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Tsvangirai in a fix over new fiancée

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:24


FEARS have mounted in the MDC-T that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has
entrapped himself by getting engaged to a daughter of a Zanu PF central
committee member who was fingered in violence in which one person died.

Their concerns were raised yesterday, a day after the PM engaged Elizabeth
Macheka, daughter of senior Zanu PF official and former Mayor of
Chitungwiza, Joseph Macheka.

Macheka was accused of shooting to death a man and wounding two others
during the January 1998 food riots.
The Attorney General refused to prosecute, claiming that he was acting in
self-defence, a position criticised by human rights activists, who felt the
office succumbed to political pressure.

Some officials from his party said Tsvangira’s decision to marry the
daughter of a senior Zanu PF official who has in the past been accused of
political violence and murder, has compromised his position.

Tsvangirai has repeatedly promised that if he wins elections, an MDC-T
government would bring to justice perpetrators of violence, who have
remained scot-free because of the current selective application of the law
by the Zanu PF dominated government.

The Standard was told officials could however not openly challenge
Tsvangirai’s decision, since he earlier warned them that matters to do with
his marriage were personal.

Tsvangirai engaged businesswoman and fiancée of one year, Elizabeth, five
months after ending a controversial and brief marriage to another
businesswoman with Zanu PF links, Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo.

Locadia is a sister to Beatrice Nyamupinga, a Zanu PF MP and relative of the
Mujuru family. Her marriage to the PM raised fears within the MDC-T that the
party had been infiltrated.

State Security agents were also said to be running the show behind the
scenes to damage Tsvangirai’s reputation ahead of elections this year or in
Tsvangirai’s new lover is the former wife of the late Air Force of Zimbabwe
wing commander, Mabasa Simba Guma, who died in a car accident along the
Harare-Bulawayo road in 2002.

“Tsvangira’s decision has shocked many of us in the party who know that Zanu
PF is capable of using anything at their disposal, including sex and women
in order to destroy an individual,” said a Harare-based MP.

An MDC-T National Executive Committee member said the party had many
eligible single women, who Tsvangirai could have married to avoid getting
entangled in Zanu PF politics and machinations.

“Unfortunately, he does not listen to anyone, save for the likes of the
Makone family. We just hope that this new women in his life is not going to
cause disturbances in our party,” said the official.

The MDC-T officials, analysts and some members of the public said it would
be difficult for him to act against his father-in-law and his political
associates in the event that he wins the next elections.

University of Zimbabwe Political Science Lecturer, Shakespeare Hamauswa,
said Tsvangirai’s engagement and planned marriage to Elizabeth was tricky
because of the culture of politics of patronage in the country.

He said, under a functionary democracy, the law applies to everyone equally
regardless of status in society, but in Zimbabwe, that culture was still not
“In Zimbabwe, if someone is connected to the politically powerful, he or she
is generally safe and can escape arrest in the event of a wrongdoing or end
up being pardoned after all,” said Hamauswa.

He said Tsvangirai’s supporters would always question how the two got
involved, considering his previous relationship to Locadia went sour after
it was allegedly hijacked by Zanu PF and intelligence operatives.

“A spouse is a closest friend and there is real fear that she can leak MDC
secrets to Zanu PF,” said Hamauswa.
He said in the event of winning elections, how Tsvangirai would handle the
matter would also largely depend on the constitution of the day.

Hamauswa said if the current constitution was retained, independence of the
Judiciary would continue being compromised, making it easy for him to
influence decisions.
But if a new constitution is adopted, the independence of the Judiciary
would be restored, making it impossible for anyone to interfere with the

Tsvangirai free to marry anyone: Makumbe

Political Scientist, Professor John Makumbe (pictured) said he did not see
anything wrong with Tsvangirai marrying the daughter of a senior Zanu PF
“It will be unfortunate if Tsvangirai sweeps under the carpet cases
involving senior Zanu PF officials, including that of his father-in-law,” he

“The law is the law. I don’t think it will be a problem applying the law if
such cases come to light.”
Makumbe said Tsvangirai’s fiancée was free to marry the Prime Minister
despite her Zanu PF connections, arguing that children should not suffer
because of mistakes made by their parents.

Ordinary people express mixed views over PM’s engagement

Ordinary people interviewed by The Standard also expressed diverse views
about Tsvangirai’s latest move.

“I don’t see any problem with what he has decided to do,” said a
Harare-based businessman, Dominic Mazarire. “Personal issues like love
affairs have no boundaries, so I don’t think this will have any meaningful
impact on his career and ambitions,” he said.

A Mutare-based relief worker said Tsvangirai’s move was controversial and
showed how confused he was. “It’s a case of double standards, especially
when you look at his previous scandal involving Locadia. It’s just lack of
intelligence and his maturity is really questionable. What is he trying to
portray to Zimbabweans and his following?” said the man who requested
anonymity. “He just does his things on impulse.”

A Bulawayo-based medical practitioner, Harold Shiri said Tsvangirai was
entitled to marry any woman he wanted.
“It’s a tricky issue. It all doesn’t matter who it is that he marries.
Everyone has  a right to a personal life, everybody deserves a chance to do
as they please with their life regardless of political considerations,” said

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New political parties emerge as poll nears

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:50

WITH talk of elections this year gathering pace, so has the rate at which
new political parties are being formed in Zimbabwe. Over the years some of
the new parties have often been accused of either being spoilers or created
by Zanu PF to confuse the electorate. At other times they have been accused
of splitting the vote and calls have grown louder for the emergent parties
to unite with the more established organisations, but this advice often
falls on deaf ears.

“Zimbabwe is a multi-party democracy,” says  Everisto Chikanga of the
Rebuilding Party of Zimbabwe, which was launched two weeks ago.
He said existing parties had failed to unite because they differed in vision
and he felt his party was coming in to fill a vacuum created by continuous
bickering between Zanu PF and the MDC, considered the main political

“The two parties are holding down the country’s future. As it is, they have
failed to agree on the GPA and people are tired of this,” Chikanga, a former
Methodist preacher, said, adding that he was confident that his party would
“scrape” something from the forthcoming elections.

He said his party was not being formed immediately before an election, as no
election dates had been proclaimed so far.
Khulekani Ndlovu, a Zimbabwean based in South Africa, also announced the
arrival of his party, the African Renaissance Republican Party, as he also
hopes to be in power.

