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Zimbabwe president’s plan for polls ‘not practical,’ likely to stir violence, researchers say

By Associated Press, Published: April 3

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The Zimbabwe president’s demands for constitutional
reforms to be completed next month aren’t practical and his call for
elections this year will likely stir violence and chaos, legal researchers
said Tuesday.

President Robert Mugabe has vowed to go ahead with elections after May, with
or without reforms.

The independent legal think tank Veritas said in its latest bulletin that
constitutional changes are necessary to “level the political playing field”
and avoid upheavals and violence seen in the last 2008 vote.

It warned polls without the reforms “will be a sham in the eyes of the
region and the world,” and such an election breached terms of the nation’s
three-year power sharing deal and several formal resolutions by regional
mediators on a free vote.

Mugabe’s timetable set targets that were impossible to meet, the group said.
He took no heed of legal requirements for an all party conference on a new
constitution, ratification in the Harare Parliament and circulation of the
finished document across the nation in all local languages.

The legal experts said Mugabe faces a “Catch 22 situation” in that if he
unilaterally dissolved the coalition with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
the former opposition leader, and called for elections he risked forfeiting
recognition as Zimbabwe’s president by regional leaders and the chief
mediator on the crisis, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

However, if he does not pull out of the coalition, he cannot legally call
elections without Tsvangirai’s consent, they said.

Tsvangirai has stopped short of saying he will boycott an election under the
existing constitution that Mugabe has threatened.

He said on Monday any prospect of a boycott was “hypothetical.”

“I expect Mugabe to respect the law if he has any integrity,” Tsvangirai

He said regional leaders were unanimous in setting democratic reforms as a
basic framework for holding free and fair polls.

“These conditions are not pie in the sky, but the minimum conditions even
SADC itself has adopted,” he said of the 14-nation regional bloc, the
Southern African Development Community.

“If he (Mugabe) proceeds unilaterally, we will take action that will depend
on the circumstances prevailing at the time,” Tsvangirai told reporters.

In 2008, Tsvangirai boycotted a presidential run-off vote to protest
violence against his supporters in the first round of presidential and
parliament voting.

His Movement for Democratic Change won control of the 210-seat legislature
amid the accusations of violence and vote rigging by Mugabe loyalists. The
coalition was formed by regional mediators after those disputed elections.

Mugabe, 88, left Harare on Saturday on a private visit to Singapore, his
office said. Last year he underwent medical treatment in the Asian city

Before his departure, Mugabe told his party’s policymaking central committee
he wanted a referendum on a new constitution to be held by the end of May.

An all-party panel of lawmakers in charge of the often delayed rewriting of
constitutional law says it won’t be ready for a referendum before August at
the earliest.

Mugabe accused reformers of delaying tactics and said he will call elections

“They are delaying the process arguing on small matters, but we are saying
no, no, no. They are out of step. If they haven’t finished in time, we will
do it our way,” he said.

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Political Violence Flares in Rural Zimbabwe as Election Talk Gains Momentum

02 April 2012

Villagers in a Zimbabwean village fought running battles at the weekend with
suspected ZANU-PF activists, leaving a trail of destruction and injuries as
political talk from President Robert Mugabe and his party continued to
gather momentum

Chris Gande | Washington

Villagers in a Zimbabwean rural settlement fought running battles with
suspected ZANU-PF activists at the weekend, leaving a trail of destruction
and injuries as political rhetoric from President Robert Mugabe and his
party continued to gather momentum.

Mugabe told his party's central committee meeting Friday that he will soon
be announcing the election date. Unhappy with the pace at which the
country's select committee responsible for writing the new charter is
moving, Mr. Mugabe threatened to dissolve parliament and call fresh polls.

The election statements, many believe, are the main reason why political
violence is resurfacing in the rural communities.

In Sanyati, in the Midlands province, several people, including a pregnant
woman, were seriously injured when violence broke out between Madzivaenzou
villagers and the ZANU-PF activists.

Police on Monday confirmed arresting three people ZANU-PF youths in
connection with the violence.

Some of the villagers were detained at the Kama Hospital and later released.
The pregnant woman was allegedly attacked with a machete and is recovering
at home.

Another woman was allegedly sexually attacked, but she declined to give more
details to the media.

Youth secretary David Nyadani of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai told VOA's Chris Gande that the situation in Sanyati remained
tense, adding the talk of elections this year is fueling the tension.

“One of the people who was attacked is still in hospital as he was hacked
with a machete on the spine,” said Nyadani.

President Mugabe insists on elections this year, but Mr. Tsvangirai, who
pulled out of the bloody 2008 run-off election citing violence, says the
situation is not yet conducive for a free and fair vote.

He says electoral and media reforms should be implemented first in line with
the Southern African Development Community guidelines and protocols
governing democratic elections.

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ZANU PF ‘too scared’ to open up airwaves

By Tichaona Sibanda
03 April 2012

The chairman of the parliamentary committee on media, information and
communication technology claimed on Tuesday that ZANU PF is ‘too scared’ to
open up the country’s airwaves.

Settlement Chikwinya, the MDC-T MP for Mbizvo in KweKwe, said while the
press has opened up in a number of ways in the wake of the GPA, reform of
the electronic media is still very much an uphill battle.

The MP pointed out that Zimbabwe, which gained independence in 1980, lags
behind countries like South Africa and Namibia, that attained independence
well after Zimbabwe but are forging ahead with multiple, independent TV and
radio stations.

The legislator said his committee will summon Webster Shamu, the Information
Minister to interrogate him on why he has failed to implement the reforms,
as directed by the principals to the GPA.

‘The ZANU PF side of government developed cold feet to open up the airwaves,
while there is defiance by Shamu to licence independent radio and television
stations,’ Chikwinya said.

The MP, one of the rising stars in the MDC-T, said that the free flow of
information can help empower individuals to take full control of their
aspirations and enable them to shape their political and social concerns.

‘The moment you issue out licences to broadcasters with independent
editorial policies, the people of Zimbabwe will become more informed and
make better choices which are most likely not going to be in favour of ZANU

‘The media environment is such that journalists still face government
repression and state media still largely acts as a government mouthpiece,’
the MP added.

Chikwinya said an increased media space provides alternative and multiple
sources of information that can help electorates make informed choices
before any poll, such as Zimbabwe’s next general election.

Chikwenya went on to say: ‘But what you a get is a shameful disclosure by a
ZANU PF MP that he has banned people in his constituency from reading
independent newspapers or listening to radio stations like SW Radio Africa
and Studio 7.

‘I was present when the MP said that during a media debate in Kariba but I’m
also happy to note that MPs from his party strongly disapproved and rebuked
him for saying that.’

Zachariah Ziyambi is the ZANU PF MP for Chakari in the Midlands who shocked
fellow MPs during a media workshop organized by MISA-Zimbabwe, when he
disclosed that members in his constituency are banned from tuning in to
foreign based radio stations.

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Tsvangirai: Respect the Constitution, Mr President

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Apr 03 2012 08:01

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday rejected fresh calls by
President Robert Mugabe for polls this year, after the ageing liberation
leader called for a vote on a new constitution next month.

State media quoted 88-year-old Mugabe at the weekend as threatening to set
an election date unilaterally, unless a referendum on the charter is held in

Tsvangirai called a press conference on Monday to again insist that Zimbabwe
remain on the roadmap brokered by the 15-nation Southern African Development
Community (SADC).

"We continue to insist that any credible poll must be predicated by
reforms," Tsvangirai said at his office in Harare.

"We expect the president to respect the Constitution, to respect the law of
the land and to respect the roadmap that SADC has outlined," he said.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a coalition government in February 2009 after
the 2008 presidential race ended in bloodshed, with the prime minister's
supporters making up most of the estimated 200 dead.

Delays in the constitution-making process and in media and electoral reforms
have delayed the holding of new elections.

Mugabe said in the state-run Herald on Saturday that "the dance we have had
... is over".

"Let us have an election and end this animal called inclusive government,"
he said.

Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, refuses to
accede to any reforms until the European Union and the United States remove
sanctions against him and his inner circle, imposed over human rights abuses
and election fraud. -- AFP

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ZANU PF ministers boycott Council of Ministers meeting

By Lance Guma
03 April 2012

ZANU PF ministers on Tuesday boycotted a special Council of Ministers
meeting, that was to be chaired by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to
discuss the controversial manner in which the indigenisation programme is
being implemented.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa, Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said:
“It was realised the issue of indigenisation was a cross-cutting issue
affecting many ministries and at the instigation and suggestion of the
Minister of Indigenisation himself, comrade Kasukuwere, it was then agreed
that since there was no cabinet meeting this week today be turned into that
special session.”

