Williams said the protests were in defiance of the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA), which prohibits citizens from holding demonstrations or
meetings without police clearance.

"We are demanding power to the people by 2008. We are tired of living
in darkness, yet we are made to pay high ZESA tariffs," Williams said.

Police confirmed the arrests.

WOZA has held several demonstrations in protest against the
deteriorating political and economic situation in the country. Most of their
demonstrations have caught the State security agents by surprise.


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UN raps regional leaders over Zimbabwe

Zim Standard

  JOHANNESBURG - The United Nations
(UN) Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Miloon Kothari, has described
the "non-response" by the African Union (AU) and southern Africa to the
"oppressive" Zimbabwean government as "shocking" and "unhelpful".

He was critical of regional leaders' reaction to the Zimbabwean
government's forced evictions during Operation Murambatsvina (Clean out
Filth) in 2005, which left more than 700 000 people homeless or without
livelihoods. "The recent clampdown on the opposition, the lack of
transparency, has made it difficult for us to track down those affected by
the operation," he added.

The rapporteur said the government's promises to provide the deserving
displaced with decent and affordable accommodation in subsequent campaign,
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Live Well), had been a "failure".

Soon after the sudden eviction campaign in 2005, he and several other
international and regional human rights experts had warned that Zimbabwe was
"very, very close to a complete collapse of the society", but the region had
chosen to ignore the "early warning".

His efforts, as well as those of other agencies, to hold Zimbabwe's
government accountable for the consequences of the campaign since 2005 had
been caught up in a flurry of diplomatic manoeuvrings, led by the AU and
South Africa, who insisted on pursuing "quiet diplomacy".

There were other countries in the region, and elsewhere in the world,
with the same tendencies as Zimbabwe, which were "cutting across a human
rights approach and not to give preference to the needs of the most
vulnerable; reluctant to pursue housing policies which were inclusive and
underlined the need for mixed neighbourhoods".

Kothari is in South Africa to look at access to and affordability of
adequate housing, land and civic services, homelessness, evictions, security
of tenure, women and housing, non-discrimination, and the rights of
indigenous people.

He said even "progressive" countries like South Africa were evicting
the poor from the inner cities in their attempt to "create world-class
cities". According to the Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions, a
Geneva-based nongovernmental organisation, up to 26 000 squatters living in
inner Johannesburg, South Africa, were suffering widespread human rights
violations as a result of the city's redevelopment plan.

"Countries are adopting a neo-liberal approach, be it privatisation of
essential services, such as water, with the installation of prepaid water
meters, which creates other problems. Even in countries with strong human
rights commitment, such as South Africa, there is a big gap between the
recognition and the detailing of the recognition," Kothari said.

"There is often contradiction between economic policies which
necessitate eviction, which leads to further segregation along economic
lines, as happened under Operation Murambatsvina, and even the recent
evictions in Luanda (Angola's capital)," he added.

According to the rapporteur, thousands of poor people in Luanda have
been forcibly removed to make way for new developments. Last year 600 people
were removed from poor areas on the outskirts of Luanda, near the official
residence of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, to make room for the
expansion of a government-sponsored housing project, ironically called 'Nova
Vida' or New Life.

"Providing adequate housing is a huge challenge, and Luanda is an
extreme example. It was originally built to accommodate 400 or 500 people
but it is home to four to five million people, and 90% of them live in
slums," he added.

Countries often cited the market as a stumbling block to providing
affordable adequate housing to the poor, said Kothari, because governments
were reluctant to intervene for fear of destabilising the economy. The
existing housing finance system in most countries did not meet the needs of
the bottom 20% of the global population, and was geared to the lower-middle
and middle classes.

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'Expel Harare envoy' - Canadian MP

Zim Standard

  OTTAWA - A Canadian opposition Liberal
Member of Parliament and Foreign Affairs Critic, Dr Keith Martin last week
called for the expulsion of Zimbabwe's Ambassador Florence Chideya, from
Canada, because "she represents a brutal regime".

Martin's remarks followed two demonstrations outside Zimbabwe's
mission in Ottawa and Chideya's refusal to entertain questions from Southern
Africa news agencies based in Canada.

Chideya, refused to talk to the news agencies about the two protest
rallies that were held outside her mission on Monday and Tuesday.

Chideya, however, promptly commented to the Ottawa Citizen on Tuesday,
soon after accepting a petition from Amnesty International.

Ironically, on Monday, the ambassador refused to accept a petition
from MDC Toronto members who demonstrated outside the embassy for two hours
with children as young as one, in snow and cold rain.

The Southern (TSA), MAP Feature Service and Zimbabwe
International News, all Toronto-based Zimbabwean news websites did not
receive comment from Chideya despite several attempts all week, particularly
by the TSA and MAP.

However, she responded to Ottawa Citizen's Jennifer Campbell who asked
why opposition leaders were attacked by the police last month.

"Political rallies had been banned legally and the police," she said,
"had invoked a section of the law passed by the Zimbabwean Parliament,
(Public Order of Safety Act), after the MDC had caused violence resulting in
the serious injury of four policemen.

"In spite of this the MDC proceeded with preparations for what was
regarded as a 'prayer meeting' which was publicized on MDC posters. The
question is; what had a church meeting to do with MDC? The meeting was held
in defiance of the standing laws, hence there were problems."

Some members of MDC travelled more than 400 km in treacherous
conditions after an unseasonable snow storm which gave way to icy rain as
they arrived in Ottawa.

After singing and chanting MDC slogans for about two hours outside the
embassy, with mission staff watching and taking pictures and a video through
cracks on window shutters, the group was addressed by opposition Liberal
Member of Parliament and Foreign Affairs Critic, Dr Keith Martin.

Martin called for the expulsion of Chideya, from Canada, because "she
represents a brutal regime".

Then MDC Toronto chairman, Andrew Manyevere, approached the embassy
door, accompanied by an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP),
to present a petition.

"We were told to go away by a male voice from behind the barricaded
door. They said they were not going to accept any petition from us,"
Manyevere said.

The petition demanded that President Mugabe and his government should
leave office and allow a return of democracy in the country.

The group went to the South African High Commission where an official
promptly accepted their petition which called on President Thabo Mbeki to
get tough with Mugabe and to also ensure that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
are allowed to vote.

The Tuesday demonstration was organised by the Zimbabwe Inter-Agency
Reference Group (ZimRef), a coalition of all Canadian humanitarian groups
working in Zimbabwe, prominent of which are Amnesty International and Oxfam.

