The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage
wants independent land commission
by Lizwe Sebatha Wednesday 28 April
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC
called for the setting up of an independent commission to tackle
divisive land question.
The MDC, which last year formed
a coalition government with President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU PF, said a land
and environment commission established by an
Act of Parliament should
implement fresh and equitable land reforms meant to
"ensure there is
non-discriminatory access to the country's natural
environmental sites by the people of Zimbabwe".
Tsvangirai's party that
has clashed with ZANU PF over key policies including
a proposed black
economic empowerment scheme said the commission should
comprise five to
seven people appointed by the President with the approval
The commission's key functions would be to "uphold the principles
equitable, transparent and justifiable distribution of land (and) to
the government and Parliament on all issues relating to the tenure,
distribution and use of land and to ensure the orderly development and
management of the natural environment for the benefit of present and future
generations," the MDC said, in a position paper shown to ZimOnline on
Land remains a divisive issue in Zimbabwe after Mugabe over
the past decade
drove most of the country's about 4 500 large-scale white
their farms which he went on to parcel out to blacks in a
chaotic and often
violent land reform programme that destroyed commercial
agriculture to leave
the country facing food shortages.
critics say Mugabe's cronies - and not ordinary black peasants -
the most from the land reforms with many ending up with up to six
against the government's publicly stated one-man-one-farm policy.
has admitted mistakes in his land reforms but has often rejected
especially by the MDC for a review of the land redistribution
saying those behind the calls want to return expropriated farms to
white former owners.
The 2008 political agreement between the MDC and
ZANU PF that led to
formation of the Harare power-sharing government calls
for a land audit to
establish who owns which land in Zimbabwe in order to
But the audit has failed to take off
because of a shortage of funds and
resistance from senior ZANU PF officials
who are multiple farm owners.
ZANU PF hardliners and members of the
pro-Mugabe security forces have also
continued seizing more land from the
few remaining white farmers in breach
of the inter-party political agreement
as well as a ruling by the Southern
African Development Community (SADC)
Tribunal that called for an end to farm
Mugabe, who wields
the most power in the unity government with Tsvangirai,
has said Zimbabwe
will not abide by the Tribunal ruling despite Harare being
required to do so
under the SADC Treaty.
In an aparent attempt to depoliticise the land
question, the MDC said an
independent commission would be given powers to
pertaining to land.
The commission would also
be tasked to: "Restore or to ensure transparency,
equity and fairness in
land acquisition and resettlement procedures . . .
examine legislation and
make recommendations to the government and
Parliament for a national policy
on the tenure, acquisition, use and
distribution of land with a view to
developing an open and equitable
policy." - ZimOnline
governments manipulating KP: Harare
by Own Correspondent Wednesday 28 April
HARARE - Harare authorities on Tuesday accused Western
manipulating world diamond watchdog Kimberley Process (KP) to
their efforts to sell diamonds from the notorious Chiadzwa
Zimbabwe cannot sell the Chidzwa diamonds until KP monitor
who has already visited the diamond field - also known as
Marange - in the
country's eastern districts to inspect the mining
operations of firms
operating in the area, certifies them for release on the
On Monday High Court judge Barat
Patel granted the government permission to
dispose diamonds belonging to
London-based mining firm Africa Consolidated
Resources (ACR), who hold legal
title to the Marange diamond claims, but the
gems have to be first cleared
by the KP.
ACR who were kicked off the diamond field and replaced by
owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) which
formed two joint
venture companies - Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners -
with South African
investors to exploit the resource had asked the court to
stop the Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), ZMDC, Mbada
Diamonds and Canadile
Miners from selling the diamonds.
decision by the High Court came as Harare authorities said they are
beginning to feel that they are being taken for a ride by Western
governments who are manipulating the KP to delay the return of South African
national Chikane to inspect the diamonds.
"Due to the internal
consultative process within the KP working group, which
may be concluded
within the next few days or weeks then can we only decide
on the date and
day he (KP monitor) will come," a senior government official
"As long as the KP has not certified the diamonds, no
exports will be made.