Ndlovu said the party was set up last year, but the official launch would
only be at the end of next month in Bulawayo. “We want to see a loving
Zimbabwe; a smiling Zimbabwe and a united Zimbabwe,” he said, describing
this as the driving force behind the formation of the party.

Ndlovu accused the three parties in power of dilly-dallying with important
national issues, such as the GPA and national healing. “This is the party
that is going to change the face of Zimbabwe like it or not.”

Ndlovu also dismissed the idea of entering into coalitions with other
parties saying he didn’t want to “mud his vision with other people’s mud”.
The sprouting of new parties has often been looked at with scepticism, with
some claiming that these new outfits did not stand a chance against more
established formations.

Already, the political landscape is dominated by Zanu PF and the MDC-T, with
the remaining seats falling to the MDC led by Welshman Ncube. Other notable
parties are the splinter MDC faction led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara and MDC99 led by maverick, Job Sikhala.

Dumiso Dabengwa (pictured above) also presided over the revival of Zapu,
while Zanu (Ndonga) has stood the test of time. Mthwakazi Nationalist Party
was also launched recently.

In recent times parties like the National Alliance for Good Governance,
Mavambo Kusile Dawn, and Zimbabwe People’s Democratic Party, among others,
have all been formed immediately before elections.

Raymond Chamba launched his presidential bid, as an independent candidate,
and who can forget Daniel Chingoma’s Zimbabwe Industrial Technology and
Economic Reform Party, which hardly had any members.

Wurayayi Zembe’s Democratic Party (DP) woke up from the slumber last week
and issued an independence message saying, “Zimbabweans are not insane
people who celebrate pain, suffering, disasters, catastrophes, and tragedies
in the name of independence festivities.”

New ‘pseudo’ parties, a Zanu PF strategy

With so many political parties, arises the question of whether having
several political formations enhanced the quality of democracy and whether
these parties had any hope of upsetting the apple cart.

Political analyst, Jack Zaba questioned the timing of the launching of the
new parties and wondered why they coincided with Zanu PF’s push for polls.
“This is part of the Zanu PF strategy, they form pseudo political parties,
which from time to time issue statements against the party, so that we think
they are against Zanu PF,” he said.

Zaba said under the current atmosphere it was difficult to form a party at
such short notice and gain any meaningful votes in any election. Hopewell
Gumbo, another political analyst, said the formation of new parties was
symptomatic of the frustration of the ruling elite’s grip on power.

“People have become disillusioned and this has lowered political
participation, thus you see opportunists taking advantage and forming
parties,” he said.
Gumbo said others, in forming political parties, were driven by selfish
agendas and self-aggrandisement.

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Water cut disrupts business operations

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:31

JUST a day after the Harare City Council cut water supply to the whole city,
businesses and ordinary people said they had been seriously affected by the
disconnection. The council disconnected water supply to the city to
facilitate maintenance work at Morton Jaffray Waterworks.

A hairdresser at Rezende Parkade Mall, Stephanie Mangwiro, complained that
water disruptions were very costly. She said they had to buy buckets for
storing water to avoid affections of water-borne diseases as the hair salon
is always packed with clients.

“We have to buy buckets so we can store water for use tomorrow (today) since
our line of business needs lots of water to be fully functional,” said
Mangwiro. “This is a setback as we need money to buy the buckets.”

Small hotels and lodges were also seriously affected by the water
disconnection as they do not have boreholes. However, established hotels did
not feel much of the pinch.

The most affected were people who use ablution facilities in public areas
such as Mbare Musika, Mupedzanhamo, Fourth and Market Square bus terminuses
as well as entertainment joints in most parts of the city.

Harare residents yesterday criticised the city authorities for giving them a
short notice saying they only read it in the newspapers yesterday after
water had already been cut in most suburbs. They said they did not find time
to store the water in containers.

There are fears that prolonged water cuts could result in an outbreak of
water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.
Harare was recently grip-ped with a serious typhoid outbreak that saw more
than 1 000 people being infected.

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Mugabe peace message rings hollow

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:53

FOR the second year running, President Robert Mugabe last week preached
peace at the national Independence Day celebrations. But what is worrisome
to many Zimbabweans is that on the ground, violence and intimidation, mostly
pitting his Zanu PF supporters against those of the MDC-T, continues

Analysts and civic groups are beginning to question whether Mugabe’s
repeated calls for an end to violence are sincere or he isjust grandstanding
as his gospel of peace appears to be falling on deaf ears.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition acting national director, Dewa Mavhinga is of
the view that Mugabe should demonstrate total commitment to peace through a
clear and unambiguous call for the immediate arrest and prosecution of
perpetrators of violence.

Many of them are from the Zanu PF ranks and its Mbare-based Chipangano
militia group as well as elements in the security forces. Mavhinga said
decisive action against “merchants” of violence was the surest way to
promote peace in Zimbabwe, not statements which can easily be dismissed as
cheap politicking.

“In the world of politics it is all too easy to stand on hilltops to preach
peace while privately urging relentless violence,” said Mavhinga. “For
Mugabe’s words to be meaningful they must be backed by resolute action to
surgically cut out toxic violence with the precision of a butcher’s

He said as Mugabe was denouncing political violence in the country at the
Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium, youths from
his party were allegedly assaulting and harassing people in Epworth suburb
in Harare and other parts of the country.

Mugabe meant every word he said, says Mutsvangwa

Political analyst and Zanu PF sympathiser Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa said
Mugabe was a principled leader who sticks to his word.
He said the call for peace was a consensus position shared by other
principals in the coalition government including Prime Minister Morgan
“People who think he was grandstanding have their own agenda which is to see
Zimbabwe in constant turmoil,” said Mutsvangwa. “People should take Mugabe’s
message in goodwill. The President cannot grandstand at an important event
such as our national Independence celebrations.”
He said groups such as Chipangano were made of gangsters who should not be
taken seriously.
“Those prone to violence are increasingly being isolated and the law will
soon take its course,” said the former Zimbabwe ambassador to China. “We
wonder where they are taking a cue from when the President, Prime Minister
and government ministers are working together very well in cabinet and at
other platforms.”
Mutsvangwa claimed that in the past, it was European countries, which were
largely responsible for fanning violence in order to cause divisions in the
“The geopolitical environment which encouraged divisions has now changed and
Europe no longer has time to be mischievous as the bloc is now weak and
preoccupied with its own problems, including a huge debt crisis,” he said.
“This is why they are talking of ending sanctions against the country.”