About 50 activists walked from Ottawa's Human Rights Monument to the
Zimbabwean Embassy where they were addressed by Oxfam Canada's Executive
Director, Robert Fox, who was in Zimbabwe two weeks ago.

"I saw people whose economy can no longer sustain their needs and a
nation that is being brutally oppressed politically," Fox said.

After that, Alexis Kontos, Amnesty international's southern African
co-ordinator, approached the embassy door with the same RCMP officer who
accompanied Manyevere the previous day.

Kontos was allowed into the mission and his petition, calling on the
government to stop human rights abuses, was accepted.

"A male official accepted our petition on behalf of the ambassador who
was in the building," said Kontos to cheers from the group which dispersed
immediately afterwards. - MAP Feature Service.

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Access to ARVs still poor - report

Zim Standard

  By Bertha Shoko

A new report released last week on Tuesday by three international
organisations has shown that universal access to treatment is "still a long
way to go" in the middle and low income countries of the world although it
is "encouraging" to note a 54% increase in the number of people receiving
treatment since 2005.

The report entitled: "Towards Universal Access: Scaling Up Priority
HIV and Aids Interventions in the Health Sector" is jointly published by the
World Health Organisation (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV
and Aids (UNAids) and the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef).

According to the report more than two million HIV-positive people in
low and middle-income countries were receiving Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)
by December 2006 compared to the 1,3 million people who were accessing them
in 2005.

The reports notes that this increase was made possible by decrease in
the cost of first-line ARVs, which fell by between 37% and 53% from 2003 to
2006 and through the support of the donor community, which supported ARV
treatment for more than one million individuals in 2006.

Some of the major donors cited in the report include the Global Fund
to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the United States President's
Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.

At the same time, the report details a number of key areas in which
efforts to scale up services are insufficient if the global goal of moving
towards "universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment,
care and support" for HIV by 2010 is to be achieved.

For example, just 11% of HIV-positive pregnant women in need of ARVs
to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in low- and
middle-income countries are receiving them.

"Global coverage of HIV testing and counselling remains
unsatisfactorily low, as does coverage of prevention and treatment
interventions for injecting drug users," noted the report.

On access to HIV treatment the report shows that countries in every
region of the world are making substantial progress in increasing access to
HIV treatment. More than 1.3 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were
receiving treatment in December 2006, representing coverage of approximately
28 percent of those in need compared to just 2 percent in 2003.

The number of children - receiving treatment - increased by 50 percent
in 2006, but from a very low base. In December 2006, only about 115 500
(15%) children of the 780 000 estimated to be in need of HIV treatment had
access to it and Unicef executive director Ann Veneman is not impressed:
"Children continue to be the missing face of the Aids pandemic with too many
children still missing out on life-saving treatment and access to other
essential services."

In light of the above, the report made the following recommendations,
which are to increase efforts to accelerate the prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of HIV disease in children, introduce a range of strategies to
increase knowledge of HIV status and to accelerate scale-up of services to
prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT).

The partners also recommend that access to services for most-at-risk
populations, including injecting drug users and homosexuals be improved,
prevention programmes to be scaled up and improve access for people living
with HIV/Aids to quality TB prevention, diagnostic and treatment services.

The report also recommends that male circumcision should be viewed as
an important additional HIV prevention intervention.

While this report could be good news to those countries such as South
Africa, Botswana and Tanzania whose treatment programmes are changing lives,
Zimbabwe is a different story.

Of the more than 600 000 people in urgent need of ARVs in the country,
only 60 000 people are accessing the life prolonging drugs from
government-run programmes throughout the country and also, in the private

The issue of treatment remains a contentious one because while the
report attributes the rise to those receiving treatment to the support of
the donor community, in Zimbabwe international aid has become low largely as
a result of the bad human rights situation in the country.

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Cruel treatment for women prisoners

Zim Standard

  A Tragedy of Lives: Women in Prison in
Zimbabwe (Weaver Press)

By Zimbabwe Women Writers
Edited by Irene Staunton and Chiedza Musengezi

Reviewed by Bertha Shoko

The Zimbabwe Women Writers have published a powerful book that details
the horrendous state of Zimbabwe's prisons and the callous manner in which
they are not ideally built for women convicts.

According to the researchers, women prisoners make up less than three
percent of the prison population and occupy space meant for male prisoners.

Apparently, very little has been done to accommodate women and women's
needs. Through the powerful testimonies of more than 30 serving and former
women prisoners interviewed by the Zimbabwe Women Writers (ZWW), the book
reveals the trauma endured by women prisoners. And the ZWW contends that
because of the low self-esteem and the damage that these women suffered in
prison, getting them to open up and speak of their experiences was a mammoth

When the women eventually agreed to be interviewed, one researcher
noted that the "interviews were emotional experiences, as often women had to
reflect back on periods of loss, suffering and trauma".

The researchers were told that while in prison a woman prisoner was
not allowed to "question the system" as this usually attracted corporal
punishment from the prison guards. They were usually beaten on the soles of
their feet and had nowhere to report to.

Martha tells of how prison officials whipped her into line: "I told
them I was going to report them to the magistrates who come to find out
about our living conditions. They threatened to extend my stay in prison if
I reported them. It was too serious a threat (to be taken lightly."

Prisoners spoke of how they were given either not enough sanitary wear
or none at all, forcing many to use newspapers, pieces of cloth or improvise
tampons (pieces of cotton rolled into balls and shoved into their vagina) to
avoid spillages. No doubt this predisposed the prisoners to
variousgynaecological infections.

Thandi said: "We get itchy rash, which normally wears off by washing
with soap and applying Vaseline. We only get Betadine solution (an
antiseptic) from the clinic if it's serious."

Mercy said: "I push mine (the ball of cotton wool) quite deep to avoid
embarrassment. I get stomach pains and each time I pull out the little balls
I notice clots of blood, but I have to feel secure."

Prisoners were only allowed two pairs of underwear at any time, which
is not enough during menstruation. Previously no underwear was allowed at
all and those menstruating were given "prison underwear", which they passed
on to others after they had completed their cycle. This has been stopped,

As Priscilla told the researchers: "It was disgusting to wear pants
that were worn by someone else. I was afraid of contracting disease. We were
forced to wear them, especially during menstruation."

There was also the curse of those women who served their sentences
with their children. Researchers noted it was as though these children were
being punished for their mothers' crimes.

Women spoke of how it tormented them as their children succumbed to
malnutrition or diarrhoea due to poorly cooked food and inadequate
rations;not to mention what an arduous task they had of constantly
restraining them from playing near buckets of urine and used sanitary wear.