That special meeting of the Council of Ministers was meant to start at 10am
but none of the ministers from ZANU PF showed up. Tamborinyoka said it was
clear the boycott was ‘choreographed’ because ZANU PF were ‘allergic to a
robust debate’ on the negative implications of the way the indigenisation
programme is being implemented.

According to Tamborinyoka three issues were set to be discussed and these
included the indigenisation law, its implementation and the issue of the
mixed messages being given by the coalition partners in government.

“It is clear they have chosen to boycott a government platform in pursuit of
narrow and parochial party interests. For them indigenisation is a campaign
issue, it is not a government issue,” Tamborinyoka said. He said Tsvangirai
will be taking up the issue of the boycott with Mugabe at their weekly
Monday meetings.

Mugabe is reportedly on private business in Singapore and this would explain
why there was no cabinet meeting. The 88 year old ZANU PF leader does not
want any cabinet meeting being held in his absence, despite having two vice
presidents, a Prime Minister and his two deputies.

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ZPF youths jailed for kidnap and extortion of minibus touts

By Tererai Karimakwenda
03 April 2012

A regional magistrate in Bulawayo made a surprise ruling this week when he
sentenced several ZANU PF youths to three years in jail, for crimes that
ZANU PF youths have been committing with impunity for years.

According to Newsday newspaper, Magistrate Mark Dzira slammed the jail
sentence on three thugs who extorted money from minibus rank marshals that
they had kidnapped and taken to their provincial party headquarters, then
forced to buy fuel for ZANU PF vehicles.

Minibus drivers and market vendors have been at the mercy of ZANU PF youth
gangs for years, paying illegal “operation fees” daily and plying less
lucrative routes chosen by the youth, who favour card carrying party
members. Impunity has been their reward from top officials who use them to
assault MDC supporters and any perceived enemies of ZANU PF.

The case in Bulawayo broke the rule when on Monday Magistrate Dzira
convicted Hardlife Ndlovu of Emakhandeni and  Nqobani Mlilo and Mthunzi
Mabhena from Nkulumane. They had pleaded not guilty.

The three had demanded $50 per day from each rank, saying it was to be used
to buy fuel for their party owned vehicles which were grounded at the
offices. The rank marshals did not have money at the time and it was agreed
they would pay later that afternoon. It was when they went to collect the
money that the youths were arrested by plain clothes police who had been

The trio were sentenced to four years for kidnapping and one year for
extortion, with two years suspended for a period of five years on condition
of good behaviour.

Meanwhile in Harare, gangs of ZANU PF youths continue to extort money from
vendors and minibus drivers ever day. Just last week it was reported that
the Chipangano gang is illegally collecting large sums of money that should
be paid to the Council for services.

Top officials in the MDC-T, including the MP for Mbare where Chipangano is
based, admitted they have been banned from their own constituencies.

The Bulawayo verdict was surprising but it is one small step in tackling a
major problem, ZANU PF’s continued control of the police and the impunity
their thugs enjoy.

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Iran distributing hardline Islamic material in Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter 8 hours 14 minutes ago

HARARE – In a move likely to cause panic in the region and ratchet up
tensions between President Robert Mugabe and Western governments, Iran has
started distributing hard-line Islamic materials in Zimbabwe with the
blessing of Zanu-PF criminal cabal, an Iranian news agency said.

Iranian cultural office in Zimbabwe is distributing hard-line Islamic
material masked in cultural exchanges material distributed to unsuspecting
members of the public and religious centres, a report coming from Iran has

Zimbabwe is a secular State, mainly Christian and the Muslim population is
only one percent of the population. In Harare there is large Islamic school
in Waterfalls.

In recent years, President Mugabe has been deploying thugs to attack
Zimbabwe’s mainstream chuches and places of worship have become war zones
for Christians.

So far, thousands of copies of books featuring hard-line material in
“Iranology and Islamology” are being distributed in mosques and libraries
around the country.

Iran says it is countering cultural and ideological onslaughts against Islam
and Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) by Salafis, said an Iranian report.

"It is worth mentioning that a number of Imam Khomeini’s (RA) works have
also been gifted to the mosques and libraries around the country," the news
agency Ahlul Bayt News Agency said.

The arrival of Islam in Zimbabwe dates to the fourth Hijri century when
Muslims established emirates on the coast of East Africa.

During that period Muslim slave merchants extended their business to the
interior regions reaching Zimbabwe. Over a period of hundreds of years more
than four million slaves were stolen from Zimbabwe and surrounding countries
and exported from Swahili ports by Arab traders to India and Arabia.

Many Muslims entered Zimbabwe during the colonial period, primarily came
from the Indian subcontinent

Estimates on the number Muslims in Zimbabwe vary from as low as 120,000 to
as many as 1.2 million. According the United States State Department:

A great number of Muslims have also arrived since the discovery of diamond
in the manicaland area from north and western African regions. The Islamic
migrants are largely coming and the clandestine Iranian influence to turn
the country as a

Zimbabwe’s ties with Iran, and reports that ZANU PF is seeking assistance
from that country, have been questioned in recent weeks as South Africa
launches a probe into alleged Iranian ‘sanctions busting’ deals there.

The ZANU PF cabal has been accused of seeking support from rogue states like
Iran, ahead of elections that the party insists will be held this year. ZANU
PF’s Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, earlier this month travelled to
Iran for a four day visit in which he signed a cooperation agreement with
his Iranian counterpart. Details of the exact nature of the ‘bilateral’ deal
have not been disclosed but Iran’s Defence Minister gave a hint when he
said: “We are ready to reinvigorate Zimbabwe’s defence power.”

Zimbabwe has also since been implicated in a ‘sanctions busting’ scandal in
South Africa, with Zimbabwe believed to be the possible conduit for illegal
transfers of military equipment to Iran.

Dubbed the ‘Irangate’ scandal, the story centres around an investigation by
South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, which this month reported that South
African front companies had been used to ship US helicopters and spare parts
to Iran. Because some of these parts could be used for military purposes,
they violated international sanctions.

Last month, South Africa’s National Conventional Arms Control Committee
(NCACC) told Parliament that it had started investigations against the
companies and individuals mentioned in the Sunday Times report. Included in
the list of individuals is the partner of South Africa’s deputy President
Kgalema Mothlanthe, Gugu Mthsali.

The Sunday Times has alleged that associates of Mtshali’s and former De
Beers executive Raisaka Masebelanga met delegates from a group called
Aviation 360 to discuss “buying” government support for the Iran deal.

The newspaper reported that Aviation 360 had set up a network of front
companies to supply Iran with, among other things, a Bell 212 helicopter,
which was exported to Iran in 2009 through Gemini Moon 477, a South African
front company. A Canadian company, Eagle Copters, would allegedly buy
helicopters from a company in the US. Eagle Copters would then sell them to
Gemini Moon 477.

Once the helicopters were in South Africa, they would be deregistered and
then reregistered with Iran as the end-user. They would then be shipped
abroad on a Russian cargo aircraft, possibly through Zimbabwe.

The Sunday Times has also reported that Aviation 360 was involved in setting
up deals involving three Airbus A300 aircraft, which were exported to Iran
in 2009 through Tigris International, another South African front company. A
deal worth R2 million involving Bell 212 helicopter parts was also allegedly
set up, but this was reportedly aborted in the wake of the Sunday Times

South Africa’s Shadow Minister for Defence and Military Veterans, David
Maynier from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), told The Zimbabwe Mail
last month that the allegations are very serious. He explained this it is
not the first time South Africa has been implicated in similar Iranian
‘sanctions busting’ reports, including claims in 2009 that South Africa had
attempted to export a ‘fast boat’ to Iran.

Zimbabwe’s involvement meanwhile remains unconfirmed. But political analyst
Professor John Makumbe has said the country’s links with Iran should be
probed. He said Zimbabwe “could easily be involved in such a deal,” saying
Iran sees Zimbabwe as an ally.

Makumbe also said that if South African government officials are found to
have known about the ‘sanctions busting’, and are aware of Zimbabwe’s role
as a possible conduit, “South Africa’s role as facilitator in the Zimbabwe
crisis becomes highly questionable.” Makumbe agreed that this could be why
South Africa is slow to criticise the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwe, despite
reports that ZANU PF is preparing for elections with the possible support of
states like Iran.

