The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe court approves 'blood diamond' sale


1 hr 43 mins ago

HARARE (AFP) - The Zimbabwe high court has approved the sale of diamonds
from a field plagued by human rights abuses, as Harare moved to defy the
Kimberley Process, state-run media reported Tuesday.

The sale of the Marange diamonds belonging to British-owned African
Consolidated Resources was blocked last year by the international regulator
after it found that Zimbabwe had failed to comply with human rights

Harare initially stopped the sale pending authorisation from local
authorities and the Kimberley Process -- set up to prevent the sale of
so-called blood diamonds, which are used to fund rebel movements.

However, the state-run Herald newspaper reported Tuesday that the high court
has now approved the sale of 129,000 carats of diamonds belonging to African
Consolidated Resources (ACR).

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu reiterated Harare's determination to defy the
Kimberley Process, even though Zimbabwe is a member of the group.

"We are going to benefit from our diamonds whether with the KP (Kimberley
Process) or not," he said, according to the state-run New Ziana news agency.

Mpofu also claimed that the "country's detractors" were manipulating the
process in order to block Zimbabwe from benefiting from diamond sales.

"That is why our detractors always throw spanners in the wheels when we want
to move forward," he said.

Mpofu said the government will comply with the high court.

"We will abide by the court's ruling," Mpofu told AFP after a cabinet

"This is what the country has been waiting for. These resources belong to
the people of Zimbabwe," Mpofu added. "These people (Westerners) have
clearly taken their sanctions agenda to another level."

Mpofu could however not state when the sale will take place, but pointed out
that the southern African country will ask police to investigate ACR
management for buying diamonds on the black market.

He said the country had in stock 300,000 carats of diamonds that have been
mined by two firms currently contracted by the government in Marange.

Last year, government entered into a joint venture with two South African
firms to mine diamonds in Marange.

"We cannot keep or store another 129,000 carats of diamonds, but we are
going to ask the police to find out why a public listed company like ACR was
buying diamonds from panners (artisanal miners).

"We will wait for the KP monitor to come, but we cannot wait for ever."

In February, the Supreme Court ordered two government firms to stop
operations on the ACR fields. The case was brought to court by ACR in a bid
to win back its mining rights which had been suspended in 2006.

Since the suspension, the Zimbabwean government and the London listed ACR
have been in a legal fight over the ownership of the diamond fields.

In March, a Kimberly Process investigator visited the country to determine
if human rights standards are being met in the country's Marange diamond

The investigator found that while procedures looked good on paper, they were
not being implemented. Zimbabwe was given until June to fix the abuses.

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Tsvangirai On Regional Diplomatic Offensive Mission

27/04/2010 09:26:00

Harare, April 27, 2010 - Alarmed by the lack of progress in the full
implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), Zimbabwe's Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week embarked on a regional diplomatic
offensive mission, where he met South African president and facilitator
Jacob Zuma and Botswana president Ian Khama to try and put pressure on
President Robert Mugabe to reform.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been haggling over full implementation of the GPA
for more than a year after the inclusive government was put in place.

Although details of Tsvangirai's meetings with the two presidents remain a
secret, Radio VOP has it on good authority that the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader is losing patience with Mugabe who seemingly agrees to
reforms in closed door meetings but ends up failing to meet his obligations.

Tsvangirai's office on Monday refused to divulge details of the meetings but
highly placed sources said he had fully briefed Zuma about the situation in
Zimbabwe and expected some sort of action to be done in the next few days.

Tsvangirai travelled to South Africa and Botswana after snubbing Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was in the country to officially open the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) at the invitation of Mugabe. The
Zimbabwean prime minister instead chose to meet Zuma and Khama.

"The Prime Minister managed to meet SADC (Southern African Development
Community) facilitator President Zuma in Pretoria for more than three hours
last week and he was among other things discussing progress in the on-going
negotiations. He also expressed anger with Mugabe over his failure to
fulfill agreements arguing that even if they agree on certain issues, Mugabe
would renege whenever he meets his hardliners in Zanu PF.

"The problem with Mugabe is that he deceives people including presidents
from the region by appearing to agree to certain things in meetings then
dithering when it comes to implementation. Of course he usually makes a
u-turn after meeting his hardliners from the army and the politburo.  This
was what Tsvangirai was telling President Zuma.

"Right now we are a month away from the World Cup finals yet Mugabe is still
trying to create chaos here so that we embarrass our neighbours, South
Africa who are hosting one of the biggest sporting events of all time," said
the highly placed official.

Tsvangirai then proceeded to Gaborone where he met Khama, who as expected
was reportedly sympathetic to the MDC leader's concerns. The Zimbabwean
prime minister is due to meet other regional leaders. The region is said to
be losing patience with the Zimbabwe issue and if the deadlock continues,
another SADC summit on Zimbabwe might be convened.

Mugabe is claiming that he will not move on reforms unless sanctions imposed
by the West are removed while the MDC wants a number of outstanding issues
implemented like the swearing in of provincial governors and deputy minister
of agriculture designate Roy Bennett, the completion of the constitutional
reforms and media reforms among others.

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45,000 teachers quit in last 10 years: ZIMTA

27/04/2010 00:00:00
by Lunga Sibanda

A STAGGERING 45,000 teachers quit the profession and sought jobs abroad over
the last decade, a union said Tuesday.

The Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA) said at least 7,000 teachers had
heeded a government call to return to work since February last year after
Zimbabwe's three main political parties formed a power sharing government.

The figures reveal for the first time the impact Zimbabwe's economic crisis
had on the education sector as millions of Zimbabweans flooded regional
countries and thousands more went in search of a better life in Europe,
America, Canada and Australia.

In a report, ZIMTA said: "It is generally agreed that the loss over the past
years is irrecoverable in terms of quality learning and teaching time and
represents a significant gap in the education of Zimbabwe's children."

ZIMTA said the country's 5,200 primary schools and 1,500 secondary schools
were currently 30 percent short of teachers on average.

The cash-strapped unity government formed after disputed elections recently
warned it was unable to raise monthly allowances of below $270 paid to
public service workers for an indefinite period.

ZIMTA said the allowances were "demoralising" adding that teachers "cannot
meet their cost of living expenses, let alone pay for their own children's
school fees."

The union, the largest in the country, added: "Education remains the engine
with which to drive Zimbabwe's long term prospects. It is critical therefore
that the sector is not left to collapse. Enduring solutions on salaries,
food and working conditions should be reached soon, the situation in schools
requires urgent action."

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Police Bar Zimrights Photo Exhibition, Arrest Three

27/04/2010 10:48:00

Masvingo, April 27, 2010 - Riot police disrupted a photo exhibition by
Zimrights Monday which showcased the political violence of the 2008
elections, after they confisticated the pictures and arrested the

About a dozen police officers swarmed the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) boardroom, the venue of the photo exhibition, looking for organisers
of the event.

Okay Machisa, the ZimRights director, told Radio VOP police arrested Joel
Hita  and three other employees Cynthia Manjoro, Olivia Gumbo and Leo
Chamawinya on Monday.

