The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe energy minister released from remand

(AFP) – 11 hours ago

HARARE — Zimbabwe Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, charged with abuse of
office, was freed late Monday after the high court rejected a bid by
prosecutors to block his release, local media reported.

Mangoma, who is on trial in another case over a fuel purchase, is facing
fresh allegations of cancelling a tender for the supply of pre-paid meters
to the state electricity company.

"Having considered the totality of the applications... and the apparent
contradictions in the present application, I am of the considered view that
the intended appeal enjoys no prospects of success," High Court Judge Joseph
Musakwa said in The Herald newspaper.

Mangoma was arrested in the second case days after the high court granted
him $5,000 bail in the fuel saga and described the charges against him as

The first charge stemmed from an alleged breach of tender regulations in the
purchase of five million litres of diesel from a South African company,
which prosecutors say failed to follow procurement procedures.

Zimbabwe's procurement laws prohibit government departments from buying
goods worth more than $50,000 without going to tender.

Mangoma's arrest drew an angry reaction from Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, who called for new elections and said it was time for a
"divorce" in the two-year-old unity government with veteran President Robert

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SADC under pressure to follow through on Zim

By Alex Bell
05 April 2011

Leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are under pressure to ensure that recent strong statements on the crisis in Zimbabwe are more than just rhetoric.

There have been more statements of welcome to SADC’s apparent about-turn on Zimbabwe, after the regional bloc’s security organ, the Troika, last week strongly criticised the slow progress of the unity government in implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

“The summit recalled past SADC decisions on the implementation of the GPA and noted with disappointment insufficient progress thereof and expressed its impatience in the delay of the implementation of the GPA,” read SADC’s communiqué, using unusually strong language for Zimbabwe.

But it is reported that the events that happened behind the scenes at the Troika meeting showed the real change in attitude towards Zimbabwe, and which left Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party openly angered. Mugabe has since said that SADC has no right to meddle in Zimbabwe’s affairs, which some observers have said is the reaction of a “spoiled child,” not longer getting his own way. Analysts meanwhile have said Mugabe is committing ‘political suicide’ by openly snubbing the regional leadership in this way.

SADC has previously been accused of protecting Robert Mugabe and siding with him on many occasions. Since the formation of the coalition, SADC has done nothing to pressure Mugabe and ZANU PF to abide by the GPA, and the regional bloc has faced harsh criticism for refusing to take strong action in Zimbabwe.

Dr Jakkie Cilliers, who heads the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the new sentiment by SADC, if true, “is long overdue.” But he explained that the regional bloc must prove their commitment to democracy, by following through in Zimbabwe with real movement.

“We know that liberation solidarity has always trumped democracy in Southern Africa,” Cilliers explained, adding: “We want to see what SADC is prepared to do if ZANU PF, a liberation party, does not comply with their orders.”

Cilliers said that ZANU PF will not be pressured into doing anything it doesn’t want to do, unless there is proper “political leverage,” from SADC. He explained that SADC leaders should be referring the matter to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and also the United Nations Security Council, if it was genuinely serious about protecting democracy in the region.

SADC has promised to form its own facilitation team to join the team already assembled by the mediator in the crisis, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma. There is no sign yet of the new team being formed, but Zuma’s team was said to be leaving Tuesday evening for a meetings in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans will now have to wait until May, when the next Extraordinary Summit of SADC leaders is set to take place, to see what else the SADC leadership can do to stop the unfolding Zimbabwe crisis.

Meanwhile, there have been more statements of welcome from Zimbabwean civil society to SADC’s apparent about turn. The Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe group said in a statement that SADC’s new stance on Zimbabwe “signals a uniformed pattern leaning on the protection and promotion of the democratic principles of democracy, an un-revocable demand from all the leaders in Africa without exception.”

“We encourage SADC in its entirety as an institution to heed the demands of the 21st century leadership style which places the respect of human rights, people’s fundamental freedoms, and holding of peaceful, free and fair elections as the basis to govern,” ROHR said.

At the same time, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said it “applauds the SADC (Troika) efforts in trying to bring a lasting solution to the problems that have been bedevilling Zimbabwe.”