Mercy told her heart-breaking story: "You can't say, 'Can I have some
warm water for my baby, please?' When you ask you are sometimes told, 'This
is not home.' After two weeks, my baby started to show signs of
deteriorating health; she couldn't eat anything. I asked to see a doctor.
They couldn't let me see a doctor. So, when my family came I asked them to
take her. After about a month, my baby passed away."

Children were also left traumatised by prison life as Lillian told the
researchers: "Children do not forget. She shocks me now and again with her
prison memories. Sometimes, when I am bathing and I take long, she will
stand at the bathroom door and shout, 'Mama if you are late ambuya gadhi
will beat you up."

In its review of the book the Women's Law Centre says the book "should
become essential reading for law reformers, legal experts, social workers
and prison officials as well as anyone interested in the lives of others".

And Julie Stewart, one of the contributors sums it up thus: "Every
woman who reads the accounts of urinating into cooking tins in the dark in a
crowded cell, or trying to deal with a sodden sanitary pad leaking menstrual
blood with inadequate facilities and no privacy, has to feel that this is a
cruel and inhuman treatment. Nothing more needs to be said."

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Witch-hunters fleece villagers

Zim Standard


A NUMBER of families in Chiweshe have lost livestock - mostly cattle -
over the past three months to witch-hunters conducting "cleansing"
ceremonies in Mashonaland Central province.

The notorious practice, long declared illegal with amendments to the
Suppression of Witchcraft Act, is still being conducted by unscrupulous
citizens preying on the ignorance and lack of sophistication among many

Angry villagers told The Standard last week an identified traditional
leader in the area sanctioned the cleansing ceremonies.

Some villagers interviewed last week were not impressed with the
witch-hunters' "work" while others felt the exercise was "necessary and

What disturbed the "anti" group was that individuals "found" to
possess charms or goblins (zvikwambo) were being asked to pay a beast for
each charm or goblin to the Maguranyanga (witch- hunter).

"Even more suspicious is the fact that the 'accused' is asked to
either pay $240 000 in cash or a beast," said one disgusted villager. "In
most cases, because the poor villagers have no ready cash and are not given
enough time to sell the beasts, they end up surrendering, just giving away
their beasts."

One victim was Josiah Kamoto (87), a headman who narrated his ordeal
to The Standard. He said he lost two cattle after a "cleansing" ceremony at
his homestead in February.

"I was not even at home when they (witch-hunters) arrived," he said.
"Only my children were at home. When Tsikamutanda came last year it was very
official and his rituals were clear. But these boys are just looting our

"After a search at my house, they told me they had discovered two very
strange things that belonged to me and I had to pay a fine of $240 000 for
each item. I didn't have the money and they suggested that I give them two

In his village, the witch-hunters were reported to have collected 16
cattle, several goats and chickens. The witch-hunters allegedly sell the
cattle to nearby butcheries.

Efforts by The Standard crew to talk to the leader of the
Maguranyangas, who is believed to be from Rushinga, proved fruitless as he
was busy conducting rituals at Makuwa Village in Gweshe.

The witch-hunter was holed up in a hut and six of his aides, who
villagers claimed would assist in apprehending "goblins when they tried to
flee", stood guard outside.

Scores of anxious villagers waiting for their turn to see Maguranyanga
stood outside the hut. Some had fear written all over their faces.

Determined to interview the witch-hunter, The Standard waited for
about four hours but he would not emerge from the hut.

"He is very busy at the moment," said an aide. "You can't see him now.
We have to move from one homestead to another searching for goblins."

Another group of the witch-hunters was said to be operating in
Matsvororo and Gunguwe villages under Chief Makope.

Claudius Mwedziwendira of Gatsi village believes the rituals are
necessary as they are helping "cleanse" the area of goblins.

"I have attended some of the ceremonies and the people who have these
goblins actually come out to confess and claim ownership. And afterwards
they offer the type of fine they want to pay, which is very good,"
Mwedziwendira said.

Traditional healer and president of Zinatha Professor Gordon
Chavunduka yesterday said the practice of witch-hunting was declared illegal
in Zimbabwe, following amendments to the Suppression of Witchcraft Act last

"Firstly witch-hunting is now illegal in this country and people
should not hire or pay these witch-hunters. Chiefs are also doing it but it's
still illegal. So we also tend to wonder at the role of a chief in an area,"
Chavunduka said.

Police spokesperson assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday
said all those found practising witch-hunting would be arrested, as it
usually results in extortion of victims.

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No promised 'Uhuru' food for thousands

Zim Standard


MUTARE - A sentimental journey by 300 Zanu PF youths to the site of
one of the bloodiest episodes of the liberation war in Mozambique almost
turned nasty when a common problem for Zimbabwe cropped up - not enough
food. On their way to historic Chimoio, the youths discovered there was no
food for them.

About 300 people were selected to go to this site of the massacre of
hundreds of refugees in 1977 by rebel Rhodesian war planes and soldiers, as
part of this year's independence celebrations.

Despite earlier assurances by party officials in Harare that the group
would be well catered for during the trip, The Standard was told the
delegation was shocked to find there was no food for them at Magamba
training centre where they intended to sleep before crossing into

A member of the group, disgruntled with the shoddy way the trip had
been organised, said the meat sourced for the hungry delegates only arrived
at the training centre just before 8PM.

"The meat was not even enough for us all, forcing many of us to sleep
on empty stomachs," said the youth.

The delegates included representatives of youth associations,
journalists from the public media and actors from ZBC-TV soap operas as well
as Miss Tourism beauty pageant contestants.

They were all scheduled to have their breakfast at 6AM the following
morning, but most left the institution at around 8AM to buy their own
breakfast. As not all had prepared to use their own money to buy food, some
went hungry.

The hardest hit were the child MPs, most of them students who carried
no money for food.

The Standard was told a Mutare businessman who is a staunch Zanu PF
member rushed to his bakery to pick up a few loaves of bread and soft drinks
to feed the hungry youths.

Things were not much better for those who did not join the delegation
to Chimoio, opting to watch the independence proceedings at Sakubva stadium,
in Mutare.

At least 10 000 people turned up at Sakubva stadium where Manicaland
provincial governor and resident minister, Tinaye Chigudu, read President
Robert Mugabe's speech.

Women and children, the majority in attendance, had brought cups and
plates in anticipation of an Independence Day treat.

Rose Munjokota, a Sakubva suburb resident who was at the stadium, said
she was disappointed not to get any food at all after being promised a free

"We were made to believe there would be food," she said. "Last year
they did the same thing. We were hoping this year it would be different but
they have done it again."