Mugabe does not enforce no-violence mantra: Analysts

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said people have to be wary of such
statements by Mugabe as experience had shown that he “indicates left, but
turns rights.”
He said from the year 2000 elections when political polarisation began in
the country, Mugabe has been publicly calling for peace, but on the ground
does not restrain groups from unleashing violence.

“Recent intensification of calls for peace in the concept of the coalition
government does not translate to any change of behavior on the ground by his
supporters,” said Mangongera.

“Mugabe must demonstrate seriousness by ensuring that known perpetrators
face the music. As long as they roam the streets free people will find it
difficult to believe Mugabe and Zanu PF are committed to peace.”

Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras) chairman Gift
Mambipiri said the message of peace from Mugabe now plays like a broken
record as he has always said the same since his inaugural independence
speech in 1980.

But, he said, Mugabe has never followed up with concrete action adding that
the President wore many hats for various occasions.
“On Independence day he spoke like a statesman but we all know he was merely
grandstanding. He has always said peace but acted otherwise through groups
like Chipangano and some war veterans leaders,” said Mambipiri.

He said people no longer listened to Mugabe because his agenda both in his
party and on national politics had been overtaken by events on the ground.
“While he works to consolidate his hold on power both in the party and
government, his peers are too busy nicodemously working on the post-Mugabe
project to listen to him,” said the Zacras chairman.

“Mugabe can’t conclusively condemn violent groups because they are the ones
that made him and he owes them a favour. He has been down several times
since the 2000 elections and these groups have always secured new leases of
life for him.”

Mambipiri said violence which has been rocking the country since the 1980’s
was largely a local creation, citing the Gukurahundi era which saw the
deaths of thousands of people during an army crackdown in Midlands and
Matabeleland regions.

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Budiriro residents threaten demos against council

Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:17

RESIDENTS of Budiriro suburb are up in arms against the Harare City Council
following the unilateral conversion of land meant for schools, clinics and
recreational purposes to residential stands in their suburb.

The residents alleged that council secretly sold land to cooperatives and
individuals who are now building their houses while their children have to
walk several kilometres to school.

So angry are the residents that they are even planning to stage
demonstrations soon to force council to reverse the unilateral change of
land use. Budiriro Residents Association chairperson, Takaidza Mataga, said
the association has been meeting a senior council official in an effort to
address the problem.

“We went to see the Urban Planning Services director, Psychology Chiwanga on
Tuesday and he said council only approved the conversion of stand number
4792, which was meant for a secondary school, but did not approve the
conversion of stand number 4793 meant for a primary school and stand number
9040 reserved for a clinic,” said Mataga.

He said the association would be meeting council representatives again this
week. “We also want an explanation from the councillor, Sydney Chirombe and
the MP, Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, because people who are building on our land are
from Marlborough and Waterfalls, among other places, yet our own residents
are also in need of land.”

Mataga said residents were unhappy that land reserved for four creches had
also been converted into residential areas for people from other areas.  He
said they were told that Harare was reducing land reserved for schools and
clinics from 10 hectares to three. However, the whole of Budiriro has an
estimated four hectares reserved for each project and council had taken most
of the land, leaving only two hectares or less.

“The councillor duped residents by making them sign papers, claiming council
wanted to build us schools,” Mataga said. “We are not happy at all.”
Councillor Chirombe and Chiwanga could not be reached for comment.

But council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, said he was not aware of the
matter. “I am in Bulawayo, I have not heard about that,” said Gwindi. “I
will have to call my guys first before I can comment.”

Harare Residents Trust (HRT) coordinator, Precious Shumba, said Budiriro
residents had complained that their children risked being run over by cars
as they crossed roads to schools which are far away from their homes.

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Chombo unsettles MDC-T run councils

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:40

MINISTER of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo
has embarked on a crusade to fire or suspend urban council officials on
trumped up charges to destabilise the MDC-T ahead of the forth- coming
elections, a government official has said.

Most local authorities in the country are run by MDC-T mayors and
councillors. Chombo’s deputy Sesel Zvidzai said the minister has suspended
or dismissed eight mayors and 16 councillors since 2009 in what he described
as a strategy to destabilise the councils so that the local authorities fail
to perform to residents’ expectations ahead of elections this year or in

Zvidzai said most of the suspensions or dismissals were not only partisan
but unlawful and unprocedural. “The ultimate goal is to create an impression
of failure for these councils,” said Zvidzai. “Chombo hopes very foolishly
that this strategy will harvest some votes for exceedingly unpopular Zanu PF
at the next elections.”

Among the mayors that have either been suspended or dismissed by Chombo, are
Brian James of Mutare, Tinashe Madamombe of Bindura, Lionel de Necker of
Gwanda and Zvi-shavane town council chairman Alluwis Zhou.

But Zvidzai said: “To prove beyond doubt that these dismissals are unfair,
illegal, immoral, cruel and selfish, Chombo has lost most challenges in the
competent courts of this land where councillors dared to challenge the
dismissals. He has, however vexatiously, appealed against the judgements
just to make sure that the councillors’ return to office are delayed.”

He said service delivery had suffered greatly because of Chombo’s
interference in local authority issues. “For example, is it not coincidental
that the epicentre of typhoid is wards which have no representation as a
result of the dismissal of the ward councillors?” he said.

Harare City Council was the biggest casualty, where seven councillors were
dismissed, followed by Rusape with five and then Banket with two. Chombo,
who was not answering his mobile phone yesterday, has on several occasions
accused most of the mayors and councillors of corruption or gross
mismanagement of the local authorities.

But Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, denied that his party aimed to
decimate MDC-T run councils ahead of elections. “Minister Chombo is the best
person to answer that because Zanu PF, as a party, does not have such a
strategy or policy,” said Gumbo. “We believe in transparency and good
governance in the running of council affairs.”

