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3 MDC officials killed in car accident‏

By Moses Muchemwa

Published: April 25, 2010

Three senior members of the smaller faction of the MDC led by Professor
Arthur Mutambara including deputy secretary of information Renson Gasela,
died in a car accident Saturday.

In a statement MDC spokesman Edwin Mushoriwa, said the accident occurred
about 25km outside Zvishavane along the Zvishavane-Gweru road when the
officials vehicle plunged into a stationary front-loader. He said the MDC
officials were coming from a party meeting in Zvishavane on their way to
Shurugwi to attend another party meeting. Mushoriwa said the party’s
National chairperson for the Disciplinary Committee and Midlands South
Provincial Chairperson, Lyson Mlambo and the Women Assembly Provincial
Chairperson for Midlands South, Ntombizodwa Gumbo also died in the accident.
Senior Party official, Miriam Mushayi also confirmed the accident stating
that the details are still trickling in.

“Six other party members who included the Provincial Organising Secretary,
Benias Chikweya, the Deputy Provincial Organising Secretary, Felix Pireyi,
Provincial Youth Assembly Secretary, George Mukaro, and Mkoba District
Executive Member, Ms Mhishi and the Driver, Lavender Mugavhu who were
travelling in the same vehicle were injured and were ferried to United
Bulawayo Hospital where they remain admitted,” said MDC.

The Provincial Security Officer, Antonia Sibanda who was admitted at a
hospital in Zvishavane has since been treated and discharged. “MDC wishes to
convey its heartfelt condolences to the Gasela, Mlambo and Gumbo families
over this tragic loss. The party has indeed lost dear friends and
compatriots whose contribution and dedication to the fight for democracy has
been beyond measure. We take solace in that the LORD has made his decision.
We shall always cherish the times that we have shared with our departed
compatriots though the void created by their untimely deaths will be
difficult to fill,” said MDC.

“MDC also extends its heartfelt sympathies to the families of those injured
in the same accident who are recovering at United Bulawayo Hospital. The
party wishes them a speedy recovery.”

Meanwhile, Anti-corruption commissioner and Zanu-PF central Committee member
Alice Nkomo died in a car accident Saturday night along the
Bulawayo-Plumtree Road.

She died at around 11pm together with three others she was traveling with.

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Iran strikes secret nuclear mining deal with Zimbabwe's Mugabe regime

Iran has struck a secret deal with Zimbabwe to mine its untapped uranium reserves in a move to secure raw material for its steadily expanding nuclear programme.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R) stands with Iranian 
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a parade in Bulawayo
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R) stands with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a parade in Bulawayo Photo: AFP

The agreement was sealed last month during a visit to Tehran by a close aide to Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president who last weekend celebrated 30 years in power, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

In return for supplying oil, which Zimbabwe desperately needs to keep its faltering economy moving, Iran has been promised access to potentially huge deposits of uranium ore - which can be converted into the basic fuel for nuclear power or enriched to make a nuclear bomb.

"Iran secured the exclusive uranium rights last month when minister of state for Presidential affairs, Didymus Mutasa visited Tehran," said a Zimbabwean government source. "That is when the formal signing of the deal was made, away from the glare of the media."

Mr Mutasa is the former lands minister in the Zanu-PF administration and one of Mr Mugabe's most senior aides.

The revelation came after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, visited Zimbabwe last week to show his support for Mr Mugabe. At a lavish official dinner in his honour on Thursday evening, Mr Ahmadinejad blasted what he termed "expansionist countries" for exerting "satanic pressures on the people of Zimbabwe", adding: "We believe victory is ours, and humiliation and defeat is for our enemies."

Mr Mugabe said both Zimbabwe and Iran were targeted by the West because they wanted to manage their own natural resources.

"We remain resolute in defending Zimbabwe's right to exercise it sovereignty over its natural resources. We have equally supported Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy as enshrined in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty," he said.

The uranium deal will heighten fears in the West that Iran is stepping up its nuclear programme, which intelligence agencies believe is intended to lead to the development of nuclear weapons in the near future.

Iran maintains that its efforts are aimed solely at providing energy but the United Nations Security Council is considering imposing harsher sanctions against it because of its refusal to allow proper monitoring of its nuclear sites. Mr Ahmadinejad has boasted of his country's plans to step up construction and use of the special centrifuges needed to enrich uranium to ever higher levels - putting a nuclear weapon within reach.

