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Zimbabwe-Iran: Uranium deals against debts?

  Friday 23 April 2010 / by Alice Chimora

Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today vowed to stand side by side with
Zimbabwean leader in defence of the country against the "arrogant, evil
minded super powers".

He lashed out at the West for continually oppressing poor nations.

Speaking through an interpreter, Ahmadinejad without naming any Western
country said their efforts to prevent small countries from developing in
science technology will collapse.

"Africa has vast untapped resource which some evil super powers are trying
to block small nations from fully exploiting the resource and develop in
science technology," the Iranian leader said.

This was in reference to Iran's controversial nuclear programme that has
raised the threat of new United Nations sanctions against the Islamic state.

In an address littered with religious remarks, Ahmadinejad said the "evil
super powers" still want to impose slavery in Africa.

Ahmadinejad took aim at countries that "raise fears of injustices and
corruption yet they are plundering the resources of other countries to
expand their international domination."

Ahmadinajad is on a rare visit to Zimbabwe through the invitation of Mugabe
whom he called "my close friend".

His visit was condemned by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party saying
it's a "meeting of two despots which could further isolate Harare".

In a statement Thursday, the MDC accused Ahmadinejad of being "a war monger,
a trampler of human rights, an executioner of those with dissenting voices
and a leader of questionable legitimacy" - a reference to his disputed
re-election victory last year.

Today Tsvangirai and his ministers did not attend the opening of the trade
exhibition ceremony.

However, government sources say Ahmadinejad's visit is all about uranium
which Zimbabwe has vast untapped deposits. Iran needs the uranium to boost
its nuclear programme.

"The opening of the trade exhibition is just a public relations thing, the
main agenda is uranium. The Iranians have offered to financial support to
Zimbabwe but at the expense of uranium", the source said.


He also believes that Mugabe's entry into the deal is as a result of the
Zimbabwean leader having already mortgaged the country. Zimbabwe owes Iran
tens of millions of dollars in loans.

On Thursday night the two leaders signed eleven trade and cooperation
agreements, including a Bilateral Air Services Agreement and MOUs on
tourism, co-operation on youth affairs, science and technology, education,
diplomatic consultations, waiver for diplomatic and service visas.

Ahmadinajad said, "I condemn all Satanic pressures imposed on Zimbabwe and
these powerful countries are doomed, they will not be successful," he said.

Mugabe on Thursday told Ahmadinejad that ..."be also assured, comrade
president, of Zimbabwe's continuous support of Iran's just cause on the
nuclear issue".

"Because of the principled positions we have taken at both the domestic and
international level, Zimbabwe and Iran have been unjustly vilified and
punished by Western countries," Mugabe said.

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Zimbabwe's Mugabe backs Iran's nuclear programme

Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:58am GMT

* Ahmadinejad says West abusing UN security council

* Visit strains Zimbabwe power-sharing govt

* Mugabe opponents boycott visit

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, April 23 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has backed
Iran's controversial nuclear programme and accused the West of seeking to
punish the two countries for asserting their independence.

Mugabe was speaking at a banquet he hosted for Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Harare on Thursday for a two-day visit.

"Be also assured, comrade president, of Zimbabwe's continuous support of
Iran's just cause on the nuclear issue," Mugabe told Ahmadinejad.

Iran faces a possible new round of United Nations sanctions over its refusal
to halt uranium enrichment. The West accuses Tehran of trying to build
nuclear weapons. Iran says it aims only to generate electricity.

There was no official indication of any link between Ahmadinejad's visit and
Iran's nuclear programme but Zimbabwe does hold uranium deposits which have
yet to be exploited.

Zimbabwe itself escaped U.N sanctions in 2008 after Mugabe's re-election in
a second round poll marred by political violence, which forced his rival,
Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out despite outpolling Mugabe in the first round

Mugabe eventually bowed to international pressure and agreed to form a
power-sharing government with Tsvangirai, now prime minister in February

The Iranian president's visit has widened rifts within the coalition
government, with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
describing Mugabe's decision to invite Ahmadinejad as a "collosal political

Tsvangirai and officials from his MDC boycotted a welcoming ceremony for the
Iranian president. Quoting unnamed government sources, the state-controlled
Herald newspaper said the boycott was in solidarity with Western nations
opposed to Ahmadinejad's government.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe and Iran have been unjustly vilified and punished by
Western countries.

