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Mugabe succession game plan exposed

Sunday, 29 April 2012 13:17


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will only anoint a successor in his Zanu PF party
after elections, which the 88-year-old leader wants held this year hoping to
win against all odds. Mugabe insisted last week he would not quit power
until after all foreign-owned businesses have ceded majority ownership to

Sources in the party said Mugabe has instructed the two leading contenders
in the race to succeed him, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, to stop plotting against each other and instead
concentrate on ensuring that the party becomes united ahead of elections.

The sources said this explained why Mujuru pledged before Mugabe two weeks
ago that she would not run for presidency as long as he remained in power.

The same week, Mnangagwa also dismissed reports that he had entered a secret
pact with Mugabe to take over the leadership of the country. The claim was
also rebuffed by Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa and
party spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, who said Mnangagwa was too junior in the
party to be the top contender for the post.

“Mugabe has separately promised Mujuru and Mnangagwa that he will back them
if he wins the election,” said a Zanu PF politburo source. “This is why you
have seen the two faction leaders displaying loyalty to Mugabe, both
claiming that they are not interested in occupying the highest office in the
land, yet deep down they are itching to take over from him.”

Another source said Mugabe still believed he was the only one in the party
with a realistic chance to beat Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T in

He said Mugabe was eager to hold elections this year with or without a new
constitution because he fears that if the polls were delayed, it would
become almost impossible for him to campaign next year due to old age and
deteriorating health.

“Mugabe has promised the party he will win the elections by whatever means
necessary, even if it means the creation of a GNU 2,” said the official.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, said the issue of succession would be
discussed by the politburo at the “appropriate” time.

“The politburo is the policy-making body outside congress and this issue of
succession will be discussed at some of our forthcoming meetings,” he said.

Political analyst, Shakespeare Hamauswa, said Mugabe had stopped the
succession debate after realising that divisions within the party would
likely worsen if the issue continued to be raised.

“Mugabe probably thinks that discussing succession is not good for a party
which is going for elections. This will cause further divisions and reduce
his chances of winning,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Professor John Makumbe,
said Mugabe wanted to win the next elections and thereafter hand over power
to whoever Zanu PF selects as the next party leader.

“What he does not know is that the proposed new constitution might say a new
president must be elected in 90 days of his leaving office and he or she may
not come from Zanu PF,” he said.

But former Zimbabwe National Liberation Army (Zanla) commander, Dzinashe
Machingura said Mugabe would never appoint a successor as he now behaved
like a king with divine power to rule for life.

“Since Mugabe assumed power in Zanu PF in 1977, there have been no real
elections in the party. We have now regressed into a system of
chieftainship, where the issue of succession is only discussed after one’s
death,” he said.

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Zanu PF members defect to MDC-T

Sunday, 29 April 2012 12:57


MUTARE — DISGRUNTLED Zanu PF supporters have defected to the MDC-T in
protest against the manner in which the district coordinating committee
(DCC) elections were held, further causing more fissures in the party.

In the 2008 elections, Zanu PF lost 20 out of the 26 seats in the province
due to factionalism and imposition of candidates.

The current Zanu PF restructuring exercise and election of DCCs’ has been
marred by chaos in several provinces, among them, Manicaland, Masvingo,
Midlands and Bulawayo. rival factions belonging to Defence minister,
Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President, Joice Mujuru, are jostling to
position themselves ahead of the possible battle to succeed Mugabe.

The Manicaland elections have exposed deep-seated factionalism in the
province, leading to some party members quitting to join the MDC-T after
accusing the provincial executive, led by Mike Madiro of imposing

There were reports of widespread vote rigging, with the provincial executive
accused of imposing candidates from the faction led by Mnangagwa against
those belonging to the Mujuru faction.

Some of the disgruntled candidates and supporters from five districts
namely; Mutare, Buhera, Nyanga, Chimanimani and Makoni, allegedly defected
to the MDC-T after their preferred candidates  were declared losers.

David Momberume from the Zanu PF Manicaland province secretariat, last week
confirmed at a press conference in Mutare, that some candidates and
supporters had defected to the MDC-T, protesting against the results
announced by Madiro.

“They claim that the elections were rigged, but they had election agents on
the ground and they were given the room to campaign,” said Momberume.

“We are surprised by their decision. I met some of them a day after the
announcement of the results and they told me that they had defected and even
showed me the MDC-T cards. It means that these people were not our true

The supporters from the five districts camped for three days last week
demonstrating for the ouster of Madiro. Some members of the Politburo and
central committee called for Mugabe’s intervention to save the party from
further disintegrating.

“If the issue of imposition of candidates is not addressed, we are
definitely going to lose to MDC-T again because people are angry,” said a
politburo member.

Zanu PF national political commissar, Webster Shamu, was in Mutare last
week, where he admitted the imposition of candidates had thrown the party
into a crisis. He also distanced Mugabe from claims that he had endorsed a
list of his preferred candidates. “The president does not impose people and
the politburo and central committee do not even support that list,” said

Madiro however dismissed allegations that he had  imposed candidates and
reversed results in districts where the Mujuru faction had won. “I do not
belong to any faction. I belong to Zanu PF and I am loyal to Mugabe,” he
said. “Those people who accuse me of factionalism should have their heads

Madiro insisted that the outcome of the Mutare DCC elections, in which
Clever Muparutsa was declared winner ahead of Joseph Mavhiza, was valid.

He said Shamu had not nullified any results, but only instructed that
elections in the remaining three districts Zimunya, Marange and Mutasa be

But Mavhiza maintained that he was the winner.

“Elections of this nature will only be fair if Madiro and his allies do not
conduct them on their own. He was the player, referee and coach and your
guess on the outcome is as good as mine,” he said.

Provincial youth chairperson, Tawanda Mukodza downplayed the squabbles which
had resulted in defections. He said disgruntled supporters and officials had
a hidden agenda to remove the current leadership with the backing of unnamed
senior politburo members.

Official says sitting Zanu PF mp now  MDC-T member

MDC-T Manicaland spokesperson, Pishai Muchauraya, confirmed that there were
Zanu PF supporters who had defected to his party.

“Yes, I can confirm that there is a long list of Zanu PF supporters who have
joined us,” he said. “They include a sitting Zanu PF MP, who has presented
his credentials to us. He has openly told us that he is now an MDC-T member
though not yet official.”

Muchauraya refused to divulge the name of the MP saying this would endanger
his life.

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Vote-buying is in full swing in Zim

JOHN NQINDI | 29 April, 2012 00:20

The date has not yet been set but political parties are already engaged in
vote-buying in preparation for Zimbabwe's watershed general elections, a new
report says.