While Hita remained in police custody on Tuesday morning, the three
employees were released at 7pm on Monday. ZimRights intended hosting an
photo exhibition entitled "Reflections."

Hita was being held without any charges being formulated against him.
Machisa said police had refused Hita's relatives to give him food.

"This is another barbaric harassment and persecution of human rights
defenders and campaigners. It is real people acting out the law.
Police were ordered by a High Court in Harare recently to return pictures
seized at another exhibition. This is a continuation of the
harassment of civil society organisations in Zimbabwe," he said.

Many people who had come for the exhibition were forced out of the venue and
ordered to disperse, Radio VOP witnessed.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Prosper
Mugauri, refused to comment on the matter, referring all questions to the
police headquarters in Harare.

However, Zimrights lawyer, Philip Shumba of Mwonzora and Associates, said:
"We are going to challenge the decision and seek the release of the
arrested. The police charged us under POSA, but the event had got clearance
from the police."

Recently Police in Harare barred a similar exhibition after arresting
Machisa who was later released at the intervention of Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimrights sought a High
Court order that compelled the police to return the pictures and the
exhibition went ahead. Tsvangirai officially opened the event. However,
organisers later abandoned the exhibition that was supposed to run for 10
days, due to constant harassment by the police. Zimrights later vowed it
will stage exhibitions throughout the country.

A Bulawayo artist Owen Maseko was also recently arrested for an exhibition
showing photos of the Gukurahundi era which saw many people in Matabeleland
persecuted by the North Korean trained fifth Brigade Army. He was later

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Watchdog queries independence of new elections body

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 27 April 2010

HARARE -- Zimbabwe's largest election monitoring body, the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network, has said the independence of the recently installed
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's is compromised through the executive
interference of President Robert Mugabe.

ZESN said the new elections body was seriously compromised as it remained
beholden to Mugabe.
The report also said the timing of the election is subject to the
proclamation by the president who is also a candidate. This makes ZEC
reactive  to the presidential proclamation.

"The independence of ZEC is therefore compromised on a number of issues due
to executive influence through ministerial approval, where the ideal should
be parliamentary and not executive," the 17-page report released Monday

"ZEC has the mandate to monitor media conduct during elections but has been
limited by financial resources and perhaps the political will to do so
effectively in the past.

"While commissioners may be "new brooms", they may face a mammoth task in
attempting to alter an institution that has been politicised for so many

The report said there were also concerns that the chairperson who is based
outside the country may not be able to entirely commit himself to the work
of the commission and his presence may be little more than symbolic given
commitments out of the country.

"In addition, the installation of a deputy chair from the former Commission
who is likely to be in charge of the Commission's processes in the absence
of the chairperson raises a number of questions regarding the extent of

The constitution needs to explicitly define the legal independence of ZEC.

Appointment and dismissal of staff must be independent from the influence of
political parties.

"In fulfilling its mandate the capacity of ZEC needs to be enhanced through
adequate resourcing and increasing its staff complement," said the report.

Furthermore the ZEC's budget must be independent from executive power and
should rather be regulated by parliament, the report said.

"Formal and practical independence form the cornerstones of an effective
electoral management body.

"Formal independence is provided for by the law and practical independence
is provided for in their ability to undertake their operational functions
without interference.

"Thus an independent electoral body should be able to appoint and dismiss
its own staff according to its needs," the report said.

"Depoliticisation of electoral governance can only be achieved by the
establishment of an independent electoral management bodies.

"Independence does not mean total disconnection from government but that as
a state institution, the body remains accountable to the state and public
through parliament.

"The fact that ZEC'S functions are to a large extent subject to ministerial
approval limits the operational independence of ZEC."

In addition, an independent electoral body should be able to level the
political field and ensure that political actors comply with the law, the
report stated.

ZESN advocates for an electoral management body that is independent and free
from executive control, which reports and is accountable to parliament. -

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Operation Murambatsvina style eviction of Zimbabweans in SA

By Violet Gonda
27 April 2010

Destitute Zimbabweans living in shacks in urban areas in South Africa are
becoming victims of a 'clean up' exercise, as the government prepares for
the World Cup which starts in June.

The South African government is using what are effectively militia groups,
called the Red Ants, to evict immigrants. They wear red overalls, paid for
by the various municipalities, arrive without warning and force the slum
dwellers out, often using brutal force and giving them no time to pack their
belongings. They are often drawn from vigilante groups and refer to
immigrants as 'parasites or cockroaches' and have become a growing force as
the government begins a campaign of "beautification", to move the desperate
refugees out, before the World Cup tourists arrive.

The SA Sunday Times newspaper reported that 100 Zimbabweans were beaten and
evicted by the Red Ants from just one derelict building on the main road to
Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, one of the football tournament's main
venues. The paper quoted one of the Red Ants from Soweto saying; "We will
not stop beating them until our work is done, until they leave this land

Braam Hanekom from the South African Refugee Rights group, People Against
Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) told SW Radio Africa
on Tuesday: "The Red Ants are renowned to be an extremely violent and
aggressive eviction unit, which is called in to do the government's dirty

He said there have been instances where people have died in the past,
because of the brutal force used by the Red Ants to evict immigrants.

Hanekom said: "Just like racism there are a lot of terms, derogatory terms,
used to demonise foreigners here. We find that groups like the Red Ants,
appeal to hooligans from the communities they are from and often have strong
links to xenophobic mobs, which were seen in 2008." Scores of foreign
nationals were killed during attacks in South Africa in that year.

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Twelve UZ students arrested over ‘fake’ receipts, finally released

By Lance Guma
27 April 2010

Twelve students from the University of Zimbabwe, who were arrested last
Thursday for allegedly using fake tuition fee payment receipts to enter
examination rooms, were finally released from police custody on Monday.
According to the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) an announcement
from college authorities that all students who had not paid their fees would
not be allowed to sit for exams triggered the crisis. To enforce this
requirement, security guards were posted at all the exam halls.

Tuition fees range from US$300 to US$800 and the majority of students say
they cannot afford this as they come from humble backgrounds. Out of
desperation the 12 students forged receipts, to give the impression they had
paid. This was the only way they could be allowed to sit for their exams.
ZINASU say about three quarters of the students have failed to pay the fees
and negotiations to resolve the matter have been in vain. Last year over
half the students at the Midlands State University in Gweru were forced to
defer their studies after failing to raise the required fees.

ZINASU maintain that there was nothing criminal in what the students at the
UZ did as they were just exercising and demanding their right to education.
UZ Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura ‘should be ashamed for dragging ambitious
students to court, their only crime being their desire to finish their
degrees and contribute to the development of the public and private sector,’
the union said.’ They also said what the students did should be a wakeup
call for the government to see how terrible the situation in colleges has

Despite being arrested on Thursday the students were kept in police custody
right up to Monday, more that 24 hours longer than the legal 48 hour
detention permitted by the law before someone is brought to court. They were
remanded out of custody until the 3rd May after college authorities failed
to appear in court.

