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Police arrest 15 activists for holding “illegal” meetings

By Tererai Karimakwenda
24 April 2012

Zimbabwean police on Monday arrested 15 activists from the MDC-N party in
Tsholotsho South district of Matabeleland North province, claiming they had
conducted an ‘illegal’ meeting.

But the MDC-N has contradicted the police version, saying their officials
were on a door-to-door membership recruitment drive and did not need
permission from the police.

Party spokesman Nhlanhla Dube told SW Radio Africa their officials were
working mostly in pairs, and not more than three people would approach each
location. He said this does not constitute a meeting and the police are
simply trying to frustrate their efforts to recruit.

“This morning we sent a team of lawyers and officials to try and evaluate
the situation, but they were not allowed to see them. We had to involve
JOMIC to make sure that they were being treated well,” Dube explained.

The JOMIC team, which has been monitoring the situation on the ground ahead
of elections, discovered the arrested officials had not been given any food
since their arrest on Monday. Food was provided by the party on Tuesday

The officials in detention are the MDC-N provincial spokesman Minutewell
Ncube, Matabeleland North secretary Robert Mgezelwa Ndlovu and councilors
Petros Mahonondo, Abel Dube and Rhoda Ncube.
Dube said police claimed they were trying to locate the investigating
officer before they decide how to proceed.

“This is a ploy to delay their discussion with lawyers so that our people
get to spend another night in police cells, as a way to frustrate them and
keep them from their work,” Dube said.

The group is being charged under the controversial Public Order and Security
Act (POSA), which requires that the police simply be notified of any public
gatherings. But the police have taken a partisan stance over the years,
banning meetings by the MDC formations while allowing ZANU PF to hold
impromptu meetings without police notifications.

“This is why we insist it is not time yet to hold national elections in
Zimbabwe. They know if we were allowed to function without hindrance we
would consolidate our membership and make an impact at election time,” Dube

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Daggers out for Shamu in Manicaland

By Tichaona Sibanda
24 April 2012

The knives are out for the ZANU PF political commissar Webster Shamu over
his decision to suspend some District Coordinating Committee (DCC) election
results in parts of Manicaland province.

Dozens of party supporters, believed to belong to a faction led by Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, have been demonstrating against Shamu over his
decision to withhold results, pending an investigation.

A Mutare based journalist told SW Radio Africa that the demonstrators are
camped outside the party headquarters in Mutare, calling on Shamu not to
intervene with the electoral process in Manicaland.

The former ruling party has been rocked by serious infighting between
factions linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Mnangagwa since the DCC
elections two weeks ago.

The bitter split between two warring ZANU PF factions widened following the
hotly disputed elections that have seen many candidates linked to the
Defence Minister romping to victory.

The DCC elections were marred by reports of violence, intimidation and
vote-rigging, amid complaints that most of those linked to Mnangagwa were
imposed on the party electorate by the provincial leadership, led by
chairman Mike Madiro.

Losing candidates from the Mujuru faction called on the ZANU PF politburo to
annul the results, while those from the Mnangagwa remained adamant the poll
outcome should not be tampered with.

“It came as surprise to those in the Mnangagwa camp to learn that their
results were suspended over the weekend. They are seething with rage warning
Shamu not to investigate the conduct of the elections. They’re actually
accusing Shamu of belonging to the Mujuru faction and therefore pushing
their agenda in the politburo,” the journalist said.

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Mudenge Held Hostage In Masvingo

Masvingo, April 24, 2012 – Higher and Tertiary Education Minister and Zanu
(PF) politburo member, Stan Mudenge, was held hostage for three hours by his
party youths on Monday.

The youths, believed to be aligned to the Mujuru faction, locked Mudenge in
the Chief's hall where the Masvingo District Coordinating Committee (DCC)
elections were being held.

Riot police led by Chief Superintendent Mavhenjengwa of Masvingo Central
came to Mudenge’s rescue after the Mujuru faction and the one that belongs
to Emmerson Mnangagwa locked horns over the elections.

Mudenge was accused of imposing candidates after he insisted on holding the
elections without those from the Mujuru camp. The Mujuru faction alleged
that it had been agreed that the DCC elections would be suspended for some
time to allow the leadership to agree on a number of outstanding issues.

Police rescued Mudenge, who is aligned to the rival faction, after the
youths threatened to beat him.

“We know these youths were sent by our detractors but we are going to deal
with them accordingly,” said Mudenge.

Trust Mugabe was endorsed as the Masvingo DCC chairman but Dzikamai
Mavhaire, who belongs to the Mujuru camp, rubbished the whole process saying
it was a joke.

“I think Mudenge was joking, he has now completely lost focus – in as far as
I know, there are no elections held for Masvingo DCC,” said Mavhaire.

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Still no sign of bail for 29 jailed MDC-T members

By Alex Bell
24 April 2012

There is still no sign that 29 MDC-T members jailed over the death of a
policeman in Glen View a year ago will be granted bail, after a High Court
Judge reserved ruling on the matter indefinitely two weeks ago.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu reserved judgment on the application by the 29 who
are seeking leave to appeal their refusal of bail at the Supreme Court.

The group is being held in remand prison after they were indicted for trial
on charges of murdering policeman Petros Mutedza last May, which the MDC-T
have called a deliberate plot of persecution against it.

“Because of the delay in the delivery of justice and the continued
incarceration of the 29, the MDC-T view this as well-orchestrated political
persecution and victimisation of the MDC-T and its members,” the party said
in a statement.

The case has been postponed eight times since it started last month and
Defence lawyers wrapped up their submissions before Justice Bhunu two weeks
ago. The state has denied bail for the group claiming that they are flight
risks since their trial is pending.

Among those jailed for the alleged murder is the MDC-T Youth Assembly
Chairperson Solomon Madzore. The group’s spokesman Clifford Hlatywayo told
SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the ongoing delay is “unthinkable and

“We have engaged political institutions over this including JOMIC and the
facilitators in government and even our President (Morgan Tsvangirai) to do
anything they can, because this is a political issue that is undermining the
Global Political Agreement and human rights,” Hlatywayo said.

He added meanwhile that Madzore is “coping well” in remand prison, where he
has been held for about seven months.

“He is a leader and it is not the first time he has been imprisoned. So he
puts on a strong face,” Hlatywayo said.
He added: “But the pain is evident, especially for Madzore’s young family.
He has a young wife and young child and his wife also lost a baby last year.
So his family has had a hard time.”

The officials facing false murder and public violence charges are the MDC
Youth Assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore, MDC-T National Executive
Committee member Last Maengahama, Budiriro Councillor Oddrey Sydney Chirombe
and Glen View Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere.

The MDC-T activists also being held are Abina Rutsito, Augustine Tengenyika,
Cynthia Manjoro, Dube Zwelibanzi, Edwin Muingiri, Francis Vambai, Gabriel
Shumba, Gapara Nyamadzawo, Jefias Moyo, Kerina Dewa, Lazarus Maengahama,
Linda Muradzikwa, Lloyd Chitanda, Lovemore Taruvinga Magaya, Memory Ncube,
Paul Nganeropa Rukanda, Phineas Nhatarikwa, Rebecca Mafikeni, Simon
Mapanzure, Simon Mudimu, Stanford Maengahama, Stanford Mangwiro, Stephen
Takaedzwa, Tafadzwa Billiard, Yvonne Musarurwa.

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Judges Demanding Review Of Working Conditions

By Professor Matodzi Harare, April 24, 2012 - Disgruntled High court judges
have petitioned Judge President Justice George Chiweshe to review their
working conditions.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, chairman of the High Court Workers Committee,
disclosed in a memorandum written to Chiweshe that judges were not happy
with their working conditions.

"Owing to the numerous changes judges are no longer certain of the exact
nature of their conditions of service. High court judges are therefore
requesting through your good offices provision of updated consolidated
copies of their current conditions of service. Your urgent attention to this
matter will be greatly appreciated," Justice Bhunu wrote in his memorandum.