Pressure group wants chombo’s wings clipped

Meanwhile, a Bulawayo-based pressure group has appealed to Parliament to
stop Chombo from interfering with operations of local authorities. In a
letter addressed to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local
Government committee chairperson, Lynette Karenyi, the Bulawayo Progressive
Residents Association (BPRA) coordinator Rodrick Fayayo, pleaded to the
committee to stop Chombo’s alleged victimisations of mayors and councillors.

“It is BPRA’s contention that the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local
Government should act as a check and balance on the operations of Minister
Chombo as he seems to be on a free reign targeted at municipalities which
have refused to bow to his whims and inconsistencies,” wrote Fayayo.

He said while BPRA agreed that councils must be supervised, “Chombo’s
actions are being driven by political motives as opposed to the quest for
transparency and accountability”.

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CIO murder: Western suburbs tense

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:42

TENSION has gripped Glen Norah, Glen View and Highfield suburbs following
last week’s murder of a feared senior Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) officials, Brown Mwale by a quartet comprising soldiers and a pirate
taxi driver.

Brown (40) is young brother to another feared senior CIO official Joseph
Mwale implicated in the murder of two MDC activists 12 years ago, but has
still not been prosecuted.

This is despite a High Court judge having recommended he be brought to book.
Joseph Mwale and his accomplice, war veteran Kainos Kitsiyatota Zimunya, are
accused of having petrol-bombed a vehicle driven by Tichaona Chiminya and
Talent Mabika when they were campaigning in Buhera for MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai in the run up to the 2000 elections.

Residents of Glen Norah said since the murder of Mwale in the early hours of
Independence Day, CIO agents have been swarming the area and surrounding
suburbs where they were searching for the suspects and other criminal gangs
including armed robbers.

One of the suspects surrendered himself at Machipisa Police Station fearing
arrest by the dreaded spies. “People are living in fear because they are
afraid of being caught in the crossfire. Night spots are now closing early
because CIOs are now regularly patrolling the area in an intimidating
manner,” said one Glen Norah resident.

Police spokesperson Inspector Blessmore Chishaka said police had not yet
received reports of intimidation by members of the CIO.  He however
confirmed that four suspects; two soldiers, a pirate taxi driver and another
person, had been arrested on charges of kidnapping and murdering Mwale.

Chishaka said Mwale had been drinking beer at a night club in Glen Norah B
and wanted to hire a taxi to his Waterfalls home towards midnight. He had a
misunderstanding with a pirate taxi driver who wanted to charge him US$5,
while he was offering US$4.

Chishaka said the pirate driver called his friends, who included two
soldiers and the four began to assault Mwale. The suspects briefly fled when
police on bicycle patrol were spotted in the area.

Mwale’s friends who had also run away returned but while they were walking
home along Sebakwe road, the four suspects re-emerged and began assaulting
the deceased again.

Mwale was bundled into the taxi which drove at high speed along High Glen
Road. His body was then dumped near an area popularly known as “pamasimbi”.
Mwale’s friends managed to phone his young brother Esau, who alerted the
police. The suspects were arrested at another night club in Glen Norah. One
of them was putting on a T-shirt which had blood stains.

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Group lobbies for Gukurahundi compensation

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:44

A local pressure group, the Zimbabwe United People’s Advocacy Group (Zupac),
is demanding that government pays at least US$2 million to each victim of
the Gukurahundi atrocities committed in the early years of independence.

The human rights group recently petitioned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
who later raised the issue of compensation in parliament. Zupac national
chairperson Zwangendava Reason Sibanda said the group embarked on this
initiative after realising that the country has a huge mineral resource base
and government can afford to compensate each of the victims.

He said government must compensate victims of Gukurahundi and and also those
of the 2008 politically motivated violence, in the same spirit that it
rewarded war veterans for their role in the liberation struggle. He said
victims of the 2005 clean-up campaign, termed operation Murambatsvina, must
also be compensated.

“Although the money will not bring back our dead relatives or restore the
hurt and pain that we suffered at the hands of elected leaders and
government, each family or individual should be compensated as a starting
point of mending our violated lives,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda said the petition to Tsvangirai was the second after the first one
sent to President Robert Mugabe and his deputy Joice Mujuru in September
last year was ignored by the presidency.

Efforts to get a comment from Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka
were unsuccessful yesterday.
Zupac was formed in 1997 under the name Movement for Matabeleland Genocide
(MMG). However, the organisation changed its name last year to Zupac after
the realisation that the former name had tribalistic implications.

Zupac claims to have 4 712 000 members comprising victims of Gukurahundi,
Operation Murambatsvina, communities displaced by diamond mining in
Manicaland province and those affected by the 2008 politically-motivated

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BAZ halts freedom fone project

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:45

AS the founders of Freedom Fone were celebrating an award for fighting
censorship, ironically, the Broadcast Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) was
descending on them, ordering them to halt their project.

Freedom Fone is a project, where people can dial in to listen to
pre-recorded messages in various languages or they can send in their own
voice messages to the platform.

Only last month, the founders of the project were awarded in a category that
recognised innovation and original use of new technology to circumvent
censorship and foster debate, argument or dissent.

The awards were organised by Index on Censorship. Zimbabwe has tight
broadcasting laws that make it virtually impossible for new entrants and the
Freedom Fone project was seen as a way of going beyond that censorship.

But BAZ was particularly peeved with a drama on sexual health the service
was running, saying this was infringing on the Broadcasting Services Act
(BSA) and should stop the service forthwith.

“They have asked us to stop, but we will respond since this is a telephony
service rather than a broadcast one,” Brenda Burrell from Freedom Fone said,
adding that they did not want to pre-empt how they would deal with the

In December last year, the authority said the call-in programmes were
tantamount to broadcasting and should be halted immediately. BAZ chairman,
Tafataona Mahoso declined to comment and referred all questions to the
authority’s CEO, who was again not available for comment.  Repeated calls to
the authority’s offices were fruitless, as the CEO was said to be out of the

Burrell described the interference from BAZ as “irritating” saying she was
not sure what agency the authority would use to enforce its decision. She
said their programmes were very popular and without being specific, she said
thousands of people had called in to listen to the radio drama.

It was also used for an audio magazine, Inzwa, that featured news headlines,
while a programme where headlines in each day’s newspapers were read out had
also been featured.

Freedom Fone was also used on a constitutional project, where Constitutional
Affairs minister, Eric Matinenga would respond to questions.