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ZANU PF MP accused of fuelling political violence in Muzarabani

By Tichaona Sibanda
27 April 2010

The MDC-T in Mashonaland central province claimed on Tuesday that it has
indisputable evidence that the ZANU PF MP for Muzarabani South, Edward
Raradza, was fuelling a surge of violence and torture in the district.

Tonderai Samhu, the MDC-T youth chairman in the province, told SW Radio
Africa the political violence exhibited by ZANU PF militias and youths in
recent weeks has the blessing of the ZANU PF provincial governor Martin

There have been numerous reports from human rights organisations of an
upsurge of violence in rural areas, such as Mutasa North, Mudzi, Bindura and
Masvingo, by ZANU PF sponsored thugs.
Two weeks ago the pressure group Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) reported
that terror had broken out in Muzarabani, resulting in 16 families fleeing
their homes.

ROHR said the families from Hoya ward in Charunda village of Chief Kasekete
in Muzarabani, fled at night to seek refuge at St Albert business centre, 84
km away. They did this to try to escape the organized terror from a group of
200 ZANU PF youths, sponsored by Raradza.

Reports say Raradza gives free rein to militias to burn down people's homes
and cause mayhem in the villages, and that he also ferries party cadres to
villages to scare the electorate. The MDC has the vehicle registration
numbers of the various lorries, trucks and cars used to ferry the thugs.
Governor Dinha has allegedly also ordered the police not to interfere with
ZANU PF activities in the province.

'ZANU PF enjoys a free rein in the province. They're untouchable because
Dinha has told the police to back off and not to interfere with their
activities good or bad,' Samhu said.

A case in point is the refusal by the police to grant MDC activists and
supporters permission to demonstrate in major towns of the province, while
allowing ZANU PF to protest anytime, anywhere.
'The villagers here, especially those deemed pro-MDC, are defenceless and
have no one to defend them, because the police are partisan and too scared
to stop ZANU PF supporters from their violent activities,' Samhu added.

Samhu said the current violence in the country is unfortunate because it
clearly has the backing of the highest office. He said that it was very
wrong for the police to take no action against the people responsible for
the recent violence, when they would have immediately reacted if it was the
MDC creating the violence.
Meanwhile the oppression of activists and the clamp down on freedom of
expression continues as Joel Hita, the regional chairperson of ZimRights in
Masvingo, has been arrested. ZimRights' has been trying to showcase a photo
exhibition of the political violence during the 2008 elections, and have
moved it from town to town as it regularly comes under threat of closure
from the authorities. The exhibition had been taken to Masvingo and lawyer
Philip Shumba said Hita was picked up by the police even though the event
had been given police clearance. Hita was arrested along with three other
ZimRights staffers on Monday. The others were released late that night.

He remains in police custody and is being denied access to food, friends and

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Former Farm Workers Stranded And Living In Squalor

27/04/2010 10:47:00

Masvingo, April 27, 2010 - Ten families evicted from a farm by a former Zanu
(PF) provincial lands secretary have been living in the open for almost a
week at the 35 kilometer peg along the Masvingo-Mutare highway, Radio VOP
has discovered.

Despite the chilly weather that hit the southern parts of the country
recently, the communal farmers-among them a young woman with a one week old
baby- are living by the roadside.

They were evicted from Godden Farm, after their homes were torched by Bhota
Chitumba with the help of the police, and dumped at the site.

The 40 families had invaded the formerly white owned farm at the height of
the land reform programme in the year 2000, but were evicted by the new
black owner.

They have since erected temporary plastic shacks along the highway.

A health time bomb is looming as they are using the bush toilet. They are
also using the place as a market to sell ground and round nuts and livestock
in a bid to raise money to travel to their respective rural homes.

But others said they have nowhere to go as they had destroyed their former

"He told us that the farm is no longer white-owned after claiming to have
bought it. We have nowhere to go. My husband and I had destroyed our former
homes in Bikita, where we came from. All our parents are late, and we have
few relatives," said Agnes Chiropa (23) who was holding her baby.

Chitumba maintained that the families had invaded the farm when he had
bought it from the former owner, Irvine Godden.

"They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I bought the farm from the
former white owner a week before they invaded it. And I continuously told
them to start saving money and look for somewhere else way before, but they
refused. I actually gave them the grace period to harvest their crops,"
Chitumba said.

Masvingo Provincial Governor, Titus Maluleke, said he was going to do
something about the families.

"We have to do something for the families.they cannot continue to live by
the roadside..they had invaded the farm before it changed ownership, but we
are also going to investigate if Chitumba is not being used as a front by
Godden," Maluleke said.

Godden is now living in Masvingo town after he quit farming.

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Boy (15) Murders Zanu (PF) Terror Master In Revenge For Dad

27/04/2010 10:06:00

Mwenezi, April 27, 2010 - A 15-year old schoolboy here who has been waiting
to see justice being done to the people who murdered his father during the
2008 elections has taken the law in to his hands and killed a well-known
Zanu (PF) terror master on Sunday.

The event, which left the whole area in shock took place at a church service
where Nhamo Machacha had gone to further victimise worshippers in Village 2
near Neshuro Growth Point.

Machacha was an aide to a Zanu (PF) Mwenezi East Member of Parliament
Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.

Machacha had brought the church to a stand-still demanding the service to be
aborted for reasons best known to himself when the 15 year old boy came from
behind and pulled out his knife and stabbed Machacha twice in the stomach.

He was rushed to Neshuro General Hospital but he died before he was attended
to due to excessive bleeding.

Masvingo Acting police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Prosper Mugauri,
confirmed the incident saying the boy was now assisting the police with

"We have since arrested the school boy and he is assisting us with
investigations. He murdered him at a ZCC (Zion Christian Church)
church meeting," said Mugauri.

Witnesses said the boy (name supplied) said the state had taken long in
taking justice to those who killed his father during the height of
political violence in 2008.

"That boy's father Lameck Muripo was killed by Zanu (PF) thugs in 2008.
Their home was burnt and they were left homeless but the children were still
young. However, up to now the culprits including the now deceased were
walking free and this boy said he wanted to revenge," said one of the

Bhasikiti pledged to meet all funeral expenses but declared a war against
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the area.

"There is nothing to hide here. MDC is a party of violence, they need
violence and they have provoked us today. How can I keep silent when they
slapped us in the face like this?

"They have started it and they must not cry tomorrow," warned Bhasikiti.

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Only 47 surgical doctors left in Zimbabwe

Written by Paul Ndlovu

VICTORIA FALLS - The country's health delivery service , which is already under severe strain, is being further compromised by the fact that there are only 47 surgical doctors operating in Zimbabwe.

Israel Dube, the Secretary General of the Surgical Society of Zimbabwe (SSZ) said this figure was a small number. "There are only 47 surgeons in the country and this is a small number. However, we have other surgeons and doctors who are not part of us because they might be expatriates and therefore do not subscribe with us. There are also missionary doctors, then there are a few working elsewhere for other organisations sometimes in administration and not involved in operations. So the number of all surgeons working or involved in training in the country is not a big number."