Most of Iran's uranium came from South Africa during the 1970s, but its stockpiles are running low, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt, so its access to Zimbabwe's reserves has been granted at a crucial moment.

The government source added: "The uranium deal is the culmination of a lot of work dating back to 2007, when Mr Mugabe visited Tehran in search of fuel. Now Iran is beginning to reap the benefits.

"Iranian geologists have being conducting feasibility studies of the mineral for over a year now and we expect them to go ahead with mining once they are ready."

A senior official at the Iranian embassy in Harare confirmed Tehran had been offered the uranium rights, after negotiations over many years. "After a lot of diplomatic work and understanding, we have received reports of a deal having been made for Iran to mine not only uranium but also other metals," he said.

The pact seems certain to place Iran under even greater scrutiny by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"If Zimbabwe and Iran were to announce a deal, then I am sure it is something the IAEA would be very interested in," said an IAEA source.

Any deal to supply Iran is likely to put Zimbabwe in breach of current UN sanctions on Iran. Under Security Council Resolution 1737, passed in December 2006, all countries are ordered to "prevent the supply, sale or transfer ... of all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to Iran's enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities."

The UN Sanctions Committee which deals with Resolution 1737 said that if the issue of uranium mining in Zimbabwe was raised, it would investigate.

Mr Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba insisted that mining rights had not yet been finalised, but he defended Iran's right to apply for them.

"The Iranians have a peaceful nuclear program. This cannot be said about the Americans who mined uranium in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and went on to produce a nuclear bomb used to attack Japan," he said. "We have our uranium and no one is mining it, until we decide otherwise," he said.

Uranium was first discovered in the Kanyemba district, about 150 miles north of the capital Harare by German prospectors in the 1980s but were not exploited due to low world prices.

Russia, Australia, South Africa and Namibia are among nations that have also expressed a desire to tap into the mineral wealth.

The extent of Zimbabwe's uranium reserves is uncertain, although some metallurgists believe that they may be very large. Initial exploration has indicated that there are an estimated 450,000 tonnes of uranium ore with some 20,000 tonnes of extractable uranium.

David Albright, founder of the Washington-based think tank Institute for Science and International Security, said that Iran was certainly looking for ways to access uranium but they risked serious consequences if they sought to import the materials.

"It would definitely anger Russia and China, as the more they are seen to be evading sanctions, the worse it is for Iran," he said.

"There is a great deal of nervousness about Iran's secrecy, and if they are secretly seeking uranium, is this to run a parallel nuclear programme to its declared one? Iran's underhand dealings helps line up support for stronger sanctions."

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Soldier charged over alleged shooting at Chiadzwa

April 24, 2010

By Our Correspondent

MUTARE - A soldier has appeared in court charged with murder after he
allegedly shot and killed an illegal diamond miner who had sneaked into the
Chiadza diamond fields.

Shepherd Maride, 24, a private in the army, based at 4.2 Infantry Battalion,
is also facing another charge of attempted murder after he allegedly shot
and injured a policeman who tried to disarm him.

The police officer, only named as Constable Beserk, is said to be battling
for his life in hospital.

The court heard that Maride met three illegal miners at Muchena Business
Centre in Chiadzwa.

Maride then allegedly shot one of them, Herbert Gwiriri, in the chest.
Gwiriri died on the spot.

Constable Beserk, who was in the company of three workmates, attempted to
disarm Maride but the soldier fired at him as well.

The police officer was seriously injured. He is at Mutambara Mission
Hospital where he is said to be in a critical condition.

Maride was later arrested. He appeared before Mutare magistrate, Annia
Ndiraya last 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.

Outlining the charges, Christine Mwenga for the state, said on April 12,
Maride met three illegal diamond panners at Muchena Business Centre in

"He accused them of illegally panning diamonds and ordered them to sit down.
While the panners were seated, Maride corked his AK 47 service rifle and
pointed it to Herbert Gwiriri whom he shot in the chest," said Mwenga.

On the second count of attempted murder, the state prosecutor told the court
that after Maride shot Gwiriri, Maride went on to shoot Beserk who had tried
to disarm him.

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Swedish organization funds returned migrants in Zimbabwe

by Gowenius Toka

Humanitarian organization Swedish International Development Cooperation
Agency (SIDA) is scheduled to formally announce a US$ 1.5 million funding to
help returned migrant Zimbabweans to resettle.
This was confirmed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
office in Zimbabwe, through whom the funding will be channeled.