High call costs rendered the project restrictive: Burrell

However, the cost of making telephone calls hadmade the project out of the
reach of many.  “It limits the number of people who can access the service,”
Burrell admitted.

“But for people who are illiterate or do not have access to the internet and
newspapers, its money worth spending.”  For organisations intending to set
up their own platforms, Freedom Fone may also be costly, as some key devices
are expensive, but the runners of the project said they gave free software.

Freedom Fone is presently in use in Rwanda, Tanzania, Niger, Cambodia and
South Africa, where Burrell says it has been more successful. The Freedom
Fone project was initiated by Kubatana, a body that aims to capacitate
Zimbabwean non-profit organisations to communicate and mobilise by
incorporating electronic tools such as e-mail and internet into their media

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Billing system ‘in shambles’

Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:08

CHINHOYI councillors have shot down a management recommendation that all
debtors owning the cash-strapped local authority more than US$2 000 be
handed over to the messenger of court for attachment of their properties.

Contributing during a full council meeting recently, Ward 10 councillor
Tendayi Musonza, said they could not take the legal route because service
provision was poor and the billing was “pathetic”.

The council has for a long time failed to provide residents with clean
running water exposing them to diseases, said Musonza. “We cannot be seen
taking the same people who voted us into office to court. After all, the
billing system is in a shambles,” said Musonza. “Council should think of
other means to encourage residents to pay because the reason they are not
paying is that they don’t have the water.”

Acting Chinhoyi Town Clerk Willie Tembo tried to convince councillors that
council could only provide clean water if the residents and other debtors
paid up. The councillors, however, remained adamant.

Tembo said the council was failing to pay workers on time because debtors
were not paying including the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)
which, he said, owned the local authority more than US$300 000.

Tembo revealed that Unicef, which had been providing water treatment
chemicals for free, stopped last month. The council is now required to fork
out US$20 000 every month to buy the water chemicals.

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Chinhoyi landlords fleece CUT students

Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:05

CHINHOYI — Landlords here are cashing on the desperation of Chinhoyi
University of Technology (CUT) students for accommodation by charging
exorbitant rentals, forcing many of them to live in squalid conditions or in
groups to avoid the high costs.

The most expensive suburbs are those close to the university because they
are the most sought after. Students pay between US$40 and US$60 dollars per
person a month for accommodation even where more than five students share a
single room.

Students renting outside the campus, located in Mashonaland West provincial
capital, Chinhoyi, said the situation was pathetic but they had little
choice. “As students, we understand the accommodation crisis but looking at
the situation, we cannot blame the community because we came here to learn.
Knowing that the school might have a high intake I blame the university
authorities,” said one student.

One landlord, Taurayi Mungate of Cold Stream suburb, said he now survived on
letting out rooms to students since he was retrenched. He was forced out of
employment when the Cold Storage Commission (CSC) closed down a decade ago.

Mungate said high demand for accommodation was an opportunity to make money
to feed his family. “It’s now a sort of employment if one has a house with
many rooms,” he said. “Someone can actually survive without going to work.
That is one of the benefits the community is deriving from the university
although this disadvantages the students.”

Elderly Simhan’a Zinduru, who owns a house in Chitambo suburb, said some
home-owners were letting a single room to an average five students. Zinduru
said this exposed the students to contagious diseases like tuberculosis.

“You see four to six students crowded in one room. This compromises their
health,” he said. Chinhoyi lawmaker Stewart Garadhi said the university was
shortchanging the students by accumulating properties in the town and beyond
for other purposes other than housing the students.

“The university authorities are busy buying properties, just recently they
bought Orange Groove Hotel but they have idle land behind the university,”
said Garadhi. “I don’t know why they are not considering the plight of the

Garadhi said lecturers also faced the same plight.

Authorities say they’re doing their best

CUT dean of students Thomas Bhebhe, while confirming the accommodation
crisis, said the university was trying its best to assist them. “The
director of campus’s job is to take all the data of property owners in
Chinhoyi, landlords and identify  those who want to accommodate our
students,” said Bhebe.

“He has that database and our students go through our director to get the
accommodation they want.” He said this had made the lives of some students
much better than having to move from door to door looking for accommodation.

CUT has over 5 000 students and only 1 500 live on campus, leaving the
remainder to find accommodation in and around Chinhoyi. Some live in Banket,
25km away from Chinhoyi.

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Adventist church proposes to build university in Chegutu

Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:11

CHEGUTU town may soon have a university following proposals by the Adventist
Church to build one in the agricultural town. The municipality of Chegutu
last week urged those opposed to the project to lodge objections within a

“The Adventist church made an application for a piece of land for the
purpose of a university and council decided to donate the land because it
will realise downstream benefits out of that investment,” Town Clerk, Alex
Mandigo, said in an interview. “Our community stands to benefit from job
creation during construction and also when the university starts operating.”

Mandigo said the university would be the first tertiary institution in the
town and schools from Chegutu and surrounding areas will feed into it.  He
said the university will also benefit people from nearby towns and areas
like Kadoma, Sanyati, Gweru and Mhondoro.

Mandingo added that the university, which would be constructed in phases,
will offer a wide range of courses and construction is expected to commence
once all the paper work was completed.

Project implementers are currently carrying out feasibility studies.  If the
project is approved, the Adventist Church-run institution would be the
second university after Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) in
Mashonaland West province. The church also runs Solusi University in
Matabeleland South province.

News about the university coincided with President Robert Mugabe’s
announcement that preparations for the establishment of universities have
gained momentum in three provinces which had no state universities.

Provinces without state universities are Matabeleland South, Mashonaland
East and Manicaland.

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Pastors to meet for refresher courses

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:42

AT least 1 200 pastors from different denominations in the country are
expected to gather in Gweru in July, where they will do refresher courses to
improve their spiritual teaching skills.

The five-day training workshop is being jointly conducted by Training
Pastors International (TPI-USA) and Gospel Vision International, a church
organisation which specialises, among other things, in training pastors.

“We are expecting 1 200 pastors who want to receive the training,” said
national coordinator of TPI, Joseph William Boomenyo.
“This workshop will equip pastors to effectively lead and shepherd people
according to biblical foundation. We are targeting pastors from all over the
country and from every church in the country, be it Seventh Day Adventist,
Pentecostal or Catholic — all are welcome.”