"Places such as Victoria Falls, Masvingo, Kwekwe and other small towns do not have surgical professionals hence their cases are referred to other cities. Even in these cities they have to be on waiting lists," he said. He said this meant more costs and delays for patients. Dube said this at a three-day College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa/Association of East Africa (COSECSA/ASEA) annual general meeting and scientific conference in Victoria Falls.

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Bulawayo Rejects Chombo's Imposed Councillors

27/04/2010 10:45:00

Bulawayo, April 27, 2010 - Bulawayo Mayor Patrick Thaba-Moyo has rejected
plans by Local government Minister Ignatius Chombo to appoint special
interest councilors saying this will disturb day-to-day running of council

Last week Chombo announced that in the next few weeks his ministry will
complete the appointment of special interest councillors in Bulawayo, Harare
and other urban councils in a bid to provide expertise and improve service

According to the Urban Councils Act, the appointed councillors are entitled
to participate in the business of the council and perform the same functions
as elected councillors. They are also entitled to the same benefits but do
not vote at council meetings.

Chombo claims his ministry was mandated to appoint the councillors as a
means of providing expertise to the city councillors especially when
considering that a majority of them were new to council affairs thereby
lacking experience.

However speaking to Radio VOP on Monday, Thaba-Moyo said Bulawayo City
council is not going to allow Chombo to go-ahead with appointment of the
special interest councillors.

"Our position remain the same since 2008 .We are not going to allow that.
How can he talk about appointing special interest groups who bring nothing
to the city?" said Thaba-Moyo.

In 2008 Bulawayo City council went to the High Court to block Chombo from
appointing special interest councillors and won the case.

The Bulawayo City council is dominated by the mainstream MDC which has 23
councillors. Six are from the small breakaway Mutambara faction.

"We would rather prefer to work closely with our donors who bring funds to
improve service delivery than to work with these unelected special interest
councillors who will disturb our business," he said.

The eight special interest councilors who were blocked by the High Court in
2008 after appointment by the Local Government Minister are Tadubana Tshuma,
Omega Sibanda, Emmanuel Kanjoma, David Ndlovu, Abednigo Nyathi, Tryphine
Nhliziyo, Dennis Ndlovu and Ernest Marima who both Zanu PF provincial

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Harare International Festival of the Arts kicks off

By Lance Guma
27 April 2010

The annual Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), kicked off on
Tuesday with a Spanish theatre group that performed at the Olympic Games in
Barcelona in 1992 getting the ball rolling. The 6-day festival and workshop
programme has been showcasing the very best of local, regional and
international arts and culture since its inception in 1999.

Our correspondent in Harare, Simon Muchemwa, reports that the capital was a
hive of activity, with most hotels fully booked and most shows sold out.
Legendary Malian afro-pop singer Salif Keita is the star attraction. He
performs on Sunday, the last day of the festival.

Organizers says the festival 'has come to be seen as an important symbol of
something positive about Zimbabwe, unifying socially and culturally
disparate groups of Zimbabweans at a time of ideological conflict and
political uncertainty bringing huge audiences together to celebrate
something positive - the healing and constructive capacity of the arts.'

This year will be the second festival under the shaky coalition government
and Muchemwa reports that judging from participation it seems to be
recovering from the gloom associated with the economic collapse under the
ZANU PF regime.

This year will be the 11th HIFA festival.

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Measles and cholera cases a headache in Buhera

BUHERA - Buhera has seen 12 measles deaths in the past two weeks and more than 60 cases of cholera recorded in the area.

About 36 villagers were treated for cholera at Murambinda Hospital and discharged while two more cases of the deadly cholera disease were detected in Chipinge and Chimanimani, respectively. Six children died in the Dekeya area under Chief Nyashanu. They were understood to have been buried secretly by their parents, who belong to the Johane Marange Apostolic Sect, which shuns modern health treatment. The sect believes in using prayer and water to heal the sick. In Makoni and Buhera, religious and cultural radicalism continue militating against emergency health interventions meant to combat the viral measles disease, whose symptoms include drowsiness, coughing, loss of appetite, gradual elevation of temperature, body rash on the inner cheek, high fever and recurrence rash.

Chief Chiduku in Makoni district recently accused the Measles Task Teams in the district of corrupting their religious beliefs through coerced vaccination of sect children. The acrimony deepened with the traditional leader accusing the all-male Task Team of "snatching their sect wives" under the guise of an immunisation crackdown. In an interview with The Zimbabwean last week, the Manicaland Medical Director, Dr Milton Chemhuru, said the situation was under control. Chemhuru said: "We are on the verge of rolling an indiscriminate vaccination campaign for all children between six months and 14 months. The campaigns will be without exception. We want parents to adhere to prescribed child immunisation schedules."

The country will embark on a national immunisation campaign in May in order to control the disease, which has also become a menace in most southern African countries. Chemhuru added that parents, regardless of their religious or cultural beliefs should uphold the children's right to good health by letting them vaccinated. "We want to challenge members of the public to exercise the best hygienic practices as a way to curtail the spread of cholera," he said. The hardest hit with cholera in Buhera, is Muzokomba , which is facing problems of proper sanitation and safe water.

When The Zimbabwean visited the area last week, the ministry of Health and Child Welfare had deployed more nursing staff to disseminate information on good health and hygiene standards in schools and communities to prevent loss of life. Chemhuru said the ministry in conjunction with other partners such as Non-Governmental Organisations, were trying their best to curb the spread of cholera. According to the latest Zimbabwe Epidemiological Bulletin, the latest cholera outbreak has hit 12 of the country's 62 districts. Other districts which were affected included Shamva, Chiredzi, Beitbridge, Mwenezi, Hurungwe, Makonde, Chiredzi, and Kadoma.

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Zanu- Ndonga Petitions Tsvangirai

27/04/2010 09:46:00

Harare, April 27, 2010 - ZANU- Ndonga has petitioned Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai to review the hero status of their party's late leader Ndabaningi

Sithole, who distinguished himself in the liberation struggle,died in 2000
and was buried at his rural home in Chipinge despite protests from several
Zimbabweans who were convinced that he deserved to be honoured as a national

But in a letter written to Tsvangirai, ZANU-Ndonga petitioned the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader to take a leading role in convincing the
two leaders of the coalition government to appraise the hero status of
Sithole. At the time of his death Sithole was facing charges of plotting to
kill President Robert Mugabe, charges which he denied.

"As you already know Honourable Prime Minister, ZANU Ndonga's position is
that the treatment that the late Reverend Sithole got when he passed on, was
not reflective of the role that he played in the struggle for the liberation
of this country. The fact that Reverend Sithole played a significant role is
not an overstatement as you also echoed similar statements at his burial at
Freedom Farm in Mount Selinda Chipinge on the 18th of December 2000. We
would therefore be grateful if you were to give us feedback on this issue
and kindly request you to pursue the subject if nothing has been done to
date," read part of the letter written by ZANU-Ndonga national chairman
Reketayi Mushiwokufa Semwayo.

Semwayo said Tsvangirai had pledged to look into reviewing the hero status
of Sithole during a meeting he held early last year with the  (MDC) leader.