“There is a love-hate relationship between Zimbabwe and South Africa,”
Makumbe said, adding: “As it is, South Africa is not entirely unhappy about
the situation in Zimbabwe and its continued pariah status, because it
economically suits them.”

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100 year old headman’s huts burned twice by ZPF thugs

By Tererai Karimakwenda
03 April 2012

A traditional leader from Bikita in Masvingo Province has been victimized
twice in one week by suspected ZANU PF thugs who burned his huts to ashes,
because he accepted maize donated by the MDC-T.

Headman Muranganwa, who is 100 years old and whose real name is Zimunya
Muonde, was accused of accepting maize seed from “sellouts”, in a warning
letter which also threatened his son. The warning was received last
Wednesday and that night three huts were burned to ashes.

Muonde’s daughter in law and her two young children were asleep in one of
the huts that was set ablaze. Fortunately no one was hurt but property worth
thousands of dollars was destroyed, including household items Muonde’s son
bought in South Africa where he has been working.

A report was made to the police at Ngorima police station, but they simply
said they would investigate. The MDC-T spokesman for Masvingo Province,
Harrison Mudzuri, said he has no faith that the police will actually
investigate and bring the matter to a conclusion.

Mudzuri told SW Radio Africa most Zimbabweans do not trust the police, the
army, war vets, security agents and traditional leaders, because they are
still partisan and act as agents of ZANU PF. He said food is being used to
make villagers vote for a party they do not support.

“The police will simply say they will investigate and then claim their hands
are tied. So we have a defenseless people against armed police, armed
soldiers and CIOs. They also use traditional leaders to victimise our
people, solely for being MDC supporters,” Mudzuri explained.

Following the first attack, the Muonde families told police they feared that
the perpetrators would return as the letter had warned, and three days later
their fears came true. A hut the family was using as a kitchen and two
others were set on fire late Saturday night.

Mudzuri said ZANU PF is taking advantage of the drought that has hit some
parts of the country, especially the Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo, and
they are using food to force people to support them.

“Our people are having serious problems accessing food handouts because they
are being sidelined, being left out. It is impossible to have a free and
fair election while these partisan acts continue,” he added.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition released a statement this week that said
they have received “credible reports” which “indicate that food aid
distribution in Mashonaland Central and Muzarabani North District is being
done on a partisan basis in favour of Zanu PF”.

The report went on to say they had received similar reports from Uzumba
district, Mashonaland East and in Guruve North constituency, where soldiers
had set up an army base at the offices of a local NGO, the Lower Guruve
Development Association.

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Spanish ambassador to Zimbabwe dies in car crash

Love affair ... The late Spanish ambassador described as "friend of Zimbabwe"

03/04/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
Tragic ... Ambassador Pilar Fuertes Ferragut

THE Spanish Ambassador to Zimbabwe has been killed in a car crash while on a visit to Namibia, the embassy announced on Tuesday.

Ambassador Pilar Fuertes Ferragut also doubled up as the Spanish envoy to Zambia and Malawi.

“The Spanish Embassy wishes to inform you of the tragic passing away of H.E. Pilar Fuertes Ferragut... in a car accident on Monday afternoon,” said a statement signed by Romée Fisher, an embassy official.

“A Book of Condolences is open from Tuesday until Thursday this week and Tuesday April 10th from 8AM to 4PM at the Embassy (16, Phillips Avenue in Belgravia).”

The statement added that “all cultural activities of the Embassy of Spain have been cancelled until further notice.”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party said it had learnt with “great shock and despair” of Ambassador Ferragut’s death.

“The MDC family fondly remembers the ambassador for her ability to mingle and interact with people at all levels of society,” the party said in a statement.

The ambassador had taken time “to acquaint herself with the country as well as the people... in order for her to relate on a meaningful level with them”.

“She represented her country Spain with distinction and acquitted herself well in the execution of her duties. Ambassador Ferragut was supportive of Zimbabwean arts and culture as well as humanitarian projects,” the statement added.

Ambassador Ferragut was accredited to Zimbabwe in March 2009.

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ZESA urged to switch off Mugabe

By Alex Bell
03 April 2012

The national power utility ZESA is facing increasing pressure to switch off
top government officials who have not paid their bills, including the First

ZESA has embarked on a campaign to cut off supply to power bill defaulters
nationwide in an effort to deal with its debt crisis, as the parastatal is
unable to afford to repair the dilapidated power grid. This has resulted in
a worsening power service and countrywide Zimbabweans have had little to no
electricity for hours and sometimes days at a time.

SW Radio Africa has been told that some residents in Kadoma have had such
intermittent power service that outages have lasted as long as three days.
One resident said that water supplies there have also been irregular and
that they had gone a week without water recently.

Other power consumers have also explained that power, when it is available,
is most often only available in the dead of night or other inconvenient
times, meaning normal day to day living is all but impossible.

ZESA has argued that its switch-off campaign will encourage defaulters to
pay their outstanding bills, meaning more money for it to pay off its own
debts and start improving the service.

But Zimbabweans have slammed the utility for ‘selective’ cut offs, in the
aftermath of a report that exposed top government officials among the
country’s worst defaulters. This included the First Family who reportedly
owed the state utility more than US$300,000 as of December 2011.

Also exposed with more than US$300,000 in outstanding bills were Manicaland
Governor Chris Mushowe and CIO boss Happyton Bonyongwe. Others exposed
include; Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, whose bill ran to more than
US$54,000; Paddy Zhanda the ZANU PF Goromonzi North MP US$174,000; Women’s
Affairs Minister and ZANU PF Mutoko South legislator Olivia Nyembesi Muchena
who is US$44,000 in arrears. None of these individuals have been cut off.

Simba Makoni, the former Finance Minister and now President of the
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that ZESA must
carry out its switch off exercise “without fear or favour.” He explained
that even the President and his wife must be cut off if they do not either
pay their bills in full or make a payment plan with ZESA.

“ZESA should have started by switching off those power users who owe huge
amounts, and then moved down last to the ordinary person,” Makoni said,
agreeing that it is “disturbing” that the average Zimbabwean is being cut
off before the top government defaulters.

Makoni said the government should be leading by example and those officials
who have been exposed for not paying their bills should be “embarrassed.”

“I think it is silly that the furore in government has not been about how
much is owed, but about the fact that this information was released at all.
They should be embarrassed, because they have been exposed as raping this
public company,” Makoni said.

ZESA meanwhile has faced even more criticism after the death of a child as a
result of exposed power lines. Ten year old Takudzwa Nyandoro died last
Friday from burns sustained after falling into a ditch where naked ZESA
cables were lying. The child was buried at Granville Cemetery on Sunday.

It has since been revealed that the family had to fight with ZESA who
initially refused to compensate them, until they produced receipts proving
that they were customers. Legal intervention by the family eventually
resulted in ZESA being forced to supply them with a coffin, transport and
US$300 to cover other funeral expenses.

This was just one of a number of deaths caused by ZESA’s gross incompetence
and negligence. In just about any other country in the world ZESA would no
longer exist as a company.

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T.B Joshua says death of ‘old’ African leader imminent

By Lance Guma
03 April 2012

Nigerian ‘prophet’ Temitope Balogun Joshua (TB Joshua) has again set tongues
wagging in Zimbabwe after repeating his prophecy that “the death of an old
African president” is imminent.

In February this year T.B Joshua, who leads the Synagogue Church of All
Nations (Scoan), announced that an African leader would die within 60 days.
Although he did not specify the location of the leader, Zimbabwe was abuzz
with speculation given Mugabe’s ailing health and frequent trips to
Singapore for treatment.

“God loves us, you should pray for one African head of state, when I say
President… again the sickness that is likely to take life; sudden death, it
could be sickness being in the body for a long time but God showed me the
country and the place but I’m not here to say anything like that,” Joshua
said in February.

On Sunday the popular prophet narrowed down the location by excluding West
Africa. “What I was saying is very close now. You want to hear more, and it
is very, very close now. Whether you like it or not, this is what I’ve seen.
Pray for a leader. Well, God showed me everything but I’m praying to see if
this thing can be changed,” Joshua said, adding he would “not say anything
more than that.”

With Zimbabwe a deeply religious society, ‘prophecies’ like this have an
impact and people believe in them. So shaken was ZANU PF by the initial
prophecy in February, that national spokesman Rugare Gumbo was forced to
react and told journalists: “It goes against tradition. You do not talk
about such things. It is taboo. I do not believe in these prophecies,
visions and dreams.”

Following ZANU PF’s angry reaction, Joshua’s church removed a You Tube video
of the prophecy in February, further fuelling speculation.