Zimbabwean state media quoted the Iranian president saying the West was
using the U.N. Security Council to exert pressure on his country to abandon
its nuclear programme.

"Unfortunately, the United Nations Security Council, which is supposed to
serve the whole world, has been used by the powerful to increase pressure on
our countries," Ahmadinejad is quoted saying.

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Ahmadinejad snubs Mugabe’s security

  Friday 23 April 2010 / by Alice Chimora

Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s security details on Friday took
over all security arrangements after they protested that Zimbabwean spies
are armateurs.

Ahmadinejad has close to 50 security personal accompanying him to Zimbabwe
where he was guest of honor at a trade exhibition.

Early morning, Iran spies inspected the main arena but "got shocked at the
amateurish nature" of the arrangement.

They then informed their counterparts of their intention to take over the
complete operation.

Said a member of the Central Intelligence Organisations, “After the
inspection, their leader just told us that they where taking over all
operations. They claimed that we are armatures in the game”.

He added, “They said Ahmadinejad is a special president whose protection
should not to be tampered with”.

At the podium, Ahmadinejad was swarmed by 10 of his security details giving
a hard time for journalist to film him.

His arrival on Thursday was spectacular.

Helicopters flew over Harare for the better part of the day before
Ahmadinejad’s arrival and continued to fly hours later in a show of
protection for the Islamic leader who is currently engaged in a war of words
with the United States and its allies.

An airforce source said there had been elaborate military displays and
claimed that as soon as Ahmadinejad’s huge jet entered Zimbabwean airspace,
it was met by Zimbabwean Air Force jet fighters, which fell into escort

After touch down, Ahmadinejad took close to seven minutes before
disembarking because the stairway was not properly fitted to the giant

Employees from the National Handling Services had to run around to fix the
stairway with close supervision from Ahmadinejad’s security personnel.

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MDC suspends ‘violent’ youths

By Violet Gonda
23 April 2010

Violence broke out at Harvest House, the MDC Headquarters, in Harare last
week when a group of youths attacked the party’s Director General, Toendepi
Shonhe and took his car. A statement issued by the MDC on Friday said the
youths had been suspended pending investigations. The statement said the
‘abhorrent incident’ perpetrated by members of the MDC youth represents a
gross violation of the founding principles of the party, and its dedication
to non-violent, democratic struggle.

Freelance journalist Frank Chikowore said: “My understanding of the matter
is that there are some youths who were against the way in which the MDC-T
CEO Toendepi Shonhe was running the administration of the party.  So they
ended up assaulting him and confiscating a party vehicle that was allocated
to him and they barred him from getting into the MDC headquarters.”

The journalist said at least seven youths were involved in the attack. He
said the MDC Director of Security Chris Dhlamini tried to intervene but was
also blocked from entering the party headquarters. Chikowore said Dhlamini
apparently called in some ‘state agents’ to deal with the youths, but they
too were allegedly assaulted by the irate youths.

The leadership of MDC reprimanded the youths and an emergency Standing
Committee meeting on Monday resolved to suspend the perpetrators from the
party. They have also been barred from entering the party headquarters
pending the outcome of an investigation by an independent committee
appointed by the leadership.

Chikowore said speculation is rife that the violent incident was a result of
power struggles within the MDC, pitting supporters of Secretary General
Tendai Biti against those who support President Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of
the party’s Congress due early next year.

An MDC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the
disturbances were as a result of ‘power struggles’. He accused Shonhe of
‘paying MDC structures to vote for fresh ideas, and campaigning for the SG
Biti to take over from President Tsvangirai,’ at the next congress. The
disgruntled MDC member claims this is why the youths attacked Shonhe and
others last week.

He also complained that the party was losing direction and that its Standing
Committee was filled with newcomers who did not rise up with the party, and
therefore didn’t share the ‘ideology’ of the MDC. “They are fighting for the
agendas of power, and they don’t know why the party was formed. It was
formed to advocate for the workers and the poor and this is not happening,”
said the MDC member.

Meanwhile, the MDC statement said: “Irrespective of the claim by the youth
that their actions were prompted by genuine grievances, the fact that they
acted unilaterally by-passing the party’s internal procedures and
undertaking acts that violate the spirit of the MDC has resulted in
unreserved condemnation and definitive action by the leadership.”