The KP monitor has to examine the diamonds from
Marange with the view to
"However, we feel that
the decision not to allow (Abbey) Chikane to come
here is deliberate as it
is meant to frustrate us. The situation is far from
normal, we do not
understand why we are not being allowed to trade our
diamonds," said the
Marange is one of the world's most controversial diamond
fields with human
rights groups accusing soldiers sent by the government to
secure the field
from illegal miners after the expulsion of ACR of gross
human rights abuses.
Zimbabwe escaped a KP ban last year but was
given until June this year to
regularise mining operations in Chiadzwa and
comply with the international
The KP monitors the diamond trade worldwide in
order to prevent the sale of
conflict diamonds to sponsor rogue regimes or
rebel armies. - ZimOnline
Australia suffer shock loss to Zimbabwe ahead of Twenty20
Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu
watches Australian opener David Warner belt more runs in his innings of 72.
Picture: Getty Images. Source: Getty
have suffered a shock loss to Zimbabwe by one run in their opening World
Twenty20 warm-up match in St Lucia.
Zimbabwe batted first and scored 7-173 before restricting Australia to 7-172
from their 20 overs.
Opener David Warner top-scored for Australia with a hard-hitting 72 and
skipper Michael Clarke hit 49.
Warner's 49-ball innings included four fours and five sixes.
Australia got the wobbles in the last few overs with Brad Haddin and Steve
Smith both run out.
With 13 needed from the final over, Australia lost Clarke bowled from the
penultimate delivery and then Mitchell Johnson was run out off a wide before
Brett Lee ran a leg bye from the last ball.
Earlier, Elton Chigumbura hit a crowd-pleasing 76 from just 35 balls with
five fours and six sixes, sharing a 114-run partnership with Craig Ervine (39)
for the fifth wicket.
Dan Christian (0-29 off two overs) and Watson (1-34 from two overs) proved
expensive, Australia resting key paceman Shaun Tait and aggressive batsman
Lee's 1-13 from four overs included several slower balls which worked well on
the docile pitch.
"Obviously we would have liked to have won," Johnson said.
"When you come into these practice games you want to be pretty close to your
"It's disappointing to lose in a practice match but we've just got to keep
going forward, keep working hard in our training sessions and make sure we're
ready for the World Cup."
Prime Minister Tsvangirai In Consultations With Botswana's Ian
Sources said the Gaborone government informed Mr. Tsvangirai
the funds will
only be released when parties in the unity government speak
with one voice
and have fully implemented the Global Political
Sandra Nyaira | Washington 27 April 2010
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met in Gaborone on the weekend with
Khama of Botswana to brief him on the Harare unity
government - snubbing
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad whose visit was
strongly opposed by
Mr. Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for
Political sources said Mr. Tsvangirai has become more concerned
ZANU-PF's failure to fully implement the Global Political Agreement
gave rise to the inclusive government formed in February
The prime minister and Mr. Khama also discussed the promise by
open a credit line of some $70 million dollars to help revive
Sources said the Gaborone government informed Mr.
Tsvangirai the funds will
only be released when parties in the unity
government speak with one voice
and have fully implemented the Global
James Maridadi, spokesman for Mr. Tsvangirai, told
VOA Studio 7 reporter
Sandra Nyaira that officials in the Botswanan capital
about the non-fulfillment of the GPA in the past 14
Political analyst Joy Mabenge said that like other donors,
Botswana wants to
see real reform before releasing funds which might
otherwise be wasted due
to a political environment unsuitable to economic
Parliamentary Panel Questions Health Officials On Deadly Measles
UNICEF and the World Health Organization will support the
Ministry of Health
drive to immunize all Zimbabwean children between the
ages of six months and
Sylvia Manika and Brenda Moyo |
Washington DC 27 April 2010
Zimbabwe's parliamentary committee on
health and child welfare heard
testimony on Tuesday from officials of the
Ministry of Health as to why
children continued to die of measles when
outbreaks of measles were first
reported in September 2009, as correspondent
Sylvia Manika reported from
The United Nations Children's
Fund or UNICEF, and the World Health
Organization will support the Ministry
of Health drive to immunize all
Zimbabwean children between the ages of six
months and 14 years.