It is on social networking sites that Mugabe and ZANU PF’s unpopularity
comes our prominently. Many comments suggest blatantly that T.B Joshua is
referring to Mugabe and it is quite clear many people hope the prophecy
comes to pass.

Although there are several ‘old’ African leaders like Michael Sata (Zambia),
Eduardo Dos Santos (Angola), Paul Biya (Cameroon), Bingu Wa Mutharika
(Malawi) and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Mugabe’s medical problems and trips
to the Far East are well documented.

Last year leaked US diplomatic cables quoted central bank Governor Gideon
Gono telling the American Ambassador that doctors had told Mugabe he had
prostrate cancer and could die in 2013.

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Time running out for military officials: Tsvangirai

By Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 14:10

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said time is running out
for military officials who want to use the gun to subvert  people’s will.

Speaking at a press conference at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday,
Tsvangirai said, “Many African countries have their own cabals itching to
subvert civilian processes and threatening to disrespect the will of the

“The good news is that time is not on their side and as we saw in Ivory
Coast, the world will not allow the bullet to triumph over the ballot,” he

This comes after Zimbabwe’s army generals have sworn that they will not
salute Tsvangirai even if he won popular mandate because he did not fight
during the liberation war.

“In Mali, Africa was once again shamed by those in the military who deposed
an elected government and threw the country into uncertainty.

We applaud the decision by Ecowas (Economic Community of West African
States) and the international community to call for the return of
constitutional order and constitutional rule in the country,” he said.

Ecowas has been known to take a hard stance on member states that go rogue.

Tsvangirai gave the example of former Senegalese leader Abdoulaye Wade,
whose attempt to run for a third term backfired when the people “chose to
break with the past by electing a new leader.”

“And once again, as we saw in Zambia recently, there was peaceful transfer
of power and we saw President Sata conceding defeat and allowing the country
to move forward,” Tsvangirai said.

While Tsvangirai is pressing for reforms, his coalition partner President
Robert Mugabe has maintained that elections will go ahead this year, with or
without reforms.

Tsvangirai’s MDC has been calling for security sector realignment to
guarantee smooth transfer of power.

Last month, Tsvangirai launched a document setting minimum conditions for a
free election.

“Zimbabweans want a peaceful election and not a war. That is what the people
of this country want and that is what Sadc wants,” he said at the launch of
the document.

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Zimbabwe's Power Outages to Worsen as Gov't Negotiates With Mozambique

02 April 2012

ZESA is owed more that $550 million by customers and Mangoma said
disconnections of defaulters over the next few days will help raise the
money needed to reduce the debt with Mozambique

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

Zimbabwe's Energy Minister Elton Mangoma says the country's power utility,
ZESA, needs to raise $40 million by the end of the month to reduce its $80
million debt with Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa, which last month reduced
power supplies to Harare citing non-payment.

Mangoma said intensified disconnections of defaulters would help raise the
money. He said the country's power supply situation could worsen over the
Easter break if ZESA fails to raise the funds by Friday.

The minister, who held meetings in Maputo last week with his Mozambican
counterpart and the country's energy officials, told the VOA that Cahora
Bassa wants Harare to pay at least $40 million dollars before it can up
power supplies to Harare.

“They agreed to increase power supply once we have made our payment," said
Mangoma. "They expecting us to bring our debt to below $40 million and they
said that is when the power supply would be increased for us.”

“For us to have reduced load-shedding during the holidays, it all depends on
whether we are able to mobilize the required resources by Friday," said the

ZESA is owed more that $550 million by customers. Mangoma said
disconnections of defaulters over the next few days will help raise the
money needed to reduce the debt with Mozambique.

“What this means is more power disconnections for everyone,” he said.

“Although I cannot disclose the amount we have at the moment, we are also
going to apply multiple methods to raise the money and Government also has
to look for other alternatives like loans or where to borrow,” the minister

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The horn ultimatum: 'Lift the ban on trade or killing goes on'
FIONA MACLEOD - Mar 30 2012 07:44
In battling the scourge of rhino poaching in South Africa, private reserves are having to increase their security measures, look to alternatives like dehorning, and where possible, work together.
He would be happy to sell off his other endangered species, which include disease-free buffalos and roan and sable antelope, even his 6500ha wildlife ranch called Mauricedale, near Malalane, worth more than R4-million.

"But my financial advisers tell me not to sell my rhino horn because its value is increasing more than any other investment," he said.

With 764 rhinos at Mauricedale and another breeding farm in North West province, Hume is the biggest rhino farmer in the world. He has de-horned all his rhinos and shaves off about 1kg of regrowth every year.

Loath to disclose the size of his present stockpile, kept in safety vaults off his properties, by the end of 2010 it included more than 500kg of rhino horn with a retail value of an estimated R200-million.

That was when horn was worth an estimated R400 000/kg; today it could fetch at least R520 000/kg. In theory, anyway, because he has not been able to sell it since a moratorium was imposed on the local horn trade in 2009.

Protecting rhinos
Even though his stash keeps growing and the price keeps rising, Hume has joined other private owners to demand that the trade in the horns of white rhinos be reopened. "I personally don't need the trade to be legalised," he said, "but it is the only chance we've got to stop the slaughter of rhinos."

Private ranchers own about 25% of the estimated 18 600 white rhinos in South Africa. They also own a large part of the almost 20 tonnes of horn stockpiled in the country, although no one knows exactly how much.

With debate raging about how best to protect rhinos in the build-up to a seminal congress on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) early next year, private owners want local and international bans on trade in white-rhino horn to be lifted. This week, the department of environmental affairs closed its register of draft proposals from stakeholders that will inform the government's position at Cites.


Limpopo-based wildlife researcher Rael Loon said private owners had helped to grow rhino populations in the past two decades but were being burdened with spiralling security costs. Poaching was responsible for the death of close to 140 rhinos this year alone and many ranchers no longer wanted to keep them.

The average price of live rhinos has dropped from R200 000 to R150 000 for a young female, and from R160 000 to R120 000 for a young male. Because poachers were being offered up to R300 000 for a single horn, the rhinos were more valuable dead than alive.

"Private owners have huge assets lying in safes that they can't use, but that could potentially be used to pay to protect the rhinos," he said. "A controlled legal trade in the private sector would bring the market out into the open so that it could be ­monitored and managed."

Reducing the risk
Private owners need to protect their rhinos with round-the-clock guards, hi-tech security systems and up to 90% now opt to cut off the animals' horns to reduce the risk of poaching. Running a small anti-poaching unit for a handful of rhinos can cost at least R1-million a year.

"People don't realise how much work goes into patrolling fences day after day. A lot of farmers end up putting more money into security than the rhinos are worth," said Chris Sussens, the owner of a small crush of rhinos on a reserve west of the Kruger Park.

Protecting his rhinos had become so expensive, he had no option but to dehorn them. He also joined Rhino Revolution, an owners' collective responsible for the dehorning of 90% of the rhinos in private hands around Hoedspruit.

Sussens said the dehorning had drastically reduced the number of infiltrations by suspected poachers on his farm, but he regarded it as an interim measure until trade re-opened and black-market prices for horn come down.

"Farming rhinos and dehorning them gives control to the trade. The minute you legalise it, you will take the pressure off the natural population in the wild," Sussens said.

According to conservation economist Michael Sas-Rolfes, demand for horn in Asian markets is "price inelastic", meaning that consumers are insensitive to price increases.

There was nothing especially new or remarkable about the recent rise in demand for horn, he said. "All that has happened is a realignment of market supply and demand factors."

Clamping down on permits
Sas-Rolfes and Hume argue that the surge in poaching since 2008 can be directly linked to a clampdown on hunting permits that had been used to launder horn. Then in 2009, when the environment department imposed a moratorium on local trade that had been used to leak horn to the East, it closed a loophole and forced traders to look for illegal alternatives.

"Once the South African government imposed measures to restrict supply, the market responded aggressively. Prices had now risen sufficiently -- and demand was sufficiently inelastic -- to justify spending on more intensified illegal efforts to obtain horn; efforts that increasingly included organised crime syndicates and necessitated lethal methods," said Sas-Rolfes.

Speculators could be stockpiling horn in anticipation of further price increases and opportunities for profit, he said. But he disagreed with the view that South Africans in the hunting and game-ranching industry were "fuelling demand" for horn by playing a role in the illegal supply chain.

"I believe this view to be a confusion of cause and effect. In fact, it is more likely that the South African game-ranching industry played a role in delaying an inevitable resurgence of poaching activity, driven by Asian consumer demand."