Last year Chiweshe infuriated judges when he accused them of dressing
shabbily. The judges responded by demanding a supply of new clothing and

In 2008, the judges benefitted from the benevolence of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe which donated houses, television sets, computers and vehicles to

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New plane on Zim runway

Written by Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 18:14

HARARE - A new 19-passenger Soul Air plane is expected to make its maiden
flight this week doing charter flights for Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
(ZITF) participants, taking over where Air Zimbabwe has failed.

The plane, a Beech craft 1900 D model made in the United States will fly the
Bulawayo-Harare route during ZITF, awaiting approval for other scheduled
routes from the ministry of Transport.

Soul plane managing director Nkosilathi Sibanda said they are acquiring more
planes for local and regional routes.

“We will be getting bigger 90-passenger planes; we are looking at flying to
Bulawayo, Kariba, Victoria Falls and even Beira. But at the moment we are
just doing chartered flights.”

The local air market is now open after the fall of Air Zimbabwe, which had a
monopoly over air transport in Zimbabwe.

Air Zimbabwe has been promising to resume local flights since early this
year after its collapse and grounding of planes.

The national airline’s collapse attracted other international aircrafts like
Fly Emirates and Qatar airways to land at the Harare International Airport,
joining South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Malawi and the British
Airways; which were already servicing the Zimbabwe route.

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Civic groups and labour meet over dying Matabeleland businesses

By Tererai Karimakwenda
24 April 2012

Civic society and labour groups in Matabeleland province met in Bulawayo on
Tuesday to discuss the critical lack of development funds for the area,
which has seen many businesses closing or relocating to Harare.

Economic conditions in the province are said to be so dire that most
companies cannot continue to operate there. Critics say areas of Zimbabwe
that have been ignored since independence remain underdeveloped and this has
caused resentment among residents and businesses.

The Tuesday meeting follows increased criticism of the Distressed and
Marginalised Areas Fund (DiMAF), a government subsidised loan scheme that
was established with the aim of assisting businesses in marginalised areas,
particularly Matabeleland province.

The government pledged $40 million dollars to help these areas, but
according to SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme, only $3 million
has been disbursed so far and companies in Bulawayo were not assisted.

Saungweme said the groups that met on Tuesday are planning a demonstration
to highlight the plight of businesses and workers in distressed areas. They
are also calling on government to prioritise Matabeleland development with
urgency, and make DiMAF a Bulawayo scheme.

Saungweme, who has copies of loan applications from CABS Bank, reported last
month that the applications revealed Bulawayo was still being ignored, even
under the DiMAF scheme. Out of 215 applications in his possession, Saungweme
said only one company from Bulawayo received funds.

He explained that workers are losing their jobs due to relocations, with
companies making it so difficult to move house that many decide to resign
instead. Harare is considered a prime location because it is easier to
access loans and investors in the capital.

Groups represented at the Tuesday meeting included the umbrella Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the National Constitutional Assembly,
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Bulawayo Agenda, Radio Dialogue, Habbakuk
Trust and Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association.

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Zimbabwe's resettled farmers struggle to educate their children

Schools on formerly white-owned farms in Zimbabwe are sorely lacking in facilities and equipment, and receive little funding from the government or foreign donors

Tuesday 24 April 2012 07.00 BST
MDG : Zimbabwe : School at Dunstan Farm in Goromonzi
Students at a satellite school in Dunstan farm in Goromonzi, 30km from Harare. Photograph: Alex Duval Smith

In the old kitchen at Dunstan farm, desks have been pushed up against the cream-coloured Aga. Children are having a maths lesson. The dining room where black staff served three generations of the Cullinan family is also a classroom. The children have dumped their schoolbags in the grand fireplace before sitting down for their lesson.

A decade after President Robert Mugabe launched a "fast-track" resettlement programme that chased 4,500 white commercial farmers off the land, Zimbabwe's rural landscape has been transformed. The whites who owned vast tracts of land have been replaced by 150,000 black small-scale farmers and their families, creating the need for a rethink in the provision of education and health facilities. Yet western donors to this country that once prided itself on having the best education in Africa are reluctant to support people living on contested land.

Headteacher Obed Saki, 43, says 293 children attend the primary school in the once-grand Italianate villa. "It opened in 2002, but we only received textbooks in 2010," he says. "The parents of these children have each been given offer letters for six hectares of land. Some are producing tobacco and doing well, but others are struggling for lack of seed and fertiliser so we have capped the fees at $8 per term."

On a tour of the school and grounds, Saki says he is proud to be running one of Zimbabwe's so-called satellite schools – learning facilities for the children of Mugabe's land revolution. But he is frustrated at the slow progress towards normalising the lives of the new settlers. "Parents who can afford to send their children to better-equipped schools in town will do so. The children here are the worst off," he says.

Saki is one of seven teachers at the school. He adds: "The farmhouse was initially occupied by war vets [land occupiers deployed by the ruling party], and we were teaching in the barns. But in 2004, we convinced the war vets to hand over the house, which had electricity. Now we have classrooms on the ground floor and the teachers sleep in six rooms upstairs. Unfortunately, most of the cables were stolen in 2006 so we no longer have electricity."

In the grounds of the house, built on 3,600 hectares (9,000 acres) by the late Leslie Cullinan, son of the diamond magnate Sir Thomas Cullinan, the new occupants of the land have planted maize in a perfect rectangle that was once a tennis court.

The double garage is a classroom with a piece of plywood for a blackboard. In the scullery, 40 children in "early childhood development" sit on the floor, and their teacher has a wooden bench. In the garden room – flooded with light through half-broken French windows – the teacher's desk has been confected from planks and a metal frame found in a greenhouse.

"The parents have done a lot to get the school working," says Saki, who receives a standard teacher's salary of $249 per month from the government. He and his prison-officer wife Matilda – who lives 30km away in the capital, Harare, with the couple's two children – are on the waiting list for land.

"Grades four and six have furniture," he says. "It was bought by one of the parents. But we have hardly any books. We need novels and short stories – and latrines. Actually, we need a proper school. We have pegged a suitable plot for a building, but who knows when the government will build it? The nearest secondary school is five kilometres from here but there is a river in the way and in the rainy season the children cannot go for two or three weeks."

The education minister, David Coltart, admits that Zimbabwe's satellite schools – 1,363 facilities out of a total 8,000 primary and secondary schools – are "problematic". But he denies his ministry, which is controlled by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is reluctant to support schools on formerly white-owned land.

Coltart says his ministry lacks money to maintain and improve mainstream schools, let alone ones that have sprung up as a result of land reform. "We have done as much as we can in the short term. We have ensured that all children in Zimbabwe have textbooks and teachers. We simply do not have the resources to ensure they have adequate buildings and facilities. That would require the government to cut back on foreign travel and defence spending."

Britain is one of the main funders of the UN Children's Fund, Unicef, in Zimbabwe. It contributed $9m to Unicef's programme to distribute 22m textbooks. Last month, the Department for International Development (DfID) announced a further $38m for education in Zimbabwe. But no mention was made of satellite schools, and DfID executives are emphatic that no UK taxpayers' money is given to resettled farmers on contested land.

The Unicef country director Peter Salama says the impact of Britain's contribution to education in Zimbabwe was "very tangible". But he concedes that it may be time to rethink how money is spent: "Unicef's mission, regardless of politics, is to support vulnerable women and children. We acknowledge there are new realities, and that women and children are part of these realities."

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Strike by Bulawayo council workers enters second day

By Tichaona Sibanda
23 April 2012

Thousands of council workers across Bulawayo were on strike Tuesday for a
second day in a row, over non-payment of their salaries. The striking
workers include nurses and staff from the ambulance services, two of the
most critical departments in the City.

The industrial action has coincided with the presence of local and
international exhibitors to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF)
that kicked off in the City on Tuesday. The 53rd annual exhibition is to be
officially opened by Zambian President Michael Sata on Friday.