UNICEF Zimbabwe communications chief Micaela De
Sousa told VOA Studio 7
reporter Brenda Moyo that the campaign will go
beyond areas in the country
east where the spread of the disease has been
fostered by the refusal of
some religious sects to vaccinate their children.
rules out elections next year
April 27, 2010
HARARE - Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, leader of
faction of the MDC, has once again dismissed suggestions that
elections will be held next year.
Mutambara says the three
political parties in the coalition government
should concentrate on reviving
the economy. Mutambara's party is part of
government by default, having lost
the March 2008 elections heavily.
Speculation is widespread that
Mutambara is mortified by the prospect of a
dismal performance in any future
He said statements from Zanu-PF and the mainstream MDC, led by
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, calling for fresh polls next year, were
He told The Daily News Tuesday that people should
not waste time talking
about an election.
"Please dismiss and
disregard this notion (elections next year)," said
Mutambara. "I have heard
talk of elections from my colleagues in government,
Zanu-PF and MDC
"Spread this word - there will not be an election in Zimbabwe next
"People and politicians should be talking about economic plans that
revive our economy and increased levels of investment. We are not ready
South African President Jacob Zuma is reportedly
pushing for elections as
early as April 2011. "
An early election,
analysts say, would be suicidal for Zanu-PF because
Mugabe's party may never regain absolute power after losing
parliamentary majority in 2008.
Tsvangirai's MDC insists on a new
people-driven constitution and sweeping
democratic reforms that create
security for the population, the freedom to
campaign, equal access to the
media and an even political playing field
before Zimbabwe can hold elections
that are credible, free and fair.
Zimbabweans want a guarantee that there
will not be a repeat of the June 27,
2008 period, during which more than 300
MDC supporters were allegedly
killed, thousands tortured, injured or
displaced by state security agents,
Zanu-PF militia and war
Some still insist on justice on the perpetrators of the
others say the government should set up a truth and
commission so that offenders may make public
The organ on national healing, established by the coalition
been largely dismissed as a tame solution to a culture of
According to a report titled Fighting for a
New Constitution: Human Rights
Violations Experienced by Female Members of
the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) launched last week in Harare, 90
percent of the women
interviewed said a truth and reconciliation commission
Ninety eight percent were of the opinion that
people who committed violence
against women should be
While the situation has improved following the Global
(GPA), Zimbabweans argue that elections should be held
Legislators interviewed by The
Daily News agreed that national healing
should be prioritised before
elections are held.
The legislators said Zimbabweans were concerned about
bread and butter
issues and would prefer to see the economy improve first
request more evidence against Chiyangwa
April 27, 2010
HARARE - Police in Harare have called for more evidence to beef
ongoing probe into allegations of irregular land acquisition by
controversial property businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.
council early this month filed a fraud report against Chiyangwa,
accused of fraudulently obtaining prime land from some plush
Police from Harare's CID Law and order division on Tuesday
Councillor Charity Bango to Harare central police to furnish them
further details into the probe.
"I was called to Harare Central
by police from CID Law and Order who told me
to furnish them with more
details on the report as soon as possible," said
Bango, a councilor in
Harare's Ward 14.
She was accompanied by human rights lawyer Alec
Muchadehama when she
reported to the police.
Bango, who said she
hardly spent 10 minutes with the police, initially filed
the report against
Chiyangwa two weeks ago in her capacity as acting Mayor.
jointly being accused with two city authorities, Cosmas
city's finance director and Psychology Chiwanga, whois
director of urban
The two are alleged to have fraudulently altered documents in
transfer title to Chiyangwa.
Chiyangwa, who has publicly
boasted of owning a fifth of Harare, denies the
allegations of land theft
Chiyangwa's land theft allegations surfaced early this
The city claims he was allocated tracts of land by the authorities
following the proper procedures.