But Zanu PF Manicaland spokesperson Kenneth Saruchera said last week
no one was ever promised food at Sakubva stadium.

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Zanu PF top brass rows over white farmers

Zim Standard


BULAWAYO - Senior Zanu PF officials in Matabeleland North last week
engaged in heated exchanges, accusing each other of protecting the few
remaining white commercial farmers from eviction, The Standard confirmed
last week.

The stand-off came to a head at a Zanu PF provincial co-ordinating
committee meeting at Lupane centre on Saturday, 14 April.

The Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu,
launched a scathing attack on land committees for allegedly delaying the
eviction of the white farmers.

Mpofu complained bitterly that most of the remaining white farmers
were in his Bubi-Umguza constituency, the only seat won by Zanu PF in the
province in the 2005 elections.

"What are we doing with more than 35 white farmers still on the land,
worse still in the only constituency where people really support the party?"
asked Mpofu.

He apparently blamed his successor, Matabeleland North governor
Sithokozile Mathuthu for the situation.

"When I left, all these farms had been gazetted," he said.

Mathuthu retorted she found all the white farmers on the land and said
that no white farmer had been given back farms in the province, contrary to
Mpofu's claims.

She said land committees organised from district level were
responsible for recommending the acquisition of farms and the eviction of

Zanu PF Matabeleland North provincial chairman, Headman Moyo, who
chaired the Saturday meeting, confirmed on Thursday there was a harsh
exchange of words between the senior politicians but said the ruling party
was "unanimous that all white farmers whose properties were gazetted must be

"We can't say there are divisions over white farmers because we are
basically saying all those who were given notices must go, especially those
who do not want to co-exist with the newly-resettled farmers," said Moyo.
"Whatever misunderstanding there was on Saturday has been ironed out."

He said most remaining white farmers were in Umguza, Bubi and Hwange

The meeting was attended by heads of government departments in the
province, who described the angry exchanges as "embarrassing".

At one time, Mathuthu asked that the matter be deferred to a party
caucus to avoid "washing the leaders' dirty linen in public".

Last month, heavily armed police invaded Portwe Estates in Bubi
District, where they tried to force the owners, Joubert and Sons (Pvt) Ltd,
to leave.

The matter is now before the Bulawayo High Court but police officers
remain camped at the farm.

In January, the owners of Mimmosa Park and Dollar Block farms, located
in the province, complained the government was forcing them to share their
property with Zanu PF supporters and war veterans who invaded the farm in

The farms are covered by a bilateral trade agreement between the
Zimbabwean and Indonesian governments.

The disturbances on the farms are reportedly being fuelled by Zanu PF
politicians, suddenly jittery over the prospects of losing primary elections
after the ruling party adopted a controversial proposal to hold joint
presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

The politicians are said to fear the white-owned farms may be
strongholds of the opposition.

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Deputy Minister in court

Zim Standard

  By our staff

BULAWAYO - Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare, Abednigo Ncube, last week appeared in court on allegations of
"threatening and using abusive language" against former Gwanda deputy mayor,
Petros Mukwena.

Ncube, the MP for Gwanda, is charged under the Miscellaneous Offences
Act with allegedly verbally abusing Mukwena in October 2005 over comments
the latter made in a story published by The Standard.

The paper reported in October 2005 that upon learning of the
small-scale miners' discovery of a rich gold claim at Caesar East Two Mine,
the minister immediately applied for a mining licence to extract gold from
the same claim.

He was alleged to have used the mining licence to evict the panners.

Mukwena, then acting Gwanda mayor, confirmed the incident, saying
there were pitched battles between the police and the small-scale miners who
refused to leave the gold claim.

Fifty of them were arrested for illegal mining.

"What the deputy minister did is appalling and regrettable," Mukwena
said then. "It's harassment of poor people trying to make ends meet. He
should be stopped from mining at the gold mine and investigated by the

According to the State case, Ncube on 21 October 2005 allegedly
visited the Mayor's office in Gwanda, looking for Mukwena. Upon seeing him
he "used abusive, vulgar and threatening language against the then deputy

The prosecutor, Khumbulani Ndlovu, sought to prove that through his
actions Ncube breached Chapter 9: Section 7 (b) of the Miscellaneous
Offences Act.

According to the Act, Ncube faces a one-year jail term or a fine or
both if convicted when he appears before Gwanda Provincial Magistrate
Lungile Ncube tomorrow.

The minister has pleaded not guilty.

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Government hijacks business talks in Bulawayo

Zim Standard

  By Pindai Dube

BULAWAYO - In an act of desperation the government has hijacked the
International Business Conference (IBC) which runs concurrently with the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) next week.

Standardbusiness last week learnt that the Ministry of Environment and
Tourism instructed the ZITF committee which organises the IBC not to invite
and book any business organisations or executives who are not aligned or
sympathetic to Zanu PF.

IBC is a forum where the business community and captains of industry
come together to share ideas on how to run their businesses during the ZITF

Last year, heads of parastatals and company executives took turns
during the question-and-answer session to lambast government for policy
failures while others said the government should quit altogether and make
way for an interim administration.

In a programme released to the media last week speakers, chairpersons
and participants known to be aligned to the ruling party are expected at the

ZTA chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, and Zimbabwe Football
Association chief executive, Henrietta Rushwaya, are expected to be the main

Environment and Tourism permanent secretary Margaret Sangarwe is to
chair the meeting.

IBC's theme this year is "Effective Tourism marketing - We can do it"
and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, in partnership with the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is understood to be undertaking all the
logistics and instructing the ZITF committee not to book business people who
are known to be hostile to government, as that would further tarnish the
government's image.

ZITF board chairman Nhlanhla Masuku confirmed his company was this
year working with government and ZTA.

"That is why our IBC is on marketing tourism. We want again to market
our tourism resort areas and infrastructure, such as hotels, through the
conference to generate foreign currency for our country," Masuku said.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru is expected to open the IBC which she
snubbed last year, saying she was attending a politburo meeting.

Meanwhile, Western nations have snubbed this year's ZITF which will
run from 24-28 April while a number of Asian and African exhibitors have
plunged in.

The ZITF theme for this year is "Zimbabwe brands, African Brands and
Global brands".

Thirteen foreign countries will be represented via exhibition while
five countries will be represented by buyers. The 13 foreign countries are
from Africa and Asia while the buyers are from the SADC region.

There are only 690 domestic exhibitors who confirmed their
participation compared with 713 exhibitors last year.