"At this meeting which we held in the presence of Deputy Prime Ministers
Thokozani Khupe and Professor Arthur Mutambara you promised to look at the
issue in consultation with President Robert Mugabe," said Semwayo.

The granting of hero status has been a contentious issue in Zimbabwe. Hero
status is the highest honour that an individual can be accorded in
recognition of his or her contribution to the struggle and success of a
nation, whatever field it may be.

Since independence in 1980 more than 80 heroes and heroines have been
interred at the country's national shrine, situated just outside Harare's
city centre.

But the national hero's status bestowed on some of the men and women buried
at the shrine has reignited debate about what constitutes heroism and the
relevance of the National Heroes Act, which gives the President, in this
case Robert Mugabe, exclusive authority to designate national heroes.

Some Zimbabweans argue that Zanu (PF) has usurped the Act and reduced
patriotism to party loyalty, allegiance and service. Presently, the Zanu
(PF) politburo, the party's supreme decision-making organ confers the hero

Since 1980 not even one member of the opposition has been buried at the
national shrine, vindicating critics who argue the honour is a preserve for
Zanu (PF) members.

Besides Sithole, James Chikerema, another veteran of the protracted
liberation struggle and a relative of Mugabe was laid to rest in Zvimba, his
rural home, after "differing with the ZANU-PF party in a major way."

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Zimbabwe Government accepts ILO Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations

     Press release
    Date issued 27 April 2010
    Reference ILO/10/18

GENEVA - ILO News - The Government of Zimbabwe has informed the
Director-General of the ILO, Juan Somavia, that it accepts the
recommendations contained in the report of the ILO Commission of Inquiry on
trade union rights in the country.

The report was submitted to the ILO Governing Body at its Session in March
of this year. The Government, in its reply dated 20 April 2010 has accepted
the recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry “in the spirit of
engagement among the people of Zimbabwe”.

The Government has indicated that these recommendations will be implemented
in the context of its current legislative and institutional reform
programme. It welcomes the guidance and support of the ILO in its
implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.

The Commission of Inquiry examined in the course of 2009 the observance by
Zimbabwe of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to
Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87), and the Right to Organise and Collective
Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98).

The recommendations of the Commission’s report entitled “Truth,
reconciliation and justice in Zimbabwe”, focus on the need for legislative
reform; the cessation of anti-union arrests, detentions, violence, torture,
intimidation and harassment, interference and discrimination; strengthening
of national institutions and social dialogue; training on freedom of
association and collective bargaining, civil liberties and human rights; and
the reinforcement of the rule of law and the role of the Courts.

"I welcome the positive response of the Government of Zimbabwe to the
recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry and the commitment it has given
to fully implement the recommendations. The ILO will continue to work with
and support the Government, Employers and Workers of Zimbabwe in their
efforts to ensure full observance of freedom of association and collective
bargaining rights in the country" said the ILO Director-General Juan Somavia
upon receiving the reply of the Government of Zimbabwe.

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MTN closes in on Telecel

Tuesday 27 April 2010

HARARE - Africa's leading mobile operator MTN has agreed to buy some of the
assets of Egypt's London Stock Exchange (LSE) listed telecommunications
giant, Orascom, which include Telecel Zimbabwe and Burundi, a senior
government official has said.

The possible inking of the agreement resulted in the LSE on Friday
suspending Orascom Telecom Holding SAE's (ORSTF) shares from trading,
pending the conclusion of the deal.

If successfully concluded MTN's purchase of Orascom's Zimbabwe assets will
become the first major deal in the country involving foreign interests since
announcement last February of controversial regulations to force
foreign-owned firms to cede majority stake to local blacks.

The indigenisation regulations give foreign-owned firms up to May 15 to
submit proposals on how they intended to offload 51 percent stake to
indigenous Zimbabweans by March 2015.

Speaking on condition that his name was not published, a senior official
from the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe
(POTRAZ), said at the weekend MTN would comply with the country's
indigenisation law.

"MTN will retain 49 percent in Zimbabwe, once the payment goes through to
comply with POTRAZ," said the source, adding; "Under the deal, MTN has
agreed to buy some of Orascom's operations in Zimbabwe and Burundi.
"The actual value of the deal could be as high as $10 billion if it goes
through. This will also be good news to Zimbabwe given the problems that
have been caused by the indigenisation and empowerment law."

MTN could not be reached for comment at the weekend.

Through its subsidiary Telecel Globe, OTH also operates in the Central
African Republic, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Orascom Telecom had over 88 million
subscribers as of September 2009.

MTN has vast business interests spanning across the continent and the Middle

Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said the empowerment
programme will first target the mining sector where some of the world's
biggest international corporations hold multi-million dollar investments.

According to Kasukuwere to date 400 firms have submitted empowerment
proposals to his ministry.

The economic empowerment scheme has split the Harare coalition government
with President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party backing the plan.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC party want the
indigenisation programme stopped to allow for more consultation and drafting
of new regulations that will not scare away foreign investors, while
allowing for economic empowerment of the majority.

Large multinational corporations such as cigarette manufacturer BAT
Zimbabwe, which is 80 percent British-owned, UK-controlled financial
institutions Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, food group Nestlé
Zimbabwe, mining giants Rio Tinto and Zimplats, and AON Insurance are some
of the big foreign-owned firms that will be forced to cede control to
locals. - ZimOnline

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HOT SEAT: Matombo says MDC disengaged too early from ZCTU

SW Radio Africa Transcript

HOT SEAT: Matombo says MDC disengaged too early from ZCTU

Synopsis: Journalist Violet Gonda presents Hot Seat where she speaks to the President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Lovemore Matombo, who gives us the ZCTU’s position on the coalition government and the key issues that affect workers. He says the MDC was initially regarded as ‘a union based party with strong connections to the poor,’ but has now disengaged itself too early from the labour movement. Matombo feels they no longer share an ideological connection with the MDC , and the labour leader also criticises the National Healing Organ for doing ‘nothing,’ saying it does not exist in the eyes of Zimbabweans. He also gives us the ZCTU’s position on the controversial indigenisation regulations, among other issues .

maduku and Nyathi


VIOLET GONDA: My guest on the programme Hot Seat today is the President of the Zimbabwe's Congress of Trade Unions Mr. Lovemore Matombo.

Where is the focus of the ZCTU right now?

LOVEMORE MATOMBO: Well the focus of the ZCTU remains the same in that we need to guide the working people along processes that should give them enough money for their survival. That has always been the case – whatever we do, wherever we go, whatever we talk, it has always been the case that we need Zimbabwean people to earn enough money, that is of course not below the poverty datum line and our focus has remained as it is.

GONDA: Before we carry on with that point, what is the ILO Commission of Enquiry and what did it release?

MATOMBO: The ILO Commission of Enquiry Report is one significant report that has come, that has emerged from the International Labour Organisation. It is the first time that the International Labour Organisation invoked Article 26 of its Constitution to investigate and make an enquiry of a member State and coming up with the position that they did is also quite significant and also the recommendation. This Report, in our view, vindicates the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in that they did discover that there was a trade union and a human rights violation in Zimbabwe, well documented and this is quite significant. We feel so vindicated.