The Election Resource Centre this week published a report on the state of
voter registration in the country and its findings are disturbing given that
Zanu-PF insists on holding polls this year.

Civic groups and other community initiatives led by politicians have been
found conducting programmes that fuel voter registration by coercion.
According to the report, residential stands are being allocated by "known
leaders of political parties" only to those who register to vote.

"Such coercion exposes potential voters to manipulation by certain
functionaries of political parties as well, as it potentially threatens the
individual's freedom of choice and association," the report says.

It also adds that voter registration initiatives run by political parties
are a cause for concern, because some registration centres are in hostile
areas. This means that only supporters of one political party can register.
"Partisan voter registration is another potential threat as some centres are
not located in easily accessible locations and as such discourage potential
voters from enjoying their constitutional right as voters," the report says.

Last month, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change raised concerns that the voter registration exercise in
Harare was being conducted in a clandestine manner.

The party claimed that hidden forces were in charge of the process and were
as a result frustrating would-be voters.

"The MDC-T has unearthed a shocking scheme involving Zanu-PF, the Central
Intelligence Organisation and the Registrar-General's Office to frustrate
potential voters by denying them access to register," the party claimed.

The MDC-T and Zanu-PF have in recent years traded accusations of vote-buying
through coercing people with food aid, for example.

Last year, Tsvangirai advised foreign embassies not to fund projects run by
Zanu-PF because they were being abused. Singled out was a donation by the
Libyan embassy, which donated nine tractors and other farming implements at
a Zanu-PF function.

In return, Zanu-PF has accused the MDC-T of doing the same through
non-government organisations. This culminated in the banning of more than 20
NGOs operating in Masvingo province. Zanu-PF claimed the organisations were
interfering in political matters.

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West plots Tsvangirai exit: Madhuku

28/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Gilbert Nyambabvu

WESTERN embassies in Harare are trying to engineer the removal of Morgan
Tsvangirai as leader of the MDC-T, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
chairman Lovemore Madhuku has claimed.

The MDC-T leader, currently Prime Minister in the coalition government, has
enjoyed Western backing since emerging as a real threat to President Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party more than a decade ago.

Mugabe continuously dismisses his rival -- who also appears to have
ridden-off concerns over personal scandals -- as a puppet of Western
governments keen to force regime change to punish Zanu PF for seizing
white-owned farms.
However, Madhuku suggested that the West was now looking to change its
Trojan horse.

“There is a mentality throughout Western embassies that MDC-T must be led by
an academic,” Madhuku told a SAPES Trust public debate in Harare.
“They have confided in and consulted me on the best candidate to lead the
party instead of Prime Minister Tsvangirai."

Madhuku claimed that Western embassies were sponsoring mayhem within the
MDC-T in a bid to force the leadership change.

“We know that they are sponsoring a lot of programmes at Harvest House in a
bid to have an academic lead the party,” he said.
“The embassies are creating instability within the party by discussing
succession issues."

Trade unionist Lovemore Matombo also backed Madhuku saying: “The embassies
are creating instability within the party by discussing succession issues.”

But MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora dismissed Madhuku’s claims, insisting
there was no appetite for leadership change within the party.

“Madhuku should concentrate on reviving his NCA, which is on the brink of
collapse rather than commenting on behalf of the MDC,” he said.

MDC-T secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti has also ruled out
the prospect of an immediate challenge to Tsvangirai’s leadership from
within the party.

Speaking in the United States recently, Biti said Tsvangirai’s “connectivity
with the people” was one of the reason the MDC-T would “win (the next)
election decisively”.

“… In Morgan Tsvangirai we have got a leader who is essentially the face of
the struggle, the face of change in Zimbabwe. He’s clearly the undisputed –
undisputable leader of the change struggle in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Since leading the formation of the MDC-T in 2009, Tsvangirai has remained
the biggest challenge to Mugabe’s three-decade stranglehold on power, even
beating the Zanu PF leader in the first round of the 2008 presidential

The MDC-T survived an acrimonious split in 2005 which was triggered by a
dispute over participation in the Senate elections. Critics however, blame
the break-up for dividing the opposition vote and helping to keep Mugabe and
his Zanu PF party in power.

Meanwhile, a new election showdown is looming after both Mugabe and
Tsvangirai agreed that their coalition government is no longer workable and
must make way for a more substantive administration.
But they continue to row over the timing of the election.

Mugabe, now 88 and dogged by repeated speculation over his health, wants the
vote held this year while Tsvangirai says ongoing constitutional and other
political reforms need to be completed first.

"It's just not possible to hold elections this year, there is no
constitution and no referendum has been held," the MDC-T leader said

"Elections will be held at the outer limit; that is in March 2013 when the
current term of the lawmakers would have constitutionally expired."

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Succession Battle: Mnangagwa Trounce Mujuru

Masvingo, April 29, 2012- Defense Minister, Emerson Mnangagwa gained more
ground in Masvingo this week after his camp trounced Vice President Joice
Mujuru in district elections held here by ZANU PF in a restructuring
exercise ahead of anticipated elections this year.

The two faction leaders are in a battle for the control of ZANU PF
structures in the country as the succession battle of their ailing party
leader President Robert Mugabe intensifies.

Mnangagwa who has been frequenting the province of late, aboard an Air Force
of Zimbabwe helicopter saw his faction led by former Masvingo provincial
Governor, Josiah Hungwe and Higher and Tertiary education Minster, Stan
Mudenge, thrashing the Mujuru faction in all of the five districts that held

A member of the Mujuru faction Led by former Masvingo provincial governor,
Dzikamai Mavhaire of the ‘Mugabe must go fame’ and Tourism Minister, Walter
Mzembi said the camp was left dejected after being thumbed, leaving the Vice
President disadvantaged in the succession battle.

“We have so far lost in five districts and they are only to left so our camp
is in trouble because the Mnangagwa faction will get stronger and more
powerful, but the elections were not free and fair they rigged us,” said the
faction member who declined to be named.

The new DCC chairmen from the Mnangagwa faction are Mathias Masasire in
Gutu, Trust Mugabe Masvingo, Saunders Magwizi Chivi, Tawedzerwa Masase Zaka
and Claudius Nhongonhema in Bikita.

The battle for the control of provinces has seen the faction leaders
frequenting the provinces at various functions and events in a move to
solicit for support from the people.

The visit recently saw the Defense Minister getting under fire from the
locals who were not amused by his abuse of sate resources after using the
Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopter to attend functions of his faction members
that were not important.

Mnangagwa flew to Chivi recently after he was invited by his camp’s
provincial leader Hungwe and members of his faction after he had done the
same in Bikita.