“This sudden progressive response by SADC to the Zimbabwean crisis is commendable and most welcome in light of the recent wave of political violence that has gripped the country,” the NGO forum said.
For the full interview with Dr Jakkie Cilliers,


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Arms shipment destined for Zimbabwe docks in Beira

By Tichaona Sibanda
5 April 2011

Pro-democracy activists in Zimbabwe have launched an investigation into
reports that an arms shipment destined for the Zimbabwe Defences Forces
(ZDF) docked in Beira on Sunday.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that activists from Mozambique’s trade
union movement tipped off their counterparts in Harare, after some of their
members who work at Beira’s port became suspicious of the consignment.

The shipment, believed to be from China, is addressed to Abaxis Enterprises.
Enquiries by SW Radio Africa revealed that the company is owned by Neville
Mutsvangwa whose father Chris is a ZANU PF functionary and Zimbabwe’s former
ambassador to China.

The arrival of the shipment comes less than a month after Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa told Newsday that Zimbabwe was looking for arms, but was
struggling to acquire them because of the arms embargo.

He was speaking to the daily paper when denying allegations that Zimbabwe
was supplying arms to Ivory Coast’s embattled leader Laurent Gbago.

A security consultant told us it is known in military circles that the ZDF
was hunting for a substantial amount of ammunition for its standard AK-47
assault rifles, as well as mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades.

‘As of now investigations are ongoing to try to determine the type of
weapons contained in the shipment. Obviously great care was taken to try and
conceal the contents but eagle eyed dock workers in Beira were able to
identify that the shipment contained arms,’ our source said.

Sox Chikohwero, an MDC activist who is a former member of the defence
forces, said weapons bought by the Mugabe regime are responsible for the
deaths of many of his opponents.

‘Zimbabwe has never been under threat from any of its neighbours in the last
20 years so why do they buy arms of war. We know most of the weapons end up
in the hands of the war vets, militia and its rogue soldiers,’ Chikohwero

An attempt by Zimbabwe to purchase large quantities of ammunition from China
was reportedly thwarted in April 2008 after large civil society protests in
South Africa and other Southern African countries, where trade unionists
refused to unload the cargo in the port of Durban.

The arms shipment arrived aboard a Chinese cargo ship, the ‘An Yue Jiang’, a
ship owned by a Chinese parastatal, China Ocean Shipping Company.

The shipper of the arms was Poly Technologies of Beijing, China and the
delivery address on the shipping documents was the Zimbabwe Defence Force,
Harare. The cargo consisted of 3,080 cases of arms contained in six large

The international community has in the past raised concerns about Zimbabwe
acquiring arms of war when the country is not engaged in any military
conflict. Accusations have been levelled against Robert Mugabe and his
military henchmen for using the arms for domestic violations of human

In February, the MDC-T in Manicaland accused the former ruling ZANU PF of
arming its militia, to create instability in the province. The MDC-T
spokesman for Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya, said the militia and war vets
in the area were fully armed. He said they were responsible for the recent
violence that saw hundreds of villagers from Nyakomba in Nyanga North flee
across the border into Mozambique.

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Magistrates’ strike enters day two countrywide

By Tichaona Sibanda
5 April 2011

Magistrates in the country went on strike on Monday and have vowed to
continue with the industrial action until their demands are met.

The strike has paralyzed court proceedings, whose backlog stands at 47 000
cases, according to our correspondent Simon Muchemwa. He told us the
magistrates are pressing for an increase in their salaries, demanding
monthly salaries of $600 for trainee magistrates, $1000 for junior
magistrates, $1500 for senior magistrates, $1700 for provincial magistrates
and $2000 for senior provincial magistrates.

’They are also demanding a monthly $2 500 for regional magistrates, $3 000
for senior regional magistrates and deputy chief magistrates and $3 300 for
a chief magistrate, an increment which the government says it cannot afford,’
Muchemwa said.

Muchemwa added that the Magistrates Association of Zimbabwe has been riled
by reports that members of Parliament and cabinet ministers have had their
salaries increased by huge amounts, but refuse to do the same to other civil

There are reports representatives of the judicial officers are engaged in
negotiations with the Finance Ministry after talks collapsed last week. The
country’s judicial system is already stricken by long delays in hearings,
and offenders can spend up to two years awaiting trial because of a critical
shortage of magistrates

Court proceedings are often frequently delayed or postponed because of fuel
shortages hitting the prison services.

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Zim situation turns for worse: EU

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri     Tuesday 05 April 2011

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s human rights situation has changed for the worse in
recent months, European Union (EU) ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’ Ariccia
said on Monday, adding the bloc would maintain sanctions against top Harare
officials blocking reforms.