The funds will meet the needs of mobile and vulnerable populations (MVPs)
and returned migrants in Zimbabwe.

"The SIDA funding was provided as a response to the Consolidated Appeal
Process (CAP) for 2010. It will contribute to IOM's two key areas of
intervention, comprehensive approach to humanitarian emergency assistance
and early recovery and livelihoods for mobile and other vulnerable
populations affected by displacement causes," said IOM Zimbabwe's Chief of
Mission Marcelo Pisani.
With their expanded resources, the IOM will be able to disseminate
information to returned migrants and mobile populations through appropriate
and feasible means.

SIDA was also hailed for its consistent support to IOM Zimbabwe.
Since the year 2000, Zimbabwe has consistently experienced increasing levels
of internal and external migration due to its socio-economic situation.

This situation has negatively affected the Zimbabwean population, through
lack of access to basic services and trauma. Consequently, the numbers of
MVPs has swollen greatly.
There has also been a massive exodus of Zimbabwean professionals to
countries in the region and abroad.

SIDA's funding comes at a critical time for the IOM as it will allow them to
provide comprehensive emergency assistance on protection, basic health
services, HIV and AIDS and sexual and gender based violence.

Early recovery and livelihood activities will assist the integration of MVPs
into mainstream society.

The latest report of the United Nations Development Programme has urged
countries to review their migrant policies so as to cater for evolutionary
changes and ultimately ensure that migration benefits both destination
countries and countries of origin.

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ICC delegation coming

Written by Sports Reporter
Friday, 23 April 2010 14:50

JOHANNESBURG - An International Cricket Council (ICC) delegation will visit
Zimbabwe in June to assess progress made by Harare cricket authorities in
implementing recommendations by the world cricket governing body meant to
help improve the local game.  (Pictured: Zimbabwe Cricket boss Paul
ICC president David Morgan will lead the delegation that will also include
the organisation's chief executive Haroon Lorgat. "The delegation will
receive further updates on the implementation of the 35 recommendations of
the ICC Zimbabwe Task Team which was chaired by Dr Julian Hunte (West
Indies)," said the ICC in a statement released last week.
"It will also discuss with Zimbabwe Cricket the progress made in the
reconstruction of domestic cricket and the prospects for Zimbabwe's return
to Test match cricket, from which they voluntarily withdrew in 2006, within
the next two years."
Zimbabwe withdrew from Test cricket in January 2006 after being left
depleted following confrontations between senior players and the

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Academics dominate new human rights body

From a special correspondent
25 April 2010
Issue: 0052

Zimbabwe has sworn in its first human rights commission, led by and
comprised mainly of academics - at a time when academic freedoms are being
violated and students have protested against a visit to the country by
hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

President Robert Mugabe swore in the Dean of law at the University of
Zimbabwe, internationally respected election administrator Professor
Reginald Austin, as head of a new human rights commission that is dominated
by lecturers.

Austin has served as chief electoral officer of the UN Transitional
Authority in Cambodia, as director of the electoral component of the UN
Observer Mission in South Africa, and as chief electoral adviser for
Afghanistan's 2004 presidential election, among other posts.

Other academics on the human rights body are: Ellen Sithole (47), a law
lecturer and advocate of women's rights; Carol Themba Khombe, a professor in
the National University of Science and Technology's department of animal
science; and Joseph Kurebwa (44), a University of Zimbabwe political science
lecturer. Other members are lawyers Jacob Mudenda and Elasto Mugwadi, and a
former mayor Japhet Ncube.

The commission has been charged with improving the human rights situation in
Zimbabwe. Systematic violations of rights saw Mugabe, the country's ruler
since independence in 1980, and his inner circle being slapped with targeted
sanctions by the United States, Australia and the European Union.

As Zimbabwe celebrated its 30th anniversary of independence from Britain
last week - and 86-year-old Mugabe his 30th year in power - the Zimbabwe
National students Union (Zinasu) said Mugabe's violations of academic
freedoms had been worse than those of the colonialists.

"Mismanagement, corruption, dictatorship tendencies, promotion of anarchy
and disrespect of the rule of law turned Zimbabwe into a sorrowful state,"
Zinasu said in a statement.

