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Conflicting statements over Sizzla land offer

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:41

FRESH controversy surrounds government's dealings with Jamaican reggae
artist Sizzla Kalonji following reports that he has been given a farm in
exchange for singing President Robert Mugabe's praises. Although Media,
Information and Publicity minister, Webster Shamu dismissed the allegations
that Sizzla, believed to be still holed in the country, had been given land
in Chinhoyi, his publicist in Jamaica has given conflicting statements about
the issue.

The gay-bashing singer performed at Mugabe's 86th birthday party in Bulawayo
and government officials said he was not paid any cash for that effort.

"The information that we paid him with land to support us is obviously a
figment of some people's imagination," Shamu said on Friday.

"Instead of celebrating that we have a musician of Sizzla's stature
supporting a fighter of imperialism like President Mugabe, we have people
like you demonising another black man."

But he said there was nothing that could stop the Jamaican from being given
a farm in Zimbabwe because he was black.

Since 2000, the government has been pushing white commercial farms off their
land saying the land belongs to indigenous Zimbabweans.

"Sizzla is coming from a past of slavery and not a background of plundering
other peoples' wealth like that of the white people you entertain and
glorify," Shamu lashed out.

However Olimatta Taal, Sizzla's publicist had earlier in the week told The
Jamaican Star newspaper that government had offered the singer a farm for
his performance instead of cash.

She told The Standard in a wide ranging interview through Skype that "when
he accepted the land he is in support of the land reclamation programme,
which is only natural for all daughters and sons of Africa against slavery
and colonialism, especially apartheid, one of the most brutal manifestations
known to humanity."

But when pressed further, the publicist was singing a different tune
claiming that the statements applied only "if he had at all been given the

She claimed the Jamaican newspaper had quoted her out of context.

"What I do know is that he is not doing PR for Zanu PF and that he is not on
the run, he is not a fugitive, he is not under investigation for armed
robbery and murder and that is what I was defending," she said.

Retired Major Anywhere Mutambudzi, the executive director of music galas
refused to confirm if Sizzla was paid off with land.

"I can neither confirm nor deny what you are saying because I don't know
anything about that," he said.
"In actual fact, when have we started paying people with land? I have not
been following what he has been doing. If he bought land he has a right to
do so like any other interested person."

Sizzla who has been protected from the media by his promoter in Zimbabwe,
Nhamo Chitimbe could not be reached for comment.

But a fortnight ago he told South Africa's Mail&Guardian that he supported
the land grab.


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Government takes Chiyangwa’s land

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:38

CONTROVERSY mounted over businessman Philip Chiyangwa’s property
acquisitions following the publication of a notice that the government
intended to compulsorily acquire some of his land in Harare. In a government
gazette published in The Herald on Friday, the Minister of Lands and Rural
Resettlement Herbert Murerwa announced that the government would repossess
more than 586 hectares owned by Chiyangwa, through his company Pinnacle
Holdings (Private) Limited.

The government also intends to acquire land from the Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association and Jetmaster Properties another of Chiyangwa's companies.

Murerwa said the land would be used for urban developments.

“Notice is hereby given in terms of section 8(1) of the Land Acquisition Act
(Chapter 20:10) that the President intends to acquire compulsorily the land
described in the schedule for urban development,” reads the notice.

“Deed of Transfer 5021/07, registered in the name of Pinnacle Holdings
(Private) Limited, in respect of land situate in the district of Salisbury,
being the remainder of Subdivision A of Stoneridge, measuring 586,8960

It could not be immediately established what kind of urban developments the
land would be used for. Murerwa’s mobile was not reachable.

Yesterday Chiyangwa refused to comment on the announcement saying: “Respect
my freedom. I don’t want to talk to you people. Don’t phone me again, tell
everybody there (at The Standard) not to call me.”

But a post on the Pinnacle Properties website indicates that the company has
already serviced  4 775 hectares at Stoneridge.

According to the website, the stands are for churches, corner shops, a
residential park, agri-residential premises and shopping centres.

Available are 4 775 stands serviced for sale in a proposed mixed use
development at Stoneridge in Waterfalls with planning permission for a
shopping centre, industrial, institutional and recreational development,
said the company.

Meanwhile, Harare councillors are reportedly planning to counter sue
Chiyangwa who has pressed criminal defamation charges against them following
the publication of report accusing him of illegally acquiring vast tracts of
land around the city. The councillors say Chiyangwa also defamed them when
he said they were “hoodlums” after council resolved to investigate his
property deals around December.

Councillors hope the counter suit will offset Chiyangwa’s claim for US$900
million in a defamation suit filed at the High Court last week. Alec
Muchadehama who represents the councillors said he had entered an appearance
to defend but could not confirm that the councillors wanted to counter sue.

“Following Chiyangwa and his company’s suit, we are supposed to show our
attitude to the courts hence my entrance of the appearance to defend,”
Muchadehama said.

“This then means we can pursue two options, the first being to demand
further particulars of how his claims are made up and the second being to
plead to his claim stating whether we are denying or agreeing to it.

“For the second option, we can raise any issues we have against him in the
same manner he raised his against us.”

Muchadehama said he was also considering approaching the High Court seeking
a review of the criminal defamation charges against his clients.

Magistrate Olivia Mariga last week threw out Masunda and the councillors’
application for refusal of placement on remand, saying there was reasonable
suspicion that an offence was committed.


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Marondera residents sue Chombo

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:29

THE Marondera Residents' Association has dragged the Minister of Local
Government, Rural and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo to court over his
controversial appointment of special interest councillors. The association
led by its chairman Phinias Bhusumani Chirwa filed an application at the
High Court on Thursday challenging the appointment of Ralph Chimanikire,
Charity Govere and Jealosy Gregory Kabayi.

In the application, the residents cited Chombo, the Marondera municipality,
town clerk JO Musuwo, Chimanikire, Govere and Kabayi as the respondents.

Chirwa said they wanted the appointments and swearing-in of the councillors
declared unlawful.

Chombo appointed the three councillors who are accused of having Zanu PF
links in March.

Part of the letter addressed to the town clerk on March 10 says the
councillors would enjoy the same benefits as elected councillors and would
be allowed to vote during meetings.

But the association says the appointments were not based on any legislative

According to the residents the appointments are unlawful because they are
not based on any existing legislative provision.

Chirwa said the appointments were meant to re-introduce Zanu PF into the
MDC-T-controlled council through the back door.

"I must hasten to the point that of all the 11 elected councillors in the
municipality, none was elected on a Zanu-PF ticket," he said in the

He said the minister had not made any consultations before making the
appointments, which meant that the special interest councilors would not add
any value to the local authority.