“The (human rights) situation here in Zimbabwe has changed for the worse,”
said Dell’ Ariccia, who was speaking moments after a ceremony to handover
vehicles for use by Zimbabwe’s health department.

Zimbabwe’s deputy health minister Douglas Mombeshora had earlier used the
ceremony to criticise the EU sanctions and call for their lifting.

“Ambassador …. take the word back (to Brussels) and say whatever you call
them... targeted (sanctions) or not they must be removed so that we work as
partners in improving the health of Zimbabwe,” Mombeshora had said.

The EU alongside the United States, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand,
imposed targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his top
officials nine years ago as punishment for allegedly stealing elections,
human rights violations and failure to uphold the rule of law.

Dell’ Ariccia said the EU visa and financial bans would remain in place
until the bloc was convinced the unity government of Mugabe and Primer
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was moving to implement democratic reforms and to
uphold human rights.

“We hope to receive enough signal in respect of reforms for us to consider
lifting the sanctions otherwise the situation remains the same,” said Dell’
Ariccia, whose comments come amid resurgent political violence and human
rights abuses in many parts of Zimbabwe blamed on Mugabe’s supporters in the
military and his ZANU PF party.

With violence on the increase, the police have on the other hand stepped up
a crackdown on members of Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party and his allies in civil
society, arresting several on charges human rights lawyers say are trumped

A meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community’s special security
organ last week sharply criticised political violence in Zimbabwe and urged
Mugabe and Tsvangirai to speed implementation of their power-sharing
agreement, including the adoption of a new and democratic constitution that
should pave way for free and fair elections.

South African President Jacob Zuma, appointed by SADC to mediate between
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, is drafting a roadmap to ensure Zimbabwe’s next vote
is free and fair.

Under Zuma’s roadmap, elections will follow a referendum on a new
constitution, while the plan will also set milestones such as electoral
reforms, the role of security forces and how to smoothly transfer power.

But Mugabe, whose military allies are feared could block Tsvangirai from
taking power should he win elections, said Zuma was merely a facilitator who
could not prescribe solutions to Zimbabwe.

Mugabe insists elections would be held in accordance only with the Zimbabwe’s
Constitution and laws.

Analysts say neither a new constitution nor Zuma’s roadmap could end
political violence in the absence of a major reform and restructuring of the
security forces whose top brass are hardline backers of Mugabe and have been
accused of masterminding violence in the past to keep the veteran leader and
his ZANU PF party in power.

Mugabe -- who says the West imposed sanctions in a bid to weaken him and
eventually cause his ouster from power as punishment for seizing land from
white farmers -- has blocked reforms in the security sector saying these and
other key reforms could only take place after the sanctions have been first
removed. -- ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe faces large financing gap in 2011: IMF

Tue Apr 5, 2011 6:05am GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Monday warned that
Zimbabwe faced a significant budget financing gap this year amid a highly
uncertain economic outlook, making clear it was not about to resume lending
to the southern African country.

In a statement after talks with Zimbabwe's authorities in the capital
Harare, the IMF said the country's budget was skewed by a massive public
wage bill and not enough resources for social programs for the poor and
important infrastructure spending.

It said the short-term growth potential, especially in mining, was strong
amid higher global commodity prices.

"Despite historically high commodity prices ... and impressive progress in
revenue mobilization, a relatively sizable fiscal financing gap would emerge
in 2011," IMF mission chief to Zimbabwe Vitaliy Kramarenko said in a

"The fiscal gap could be eliminated through the removal of ghost workers
from the payroll, reinforced controls on employment levels, and a reduction
in low-priority transfers to state-owned enterprises," he added.

He said Zimbabwe's policy to force foreign mining companies to transfer
majority stakes to local black partners was among issues weighing on growth
and efforts to reduce poverty.

Zimbabwe said last month it would give foreign mining firms six months to
sell majority stakes to black investors as part of black empowerment

A unity government under President Robert Mugabe and rival Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai has stabilized Zimbabwe's economy but has failed to
attract much needed investment to rebuild the devastated economy.

The pair are divided on how to implement the empowerment law that would
require foreign-owned companies, including banks and mines, to surrender 51
percent of their shares.

Kramarenko said Zimbabwe was a country in "debt distress," and the situation
was made worse by recent deals in which the government had borrowed money at
very high rates.