The allegations are based on
a recent 54-page probe on land sales and leases
conducted by the city
council which was sanctioned by Harare Mayor Muchadeyi
probe, which was led by Ward 17 councilor Warship Dumba, was followed by
newspaper reports about the flamboyant businessman's land
Stung by the newspaper reports, Chiyangwa quickly filed
charges against the Mayor and his councilors leading to
the arrest of
Masunda and eight councilors who were members of the
Observers say the police acted under pressure from
top Zanu-PF officials to
intimidate the council in a bid to thwart any
further probe into the matter
which has also implicated Zanu-PF stalwart and
Local Government Minister
Chiyangwa, a former
Zanu-PF legislator, claims the report by the city
council was fraught with
falsehoods which were intended to injure his person
and that of his
Masunda and his co-accused appeared in a Harare court last
week where they
were remanded out of custody to May 6.
journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent newspapers are set to testify
Maluleke differ on Gonarezhou invaders
April 27, 2010
MASVINGO - Environment and Natural Resources Minister Francis
clashed with Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke over the fate of
families who invaded Gonarezhou National Park in Chiredzi
Maluleke insists that the invaders have to stay put in game
Nhema says they must be removed.
On Tuesday, Maluleke
said the settlers were only reclaiming their land.
"We have shelved all
the plans to relocate these people, and anyone who
thinks that they should
go is just day-dreaming," said Maluleke.
"These people are not
interfering with anything in the park. After all they
are just reclaiming
However, Nhema, who has been opposed to the invasion of
villagers, was adamant that the invaders had to be evicted
before the end of
Nhema said that the envisaged Great
Limpopo Transfrontier Park would never
be a success if the invaders remained
in the park.
"I have always said that these people should go and be
somewhere else before the kick off of the 2010 World Cup
soccer showcase in
South Africa," said Nhema.
"The idea of the Great
Limpopo Transfrontier Park was to attract tourists
ahead of the 2010 World
Cup. This means the invaders should be removed by
the end of next
The 2010 World Cup kicks off in South Africa in
Hordes of villagers, mostly Zanu-PF supporters, moved into the
animal sanctuary at the height of farm invasions about ten years
have since refused to move out.
Government had initially
planned to relocate them to the nearby Chizvirizvi
Ranch but the villagers
resisted the move.
The villagers, from the Chitsa clan, say they are
claiming the land because
it belongs to them.
The Great Transfrontier
Park would have seen the merger of Zimbabwe's
Gonarezhou National Park,
South Africa's Kruger National Park, and
Mozambique's Limpopo National
The move to merge the three sanctuaries was designed with the
initially attracting tourists flocking into southern Africa
during the 2010
Zimbabwe risks being left out of the
project because of its failure to
comply with certain requirements, among
them the ejection of all the
invaders from Gonarezhou.
is also expected to upgrade the Buffalo Range Airport so it
international standards as well a constructing lodges in the
Of these requirements, Zimbabwe has only managed to
construct the lodges.
probes violence at headquarters
April 27, 2010
HARARE - The mainstream Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) has ordered an
urgent investigation into violent clashes between party
youths and security
staff at its Harvest House headquarters in Harare about
two weeks ago.
The MDC youths are reportedly unhappy that party leaders
are sidelining them
when hiring people for internal jobs.
allege that the party leaders seem to favour young university
skilled people for jobs, ahead of the MDC Youth Assembly
members, many of
whom are said to be school dropouts.
However, the youths insist they
qualify for basic jobs.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the violence
represented a gross violation
of the founding principles of the party and
its dedication to non-violent,
the claim by the youths that their actions were prompted by
grievances, the fact that they acted unilaterally, by-passing the
internal procedures and undertaking acts that violate the spirit of
has resulted in unreserved condemnation and definitive action by the
leadership," Chamisa said.