The DCC elections are being held in preparation for the provincial congress
that will elect the executive before elections in the country are held. The
two leaders are fighting for control in the provinces so that they will lead
the campaign in the general elections.

Although the Mnangagwa faction is in jubilant mood celebrating for the
victories in the districts the Mujuru faction has rejected the outcome of
the results citing irregularities and violence.

In Masvingo police were called to quell clashes between rival factions on
Tuesday at Chief’s hall, where Mudenge was briefly detained by youths from
rival camp.

“Our camp has rejected the outcome of the lections. We were robbed by the
Mnangagwa faction so we will be appealing to our national leaders to call
for new elections,” said the faction member.

ZANU PF provincial secretary for Administration, Edmund Mhere declined to

“We don’t give comments over the phone, we do not know what you will end up
writing,” said Mhere before hanging up his mobile.

The Mujuru faction’s hope is only left in gaining control of the DCC in
Chiredzi and Mwenezi where lections are scheduled to take place at the
weekend. But the control of two DCC’s will be insignificant as the Mnangagwa
faction has garnered five districts already.

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Temporary teachers blamed for poor results

Sunday, 29 April 2012 12:51

BULAWAYO — Schools in Matabeleland performed badly in last year’s Ordinary
and Advanced level examinations because they are staffed mainly with
temporary teachers, teacher representatives have said. But Education, Sport,
Arts and Culture minister Senator David Coltart said government would not
get rid of the temporary teachers as they were crucial to the education
Raymond Majongwe, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
secretary-general said a survey by the organisation recently revealed that
70% of schools in Matabeleland were occupied by temporary teachers owing to
the collapse of infrastructure that has caused qualified staff to shun the

“Our teams were confronted with a catastrophic situation. In districts such
as Lupane and Binga temporary teachers were literally running the schools,”
he said.

“In some places it was discovered that the only qualified person was the
school head and the rest were temporary teachers and that is the main reason
the schools perform badly in examinations, for example last year.”

He also attributed the poor performance of schools to revelations by the
survey that very few teachers from Matabeleland were being recruited by the
Zimbabwe School Examination Council to mark final year exams.

“Teachers need to teach as well as mark so that they can be in a position to
determine the strengths and weaknesses of their pupils. But our report
indicated that few teachers from Matabeleland are recruited for marking,”
said Majongwe.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) chief executive officer, Sifiso
Ndlovu added: “We currently have close to about 13 000 temporary teachers in
the country. This is a high figure compared to our needs to have qualified
teachers availed to every student.”

According to rankings by Zimsec for the November 2011 examinations, no
school in Matabeleland made it into the top 10 in the ‘A’ Level category
while only five schools from the three regions made it into the top 50 in
the ‘O’ Level category.

While teacher unions blame the poor performance on the staffing of schools
with temporary teachers, some Bulawayo-based analysts cited colonialism and
government neglect of Matabeleland schools since the early 1980s during the
Gukurahundi disturbances.

“When secondary schools came, they were very sparse, for example, early
students in Matabeleland had to go to Kutama and later Goromonzi. These
restrictions limited the number of learners who reached tertiary education,”
said Dr Samukele Hadede.

“Colonial government built only one university and naturally Salisbury then
was the beneficiary. At independence, there was no university in the whole
of Matabeleland region and establishing one after was not an easy battle.”

After independence, government intensified the education-for-all po-licy
through building schools but very few were built in Matabeleland and some
were later destroyed during Gukurahundi, Hadede argued.

‘Government must revisit policy on language of instruction’

Pastor Anglistone Sibanda of Bulawayo said there was improper implementation
of the government education policy of 1988 which states that Grade 1 to 4
pupils should be taught in their mother tongue.

“The idea is that children easily grasps issues in their mother tongues at
an early age but we have incidents in schools where students at these grades
and up to Grade 7 are not taught in their mother tongue,” he said.

“What that means is that those students will lag behind and will eventually
fail leading to the continued poor performance of schools in examinations.”

Thabani Nyoni, the Bulawayo Agenda Executive Director also said Matabeleland
schools never fully recovered from the army crackdown in Matabeleland during
the Gukurahundi era.

“Gukurahundi sponsored the destruction of education infrastructure at
schools. While other regions were getting funding to develop education, the
region was under the hammer and they have lagged behind since then,” he

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PM Tsvangirai introduces fiancée Elizabeth

Sunday, 29 April 2012 12:55

By Blessed Mhlanga
Gweru — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made his first official public
appearance with fiancée Elizabeth Macheka at a Prayer meeting at Mkoba
Stadium yesterday. The PM, who got engaged to Macheka at a party in Harare
last week, sat next to his fiancée as the two were part of a 15 000-strong
crowd which attended a prayer meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Pastors

Tsvangirai took the opportunity to introduce his future wife saying he was
tired of being looked down upon by other men because he did not have a
“better half”.

“When I came here I heard there was Mr and Mrs Charamba, Mr and Mrs Shumba,
so today I have brought my own so that we can all be on the same level. I am
tired of being looked down upon by other men because of my previous status
so now I have my own,” said Tsvangirai to applause by the crowd.

Turning his attention to the prayer meeting, the PM praised  President
Robert Mugabe for denouncing violence during his independence day speech.

“I want to congratulate Mu-gabe for making a bold statement against violence
during his speech on independence day because only peace can take this
nation forward,” said Tsvangirai.

He then preached from Matthew 22 vs 34 calling on Zimbabweans to observe the
greatest commandment from God, “to love your God with all your heart and
secondly to love thy neighbour as you would love yourself.”

“We are all one people regardless of political differences. You cannot stone
your uncle because he belongs to MDC or hate your brother simply because he
comes from Zanu PF… let’s extend a hand to those who hate us if our nation
is to prosper,” Tsvangirai said.

The prayer meeting was attended by top gospel musicians Blessing Shumba, the
Charambas and Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave, among others.

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Cash-strapped teachers create parallel schools

JOHN NQINDI | 29 April, 2012 00:20

Teachers are moonlighting by setting up parallel schools after hours - a
tax-free scheme that is accountable only to themselves.

This comes as the government resolved this month to scrap teacher
incentives, whereby parents paid teachers extra money to supplement their

The incentives were said to be creating inequalities as teachers working in
poor communities were not getting incentives.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority also threatened to tax the incentives.

But teachers have come up with the moonlighting plan.

What has always been known as extra lessons has grown into parallel
schooling, with teachers coming together to form their own "schools", where
they get pupils to attend classes in their homes for a fee less than regular
school fees.