SW Radio Africa’s Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that
hundreds of disgruntled council workers were still camped outside council’s
Revenue Hall on Tuesday, vowing not to resume work until their demands are

The workers claim that they have not been paid for four months now and that
the council owes them over $700 000, which consists of four months wages and

Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Moyo told Saungweme that the council is working to
ensure disruption to services is kept to a minimum during the workers’

“The Mayor has also appointed a permanent negotiating team to talk to the
workers. He’s being updated on the negotiations every hour with the hope
that a solution will be found quickly,” Saungweme said.

Officials from the council have complained however that the workers did not
give them notice of the industrial action, which has left council operations

On Monday, SW Radio Africa reported that the council reportedly received a
multimillion dollar loan from Kingdom bank last year to help pay salaries
for its workers and finance incoming-generating projects.

But the MDC-T led city council however used US$4.5 million from the loan to
purchase luxury vehicles for departmental heads. Town clerk Middleton Nyoni
took delivery of a Range Rover while finance director Kimpton Ndimande got a
Toyota Fortuner. The director of Housing and Community Services, Isaiah
Magagula was given a Toyota Prado.

Council has failed to repay the loan, forcing the bank to issue summons
threatening to seize Tower Block and Revenue Hall, two of city main

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Chombo, deputy clash over mayor

Written by Lloyd Mbiba, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 18:16

HARARE - Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and his deputy Sesel
Zvidzai are headed on a collision course over a probe team appointed by the
minister to investigate suspended Gwanda mayor, Lionel De Necker.

Zvidzai yesterday dismissed the probe team appointed by Chombo to
investigate De Necker saying it is another ploy to undermine MDC-run

Chombo last week appointed a four-member team comprising of Harare banker
Fortune Mutete, Bindura district administrator Mike Mazia, principal
administration officer at Chombo’s office a Mrs S Chimpunza and deputy
director of the urban local authorities, a Mr Hungwe to investigate the
conduct of De Necker.

This followed the suspension of De Necker early in the month for
deliberately defying Chombo’s directive to employ the chamber secretary for
the council.

Zvidzai said the probe team is doomed to fail because it consists of
“compromised individuals appointed by a compromised minister”.

He further said De Necker should be prepared to be sacked.

“This is a Zanu PF mechanism to scuttle service delivery in MDC-run

“The probe team will not achieve anything except for a partisan result
because they are appointed by a partisan minister who is using a partisan
team,” Zvidzai said.

He added: “The question you must ask yourself is why the mayor was suspended
in the first place?

“He was suspended for refusing to employ a Zanu PF functionary who had
failed an interview.

“I can tell you I am 102 percent sure that the mayor would be fired for
refusing to appoint a Zanu PF apologist. The allegations against him are
unfounded and unlawful.”

De Necker was fired under Section 114 of the Urban Council’s Act (Chapter
29:15) for allegedly refusing to appoint one Priscilla Nkala as the
substantive chamber secretary for Gwanda municipality as had been directed
by minister Chombo.

The Welshman Ncube-led MDC to whom the mayor belongs, yesterday allegedly
said one of the members of the probe team, Mutete was Chombo’s

Chombo could not be reached for comment yesterday as his mobile phone was

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Makoni vows to make Zimbabwe 'ungovernable'

24/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Gilbert Nyambabvu

MAVAMBO Kusile Dawn (MKD) leader Simba Makoni has threated to make “the
country ungovernable” if President Robert Mugabe forces an election this
year without political reforms opposition parties insist are needed to
ensure a credible vote.

In a statement Tuesday, Makoni said: “(We are) strongly warning President
Mugabe not to go ahead with the holding of elections before instituting all
necessary reforms which guarantee a free and fair result.”

The MKD leader – a former Finance Minister and senior Zanu PF official
before bailing out ahead of the disputed 2008 elections -- said much needed
to be done before the country could hope to have an election whose outcome
is not disputed.

“The people of Zimbabwe want a clean voters’ roll,” he said. “The issue of
dual citizenship should be addressed so that nationals in the Diaspora are
(also) allowed to vote. All political parties should be allowed to campaign
freely without harassment from opponents.

“Elections (are not like) ritual ceremonies, where (the) lives of innocent
people are sacrificed … For the record, we are not afraid of elections. MKD
has no problem if elections are held tomorrow, the day after or in a week’s
time, as long as the electoral environment is conducive.”

President Mugabe wants new polls held this year to end the coalition
government and has warned his rivals he could name an election date before
on-going constitutional reforms are completed.

“We just have to go for elections this year. We have to have elections this
year and leave next year clear,” the Zanu PF leader told state media over
the weekend.

However, Makoni warned his ex-boss that he has another thing coming if he
thinks he can force elections under conditions that allow him to manipulate
the vote.

“We will not dance to the whims and caprices of President Mugabe …We will
not allow President Mugabe to tamper with the people’s will this time
around. This is no idle threat but a promise,” he said.

“M.K.D leadership will not speculate on the course of action to take, since
it is the people that will decide. One thing for certain is that in the
event of President Mugabe tampering with the peoples’ wishes, we will make
this country ungovernable.”

Mugabe and his coalition partners agree they can no longer work together and
that new elections are needed to choose a substantive government but the
parties differ of the timing of the new ballot.

MDC-T leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently said new
elections were only possible in March 2013.

"It's just not possible to hold elections this year, there is no
constitution and no referendum has been held," he said.
"Elections will be held at the outer limit; that is in March 2013 when the
current term of the lawmakers would have constitutionally expired."

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Zanu-PF faction engages notorious Ugandan lobbyist to fight EU sanctions

By Staff Reporter 1 hour ago

NAIROBI, Kenya – Notorious Ugandan lobbyist David Matsanga on Tuesday filed
an application in the European Union General court in Brussels, challenging
economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe amid reports that he is working with
an unknown Zanu-PF faction.

Matsanga argues that the sanctions imposed following a law enacted in 2001
by the Unites States of America continue to be a serious and blatant
violation of human rights as they have inflicted unnecessary, unjustified
and great harm to the Zimbabwean people.

Many in Zimbabwe remember in 2004, the outspoken Ugandan who had boasted of
having facilitated the visit to Zimbabwe by a Sky News team, was barred from
entering Zimbabwe at the Harare International Airport and deported amid
bitter rivaly with the then Information and Publicity Minister Professor
Jonathan Moyo.

The Chief immigration officer at the time Mr Elasto Mugwadi confirmed that
officials from his department had ordered Mr Matsanga back to where he had
come from. "Yes we ordered him back after he had tried to enter the country
but I cannot disclose as of now the reasons why he was not permitted to
visit this country," Mr Mugwadi said. Some sources in Zimbabwean
intelligence suspected that he was working for Western governments, but some
said his lobbying role had left Professor Moyo jealousy and feared he could
be ostraciced.

Mr Matsanga boasted about his "connections" in Zimbabwe and boasted to
British journalists that he knew everyone in Government and that "all the
(Zimbabwean) ministers turn to me for advice. Mugabe is always interested in
what I have to say".

The outspoken lobbyist is a former spokesman for the Ugandan terrorist
group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has been accused of abducting
children and using them as child soldiers and as sex slaves and has
terrorised Ugandans in the northern part of the country for years.

At the height of his tensions with Professor Moyo, Dr David Nyekorach
Matsanga sensationally claimed to have obtained fibres from Moyo’s hair
which had been scientifically tested and proved that Jonathan Moyo was gay.

“I got all the samples of his hair from his own house,” Matsanga said in a
statement released to international media on Wednesday afternoon. “I took
private forensic tests on Moyo’s samples of hair and samples of his cloth,
and tests were carried out by Professor friends of mine in a London
hospital. The purpose of those hair samples was to match with the data of
those already confirmed as homosexuals which showed 94% of hormones matching
that of Moyo’s cells as female gay.”

In January 1999, a Kampala magistrate issued a warrant of arrest for Mr
Matsanga, together with other LRA leaders, for three murders allegedly
committed by the terrorist organisation in 1997 in the northern Ugandan town
of Gulu. However, Mr Matsanga rejects the charges saying they are

The law he is now fighting as President Mugabe's paid agent is referred to
as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA).