The violence broke out after some members
of the MDC Youth Assembly,
allegedly attempting to force their way into the
building, were blocked by
MDC chief executive
Toendepi Shonhe is said to have escaped unhurt after he
was harassed by the
The clashes are reported to have taken place while MDC leader
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was in the building holding
The standoff began when the party opened a shop at Harvest
House to sell MDC
regalia. MDC Youth Assembly members had hoped to be hired
to work in the
The youths were furious when they were not
offered jobs, saying they were
being sidelined even for the most basic
In another development, Ian Makone, the Secretary in the Prime
Office, has been accused of trying to clandestinely reassign
to the Council of Ministers chaired by
According to a report in the state-controlled Herald Makone
is said to have
tried to summon all permanent secretaries to the Council of
in the process get them to report to the Prime Minister and
not to their
However, these attempts were said to
have been blocked by Justice and Legal
Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
who wrote to the Minister of State in
the PM's Office, Gorden Moyo,
explaining the constitutional position.
Cup arrivals drop as world recession bites
April 27, 2010
THE anticipated arrival of at least 500 000 football fans
at the World Cup
2010 tournament now appears to be nothing but hot air. The
numbers are not
adding up, much to the chagrin of the tourism and
hospitality industries in
the whole of Southern Africa.
Telegraph, a newspaper published in Britain quoted FIFA officials
the number of soccer fans expected to arrive in South Africa had
This has dealt a severe blow, not only to the South African
economy and its
tourism sector, but also to neighbouring countries such as
expected to harvest a rich yield from the soccer
Whilst the rippling effects will negatively impact on Zimbabwe,
was totally ill-prepared for the visitors. The road
infrastructure is still
a glaring hazard to motorists, and owing to
budgetary constraints nothing
much had been done to upgrade
According to the Sunday Times (South Africa, 25 April 2010),
homeowners in South Africa who were hoping to cash in on the
World Cup by
renting out their properties to international visitors are
battling to find
Foreign soccer fans are showing little
interest in private homes even with
rentals dramatically slashed to secure
last minute bookings.
The Sunday Times also revealed that 85 percent of
the three million World
Cup tickets have been sold to South Africans,
meaning that fewer
international fans are expected to attend the soccer
In 2007 international business consultants, Grant Thorton
projected that the
World Cup would rake in R21.3 billion into the South
African economy and
create 159 000 new jobs. The figures were revised
downwards by another
international consulting firm, which estimated that
350 000 visitors would
spend R15 billion.
Meanwhile, an upbeat
President Jacob Zuma was quoted in Botswana's Mmegi
online newspaper (26
April 2010) while glowing with optimism, on the
occasion of the 50-day
countdown to World Cup kick-off on 11 June 2010.
Said President Zuma:
"What is happening in the country at the moment, is
quite a marvel to watch.
The nation is seized with exhilaration and great
anticipation. The flags and
colours of the country are on display all over,
in the cars, in houses, and
in the attire."
He added that the World Cup tournament would contribute
R4.9 billion and
create 66 813 jobs (compare these figures with original
consulting firms of R21.3 billion revised to R15 billion and
159 000 new
Another Online paper E-Turbo News reported that
the South African Government
had spent a whooping R33 billion on the
tournament building world class
stadia, and improving infrastructure such as
telecommunications and transport.
Early this year,
Match, FIFA's hospitality arm released 500 000 beds they
had booked back to
the market as it became clear that fewer international
soccer fans would
travel to South Africa.
The Associated Press reported that FIFA still had
355 000 tickets to sell in
eight weeks before the tournament. FIFA has been
forced to offer cheaper
tickets to avoid a public relations disaster of
empty seats at stadia.
Economists say the combination of the global
financial crisis, expensive
long haul flights to South Africa and
prohibitively expensive hotel
accommodation contributed to the decline in
the number of visitors expected
to attend the 2010 World Cup.
economist Mike Schussler was quoted by E-Turbo News as saying:"Our own
contributed to it (drop in numbers) through expensive hotels prices,
flights, etc. People saw it as a get-rich-quick scheme. Guesthouses outside
the host cities will see little or no visitors at all."
economist from Investment Solutions, Chris Hart said he was
disappointed by the decrease in numbers of foreign visitors
expected at the
tournament. He also attributed the blame to the recent
murder of Afrikaner
leader Eugene Terreblanche and stories doing the rounds
about sale of bullet
proof vests and crime as reinforcing perceptions that
South Africa is a
Owners of small guest houses and bed and breakfast
(B&B) joints in South
Africa are devastated.