GONDA: What are these violations and what were their recommendations?

MATOMBO: What was happening is this – the violations which they started to investigate, the investigation started in 2002 going up until 2009 and what they wanted to see was whether from what the ZCTU was presenting at the ILO, whether that was true or not that people were being arrested, that people were being tortured and that people were being harassed and what they had to do was to have discussions with those people who were directly affected by the human rights violations. And of course they also discussed this issue with government ministers. The Report is quite clear about which ministers were visited and who were part and parcel of this whole inquiry and generally all those people do agree that there were human rights and trade union rights violations in Zimbabwe, including the employers themselves, they also do agree.

But of course there were some recommendations, but let me just mention the two of the main recommendations which are so clear and fundamental – these are mainly that there should be a truth, reconciliation and justice within the Zimbabwean population because they had noted the polarisation of the Zimbabwean society, polarisation on political grounds. And that recommendation is important because Zimbabwe remains a traumatised society because of the human rights violations that were conducted by the government of the day and the question of reconciliation, truth and reconciliation becomes paramount.

There’s also another recommendation that the structures of the security sector needs training and education. For example what you might have heard is that, say if ZCTU is conducting a particular exercise, like protesting or demonstrating, the first thing the police do is not to talk to the people, they hit, they just hit. Precisely the same way that used to happen with the colonial system, so what it means is that the colonial system has continued up until to this day and what is important is that there should be training to ensure that the police should understand what are the basic rights and what are not the basic rights and how do they treat each and every person. So I think those two areas are so key and fundamental as part of the recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry.

GONDA: There is an Organ on National Healing, is it doing enough as far as the ZCTU is concerned to address some of these issues?

MATOMBO: Ah well, it is just an Organ. I don’t think it is doing anything at all. Well these are just structures which were made for politics, it’s not doing enough and it has never been heard anywhere and as you might know there continues to be human rights violations even up to today, people being arrested and the infighting and so the Zimbabwean society is still so much polarised and that thing does not exist in the eyes of Zimbabweans. And I don’t think even if you go to the rural area, to talk about the Organ on Healing and Reconciliation as whether they know that there is such an Organ that exists. It is just there on paper and in as far as ZCTU is concerned, that thing does not even exist.

GONDA: And just going back to the issue of salaries – you mentioned this at the beginning of the interview – now I understand that the government, through Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said that salaries have been frozen indefinitely because the government has no money for salary increases for State workers. What’s your response to this?

MATOMBO: I think it is an unfortunate situation that we are getting through these days. I don’t know why they say the government has no money and why is it, it doesn’t have money? We need to find out. Basically what happens is that when people are given some functions to do, if it is in industry, people are given the mandate because they have to navigate through difficult situations, but to say we cannot do anything because we have no money is not satisfactory enough. And I think this might agitate workers to go yet again on the streets.

It is the role of government to find the money and we want to say to government – please find that money and we know you can find that money. Zimbabwe is very rich; Zimbabwe is extremely rich that it is so absurd to suggest that a government would tell us that it doesn’t have money. I know there is a lot of money in Zimbabwe, there is a lot of money, where is the money going to? Where is the money going to? Where is the money from Chiadzwa going to? In fact there is more than what we need, there is more than what 14 million Zimbabweans would want. There is a lot of money. They must re-correct and realign the governance system so that there is transparency even in the manner in which we conduct business. Let’s bring in some good corporate governance. The problem is that anyone can do as he or she chooses to do. This is why we appear as if we are a very poor country. Zimbabwe is not a poor country and ZCTU cannot be made to believe that Zimbabwe is a poor country. It’s not, we are not poor, we are very rich. And I think we want to continue to urge the government to make sure that they find those resources and be able to pay the civil servants.

GONDA: Now some have said that the diamond fields that you’ve just mentioned in Chiadzwa should be nationalised so that some of the revenue goes to the workers. Would you be in favour of this?

MATOMBO: Well, if they are given to private individuals I think Zimbabwe should rise up against those people. The diamond mine should not be owned by individuals, it should not be owned by individuals. If there is an individual who own the mine for example like what we hear – ACR – they must accept that 50 or 51% should go to the fiscus – that’s the only way we can accept a private company to operate. But if any other private company would come in and claim to be a Zimbabwean and therefore claim to, the honest truth is that I think if this diamond saga is to have peace in the people of Zimbabwe then let it be nationalised in the first place. But even if you nationalise, do you trust the people who nationalise? That’s another question. This is why it is important that should anything happen, it has to be transparent enough and we support anything that introduces a good corporate governance to ensure that the profits of the Chiadzwa would go to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

GONDA: So as the labour movement and indeed the general civil society have you insisted to find out where the money is going from the sale of diamonds or whatever is happening in the Chiadzwa area? What is the labour movement doing about this?

MATOMBO: Well the whole environment is a closed society just as we know that the people of the type of governance system like the one we have in Zimbabwe are in a closed society and obviously the officials would not want to be moved at all. But I think with time people will know exactly where the money is going. I don’t think there is anything that will ever be hidden forever. It will be known, it will be known, but unfortunately for us as ZCTU we do not know where the money is going, we certainly don’t.

GONDA: And you have threatened to take action if the salaries issue is not resolved, but how do you respond to those who say that a strike action actually hurts the common man more than the politician?

MATOMBO: Well it depends as to what they are saying and where they are coming from. Zimbabwe is a country that has a high level of disparity. You have people who are super rich in Zimbabwe and you have people who are extremely poor, that’s a real problem that we have. In fact for people who are earning 150 US dollars to suggest that if they go on strike they will be hurt – they are already hurt, people are suffering already to the extent that you cannot differentiate between the salaries they are earning or even if they didn’t have any salaries, salary, earnings at all. The point that remains at the moment is that the salaries or no salaries it now looks as if it is one and the same thing and therefore the strike can only be the solution. Strike, protest and any other action that will force the government to accept and in fact to give salaries to the civil servants.

GONDA: So where is the ZCTU right now? Why is it that you are not visible these days on the streets especially after the formation of the unity government?

MATOMBO: But you must also appreciate that once this political arrangement was created in February last year, people had high expectations, very, very high expectations indeed and some really believed that because we have an inclusive government everything was going to work according to expectations, so it was not necessary, it could have been strategically wrong for us to start to protest, because then these people wanted at least a particular time from which everyone could judge their performance. Fourteen months down the line for example I think it should be sufficient enough for any other person to say – have these people performed well, given the promises that existed at the inauguration of this government? Can we fully say that they’ve performed to the satisfaction of the people? But we in the labour movement are saying no, these people have not performed to the expectation and what we don’t want to hear from them is to lament and say that because of this and that, no, no , no, no. The role why politicians are there is that they should be able to navigate the rough terrain that exists! That’s what we know and do the right thing.

GONDA: So when is the labour movement going to take action?

MATOMBO: No we will take action in a systematic manner because what it is is that it’s important that you take everybody because we believe on a bottom-up approach, we believe that what we need to do is to continue to galvanise support from the bottom, that’s the most important thing. And so that when we go for a strike it has to be as successful as possible. But I think, give us time, this will come and hopefully the government is taking notice of what we are saying.