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Mumbengegwi misses out after 'late application'

Zim Standard

  By Jennifer Dube

THE Minister of Finance, Samuel Mumbengegwi, last week failed to
attend the 2007 World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings
in Washington because of late visa application.

"It takes four to six weeks to obtain the necessary waivers to his
(Mumbengegwi's) exclusion as a sanctioned individual," said an official from
the US Embassy's Public Affairs Office "He and his party only applied five
business days before and it wasn't possible to make an issuance."

The World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, held annually, provide an
international forum for the discussion of issues related to poverty
reduction, international economic development and finance.

Traditionally, the meetings are held in Washington twice in three
years and, in order to reflect the international character of the two
institutions, every third year in a different member-country.

In addition to the meetings of the Boards of Governors, the
Development Committee and the International Monetary and Financial Committee
are officially convened.

Around these meetings, the Bank and the IMF organise a number of fora
to facilitate the interaction of governments and Bank-IMF staff with
non-governmental organisations (NGOs), journalists, and the private sector.

About 10 000 people attend the meetings, including about 3 500 members
of delegations from the member countries of the Bank and the IMF, roughly 1
000 representatives of the media, and more than 5 000 visitors and special
guests drawn primarily from private business, the banking community and

In addition, Bank and IMF staff participate in the meetings with
officials of government delegations.

Mumbengegwi is among other government officials who are on the United
States travel ban pending the political stalemate existing between the US
and Zanu PF.

The recent government-driven human rights abuses have given rise to
belief that the US sanctions on Zimbabwe could be stiffened further.

The politically motivated upheavals have also seen Zimbabwean
diasporans running a campaign to extend the travel ban to the children of
government officials.

The 2007 meetings were held on the weekend of 14-15 April.

No comment could be obtained from the Minister as he said he was in a

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Zim/SA trade relations under test

Zim Standard

  By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - Companies from the country's largest regional trade
partner, South Africa, have snubbed the 2007 Zimbabwe International Trade
Fair (ZITF), putting to severe test future trade bilateral relations between
the two countries.

This comes at a time when the number of exhibitors from Western
nations has dwindled over the years in protest over President Robert Mugabe's
mismanagement of the economy and officially sanctioned gross violation of
human rights.

ZITF board chairman, Nhlanhla Masuku has lamented that rising
political tensions in the country, saying they put Zimbabwe under
international censure.

He referred to the recent "bashing" of opposition leaders and
activists, which he said affected the trade the fair tried to promote.

ZITF general manager, Daniel Chigaru, confirmed to Standardbusiness
not a single company would cross the Limpopo for this year's ZITF.

"We don't know what happened to the South Africans this year," said
Chigaru. "There is no South African company exhibiting at this year's Trade

The 2007 trade showcase is to run under the theme "Zimbabwe brands,
Africa brands, Global brands". It has attracted only 18 foreign exhibitors
against 90 in 2006, whose theme was "Springboard for economic revival".

At a press conference recently, Masuku said western nations had
snubbed the 2007 Trade Fair saying only African and Asian countries were
taking part this year.

"There are only 13 foreign countries that will be represented, while
five countries will be represented by buyers. Thirteen of the foreign
countries are from Africa and Asia while the buyers are from the SADC
region," Masuku said.

He bemoaned the escalating political violence, saying the ZITF and
trade itself "will take a beating" from it.

"What has happened in the country in the last two weeks is regrettable
. . . we should do things that are positive for the country to promote
trade," he said.

Zimbabwe has come under the international spotlight for the brutal
beating of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and several opposition
officials when they tried to attend a prayer rally earlier this month.

Several of Zimbabwe's traditionally closest allies have ventured
measured criticism of the action, including the African Union and Zambian
president Levy Mwanawasa, who compared Zimbabwe to a "sinking Titanic."

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Sugar company closes down

Zim Standard

  Our staff

THE Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries (ZSR) on Tuesday suspended operations at
its Harare processing plant due to viability problems, it has emerged.

Trade sources said the sugar company cited the "unviable prices" fixed
for its products as having forced it to close shop.

"(ZSR) officials are negotiating with the government and they hope to
be allowed to effect new prices within a month," the sources said.
"Operations at the plant are currently suspended and the company is
withholding existing stock in anticipation of new prices."

The government's stipulated sugar prices are currently pegged at $85
622 for a 50kg pocket and $34 870 for a 10x2 pocket.

The product is currently in short supply in retail shops but is found
on the black market where a 2kg pocket is going for $20 000.

Recent speculation suggested the government has been exporting sugar
to boost its shrinking foreign currency coffers.

No comment could be obtained from ZSR as the chief executive officer,
Pattison Sithole, was said to be out of the country.

The chief operations officer, Tendai Masawi would not respond to
questions sent to the company earlier this week.

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Zanu PF's pre-emptive measures calculated to cheat the electorate

Zim Standard


THE ruling party is clearly unsettled by prospects of being forced to
implement SADC Principles and Guidelines for Democratic Elections on voting
with the possible presence of international observers. So last week it
disclosed what amounts to pre-emptive measures designed to pre-determine the
outcomes of the 2008 parliamentary and presidential elections.

An official of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) ruled out
participation next year by the estimated three million Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora. Then the Minister of Local Government jumped in by announcing
measures to redraw the constituency boundaries for Harare, Bulawayo and
other major urban areas.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is spearheading an initiative
that is expected to pave way for agreed terms on elections next year and at
this stage no one, not even ZEC or the government is certain that the SADC
recommendations will be adopted.

What is clear is that the opposition and civic society organisations
continue to demand that the following are essential for holding free and
fair elections: freedom of assembly and association; freedom of expression;
political tolerance; voter education; election observation by regional and
international bodies; equal access to the media; and the establishment of
impartial all-inclusive, competent and accountable election management
bodies staffed by qualified personnel.

These demands are unlikely to change, largely because they are in
concert with the SADC Principles.

The announcements by both the ZEC and the government would therefore
appear designed to muddy the waters since the government and the ruling
party thrive on such subterfuge.

There are significant numbers of Zimbabwean voters living abroad and
the issue of poor foreign currency inflows stems directly from displeasure
at their disenfranchisement. They have the same entitlement to voting as the
uniformed services and diplomatic service. They have a democratic right to
participate in the country's elections.

As long as the government is committed to and respects the mediation
process by Mbeki, the utterances by the ZEC official are ill informed.