Hume, who has had nine rhinos poached despite their being dehorned, suggested the demand could be legitimately supplied by selling off two to three tonnes of horn a year from South Africa's R10-billion stockpile. Rather than selling the horns to one buyer who could manipulate the price and the market, the stocks should be put on public auction.

"We would initiate a publicity campaign around the auction to alert the poachers. It won't stop the poaching immediately, but it would relieve the current pressure," he said.

Last strongholds
South Africa, Namibia and Botswana are the last stronghold of about 95% of the world's rhinos. The 15 000-odd southern white rhinos in South Africa hold the flag for their species: black rhino numbers have dropped from about 60 000 across Africa in 1960 to less than 5 000 today, most of them in South Africa.

Only a few northern white rhinos are left in Tanzania; the Javan rhino population in Vietnam was wiped out last year, leaving no more than 50 in Java; a handful of Indian rhinos are left in protected areas in the Himalayas; and there are less than 300 Sumatran rhinos left.

It would make sense for South Africa to be in control of future trade in horn, said Loon. But getting Cites to agree to open the trade could take years because it involved complicated administrative procedures and all rhino-range states -- including some in Asia and Africa that no longer have any rhinos -- would have to agree to the proposal.

"The prohibitive 'stick' approach applied by Cites is clearly not working," Loon said. "The economic-incentive 'carrot' approach appears to be a much better strategy. Current poaching statistics show that the South African conservation community is fighting a losing battle and the rhinos are paying the price."

Legalising market 'like pulling the tail off a snake'

"It is virtually impossible to get a legal permit to destroy a rhino horn, so how are they going to control a trade in thousands of horns?" asked Louise Joubert, the owner of a wildlife sanctuary raising several orphaned rhinos.

Lack of capacity to enforce the complicated permit system that applies to dehorning rhinos and dealing with the horns is one of the main objections raised by opponents of opening the trade.

At least four permits are needed for dehorning, moving and storing a horn and conservation officials must be present during the process. The horns must be micro-chipped and DNA samples must be taken.

Joubert and other ranchers who wanted to destroy horns after a rhino died said provincial officials had no idea how to deal with the request. One owner also mentioned instances of microchips being removed from horns and implanted into others.

"The legislation we have is fine; the problem is enforcement," said Joubert.

"The provincial authorities who are responsible are mostly dysfunctional." She believed the recent upsurge in rhino poaching can be attributed to game farmers and international traders manipulating the market in an attempt to force the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species [Cites] to legalise the trade.

"The same kind of people who deal in lion bones and other endangered species have been thwarted in their attempts to trade in rhino horn in recent years. Now they are pushing Cites to open the trade, but it is not going to solve the poaching problem," she said.

It is a view shared by Worldwide Fund for Nature South Africa's rhino programme manager, Dr Joseph Okori. He told parliamentary hearings on the rhino crisis in January that legalising trade would not be the "silver bullet" that solves the poaching crisis.

"This notion has been based on many economic assumptions, postulations and correlations to other nonsustainable forms of resource utilisation such as the diamond industry. At this point, we see it lending itself to greater unforeseen risks and few, if any, guarantees towards survival of the rhino across Africa," he said.

In the recent past, South Africa had sustained and grown its rhino industry quite successfully with local internal trade and limited hunting.

"Recapitalisation, providing new or additional incentives to the sector in which subsidies are considered and policy adjustments would serve a more sustainable way forward," Okori said.

Steven Topham, a Limpopo rancher who sold all his rhinos last year after four were poached in the space of three weeks, said the government needed to intervene at the highest level in Asian consumer countries.

"We can't keep pulling at the tail of the snake; we need to cut off its head," he said.

"Dehorning and trading could be interpreted as saying to consumers that it is okay to use rhino horn, so long as they have a piece of paper. We should rather stop the trade in its tracks."

Orphans get a second chance
Karen Trendler has rescued more than 200 rhinos orphaned by poaching in the past 25 years, and her expertise has never been as much in demand as it is now. “The bond between a mother and calf is incredibly strong. When the mother is killed, the calf will hang around her, so often the young orphans of poaching are covered with panga wounds,” she said.

Older calves, who often tried to charge the poachers, were regularly found with gun wounds -- if they were not killed for the little stumps of their horns, she said. “Some of the older calves just take off and keep running, so when we find them days later we have to deal with dehydration.

“The biggest problem we have to deal with in all the cases is helping them get over the trauma of seeing their mother killed,” Trendler said.

After Arrie van Deventer, wildlife manager at a safari resort in the Waterberg, witnessed the distress of a calf orphaned by poaching, he set steps in motion to establish a much-needed specialised rhino orphanage. It will be opened in April and will be the world’s first.

Trendler has set aside the next two years to establish a team at the orphanage that will raise traumatised calves and release them back into the wild. Her team includes a pair of rescued rhinos that will act as surrogate parents. “It’s a noncommercial centre that will have nothing to do with the ‘pay and play’ exploitation encouraged by many so-called ‘calf rescue’ projects that just use the calves as marketing and fundraising tools, and end up condemning them to a lifetime in captivity,” she said.

In conjunction with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, she recently launched a rhino response project for the rapid rescue of orphans after a casualty. It is a national network with emergency field personnel and helicopters. “As the poaching has escalated, people are feeling hopeless about the rhino population. These interventions provide a tiny ray of hope in a desperate situation,” she said.

Medical claims amount to fraud
Anybody who claims that rhino horn is part of traditional medicine could be charged with fraud, according to Rian Geldenhuys, director of the Section 24 Rights Coalition. “In 1993, rhino horn was removed from the pharmacopoeia by the official guardians of traditional medicines in China and Vietnam, the Pharmacopoeia Commission of the ministry of health of the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

Several pharmacological studies have shown that rhino horn, like fingernails, was made of agglutinated hair and had no medicinal qualities.

Geldenhuys said traditional medical practitioners who prescribed rhino horn for any condition or who sold rhino horn as medicine were guilty of misrepresentation, and could have serious legal consequences, such as charges of fraud, defined as “unlawful and intentional misrepresentation which can lead to actual or potential disadvantage to another individual or group”. The belief in rhino horn could be compared to people visiting “traditional doctors” to win the Lotto, he said.

The coalition monitors official compliance with Section 24 of the Constitution, which safeguards the right to a healthy environment, which should be protected for the benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures.

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Zimbabwe exporting lions to Kenya!

The cash-strapped Government of President Robert Mugabe is not aware that
some criminals in the tourism industry are allegedly exporting lions to
Kenya, The Zimbabwean can reveal.
by Ngoni Chanakira Harare

Lions are among the top tourist attractions in Zimbabwe and are found at
major tourist sites dotted around the country's national parks such as
Hwange National Park and Gonarezhou National Park.

They are also found in Kariba, one of the most visited resort areas in

"Lions are being exported to Kenya," said Sakhile Masuku, Deputy President
of the National Indigenous Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB).

She was speaking in Harare at a workshop on Corporate Social Responsibility

"This means that all the tourism business will then go to Kenya and there
will be nothing left for Zimbabwe. Funny enough though, there are no
disconcerting voices about this in the country.

"The responsible individuals claim that there is no land for the lions in
Zimbabwe and they are crowding out human beings in the areas where they are

"So far, however, there have been no revelations about any big-wigs involved
in the exports to Kenya."

Masuku is Deputy at NIEEB to business tycoon, David Chapfika.

The NIEEB, located at the prestigious National Social Security Association
(NSSA) high rise building in Harare, was formed by controversial Minister of
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Employment Creation, Saviour

Among its responsibilities, the NIEEB is supposed to begin a Fund to give
the youth and indigenous entrepreneurs who intend to snap up companies that
are up for grabs in Zimbabwe.

Lions are a major tourist attraction and their export to Kenya could result
in the country losing out on the foreign currency Masuku said in Harare.

Tourism, now under Engineer Walter Mzembi, is among the top earners bringing
in much needed cash to boost Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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Zimbabwe now part of world’s largest conservation area

The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, or KAZA TFCA spans Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, centred around the Caprivi-Chobe-Victoria Falls area.


If elephants never forget, here is some good news they should remember for a long time.

Government ministers of Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana came together in March 2012 to form the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Kaza).

The new area spans 109 million acres and combines 36 individual nature reserves where the five countries borders meet. It is the size of a country like Italy.