Chombo, who is engaged in running battles with several MDC-T-controlled
councils over his alleged meddling, was given 10 days to respond to the


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RG’s Office to blame for TTD chaos, SA

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:26

THE Registrar General’s Office did not inform South African authorities
about the newly introduced Temporary Travel Documents (TTDs) resulting in
hundreds of Zimbabweans being turned away at the Beitbridge Border Post.
South African immigration officials have refused to recognise the new travel
document leading to chaos at the busy port.
The TTD, introduced recently, is valid for six months and was designed to
stem the now prevalent use of fake Emergency Travel Documents.
The document costs US$38.
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede said the document was machine-readable just
like an ordinary passport and has invisible marks that can only be detected
by machines at ports of entry.
However an official at the SA Embassy in Harare on Friday said they only
read about the introduction of TTDs in newspapers.
“I have never seen the so-called TTD, I don’t even know what it looks like.
I only read about it in The Herald,” he said.
“If you want more information you should go to where the TTDs are being
Government says it is negotiating with South African authorities to end the
Over 300 people are said to be camped at the border as they wait for the
resolution of the matter.
Zimbabwe has a huge backlog of new passport applications because the
government says it does not have enough money to produce the travel


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Illegal settlers threaten Chipinge magistrate

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:23

A Chipinge magistrate had to flee for dear life recently after a group of
illegal settlers led by Zanu PF officials besieged the court building
threatening to assault him for ordering their eviction from an estate they
invaded eight years ago. Court officials told The Standard that Thomas
Masendeke sneaked through the back door as over 300 people, singing
revolutionary songs, besieged the court building baying for his blood.

The people were not happy with Masendeke's ruling that ordered them off the
Makandi Coffee Estates which they invaded during the chaotic land reform
programme which started in 2000.

The illegal settlers, mostly Zanu PF supporters, do not have any offer
letters for the farm which is 15 kilometres out of Chipinge town.

"If he had not been alerted in advance he would have been killed," said one
court official who witnessed the mob in action.

"They claimed he was an MDC activist because he ruled against sons and
daughters of the revolution."
From the court building, the group marched to the district administrator
(DA)'s office where they also sang and danced, demanding his immediate

The officials said the group was reportedly led by former Zanu PF provincial
youth chairperson Enock Porusingazi's campaign manager Simon Mapfumo.

Efforts to get a comment from Mapfumo last week were fruitless.

Masendeke confirmed that he fled after the mob descended on the courts but
refused to give more details.

"Yes, that happened but as you know I can't talk to you because I am bound
by the State Secrecy Act," he said.

Masendeke has since resumed his duties.

Chipinge DA, a Mandeta also confirmed the incident but refused to comment.

Makandi Estates - which produces coffee and bananas mainly for export - is
run by a German investor and is protected under the Bilateral Investment
Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA).

Its general manager Brandon Scott confirmed that over 300 squatters had been
ordered off the farm but said he could not comment further as the owner, a
Vonpezold, had not given him a go ahead to do so.

Both Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and his deputy Jessie Majome were
not available for comment last week.

This is not the first time that investments protected under BIPPA have been
wantonly seized by land invaders.

Zimbabwe's ambassador to Tanzania former army general Edzai Chimonyo,
invaded a Malaysian and Dutch farming entity, Matanuska, which is protected
under BIPPA.

Chimonyo said he was awarded the property in 2006 under the land reform


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Mines committee barred from Chiadzwa again

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:19

THE Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has once again barred a
parliamentary team from touring the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange, a
move that could cause further friction in the inclusive government, and fuel
divisions within Zanu PF. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and
Energy was scheduled to visit Chiadzwa on Wednesday last week, but the visit
was cancelled after Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and his Permanent Secretary,
Thankful Musukutwa refused to grant them clearance.

This was the second time in 30 days that the committee has been barred from
touring Chiadzwa.

This was despite the fact that the team had been cleared by the Ministry of
Home Affairs and the police.

Although the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) falls under the Ministry of Home
Affairs, its minerals unit stationed at Chiadzwa operates under the Ministry
of Mines since Chiadzwa is a protected area falling under the mines

In a statement issued after the first visit was aborted on March 30, the
committee said it was in the "interest of the nation" for it to tour
Chiadzwa and table findings before Parliament.

"It is the committee's stand that the relevant authorities should uphold the
principle of separation of powers and cooperate with parliament in
facilitating the granting of the clearance and allow the committee to
exercise its oversight responsibilities so that it can compile and table its
findings in parliament without further delay for the interest of the
 nation," said the committee.

Parliament officials said only Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma could
comment on the matter. Zvoma was however said to be attending the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, and there was no acting clerk.

Musukutwa was also said to be out of office, attending the ZITF. Repeated
attempts to contact him on his mobile were fruitless as the calls went

The barring of the committee has reportedly irked individual members, who
believe Mpofu is blocking them on baseless fears that the committee could be
on a witch-hunt to embarrass him.

Although this is yet to be adopted as an official position, individual
members of the committee - including those from Zanu PF - are said to be
getting frustrated by the government's attitude.

Zanu PF members of the committee include its chairperson Edward Chindori
Chininga (Guruve South), Ivene Dzingirai (Chivi South), Aqualinah Katsande
(Mudzi West), Mudarikwa Simbaneuta (Uzumba), Washington Musvaire

They are understood to be now pushing for the matter to be tabled before the
full house of parliament, which has the power to charge and prosecute a
member on any allegations that may arise.

But this can only be done after the committee has gathered eno-ugh evidence
for this to happen.

But in its statement, the committee said it had neither plans nor mandate to
investigate Mpofu's conduct.

"In terms of the Select Committee rules, the committee is not competent to
investigate any allegations against a Member of Parliament.

"That can only be undertaken by a committee on privileges set up
specifically to deal with such allegations," said the committee.

The committee has already questioned Mpofu and directors of Mbada Diamonds
and Canadile Mining, the two companies that are partnering with the
government in exploiting the precious stones.

Among other things, the committee was scheduled to meet with Manicaland
governor Christopher Mushohwe and families that have been displaced by the
mining operations.

They were also scheduled to visit the mining operations in Chiadzwa, and the
diamond storage facilities in Mutare.


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Zanu PF ghost still haunting Zapu?

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:14

ALMOST a year ago the Zimbabwe People's Union (Zapu) officially completed
its pullout from the 1987 Unity Accord with Zanu PF amid euphoric scenes.
Led by former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa, a respected figure from
the liberation struggle, the party had all the opportunities to ride on its
history as the mother of Zimbabwe's liberation movements.

Pessimists began writing obituaries for the MDC formations led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara who
have built their support around the former Zapu strongholds.

Zapu promised at its inaugural congress in May last year when it officially
cut ties with Zanu PF that the party was returning to restore "respectable
nationhood" where the people were "the pivot around which proper, able and
accountable leadership is elected."

But a year after these euphoric scenes, questions are being asked whether
there was any substance to Zapu's promises.