The announcement by the Ministry of Local Government is perplexing
because the issue of whether or not there should be new boundaries is the
remit of a Delimitation Committee. So far no such committee has been
appointed and there is no opinion recommending amendment of constituency

But the source of the panic within government and Zanu PF is not
difficult to detect: Last year's Chiredzi South Parliamentary by-election
saw less than 30% of the registered voters participating in the poll, with
the ruling party's candidate Kallisto Gwanetsa only managing 10 401 votes.
This was despite open threats to voters, distribution of food in exchange
for votes and all Zanu PF's big guns - bar President Robert Mugabe -
descending on and spending days encamped in the constituency.

With a free and fair campaigning environment, supported by
international and regional observation Zanu PF would be embarrassed by how
much little support they have. So what they have decided is to tilt the
process ahead of full compliance with the SADC Principles in the hope that
this will guarantee a pre-determined outcome. In short, Zanu PF is preparing
to rig the process before the outside world can get a grip on the situation.

The intention to redraw constituency boundaries by incorporating
adjacent rural areas is specifically intended to dilute support for the
opposition. We saw this at play in Kuwadzana, Manyame and Harare South
during the 2005 parliamentary election.

Of equally great concern is the involvement of the Ministry of Local
Government. Its record is one of relentless assault on the rights of voters
in urban areas such as Harare, Chitungwiza and Mutare. Its role can only be
to entrench Zanu PF's rule. The manipulation has begun!

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Nation of bashers, bashees, eunuchs

Zim Standard

  sundayopinion by Bill Saidi

A NEW political lexicon has crept into the landscape: the basher, the
bashee and the political eunuch.

The basher believes blindly, whole-heartedly in the doctrine of the
oneness of the nation and its sovereignty, and in opposing Western-imposed
sanctions, which they maintain are "illegal", and stem solely from the land
reform programme.

The basher believes any citizen who doesn't subscribe to this doctrine
deserves to be bashed, which can be broken down into a thorough beating,
imprisonment without trial and death.

The basher cannot be subject to normal justice because, essentially,
they are part of the justice system as their power stems from the highest
authority in the land.

So far, no basher has been brought to justice for any of their acts of

The bashee is likely to be a citizen who demands accountability from
the government, particularly if it pronounces, at the very highest level,
the bashing of citizens who disagree with the philosophy of The Chief
Basher - which is anchored on the oneness of the nation and so on and so

The bashee seems to maintain they are entitled to turn into bashers if
they believe it is time to say Enough Bashing is Enough Bashing.

In this case, they indulge in their own form of feeble bashing, for
which they are bashed even more severely by the bashers.

The political eunuchs are the politically castrated in the society.
Mostly, they are wealthy and, in order to continue to be wealthy, have
decided politics is anathema to their ultimate goal in life: to make money,
in order to make more money.

It may sound a trifle crude, but that is how our society is now
structured and, at Rufaro Stadium, where he spoke of the 27 years of our
independence from Britain as if it was freedom from Hell to Paradise, and
not one Hell to another Hell, President Robert Mugabe reinforced the feeling
of alienation among a large section of the population.

Those who oppose him may not necessarily be the bashees, although he
made it sound, again, as if they would always be in for some bashing.

What Mugabe deliberately ignores is that after the 2000 parliamentary
elections, 57 citizens entered Parliament on a ticket other than that of
Zanu PF or Zanu (Ndonga). These voters were not puppets of the British. Some
of them probably voted for the MDC only because it was a vote against Zanu

After 20 years, they believed Zanu PF had not fulfilled its promises
to them on 18 April 1980. Five years later, just slightly over 40 citizens
were again sent into Parliament on the MDC ticket. Once again, there was a
sizeable chunk of the voting population which still believed that Zanu PF's
record was rotten.

Even as he bashed Tsvangirai in his speech at Rufaro Stadium, Mugabe
displayed his continuing denial of the existence of strong opposition to his

There are citizens of Zimbabwe who actively oppose him and would love
nothing better than to get rid of him. He may find this hard to swallow, but
it is a fact: there are fellow citizens of his, most of whom would never
consider attending an Independence Day celebration over which he is
presiding, who believe he has let them down very badly.

Most of the young people who today confess that "Mugabe was my hero"
illustrate their disenchantment in just that one sentence. What remains
unuttered is their firm belief that he is now The Chief Villain of the

Older citizens may feel the peculiar smugness of having all their
initial suspicions of Mugabe's propensity for despotism confirmed.

What many of them consider The Great Betrayal may be the failure or
reluctance or the spinelessness to act of those Zanu PF politicians who
shared their suspicions about Mugabe right from the beginning.

Today, they must acknowledge that it is he who introduced into the
political lexicon the word "bashing", as it was he who spoke of "many
degrees in violence". If these two examples do not encapsulate the measure
of Mugabe as a politician, then noting else does.

At Rufaro Stadium he spoke again of development plans to uplift the
lives of the people. He has spoken in similar vein for the last 27 years
and, by all calculations, the people have become poorer and the country
slowly descended into virtual penury.

No amount of bashing will alter that stark reality.

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The godfathers of the Zanu PF Mafia

Zim Standard

  reflections with Dr Alex T Magaisa

THOSE who have a rough understanding of the underworld in which the
Mafia operate may realise that there is something vaguely similar about the
internal politics of the ruling Zanu PF party in Zimbabwe.

It is said that the Mafia is not necessarily an organisation, but a
way of life, encompassing a set of values and codes of practice, which
members are expected to uphold. Likewise, Zanu PF is more than an
organisation - it incorporates a way of life, with its own set of values and
codes of practice, and it is within this context that the behaviour of its
members can best be understood.

I must admit to having, perhaps, an unusual weakness for Mafia movies,
from which I derive my admittedly limited understanding of the underworld. I
like to think I'm not alone in this obsession. They say the original name of
the Mafia is "Cosa Nostra", which literally means "Our Thing" - " Chinhu
Chedu", in Shona. Looking at Zanu PF via the image of the Mafia, could help
us to understand not just the behaviour of its members, but also the tactics
they often adopt, the shady succession process and why certain methods that
seem abhorrent to others are considered part of the natural order.

There is something about the unique bond in Zanu PF that continues to
baffle outsiders. Zanu PF revolves around Mugabe, as the principal figure, a
position akin to a "Godfather" in the Mafia; its otherwise loose branches
are inexplicably held by an intriguing code of brotherhood; a set of
unwritten rules which entail that even when they see wrong, they are
inhibited from taking a public stance against it.

As in the Mafia, the one thing that brings together otherwise
disparate members in Zanu PF is the unbridled pursuit of wealth by any
means. Everything else, including political differences, pale into
insignificance when the issue of money is at stake.