"I teach history up to advanced level, which is my advantage. Many schools
in my area don't teach Zimbabwean history, so if there are students
intending on sitting for history they come to me," said teacher James

He says for a teacher to make more money he has to have a certain advantage,
because many teachers are resorting to moonlighting. Some teachers get more
students because of the schools they come from, others get more clients from
their circle of social interaction.

"I know one mathematics teacher who has a class of 20 students. Most of them
come from his church. His wife is also a teacher specialising in English.
She has more students than him. They also have a friend who is a science
teacher with good numbers, too. Basically those teaching top-priority
subjects get to make more money," said Mthethwa.

On average each student pays $20 a month, so a teacher with a class of 20
makes $400 - which is more than most civil servants earn. At examination
time, they conduct crash courses for extra fees. Lessons are conducted any
time between 4pm and 7pm, once teachers finish their day jobs. A makeshift
classroom is a room in a home, a garage or even an office rented at a
shopping mall.

"I am writing ordinary level for the second time and I come here every
week-day to study English and mathematics. During the day I go to a regular
school but I understand better when I am here because if there is anything I
don't understand I ask my tutors and they are really committed.

"At school it is different because the teacher does not care if you
understand or not. And when you are here [night school] you don't get
punished or beaten up, because you are not there to play," said pupil
Mncedisi Nzipho.

The secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Raymond
Majongwe, said this development was a reflection of the decay in the
education sector. "Things have got to this point because we are poorly paid.
It will get worse as long as teachers' salaries are pathetic. When the
economy was performing well, we only held extra lessons for exams and not as
a daily thing like it is now," he said.

Majongwe added that the emergence of backyard colleges was undermining the
teaching profession. "Anyone can start their own backyard college or school
because no one cares to look at the teacher's credentials. We want normality
to return but that can only happen once teachers' dignity is returned
through better working conditions and remuneration," he said.

Industrial action by teachers and the political situation over the years has
also contributed to this development.

Many parents withdrew their children from government schools only to take
them to backyard colleges.

In 2010 the government closed more than a hundred of these backyard schools
because they did not meet the required standards. However, since then the
government has turned a blind eye with many of them still mushrooming.

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Air Zim resumes local flights for international trade fair

HENDRICKS CHIZHANJE | 29 April, 2012 00:20

Zimbabwe's grounded national airline, Air Zimbabwe, this week temporarily
resumed domestic services to cater for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
(ZITF), which ended in Bulawayo yesterday.

Air Zimbabwe suspended local, regional and international flights in January
because of mismanagement and threats by creditors to seize the airline's

But on Wednesday the airline resumed local flights between Harare and
Bulawayo for the convenience of passengers travelling to and from the trade

The airline has been run down due to successive years of mismanagement and
inadequate funding.

Once one of the premier events on Southern Africa's commercial calendar, the
ZITF has lost its glamour after 12 years of acute economic crisis.

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Scores of Visitors and Exhibitors Stranded

Scores of exhibitors and visitors were on Friday stranded outside the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) exhibition centre after police and
armed soldiers closed all the centre's main gates soon after the arrival of
Presidents Robert Mugabe and his Zambian counterpart, Michel Sata.
by Zwanai Sithole Harare

Disgruntled visitors and exhibitors were made to wait for almost three hours
outside the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Centre as Mugabe and Sata tour
business stands.

A visibly tired Mugabe first visited the Zambian and Mozambican stands on
foot and visited the rest of the stands while aboard his official Mercedes
Benz . Cabinet ministers and security officials had a torrid time following
Mugabe's vehicle on foot. Every year Mugabe visits business stands while
walking on foot. There was chaos at the gates as restless and agitated
visitors and exhibitors pleaded with the security details to allow them
inside. Some visitors who had brought their children to the fair could not
withstand the chaos and confusion.

"I have attended trade fair officially opening days for the past ten years
with my children, but I have never witnessed this confusion. All the gates
have been locked up and nobody is telling us what is happening. ZITF is
going to lose a lot of money because I am now leaving .The situation is also
becoming increasingly risk for myself and my children," said a man from Hill
side who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

An exhibitor from South Africa who only identified himself as Max was also
locked outside after he had gone to town to buy mineral water.

"If this is the way you Zimbabweans do business here, then next time I will
not come. I have got my accreditation card to show that I been inside before
but no one is listening to me. I have lost business for all the time which I
have been made to stand outside," he said. The ZITF centre and the
surrounding environment was also teaming up with unprecedented security
details, some of them perched up in trees.

The Trade Fair kicked off in Bulawayo under the theme "Investing locally,
reaping globally".

Sata officially opened the trade fair.

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Bill Gates to invest in Zim

Written by Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Sunday, 29 April 2012 14:29

HARARE - Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has come back to Harare again but
this time around, the philanthropists are coming in as investors.

The US- based organisation headed by former Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates,
who, according to Forbes Magazine, is the second richest man in the world is
looking for means of investing in Zimbabwe.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda told the Daily News on Sunday the Seattle-
based foundation which has an estimated wealth of $56 billion, was exploring
means of investing in Harare — targeting raw sewer and other disposable
waste with a view of turning it into energy.

“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has engaged a team of consultants led
by Peter Smuts of Pasco Waste and Environmental Consulting to have a look at
our solid waste with a view of assisting us with the installation of
facilities to convert waste into money,” said Masunda.

According to Masunda, the project will address at least two of the eight
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), of eradicating poverty by creating
employment and reducing environmental degradation through the elimination of
industrial and domestic pollution.

“Council shall push for a tripartite business model involving itself as the
designated local authority, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in
conjunction with a local or foreign technical partner and the community
where the waste is being generated,” Masunda said.

The envisioned venture between council and the foundation follows a
successful visit by Melanie Walker, a senior programme officer last year to
monitor a $5 million housing grant sponsored by the organisation.

The project initially targeted Mbare residents, but was later moved to
Dzivaresekwa due to political resistance from a Zanu PF-aligned group —

The “notorious” group, described by Masunda as “loose cannons,” successfully
scuttled hopes of more than 500 Mbare families to benefit from an ambitious
housing project.

They demanded a share into the project before accusing the initiative of
being an MDC election campaigning gimmick.

Harare City Council just like many other urban local authorities is directly
controlled by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.

Masunda could not divulge the exact amount the project will cost preferring
to estimate that an initial capital injection of $1 million is hoped for.

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Chiyangwa donates US$1,6m to University of Zimbabwe

29/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PROPERTY tycoon Phillip Chiyangwa donated US$1,6 million at a fundraising
dinner for the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) on Saturday night.

Chiyangwa – who had two children graduate from the university – said the
money will be used for the construction of a chapel which is one of nearly a
dozen capital projects identified for funding by the university authorities.