“In promulgating this law for Zimbabwe, the USA cited retrogressive land
policies, endemic corruption, and Zimbabwe’s involvement in the DRC war,
absence of the rule of law, political intolerance, electoral fraud and gross
human rights abuses as the basis for these economic sanctions under ZIDERA,”
Matsanga states in his application.

In effecting the provisions of ZIDERA, the multilateral lending agencies
including IMF, World Bank and Africa Development Bank, among others, voted
against credit facilities (in all their various forms) to Zimbabwe.

He terms the sanctions as “immoral” as they attempt to have a regime change
by precipitating the collapse of a “developing, only recently independent,
now famine-ravished African country.”

He also argues that the sanctions have not been coordinated well within the
international community hence breeding discordance “which now undermines the
credibility of bans and raises questions as the real motives of these
western restrictive, particularly the African States.”

“It is therefore the duty and responsibility of the EU Court to hear our
prayers on behalf of the millions of people of Zimbabwe,” Matsanga concludes
in the voluminous application.

Among the prayers he is making to the EU court include a declaration of all
forms of economic sanctions perpetuated by the defendants against Zimbabwe

“We pray and seek an injunction on all matters regarding sanctions and that
the General Court stops all the forms of economic sanctions with immediate
effect and without any condition therein,” he pleads.

He also petitioned to the General Court to annul all travel bans imposed on
the Zimbabwean people. This will include compensation of Zimbabwe by the
defendants on economic loss and related incidentals caused since they were

Matsanga also wants the General Court to grant him the right to appeal to
the Court of Justice should any EU refuse to abide by any declaration of the
court on termination of the economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Speaking to Capital FM News from Brussels on Tuesday, Matsanga said he opted
to file the application because he wants the people of Zimbabwe to get

“I am a pan Africanist that is why I chose to file this application, it is
for the sake of seeking justice for the people of Zimbabwe,” he said on
telephone from Brussels.

Matsanga further contends that Zimbabwe’s ability to reschedule its loan
payments and to apply for debt cancellations in times of severe financial
crisis was severely affected by the economic sanctions imposed on it.

“Once the IMF and World Bank stopped doing business with Zimbabwe, this had
an immediate and adverse impact on Zimbabwe’s credit and investment rating.
And with a drop in investment rating went the dream of low cost capital on
the international markets,” he said. - Plus Capila News

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Sikhala in the dock over illegal alien

24/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Phyllis Mbanje

DEFENCE lawyers for MDC-99 leader Job Sikhala have asked a court to acquit
him on charges of assisting an illegal alien to enter the country at the
close of the prosecution case.

Sikhala denies charges of assisting South African national, Sharon Theresa
Bester, to enter Zimbabwe in July last year through the porous Beitbridge
border post.

Bester, who had no passport, was arrested in Harare in the company of the
MDC-99’s secretary for information and publicity, Aaron Muzungu, who was
trying to sell diamonds to an undercover cop.

Bester turned state witness as she told how she met Sikhala at the home of
one Okkie Volschenck in Johannesburg while the former St Mary’s MP was
fundraising for his political activities.
Innocent Chingarande, prosecuting, said Sikhala had offered Bester a job as
his personal assistant.

Sikhala, Bester, Muzungu and Volscheck then drove to the Beitbridge border
four days later. She told the court that Sikhala had facilitated her illegal
entry at the border.

But defence lawyer Augustine Runesu Chikazani said the state had an
obligation to prove if Sikhala had ever assisted Bester in skipping the
He challenged the credibility of the evidence given by Bester, who has since
been convicted and fined.

The defence also contested the fact that the charge sheets bore no specific
dates of the alleged crime.

"It is ridiculous that a man is being put to his defence over a crime that
has no date,” the lawyer said.

He added that the arresting officers could have verified the exact date from
Sikhala's passport.

Chikazani said Bester’s testimony that she had lived at Sikhala’s home was
suspect after she failed to name any of his children.
“Having stayed with them for months, she surely would remember one child's
name,” the lawyer said.

But prosecutor Chingarande said they had proved their case against Sikhala
and that Bester had been a credible witness.

"She vividly narrated the trip from Johannesburg with Sikhala, his party's
secretary for information Aaron Muzungu who has also since been convicted
and fined and another South African Okkie Volschenck. Her evidence was
unquestionable,” the prosecutor said.

Sikhala's trial has been marked by drama after the MDC-99 leader initially
elected to represent himself, before engaging Chikazani.

He stunned the court when he requested that magistrate Anita Tshuma recuse
herself from the case, accusing her of bias.

The magistrate reprimanded him for “playing to the gallery”.

The magistrate will rule on the defence application this week.

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New constitution is not answer

NewsDay 12 hours 4 minutes ago

KWEKWE — Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) leader Simba Makoni has branded Copac a
waste of time and national resources, saying the party believes Zimbabwe’s
woes cannot be solved by a new governance charter.

Speaking at a meeting organised by Zimbabwe Youth In Politics in Kwekwe last
Friday, Makoni said what Zimbabwe needed was a leadership which could
respect the constitution because a supreme law under the same leadership of
Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe would yield the same results of

“We all know a constitution which is good for our nation, this Copac is an
excuse for people to earn allowances and make money. . . What we want is a
leadership which can respect that constitution and a people who will not
allow that document to be abused by a few individuals,” said Makoni.

The MKD leader said the current constitution did not allow for violence or
political meddling by uniformed forces yet this has been the case, a trend
that is likely to continue even when a new constitution is operational.

“Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, despite being the leader of our
government, does not make news on the electronic media. He is denigrated at
the National Sports Stadium on the day we celebrate our Independence and his
followers are arrested without cause . . . is this our law?” asked Makoni.

MDC-T Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya concurred saying Zimbabwe needed an
institutional change before the country could hold the next elections.

“We have police officers who were granted $50 bail after they brutally
murded a Shamva man in broad daylight, yet on the other hand we have people
who have been in remand prison for nearly a year on allegations of murdering
a police officer in Glen View even though no evidence has been brought
forward,” said Chikwinya.

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Parties reject Mugabe's poll call

Written by Staff Writer
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 18:19

HARARE - Parties in Zimbabwe have closed ranks with a resolution to boycott
any election held before the constitutional reform process has been

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have been adamantly calling
for elections this year with or without the new constitution.

The parties, speaking at a discussion forum in Kwewe on Friday, told
delegates that they will not enter into a forced election. Zanu PF snubbed
the discussion, held under the theme; “Zimbabwe at crossroads, mapping the
way forward for a credible poll.”

Opposition Mavambo Kusile Dawn president Simba Makoni said his party will
not be running in any election before Zimbabwe is ready to hold a credible

“Our position is that we will not be forced into an election under
circumstances that do not promote a credible poll. We will join Morgan
Tsvangirai on that stance,” he said.

Zapu national people's council member Bernard Magugu said reforms needed to
be addressed before any talk of an election.

“As Zapu we believe everyone has freedom of speech, at the end of the day we
will have to do what the people want instead of fighting them. We will need
reforms and a constitution; otherwise we need to redefine what an election
is, for those who do not know,” said Magugu.

Settlement Chikwinya, the MDC MP for Mbizo said his party respects the views
of the people of Zimbabwe captured in the new constitution.

“People of Zimbabwe spoke and should be listened to, going to elections
before the constitution will be betraying them. People need to go to polls
knowing the person they choose will be the one to lead them,” he said.

“....For them to know there will be a peaceful transfer of power, where the
winner will shake hands with those he would have beaten,” said Chikwinya.

Meanwhile, Makoni shrugged off allegations that he was a Zanu PF agent.

Reacting to a question from the floor from a delegate who wanted to know if
he was not sent to “divide and conquer,” Makoni said his party was different
to Zanu PF in so many ways, one of them being how the country should be run.

“Let us not be engulfed in a Zanu PF finger-pointing cloud," he said.