Boomenyo said the workshop offered a great opportunity for pastors to
further their skills. He said there were over two million pastors in the
world and 95% of them had been evangelised and established as pastors, but
without an opportunity to further their training.

“The church can only advance as far as its leaders can take it and in many
cases in undeveloped countries, the church is lacking not in evangelism or
in church planting, but in the training of its pastors,” said Boomenyo.

TPI and GVI trains pastors in courses such as theology, expository
preaching, prayer and worship, missionary outreach, among others.
“The strategy we use is to seek partnerships with individuals and churches
in the United States that are interested in helping to train pastors around
the world,” said Boomenyo.

“The philosophy of training involves taking US pastors on short-term mission
trips and going to strategic locations around the world with the purpose of
establishing ministry training centres.”

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Mbeki to launch UZ programme

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:38

FORMER South African President Thabo Mbeki will be in Harare this week to
launch a programme to raise funds for the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). Mbeki
was once the mediator in the government of national unity (GNU) talks before
his successor, Jacob Zuma, assumed his facilitation role.

Co-ordinated by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s office, the
programme aims at raising US$20 million by the end of year and will kick-off
on Saturday with a fundraising dinner where Mbeki will be the guest of

“The UZ, once the beacon of education in the country and the region, has
fallen in standards over the years and this programme is aimed at restoring
the university to its former position,” said Professor Paul Mavima,
principal director at Mutambara’s office.

“We are trying to spearhead African philanthropy by using the UZ as a case
study.” Mavima said Vice- President Joice Mujuru was a patron of the
programme and was being assisted by DPM Mutambara and Finance minister
Tendai Biti.

He said the UZ alumni, the private sector, the civic society and
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora were partnering government in the programme and
more people, including those who did not study at the UZ, were encouraged to
donate to the institution.

The university has already indicated that it needs about US$70 million for
various capital projects including the development of geo-technology
laboratories, establishment of a technology resource centre, refurbishment
of medical and other laboratories as well as the construction of its
Graduate School of Management.

UZ Vice-Chancellor Levi Nyagura early this month told journalists that the
institution had fallen “on hard times” and was in desperate need of
assistance. He said geology and metallurgy departments have had to be
suspended due to the unavailability of lecturers while the mining
engineering department had no more than three lecturers.

Mavima said students’ halls of residence, together with the water and sewer
infrastructure, were other areas that needed attention.

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Chiadzwa businesses to get compensation

Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:12

DISPLACED people who were operating business enterprises in the diamond-rich
Marange area have started receiving compensation, a local community
organisation representing the affected people has said.

Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) senior official, Melanie
Chiponda, confirmed recently that the businesspeople were receiving
compensation for developments and loss of business caused by relocation.

Chiponda said the compensation started with businesspeople who were
operating at Zengeni Shopping Centre, which falls under Mbada Diamond mining
She said the business owners have been asked to open bank accounts to enable
the company to deposit their monies.

“They are being compensated for their shops that were affected by diamond
mining taking place in that area,” said Chiponda.
“A total of three butcheries, a grinding mill, two bottle stores and four
general dealers were affected, leaving the area with no service providers.
The biggest challenge however, has been that most business people did not
have bank accounts, thereby delaying the process of compensation.”

It could not be established how much the businesspeople would receive as
compensation or whether a proper evaluation of the properties and businesses
had been carried out.

Chiponda was hopeful that the businesspeople would also be relocated to Arda
Transau Relocation Village, about 24 kilometres outside Mutare, to enable
them to continue offering the services they have been giving.

“We will be meeting with some of the businesspeople soon to try and engage
them to come into our new community,” Chiponda said. By late last year, over
500 families from Chiadzwa diamond fields had been relocated to Arda

The villagers moved into the three-bedroomed houses, mostly built by a
private construction firm costing US$55 000 per unit.  Those displaced by
Marange Resources and Mbada Diamonds operations have also benefited from
solar panels installed at their new homes.

Miners urged to respect local cultures

A local environmental organisation has urged foreign miners to respect
cultures of communities in which they do business. The call comes soon after
traditional leaders attributed the low rainfall experienced in some parts of
the country to the disregard of local cultures and beliefs by mining

Speaking at a workshop held recently, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
(Zela) legal officer, Veronica Zano, said traditional leaders were furious
over foreign miners’ violation of their cultures.

“Traditional leaders say these miners are violating their cultural rights
during their operations in their communities,” she said.  “These miners
include the Chinese, Russians and Lebanese. they come into their
communities, displace the villagers and pollute the environment. Villagers
are suffering.”

Zano said traditional leaders were associating the lack of respect of local
culture and beliefs to the low rainfall levels recently received in the
country. The association’s projects coordinator, Gilbert Makore, said the
mining sector is not growing as much as it could be due to archaic mining
laws and regulations.

“The mining sector is still governed by archaic laws that are restricting
the growth of the sector,” he said.  “They have no provisions regarding
community rights, environmental rights and general transparency.”

Presently, the association is engaging the parliamentary portfolio committee
on mining on the  need to review the mining laws. The government recently
announced that it would finalise the long-awaited Mines and Minerals
Amendment Bill when Parliament resumes sitting in May while the promulgation
of a diamonds policy is expected to be completed in the second half of the

—Our Staff

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Action, not words Cde President

Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:02

President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday made what ranks as his most passionate
call for peace in Zimbabwe in recent years. Addressing thousands who
gathered for the Independence celebrations at the National Sports Stadium,
Mugabe said violence of the past should be “buried” and called on everyone,
including security forces, to ensure that peace prevails in the communities.

While he appeared to make a convincing case for an end to hostilities,
thereby earning a few kudos, many may have wondered whether, like the
biblical Paul, he had experienced his Damascene moment considering his

It is a known fact that Mugabe is more associated with violence than peace,
largely pronounced by his unleashing of the 5 Brigade in the 80s to massacre
thousands of innocent souls in Matabeleland.

This followed a few years after his call for reconciliation at Independence.
Waving his fists, Mugabe has previously boasted about degrees in violence
and is infamous for urging his supporters who invaded farms in 2000, killing
several farmers, to “strike fear in the hearts of white men”.