“There is currently no church at the UZ. Where there is no God, there is a
problem,” Chiyangwa told New after making his pledge.
“Over the years, there has been too many riots and injuries... there must be
some peace.”

The businessman, famed for his expensive tastes and philanthropy, said he
was moved to chip in because the fundraising campaign championed by Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara was a “genuine campaign to make a difference
in the community”.
“I made the commitment because I have got the money. God gives me favour
every day,” he added.

The dinner at the university’s Great Hall and attended by former South
African President Thabo Mbeki, had set a target to raise US$10 million.
Nearly 600 guests each paid US$200 to attend.

Several companies made cash donations, while others pledged to fund specific
projects identified by the fundraising committee which is seeking to raise a
minimum of US$70 million.
The Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe donated US$200,000, TN bank US$150,000, ZNBC
Group US$100,000 and FBC US$10,000.

Mbada Diamonds said it would adopt one university department.

Mutambara, who is patron of the University of Zimbabwe Training Programme,
said “very few of Africa’s newly-rich and those in influential positions
give back to wider causes beyond their families and immediate communities”,
including the UZ’s 65,000 graduates since 1957.

“We are aggressively pursuing this principle of Africans giving back to
their own institutions, starting with the University of Zimbabwe,” Mutambara

A committee of trustees to lead the fundraising effort includes some of the
UZ’s most notable alumni including Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Africa Sun
CEO Shingi Mutasa, TN CEO Tawanda Nyambirai, Cyril Ruwende (Diaspora USA),
Professor Rueben Simoyi (Diaspora USA), Alex Magaisa (Diaspora UK) and Brian
Kagoro (Diaspora SA).

The committee is pursuing an ambitious programme to get all the UZ’s
graduates since 1957 to donate US$100 each and breathe life to the
institution which is struggling under spending cuts in education by the
cash-strapped government.

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Investors jump in to save banks at last minute

JAMA MAJOLA | 29 April, 2012 00:19

Zimbabwe's struggling banks have been rescued from total collapse - at least
for the immediate future - after last-minute interventions by new investors
and authorities.

Genesis Investment Bank and Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) seem to
have escaped the April 1 deadline for closure after investors moved in
following pressure from the treasury and monetary authorities for them to
meet their $12.5-million minimum capital requirements.

ReNaissance Merchant Bank, which was closed last year, has been bailed out
by the National Social Security Authority.

Also Agribank, another struggling institution, has been rescued by the
Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa. Premier Banking
Corporation was acquired by Ecobank International, while TN Bank is moving
to list on the stock exchange to raise capital.

With everyone expecting Genesis to close, the bank has found new investors
and will meet its minimum adequacy capital ratio as a result.

Although details of the deal are yet to be announced, British tycoon
Nicholas Van Hoogstraten and wealthy South Africa-based businessman Frank
Buyanga have been linked to the deal.

Genesis had negative capital of $3.2-million and was in negotiations with
Swiss Charge of Zambia and a consortium of local investors to inject
$20-million as capital, but the deal failed. According to documents seen by
the Sunday Times, a consortium of investors led by FMB of Malawi previously
tried to take over Genesis.

The Reserve Bank had approved in principle the proposed acquisition of a 93%
stake in the bank by a consortium of investors led by FMB, which Malawi's
central bank had advised had a strong capital base to finance its 30% equity
in Genesis, besides providing further details to buttress its assessment.

Further, the Bank of Botswana had advised that Capital Bank Limited, a
subsidiary of FMB, was in a sound financial position and complied with
prudential and statutory requirements.

The Central Bank of Kenya had also indicated that Prime Bank Ltd, which
intended to acquire 12.5% in Genesis, had a solid financial base and
capacity to do so.

In its battle for survival, Genesis had instituted legal proceedings to
recover loans amounting to more than $1-million.

Besides the liquidity crisis, Zimbabweans are in trouble, partly because
their loan-to-deposit ratios are too high and are unsustainable.

Zimbabwe has 26 banks and most of them are struggling due to chronic
capitalisation and a prolonged liquidity crisis in the market. A number of
banks are also battling for survival due to poor economic performance.

The liquidity crunch is also attributable to volatile short-term transitory
deposits and limited lines of credit, among other issues.

The International Monetary Fund, which is coming to Harare, has persistently
warned of "rising vulnerabilities in the banking system" in Zimbabwe,
although Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
say the sector is basically "safe and sound".

Events around Genesis come just after ZABG Bank also avoided closure at the
eleventh hour.

The bank reached an agreement recently with Unicapital of Mauritius and
Trebor & Khays, which is owned by mines minister Obert Mpofu.

Mpofu and Unicapital will inject $27.8-million for ZABG to meet its minimum
capital adequacy ratio and recapitalise. Mpofu and the other new investors
will further raise $20-million for the bank's operations.

ZABG was critically undercapitalised, with a negative core capital of more
than $15-million.

Its attempt to secure $5-million from treasury to cover the gap had failed.

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Mugabe 'feared' Mujuru

JAMA MAJOLA | 29 April, 2012 00:19

The death of former army commander General Solomon Mujuru last year in a
mysterious blaze would have been a great relief for President Robert Mugabe,
who feared him and was always under pressure from him to retire.

A senior Zanu-PF official is quoted in the latest WikiLeaks cables as
telling an American diplomat that Mujuru, and another former Zanu-PF
politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa, were a thorn in the veteran ruler's side.
Dabengwa quit the party in 2008 to support former finance minister Simba
Makoni's bid for the presidency.

A year earlier Mujuru, Dabengwa and Makoni were at the centre of a plot at
Zanu-PF's extraordinary congress in Harare to force Mugabe to resign ahead
of the contested 2008 elections. When the plan failed, Dabengwa and Makoni
left, while Mujuru stayed put.

Although Mugabe is still under pressure to retire, it was Mujuru he feared
the most, according to party insiders and Zanu-PF politburo member
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.

Ndlovu was quoted by WikiLeaks as telling a US diplomat in Harare: "Mugabe
respects and fears Mujuru. Mujuru is also now independently wealthy, which
gives him freedom for manoeuvre that those whose livelihoods depend on the
ruling party do not have." Ndlovu told former US ambassador Joseph Sullivan
that Americans should not paint everyone in Zimbabwe with the same brush, as
there were moderates like him who were trying to reform Zanu-PF from within.
He said the only problem was that hardliners were blocking reforms.

He said Mujuru was capable of confronting Mugabe and asking him when he
would retire. Ndlovu indicated the succession issue was being discussed in
top Zanu-PF circles.