GONDA: And what are your views on the freezing of State workers’ salaries without streamlining a bloated unity government?

MATOMBO: This is very unfortunate really. It appears that the politics in Zimbabwe will not change for a very long time to come. Of course we know we have survived for 30 years under one political governance structure - with traditions, culture and values and it appears also that even if you change personalities, the culture and the values still remain the same. This is what is quite frightening, it’s very frightening and we hope and trust that at some stage, Zimbabweans have to transform – it’s no longer a question of changing government, it’s a question of transforming. Zimbabweans should transform themselves. Their attitude, their tradition, their values need to be transformed now because as long as we cannot do that you can have two, three governments that can be changed within three years, I assure you, the behaviour will be one and the same thing and that’s the quagmire we seem to find ourselves.

GONDA: And you mentioned that it was strategically wrong to protest when the coalition government was formed. The MDC which is now part of this coalition government actually came from the labour movement. So what is the relationship with the ZCTU and the MDC now that it’s in government? Do you still have a solid relationship?

MATOMBO: Well it was the expectations of all the workers around Zimbabwe that once the MDC gets into government they will also advance the working peoples’ agenda – that was the wish; those were the expectations of all the workers in Zimbabwe. But of course MDC will also reply and say – MDC is not in government, it is in an inclusive government. But we will also say even if you are in an inclusive government it’s not that you have to follow ZANU PF just because you are still in an inclusive government, you also have to portray your own views so that people can understand. But the moment you start talking about privatisation and the moment you start talking about all these things - for a party whose formation was facilitated by many civic organisations and the poor people? It was not the rich people, they were the poor people, they are the ones who facilitated the MDC and the poor people in my view, the way I see it, will remain extremely poor and then we might not have a friend that, we can only have a friend when we go for an election. It is so unfortunate that this is what is happening.

Well, the relationship, the ZCTU still remains an independent organisation because there is a danger here of ZCTU just agreeing with MDC when in fact we are supposed to give guidance and I think we should remain resolute. I know there are some people who say whatever MDC says, we should agree to it, no, no, no we cannot do that. In fact as you might know, trade unions everywhere and student union movements throughout the world are the torchbearer of any political and economic direction and this is what the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions will do.

GONDA: But is there still an ideological connect between the ZCTU and the MDC ?

MATOMBO: Well I think from the way things are happening we are diametrically opposed ideologically in terms of the political and economic direction of the two. ZCTU as is always the case we don’t belong to the right, we belong to the left, that’s the truth and that; I think your question is quite clear – this is purely an ideological difference.

GONDA: Can you explain the fundamental differences?

MATOMBO: Well the fundamental differences are quite clear. One – that if you want to introduce an economic plan you don’t just do it from your own desk, you involve others so that all of us can put across our economic plans, what we think are in the best interests of the workers. We don’t want to behave like what we have seen from the Minister of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment - you introduce your own law in your own desk and you say you are empowering 14 million? But you don’t want to discuss with the people who represent workers, the people who are making the best out of their labour and that’s exactly the same thing that we are saying, let’s always make a consultation.

And also I think if you want to make an economic plan you need to have a bottom-up approach. Zimbabwe’s economy is in tatters and what we have are members of the informal economy, these people need to be nursed up and I think what the MDC economic ministries were supposed to do was to liaise with the informal economy and we have structured informal economy structures around the country, get to know their feeling, get to know what they would want and in fact that’s the way we have to do it. But what you see in these people is that they are making economic plans based on the corporate business that exists today and that’s very dangerous and in some ways it is frightening because even some of the business people are saying – you workers, you call yourselves workers that you want a poverty datum line, we’ve got our new ministers these days and you are never going to get anything. They are very proud of that. In fact what we now have are the two diametrically opposed ideologies where this government belongs to the right and the labour movement to the left. So yes it can clearly be observed that this ideological position is very clear so the ordinary person is now quite clear, they are very poor and as you have just heard, they cannot give us money because the government has no money.

GONDA: Some have actually said that the MDC disengaged too early from the movement, would you say that is the correct observation?

MATOMBO: Yah well, I think it took ZANU almost a decade to disengage literally. But I think the argument of MDC is that, according to what we hear, is that they say; ‘they are these people who think they know everything and these organisations where formed just for purposes of opposing’. Well yes it is quite frightening also that some of the speeches are coming from MDC but we hope and trust that at some stage they will realise that the war has not been won and they also still need friends but if they believe they don’t need friends, well the choice is theirs, it’s not for us. After all it’s them who want to be voted into office and but I think it is a bit too early, it was a bit too early for them to disengage.

GONDA: And just going back to the composition of the ZCTU, what is your membership now considering the growth of the informal sector?

MATOMBO: Well formal employment is just around 650 000, around there, 650 000 and our membership is about 350 000 and then we have, well the rest of these people, over 90% of them are unemployed and among the 90%, 44% are members of the informal economy, well structured and we work with them quite closely, we have got a desk of the informal economy in the ZCTU and they’re doing quite well although they are not receiving any support from government but nonetheless, they are surviving under the circumstances.

GONDA: So would it be correct to say that your membership has been weakened by the informal sector and also the high unemployment rate?

MATOMBO: Precisely it has been weakened but for the first time I think we are the only country that has been able to recruit people through the informal economy to the extent that the relationship of the unemployed and the employed is intertwined and for that we are very proud. I think that was a very good strategy although some people look at the formal employment alone but I think the way we did with the informal economy and so on it was a good idea because we had known, we had seen beforehand that the question of unemployment was going to hit us hard and this is why we had to come up with the informal economy which is well structured around the country -although it was decimated in 2005 by the so-called Operation Murambatsvina, but I think we have done extremely well to keep close to some of our colleagues in the unemployment sector in the form of the informal economy.

GONDA: And of course there are others who say that the ZCTU is no longer the vibrant body that used to be there during the time of Morgan Tsvangirai, would you agree with this?

MATOMBO: Well it depends as to where people are coming from and whether they are sophisticated enough to be able to analyse. But I think let’s agree that previously the media was there for everybody, it was there for the trade unions, it was there for the employers, it was there for the government and once the ZCTU says we have got a stay-away tomorrow, the Herald would put on the front line, on the front page that there will be a ZCTU stay-away, there will be a trade union strike, so the media was available, the tools of communication were available. That’s no longer the case today. I’m not quite sure whether people would understand that if we call for a strike ourselves you can imagine what the Herald is going to say, you can imagine what the ZTV is going to say. We’ve got so many enemies so a poor analysis would suggest that way but I don’t think that is quite true, people need to be quite analytical about this.

GONDA: We did talk a bit about the indigenisation policies but as ZCTU can you just briefly outline your position as the trade union movement on this because you have some people saying that employees should have shares and therefore part own some of the companies, how are you contributing to this debate?