Already there are reports of squabbles and three of the six party members
suspended late last year for alleged indiscipline were last week hauled
before a disciplinary committee.

The rebels accuse Dabengwa the interim chairman of perpetuating the Zanu PF
culture of dictatorship and cronyism.

Critics also say the postponement of Zapu's congress from May to August was
a sign that the revival of the former liberation movement had lost steam.

Brilliant Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean academic based at the University of
Westminister in the UK warned that the revivalists were basking in the party's
former glory oblivious of the dynamic political climate in the country.

Mhlanga, who was among Matabeleland university students who once tried to
revive the party under the "Zapu 2000" banner believes Dabengwa and company
have missed a lot of opportunities since they announced their intentions to
revive Zapu.

"The fact of it being swallowed and having to exist within a monstrous fish
which is Zanu PF is what incapacitated the progressive mindsets which now
tend to be at the helm of the party," he said.

"The current stage they are in is like of a people alighting from a long
tumultuous journey which they started knowing where they were going, but
suddenly they have to alight without a complete crew of their colleagues
with whom they had started the journey".

Alderman Charles Mpofu who has been speaking on behalf of the suspended Zapu
leaders claims the party is now headed for a natural death.

He blames the loss of momentum on Dabengwa whom he accuses of surrounding
himself with former Zanu PF officials who still have links with the former
sole ruling party.

"The leadership has failed the people because it has lost focus," Mpofu
said. "Some of us were not afraid to speak against these tendencies and that
is why we were suspended.

"Dabengwa has surrounded himself with former Zanu PF people who have a bad
record in Matabeleland because they were terrorising our people.

"He is the chairman, the treasurer and the committee. . .we cannot build a
party like that."

However, Mhlanga believes Zapu won't die a natural death because of its rich
history and foresees a formidable force if the leadership takes bold steps
to inject fresh blood.

"Zapu cannot suffer a stillbirth, because it was born long ago," he said.
"It only suffered temporary paralysis when it was being swallowed and now it
exists more like an idea whose time has come.

"It is an idea which requires a radical shift whereby the leadership while
referring to history as a philosophy of verifications; they may also want to
unthink some paradigms as they are no longer applicable in this fast
changing world."

Zapu spokesman, Methuseli Moyo insists the party has not lost its initial
appeal and dismisses the dissenting voices as belonging to those who became
bitter after failing to land influential posts.

He said the suspended members who are challenging Dabengwa's authority had
been reduced to three from the initial six.

"Their disgruntlement has no basis," Moyo countered. "They expected to be
given positions in the party simply because they were so-and-so in the army,
police or because they talk a lot.

"Dabengwa was mandated by the special congress held in May 2009 to chair the
party on an interim basis. He did not choose himself.

"Other people were afraid to lead the revival of Zapu because they were
still in the MDCs or Zanu or feared Zanu PF. We could not wait for them to
make up their minds."

He said now that the party had made inroads some people wanted to impose
themselves at the forthcoming congress.

Moyo said Zapu had received an overwhelming response in the country's 10
provinces but the support has been stronger in its traditional strongholds
of Mashonaland West, Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Midlands and parts of

"This has to do with the fact that these were Zipra operational areas during
the war and Zapu roots were deeper there," Moyo said.

Zapu has also received a lot of support from Zimbabweans in exile with
vibrant structures in Europe, Canada, New Zealand, US and Australia.

The party has also been quick to re-establish links with its sister
liberation movements such as South Africa's African National Congress.

Dabengwa and other Zapu leaders were invited to celebrations to mark South
African President Jacob Zuma's inauguration last year.

Moyo believes the party would have a strong say on who governs Zimbabwe in
any future elections.
Zapu was formed on December 17 1961 after the Rhodesian government banned
the National Democratic Party.

The late Vice President Joshua Nkomo was Zapu's founding president and its
top brass had nationalists such as Samuel Parirenyatwa, Ndabaningi Sithole,
Jason Moyo, President Robert Mugabe, Leopold Takawira and Joseph Msika.


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Shawasha Hostels: living rough personified

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:12

BARE-FOOT children jump over human waste, raw sewage and decomposing rats
along the corridors as they dash in and out of their rooms. Big maggots also
try to wriggle their way into the dimly-lit corridors from the overflowing
squat-hole toilets.

In a nearby open room, women chat as they do their laundry and wash kitchen
utensils in sinks overflowing with dirt.

This has become normal life for residents of Shawasha Hostels in Mbare where
people live "like pigs in small cubicles" because of the shortage of cheaper

There are no lights in the corridors and at night there is always a looming
threat of muggings and rape for girls and women, residents said.

"Some people relieve themselves in the corridors at night because they can't
risk going into these toilets," said Eunice Chawatama, who is the
chairperson of the Mbare Residents Trust.

"People here are living like pigs. The only difference is that they are not
directly eating their own waste."
Chawatama (60), who lives in Mbare National suburb about three kilometres
aways, has dedicated her life to improving the welfare of the people
residing in the neglected and dilapidated hostels.

The situation at Shawasha Hostels is a replica of conditions at other nearby
flats such as Matapi, Matererini, Mbare and Nenyere, which were all built
during the colonial era.

Shawasha Hostels consist of 12 blocks of flats, with three floors each which
have at least 28 housing units.

The toilets in all blocks have knee high cardboards dividing the female and
male toilets, making privacy non-existent.

Each housing unit has four families crammed in one room.

In some cases, over 15 people live in one room, exposing the residents to
communicable diseases such as tuberculosis.

Couples no longer enjoy any privacy because of the living conditions.

According to a recent report by the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) entitled
Shawasha Hostels - The True Story, an estimated 28 000 people live crammed
like sardines in the five hostels.

It says within the hostels' corridors, drug abuse is rampant with teenagers
and adults alike engaging in sex orgies, capitalising on the darkness.

This, says the report, has led to increased unwanted pregnancies and
backyard abortions, creating health complexities among the victims.

"While this could be attributed to prostitution, the tenants also believe
that some desperate couples decide to have sex in the corridors and return
into their sleeping quarters afterwards."

In the toilets, human waste is dotted everywhere.

In Shawasha's block one (C-floor) the bathroom floors are flooded with raw
sewage and dirty water.
Affected residents have constructed small ridges with mud to direct flowing
raw sewage away from their rooms.

On the other side of the bathrooms are sinks, which have virtually

Unperturbed by the nauseating smell, women wash plates in the filthy sinks,
"while their feet rest on human waste scattered on the floors," says the

"Waste and dirty water leaking from the C-floor, pours into the sinks in B
and A floors, making the sinks horrible to use, but the tenants use them
anyway. There is no choice," says the report.

"There is no cleaning taking place despite tenants making monthly payments
to the local authority," says the report.