"The one prominent exception is retired General Solomon Mujuru, who recently
asked Mugabe during a politburo meeting when he planned to step down. The
politburo is full of aspiring individuals who want their own chance at the
top job. Two options have been discussed informally among like-minded
members. The first is to somehow invoke the section of the draft
constitution rejected in 2000, which created the position of prime
minister," Ndlovu is quoted as saying.

He said if that initiative had succeeded it would have given the prime
minister executive powers, while leaving Mugabe as a largely ceremonial head
of state.

At the time there was also a consideration of another option, that of
appointing two young and energetic vice-presidents to work under Mugabe and
revive the party and run government efficiently, he said. During the
discussions with Sullivan, Ndlovu emphasised the importance of managing
Mugabe's exit to ensure a safe way out and guaranteeing him immunity from

Zanu-PF insiders say Mugabe is afraid of suffering a fate similar to that of
former Liberian president Charles Taylor, which explained why he wants to
die in office. Taylor was this week found guilty of war crimes and crimes
against humanity by a United Nations special tribunal in The Hague.

According to WikiLeaks, almost all senior Zanu-PF officials want Mugabe to
go. Mujuru's death remains a mystery, with his family suspecting he was
murdered by political opponents.

Some say he was killed over diamond deals which went sour. Mujuru had an
acrimonious dispute with Saudi Arabian tycoon Adel Abdul Rahman al Aujan,
who owns the Dubai-based Rani Investment, over the control of River Ranch
Diamonds. He died a day before he was to take over River Ranch. Aujan has
denied the fallout.

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Horror story of Zimbabwe must keep us on right track

Mondli Makhanya | 29 April, 2012 00:20

WANDERING around the streets of Harare on April 18 2000 was a most
depressing experience. It was meant to be a joyous day, as it marked 20
years since the country had gained independence.

The people were meant to be wearing the national flag in their hearts and
walking tall as they celebrated the achievements of their nation. You would
have expected street parties in the ghettos and the popping of bubbly in the
snobbish suburbs.

Yet, all you could see on the streets of Harare were long faces. The people
of Harare were a miserable sight. All they could talk about was hardship and
their once proud country's slide into dictatorship and basket-case status.

Everywhere you went, they were bemoaning the betrayal of their country and
the ideals of the chimurenga (the liberation struggle) by the Zanu-PF elite.

Many couldn't wait for the public holiday to be over so that they could
return to the foreign embassies to rejoin the snaking visa queues. Others
were not even bothering with those formalities and were headed to the border
to make their illegal crossings.

In his celebratory address, President Robert Mugabe delivered his usual rant
about colonialism and imperialism, and the glories of the chimurenga,
seemingly unaware of the horror he was visiting on his people.

Zimbabweans were right to feel miserable. The country, which in the 1980s
had been on the road to relative prosperity, was facing catastrophe. The
economy was in free-fall. The currency was becoming the joke of the region
as inflation soared. Food and fuel shortages were becoming a norm.

On the political front, Mugabe was waging war against democracy and doing
everything to tighten his grip on power.

As the people of Harare said over and over again on that day: there was
nothing to celebrate.

As we celebrate 18 years of South Africa as a democratic republic, we should
be thinking of what scenes will play out on our city streets in 2014, when
we mark 20 years of freedom. Will we be looking back on the previous 20
years with pride and gazing at the future with confidence?

The report card will largely be a positive one. We will be able to look back
on two decades in which strong institutional democracy was built, basic
services were provided to millions, international tournaments were
spectacularly hosted and our place in the world community was cemented.

The scenes at the Union Buildings on Friday were heart-warming.

The fact that all political formations -- from the Pan Africanist Congress
to the Freedom Front Plus - could line up on a public platform to take turns
in pledging loyalty to the republic, the constitution and the wellbeing of
citizens should make our chests swell with pride.

This is one of the really good habits we have developed as a nation. Let us
not unlearn it. We should not unlearn those habits which have earned us the
respect and admiration of our continental brethren and the rest of the human

Zimbabwe did not just arrive at the point it was at in 2000 by accident. Nor
did it happen overnight. It was the culmination of a haphazard, but
deliberate campaign by Mugabe and those around him to keep Zanu-PF in power
by all means possible.

They undermined all the institutions of democracy. They went about creating
a pliant judiciary by sidelining and strong-arming independent judges, while
promoting those with nodding heads. There was a concerted move towards
creating a secretive society by curbing media freedoms and denying citizens
the right to access information to which they were entitled.

Non-governmental organisations and civil-society movements were treated with
suspicion. Opposition parties were labelled and treated as enemies, rather
than opponents.

Security agencies worked for the party, and intelligence chiefs pledged
loyalty to individuals in the party. State coffers became the piggy-banks of
ministers and party bigwigs, while state-owned companies served the
interests of Zanu-PF. The Zanu-PF-dominated parliament became a conveyor
belt for Mugabe's wishes, with virtually no questioning of executive

By 2000, when Mugabe embarked on his decade-long destruction of Zimbabwe, he
had already laid the ground. He could do as he wished under the cover of
darkness and in an environment in which the populace no longer had the full
protection of an independent judiciary.

The downward spiral of Zimbabwe over the next decade has few parallels in
modern history. Zimbabweans can perhaps use the excuse that they did not see
it coming. It is not an excuse South Africans can use, given that we have
had the best ringside seat to the horror movie in the country next door.

When we celebrate 20 years of freedom, we should do so happily. We should do
so knowing that we have internalised the good habits and that the future is
safe from those who want to rip apart the house we have been building since

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Empowerment policy doomed to fail - Cross

JOHN NQINDI | 29 April, 2012 00:20

Renowned economist-cum-politician Eddie Cross says Zanu-PF will realise the
error of its ways with regard to the indigenisation drive.

Last week Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told the Sunday Times
that the indigenisation drive was Zanu-PF's ticket to political victory at
the next general elections.

"We have changed the country forever with the indigenisation programme.
Which political party wouldn't harness such a programme to push for votes? I
am not ashamed of that, because indigenisation is the view of my party and
it will be a determining force in the next election," he said.

But Cross, MDC-T's secretary for research and policy coordination, maintains
that Kasukuwere and Zanu-PF have not made much headway with their policy. He
said the drive was nothing but an illegal political strategy.

"In this situation Zanu-PF reverts to bully tactics. Companies are terrified
of a "farm invasion" situation and senior management being locked up for
weeks in filthy cells. They have been trying to reach a compromise in the
belief that they can hold off the threat and buy time while the political
struggle for power comes to a conclusion.

"So far this has been the case; in my view Kasukawere's threats have no
substance and he will not be able to carry them through. The reasons for the
programme are purely political. If any firms are forced down this road these
deals will be reversed by a new government," Cross said.