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Land Scandal Opens A Can Of Worms

23/04/2010 16:33:00

Harare, April 23, 2010 - The Harare City Council land scandal involving
controversial businessman Philip Chiyangwa and Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo could expose rampant looting that took place just before the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) inherited a number of local authorities
from Zanu (PF).

A senior MDC official confirmed that a number of local councils under the
party's control had confirmed that therel had been massive looting by Zanu
(PF) officials immediately after the party lost the March 2008 elections.

"People were selling properties to each other for amounts that are as good
as they were getting the properties for free. We already have a case in
Harare where Chombo paid only $2 200 for a property that is worthy more than
$2 million. We have similar cases in a number of cases from across the
country, we are still verifying them through our structures," said the

Since the Harare land dispute came into the public domain, a number of local
authorities have also come up with reports of related looting and
misappropriation of council property by Zanu (PF) supporters.

In Marondera, the council led by Farai Nyandoro, has unearthed a scam where
Chombo connived with former mayor Ralph Chimanikire to allocate council
property to Zanu (PF) supporters.  In most cases, according to Nyandoro, the
officials paid ridiculous amounts for the properties.

They went on to recruit some 130 Zanu (PF) supporters into council
employment. This emerged during a human resources audit recently carried out
by the council.

In confirming the development, Nyandoro said they had since gone to the
courts to stop Chombo from issuing directives which were mostly against the
Urban Councils Act.

"In some cases, he used clauses that have since been scrapped from the Urban
Councils Act. He has tried to plant confusion in council by mobilising Zanu
(PF) supporters, but this has not worked because we have managed to counter
their manoeuvres," said Nyandoro.

Harare lawyer Alec Muchadehama confirmed that he had filed a case against
Chombo, Chimanikire and other Zanu (PF) apologists who were disturbing the
operations of the council.

In the Mashonaland Central provincial capital of Bindura, senior Zanu (PF)
officials had also sold each other council properties for paltry amounts.
Mashonaland Central governor and former Bindura mayor Martin Dinha bought a
house for less than US$48.

"Dinha and other Zanu (PF) councillors were involved in massive looting and
illegal auctioning of council property in 2008," said Bindura mayor, Daniso

Dinha could not be reached for comment as his mobile was not available.
Chombo also ignored calls to his mobile. Chombo owns high value properties
at almost every major town in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile Zimbabwean police on Friday summoned four journalists from The
Standard to appear before the Harare Magistrate Courts to testify as State
witnesses in the trial of Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and eight
councilors who are being charged of criminally defaming business tycoon,

Police have subpoenaed Editor-in-Chief Vincent Kahiya, The Standard editor
Nevanji Madanhire together with the co-authors Jeniffer Dube and Feluna
Nleya of the story that exposed the land scandal that had been exposed by
the Harare City Council's special committee on land.

The journalists quoted a special land investigations report on Chiyangwa's
properties around Harare.

The report unearthed a land scandal that involved Chombo and Chiyangwa as
among top government officials that had illegally acquired vast pieces of
land in Harare.

The trial of Masunda and the eight councilors has been set down for May 6.
They were all remanded out of custody after being granted a US$20 bail when
they appeared before Harare Magistrate Olivia Mariga this week.

Mariga had earlier dismissed an application for refusal of remand arguing
that there was a reasonable suspicion that an offence was committed.

Incensed by the contents of the report, Chiyangwa went on to sue both
council and The Standard newspaper for a whopping US$900 million saying he
had suffered losses to his companies and damages to his reputation because
of the council report.

Chief law officer Chris Mutangadura said the State was ready to go for trial
with some of the people who are named in the land deal scandal as witnesses.

Mutangadura said Harare City Council town clerk Tendai Mahachi, the director
of urban planning Psychology Chiwanga and finance director Cosmos Zvikaramba
are some of the witnesses that would be testifying in court.

"We are ready to go for trial and some of the witnesses are going to be the
journalists who wrote the story about Chiyangwa's land deal," said

Surprisingly Chiwangwa and Zvikaramba were last week reported to the police
by acting mayor Charity Bango for facilitating Chiyangwa's illegal land

Police spokesperson Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed receiving the
report and they were carrying out investigations but said no arrests have
been made so far.

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Zimbabwean government could lose more assets in SADC

Written by Nyasha Nyaungwa

FRIDAY, 23 APRIL 2010 09:45

The Zimbabwean government could lose more of its assets registered in SADC
countries following a landmark ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in
February. The august court paved the way for four Zimbabwean properties
registered in South Africa to be seized as compensation to farmers that lost
their farms as a result of the controversial land reform programme.