Kaza contains the famous Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls on Earth, as well as the Okavango Delta in Botswana, a unique wetlands area that is home to lions, leopards, hyenas, African wild dog, rhinoceroses, baboons, crocodiles, and many others.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, 44 percent of Africa’s remaining elephants live in this area.

Elephants in Namibia. Photo by Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia.

Elephants in Namibia. Photo by Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia.

By removing fences, creating safe corridors, and by offering income opportunities through tourism and other activities to local communities, Kaza will protect the future of the elephants. A major objective of the project is to reduce the impact elephants have on the environment, by giving them back the space they need to migrate when a habitat’s limitations demand it. Hopefully culling will become a thing of the past.

This wonderful news comes in the same month as the devastating news from Cameroon that half of the elephant population there were slaughtered by poachers, enabling mega-wealthy Chinese business people to make money out of ivory trinkets.


Map of the new Kaza conservation area from

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Lewanika, Mafunda and Matambanadzo on Question Time

Kumbirai Mafunda, McDonald Lewanika, Lance Guma and Primrose Matambanadzo


Joining SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma on Question Time is the director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition McDonald Lewanika, Communications Officer for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Kumbirai Mafunda and Primrose Matambanadzo who chairs the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

All three answer questions from SW Radio Africa listeners and tackle issues around their work and the political situation in Zimbabwe.

Interview broadcast 21 March 2012

Lance Guma: Good evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me on Question Time. I have, joining me in the studio, the director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition McDonald Lewanika, Communications Officer for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Kumbirai Mafunda who is also the vice chairperson of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe Chapter, that’s MISA and also Primrose Matambanadzo who chairs the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. Thank you for joining me on the programme.

Now we asked listeners to send in their questions in advance of the interview using Face Book, Twitter, Skype, email and text messages and I’ll be fielding some of those questions and asking them of my guests in the studio. Let me start off with Kumbirai Mafunda from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights – just opening salvo – what does your organization do?

Kumbirai Mafunda: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is a non-governmental organisation which is a law-based human rights institution which is into the business of assisting Zimbabweans. We provide legal support, legal interventions, training and education to human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.

Guma: And I take it from the name itself, you only assist human rights defenders?

Mafunda: We mainly assist human rights defenders; we also assist political, legitimate political rights activists and political players in Zimbabwe.

Guma: Okay, next McDonald Lewanika from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition – what do you do?

Lewanika: Well the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is a church really of about 350 organisations from different fields; from churches themselves to students’ unions, labour unions and other bodies like that which has as it’s agenda, moving the country towards a more democratic dispensation. So as an organisation we do whatever we can to move that particular agenda forward. We do it at a local level, we do it at a regional level and we try to work internationally in terms of pursuing that noble objective.

Guma: Last but not least Primrose Matambanadzo chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum – what do you do?

Matambanadzo: The Human Rights Forum is a grouping, a coalition of 19 human rights organisations working with the main aim to eliminate organized violence and torture from Zimbabwe and what the secretariat of those organisations coming together does, is provide legal assistance for victims of organized violence and torture. We also have projects on transitional justice that we run and there’s also documentation of human rights violations that is done by our research unit.

Guma: Okay mhuru ye Zimbabwe this is what these people do – Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. I’m happy to report that they are joining me live in the flesh (not pa phone) but they are here with me so I have to ask the question – what brings you guys to London? Kumbirai (muri kuitei?)

Mafunda: We are currently here in London as a group of five Zimbabweans on a Commonwealth Professional Fellowship Programme where we are just here in London trying to understand the systems of the Commonwealth and meeting, having several meetings with colleagues interested in the Zimbabwean issue.

Guma: Okay so this is not Grace Mugabe coming to shop at Harrods – this is a serious business?

Mafunda: Indeed we are on serious business.

Guma: Okay, alright, several issues have come in from our listeners; I suppose, you know, it’s fair that I, let me start off with Primrose because you chair the Human Rights NGO Forum, we have a question from Gweru, this is from Karen. Karen sent us an email when we advertised that we had you guys on the show. This is her question – is Zimbabwe over NGO’d? Are there are too many NGOs working in Zimbabwe?

Matambanadzo: I wouldn’t say there are too many NGOs working in Zimbabwe but there are many NGOs working in Zimbabwe and comparatively maybe with neighbours such as Zambia for instance, we have much more than you would have in a country where the government doesn’t leave such a gap in certain areas.

I think the areas in Zimbabwe where you’ll have many NGOs and the perception might be created that there’s too many are in the areas of democracy and governance for instance because the gap is great; government is not doing what it should be doing to ensure democratic governance.

In other areas such as food security, hygiene, sanitation, you’ll also find the same thing is going on because again, the government is not doing its bit. So unlike other countries where NGOs perform a role in assisting the state in certain areas to achieve what they should be doing, we actually have to sometimes play the role it should be playing as well. So you get a lot more NGOs and it appears they are over NGO’d but if the gaps were filled you would obviously not see so many.

Guma: Coming to you McDonald, she has explained why we have so many NGOs but the question then arises – does this not create duplication of effort?

Lewanika: Well first off Lance I think it’s important for us to stress that there’s some things that you can never have too much of and fortunately for us, NGOs is one of those things. You can never have a situation where you say organized civic societies now too much or too many because at the end of the day everyone who occupies the space between the state and capital belongs to civic society and the more organized these people are by way of NGOs the better.

Guma: But do you not have a situation where people compete for resources and in the end undermine each other?

Lewanika: Well those things will definitely happen where people will be doing similar things, where some kind of friendly competition takes place but if it’s competition to serve the people of Zimbabwe, what is bad about that kind of competition?

If it is competition to ensure that people in rural areas in Zimbabwe have enough to eat, have got access to water, what is bad about that competition? For me it’s a crisis of plenty rather than a crisis of little, and it’s a problem that we’d rather have rather than not have.

Guma: Some will, an organisation close to my heart obviously as a former student leader is the Zimbabwe National Students Union, ZINASU, some say in any democratic fight or in any fight for democracy, organisations like the students unions and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the labour body are critical in terms of mobilizing people, but we have a scenario where – two ZINASU factions, two ZCTU factions, is that not the inevitable result of this competing for resources? Primrose, does that not create a problem?

Matambanadzo: I think of the inevitable result of differing opinions and you will always have people who differ in opinions, so while it would be perhaps much more expedient to further the goals of the students union or the labour movement to have one unified body I think it should also be allowed that people can have differing opinions and some can go one way and some can go another.

It’s not always going to be possible that everybody has the same message and the same goal and everybody is in one movement but as long as the movements are all headed in the same direction, for plurality, for democracy in Zimbabwe, I don’t think that is so critical, though it would be obviously, at this time, better if we weren’t so divided in the movements.

Guma: Kumbirai, do have any thoughts on this? I’m sure you’ve never had any factional problems as Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights? Any thoughts on that?

Mafunda: I believe that the issue that you have indicated about the alleged proliferation of NGOs, I believe that is a response to what is obtaining back home in Zimbabwe. I believe that the proliferation and cost of NGOs in Zimbabwe is a direct response to what is happening back home in the sense that there is a real need for intervention, there is real need for intervention in the humanitarian sector, there’s real need for intervention in the legal sector.

We are really battling to fulfill responses as a law based institution to what is happening back home so I think it’s a direct response to the shrinking space back home in Zimbabwe.

Guma: There is obviously a difference between an NGO and a pressure group. We have a question on the operations of groups like WOZA; people want to understand why is it we have WOZA doing their own demonstrations, NCA doing their own demonstrations – why is it that people are not doing things together? McDonald?

Lewanika: Well I think it’s an over arching generalisation to say that people are not doing things together because the groups that you have mentioned for instance do belong and act together with other organisations. I mean we have Primrose Matambanadzo here and she can be able to testify that WOZA is a member of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum as well as the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

And when they do need to act with others, it is through those platforms that they do that but having said that, I think that the philosophy that people should only act through one unitary platform is something that is defeatist in nature and will not be able to allow us to advance our struggle forward.

The system that we’re dealing with, where the democratization question is concerned, is so sophisticated to the extent that you need to be able to engage it through, engaging in one struggle but using many different fronts and that is exactly what organisations like WOZA and the NCA allow us to do. They allow us to have multiple fronts from which to attack the questions that are bedeviling our country.

Guma: Okay Zimbabwe you can hear the answers to your questions being given; if you have any follow-up questions, by all means please send them in – the email to use is , you can also use, you can also send in questions via Twitter at swranews that’s on Twitter.