Despite the poor service delivery, the Harare City Council demands that
tenants pay rates charges.
Each of the four families in each cubicle is charged separately.

A fortnight ago, Tobias Guzha of Block 9 received a bill for US$825 for the
period covering January to March this year.

He is unemployed and hardly makes US$100 a month from his vegetable stall.

Arnold Mangezi, a tenant in the hostels, thinks the city council should not
charge the residents because it is not providing any service.

"I wonder why council is demanding such huge amounts of money from tenants
they are not giving any service. This is daylight robbery."

Mangezi, who received a bill of US$313 for March this year, stays with 11
other people in the same room.
HRT urged government to provide land to the tenants to build their own
houses elsewhere.

Harare City Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said there was an ongoing
study by the city fathers to determine whether to destroy or improve the

"Yes, we are aware of the situation in Mbare," said Gwindi. "As we speak
there is an ongoing study to determine whether we go for destruction of the
hostels or we revamp them."

On the huge bills the tenants were receiving, Gwindi said most of the
tenants had not been paying for services for a long time resulting in them
attracting arrears and interest.

Under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Zimbabwe pledged to halve, by
2015, the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water
and basic sanitation.

However, if the situation in Mbare Hostels can be used as a yardstick to
measure progress, Zimbabwe will definitely miss the targets.


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Anger boils over Garikai houses

Monday, 26 April 2010 11:03

SHARON Mapako would be a proud owner of a decent house today had the
government lived up to its promises. For the past five years, Mapako, a
victim of the government's 2005 Operation Murambatsvina, has been living in
a small bathroom with her three children.
She is hurt and her pain increases whenever she ponders on the twist of
events which landed her in the bathroom of House Number 9345 at Whitecliffe
on the outskirts of Harare.
The house, which was allocated to her under the controversial resettlement
project Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle, is now occupied by David
Muchirahondo, who claims his mother Victoria is the legal owner.
Mapako does not only think about the house and cry all the time.
She has also fought for it, a move which saw her breaking her arm recently.
But she is still prepared to fight as the other option available - bribing
officials - is a non-starter since she does not have money.
She is already struggling to look after her small family.
"We are suffering because we are poor," says Mapako. "We do not have money
to pay bribes. Right now I am nursing a broken arm all because of someone
who is determined to make sure I do not get what is rightfully mine."
Mapako was among
1 200 residents at Tongogora Housing Co-operative whose houses were
demolished during Operation Murambatsvina.
It is now five years after their names were published in newspapers
confirming that they had been allocated housing stands but their lives
remain a nightmare. And it is worsening by the day.
"I was beaten by Muchirahondo who is trying to wrestle my house.
"He says it belongs to his mother, despite the fact that I have an offer
letter and my name was even published in the newspaper confirming my
ownership of the house," she added.
Mapako and Muchirahondo's dispute has spilled to the courts.
Dumisani Moyo, the chairperson of Tongogara Development Trust, said hundreds
of people who were supposed to benefit from Operation Garikai were still
living in the open and in shacks.
The houses that were allocated to them have been taken over by a few
well-connected individuals.
"Most of the people staying at those houses were not affected by
Murambatsvina and were not on the list (of beneficiaries) that was published
in the newspapers in June and July 2005," said Moyo, who now battles with
his speech after alleged serious beatings by Zanu PF supporters blocking him
from staying at the house allocated to him.
Numerous reports have been made to the Ministry of Local Government, Rural
and Urban Development, but nothing has been done.
Moyo says the officials will never help them because "we do not have money
to bribe them".
"Instead of resolving this issue and giving us our houses, the officials are
just evasive because they know they have been collecting people's moneys.
"They want to cover up the corruption that has been taking place. It's
unfortunate some of us have to suffer simply because we have no money," said
"Right now there are hundreds of people who are staying in shacks, yet there
are houses that were built for them.
"A number of us now have permanent injuries fighting for what rightfully
belongs to us."
Attempts to obtain a comment from Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
were futile.
Last Monday, it is understood that some of the people who were allocated
stands went to seek protection from Zvimba East MP Patrick Zhuwawo and
councillor  for Zvimba Ward 20, Frank Sada.
Whitecliffe falls under Zvimba Ward 20. Zhuwawo could not be immediately
reached for comment.
"They are now trying to use politics in what is supposed to be a
straightforward issue.
"True beneficiaries are suffering yet people who were sitting pretty when we
lost our houses during Murambatsvina are now benefiting," added Moyo.
Violence is also building up.
A number of clashes have been recorded between the current occupants of the
houses and people who call themselves legitimate owners of houses at
Moyo last week also made numerous visits to Dzivarasekwa Police Station
after he was allegedly threatened with death for mobilising Tongogara
residents against the current occupants of the houses.
On Thursday, he went to the civil court in Harare to seek a peace order
against his tormentors.
Another resident, Panasi Chingasiye - who was among the first 50 people who
were supposed to move into Garikai houses - said they could have been used
for political mileage.
"When Anna Tibaijuka (the UN special envoy)  was here, we were told that
within days we would move
into the houses once they had been completed.
"I even donated my services as a builder to ensure that everything flows
"But when she left, I was told to move to an empty space as someone else had
been allocated the house.
"We do not know why people whose houses were not destroyed are now
disturbing us. We will not let anyone get away with this," said Chingasiye.
Loveness Mutyavaviri said the current state of affairs "just exposes their
(government's) lack of sincerity".
The expressions on the faces of the many residents in those shacks along
Bulawayo road summed it all: a time bomb is about to explode.


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Alternate therapy for malaria as effective as gold standard treatment

Sunday, 25 April 2010 23:30

SCIENTISTS have developed a new and improved drug regimen to treat malaria
that they say is as effective as the standard therapy. and more convenient.
Malaria infects up to 500 million people each year and claims the lives of
one million people, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.
The disease is transmitted by the bite of the female mosquito infecting
people with the parasite that causes the disease.
Researchers have been trying to develop an effective alternative therapy to
the standard antimalarial regimen to give health care workers in malaria
endemic countries more effective treatments, according to Isabelle
Borghini-Fuhrer, associate director of clinical sciences at the organisation
Medicines for Malaria Venture or MMV in Geneva.
"It's very important because some drugs are better tolerated by some
patients than others," said Borghini-Fuhrer. "Then there's also the
phenomenon of resistance to certain drugs that appears when drugs are widely
used. And therefore there needs to be alternative treatments so patients can
be immediately treated."
She says the new combination therapy of the drugs pyronaridine and
artensunate are every bit as effective and only need to be administered once
a day. The regimen that's currently in widespread use must be taken two
times per day.
A large clinical trial comparing the two anti-malarial therapies was
conducted in seven locations in Africa and three in Asia in participants
ages three-to 60-years-old. In the head-to-head contest, almost 800 patients
were given the new drug combination and nearly 400 participants received the
standard therapy of artemether-lumefantrine. Each were administered for
three days.
The new treatment turned out to be 99,5 % effective in ridding patients of
the malaria parasite. The standard combination therapy was effective in 90%
of patients.
Steven Duparc is chief medical officer at Medicines for Malaria Venture and
co-author of the study. Duparc says MMV has asked the drugs' manufacturers
to keep the cost of the new combination therapy down.
"To ensure the drug will not cost more than $0,50 for the treatment of
children and less than US$1 for the treatment of adults," said Steven
Duparc says the new antimalaria regimen still needs the approval of European
regulators and the World Health Organisation before it's available for wide
distribution in malaria endemic countries, probably in slightly more than a
Investigators now want to test the new combination in children who are
malnourished or who have anaemia.
The results of the study on the new, once-a-day anti-malarial drug therapy
were published recently in the journal The Lancet.