The South African court also ruled that SADC tribunal rulings against the
land grabs in Zimbabwe should be registered, recognised and enforceable by
the South African government.

As a result of the unprecedented judgement, Afriforum, a South African based
civil rights movement, representing Zimbabwean farmers, has already been
handed ownership documents of a Cape Town house belonging to the Zimbabwean
government. The house is reportedly worth N$ 2.5million.

The decision to apply to the South African court was taken after the
Zimbabwean government refused to recognise a 2008 SADC tribunal ruling that
said the land reform programme in Zimbabwe was discriminatory, racist and
illegal under the SADC Treaty.

In that judgement, former SADC tribunal President Dr Louis Mondlane ruled
that: "The tribunal grants the application pending the determination of the
main case and orders that the Republic of Zimbabwe shall take no steps, or
permit no steps to be taken, directly or indirectly, whether by its agents
or by orders, to evict from or interfere with the peaceful residence on and
beneficial use of the farm known as Mount Carmell in the Chegutu district in
Zimbabwe, by Mike Campbell Ltd and William Michael Campbell, their employees
and the families of such employees and of William Michael Campbell."

Mugabe insists that his government does not respect the tribunal ruling
because the SADC tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear the case, even calling
the tribunal's decision "nonsense" and of "no consequence"

In Namibia, where the Zimbabwean government is believed to own some
commercial properties, Norman Tjombe, a human rights lawyer who represents
the Zimbabwean farmers in the country said they were not considering taking
such a move like the one in South Africa (attaching Zimbabwean government

"We have not even considered that. All what we are doing is concentrate on
another case that we have brought to the tribunal that will be heard on 01

Asked if that was not a futile exercise after the Zimbabwean government
announced previously that it will not recognise and be bound by any future
decisions of the tribunal court, Tjombe said: " The fact that they have said
so does not stop us from pursuing the case."

According to Tjombe, SADC have since said that the treaty setting up the
tribunal does not need to be ratified because by virtue of being a member of
SADC, Zimbabwe is automatically bound by any tribunal decisions.

"In fact, a Zimbabwean court ruled that its government is bound by the
decisions of the tribunal," Tjombe said.

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Illegal Diamond Miner Killed

23/04/2010 16:35:00

Mutare, April 23, 2010 - A soldier opened fire and killed an illegal diamond
miner who had sneaked into the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

A police constable, who tried to disarm the soldier, was also shot and is
battling for life in hospital.

Shepherd Maride, 24, a private in the army, based at 4.2 Infantry Battalion,
is alleged to have met three illegal miners at Muchena Business Centre in
Chiadzwa and ordered them to sit down.

Maride allegedly pointed his AK 47 service rifle at Herbert Gwiriri, whom he
then shot on the chest. Gwiriri died on the spot.

A constable Beserk, who was in the company of three workmates, attempted to
disarm him but the soldier fired at him, seriously injuring him. Constable
Beserk is admitted at Mutambara Mission Hospital where he is said to be in a
critical condition.

The solider was later arrested and is now facing charges of murder and
attempted murder.

He appeared before Mutare magistrate, Annia Ndiraya, this week facing
charges of murder and attempted murder. He was remanded in custody to May 3
and was told to apply for bail at the High Court.

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Mutare council rejects directive to pay former Commission chairman

By Tichaona Sibanda
23 April 2010

A sub-committee set up by the MDC led council in Mutare has again rejected a
directive by local government Minister Ignatius Chombo to authorize a hefty
package for the former chairman of the city's commission, Fungai Chayeruka.

In 2005 Chombo ousted MDC Mayor Misheck Kagurabadza and his council, and in
their place appointed a commission chaired by Chayeruka. He served in this
capacity for three years before the 2008 harmonised elections where the MDC
won all the 19 wards in the city.

Crispen Dube, MDC councillor for ward 9 in Mutare, told SW Radio on Thursday
that Chombo had recently written a follow-up letter to the one he sent last
year, telling the council to pay Chayeruka a package.

The letter from Chombo directs that Chayeruka be given a vehicle, a house,
commercial stand, residential stand and 100 litres of fuel at government
prices for three months and that he shouldn't pay council rates for eight

Councillor Dube, who sits on the three man sub-committee set up to look at
the request, said there's no way council was going to agree to such a
package. Mutare council is struggling to find money to restore normal
service delivery in the city.