Zanu-PF first mooted the idea of indigenisation in 2007, when it enjoyed a
majority in parliament. However, the process was taken up slowly so when the
coalition government came into effect things changed. The party is now
facing resistance from both sides of the coalition.

"Not a single firm has been indigenised in the past two years that the
Kasukuwere regulations have been published and he has tried to enforce them.
When he originally published the regulations to give effect to the act that
was passed in 2007, it was the last time that Zanu-PF held a majority in

"In the new establishment they were declared illegal by the prime minister
as they had not received the support of the cabinet, which is a requirement
for all new legislation since the signing of the GPA and the formation of
the GNU. The house legal committee followed this by deciding that they were
in violation of the constitution and were therefore illegal. He (Kasukuwere)
was told to go back to the drawing board.

"Ever since then it has been a straight fight between the political
hardliners and the MDC and parliament and the situation has not changed -
the regulations are illegal and have no force or effect."

Cross believes that while Zanu-PF thinks the indigenisation drive will get
them votes, it has ruined economic growth.

"There is no doubt that the indigenisation drive is the single most damaging
aspect of the present situation - it has halted all new foreign direct
investment inflows, caused significant outflows of capital and stopped the
economic recovery," he added.

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Educating Sata – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 28th April 2012

You have to hand it to Mugabe: he is good at making friends. It must be the ‘charm’ noted breathlessly by British Ambassador Deborah Bronnert. No sooner does Mugabe lose his number one bootlicker, Mutharika of Malawi, than he pulls another out of his other boot: Michael Sata of Zambia who, as a former platform sweeper at London’s Victoria Station, is even better equipped.


To say you have to hand it to Mugabe may not be entirely accurate. It may be you have to hand it to Sata – in the form of a pouch of ‘grubby stones’ such as given by Liberian butcher Taylor to the bejewelled model Naomi Campbell. After all, Mutharika was given a stolen Zimbabwean farm.


But perhaps the Vigil is being unkind to Sata. It might not have been necessary to buy him. He could – let’s be fair – just be stupid. One way or another, how else do you account for his comments during his visit to Zimbabwe to open the wildly successful trade fair in Bulawayo (the majority of stands taken by the Chinese and many of the others by bankrupt parastatals with nothing to offer, such as Air Zimbabwe)? (See: Sata slams sanctions, supports grabbing of white owned farms in Zimbabwe –


For us at the Vigil Mr Sata’s bizarre pro-Mugabe comments raise a number of important points: what are the MDC and the British government doing about it? For the MDC’s part, it appears that Tsvangirai has protested by boycotting Sata’s visit (see: - Tsvangirai ‘boycotts’ trade fair opening).  But what purpose does this serve? Wouldn’t a confrontation have been better?


Whatever the MDC’s strategy, the Vigil believes that the government here in Britain should not let pass Sata’s gross interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs. Mr Sata complains about sanctions on Zimbabwe: what is the High Commissioner in Lusaka doing? Why hasn’t he explained the realities? He could, for instance, pass on the article on sanctions by the Zimbabwean economist John Robertson (see: Sanctions: the Western World’s most generous gift to Zanu PF –


Eventually the British government was provoked into suspending the aid that kept Mutharika’s economy going. The Vigil believes that Britain should now take a close look at its priorities in Zambia. We suggest some of the huge aid package given annually to Zambia should be diverted to the undoubtedly daunting task of educating Sata.


Anyway the Vigil has added him to our list of Mugabe cronies to be targeted if they pop up in London for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Beware Sata: behind every broom there may be a Vigil supporter.


Another SADC leader to be targeted will be monstrous Mswati, the Swazi tyrant. We gave him the runaround the last time he dared come here and will do the same again. We were glad today to welcome Vincent Dlamini, National Organising Secretary of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland and Secretary General of Swaziland’s National Public Services Union. He expressed gratitude for our support for the Swazi Vigil which has been campaigning for democracy outside the Swazi High Commission in London. ‘We must hold each other’s hand’, he said, ‘At the end of the day victory is certain.’ He was accompanied by Mark Beacon of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) the successor organization to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. They have organized a public meeting at which Mr Dlamini will speak about the brutal suppression of human rights in Swaziland.  For details see ‘Events and Notices’.


Other points

·        Thanks to the Globe Theatre for their generous offer to Vigil supporters wanting to see the Shona production of ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ at 2.30 pm on Wednesday 9th May. We explained that most of our supporters are hard up and they said we could come for nothing. We will be the traditional groundlings (see: standing (we are used to standing at the Vigil!). The Globe Theatre thinks this is the best experience in the theatre as we will be closest to the stage. The Globe is looking forward to having Shona speakers in the audience. There will be an opportunity to meet the cast after the show. For full details see ‘Events and Notices’.

·        It has rained virtually all month here and we were all soaked today. On top of that it has been cold. But we were cheered to see Nancy Makawa who was released from detention last week.

·        Thanks to Edward Mutamiswa for his help in packing up the Vigil especially in dismantling our wet tarpaulin without drenching everyone.


For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.


FOR THE RECORD: 54 signed the register.



·        Swaziland: A Kingdom in Crisis. Monday 30th April from 6.30 – 8 pm. Venue: Court Room, 1st Floor, Senate House, Malet House, London WC1E 7HU. Vincent Dlamini, National Organising Secretary of the TUC of Swaziland, and Thobile Gwebu of London’s Swaziland Vigil will speak about the worsening political and economic crisis in Swaziland. ‘Swaziland is Africa's only absolute monarchy. Democracy is denied and those who dare to speak out are brutally repressed. Vast amounts of Swaziland’s budget are spent on the army, police and the Royal Family, whilst 70 percent of the population live in absolute poverty; it has the highest HIV rate in the world. This April the Swazi government cracked down on protests to mark the 39th anniversary of the banning of political parties in Swaziland and the introduction of the state of emergency. The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland  which was recently formed as the united trade union federation was derecognised, protests banned and trade union leaders arrested.’ For further information contact Action for Southern Africa: Tel 020 3263 2001 Email:

·        Taking Transitional Justice to the Diaspora. Monday 30th April from 5 – 6 pm. Venue: Chatham House, 10 St James’s Square, London SW1Y 4LE. Participants: Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Co-Chair of the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, and Primrose Matambanadzo, Chair of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (

·       ‘The Rain that Washes’ – Zimbabwean theatre production. From 2nd – 19th May at 7.30 pm – matinees 10th May at 1 pm and 19th May at 3.30 pm. Venue: Studio Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. It is a one-man show based on a true story. “Following the dream of majority rule, one man sees Ian Smith's Rhodesia become Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. From refugee camps in Botswana to air strikes in Zambia via Marxism in Bulgaria, he returns to Zimbabwe, only to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . .” Running time: 60 minutes. Tickets £8 (£6). To book, call 020 8292 9222, email or book online at Chickenshed is between Oakwood and Cockfosters tube stations, and on bus routes 298, 299, 307 and N91. Free parking is  available.