Jessica Berman

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Kasukuwere firm dragged to court

Saturday, 24 April 2010 23:02

UTC, a transport company linked to Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has been taken to court for failing
to pay its workers since last year.

Kasukuwere, who is part of a consortium of local businessmen who acquired
the company in 2001, has been in the forefront of a militant Zanu PF
indigenisation drive. The policy that seeks to force foreign-owned companies
to cede 51% of their shares to locals in the next five years has raised
fears that well-connected officials with no proven track record in business
will grab productive firms.

According to court and internal documents obtained by The Standard last week
UTC, which was once ranked among leading destination management companies in
the region, is facing serious cash-flow problems.

The company is part of the United Touring Group (UTG) Zimbabwe formerly
owned by United Touring International based in the UK.

At least 57 non-managerial employees have since approached the High Court
over unpaid wages and salaries which stood at US$41 887 as of February.

The workers say the company completely stopped paying them in September last
year after they were forced to take salary cuts at the beginning of the

In the application filed in March after negotiations with management broke
down, the workers want permission to seize UTC property if the company fails
to pay the outstanding salaries in cash.

They say in March last year, the company forced them to report for duty only
for two weeks per month and this saw them taking a 50% salary cut.
The workers were told the situation would return to normal after three

An internal memo from Fungayi Mutseyekwa, the managing director, said the
scheme was necessitated by "a continued decline in the general performance
of the group due to inadequate operational fleet and the current low season
in tourism business."

But the scheme was extended indefinitely as the company continued to face
serious cash-flow problems with pressure mounting from trade, sundry and
payroll creditors.

The workers have also taken the case to arbitration to challenge the short
working hours and force the employer to pay them full salaries backdated to
March last year.

"We now want our salaries to be paid in full after observing that management
continue to enjoy benefits such as fuel allocation, children's school fees
and overseas trips when we are not being remunerated to enable us to pay for
our children's school fees and buy them uniforms," another employee said.

However, documents show that management had also stopped enjoying benefits
with school fees for children and fuel allowances having been stopped in
January last year.

Some creditors are reported to be attaching properties because of bad debts,
with one company being owed $83 000 said to be threatening to attach a house
in Victoria Falls.

Minutes of a works council meeting held in March last year show that the low
morale among staff was leading to a "shocking" number of resignations.
High turnover of consultants was costing the company business as they all
left with their accounts.

The minutes also add that even if the company got clients, it did not have
the right equipment.

At one time its Victoria Falls branch lost a group of more than 70 clients
because of the capacity problems.

Employees have demanded that management adopt sound turnaround strategies,
arguing that although the tourism industry was facing hard times, some
companies were faring much better.

They also want the company's shareholders to inject money into the company,
and bemoaned the "insensitivity to service a Barclays Bank loan with the
little money that the employees are sweating for".

Kasukuwere and other undisclosed shareholders borrowed money from Barclays,
through UTc, to buy the company from international business tycoon Ketan

The deal courted controversy, with some alleging that Kasukuwere and his
group used the indigenisation campaign to elbow out Henry Cranswick.
In an attempt to boost revenues, the company is planning to convert some
properties in Victoria Falls into lodges and restaurants.

The company has also disposed of some assets including a service station in
Victoria Falls, but workers allege that proceeds from the deal were not
ploughed back into the company as promised.

Workers also alleged that the company currently survives on disposing of
assets amid allegations that it was offering "very old vehicles of no book
value" to some managers who are resigning due to non remuneration.

Mutseyekwa refused to comment on the problems at the company last week.

But board chairman Brumwel Bushu said UTC had not been spared from the
problems afflicting the wider economy.

"The tourism industry is going through a difficult time," Bushu said. "Like
many companies, we are behind with salaries.

"We would like to pay on time but we can only afford to pay as and when we
get the money because revenues have collapsed not only for us but for
everyone in the sector.

"People can prefer litigation but the point remains that revenues have

Bushu refuted claims that the company had now resorted to disposing its
assets to offset debts saying they only sold old vehicles which were not
good enough for the industry.

"But we are doing all we can to improve the business," he said. "We are
trying to ensure that we get enough revenue to oil the system but in all
arguments, people should always bear in mind that this is an industry
problem and not an individual company's problem."

UTc has since entered a notice to defend in the High Court suit while also
insisting on a government arbitrator in the other case.


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Moyana bounces back at RBZ

Saturday, 24 April 2010 22:50

SEVENTEEN years after leaving the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) as
governor, Kombo Moyana returns as a board member in a move widely seen as an
attempt to reinvent the central bank and rescue it from its mounting

Moyana was the first black central bank governor in post independent
Zimbabwe and steered the ship during his two-term tenure at RBZ, which ended
in 1993. Information obtained by The Standard shows that Moyana will be one
of the nine non-executive board members of RBZ whose immediate task would be
to resolve the debt crisis at the bank.

Over the past two months, RBZ assets have been auctioned to offset debts
incurred during the farm mechanisation programme.
The new board - chaired by RBZ governor Gideon Gono - will be announced when
Finance Minister Tendai Biti returns from the annual International Monetary
Fund/World Bank Spring meeting in Washington.

The two-day meeting ends today.

The new-look RBZ board has reputable members drawn from the business, legal
and academic fields.

It has some of the country's leading economists, Tony Hawkins and Daniel
Ndlela, Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe boss
Godfrey Kanyenze, State Procurement Board head, Charles Kuwaza, businessman
David Govere and lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu.

Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Willard Manungo and Zimbabwe Open
University vice-chancellor Primrose Kurasha join the board as non-executive

Hawkins, Ndlela and Kanyenze have worked together before producing the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) policy series documents.

Gono chaired the previous board whose members included Grace Chella, Clever
Mumbengegwi, Mike Ndubiwa and Caleb Chihota.

The RBZ governor will chair the board and will be deputised by a person
chosen by President Robert Mugabe from among the non-executive board members
after consulting the Finance minister.