'Currently we are begging as council to get money from donors to improve
service delivery. Residents are struggling to pay rates and we are left with
a huge deficit each month to meet our targets to clean up the city.
Therefore you wouldn't expect us to part with $30,000 to settle Chayeruka's
package,' said Dube.

When the former commission chairman stepped down, he took with him a Toyota
Avensis vehicle and a mobile phone. Mutare councillors are surprised that
Chombo is asking them to give Chayeruka another vehicle.

'Mutare residents are up in arms with Chombo's directive. We were voted into
council by the residents and we've listened to their wise counselling. They
told us that during the commission's rein in power they did nothing to get
rid of mountains of refuse or maintain roads in the city. The commission
also failed to repair damaged water pipes. So they're saying to us how can
you pay such people a hefty package for leaving the city in a terrible mess?
Dube said.

He added; 'The irony to this case is we have MDC mayors and councillors who
have served this council for years but went away with nothing, not even a
bicycle compared to these commissioners who walk away with houses and cars.'

Mutare has a population of nearly one million but according to Mayor Brian
James, the current infrastructure of the city only has capacity to cater for
a population of 300 000.

The influx into the city has been caused by the discovery of diamonds at the
controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields, where senior ZANU PF officials and
State security agents have been implicated in illegally mining the diamonds.

In a bid to improve service delivery to the residents, council recently
embarked on a survey of water, sewerage infrastructure, roads, environment,
health and urban agriculture.

The Mayor said the survey would assist the city council in planning and
making informed decisions that would see the city restore its glamour as
Zimbabwe's gateway to the sea in Mozambique.


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Rights commissioner set to be dropped

Friday, 23 April 2010 10:19

A CONSTITUTIONAL glitch has emerged in the newly sworn-in Zimbabwe Human
Rights Commission (ZHRC) after an administrative lapse landed National
University of Science and Technology professor Carroll Temba Khombe on the
commission in the belief that he was female. Parliamentary sources this week
told the Zimbabwe Independent that the eight-member rights commission which
was sworn in by President Robert Mugabe last month was likely to drop one
male commissioner for a female office bearer after failing to meet the
gender quota stipulated in the constitution.
The supreme law dictates that four out of the eight commissioners should be
female but the commission is currently composed of three women, Ellen
Sithole, Kwanele Jirira and Nomathemba Neseni. Veteran lawyer Reg Austin
chairs the commission.
The sources said the presidency, which has the prerogative to appoint
commissioners, mistakenly picked Khombe's name from the 16 short-listed
candidates chosen by the parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee
(SROC) after last year's public interviews.
The animal science professor scored relatively high marks in last October's
interviews but would be approached soon and requested to "voluntarily
Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo who chairs the SROC could not
be reached for comment yesterday, but the sources said the "mix-up" would be
resolved amicably.
"It's not the kind of mistake that would raise eyebrows. The name Carroll in
this part of the world sounds feminine," said the source. "The SROC is
likely going to meet soon and furnish the presidency with possible female
candidates who can be considered."
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga whose
ministerial powers were controversially shifted by President Robert Mugabe
to the Justice ministry said he was kept in the dark during the recruitment
"My ministry for some strange reason was not given the responsibility over
the commission. I say strangely because every sane person would think so,"
said Matinenga in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
"If the commission is not properly constituted it simply means that it is
not in compliance with the constitution. You cannot have a legitimate
commission if it does not adhere to the provisions of the constitution. So
there is need to put in place corrective measures to correct the situation.
The parties (SROC) must sit and determine where that particular person (an
additional male commissioner) came from. They should also resolve to have
that person resign."
Efforts to get comment from Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa were in vain
as he was reported out of office until next week.
Parliamentary watchdog Veritas last week said it was "illogical" to grant
the Justice ministry the mandate to oversee the ZHRC, a constitutional body
created under Constitutional Amendment No19.
"This is illogical, given that the president has assigned responsibility for
the Constitution, which enshrines human rights and under which the
commission is appointed, to the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary
Affairs," read the Veritas weekly update.
Apart from the administrative setback, analysts say the absence of the Human
Rights Commission Act which will administer the commission is again going to
be a handicap for the sworn-in commission.
With parliament currently adjourned any new Bill is likely to be introduced
before the House after mid-June.