“When Tsvangirai formed his party, they accused him of being an agent of the
west. I came out of Zanu PF because I did not agree with certain policies
and as a party we see things differently from how Zanu sees them,” Makoni

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, in an interview with foreign press, said
if Tsvangirai decides to boycott a forced election, Zanu PF will race
against Makoni, further linking Makoni with Zanu PF.

However, Makoni refuted Gumbo’s statements saying Gumbo had no right to
speak on behalf of his party.

“Rugare Gumbo is not our spokesperson. He cannot speak for us,” Makoni said.

Makoni faced grilling from delegates who asked him why he could not join
forces with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to oust Zanu PF’s Mugabe who has
been in power for the past 32 years, like how parties in countries such as
Senegal deposed long-serving rulers.

Makoni acknowledged the need for a united force.

“There is no one political party with all the wisdom to solve the country’s
problems. However, we are driven not by what we are against but more by what
we are for,” he said.

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European Nations Back at Zimbabwe's International Trade Fair

23 April 2012

Gibbs Dube and Benedict Nhlapho | Washington

Zimbabwe’s major commercial trade event, the Zimbabwe International Trade
Fair (ZITF), starts in Bulawayo Tuesday with some western nations like
Italy, Germany and Poland returning to the showgrounds after shunning the
fair at the height of the country’s political crisis.

ZITF public relations and marketing manager Nomathemba Ndlovu dismissed
reports that some American, British and Russian firms have pulled out of the
event saying they never made any initial bookings.

Ndlovu said 98 percent of the exhibition space has been snapped up by local
and international firms with Chinese companies dominating the show.

She said the trade fair will be officially opened by Zambian President
Michael Sata this Friday as the event shows signs of significant recovery.

More than 800 exhibitors and over 112,000 members of the public graced the
event last year.

The ZITF is one of the largest multi-sectoral exhibitions in resource-rich
Sub-Saharan Africa which attracted 145,646 visitors in 2011 and provides
exhibitors with the opportunity to conduct regional and international

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth
Thabethe, is leading a group of companies exhibiting at the ZITF.

Pretoria is positive that the trip will create business linkages and
partnerships that will benefit both countries.

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Kereke to face MPs over Gono claims

24/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

FORMER Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe adviser Munyaradzi Kekere has been summoned
to appear before Parliament’s budget committee after making explosive
allegations of corruption against central bank chief, Gideon Gono.

Committee chair and Zanu PF legislator Paddy Zhanda said MPs were keen to
have an audience with Kereke when Parliament resumes sitting on May 15 but
declined to give further details.

“We requested through the clerk of Parliament (Austin Zvoma) to meet Kereke.
We invite all the people through the clerk,” said Zhanda.

Kereke – who worked at the RBZ for some eight years as one of Gono’s key
aides – left the apex bank in February following an acrimonious fall-out
with his boss.

He later threatened to take legal action against Gono in a widely circulated
letter that also revealed stunning allegations of corruption the central
bank governor.

Kereke claimed to be in possession of proof that Gono “stole public funds
and spent millions of US dollars of RBZ money to buy many personal real
estate properties (and further) abused public assets, ranging from cars,
gold bullion, shares, etc for direct personal gain.”

He, however, did not explain why he had not handed the evidence to the
police, only claiming to have deposited the supposed proof with lawyers for
his own protection.

“At least three legal experts have taken custody of the evidence to testify
on my behalf in the event I cease to be here on earth for whatever reason,
given the real threats on my life these matters are now raising,” he said.
Gono has yet to respond to the allegations, although he is believed to have
spoken directly with President Robert Mugabe.

Kereke further claimed to have done all the academic work for Gono’s PhD
programme with an American university.

“Do you forget you forced me to do all for you, right from registration, to
doing all assignments, to doing all the online exams right up to the final
thesis, so I could keep my job at the RBZ?” he said.

“On this Mr Gono please publicly retract your insults to me otherwise I will
cause the relevant university to withdraw the doctoral degree they conferred
on you, as you never ever wrote a sentence to earn it.”

The Gono-Kereke spat is said to have its genesis in Zanu PF's factional
politics. Kereke has aligned himself with Defence Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa, who sees the RBZ governor as a potential opponent in the race to
suceed Mugabe.

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Funeral scheme launched to help Zim Diaspora

By Alex Bell
24 April 2012

A new funeral plan that targets Zimbabweans in the Diaspora has this week
been launched, which aims to make it a bit easier to deal with the death of
a loved in the Diaspora.

The Diaspora Funeral Cash Plan, insured by the Zimnat Life Assurance group,
aims to alleviate some of the grief associated with a death by providing a
cash pay out within 24 hours of a claim. The service is offered to
Zimbabweans worldwide and people have to apply to be covered for up to US$20

SW Radio Africa has for years heard stories of families been left
financially ruined because of the associated costs of loved ones dying in
the Diaspora, with mortuary costs and the price of repatriating a body out
of reach for most.

In South Africa, where a conservative estimate of about two million
Zimbabweans are living, mortuary costs are said to be about R150 a day. The
costs of repatriating a body back to Zimbabwe meanwhile are anywhere between
R7 000 and R14 000 for an adult. All these amounts are beyond the reach of
many Zimbabweans in South Africa who earn monthly salaries as low as R1 500.

This is just in South Africa, but similar problems are also faced by the
Diaspora community worldwide.

Godfrey Tenesi, the New Business Development Manager from Zimnat Life
Assurance, told SW Radio Africa that the funeral plan hopes to make things a
bit easier during the grieving period. He said the plan is available to
Zimbabweans worldwide with guaranteed acceptance for applicants under the
age of 70, and people can apply online.

For more information visit

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The MDC Today – Issue No. 342

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Zanu PF activists in Chirinda area, Maramba-Pfungwe burnt down Florence Kavhayi’s house. Kavhayi is the MDC Women's Assembly Secretary for Security and Defence in Mashonaland East Province.

According to Mai Kavhayi, this was her only remaining shelter after her entire homestead was burnt down by Zanu PF hooligans during the run up to the sham 27 June 2008 presidential election.
She reported the new arson attack at Mtawatawa Police Station and a docket with RRB No. 074048 was opened.  However, no arrests have been made although the culprits have been identified.

The culprits have been identified as Cleopas Kufuka, the Zanu PF District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) chairperson, Khumbula Kurarama, a village neighbourhood watch committee member, David Dizha, the local village head, Forbes Nhongo, the Zanu PF branch chairperson and Miriro Zisengwe, the Zanu PF youth chairperson.

Since 2008, threats on Mai Kavhayi’s life have intensified.

Cases of politically motivated violence have been on the increase across the country with the police failing to apprehend the known Zanu PF perpetrators, while detaining and persecuting innocent MDC members despite calls by their leader to end violence.

Currently, 29 MDC activists are still in remand prison for over year on frivolous charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare last year.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Mugabe Feared Mujuru

Harare, April 24, 2012 - President Robert Mugabe feared Solomon Mujuru
because the former army commander enjoyed the loyalty of many senior
military commanders, a senior Zanu (PF) official was quoted by Wikileaks.

Zanu (PF) politburo member, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was quoted by the whistle
blowing website, in its latest cables, that he told US embassy officials in
Harare that "Mugabe respects and fears Mujuru".

Mujuru died mysteriously in an unexplained inferno last year.

He added: “Mujuru is also now independently wealthy, which gives him a
freedom for manoeuvre that those whose livelihoods depend on ruling party
beneficence do not have."

Ndlovu told the US not to paint everyone in Zanu (PF) with one brush because
there were moderates like himself who were trying to push for positive

He said the problem was that the hardliners had an upper hand.

“The one prominent exception is retired general Solomon Mujuru, who recently
asked Mugabe during a Politburo meeting when he planned to step down.”

Asked why politburo members, who disagreed with Zanu (PF) policies did not
resign, Ndlovu, who was surprised by the question, said anyone who tried to
resign would face very negative consequences.