Education had become inaccessible to the majority of students, with 2009
reporting the highest drop-out rate since independence, of 31%. Tuition fees
in state institutions ranged from US$200 to $800 but civil service personnel
earned a paltry $150 a month, Zinasu complained:

"Independence was supposed to create conditions conducive for independent
and critical intellectual growth at institutions of higher learning, which
in turn would lead to developments in research and critical human
resources," the statement said.

"Today institutions of learning have been turned into torture chambers.
Since 2000 more than 400 students have been issued with indefinite
suspensions and 50 with life expulsions for demonstrating against the
unaffordability of education in Zimbabwe."

These figures were "astonishingly larger" than the numbers of students
suspended or expelled during the colonial era, Zinasu continued. Also,
students were being forced to apply for a "restrictive cadetship programme
which contains clauses that are tantamount to slavery".

The students also protested against the Iranian President opening the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, held in Bulawayo from 19-24 April. Zinasu
called on progressive students to shun the fair, to show their disgust at
the invitation to "one of the world's famous human rights violators" who
they said had inspired violence and rigged elections in his favour.

They described Ahmadinejad as notorious and his invitation to open the trade
fair as a celebration of tyranny and an insult to peace-loving people and

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Mugabe, the land baron

Zimbabwean president is now one of the country's biggest landowners
Apr 25, 2010 12:00 AM | By Own correspondent

 President Robert Mugabe is one of the biggest landowners in Zimbabwe. A
Sunday Times investigation has found that he and his family own at least 10
farms through Gushungo Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.

Gushungo is Mugabe's clan name.

The company owns 10601ha of fertile land in the country's northern regions.

The Commercial Farmers' Union says that of the original 4500 large-scale
white commercial farms, only 300 remain.

Mugabe and his family acquired a significant chunk of that farmland.

In 2008 - eight years after the land reform programme started - Mugabe's
wife, Grace, grabbed Gwina Farm in Banket from high court Judge Ben

He tried to fight her in the courts, but withdrew under intense political
pressure - not before he had exposed Mugabe and his family as multiple farm-
owners, in violation of government policy.

He revealed that the family, through Gushungo Holdings, owned Mazowe,
Sigaro, Leverdale and Bassiville farms.

He eventually lost Gwina Farm to Grace Mugabe in dramatic fashion. He was
forced out and promised another farm in an estate owned by the state-run
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, Transau, in Mutare.

When that failed to materialise, he moved into Kent Estate, in Norton, on
land owned by Ariston Holdings.

Before being thrown out by Grace, he filed a high court application suing
Gushungo Holdings - which Grace used for the takeover - and former state
security minister Didymus Mutasa, who was then also minister of lands.
Mutasa is now presidential affairs minister in the president's office.

In his court application, signed on November 6 2008, Judge Hlatshwayo, a
Harvard University-trained lawyer and former lecturer at the University of
Zimbabwe, said Grace's actions were illegal and the court should stop her.

"I have been in quiet, undisturbed, peaceful possession, occupation and
production at Gwina Farm from December 2002 until October 19 2008," he said.

He said Grace's farm managers arrived without warning on Sunday October 19
at 7am, and told him to cease farming and move out.

Before leaving, they said he would get further details from Mutasa or senior
ministry officials.

He immediately contacted his superiors, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku
and justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, who said he should find out more
because it could have been the "work of conmen".

When he got in touch with Mutasa, his worst fears were confirmed: Grace
Mugabe wanted the farm.

Grace began to put more pressure on him, sending her farmworkers to measure
and peg his land.

In the end, he was forced to withdraw his court application, and Grace got
her way, adding one more property to Gushungo Holdings' growing list of

Commercial Farmers' Union officials say Mugabe's family owns even more
farms. These include the 1000ha Foyle Farm, grabbed from Ian Webster.

It was renamed Gushungo Dairy and was recently involved in a dispute with
Swiss company Nestlé over a milk deal.

The family also owns the 1046ha Iron Mask Farm, taken from John Matthews by
Grace under the pretext of establishing an orphanage.

Judge Hlatshwayo is not the only black farmer who has lost out to the

Standard Bank CEO Washington Matsaire lost his 1200ha Gwebi Wood Farm to

The Mugabes also grabbed 1488ha Leverdale Farm from Piers Nicolle.

Mugabe's personal farm, Highfield, in Norton, is 445ha.