Bernard Mpofu

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GNU parties to nominate NEC members

Friday, 23 April 2010 10:21

THE country's three main political parties are expected to submit names of
their representatives to the National Economic Council (NEC) - a think tank
to be established in line with the global political agreement (GPA) - by
month-end.  Economic Planning minister Elton Mangoma told the Zimbabwe
Independent yesterday that he was waiting for the submissions from Zanu PF
and the two MDC formations and also disclosed that industry and commerce had
already seconded representatives.
The setting up of the NEC was one of the outstanding issues of the GPA that
was raised at last November's Sadc Troika meeting in Maputo. Other
outstanding issues include the rehiring of central bank governor Gideon
Gono, appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and the issue of
provincial governors.
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy
Arthur Mutambara agreed in the September 15 2008 power-sharing pact to set
up the NEC which would, among other things, assist government in formulating
economic policy.
This followed a decade-long economic recession under the charge of Mugabe's
Zanu PF administration.
Mangoma said other business bodies - the Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce (ZNCC), Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Bankers
Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ), Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (COMZ), Zimbabwe
National Farmers Union and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Zimbabwe (Icaz) - had already submitted their nominations.
Mangoma, however, refused to name the candidates.
He said: "The political parties are still to make appointments. We are
hoping to get their nominations by the end of this month. I don't think it
will be proper for me to disclose the nominees (of industry and commerce)."
Sources said Icaz, which at the start of the year had not yet received an
invitation from government to nominate would-be members of the council,
finally received the invitation and nominated a senior partner with Ernst &
Young auditing firm as a representative of public accountants.
The Joint Implementation and Monitoring Committee, a body set up last year
to monitor and evaluate the unity government, was last year instructed to
invite Icaz and the Zimbabwe National Farmers Union, an organisation
representing indigenous farmers.
Icaz, the sources added, was given a portfolio on risk management. Icaz
president Emilia Chisango of KPMG Chartered Accountants could not be reached
for comment.
COMZ president Victor Gapare confirmed he had been nominated to represent
mines on the NEC.
Other business leaders nominated to represent their organizations are
reportedly Obert Sibanda of the ZNCC and Kumbirai Katsande of the CZI.
The formation of the NEC gathered momentum late last year after South
African President Jacob Zuma's mediation efforts to finalise outstanding
issues of the unity agreement.
The terms of reference of the council will include giving advice to
government and such other functions as assigned to the council by
Article 3 of the GPA binds Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara to establish a
NEC composed of representatives of their political parties and
representatives of the manufacturing, agriculture, mining, tourism,
commerce, financial, labour, academia and other relevant sectors.
The setting up of the NEC comes at a time when Finance minister Tendai Biti
recently painted a gloomy picture of Zimbabwe's economic outlook. Although
economic analysts said it was notable to have such a think-tank in the
current economic environment, they were sceptical it would be effective if
the country fails to attract direct foreign investment (FDI) and significant
lines of credit.
Biti bemoaned lack of FDI.
"In the absence of notable inflows from cooperating partners, most
originally planned capital development projects will remain unfunded,
compromising prospects for improved service delivery especially on power,
water and sanitation as well as other supportive infrastructure such as
roads and railways," Biti said.
"Hence, government is already strictly rationalising and managing
expenditures in order to build and ring-fence meaningful savings for capital
development projects and programmes."
Zimbabwe, according to the treasury minister, received a meagre US$2,9
million from the US$800 million that was pledged by donors.
In his foreword to the Government Work Plan that was approved by cabinet
last month, Tsvangirai felt let down by international cooperating partners.
"We had certain expectations about the level of support that we were going
to receive in 2009 which did not fully materialise, hence the need to be
more realistic in resource expectations under the current planning," the
premier said.
The IMF, which earlier this year restored Zimbabwe's voting rights, said it
was ready to open up its purse once the country shows its commitment in
clearing arrears dating back to 2001.
The European Union and the United States maintain that they are ready to
fully engage with Zimbabwe after full compliance with the GPA.

Chris Muronzi/Bernard Mpofu

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Zim Voice of Democracy: A big thank you to Britain

Subject: Ignore Graca Machel

Ignore Machel: Turn up the volume for violence-free and fair elections

On behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable people of Zimbabwe, the Voice
for Democracy applauds and says a big 'thank you' to Britain.