Ndlovu described himself as a “voice of moderation” who tries to restrain
the worst excesses of party hardliners.

“The politburo is full of aspiring individuals who want their own chance at
the top job,” Ndlovu said. “Two options have been discussed informally among
like-minded members. The first is to somehow invoke the section of the draft
constitution rejected in 2000 creating the position of prime minister.”

He said creation of such a post, giving it executive powers, and making the
presidency a largely ceremonial position would be one way to preserve
Mugabe's ego.

During the discussions Ndlovu stressed several times it was important to
provide Mugabe with a safe package which protected him from prosecution and
allowed him to live out his remaining years in Zimbabwe.

He said the second possibility, under informal consideration, was to
engineer the appointment of two young, vigorous vice-presidents.

Ndlovu described Emmerson Mnangagwa as a hardliner through and through who
had little politburo support, due primarily to his ruthlessness.

Asked whether there was anyone the politburo would endorse as the next
President, Ndlovu named Sydney Sekeramayi.

In his commentary, former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joseph Sullivan
described Ndlovu, a youthful-looking Ndebele who was a “shameless

He said his contributions to Zimbabwe's nation-building and educational
system were painful to endure.

“Both of Ndlovu's succession scenarios are problematic,” Sullivan said. “The
move to ceremonial president does not address the issue of whether the
autocratic Mugabe would continue to dictate policy behind the scenes.
Nomination of two young vice presidents can occur only if Mugabe concurs,
and would face strong resistance from Mnangagwa and other hard-liners unless
they were the anointed successors.”

Sullivan added: “Ndlovu's scenarios sound to us more like wishful thinking
than the likely way ahead.

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Mpofu vows to continue Chiadzwa relocations

Written by Taurai Mangudhla, Business Writer
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 18:23

HARARE - Mines minister Obert Mpofu says relocations in Chiadzwa will
continue with or without a clear compensation plan.

“We have moved over a thousand families from Marange to the new area, the
new areas are much better than where they used to be,” he said, adding that
the resistance was a futile attempt to scuttle mining activities.

“You see, there has been some lobbying by people who don’t want us to
succeed to try and stop things from moving and that won’t happen.”

Mpofu said the relocations were being done under the Lands ministry’s
administration and would not be stalled on whatever condition.

“The governor and the local line ministers that are in the area have formed
a committee that is steering the process,” he added.

This comes barely two weeks after Malvern Mudiwa, a 50-year-old Chiadzwa
Community Development Trust (CCDT) member and part of a group of the
remaining Marange residents said he was seeking full disclosure of their
compensation packages before they agree to move.

“Evidence is already there that we are going to be removed, but I am going
to resist until I know how much they will give me. After all I might just
want to move to nearby villages outside the diamond mining area and not to
Arda Transaal,” said Mudiwa while presenting perspectives of the diamond
mining activity in Marange at Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)

Speaking at the same event, CCDT programme manager Melanie Chiponda revealed
diamond-mining companies operating at Chiadzwa are yet to offer compensation
to villagers who are being relocated to Arda Tsanssau in Odzi.

She said the affected families had only been given $1 000 relocation
allowances per household to date.
“The companies are yet to give compensation, the $1 000 people were given is
a relocation allowance and not the compensation,” said Chiponda.

According to the civic activist,  about 650 former Marange residents — 475
moved by Anjin, 100 by Mbada Diamonds, 51 by Marange Resources and 21 by
Diamond Mining Corporation — have already been relocated into better houses.

A total of 4 300 households are expected to be relocated from the 120 000
hectare diamond-mining area.
“If you look at the pictures of people’s houses back in Marange, the new
ones are much better. But they still require compensation,” she added.

Villagers who had businesses at Chiadzwa are demanding up to $6 million
compensation for their properties.

“Others say my shop is worth $30 000 or $40 000, but some are demanding as
much as $6 million because they argue that the figure includes potential
business that they have lost,” Chiponda said.

Zela head of research Shamiso Mtisi said Zimbabwe needs a mining policy
overhaul to ensure transparency and that its citizens benefit from the
country’s natural resources.

She said the current mining legislation had loopholes that include
relocation and compensation of the affected communities.

“We are currently operating under the Mines and Minerals Act which is very
old. Right now we have the country working on an amendment of the Act which
was put to cabinet in 2007 and it was not ratified,” said Mtisi who is also
the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme local focal point for Zimbabwe’s
civil society.

Diamond mining at the controversial fields is expected to contribute over
$600 million to government but transparency concerns over the revenue
generated have raised concern over achieving the target.

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Zimbabwe Army In Diamond Pact with China, Russia

24.04.12, 11:06

The Defense Minister of Zimbabwe revealed that the country's army has
entered into agreements with a number of foreign firms who have diamond
mining operations in the Marange region, in order to side-step the economic
sanctions imposed on diamonds emanating from the area, according to a Rough
& Polished article, quoting a report in Newsday.

Zimbabwe Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly told an audience at
Midlands State University that deals were struck with diamond companies from
China, Russia and other nations. Since there is only one Chinese firm and
one Russian firm known to be currently operating in the Marange region, that
leaves little room for doubt as to the identity of at least those two
companies: China's Anjin Investments and Russia's Chimanimani.

Rough & Polished reports that Anjin has a diamond stockpile of about 3
million carats, and that at the end of 2011 it received Kimberley Process
approval to sell its rough diamonds. Chimanimani, on the other hand, has
only produced 7,000 carats thus far, as its operations are still in the
trial stages.

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Marange diamonds - questions remain unanswered despite spin

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 24th April 2012.

The document entitled, “Mbada Diamonds: The Facts ‘they’ will not tell you,”
New, 28 March 2012, raises more questions than answers.

In an apparent trivialisation of Operation Hakudzokwi (No Return), Mbada
Diamonds said:

‘Alleged rights abuses when the army moved in to drive off illegal miners
gave hostage to fortune as hostile foreign governments, the NGOs they
control, sought to prevent the country from selling the precious stones

Mbada was not the first one to “play down” the army-led exercise which saw
hundreds killed, some of them allegedly shot by helicopter gunships at
Marange amid reports of mass graves.

Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba also known as ‘Nathaniel Manheru’ coldly
wrote: “I do not think diamond hunters will descend on Chiadzwa ever again…
KuChiadzwa hakuna mai. Hakudzokwi… The Untouchables of Chiadzwa are either
slaving, wounded or dead” (The Herald, “Operation Hakudzokwi”, 24/11/08).

Mbada Diamonds also claimed that in one year it contributed ‘the most mining
revenue to the national fiscus’ without giving hard figures and which year
it was referring to.

‘In one year Mbada Diamonds contributed the most mining revenue to the
national fiscus than all money contributed by the mining sector since 1980’,
the firm claimed, again without stating the actual amount and the specific

It would make a lot of sense if the European Union, the IMF and the US
authorities made the lifting of sanctions on Mbada and Marange companies
conditional on an immediate audit of every concession granted so far in
Marange and a diamond cash audit, because that seems to be the smoking gun.

Despite the so-called targeted sanctions, Mbada Diamonds says it declares
dividends monthly. The company also substantially sponsors football –
arguably a very strategic marketing and political tool ahead of elections.

Anyone with basic knowledge of accounts knows that dividends are only
declared after making a profit and paying tax and royalties and all
operational costs, suggesting the company is ‘minting’ money beyond

There is no denying of the fact that Mbada Diamonds has created employment
and bailed out government on some occasions with civil service salaries and
offered better compensation and relocation facilities for displaced
villagers in Chiadzwa, than other mining firms.

However, there is still concern that fierce dogs stopped locals from leaving
their homes to meet MPs who were on a fact finding mission in the area

Unless diamond and indeed other mining companies are compelled to list on
the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, which will compel them to publish their
accounts for scrutiny, transparency will never be a long suit in some of the
firms at Chiadzwa.

If Mbada was seriously being inconvenienced by the so-called sanctions, it
would arguably not have managed to commission its state-of-the-art diamond
mining plant; construct a 1.2 km long runway and buy or lease a private jet
for its deliveries after initially using a helicopter.