MATOMBO: To be honest with you, this Indigenisation Bill and I think we have said this that the Indigenisation Bill was applied elsewhere in Africa but the Zimbabwean one has come at the wrong time. There is a lot of suspicion and as I have stated earlier on that if the intention was to transfer wealth to 14 million Zimbabweans, why not include the ZCTU in the crafting of such a Bill? Why was it exclusively a ministerial issue alone? So it’s not true that the issue is about distributing wealth to Zimbabwe, it is distributing wealth to the big chefs in government, those are the people who are going to enjoy those benefits and therefore ZCTU at the moment we say no to the implementation of that process unless if it can come to the Tripartite Negotiating Forum where the key economic players will have an input and this is what we have always said. Why is it they are so afraid of transparency, why not bring it to the TNF for discussions? Why just forcing it on the throats of individuals? That is the problem and that clearly indicates the type of people we are dealing with.

GONDA: Both MDC and ZANU PF have said they want elections to be held next year in 2011, what’s the ZCTU’s position on this?

MATOMBO: I think what we seem to see about these elections and the Global Political Agreement is that these people they are highly polarised and they’ll never agree to anything. What we thought they should do at this stage is to make sure that SADC will come up with the electoral systems that are self-proof and ensure that SADC and AU will supervise those elections and also the United Nations should be reigned in to ensure that they monitor those elections so that the winner can win without any disturbance and the loser should accept to relinquish power whoever that might be, but I think this is what is required. Surely if we wait and say that there shall be a constitution, a constitution? Well I don’t think these people will ever come with a new constitution but otherwise let’s have the electoral laws that should force individuals to abide by them and ensure that we come up with an undisputed electoral system.

GONDA: So as the labour body, you want the elections to be held as soon as possible, even 2011?

MATOMBO: You see we would want those elections to be held even tomorrow only if we have put conditions for free and fair elections in place. That’s what we are saying and that the structures for supervising and monitoring elections should be undisputed. For example, we need the SADC and AU to come and monitor and supervise those elections. These elections should not be left to Zimbabweans alone because we know what will happen in the end so that’s precisely what we want and if we can have those things in place, let’s have those elections even tomorrow because we already know who will win if we have them tomorrow.

GONDA: Final question – some have said that the civil society is very quiet and is not doing enough to point out the failures of the unity government, why is that?

MATOMBO: Yah I think most of the civic organisations in Zimbabwe are still in the learning process I suppose because you know these people have been frightened by the authoritarian system. They have been frightened and the culture is that whatever the politicians say, they say yes, we will see later on and so on and so forth, so they cannot stick their necks out and say you are doing wrong. You know some of them also might be looking for employment you never know and they cannot afford to rock the boat, they will just say yes, it doesn’t matter. So there are many factors that we have to consider. There are some people who just agree with the inclusive government purely because their expectations are that at some stage they might be somewhere, somewhere there but well that’s what life is all about.

GONDA: Thank you very much Mr. Lovemore Matombo

MATOMBO: OK thanks, cheers.

Feedback can be sent to

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Giving Farm Workers a Voice

April 27, 2010 at 10:52:15

By Border Jumpers

For OpEdNews: Border Jumpers - Writer
Cross posted from Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet.

Gertrude Hambira doesn't look like someone who gets arrested regularly. Nor
do the other women and men in suits who work with her at the General
Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), formed in
the mid-1980s to protect farm laborers. But arrest, harassment and even
torture have been regular occupational hazards for Gertrude-the General
Secretary of GAPWUZ-and her staff for many years.

Unfortunately, things have not gotten much better since the 2008 elections
when President Mugabe refused to cede power to the democratically elected
Morgan Tsvangirai, a former union leader himself. The resulting
power-sharing agreement has left the two sides battling for control as the
nation plummets deeper into unemployment and poverty. At least 90 percent of
the populati0n is not part of formal workforce.

Meanwhile, land reform policies have left many farm workers (about 1.5
million) without a source of income as farms are divided up-with many tracts
given to Mugabe supporters. While Zimbabwe's land reform was initially
intended to decrease the number of white-owned farms in the country and
provide land to the landless, it's done little to help the poor in rural
areas. "Land was taken from the rich and given to the rich," says General
Secretary Hambira. The rich farmers are, however, not utilizing the land,
she notes, leading to lower agricultural productivity, higher prices for
food, and widespread hunger.

Hambira says that as rural areas become a target for government reforms,
"farm workers have become voiceless." But giving them back their voice is
what GAPWUZ is trying to do by helping reduce child labor, by educating
members about their rights in the fields and on the farm, by educating
workers about HIV/AIDS , and by helping women workers gain a voice in
decision-making. And, unfortunately, that's why General Secretary and her
staff often get arrested. Shortly after I met with her, the GAPWUZ office
was raided by government police and she was forced to go in hiding to South
Africa for several weeks.

But GAPWUZ isn't just working to protect the rights of farm workers in
Zimbabwe, says Hambira. By "looking at the plight of farm workers," the
union is helping to build productivity on the farm and to build a strong
agricultural sector-one that will be needed more than ever as Zimbabwe
struggles to rebuild and restore democracy.

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The day fear paid a visit to Bulawayo

Mugabe and Ahmadinejad at the ZITF

I wonder what it is that makes President Mugabe so terrified of his countrymen?

There were no less than three armoured personnel carriers parked alongside the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair during the visit of the much despised Iranian President.

Bristling with camouflaged military personnel the grey unimog tanks with fierce 20mm gun turrets pointed menacingly at the Trade Fair.

Yes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, hated and reviled the world over by all except the radical extremists, officially opened the 2010 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

What a smear on the faces of the thinking people in Zimbabwe.

Ahmadinejad is renowned for his nasty bed fellows and has added Zimbabwe to his nest of "prestigious" countries-at-arms i.e. Cuba, Venezuela, Belarus.

There had been a lot of dissension amongst the Trade Fair officials as to the choice of guest, but as usual Mugabe got his way.

A small handful of Muslims chanted and sang outside the Trade Fair grounds, as Zimbabwe police, support unit and the army swarmed everywhere to protect the man. The President's office worked its way round the city seeking fanatics who might have enough hatred for the Iranian president to try and destabilize the event.

Helicopters circled overhead, giant belligerent, clenched-fisted posters, quite out of character with the usual very business-like attitude of the ZITF, festooned every hall giving the fair a 'Kim Jong Il' atmosphere.

Hundreds of police in brand-spanking-new fluorescent sleeves, together with men brandishing automatic weapons, surrounded the fair and manned every intersection on the road from the airport to the fairgrounds.

Guards at Harare airport when Ahmadinejad arrived

There were men in dark glasses on every corner, Gucci shoes and Ralph Lauren suits were everywhere, and joy of joys - no electricity cuts while the president is in town !!

The Climate of Fear had the desired result: one was far too scared to even think about taking photographs of the armoured tanks.

To add insult to injury, Zimbabwe's plan to host a North Korean soccer side for the June 2010 FIFA World Cup is re-kindling memories of the Matabeleland massacres in the 1980s, amid a current climate of political intolerance.

Teams were said to be practicing for the World Cup in Bulawayo's Barbourfields Stadium, cherished sports field of every Ndebele who lost countless of their countrymen in the Gukuruhundi Massacres.

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