You can also send via my own Twitter account – twitter/lance.guma and you know, we could drag these guys back again next week if the need be. Let’s move on to another separate issue which currently right now is dominating Zimbabwe – the case of the Harare Six, convicted for watching video footage of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. I’ll throw this one first to Kumbirai – your organisation has probably been active in this particular one. No-one saw this conviction coming Kumbirai?

Mafunda: Indeed we believe that, in short we are shocked by this decision but we have to leave it up until the end of day today when we find out what sentence will be passed by the magistrate today.

But also speaking, you may also want to know that the group of Commonwealth Professional Fellowship who are here yesterday issued a statement really condemning or really expressing their concerns about the conviction of the six activists because on that group there’s also Antoinette Choto who was accorded the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship last year but could not take it up because her passport was confiscated and she was facing these charges.

So as the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship guys from Zimbabwe, we issued a statement where we expressed our concerns about this conviction. We feel that it’s meant to be a show trial, it’s meant to strike fear into the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans. I think MacDonald can also add on to the statement which we issued as Commonwealth Professional Fellowships.

Lewanika: Well I think Kumbirai has already touched on a lot of aspects that were highlighted in that particular statement and that statement is not different to the statements that have been coming out from groups that are at home at the moment; the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition I saw a statement, Lawyers for Human Rights I also saw a statement so there is grave concern around what is happening.

But to say that it was totally unexpected would be to forget where we are coming from. We have been engaged in a struggle for the democratization of this country pretty much for the last 13 years and we know the nature of the beast that we are dealing with. To think that it had transformed into an angel during the course that it was in the inclusive government, I think was a lot of wishful thinking on our part.

Guma: But we’ve had generally, I mean if you look back at the Justina Mukoko issue, Luke Tamborinyoka, Gandhi Mudzingwa, it always ends in acquittals and so a lot of people are saying this hasn’t gone according to form. Probably there’s a method to the madness?

Lewanika: It does have a context, it does have a context and the context that is there is the one that Kumbirai has already started to give you. That there is an attempt to send out a very clear message or to teach those of us who are considered to be errant, a message that if you are thinking, thinking, not even doing, carrying out actions on the streets, if you are thinking of doing that, here is what is going to meet you.

If you are thinking of resisting the state here is what is going to meet you and the additional context that is there is the whole speak around elections that we are beginning to hear from the Zanu PF congress up to this year and this talk about reforms not taking place and going into elections with or without a constitution, and anyone who is perceived to be standing in the way of that particular agenda, this is the opportunity of those fighting against democracy to send a clear message to them.

Guma: Primrose, I was intrigued to hear you talk about the Transitional Justice programme that you as the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum are running. Talk us through that – what does it involve?

Matambanadzo: The Transitional Justice programme involves consulting Zimbabweans on what they feel should happen in terms of transitional justice. Whether they think things should just be left and forgotten or whether they want some mechanism that brings them justice and maybe reparation, so consultations have been going on in Zimbabwe and they’ve also been going on in the Diaspora through our international office and we have been gathering these views and will be launching a report on what has been gathered in the Diaspora.

Guma: Are you going to leak any of the observations? We may as well have a WikiLeaks session here on Question Time! But give us a hint, what…

Matambanadzo: I’m not going to leak the findings seeing as though the report has not been finalized…

Guma: Okay.

Matambanadzo: …but what I will say is that it is clear that Zimbabweans are not agreeing with the position that we could just get on with things and they are disappointed that the Organ on National Healing has not made much progress. They do want reparations for those who lost livelihoods and they do want some justice and they do want healing in their community.

Guma: We have another question coming from Mutare; the person does not wish to be named but elections – everyone’s talking about elections they say; I’d be interested in hearing the views of this panel on whether Zimbabwe will have elections this year or next year and under what conditions? I’ll start with you McDonald.

Lewanika: Yes thanks, I think well it has proved to be a fairly topical issue, this issue of elections. For us as civic society generally, the question has not been when but with the later one that you had posed – under what conditions? And that is what we have been focusing on, you might call it wishful thinking but we believe that the question is not about a date, it is about conditions and we believe that we need to go for elections once we have dealt with the issues of violence that have bedeviled elections in the past, once we have dealt with the problematic issues around the elections management body itself which we understand is largely peopled by people from the intelligence and the military.

We need to deal with issues around people’s freedoms – their ability to assemble, articulate their agendas, vote for who they want without any hindrance or any intimidation. There are quite a number of issues that we believe in. We believe that the next election in Zimbabwe is not just a Zimbabwean election, it is an election in which the African Union and SADC, by virtue of their signature, have got a stake in and we need to be able to cut out a meaningful role for these bodies in order to ensure that that election itself is actually credible.

So for us the issue, unlike Jonothan Moyo and Robert Mugabe who think it’s about a date, it’s about what conditions and we honestly believe that it is wishful thinking on the part of the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe that he’s going to have elections without a new constitution and without abiding by the road map that they have been discussing under those…

Guma: A key element of that road map as articulated by the two MDCs – media reforms – Kumbirai, as a former journalist, probably we could tap into your knowledge on this issue – there doesn’t seem to be any movement and it does not look like we will go into the next elections with an independent radio station or even TV.

Mafunda: I think we have seen great resistance to media reform in Zimbabwe; we have seen great resistance to any opening up of the media space. There was partial opening up of the media space if you try to consider the relicencing of the Daily News, if you try to consider the licencing of News Day and other newspaper titles which came on board but we have seen strong resistance in the opening up of the airwaves.

We have seen what Minister Webster Shamu is doing with regard to the broadcasting sector, we have seen what the Broadcasting Authority has done in terms of licencing new players in the commercial broadcasting sector. As MISA Zimbabwe I think we have made it clear that we are not happy with such a situation whereby we have seen the licencing of the Zimpapers radio station and Super Mandiwanzira’s radio station.

We have indicated that this process was not done in a legitimate way, it was not done in a transparent manner. That’s why you see that Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in conjunction with radio VOP, have taken the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe to court over this opaque process in terms of opening up of the media space.

We are also seeing the constant threats on newspapers like the Sunday Times; we have seen constant threats on newspapers like The Zimbabwean whereby from time to time, the Majonga-led Zimbabwe Media Commission is actually threatening to ban, even instructing the police and stories were written about Majonga ordering the police or writing the affidavit deposing the affidavit to the police to bar the Sunday Times from circulating.

We are seeing a government which doesn’t want the media plurality in Zimbabwe so on that front in terms of media reforms there has been great resistance and we know who is resisting and why they are resisting to open up the media space as well.

Guma: Could it be a case of the minister responsible, Webster Shamu, pardon the pun (hapana Shamu yacho) to get him to do what is meant to be done. The MDC were given responsibility without power in this coalition government.

Mafunda: Yes we also see the lack of sincerity on all the government players back home in Zimbabwe, those from the MDC and those from Zanu PF. We are seeing they are not sincere in terms of opening up this media space. Maybe it’s because of lack of, for fear that they will be criticized but whoever is responsible, Zimbabweans are seeing this, we are seeing this, journalists are seeing this, they continue to be harassed, they continue to be arrested. You look at the case of Chengetai Murimwa, Sidney Saize, the Moses Matenga issue, there’s been a focus on journalists. This government has shown that it is anti-media freedom.

Guma: We’ve clearly run out of time – final word Primrose – your thoughts on elections. Are they going to be held this year, next year, under what conditions? Just in a few words.

Matambanadzo: Ideally elections will not be held this year because the conditions that need to be in place for elections, the processes that need to be completed as McDonald has gone through, they are not in place so ideally really the election cannot be held this year; we would be looking at an election maybe early next year at the very earliest.

Guma: Any chance of Mugabe unilaterally just saying this is what’s going to happen? I was reading in the Zimbabwe Standard this last Sunday, Didymus Mutasa saying we are not going back, elections this year, Biti is talking nonsense, he has to find the money and he even said at the right time that money will be found from the right source. What do you make of that rhetoric?

Matambanadzo: I think it’s highly unrealistic.

Guma: Okay Zimbabwe on that note we come to the end of Question Time. Many thanks to my guests McDonald Lewanika the director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Kumbirai Mafunda Communications Officer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights; he is also the vice chair of MISA and Primrose Matambanadzo, the lady who had the last say on the programme, she chairs the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

And I have to thank the audience that we have in the studio, they shall not be named but they were cheerleaders as we produce the programme, many thanks to you also. And on that note it’s bye bye for now.

Matambanadzo: Thank you Lance.