While the secure transfer of diamonds is a requirement of the KP system, the
massive investment in a runway and the acquisition of an aircraft raises
many questions, when the job could still be done by an armed road convoy.
Mbada’s priorities seem to be elitist.

For example, last year, Mbada reportedly “lent”, “hired” or “leased” a
private jet for Robert Mugabe’s ‘private’ visit to the Far East but the
facts ‘they’ will not tell you are who paid for the trip – the State or
Mbada Diamonds.

Last month, Mbada again, reportedly lent its aircraft to Mugabe to connect
with Singapore airlines in Jo’burg on his approximately 11th  ‘private’
visit to Singapore in 15 months.

The facts ‘they’ will not tell you are, who paid for that flight, how much
and where are Zimbabwe’s diamonds being cut and polished, given the massive

In February 2009, there were media claims that Mugabe’s wife, Grace
travelled to Asia the previous month to allegedly discuss investment
possibilities. One was “a multi-million-pound diamond venture” for cutting
and polishing diamonds at Qingdao, on China’s east coast (The Times,
‘Grasping Grace puts diamonds on her shopping list, 15/02/09).
In view of the outstanding issues at Marange coupled with the opening of new
diamond mining operations at Chimanimani amidst growing fissures in Zanu-pf,
there is need for legislation banning serving members of the security
services from controlling mining companies.

Questions that remain unanswered are: ‘Have we had all the facts on Marange
diamonds? Why are there still shortfalls in diamonds cash remittances to
treasury despite all the assurances made last year by the Zanu-pf Mines
Minister Obert Mpofu?’

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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Debt Relief – What Zimbabwe has to do to qualify

John Robertson

Debates on Zimbabwe’s crippling debts have been going on for some time and
many passionate claims for debt relief have been constructed around the
massive handicaps Zimbabweans will continue to face until the debt burden is
lifted. Most of these claims go on to argue that the countries and
organisations awaiting the repayment of their loans could so easily bring
Zimbabwe’s agonies to an end by simply writing off the debts.

Further, say these claimants, Zimbabwe fully deserves such concessions
because it is now so heavily indebted, because it is now a low-income
country, because its people are so stressed and because the country can be
so readily described as a failed state.

However, countries have to be deserving of debt relief before they get it.
That is specially true if they are suffering from self-inflicted damage and
even more so if they can be seen to be still inflicting it.

At a technical level, the Joint IMF-World Bank approach to debt reduction
was adopted to make sure that no poor country faced a debt burden that was
beyond its resources. When acceptable applications were made, debt reduction
packages under their Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative were approved
for 36 countries, 30 of which were in Africa. These packages will offer
US$76 billion in debt-service relief over time. Three additional countries
were eligible for HIPC Initiative assistance.  Zimbabwe was not one of them.

And Zimbabwe is not eligible yet. It has not yet accepted the need to change
the policies that so dramatically worsened the levels of poverty, so it has
not even started to build a track-record of successful measures that have to
show the commitment needed for continuing success.

The HIPC initiative is very clear. To be considered for HIPC Initiative
assistance, a country meet four conditions. The first is that it must face
an unsustainable debt burden that cannot be addressed through traditional
debt relief mechanisms, such as extending debt repayment terms or
renegotiating interest rates. But more seriously, Zimbabwe is not that poor.
It is merely suffering from deliberately chosen government policies that
seriously disabled its productive capacity.

The second condition is that it has to be eligible to borrow from World Bank
institutions. Top of that list is the International Development Agency,
which provides interest-free loans and grants to the world’s poorest
countries, but it must also be eligible for loans from the IMF’s Extended
Credit Facility, which provides loans to low-income countries at subsidized
rates. Zimbabwe is eligible for neither of these because it has failed to
meet previous commitments to both these organizations.

Condition number three is that the country must have achieved successes
through policy reforms that are backed and supported by World Bank
programmes. Far from accepting the need for policy reforms, the government
of Zimbabwe has not only made numerous declarations that it will never go
back on its damaging land policies, it is now in the process of forcing all
foreign-owned businesses to relinquish 51% of their shares, and forcing
mining fees and royalties up to levels that will stop new mines from

These measures have ensured that no serious productive investment inflows
can be attracted to the country. So it directly interferes with the county’s
prospects of meeting the fourth condition, which is to develop a Poverty
Reduction Strategy through the adoption of macroeconomic, structural, and
social policies and programmes that a country will pursue over several years
to promote growth and reduce poverty.

Growth requires investment and growth generates jobs. So investment is
needed for job creation and steady incomes from formal employment is the
very best way to overcome poverty. But the conduct of the government of
Zimbabwe suggests that the last thing they wish to see is the generation of
more employers and more employees.
The policy choices that did the damage – and are still being defended –
caused formal sector employment to fall by more than one third, taking the
employment numbers back to their 1970 level, while the total population was
more than doubling. The loss of jobs is the main source of Zimbabwe’s

Now, by deliberately making investment capital-starved Zimbabwe a thoroughly
unattractive investment option, government is resolutely keeping that
poverty in place by depriving the majority of Zimbabwe’s young people of
their hopes of ever finding steady employment.

To look as though they care, the politicians have extolled the virtues of
the informal sector to youngsters and their families and tried to persuade
them that all their aspirations will be met if they can become successful
vendors or cross-border traders.

But few Zimbabweans are fooled by such claims. They know that they are
constantly facing huge disadvantages by being unable to find formal sector
employment. With no payslip or employer, they cannot open a bank account,
cannot get credit from stores offering payment terms, cannot lease a flat or
a house, cannot apply for a mortgage bond to buy a property and cannot get
onto a career development programme that will help them reach their
potential. They don’t qualify, or they are not eligible.

As an informal economy, Zimbabwe faces the same handicaps in the
international arena. The country can no longer boast of the steady incomes
from major commodity exporters whose dependable earnings used to make the
country eligible for big, long-term loans.

Aid was not needed to build power stations, buy locomotives for the
railways, or aircraft for Air Zimbabwe, because the country qualified for
financial facilities by showing that its steady income and disciplined
approach to meeting obligations made it a safe bet. Zimbabwe had a long,
proud record of having never defaulted or even delayed on a payment.

That all changed when government set about dismantling the country’s largest
productive sector. It did this by forcing the closure of nearly 4 500 farms.
In fact, these were nearly 4 500 significant businesses. Between them, they
earned the bulk of Zimbabwe’s export revenues, supplied the bulk of the
manufacturing sector’s inputs and employed the country’s largest labour
force. And all the production that was supported by all the farming
activities gave rise to the government’s major sources of tax income.

These farming companies were the country’s biggest borrowers, but their
debts were well secured by title deeds to their land and those debts made
the farmers work extremely hard to achieve the highest levels of efficiency
possible. The credit they obtained and the production made possible by this
credit delivered benefits into every sector of the economy. But all of that
was brought to a shuddering halt by the nationalisation of all agricultural

The character of international assistance has changed considerably in recent
years and these changes mean that donor countries and development
organisations no longer obligingly come through with funds that enable
governments to stick to policies that don’t work.

These donor countries and development bodies are even less inclined to bail
out countries whose policies work only to enrich protected political
heavyweights. When the nationalised land was seen being used to fuel a huge
patronage system to buy the support of voters and even the loyalty of
members of the judiciary, the interpretations given to events in Zimbabwe
reflected the growing dismay of former friends and supporters.

This now dominates the attitudes of those who have to consider debt
forgiveness. Official documentation, such as World Bank and IMF reports, are
cautiously worded and their conclusions are not often sharply focused, but
the underlying frustrations are always there: here is a country that shouldn’t
need any aid at all and which would have settled all its debts and easily
qualified for even bigger loans if its own government had not launched a
vicious attack on its productive sectors.