Mugabe also encouraged war veterans and Zanu PF youth militias to inflict
harm on supporters of the MDC. Such links to the occurrence of violence,
makes Mugabe ill-suited to preach the gospel of peace.

Instead of just grandstanding at important occasions, Mugabe needs to
convince Zimbabweans that he is a changed man; a champion of peace and
harmony. He can start by ordering the police and the army to adopt zero
tolerance on political violence.

He should also order police to investigate all cases of political violence
that were recorded with no action being taken. The President also needs to
bring back to the barracks soldiers who have been deployed across the
country where they are accused of interfering in the Zanu PF electoral

Vigilante groups like Chipangano in Mbare have no place in democratic
societies and they should be disbanded. Complaints against them should also
be thoroughly investigated.

If Mugabe is sincere about his call for peace, nothing can stop him from
taking these steps. Deeds, not words, Cde President.

Quote of the week

"It wasn’t well-thought. Due process not being followed, we need to go back
to the drawing board and say how can we empower our people. The best way to
empower our people at this present moment in time is to expand our economy
to create as many sectors as possible.” Finance minister Tendai Biti on

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Indigenisation: A Zanu PF election ploy

Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:00

As the spectre of elections becomes a certainty, Zanu PF has moved a gear up
in efforts to reincarnate itself from oblivion by espousing a rushed
indigenisation policy onto a reluctant electorate.

But politicians being the liars they are, Zanu PF has so far dismally failed
to charm the people on how indigenisation will benefit anyone gullible
enough to be hoodwinked by the policy to cause a vote for them. Their talk
of Zimbabweans owning their own resources is cheap and empty, evocative of
the monotonous political propaganda voters are now all too familiar with.

As proponents of indigenisation, they have not been able to explain
convincingly how the takeover of Metallon Gold by Saviour Kasukuwere will
benefit us. How are people living outside mining areas, or any other
foreign-owned company earmarked for indigenisation and are not lucky enough
to be part of some employee and management share ownership trust, going to
benefit from the indigenisation programme? I am one of the many citizens of
Zimbabwe still smarting from my failure to benefit from similar Zanu PF
driven processes like land reform because land allocations were done based
on partisan party political lines.

Before the ink is dry on some of the community share ownership schemes so
far signed, complaints are already filtering from chiefs and residents of
the communities about the lack of transparency in the process and the
marginalisation of community leaders as we have heard in Mhondoro Ngezi.
Questions are already being asked as to whose interests the trusts are
serving, if chiefs who are supposed to be the champions and custodians of
the process on behalf of the communities and government, are themselves
clueless about how the process should be run. This disorder in Zanu PF only
serves to demonstrate that the policy is not only localised in outlook but
hurried and clearly carved out to benefit a few people.

And if one may ask, what is the role of the National Indigenisation Economic
Empowerment Board in all this and what have they done thus far? Or is the
body just another job-creating conduit for cronies, relatives and
girlfriends of those in power.

Zanu PF knows Zimbabweans, particularly the youth, badly need jobs and would
fancy owning natural resources in the communities they live. So they find it
seductive to use the indigenisation as a trump-card to woo voters in the
next elections in the same manner they used the land, and printed money to
“mechanise” farmers as themes for the two most recent elections.

The sad reality, though, is that the same looters of resources will end up
owning these companies because they are the ones with money or have
connections with money.

By hurriedly and forcibly taking over companies, Zanu PF is seeking to
destroy the very same bedrock of economic empowerment they claim to be
building, as they did with the land reform programme — giving farms to
people who did not have the skills or the equipment to work it. Do the
prospective owners of the mines have the resources or the necessary
wherewithal to run the companies, considering that mining is a highly
capital intensive business?

Or, does Zanu PF intend to hand over the grabbed mines to their “fair
weather friends” from the East? Imperialism is imperialism; it cannot be
condoned because it is being done by the Chinese. If, through
indigenisation, our objective as a nation is to get rid of imperialism,
capitalism or any other isms, then this policy must be applied without
favour to any particular group.

However, if media reports are anything to go by, Zanu PF has already begun
selectively implementing this policy by excluding from the exercise their
friends from the East, as shown by their spirited refusal to extend this
policy to our God-given diamond fields in Chiadzwa ostensibly to protect
their personal interests there by proclaiming that alluvial diamond mining
was a preserve of the State.

And so, Zanu PF thinks that the electorate is foolish enough not to see
through their duplicity. Indigenisation is, regrettably, a Zanu PF
electioneering ploy that will not benefit ordinary citizens, and which like
its forerunner, the agrarian reform project, will become another monumental

Economic empowerment policies such as indigenisation or the land reform are
clearly very noble economic empowerment concepts, but it is their careless
and sheer thoughtlessness and the untransparent manner in which they are
executed that leaves ordinary citizens asking whether these policies are
meant to benefit anybody ordinary.


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Mawere saga: Who owns the country’s natural resources?

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:58

As local politicians turn the heat on each other in the race to own
minerals, which are part of the vast natural resources Zimbabwe possesses
and amidst the hullabaloo of indigenisation, an interesting question arises:
Who owns and controls the country’s natural resources? Is it the government,
private capital, local communities or the politicians themselves?

Obviously, if Zimbabwe had a substantive and a legitimate authority to talk
about, it would be the government, with all the gains and benefits accruing
to the State — the State which is the authority that looks after its people,
the majority of who are mostly the local communities, the marginalised and
the down-trodden.

Exiled businessman Mutumwa Mawere recently raised a critical observation on
resource ownership and control: “The propensity to convert state actors into
lords and for citizens to be reduced to vassals must be exposed and
 resisted”.  This statement evokes the need to think that the state actors
are the politicians turning the heat on each other at the expense of the
poor, who are also in the race to exploit these natural resources and yet
are being harassed or sidelined in their efforts.

The development of natural resources must be at par with equal human
development. Colonialism’s “civilising” burden of partial development of
natural resources for commercial exploitation should not resurface in the
form of biased and misconstrued indigenisation, sovereignty and black
empowerment. The relationship of the majority and State actors should
naturally bring transformation based on equity, responsibility, a strong
restraint to avarice and gross selfishness that the politicians are
unashamedly exposing.

The dominant and self-serving interests of politicians in natural resource
exploitation, for instance, gold, diamonds, black granite, platinum, chrome,
lithium or even fauna and flora, are ignoring the needs of the majority
whose requirements are partially being satisfied through distorted, unclear
or non-existent open market systems.