There will also be a Monetary Policy Committee to determine monetary policy,
ensure price stability in line with government inflation targets, and
determine interest rates among other responsibilities.

The appointment of the new board is part of the reforms the Ministry of
Finance is spearheading to realign the central bank to a new dispensation.
The reforms were part of the amendments of the RBZ Act.

Mugabe signed the new amendments into law early this month.

The new board has to move with speed to ensure that RBZ performs its
lender-of-last-resort function, which it has not been doing since the advent
of multiple currencies due to underfunding.

Last year the RBZ received US$1,5 million from treasury and in the 2010
national budget it was allocated US$10 million amount monetary authorities
say is inadequate.

There has been concern that the parent ministry has been watching while the
central bank collapses.

The financial sector is the engine for economic growth and when it sneezes,
so does the economy.

Biti was unavailable for comment but told journalists recently that reforms
at the central bank were imminent and new board would be appointed shortly.

Biti said the ministry would move to rescue RBZ assets from writs of

"We have to protect the bank from writs of execution," Biti said. "The
problem with a writ and the problem of forced sales is that you don't get
value. Cars and assets are going for a song and we can't allow that
situation so we have to move in to correct that."

Manungo was said to be away and would only be available for comment this

In its annual Article IV consultation, IMF recommended the strengthening of
RBZ governance through the appointment of reputable members on the board.


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Mineral production on the rise — Mpofu

Sunday, 25 April 2010 22:43

BULAWAYO — Zimbabwe has projected a 15% increase in mineral output this year
buoyed by an increase in mining houses’ capacity utilisation, a cabinet
minister said last week. Addressing a business conference at the just ended
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) last week, Mines and Mining
Development Minister Obert Mpofu, said the increase in production would push
minerals exports to 51% of total output.
“The mining sector is projected to realise a 15% increase in output,” he
“This is against a decline of 23% in 2008. We envisage that Zimbabwe will
have mineral exports of about 51% of the total output. This represents a 28%
increase from the 2008 levels.”
Mpofu said the gold sector was expected to produce 7 000 kg of the precious
mineral, up from the 2000 kg produced in 2009.
“This is attributed to the developments at Freda Rebecca Mine, Metallon Gold
and Vumbachikwe Gold mines where production levels have increased to
satisfactory levels,” Mpofu said.
The platinum mining sector is expected to produce 7 800 tonnes in 2010, a
development Mpofu attributed to increased investment expected to be
channelled by shareholders at Unki Mine towards the end of the year.
There are currently drilling activities by a new investor in the sector, a
move that is also expected to increase output.
The nickel sector, Mpofu said, was expected to have very little activity
following the closure of the Bindura Nickel Mine in 2008.
“We expected that the sector would increase its output from the 4 858 kg to
about 6 000 tonnes.
“Given that the Bindura Nickel Mine was closed down in 2008, we envisage
that the company will once again find its feet and return to production by
the end of June 2010,” he said.
Chrome production is
also set to grow following the re-commissioning of the Zimbabwe Mining and
Smelting Company plant later this year.
Mpofu said the re-capitalisation of the Hwange Colliery Company might see
coal output increasing by 20%.
The 51st edition of the ZITF was held under the theme “Unlocking Investment


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Econet launches free phone service for less privileged

Sunday, 25 April 2010 22:18

ECONET Wireless, the country's largest mobile operator last week launched a
free phone service in a major investment into communities. The first free
phone service was launched in Epworth on Thursday.
This innovation comes as another first from the mobile operator soon after
the launch of a new national call centre in Graniteside industrial area in
The free phone service will be run under Econet's YourFone brand.
YourFone pay phone will provide an initiative for everyone to manage a call
through "call me back" messages.
Under the service people from economically disadvantaged communities will
now be able to use phones operated in strategic locations to contact their
relatives, asking them to call back.
"Communication has been there since the beginning of human kind and all we
are doing as Econet is making it easy and convenient for everyone to
communicate," said Douglas Mboweni, Econet's chief executive officer.
Econet's free telephone service allows members of the public to make free
calls to the police or an ambulance.
Econet has been aggressively rolling out payphones over the past six months,
targeting rural areas and high-density suburbs.
The rollout of the payphone has been made possible by the massive network
expansion that has taken Econet to more areas, making it the network with
the widest coverage in the country.
The service will be available across the country.
"Not owning a cellphone will no longer be a barrier to communication," said
Ranga Mberi Econet's corporate communications manager.
"What people will be able to do is approach an operator who has one of the
free phones and contact their relatives who own Econet mobile phones, asking
them to call them back, for no charge at all."


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Editor's Desk: A sad political prophecy that came true

Sunday, 25 April 2010 21:36

From the archives this week I got this piece of prophecy which I thought we
could share. It was published in the Economist of March 8 1980. "Britain has
discharged its responsibility to Zimbabwe, its last African colony, with
what even the most suspicious must see as democratic punctilio.

"Having brought about a tolerably clean election, and ended a seven-year
war, it is about to hand over Zimbabwe to a man who is the indisputable
choice of most of his people. Robert Mugabe's sweeping victory gives him a
claim to the prime ministership which nobody, inside Zimbabwe or outside,
should attempt to obstruct.

"It is no secret that the British government had hoped, and its foreign
office had expected, that Mugabe would not be the country's unchallengeable
new leader. The puncturing of that expectation produces inevitable tremors.
The pursuit of a high Tory colonial policy has put an avowed Marxist in
power in Zimbabwe.

"The man who was most reluctant to accept the Lancaster House agreement,
Mugabe, has triumphed from it, and Bishop Muzorewa has been trounced at the
polls. All those tortuous attempts to write checks and balances into the
constitution have been made irrelevant by an election that has given Mugabe
an unpredicted 57% of the parliament.

"There was always a potential contradiction between Britain's commitment to
settling the Zimbabwe problem by a one-man-one-vote election, and its
interest in seeing the new Zimbabwe follow a moderate, pro-western course.
The commitment has been carried out, but at the price of putting the
interest at risk. Everything now depends on which is the real Mugabe.

"Intelligent, joyless, dapper, tough, Mugabe is as difficult to gauge in his
politics as in his personality. On the evidence of his past five years, and
of his behaviour in London during the Lancaster House talks, Mugabe takes
his Marxism seriously. His articulate defence of 'scientific socialism' and
his coldly ascetic personality raise understandable fears that, after a
conventional bow to national unity, he may try to impose on Zimbabwe the
doctrines that have brought economic inefficiency and political repression
to so many other countries.

"But the past few weeks, and particularly the past few days, hold out a
qualified hope of a new Mugabe. Though still without a smile, nobody could
have sounded more the man of reassurance. There will be a place for whites
in his cabinet; there will be a job for his ex-partner and rival, Joshua
Nkomo, which could prevent a disastrous tribal split. General Walls, the
leader of the former government's security forces, will stay on to integrate
the rival armies into a single force. Marxism has been put aside - or
postponed - with promises that there will be no widespread nationalisation,
and that the (much-needed) land reform will not, according to the new
Mugabe, mean displacing white farmers, but will simply redistribute the
large tracts of land now either under-used or held by absentee landlords.