What now? These organisations would happily put the past behind them and
would come to the country’s assistance if the needed revisions were being
made. But while the government is defending its past actions, the past
becomes the present and shows horrifying prospects of becoming the future.
Debt relief? Forget it. Zimbabwe doesn’t qualify for it. And it won’t before
it makes the needed policy changes.

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Sanctions: the Western World’s most generous gift to Zanu (PF)

John Robertson

Sanctions against Zimbabwe do not actually exist. Restrictions have been
imposed on certain individuals who have been identified with human rights
abuses. While it can be argued that some of these restrictions have missed
their targets and have affected individuals and companies that did not
deserve to be caught in the net, these cases cannot be claimed to prove that
the sanctions were applied to the whole country.

Zanu (PF) certainly does argue that sanctions are undermining the whole
country’s economic recovery, but this does not mean they believe the claims
to be true. Their purpose is to have everyone else believe they are true. By
planting and nurturing this belief in the minds of Zimbabweans in particular
and the world in general, Zanu (PF) believes it has found the best way to
deflect the blame for Zimbabwe’s collapse onto others.

However, the Zanu (PF) hierarchy knows very well that its own policy choices
caused the damage. It also knows that the policy choices were deliberately
made so that damage would be caused. Anyone taking offence at this
suggestion need only ask why the steps that arrested production across wide
swathes of Zimbabwe’s productive sectors are still being fiercely defended.

Zanu (PF) is mistaken in its belief that it has fooled everyone. Even
schoolchildren understand the need for investment in the job-creation
process and they fully appreciate the need for investor confidence before
those who have the talents needed to assemble resources and build a business
will apply their skills.

The same schoolchildren are keenly aware that very few career development
opportunities await them when they leave school and none has been deluded
into thinking that sanctions are to blame. Every existing and potential
investor has been repeatedly slapped in the face, but only by Zanu (PF)
officials, who are constantly trying to find ways of inflicting handicaps on
the business sectors. The most discouraging “sanctions” affecting all
businesses were generated in the corridors of Zanu (PF) ministries or in the
President’s Office.

Ian Scoones’ makes an entirely incorrect claim that the diplomatic aim of US
and European foreign policy was to cause Zimbabwe’s isolation and turn the
country into a pariah state. Zanu (PF) wanted to reduce the influence of
countries that worked to higher standards of conduct, so the party sought
isolation. Pariah status came with Zanu (PF)’s failing ability to service
its debts and its decreasing inclination to meet contractual obligations,
while dishonestly claiming that others should be blamed.
In demanding that its “entitlement” to international assistance should be
respected, Zanu (PF) has claimed that “sanctions” include the withholding of
aid to the whole country. The facts are very different to those claimed.
Assistance comes to those who are deserving of it, or to those who are the
victims of events over which they had no control. Because Zanu (PF) is seen
to be deserving of nothing but criticism, the considerable quantities of aid
that have arrived in Zimbabwe have been delivered straight to the areas and
communities that were in need.

Zanu (PF) takes grave exception to this because the party is denied access
to the funds and the assistance undermines the party’s efforts to keep as
many people as possible poor enough to keep them obedient, subservient and
dependent on party patronage. Poverty, therefore, is a Zanu (PF) objective
for the population at large.

Where it exists already, it is to be maintained. Where prosperity has been
edging upwards, that process is to be arrested by starving it of investment
capital. Because investors are so sensitive to market conditions that can be
so easily altered by changing the demands the investors have to meet, their
influence on the affluence of individuals, or even huge communities, can be
directly and very quickly affected.

Zanu (PF) seems to have become enthralled at its ability to make huge
differences to levels of business activity by changing a few words or
numbers in a Statutory Instrument or in statute law. Excessive wage demands
can be passed off as attempts to raise wage levels, but are actually being
used as powerful weapons to halt the growth of selected business sectors.
Existing investors are being forced to relinquish assets in the name of
indigenisation, so new industrial investors are no longer interested in

Farmers have already been forced out of business by changing the property
rights laws, which had previously offered them the security of tenure needed
to support business confidence and had placed bank finance within their
reach. Mining was beginning to look a bit too promising, so investment
allowances have been withdrawn, registration fees and licence costs have
been stepped up to ridiculously high levels and royalties have now been
increased to such high levels that only the richer mineral deposits can be
profitably mined.

Zanu (PF) has deliberately made Zimbabwe’s mineral deposits less attractive.
Many thousands of young Zimbabweans who might have had good prospects of
receiving training and good incomes from the mining sector will now have to
do what thousands before them had to do: leave the country to find a job.

If the downturns in business had been unintended consequences, all the
changes that can be so easily identified as the origins of disastrous
effects could have been reversed, but they are still being preserved and
even reinforced. Zanu (PF) very clearly does not want ordinary people to
enjoy increasing success. This is simply because the party knows that they
will become increasingly inclined to demand better governance and far less
inclined to tolerate the appalling blend of greed, ineptitude and arrogance
that has so thoroughly colonised Zanu (PF) thinking.

Naturally, Zanu (PF) has not wanted to have such accusations levelled
against it, so the imposition of targeted sanctions against identified
individuals has amounted to a wonderful, gift-wrapped bonus that Zanu (PF)
has magnified into the one and only reason why Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed.

The puffed up egos have allowed these Zanu (PF) heavyweights to claim “we
are so important to Zimbabwe that we are Zimbabwe” supports the analysis
that the same individuals believe they have restored a feudal society in
Zimbabwe and that everybody, foreign governments included, should defer to
their unquestionable majesty and respect their absolute authority.

However, Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed because the market mechanisms and
business relationships that were held together by civil rights, property
rights, the rule of law and respect for laws of contract were trashed by the
same individuals.

These features of modern society displaced the old feudal structures and
transformed the world. To the extent that they could be adopted in
pre-independence Zimbabwe, they transformed this country too. Zanu (PF) has
made strenuous efforts to reverse the entire process and to aggressively
entrench a few dozen people as the feudal overlords.

The only real mystery is why these individuals believe that the rest of the
twelve million population should feel happy with the idea.

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Bill Watch - Parliamentary Committees Series - 23rd April 2012 [Privileges Committee Meeting Open to Public 24th April]



[23rd April 2012]

Privileges Committee Meeting Open to the Public: Tuesday 24th April

Contempt of Parliament case against Mr Afaras Gwaradzimba

This meeting of a special Parliamentary Committee on Privileges is being held to hear a charge of contempt of Parliament case against Mr Afaras Gwaradzimba. 

The accused  Mr Gwaradzimba was appointed administrator of Shabani Mashava Mines [SMM] in terms of the Reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvent Companies Act by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs several years ago.

The charge  When the House of Assembly Portfolio Committee conducted hearings into the deteriorating state of affairs at Shabani Mashava Mines Mr Gwaradzimba was one of those called to give evidence to the committee.  The allegation is that in an interview with the NewsDay newspaper reported in the newspaper he made disparaging remarks about the committee and its members, in contravention of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act.  The remarks were the subject of a complaint to the Speaker by the Portfolio Committee chairperson when the Portfolio Committee report was presented to the House.  In due course, after the Speaker had ruled that there was a prima facie case of contempt of Parliament against Mr Gwaradzimba the House approved a resolution for the appointment of a Committee on Privileges to deal with it.

If found guilty, Mr Gwaradzimba could be sentenced by the House of Assembly to a fine of up to $400 or imprisonment for up to 2 years or to both a fine and imprisonment.

Members of the Committee  The committee members are Hon Mangwana [chairperson], Hon Joram Gumbo, Hon Majome, Hon Mushonga and Hon P. Dube.  They were appointed by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders in accordance with House of Assembly Standing Orders.  The party mix is: 2 ZANU-PF [Hon Mangwana and Hon Gumbo], 2 MDC-T [Hon Majome and Hon Mushonga] and 1 MDC [Hon Dube].

Details of meeting

Date:          Tuesday 24th April 2012

Time:          10.30 am

Venue:       Committee Room No. 1

Parliament Building, Harare [entrance on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue]

The meeting is open to members of the public as observers only.  IDs are required for admission to Parliament building.


Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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