They say in the Mafia, that one becomes a "made man", when accepted by
the elders as a ranking member of "the family", a term given almost reverent
meaning in this environment. It appears that the family is a basic unit of
the Mafia - things are done for, within and in the name of the family. "The
family", in this case, transcends the ordinary biological family unit. Being
a made man confers many privileges, not least the protection of the family
but also responsibilities to account to the elders in the hierarchy.

But the doors to becoming a made man are not open to everyone. It is
said that traditionally, one had to be 100% Italian. Thus, in the movie
GoodFellas, it is said that Henry Hill and Joe Conway, expertly played by
Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro respectively, despite serving the family with
distinction, could never become made men because they were Irish, even
though Hill was half-Italian. They remained outsiders, unable to meet the
specifications to become full members of the Family.

"The party" is to Zanu PF members what "the family" is to the Mafia.
Referred to almost in religious terms, the party or "musangano", in Shona,
is almost omnipotent. In Mafioso parlance, Zanu PF is a family, complete
with its own set of made men and a system of "making men" - the members of
the Central Committee, the Politburo, the Cabinet, the Presidium - the made
men and women of the Zanu Family. You have to meet certain specifications to
become a made man in Zanu PF - witness how they insist on one's liberation
war record. You cannot become a made man if you cannot show your credentials
or connections to the liberation struggle.

When one becomes a made man in the Mafia, he is expected to abide by
the oath of Ormeta - the law of silence - which requires one to observe
secrecy and forbids assistance to the law enforcement authorities. It is
said that the punishment for breaking the oath is death. The ceremony at
which one is inducted as a made man is elaborate and in some cases
colourful. I do not know if they take oaths in the Zanu Family, but whatever
it is that induces silence and blind allegiance must be very powerful.

t is clear that Mugabe is the Capo di tutti Capi (the Boss of Bosses)
of the Zanu Family - he is the Boss of all Bosses. People often talk of
factions in Zanu PF; they are no more than families or sub-families of the
same Mafia system. Just as there are rival Mafia families, there are also
competing families in Zanu PF. Retired General Solomon Mujuru and Emmerson
Mnangagwa are no more than Dons of their respective sub-families of the
broader Zanu Family in which Mugabe is the Capo di tutti Capi.

One of the privileges of being a made man is having certain
territorial control and the protection of the family. It is said that a made
man is almost untouchable, even by law. The family protects him. He commands
respect and obedience and instils fear in those around him. Similarly, in
the Zanu Family, the made men and women have their own territories in which
they operate. Some are in tourism, energy, mining, manufacturing, finance,
etc - the made men in Zanu PF guard these territories jealously and exploit
them with ruthless efficiency.

One can also get an insight from the Mafia system, into Zanu PF's
attitude to the issue of succession. Apparently, it is regarded a cardinal
offence in the Mafia, to threaten, attack or kill a made man without the top
hierarchy's authorisation, regardless of the legitimacy of the grievance. To
threaten the boss is even worse. Indeed, in the movie GoodFellas, the
psychotic, temperamental and morbid Tommy (a memorable character masterfully
played by Joe Pesci), is killed just when he thought he was about to become
a made man in the Luchessi Family. His offence was that he had previously
killed Billy Batts, himself a made man belonging to the rival Gambino
Family. In the Zanu Family, they tend to not look kindly at anyone who dares
to challenge the bosses, particularly Mugabe, the Capo di tutti Capi. The
victims of the 2004 Tsholotsho Declaration know this only too well.

At the end of the day, the Capo di tutti Capi, Mugabe, knows
everything and his power over the family lies in this wealth of knowledge
and his control of the enforcers. It is said that he has a file on every
made man and woman in the Zanu Family and whomsoever attempts to break the
code of the party, the equivalent of Ormeta in the Mafia, is immediately
brought to book and dispatched with brutal efficiency.

From time to time, some of these made men are used as examples of what
the Zanu Family can do if one steps out of line. These examples are meant to
ensure that the rest stay in line, lest they face the same fate. It is these
precedents, which come periodically for measured effect, that remind the
Simba Makonis, the Mujurus and the Mnangagwas that the Capo di tutti Capi
remains firmly in control of the family and the penalty that one pays for
transgressing. The allegiance is as much out of respect as it is out of fear
instilled by the spectre of the harsh consequences that can be visited upon
those regarded as betrayers.

In dealing with Zanu PF, as in dealing with the Mafia, it is necessary
to appreciate that one is not dealing with a mere organisation. Rather, one
is dealing with a way of life; the Zanu way of life; a circumstance that
makes the task a lot harder and also calls for entirely different approaches
to the challenges posed. But that is the subject for another day.

Alex Magaisa can be contacted at

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Zim Standard Letters

Mbeki keeps flames of evil burning

THE civilized world has long despaired
about Africa.

That centuries of incremental creativity have evolved in most
continents other than in Africa is a matter of history.

The alleged evils of colonialism brought and exposed the retarded
continent skills pertinent to education, reading, writing, intellectually
derived skills, products and health care to the un-emerged continent.

For the last 50 years Africa has often been easily and repeatedly
identified as a basket case continent run by a trade union of incompetent
self-serving tyrants and despots.

These deadbeats pretend to understand and adhere to modern civilized
standards but in fact do not comprehend, care or apply civilized norms.

As an exhibit of their denial and retarded mentalities they
continuously revere the tyrant of Zimbabwe. They will never expose him
because similar exposures are awaiting them.

In general, African leaders despise the West. This is founded on the
fact that emergent nations know too much about their failures, greed and

These same leaders readily blame the West for their regularly exposed
bankrupt practices, but are not shy about begging aid from them rather than
from their other tyrannical best friends.

Take President Thabo Mbeki (pictured) of South Africa as an exhibit of
being the "alleged best" representative of African emergence and values.

This "quiet, near-incoherent diplomat" has been an abject failure.
Notable is his enduring support and solidarity with his racist hero
President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

The West is apparently too expectant or dim-witted to come to terms
with the real Mbeki and his agenda.

Mbeki's pretentiously declared cultured values are sidestepped when
hypocritically dealing with his best struggler solidarity friend, Mugabe.

There is absolutely no prospect of Mbeki ever solving the Zimbabwean

He failed G W Bush in much earlier similar promises he made to fix the
Zimbabwe problem.

Mbeki's appointment by SADC as their "point man" to solve the Zimbabwe
disaster is analogous to giving him a laden petrol tanker to put out the
destructive fires melting down Zimbabwe.

What the West has not yet assimilated is that Mbeki is a clone of the
Mugabe philosophy, and that he is also taking South Africa back to the Stone
Age. When they do, investors will take flight.