The owner of Chanza
B&B Liz Chanza moaned: "They (Match) are very cruel.
They dumped us at
the last minute. I hate Match for what they did. They
wanted to take the
bread out of our mouths."
Match had also booked 45 000 return tickets on
South African Airways -
operated local flights, but reduced the total to
only 1000. This led to a
drop in airfares during the World
E-Turbo News also quoted Michael Tantalias, the Chief Executive
Southern African Tourism Association saying they expected that
"We are disappointed that it may be fewer than we
thought, as we expected
450 000 people including the teams, their managers
and partners, as well as
the entire international media. Tantalias felt
sorry for those who expected
to make a fortune from the month-long
tournament adding: "Tourism is a
confidence thing and the current economic
climate in Europe is fragile."
As for Zimbabwe, poverty may have been a
blessing in disguise. Entrepreneurs
would have spent colossal sums of money
sprucing up their properties
anticipating visitors who would not show up.
Spurned in Zimbabwe Water Purification
By Busani Bafana
27, 2010 (IPS) - Zimbabwe spends an estimated 100 million
dollars a year
importing aluminium sulphate for water treatment plants. But
entrepreneur has developed a technique to extract the needed
kaolin and flint clays abundantly available within the
2005, Alex Saurombe, a mining surveyor by training, funded researchers at
Bulawayo's National University of Science and Technology to look for a way
of producing aluminium sulphate from the clays, vast reserves of which are
found in the Chivumburu area of Rutenga in Masvingo province, 450 km east of
With a loan from the Innovation and Commercialisation Fund
Ministry of Science and Technology, the technique was further
refined into a
commercially-viable industrial process.
The clays have
a high concentration of aluminium oxide, which reacts with
sulphuric acid to
produce aluminium sulphate. Aluminium sulphate is an
that causes impurities in water to curdle and settle to
the bottom for easy
Bulawayo alone goes through five tonnes of the the stuff every
city's deputy director of Engineering Services, Ian Mtunzi, told
buy the chemical from local agents who complement what they can
locally with imports from South Africa."
Saurombe, these local agents have strong political connections
interfered with the construction of a processing plant since
2005. At the
time, he said, they had planned to produce the aluminium
sulphate locally at
a cost of about about $68 a tonne.
Unofficial estimates put the cost of a
tonne of imported chemical at between
$300 and $450. State-owned Zimbabwe
Phosphate Industries also produces it
within the country, but water
engineers in the capital, Harare, have
reported problems with the quality of
supply. "These (political
connections) prevented me getting this venture
to fly," Saurombe told the
IPS. "We approached everyone from the
Infrastructural Development Bank to
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe itself
without luck. We had signed an agreement
with the Mwenezi District Council
to participate and build a township for
the plant and then we (would only
have needed to) borrow $7 million for the
He claims he would
have been producing 80,000 tonnes a year by now, for both
local and export
markets. Saurombe has now abandoned the idea of setting up
Zimbabwe; he has submitted an application to build a plant in
Meanwhile, the city of Bulawayo and other urban centres struggle
funds to treat water.
"We have received reports from
concerned residents in Magwegwe West suburb
about brown water coming out of
their taps, but council has said it is safe
despite the doubtful colour,"
the coordinator of the Progressive Bulawayo
Residents Association, Rodrick
Fayayo, told IPS. Many residents routinely
boil their water as a
Since 2008, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has
bailed out the
council by a donating the bulk of its aluminium sulphate
needs to ensure
Bulawayo had safe drinking water.
Even with this
assistance, the city council does not know where it will find
million dollars it needs to rehabilitate its water treatment works.
is further constrained by unpaid bills from residents and government
buildings amounting to more than $3 million.
The more than $100
million a year being spent on needlessly expensive
aluminium sulphate would
go some way towards the rehabilitation of water
treatment works for a number
of cities in Zimbabwe.