Despite every provocation and insult from the Zimbabwean government, and
because of Mugabe's utter disregard for his own people, the British
government has given Zimbabwe over $100 million in humanitarian assistance
last year: from healthcare and education to providing water, food aid, seed
and fertilisers to the poorest households. Since Independence in 1980,
Britain has given Zimbabwe over $1 billion in aid.

Yet Britain continues to be unfairly censured from a most unexpected
quarter. The Elder's Graça Machel has told Britain to 'keep quiet' and let
SADC deal with Zimbabwe (The Guardian, 16 April 2009). We ask
Machel: What has SADC, and South Africa in particular, done for the
Zimbabwean people? It has kept quiet. For a whole decade it has refused to
restrain a brutal and dictatorial regime that has bought nothing but
violence, ruin and misery to its own people. In one election after another,
SADC and South Africa have sanctioned violence-stained and rigged elections
that have maintained Robert Mugabe in power. South Africa has taken an
obtuse pleasure in defending Mugabe's malevolent government while Britain
and its allies in the United Nations were trying to isolate and restrain it.

Let the truth be told. If Britain has acted as 'big brother' - as Machel
avers - it has been to care for and feed Zimbabwe's hungry and destitute. It
has been to protect the people of Zimbabwe against its bullying leader by
supporting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. And what have SADC
and South Africa done? They have sided with the bully. They allowed Robert
Mugabe to sit at the high table of Presidents even when they did not
recognise his election to office in June 2008. It was SADC and South Africa
that pushed through an undemocratic inclusive government that handed back
power to their despotic ally to continue his gruesome handiwork. It is they
that have insisted that Zimbabwe must sort out its own problems, knowing
full well that Mugabe's only methods of negotiation is with an iron bar and
through the barrel of a gun.

If anything, the Voice for Democracy believes that Britain has been too soft
on those SADC countries which it supplies with huge amounts of aid. Britain
and its allies in the European Union and the United States should be
exerting much more diplomatic pressure on SADC and South Africa to ensure
that violence-free and fair elections bring about a democratic transition in
Zimbabwe. If Machel wants Britain to keep quiet then SADC and South Africa
must bring an end to the brewing state-sponsored violence that will
inevitably erupt during the run-up to elections. We are watching and

Dale Doré


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A letter from the diaspora

23rd April 2010

Dear Friends.
In an interview with the South African Guardian on April 16th Graca Machel
accuses the British of having a 'persistent imperialist mindset' with regard
to its former colonies. Ms Machel may well be right about that; thirty and
more years after her last African colony became independent, the UK is still
coming to terms with loss of empire and status in the world. The average
Brit, heavily influenced by the right-wing press, still tends to think of
Britain as being somehow superior to the rest of the world. Thanks to cheap
travel, ordinary Brits now see more of the world -including Africa - than
ever before but, hearing people talk about their foreign travels, I am
constantly amazed at how little they have gained in terms of increased
understanding or appreciation of foreign cultures. This applies even to
countries within Europe but when it comes to Africa, that attitude is even
more marked. And the explanation for this is, in part at least, Britain's
colonial past. Graca Machel argues that Britain should re-examine its
relationship with its (former) colonies; they cannot, she says, expect to
continue to be the big brother in the relationship.

For Africans living in the UK diaspora, it is easy to understand and
empathise with what Graca Machel is saying. The burden of colonial guilt
sits heavily on the British and often prevents them from speaking out on
issues, such as human rights, that need to be aired but Ms Machel seems to
be saying that the British government has been too loud in its condemnation
of Zimbabwe in particular. Speaking as an ordinary member of the diasporean
community, it is rare these days hear or read of any British government
Minister publicly airing views on Zimbabwe. Ms Machel rightly points out
that "there is much more to Africa than Zimbabwe" but she fails to
acknowledge that Mugabe's misrule in Zimbabwe has seriously affected the
world's perception of Africa as a whole, not excluding South Africa itself.
The recent visit of the ANC's Youth Minister, Julius Malema, to Zimbabwe did
nothing to alter that perception. "Yes, Zimbabwe has failed." Ms Machel
admits, "I'm not saying things are OK, (that) they're all fine in Zimbabwe.
Britain shouts immediately. Can't they just keep quiet. Let them do their
own things. Let SADC deal with them." Unfortunately, as Zimbabweans know
only too well, SADC has done little or nothing about the deplorable state of
affairs in Zimbabwe for ordinary people. "Let them (the Zimbabwean
government) do their own things" she proclaims and if that includes violence
against innocent men, women and children, then so be it; the outside the
world must remain silent. I find that argument singularly shocking coming,
as it does from a woman who is an international advocate for women and
children's rights, married to Nelson Mandela, the ikon of the anti-apartheid
struggle. Is Graca Machel saying that no European - and nearly all European
countries have a colonial past - has a right to comment on African
misgovernance even when it includes overt violence against innocent men,
women and children?