Farmers in the area say all nearby farms were taken to create a ''security
buffer zone" for the president, leaving him effectively controlling 4050ha.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 24th April 2010

On a warm Spring day many friends from the past came and joined us. So many marriages and relationships have been formed through the Vigil.  The children with us today were a testimony to this. Thanks to Francesca Toft for entertaining them (and stopping them wandering into the road . . .)


We are always amazed by the efforts some people make to get to us. Netty Marozva caught an overnight coach from Glasgow and was there to help us set up the Vigil. She went home on another overnight coach. Susan Chechita from Liverpool once again boarded a coach at 6.30 in the morning to be with us. It was also good to welcome Caroline Witts from Devon despite her anxious swotting for her GCSE Spanish exam.


Following the comments about the failure of the inclusive government by Lovemore Matombo of the ZCTU at our meeting last week, Vigil supporters discussed their anxieties about the state of the MDC leadership. There was surprise at the reported comments by the Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe of the MDC, that everything was wonderful in the diamond fields of Marange. She went there with Vice President John Nkomo although the Parliamentary Committee looking into the enterprise had been refused access. Finance Minster Tendai Biti says the Treasury has seen no benefit from the diamonds but Mrs Khupe was apparently full of praise for Mines Minister, Osbert Mpofu. She was quoted as saying "There was a lot of speculation in Cabinet about what was happening at Chiadzwa and Cde Mpofu was the lonely voice concerning mining activities here. We are very grateful for what we saw and we will be good ambassadors from now onwards." See


Talking about ambassadors we were sickened by a fawning missive from Trudy Stephenson of the MDC who is now Ambassador to Senegal. Writing about a visit there by President Mugabe she says: “It was a great honour to host him at the Residence”. We realise that she has to be polite to our illegitimate head of state but her schoolgirl gushing suggested she has quite forgotten the nature of this monster and the appalling waste of money for our bankrupt country of his visit to Senegal and indeed the existence of her Embassy anyway.   We were equally bemused by Graca Machel’s comment that the UK should shut up about Zimbabwe. We have been outside the Embassy every Saturday for nearly eight years come rain or shine and won’t be told to shut up by someone who was refused permission to visit Zimbabwe by Mugabe when the so-called ‘Elders’ including former US President Jimmy Carter wanted to look at the situation there. We suggest she shuts up. Check: – Zim Voice of Democracy: ‘A big thank you to Britain’.   What we say is that we are very worried about the MDC in Zimbabwe being absorbed by ZanuPF and want an end to this coalition government and free elections as soon as possible. See:
. Heart of the Matter, by Tanonoka Joseph Whande:
The MDC must start afresh now without Mugabe and ZANU-PF’.


Thanks to Vigil stalwarts Gladys Mapanda, Josephine Zhuga and Godfrey Madzunga for manning both tables, helping to set up and pack up and making sure the Vigil ran smoothly through the afternoon.


For latest Vigil pictures check: For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check:


FOR THE RECORD: 153 signed the register.



·       ROHR Glasgow relaunch meeting. Saturday 1st May from 1.30 – 5.30. Venue: Woodside Hall, 36 Glendarg Street, Glasgow, G20 7QE. ROHR Executive present to talk about the current issues in Zimbabwe and the UK.  Contact Kuda Mupunga 07940254328, Gugu Ncube 07534574763, Rugare Chifungo (Northern Coordinator) 07795070609, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070

·       London Citizens and CITIZENS UK pre-election assembly with David Cameron, Nick Clegg and hopefully Gordon Brown. Monday 3rd May from 3 – 5 pm. Doors open 2 pm – to be seated by 2.45 pm. Venue: Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH.  On the agenda is the Sanctuary Pledge (calling for an end to child detention and more support for people seeking sanctuary), Strangers into Citizens and the Living Wage. For tickets contact Eunita Masolo, email:, phone: 07949 736 222. The organizers would like a big turn-out of Zimbabweans.

·       ROHR Woking Branch 1st Anniversary Party. Saturday 8th May from 3 – 10 pm. Venue: St Pauls Church Hall, Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BD. Raffle for two hampers to be won. Tickets £6 adults £3.00 kids which includes entry and meal. Contact:  Mr Mudzamiri 07774044873, Jermaine 07908522992, Sithokozile 07886203113 or P Mapfumo 07915326323/07932216070.

·       ROHR Liverpool Demonstration. Saturday 8th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool City Centre. For details please contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Trywell Migeri 07956083758. Next demonstration on Saturday 22nd May. Same venue and time. 