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The Role of Civil Society in Rebuilding Zimbabwe

We invite you to participate in discussion stimulated by this article by
following this link and submitting comments on this or other essays included
in the section on our website known as the Zimbabwe Review. You may also
respond via email: please send your comments to Please note that some comments may be
selected for publication on our website alongside the article to further
stimulate debate.
by Kuziwakwashe Zigomo

Zimbabwe's years of economic mismanagement and political instability,
especially in the last decade of the Zimbabwe Crisis, have had catastrophic
effects on the national economy, much of which has left many of its
once-vibrant sectors and industries significantly depleted (Kamidza 2009:
6). The formation of the GNU has since brought some stability to the
economy, particularly through the implementation of the Short Term Emergency
Recovery Programme that helped reduce rapid inflation levels as well as
ensure the provision of basic commodities (though largely imported) that
were scarce before.

However, despite these improvements, many vital sectors such as health and
education are still functioning well below their optimum capacity (Nkomo
2011). As a result, Zimbabwe continues to hang in the balance and the
current government is struggling to develop sustainable policy alternatives
to address the problems and challenges of the past.

For the country to move forward, Zimbabweans will need to harness their
collective energy to rebuild Zimbabwe. Because of its close links to the
people and the communities, Zimbabwe's civil society, in particular, has an
important role in mobilising communities for the sustainable economic
reconstruction and development of the country. Currently, Zimbabwe's civil
society sector has not done much to mobilise Zimbabweans for the social and
economic reconstruction of the country.

There are two main reasons for this; firstly, due to their extensive focus
on political advocacy at the expense of economic and social advocacy and
secondly, due to the underdeveloped nature of Zimbabwean civil society
resulting from years of state repression and the economic crisis that eroded
the organisational capacity of civics. This paper discusses the various
strategies that can be adopted by civics to mobilize communities for
Zimbabwe's national reconstruction and sustainable development.

The full article can be downloaded from the Zimbabwe Review section of our
website, or by following this link:

Rights reserved: Please credit the author, and Solidarity Peace Trust, as
the original source for all material republished on other websites unless
otherwise specified. Please provide a link back to

This article can be cited in other publications as follows: Zigomo, K.
(2012) 'A Community-Based Approach to Sustainable Development: The Role of
Civil Society in Rebuilding Zimbabwe', 2 April, Solidarity Peace Trust:

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The MDC Today - Issue 329

Tuesday, 03 April 2012

Six MDC activists in Sanyati, Midlands North province sustained serious injuries when they were attacked by Zanu pf thugs after attending a district meeting in the area. The six are: the district organising secretary, Reuben Banda, Ward 16 Chairperson, Josiah Shumba, Amos Zhou, Miriam Maraunga, Plaxedes Chadiwa and Kudzanai Nyamadzawo.

Banda said Zanu PF thugs who attacked them were accusing him of recruiting more people to join the MDC. Banda was beaten with an iron bar on the forehead and sustained a deep cut. He said that it took them almost two days to get help from both the hospital and the police as officials at both institutions were not co-operative.

Another victim, Shumba, was abducted and assaulted at his home around 7pm by Zanu PF supporters travelling in a grey Mazda B2200 driven by a war veteran identified as Elias Mapfumo. The activist only escaped after the vehicle had a front tyre puncture while on their way to a militia base established near Nyabangwe Game park.

Zhou, who was also at his home on the fateful day was attacked by an axe and is receiving treatment at a local hospital after sustaining back injuries.

Maraunga and Chadiwa were picked up by over 10 thugs after they failed to locate their husbands. The two women activists were then assaulted using fists and booted feet on allegations that they knew the whereabouts of their husbands and were refusing to disclose the information.

JOMIC National Political Liason Officer, Mr Lovemore Kadenge confirmed that political violence erupted in Sanyati and a team was on its way to the area to investigate. "We received a report of that incident. We called the alleged perpetrators and victims to our offices and we are following up the case to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and justice takes place,” Kadenge said.

The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Statement on the death of the Spanish Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Tuesday, 03 April 2012

The MDC has learnt with great shock and despair of the passing away of the Spanish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Her Excellency Pilar Fuertes Ferragut.
Ambassador Ferragut who was on holiday in Namibia died in car accident on Monday. The MDC family fondly remembers the ambassador for her ability to mingle and interact with people at all levels of society.

The ambassador has been described within the MDC as a friend of the people of Zimbabwe irrespective of race, colour, tribe or political party one belonged to. She understood who Zimbabweans were as a people.

The ambassador took time to acquaint herself with the country as well as the people of Zimbabwe in order for her to relate on a meaningful level with them.
She represented her country Spain with distinction and acquitted herself well in the execution of her duties.

Ambassador Ferragut was supportive of Zimbabwean arts and culture as well as humanitarian projects.

The ambassador was accredited to Zimbabwe in March 2009 and was ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. A book of condolences has been opened and will remain open until 4pm today and will be open again on Wednesday, Thursday as well as Tuesday next week from 8am-4pm at No. 16 Philips Avenue, Belgravia in Harare.

MDC President, Hon Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to sign the book of condolences at the Spanish Embassy at 1400 hours today. Ambassador Ferragut will be sorely missed by the MDC in particular and no doubt, the people who at one time or another had occasion to interact with her.

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Will John Nkomo be the next president of Zimbabwe?

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri 3rd April 2012.

With so much speculation rife about Robert Mugabe’s poor health in the wake
of his supposedly unscheduled flight to Singapore on Friday night,
Zimbabweans are wondering who will be their next president if he dies in

While spin doctors would like us believe that Mugabe is in Singapore to
arrange post-graduate studies for his daughter, the claim is rather an
insult to public intelligence and is obviously unconvincing.

There are genuine concerns about the president’s fitness to continue holding
office if rumours of his failing health are anything to go by amid growing
theories about a sick African president who is close to death somewhere at
least not in West Africa.

In the event of President Robert Mugabe dying in office, the constitution
says he can only be replaced by one of the vice presidents who will hold
fort for 90 days and call for fresh elections.

Section 31 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe says, in the event of the
President’s sudden illness or urgent5 need to travel, without a
Vice-President having been appointed to act, then the Vice President who
last acted as President will take over the Presidential functions.

Despite despising the GPA, Zanu-pf is guaranteed of retaining the seat of
power because that agreement says a vacancy in the office of President must
be filled by a nominee of the party which held that position, (therefore no
prizes for guessing which one it is).

It follows therefore that the most likely Zanu-pf candidate will be John
Nkomo since he was the last to act in that capacity while Mrs Mujuru was in

In the event that Mugabe has not been able to designate any of his two
deputies to act in his absence, legal experts argue that the president might
have made provision for emergencies by leaving instructions on file about
which of the Vice Presidents should take over (see Veritas, Bill Watch
27/2011 of 08/07/11 also cited by The Insider on 11/07/11).

One legal expert, Derek Matyszak of the Research and Advocacy Unit made two
interesting observations. The first one is that since the enactment of the
Constitutional Amendment No.19, which incorporated Article 20 of the GPA
“little is clear and free from ambiguity”.

One of the anomalies of Zimbabwe’s Constitution, he argues, is that it does
not only provide for a president, but it is a constitutional requirement
that the president is a specific individual, Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

The implication is that there can be no compliance with that constitutional
provision on the death of Robert Mugabe, meaning that his succession it is
not straightforward as the grossly amended constitution with the help of the
GPA would like us believe.

Secondly, it is also a constitutional requirement that the Prime Minister is
Morgan Tsvangirai and no one else, according to Matyszak (The Zimbabwean,
What happens if Mugabe dies? 08/09/10).

In view of the obvious ambiguous interpretations of the GPA as incorporated
in Constitutional Amendment 19, and the unresolved Zanu-pf succession
crisis, it is quite justified to be concerned about who will take over in
the event of Mugabe dying in office.

Some experts have predicted chaos and anarchy probably they are right, given
the faction fighting and the growing divisions on tribal lines over Mugabe’s
succession compounded by the fight over diamond and platinum shares.

The GPA could turnout to be a recipe for Zimbabwe’s future instability and
blood-letting power struggles.

Western diplomats will always have contingency plans for evacuation in the
event of civil unrest, especially amidst claims that a secret squadron of
Australian SAS soldiers had been allegedly operating clandestinely in
Zimbabwe over the last year.

It remains to be seen how SADC would spring into action top contain the
situation, should all hell break loose in Zimbabwe if Mugabe dies in office.

Hopefully, TB Joshua prophecy of the death of an old African president which
he says is imminent has nothing to do with Zimbabwe.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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