"In foreign policy, Mugabe's Zimbabwe may remain in the Commonwealth, will
be non-aligned and will coexist peaceably with South Africa. Recognising
that the country's present, very successful, economy is run along capitalist
lines, Mugabe says that any changes will be "built on that structure".

"It is little short of a miracle, and calls for the half-raised eyebrow that
miracles evoke. But the transformation is not entirely unbelievable. Marxism
has seldom taken root in ex-British colonies. Some men who used the rhetoric
of the left while working for their countries' independence disavowed it
when they came to power. Jomo Kenyatta and Hastings Banda were once African

"Mugabe may follow their example. He has only to look at neighbouring
Mozambique and Angola to see the devastation wrought by Marxist economics
and the mass exodus of Europeans.

"Mugabe's opportunity is great. No other African leader, on coming to power,
has inherited a country with so large a white tribe (some 230 000 people) or
so substantial a black middle class. That black middle class has been given
a taste for some luxuries rare in Africa: a relatively free press,
multi-party elections and vocal political opposition, well-stocked shops
and, despite the war, a remarkably well-observed law.

"Mugabe, unlike most African leaders, is in a position to deliver on his
election promises of peace and prosperity. Peace is already delicately at
hand; prosperity could rapidly blossom once the country's long-isolated
free-enterprise system is opened up to western markets, loans and
investment - none of which Marxism can deliver. If the rate of growth that
the economy clocked up before the imposition of sanctions can be restored
(and that means keeping the whites confident and investing), the country
could  soon be one of the richest in black Africa.

"There is a wider issue upon which the new Mugabe should also fix his steely
eyes. Zimbabwe, trading freely with the west, peaceful at home and on its
borders, could soon prove the natural leader, in wealth and influence, of
the nine black nations of southern Africa that ring the Republic of South

"For the moment these countries are in pathetic disarray. Some, such as
Zambia, are on the verge of bankruptcy; others, such as Angola, are in a
self-inflicted communist isolation. Zimbabwe is the second most populous,
the most prosperous and, for the moment, the most stable.

If the old Mugabe attempts in Zimbabwe the economic experiments that have
failed elsewhere ever since they left Karl Marx's pen, the chaos would be
felt throughout southern Africa. South Africa would become more isolated,
more convinced of its racist theories and more ready to fight off any
challenge by military force. But a Mugabe running an open economy, tolerant
of whites and leading a prosperous Zimbabwe - another Kenya, in effect -
would make a profound impression on South Africa. Nothing would be a greater
spur to the gathering mood among Afrikaners that they must give more wealth
and responsibility to  their black people and learn to live at ease on a
black continent.

"It is the peace of southern Africa that is at stake. Britain's success in
giving Zimbabwe its democratic chance would prove pyrrhic indeed if all its
efforts had handed this vital corner of the world into Marxist hands. It is
a legitimate fear. Will the new Mugabe dispel it?"


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Sundayview: Second rape of Zimbabwe

Sunday, 25 April 2010 21:32

THE implosion of the Zimbabwean economy, which led to hyper-inflation and
pushed millions to the brink of starvation, has been generally attributed by
analysts the world over to land grabs which turned the once powerful
agricultural sector into a disaster of epic proportions. Where once Zimbabwe
fed Africa, now the country relied on importing food and aid agencies to
keep its people alive.
With the advent of the power-sharing arrangement in February 2009 and the
arrival of Finance Minister Tendai Biti from the Movement for Democratic
Change, sound economic policies were introduced and the slow road back to
growth begun.
Unfortunately the authors of everything that is wrong with the country, are
back and demanding that they be looked after at the expense of the masses of
Zimbabweans once again.
In accordance with an indigenisation law, passed while Zanu PF still
controlled Parliament, which came into force on March 1 2010, foreign-owned
firms valued at US$500 000 dollars  or more must cede at least a 51% stake
to local owners.
An "indigenous Zimbabwean" had been defined as "any person who before the 18
April 1980" - the official founding date of Zimbabwe - "was disadvantaged by
unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race".
In terms of the regulations foreign-owned companies must submit plans to
show how they will sell 51% of their shares to black Zimbabweans within five
years. Those who fail to comply are to be charged with criminal offences and
face five years imprisonment.
Firms had been given 45 days to report their efforts at complying, but the
deadline has been extended to May 15.
Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is
required to open a register for those (elite Mugabe cronies) who will be the
beneficiaries of the shares "ceded".
The masses of indigenous Zimbabweans will get what they got when the farms
were seized - the right to be fed by aid agencies or go into mass exile in
South Africa or further abroad.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has repeatedly criticised the law
suggesting that it is not legal because it fails to comply with statutory
requirements. This has not deterred Mugabe who is going ahead with it.
Despite the fact that the country's stock market has fallen by 10% since the
law's introduction, with mining shares losing 20%, and confirmation by
analysts that the law had served to deter much-needed foreign investment in
the country, he remains unmoved.
Kasukuwere told reporters that: "I am happy to announce that government has
unanimously decided that implementation of our indigenisation policy (will)
start with the mining sector."
The biggest targets however include local subsidiaries of British banks
Barclays and Standard Chartered, as well as mining companies such as Impala
Platinum, Anglo Platinum and Rio Tinto.
Mugabe has defended the regulations as a measure to correct the economic
imbalances created by Zimbabwe's colonial past. The same Mugabe clung to
power after losing the elections because he was terrified that he would be
charged in the international court with war crimes and crimes against
humanity committed against his own people.
The same Mugabe reportedly stopped aid agencies feeding millions of
Zimbabweans who were starving as a ploy to pressurise the parties into
Kasukuwere said some mining houses had prejudiced the state by sending money
abroad without authorisation. "They were externalising as much as US$280
million. These funds are badly needed here," he said
This despite Mugabe's henchmen having moved billions abroad.
Kasukuwere said government had noted investor fears that foreign firms would
be forced to give up shares without payment.
"Some of the concerns raised relate to the intepretation of the word 'cede'
in relation to shareholding, which was misconstrued to suggest compulsory
takeover without compensation," he said.
"The indigenisation programme is based on fair transaction where full value
is compensated for."
This knowing full well that the government after years of Zanu-PF abuse
cannot even afford basic health and education costs.
It is the second rape of Zimbabwe by Mugabe and the Zanu-PF.
Like the first - the land grab - the elite will get everything and the
masses will be even poorer as the tax base shrinks and investors once again
reject Zimbabwe.