It said strengthened policies and debt relief would be important for
Zimbabwe to deal with its arrears.

The Fund said it would continue "close policy dialogue" with Zimbabwe, but
made clear it would not lend to the country until the government had
established a track record of policies, and had agreed to a comprehensive
strategy for clearing its arrears to government creditors.

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Zim empowerment law must 'respect property rights'

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Apr 05 2011 12:55

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday urged Zimbabwe to respect
private property rights as it implements a new law forcing foreign companies
to sell majority shares to locals.

"Alignment of indigenisation and empowerment objectives with respect for
private property rights and the need to attract domestic and foreign
investment ... would be essential to strengthen the business climate and
boost economic growth," an IMF delegation said after a mission to Harare.

Zimbabwe's controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act
requires all foreign firms valued at more than $500 000 to sell a 51% stake
to locals.

Last month, the government published new rules expanding the law to all
foreign-owned mines.

Analysts say the new rules are the latest attempt by the government to
squeeze cash out of the mining industry after hiking exploration fees by 2
000% to $1-million in February.

Financing gap
The IMF also said the Southern African country, which is recovering from a
decade-long economic and political crisis, still faced a large financing gap
this year despite a favourable economic climate.

"Despite historically high commodity prices ... and impressive progress in
revenue mobilisation, a relatively sizable fiscal financing gap would emerge
in 2011," it warned.

The IMF official who led the delegation to Harare said the government needed
to crack down on corruption and tighten its spending.

"The fiscal gap could be eliminated through the removal of 'ghost workers'
from the payroll, reinforced controls on employment levels and a reduction
in low-priority transfers to state-owned enterprises," said Vitaliy
Kramarenko, IMF mission chief to Zimbabwe.

The global lender also called on the country to make its labour laws more
flexible and improve its governance of the diamond sector, which was banned
from exporting in 2009 over concerns about human rights abuses at mines.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has predicted Zimbabwe's economy will grow 8%
to 15% in 2011 on the back of increased tobacco production and mining

But he warned the anticipated growth could be derailed if the country
proceeds with plans to hold elections later this year, ending a
power-sharing government between veteran President Robert Mugabe and
long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai that has been credited with restoring
stability. -- AFP

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Platinum, palladium prices to rocket

April 5 2011 at 04:03pm

Platinum and palladium prices might advance because new mines might be
delayed after Zimbabwe’s government ordered Anglo Platinum and other mining
companies based outside the country to cede majority stakes to Zimbabweans,
TD Securities said on Friday.

Palladium’s shortage might widen while platinum might move into deficit
earlier than forecast in 2013 if there was a reduction in new capacity in
Zimbabwe, TD Securities said in a report.

Zimbabwe is the third-biggest platinum producer after South Africa and
Russia and the fifth-biggest in palladium, according to UK-based research
company GFMS.

“Resource nationalism has become an increasingly important issue in recent
years,” Bart Melek, an analyst at TD Securities in Toronto, said.

“Such policies tend to serve as hurdles that discourage investment in
developing new capacity.”

Zimbabwe said in a March 25 decree that overseas mining companies had to
explain within 45 days how they would cede 51 percent of their local assets
to “indigenous” Zimbabweans. The move comes at a time when Australia,
Canada, Chile, Venezuela, Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo had
considered raising taxes or taking stakes in mining companies to boost
budget revenues, TD Securities said.

The investment climate in South Africa, which accounts for about 74 percent
of the global mined platinum supply, might worsen after Zimbabwe’s move
because it might embolden ANC youth leader Julius Malema to again make calls
for the nationalisation of its mines, Melek said. Most of the 215 000-ounce
global platinum output growth by 2013 would be in South Africa, which would
also account for about two-thirds of the palladium production rise.

“Less production growth due to uncertainty in South Africa’s business
climate would no doubt send this market into a chronic deficit and prices
surging in fairly quick order,” Melek wrote.

Palladium for immediate delivery rose 1.6 percent to $786 (R5 226) an ounce
and platinum climbed 1.1 percent to $1 783.45 an ounce by 12.12pm in London
yesterday. Palladium is down 2 percent this year and platinum has gained 0.8

Zimbabwe was forecast to produce 300 000 ounces of platinum and 240 000
ounces of palladium in 2011, or about 5 percent and 4 percent of global
output, Melek said. The country’s platinum supplies might grow by 65 000
ounces by 2013, while palladium output might rise by 35 000 ounces.