·       Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 5th May from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.

·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 5th May from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent.  Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

·        Two Gentlemen of Verona Shona Production at the Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT. Dates / Times: Wednesday 9 May, 2.30pm. Thursday 10 May, 7.30pm. Tickets available from 020 7401 9919 and A two-man Zimbabwean riot of love, friendship and betrayal. From Verona to Milan, via Harare and Bulawayo, two great friends, Valentine and Proteus, vie for the love of the same woman. In a triumphantly energetic ‘township’ style, Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu slip into all of the play’s fifteen characters – from amorous suitors to sullen daughters, depressed servants and even a dog – in this new, specially commissioned translation for the international Shakespeare season..

·        Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link:  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

·        The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·        ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

·        The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: and to watch the video check: To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: and

·        Vigil Facebook page:

·        Vigil Myspace page:


Vigil co-ordinators

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

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Standard Comment:Bloated parliament is not the answer

Sunday, 29 April 2012 12:49

PARTIES in the inclusive government are planning to have more women in
parliament in order to ensure gender parity in the legislative assembly.

Though in principle the idea is noble, what boggles the mind is that the
parties think they can only achieve gender parity by increasing the number
of MPs.

Figures revealed last week show that up 90 more seats could be created in
Parliament, pushing the number of legislators to a whopping 300 members.
The government, already struggling to meet the demands of the current 210
seats, has no resources to finance the needs of more MPs.

More worryingly, these MPs don’t need to drop a sweat to be in Parliament as
they will be appointed by leaders of political parties.

In the case of Zanu PF, it will be President Mugabe who will appoint his
party’s MPs. Other principals will also do the same, meaning those who get
into Parliament would most probably merely be protégés selected for their
unwavering loyalty to their political masters.

Mugabe has in the past rewarded loyal chiefs by appointing them into
Parliament. That way, he managed to create a group of unelected legislators
that only served his interests. The 90 MPs that could join Parliament are
likely to serve the same purpose.

Clearly, such a political arrangement would not work in the best interest
for Zimbabweans, who are still fighting dictatorial tendencies. What they
need is a Parliament that is responsive to their needs not those of their
political grandmasters.

While women are evidently disadvantaged in the Zimbabwean society, parties
should seek to create conditions that allow for fair competition between men
and women. Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe and Vice-President Joice
Mujuru, among others, show women can succeed against all the odds in

Where women are clearly disadvantaged, parties can reserve constituencies
for women as Zanu PF has done in the past. Parliament can also create laws
that allow for gender equality.

Hoping to solve the problem by increasing the number of MPs is a wrong
recipe for a country struggling with a bloated wage bill.

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Sunday Opinion: Special Interest Councillors: Curse or blessing

Sunday, 29 April 2012 12:47

SO much has been said  in the media and other discussion forums concerning
the usefulness of special interest councillors within local authorities as
provided for in the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29:15), administered by the
Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, who shall be
referred to as the Minister throughout this instalment.

Under Section 4A  (b) of the Urban Councils’ Act (UCA), titled membership to
municipal and town councils “such number of appointed councillors
representing special interests, not exceeding one-quarter of the number of
elected councillors, as the Minister may fix in respect of the council by
statutory instrument, and who shall hold office during the pleasure of the

Part (2) of Section 4A states that appointed councillors shall participate
in the business of the municipality or town council to which they are
appointed and perform the same functions and be entitled to the same
benefits in every respect as if they were elected councillors, except that
they shall not have a vote at meetings of the municipal or town council

The above legal provisions passed through the Parliament of Zimbabwe as part
of Constitutional Amendment Number  18 in 2008, comprising Members of
Parliament from the MDC-T, Zanu PF and the MDC led by Professor Welshman

Against this background, there are genuine contestations against the
appointment of special interest councillors to contribute to the running of
local authorities. Supporters of such appointments, mainly the Minister,
argue that because democracy does not always produce the best councillors,
the special interest appointees are skilled and experienced personnel that
come in to complement the capabilities of elected councillors. But the major
handicap of this argument is that there are no legal provisions defining a
special interest councillor except to say the one appointed by the Minister
in terms of the act.

On the other hand those who oppose the appointment of special interest
councillors say the incumbent minister brings through the back door rejects
of electoral contests drawn mainly from his party Zanu PF, disguised as
special interest councillors. The “special interests” have also not been
defined in the Urban Councils’ Act to assist in the identification of
suitable personnel to complement the gaps in the elected officials.
Currently this is only done by the Minister instead of being done by a panel
involving major stakeholders in local government like engineers, land
developers, residents and ratepayers, women and youths. Whose interests are
they serving?— surely not residents’ interests!

During March 2008, harmonised elections, Harare residents elected 46
councillors for the 46 wards under the city’s jurisdiction. But when they
were sworn-in on July 2 2008, 11 special interest councillors, all with
known links to Zanu PF, were also sworn-in, bringing the number of
councillors in Harare to 57. Of the 46 elected, only five were women, none
of them “specially”appointed to represent women. Of the 11 appointed special
interest councillors, none was a woman.

This approach does not augur well for gender mainstreaming within the City
of Harare, particularly with Zimbabwe focused on achieving Millennium
Development Goal III which aims to promote gender equality and empower
women. It is unfortunate that the “special interests” as defined by the
Minister do not cover women representation at the policy level for local

Since they came into office, the special interest councillors have attended
full council meetings; they have participated in committee meetings, making
significant contributions in shaping council’s policymaking. But they have
no mandate from the residents of Harare. They are loyal only to the
Minister. Still, residents of Harare pay their allowances, and the Local
Government ministry contributes nothing towards their upkeep.

Repeated efforts to amend the Urban Councils’ Act have met with resistance
from the minister who argues that the nation needs a harmonised piece of
legislation governing local government. Yet a Private Members Bill proposing
amendments to the UCA was brought before parliament. These two actions and
views on the local government legislation speak volumes on the vision of our
national leaders to issues of national development. Chombo’s arguments tell
us that the legal framework governing the administration of local
authorities is fragmented, chaotic and inadequate to propel service delivery
to desirable levels.

The mere fact that Chombo is advocating for a harmonised local government
legislative framework is an indicator that while he wields executive and
unchecked powers over local authorities under the current set up, he
realises  that existing pieces of legislation are insufficient to curtail
corruption within local authorities, deal with excessive incompetence among
councillors and  transform service delivery.

By Precious Shumba

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