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Sundayopinion: Death penalty inhuman

Sunday, 25 April 2010 21:32

The Senate Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights was recently told that 49
inmates at Harare Central Prison were on death row out of 1 221 incarcerated
at this penal institution. Of the 49 condemned inmates, one has been facing
the hangman's noose for the past 13 years following his conviction on a
murder charge. The death row inmates pleaded for clemency urging the
committee to lobby for the removal of the death penalty from the country's
statue books.
Many of the inmates have been on death row for at least four years while
exposed to gruesome, degrading, tortuous and inhuman conditions in the
prisons. The last convicts hanged in Zimbabwe included Edgar Masendeke and
Stephen Chidhumo in 2004 who had committed various crimes including murder
and escaping from lawful custody at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in
The death penalty was introduced by colonialists in Zimbabwe for political
reasons. While alien to this country, its political history is dirty. Hence
its continued use in post-colonial Zimbabwe is reminiscent of how colonial
regimes abused it to dispose of critics and opponents.
In the first Chimurenga war (1896-7) Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi were
captured and subsequently hanged by colonialists in a bid to stifle the
dissenting voices of the black majority. Similarly, during Zimbabwe's second
Chimurenga, the death penalty was used both to intimidate people and
eliminate nationalists and the so- called "terrorists" who were up against
Thereafter - like Botswana which enforced the death penalty upon attaining
independence in 1966 - Zimbabwe continued to apply it too after attaining
independence in 1980. The two countries apply the penalty for murder,
treason, an attempt on the life of head of state and military offences of
mutiny and desertion in the face of the enemy.
However, research shows that the death penalty is contrary to traditional
African concepts of justice and beliefs which treat human life as sacred.
During the campaign against the death penalty in 2007, Zimbabwean chiefs
voiced their revulsion at it. They noted that it was an alien and a colonial
law contrary to traditional African concepts of justice and beliefs which
treat human life as sacred.
The death penalty has been found to be tortuous, inhuman, degrading and
contrary to the principles of "everyone's right to life" as enshrined in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.
Those condemned to death at Harare Central Prison therefore have every right
to clamour for clemency.
After all, the main purpose of a penal system is to reform the criminal
offender. This purpose is defeated if the offender is killed. Also, the
death penalty is final and cannot be reversed should it be found later that
the condemned person was innocent.
In 1964, Britain abolished the death penalty after finding that many people
had been executed following court judgments only for it to emerge later on
that they were innocent.
Equally tragic mistakes have been made by the courts in Zimbabwe. An
innocent woman, Sikoluhle Kachipare - on death row at Chikurubi Maximum
Security Prison despite findings by Supreme Court that she should have been
acquitted - was finally freed in 2001 after it was found she was not guilty.
Criminal justice systems are susceptible to human error. Not all those on
the death row genuinely committed crimes.
The death penalty has too often around the globe served to hide inefficiency
in the criminal justice system. It is better that 10 guilty people should
escape the noose than that one innocent person is hanged.
Also from a Christian perspective only God who created man should take away
human life.
The death penalty has always weighed against the poor, as the rich can
afford expensive legal representation to get them off the hook on
technicalities and in Zimbabwe only poor blacks have been sent to the
gallows. Contrary to what supporters of capital punishment claim, the
penalty does not deter people from committing violent crimes. Rather, it
creates an illusion that violent crime is under control and being disposed
Though Zimbabwe has been commuting some death penalty cases to life
imprisonment - the fact that some inmates have been on death row for many
years now, languishing in tiny cells while prison conditions are far below
international minimum standards - capital punishment still remains an issue
subject to contention. Worldwide trends show all democracies are moving
towards abolition of the death penalty and Zimbabwe should follow suit and
abolish it too.

Chakanyuka is a Zimbabwean journalist and research writer


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Comment: Students’ grievances demand attention

Sunday, 25 April 2010 21:30

END of semester examinations are ongoing at the country’s premier
institution of higher learning, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). For 4th
year students who are about to graduate, writing the examinations which
started on April 19 should be a moment of great anticipation and excitement.
But for the poor students, it has turned out to be a moment of anxiety.  A
sizeable fraction of them is not being allowed to sit for the examinations
after failing to pay tuition fees.
Students  say security guards stand at the entrances to the examination
rooms demanding receipts proving full payment of fees.
Whoever fails to produce the receipt is not allowed into the examination
At times, allege the students, Vice-Chancellor Levy Nyagura also personally
does these inspections.
The UZ’s case is a simple one — poor students are wasting their time by
attending lectures.  They are ineligible for exams. The same problems have
been experienced at other tertiary institutions.
In an article last week, this paper outlined some of the problems students
face at tertiary institutions.
These range from the very thorny fees issue, which students and their
parents and guardians have repeatedly said they cannot afford.
Most students argue that their guardians are civil servants earning less
than US$200 monthly.
This is chewed up by various other expenses such as rentals and rates, food
and fees for other children.
There are so many other things the students feel are impinging on their
academic freedoms.
Lack of accommodation, lack of potable water, poor ablution facilities,
shortages of study material, you name them.
The students have realised that neither themselves nor their parents can
improve their situation.
Talking to the vice-chancellors has been of no help. Petitions to parliament
and government have yielded nothing.
Out of humiliation the students have taken to the streets but this has been
met with police brutality.
Some of them have been arrested and have spent several nights in filthy
police cells while others have been tear-gassed and beaten up.
The Student Solidarity Trust has said it had hoped students’ arrests would
cease with the formation of the inclusive government.
Who else did not?
With leaders such as Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and Finance
minister Tendai Biti, former student activists themselves, being part of
government, who did not count on the new dispensation to alleviate the
students’ plight?
It baffles the mind why a government that claims to represent Zimbabwe’s
diverse interests seems so comfortable with silencing students through
arrests whenever they agitate for their rights.
How come arrests seem to be the only “fruitful” solution to students’
Is this not time to put into motion the much-hyped cadet programme where
government pays the fees for the students and then bonds them after the
completion of their studies? There has been some resistance to this from the
students themselves because they claim the bonding periods are long and
enslaving. These must be moderated to the satisfaction of everybody.
The government should start to seriously look into the students’ plight if
it cares about the future of this country.
It should set the pace for other partners to chip in and make education
accessible to all in this country.
The same applies to protecting various other groups’ rights.
Inasmuch as each one of us has a duty to keep away from trouble all the
time, it is government’s duty to ensure that citizens’ rights, including the
rights of students, are respected at all times.
All UZ students would be sitting for exams had the government prioritised
the future of this country by taking good care of students.
With satisfied students, there would be no need for security agents at
institutions of higher learning.
Should students decide to take to the streets again, government must opt for
a lasting solution instead of setting the police upon them.
All right thinking Zimbabweans long for the day when government would work
to ensure that the country’s future leaders are so satisfied they find no
reason to take to the streets.

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