·       ROHR Cambridge fundraising event. Saturday 22nd May from 4 – 10 pm. Venue: Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. African music, food and drinks hobho. Entrance fee £10 including food. Contact: Jospheth Hapazari 07782398725, Locadia Mugari 07501304116, Sibusisiwe Bafana 07765268622, Percy Marimba 07894670271 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070

·       ROHR West Bromwich Branch fundraising event. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 11pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Admission £8.00 including food and drink. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo  07817096594, Godwin Kativu 07576994816 or P Chibanguza  07908406069

·       ROHR Northampton General Meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue:  Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL.  ROHR executive members present and guest speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775,Wadzanayi Mpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi  07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.

·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check:

·       Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

·       Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: or contact:


Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe:

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Dear Family and Friends,

Saying goodbye to an old man this week was really sad. Joe is one of
the forgotten generation, one of hundreds of thousands quietly
slipping away in front of our eyes. Not cared for by Mr Mugabe's
government and ignored by Mr Tsvangirai's party, Joe is 4 years older
than our country's President but there is no dignity in his old age.
There is no free or subsidized medical care for Joe, no rent
assistance or food stamps, not even a bus pass for the elderly men and
women who have made it through Zimbabwe's collapse.

For the last seven or eight years everything in Joe's life had become
a struggle for survival. He lost his pension, investments, savings and

insurance policies as inflation reeled into hundreds, thousands and
millions of percent. When he couldn't afford, and then couldn't find
food to buy, he dug up his small back garden and planted maize, beans,
pumpkins and sweet potatoes.

When Joe's wife passed away he couldn't afford to erect a headstone
on her grave. This, he said with tears in his eyes, has been the
hardest thing to bear in the last decade.

When I went to say goodbye to Joe and have one last cup of tea with
him, we talked as we often did about growing fruit trees and about
mulch and compost. Joe has got green fingers, greener than anyone I've
ever known. Delaying the final farewell, Joe told me about fruit bats
that spend their days in the funnels of banana leaves and then the
talked turned to the new arrival in my garden. A Spotted Eagle Owl has
moved in and seems to have taken up residence in a big old Msasa tree.
Every morning he is there, sitting completely still in almost exactly
the same place on the branch as the day before. His droppings are the
only thing that give him away: filled with fur and fluff, brown beetle
bodies and a mass of rats bones which litter the ground under the
Msasa tree. Whenever I pass by this huge bird called Zizi in Shona, is
watching me from behind big yellow eyes, following my every move. With
his ear tufts standing high, Zizi presents an imposing figure, mobbed
and scolded by little birds, feared and stoned by most people around
here who say he is linked to witchcraft.

When I must say goodbye to Joe I know how much I'll miss him and our
talks about bananas and figs, birds and trees and about the nightmare
of everyday life in Zimbabwe. But much more than that, I'll miss our
talks about his lifetime spent living, and loving, Africa.

Until next time, spare a thought for Zimbabwe's older generation who
can't afford to live, or die in the land of their birth. Thanks for
reading, love Cathy � Copyright cathy buckle 24 April 2010.

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Indigenisation and empowerment : which way Zimbabwe ?

It is pointless to be politically independent but economically poor and
downtrodden.It is also pointless to be in power but without real power ;
both politically and economically.A people who do not own and control their
natural resources and thus; control their means of production is an
oppressed people.Equally important is the adage that people should not get
into politics to get rich but rather ; they should get rich in order to get
into politics.

The concept of the broad based empowerment of previously and historically
disadvantaged people can only be opposed by people who harbour the notion
that economic power and thus political influence; should  be a preserve of a
priviliged class consisting of only a few people.Thirty years after
independence, the average Zimbabwean is still classified as poor judging by
world standards.Recent statistics sadly confirmed the fact that at least 70%
of  Zimbabweans live on less than US$2 a day ; thus they are classified as
living in abject poverty.This is a very sad indictment on the founding
mothers and fathers of this otherwise great nation.If I may ask this
pertinent question :  why are we poor in the land of plenty?  Are we poor
because the white man continues to exploit our resources? Are we poor
because the so-called imperialists and colonialists have imposed so-called
'' illegal sanctions'' against Zimabwe?  The main thrust of this opinion
piece is to interrogate the concept of broad based black economic
empowerment vis- a- vis the furore being caused by the recently promulgated
indigenisation and empowerment regulations.