Such neglect of the majority’s key sources of survival has been the main
reason why the so-called land reform and the indigenisation choruses have
posed a serious challenge to sustainable natural resource conservation and
management to the extent of even posing a threat to simple and fair daily

Indeed, it is true that most of the current crop of local politicians do not
understand modern economics and its concepts of development such as resource
use, ownership and control. These ideas have spanned a large portion of the
history of humankind and nature. But how these simple and clear principles
continue to elude them boggles the mind.

Development experts have asserted that fair principles of sustenance have
provided human societies the material basis of survival over many centuries
by deriving livelihoods directly from nature through collective-provisioning
mechanisms. Limits in resource-exploitation have been respected and have
guided the limits of human consumption.

The majority in Zimbabwe continue to derive their sustenance within the
deliberately squeezed survival economy which remains invisible to open and
fair market systems while the self-anointed and greedy lords continue to
exploit natural resources with impunity. And, in any case, the rule of law
is highly questionable, with the Recostruction Act and the Prevention of
Corruption Act having been used grossly unfairly on Mawere when the former
government wrested his asbestos mines. With such glaring cases of
unfairness, to what extent are the generality of Zimbabweans safe in freely
exploiting, owning and controlling natural resources?

Many times when people get into positions of power, they easily despise the
poor and they persecute the meek. Resources should just simply be exploited
and shared equally among the people without looking at the race, colour or
tribe of a person.

By Tonderayi Matonho

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Editor's Desk: Consumers at the mercy of predatory supermarkets

Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:56

The other day I bought mixed vegetables worth US$2,95 and was given a sweet
as change because of the lack of coins. Before the till operator gave me the
sweet I had asked for a carrier bag but she said the  plastic bag they had
cost US10c.

I remembered that in the 1980s the same sweet cost half a cent. Remember the
brand called Crystal Sweets? We also called them “Take Twos” because for a
cent one got two. Now the same sweet costs US5c.

Carrier bags were given for free in any decent supermarket.
On impulse, I decided to check the prices of the following goods:

a single chewing gum    US5c
a single lollipop    US20c
a single cabbage head    US$1
a ballpen such as
Eversharp 15     US25c
a loaf of bread     US$1
a bottle of Coke     US50c
a can of Coke     US$1
a meat pie     US$1,25
a single banana     US20c
a single peach    US75c
a kg of economy beef    US$8
a packet of 10 cigarettes    US50c

I would have wanted to know how much the same goods are going for, say in
New York. The US embassy was not forthcoming with answers for the whole
I remember before our economy went into a freefall chewing gum were a cent
for two, a lollipop (sucker) cost a cent, a cabbage head cost at most 20c,
Eversharp 15, as its name suggested was 15c, a loaf of bread was 25c, a coke
went for 20c, a meat pie was 25c, with 20c one got all the bananas he
desired, peaches were equally cheap when in season, economy beef was about
$2 while a packet of 10 cigarettes cost 15c.

Air used to be given free at service stations, now one has to part with a
US$1 to have a flat tyre inflated! Then the Zimbabwe dollar was equivalent
to US$1,50.
So what has happened to the US dollar? Have we dollarised the economy or
have we domesticated the US dollar so we can use it whatever way we wish?

Dollarisation would seem to imply that we use the US dollar at the same
value it is used in the United States and as its value rises and falls
against other international currencies.

This is not what’s happening in Zimbabwe; we have appended our own value to
the US dollar. A boiled egg would cost about US5c in New York; in Zimbabwe
it costs US20c, that is four times more. This means in Zimbabwe, the US
dollar is equivalent to five boiled eggs!  What this boils down to is that
we have Zimdollarised the US dollar and it is being hit by inflation to the
same extent the Zimdollar was battered in the mid-1990s. What explains this?
I suppose that’s the question our economists should address.

I am only worried by the daylight robbery that consumers are subjected to in
supermarkets! Is it legal for stores to give customers change in the form of
sweets or any other unwanted item for that matter? If it is, who places a
value on the sweets and the goods? If it’s legal a customer must be allowed
to go back to the same supermarket with 20 sweets and get a loaf of bread.
But the supermarkets do not accept this! That is grossly unfair.

Supermarket A has over the past week given me 20 sweets as change; I don’t
eat sweets, so I must be able to go back to the same supermarket and
exchange the sweets for a loaf of bread; doesn’t that make sense?

No sane person would buy a Crystal sweet for US5c but consumers are forced
to buy them at that price for no fault of their own. It is not the consumer’s
fault that there are no US coins circulating in the country.

One only has to imagine the amount of money supermarkets are making from the
vulnerable public. Busy supermarkets can make as much as UD$200 a day by
giving sweets as change. They are doing this while the government watches.
They are doing this while the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe remains mum.

There is no single customer who doesn’t have wads and wads of tokens from
Spar supermarkets that they have been given as change; at least these can be
reused. There is no single consumer who doesn’t have heaps of sweets in
their car which they have no use for.

Consumer watchdogs should be out in the shopping malls monitoring how
supermarkets address the issue of change. They should not look just at the
small picture where a single consumer is given a banana in the place of
US20c worth of change. The bigger picture is that thousands of customers
around the country have been given bananas as change on a single day. The
supermarkets have become unscrupulous as they see this as a source of cheap
money. This highly unfair business practice must surely be outlawed.

But what are our legislators doing about this? Zilch! Why do we vote them
into power when they cannot address such seemingly small issues which have a
huge impact on the pockets of their electors?

We are told it is too expensive to import US coins; what this translates to
is that the man in the street must continue to lose his hard-earned cash to
unscrupulous businesspeople while our government remains unmoved by this.

Some supermarkets have devised credible ways of going around this; they
offer plastic money in the form of cards that can be swiped after every
transaction. But there is a catch; it makes the consumer captive to the
supermarket because the cards can’t be used at other supermarkets. Consumers
have the right to shop around and compare prices.

This right is removed if he/she is forced to buy from the same supermarket.
Plastic money would be the way forward if there was some kind of Zimswitch
for supermarkets where the card could be used at the supermarket of one’s

But most importantly, the government must address this issue seriously; it’s
not as frivolous as it sounds.


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