This week Amnesty International reports that one quarter of all the children
in Zimbabwe are orphans yet the government of Robert Mugabe has forbidden
NGO's from paying children's school fees. As Zimbabwe was 'celebrating'
thirty years of Independence, the women of WOZA were spending the four-day
Independence holiday in gaol, sleeping on bare cement floors running with
human excreta. Their 'crime' was a peaceful protest about the high cost of
electricity. No crime at all, but still the police kept the women in gaol
for four days because they refused to pay an 'admission of guilt' fine.
While Robert Mugabe shed crocodile tears at Independence celebrations over
the violence in the country and appealed for peace and tolerance, it was his
own Youth Brigade youngsters, the ones he once described as 'his new war
veterans' some of them no more than children, who paraded in front of the
crowds with their toy guns. And in my own home area of Murehwa a headmaster
was frog-marched out of his school by so-called war veterans and accused of
supporting the MDC. From the same area comes the report of a local Zanu PF
Chairman, one Mike Chiwodza, telling MDC supporters, "We will kill you after
the World Cup. This time we will kill you and get rid of your body in the
Mazowe River or down mine shafts - even if you flee we will find your wives
and children." These are the chilling realities of the "Let them do their
own things" philosophy that Ms Machel advocates. She implies that Europe's
colonial history precludes them from commenting in any way on events in
Africa today. No one, black or white, can deny the evils of colonialism any
more than they can defend the apartheid system which was ultimately defeated
by men and women, black and white struggling and dying together so that a
new generation of South Africans could live together in a democratic
country. And their endeavours were supported by the whole world, including
Britain, which gave refuge to the many victims of apartheid not excluding
the ANC itself. Yet Graca Machel urges the western world, and Britain in
particular, to be silent about Mugabe's evil dictatorial regime, a regime
which she herself admits has failed!

To quote Edmund Burke, "All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good
men to do nothing."
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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Harare set for big bash

RAY NDLOVU | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Apr 23 2010 09:44

Zimbabwe's annual premier arts festival, the Harare International Festival
of the Arts (Hifa), is set to kick off in the city on April 27, marking its
11th year as one of sub-Saharan Africa's most internationally acclaimed

Founded in 1999 by Manuel Bagorro (also festival coordinator), a Zimbabwean
based in the United States, Hifa has grown over the years into a showcase of
the best of Zimbabwe's art and culture in all its diversity.

The festival's huge audience appeal -- attracting at least 60 000 people -- 
is drawn from local, regional and international art lovers united in six
days of a celebration that includes music, theatre, visual art, spoken-word,
circus and street performance. Established as a non-profit organisation,
Hifa depends entirely on funding from investors and donors.

Theatre productions are a major attraction at the festival, many of which
explore the salient issues of the day.

One of the stand-out productions, General Purpose Affiliations -- written by
Mandisi Gobodi and directed by Patience Tawengwa -- is a hilarious comedy
for adults only that involves three sex-starved leaders: Bobby, Archie and
Marvin. Together they discuss threesomes, marriages, affairs and small
houses. Ironically, they are all in love with the same woman and strike a
deal to marry her.

According to a source at Hifa, it is "not always smooth sailing" when it
comes to theatre productions because "all plays go to the censorship board
and even though none of the plays has been banned, and no one has been
jailed, there really is a fine line that one has to tread".

Also at the festival will be Bulawayo-based playwright Raisedon Baya's The
Woman Who didn't Belong to a Political Party; South African Andrew Buckland
presents his production of Hero with Craig Morris and Stuart Stobbs; and
Black Jesus, (the result of a recent research trip to Zimbabwe to explore
themes of reconciliation) by British-based Zimbabweans Chipo Chang and
Michael Pearce, of Fourth World Productions.

Many of the shows deal with issues of morality in times of distress. In the
notes to her show Tawengwa puts it like this: "What does it matter if laws
are broken when carnal delights are within reach?"

Harare's annual platform provides a moment to engage with reality -- and a
moment to get lost in the wonder of the arts.

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