As a starting point; the government of Zimbabwe should be thoroughly ashamed
of the fact that three decades after independence; the country still has not
crafted a holistic, progressive and definative policy to empower previously
disadvantaged people the majority of whom happen to be blacks and other
non-Caucasian people such as Indians, Greeks and people of mixed blood.One
wonders what the government was doing all these years by failing to
formulate a policy that should have been amongst the top agenda items upon
achieving our independence in 1980.Thirty years down the line; the
government has suddenly woken up from its deep slumber and it is now;
belatedly but spiritedly; attempting to haphazardly craft an indigenisation
and empowerment policy.What a shame! Instead of using the concept of
indigenisation and empowerment as an electioneering gimmick; the government
should appreciate that this a very important and crucial exercise that will
determine the political and socio-economic trajectory of Zimbabwe for
several generations to come.Put alternatively; the broad based economic
empowerment of historically disadvantaged people ; if done properly and
holistically; will catapult Zimbabwe into the realms of the developed
world.This program; if properly crafted and  implemented; will inevitably
eradicate mass poverty and launch the country on the path of
industrialisation.However, if we choose to adopt the '' jambanja'' approach
that was adopted in the so-called land reform program; the result will be
massive de-industrialisation and  unprecedented dis-investment that will
ultimately lead to the collapse of the state and  the emergence of
war-lordism , anarchy and our own Zimbabwean version of the Mafia.

We cannot empower the poor by grabbing wealth from the rich and dishing it
out like confetti at a wedding; to the politically well-connected.You do not
empower the poor and marginalised by changing the colour of the new
bourgeois from white to black.What Zimbabwe needs, and needs urgently; is a
complete dismantling of this bourgeois mentality whereby people; across the
racial and political divide; want to accumulate wealth as an end in itself.
The unscrupulous pursuit of personal wealth, across the political divide,
has become the new Albatross around the nation's neck.This greedy and
rapacious inclination towards personal aggrandisement , if left unchecked;
will very quickly drive Zimbabwe to the realms of failed states.Once again I
ask : why are we poor in the land of plenty? Chiadzwa diamond fields, if
properly exploited, can easily rake in US$2 billion into the national fiscus
every month.Where is the wealth from the Chiadzwa diamonds going? We
shouldn't  shout about indigenisation and empowerment when we cannot even
account for the God-given wealth at Chiadzwa.Civil servants earn a pittance
every month but the diamond fields of Chiadzwa are oozing with God-given
wealth.Can someone please tell me what exactly is going on in this great
country called Zimbabwe?

Lest readers miscontrue my point; I am not by any stretch of the imagination
suggesting that people should not aspire to be wealthy.No.Not at all.As a
small boy growing up at Mushayavanhu Business Centre in Gutu; I always
admired businesspeople whose shops and businesses were thriving.I make no
apology for stating that I would like to be rich; yes; very rich but then I
despise people who plunder and steal the nation's resources.I hate looters
and thieves with a passion.Similarly; I am fascinated and extremely
motivated by the stories of women and men who have worked their socks off in
order to be wealthy.If we adopt an indigenisation and empowerment policy
that merely seeks to grab wealth from the whites and dish it out freely to
blacks and other people of colour then we are heading towards the end of
days, a real Armageddon.We did the same with land and what has become of our
land '' revolution''? We have created a nation of thousands of struggling
peasant farmers who can hardly fend for themselves.Instead of empowering our
people by identifying those who had a passion for farming and then
adequately training and capacitating them; we chose to adopt a
one-size-fits -all approach.Every black Zimbabwean was classified as a
potential commercial farmer and the '' results'' are there for everyone to
see.From being a net exporter of food and Southern Africa's breadbasket, in
a very short ten years we degenerated to become a basket case; a net
importer of food and a country that survives on handouts from donors.Some
amongst us will argue that Zimbabwe is in this perilious state because of ''
sanctions'' imposed by Britain and her Western allies.What a blue
lie.Sanctions....what sanctions?

The time to re-focus and re-design our indigenisation and empowerment
trajectory is now.We have to introspect and stop treating the empowerment
issue as a simplistic electioneering gimmick.This is a matter of life and
death.We blundered big time with the emotionally-charged, violent and
chaotic so-called land reform program.A repeat exercise is not an
option.Once bitten twice shy.

Written by :

Senator Obert Gutu

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