Mbeki's support of earlier fraudulent elections and other support of
evil makes him largely responsible for the Zimbabwean tragedy. With some
luck he may too appear in the International Criminal Court in due time.

The only sad but good that will come out of Mbeki's performance will
be that he will really be seen for what he is - a disaster!

Kevin Blunt



 Independence is exposed as a fraud

THE thought of independence is one
that comes with nostalgia as the political and economic situation in the
country continues to deteriorate. Most people now question whether
Zimbabweans have ever enjoyed their independence at all.

The Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) believes that
independence entails the restoration and respect for human rights and
political freedom which we find missing in our country.

Political violence continues unabated with political opponents
or pro-democracy activists constantly being brutalised by the police and
State security agents.

Harare has received a raw deal from the city authorities headed
by Sekesai Makwavarara and Ignatious Chombo as poor service delivery has
plunged the city into a state of disrepute.

Residents have been denied their constitutional right to vote as
Chombo has re-appointed the Harare Commission four times. The High Court
ruled that the Commission is illegal but Chombo and Makwavarara have
remained adamant. The police have watched from a distance while the
Commission commits the crime of contempt of court and this has left many
people wondering where the rule of law is in this country.

CHRA has closely followed the major stories on local governance
crises that the City of Harare and other cities are facing today. The
chronicles below are reflective of our struggle, pains and disappointment as
the powers that be continue to repress us with impunity:

The government, without consulting residents, imposed the ZINWA
take-over of water supplies and water woes have worsened since the inception
of the water utility.

Power cuts have become a dreaded "friend" and Harare continues
to be ruled by an un-elected, illegal and incompetent commission. CHRA
condemns such acts of repression.

The words of the famous African writer, Ngugi Wa Thiongo, come
to mind, "Independence in Africa is a fraud". Nothing has changed. We are
still oppressed. Franz Fanon, another African writer, was inspired when he
said our African leaders have "black skins but white masks".




Zvayi 'got the little lies wrong'

I NOTE with some amusement that in his latest clumsy,
overexcited attempt to perpetrate the Big Lie, Caesar Zvayi has yet again
got the little lies all wrong. Zvayi wrote in The Herald on 19 April that I
did not attend Zimbabwe's official Independence Day celebrations "in an open
show of . . . disdain for Zimbabwe's right to self-determination . . ."
Where Zvayi's little fable goes amiss, however, is the simple fact that I
did not receive an invitation to said event.

In my country it is not customary to visit someone's home
or drop in on their parties without an invitation. I have always assumed the
same polite customs are practised in Zimbabwe, and thus concluded that my
presence was not felt desirable by the present powers that be at their

That said; let me join with President George W Bush in
wishing the people of Zimbabwe well as they celebrate their nation's 27th
year of independence.

As the President said in his open letter to the Zimbabwean
people: "The American people join the international community in supporting
those in Zimbabwe who bravely speak out for urgent political and economic
reforms. Zimbabweans understand that a return to freedom and prosperity
requires a new direction. We support their efforts to achieve a new and true
independence, free from tyranny and poverty."

Christopher W Dell

Ambassador of the

United States.


Zimbabweans such a cowardly lot

WE have a lot of praise singers in Zimbabwe who encourage
President Robert Mugabe to drive the nation over the cliff.

Mugabe is being encouraged by so many of his people who
have not got the slightest idea of how economies work. The ministers he
assigns to run ministries are failures even before they start in their jobs.

A lot of people are comparing how the economy was well
managed during the 1980s and what is happening now, but I beg to differ. The
reason why it appeared to perform well was because of the carry-over effect
and an infrastructure that was intact, while the looting of funds went
unnoticed as a result of the surplus that was there. Now that the coffers
are almost empty, we notice every cent that is subtracted. Mugabe's
administration has never been great. It has only had great praise singers
and megaphones.

Because of the abundance of resources, this country does
not need a politician at its helm. What it requires is a good accountant
supported by a dynamic team capable of using the revenue generated for
development as well as employment creation. As long as we have blind people
playing "follow the leader" Zimbabwe will remain poor as we choose to be led
by a bunch of myopic self-centred and non-performing leaders.

But Zimbabweans are downright cowards. How can crowds of
people enjoying a Sunday afternoon be cowed by two mere boys wearing the
uniforms of "Green Bombers?" An estimated 70 people being cowed into leaving
their drinks by two boys! That is cowardice!

R Wandire

Warren Park



Mocking liberation war

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has made a mockery of the
'liberation" war. He has trampled on the graves of those who fought for
"freedom". He has wasted their blood. He has proved Ian Smith right,
justifying his war against the "liberation forces".

Smith knew what Mugabe was: he fought against Mugabe
because he loved our country. We had food to eat then. The employment rate
was 75% in 1975, despite international sanctions. We were the bread basket
of Africa. Our towns and cities were clean and tidy. One Rhodesian dollar
bought one US dollar. We had electricity 24 hours a day seven days a week.
There was water.

We had the best standard of living in Africa. There were
social injustices but nothing close to what Zanu PF has done. Don't forget
Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina. I am not undermining Chimurenga, because
Mugabe has already done that very effectively.

If you want to blame colonialism for our problems, go and
live in Somalia (it wasn't colonised). As for Thabo Mbeki and his SADC
friends, they care nothing for Zimbabwe. We have to solve our own problems.
We helped South Africa during the struggle against apartheid, see how they
repay us!


New Zealand.


Low security lights a hazard

THE one thing nobody seems to have considered and is not
mentioned in the papers is the danger of installing low-height "security
lights" next to street posts, in the sense that it can blind and distract
drivers on the road.

It is one of the main reasons why street lighting is
installed so high and above the road/street. Street lighting is not only for
preventing crime but also assisting drivers to navigate their vehicles
safely in highly built up areas and high traffic situations.

We will also have a situation of three to four street
lights in a street block being replaced by two times as many properties (two
lights per property) as there are in that same street block. So much for
saving electricity!




Why not adopt the US$ as our currency?

THE government says no one should pay rent or buy a house
in foreign currency, yet it is demanding that duty on "luxury" items be paid
in foreign currency. Are we no longer in Zimbabwe?

Telecommunications networks say they will soon be charging
in foreign currency. Some airlines are charging in foreign currency, tobacco
farmers and mining companies want their foreign currency while the black
market thrives on foreign currency.

If foreign currency is causing so much volatility, why don't
we adopt the US dollar as our currency unit and see whether our problems
will continue?

Totally Uncolonised


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