Zimbabwe’s government would make sure foreign companies were “junior
partners” in the country, President Robert Mugabe said on March 28.
Companies had six months to sell the stakes, the government said. –

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ZSE Shares Tumble By 23 Percent / IMF Concerned

05/04/2011 11:55:00

HARARE, April 5, 2011—The turnover of shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
(ZSE) fell by 23% last month to US$36 374 501,59 as foreign investors took a
back seat after President Robert Mugabe announced the takeover of foreign
owned companies.

In February, turnover was US$47 477520, 86.

Statistics from ZSE shows that foreign investors, who have been the major
driver of activity on the bourse retreated in March and bought shares worth
US$8 499 416, 22 which is a third of what they bought in the previous month.

Launching the anti sanctions campaign last month, President Mugabe
government should move with speed to take over foreign companies operating
in Zimbabwe in retaliation to the debilitating sanction imposed on the

The retreat by foreign investors on the bourse paints a gloomy picture on
shareholders holding shares of companies listed on ZSE.

It also means that the 20 stockbrokers have their earnings reduced since
they thrive on commission on the buying and selling of shares.

ZSE saw its commission fall to US$72 749 last month from a high of US$94
955, 04 IN February.

The performance of a stock exchange is closely followed by investors to
assess the health of any economy.

Analysts say the proposed foreign companies’ takeover will further harm
activities on ZSE.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s macroeconomic outlook for 2011 remains highly uncertain
against a sizeable fiscal financing gap as the country remains in debt
distress, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

In a statement released after the IMF’s mission during March 16–30, 2011 to
conduct the 2011 Article IV consultation discussions, Vitaliy Kramarenko,
mission chief for Zimbabwe said an “inefficient composition of public
expenditure, persistent financial sector vulnerabilities, and weaknesses in
the business climate, including the recently announced fast track
indigenisation of the mining sector, weigh heavily on growth and poverty
reduction prospects”.

“If these policy challenges are addressed in a timely manner, the strong
growth momentum could be sustained with a significant beneficial impact on
living standards of ordinary Zimbabweans,” said Kramarenko.

The IMF chief added: “Structural reforms need to be stepped up. Alignment of
indigenization and empowerment objectives with respect for private property
rights and the need to attract domestic and foreign investment, more
flexible labor market legislation, and improved governance, particularly in
the diamond sector, would be essential to strengthen the business climate
and boost economic growth. It would also be important to guard against wage
increases in both in private and public sectors in excess of productivity
growth to prevent an erosion of competitiveness of labor-intensive
industries that are critical for employment generation and poverty

“Zimbabwe remains in debt distress, which has been exacerbated by recent
nonconcessional borrowing of the government. Significant social and
developmental needs would be better addressed on a sustainable basis through
grants or highly concessional financing, as onerous debt service payments
could crowd out future social expenditures. A significant strengthening in
policies and debt relief within a comprehensive arrears clearance framework
supported by donors are essential for resolving Zimbabwe’s external payments

“IMF staff will continue to maintain a close policy dialogue and provide
targeted technical assistance in the context of regular visits. Access to
IMF lending resources would be subject to relevant IMF policies, including a
track record of sound economic policies and a comprehensive strategy for the
clearance of arrears to official creditors agreed among the government
coalition partners and with official creditors.”

At the conclusion of the mission, Kramarenko, mission chief for Zimbabwe,
said: “Stronger policies, a favorable external environment, and sizeable
off-budget donor grants supported a nascent economic recovery and a notable
improvement in the humanitarian situation during 2009-10. Real gross
domestic product (GDP) grew by an estimated 6 percent in 2009 and 9 percent
in 2010. However, economic growth started from a low base and was
concentrated on primary commodity sectors in mining and agriculture, both of
which are sensitive to exogenous shocks. The budget was heavily tilted
toward increasing the government wage bill with insufficient resources being
allocated to social programs and high-priority infrastructure. As a result,
growth benefits did not fully trickle down to many ordinary Zimbabweans
outside the public sector and the growing segments of the formal private
sector; and poverty remains widespread.”

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Zimbabwe’s empowerment group’s entire executive resigns

Published: April 5, 2011

Source: Byo24News
The Affirmative Action Group (AAG)’s whole entire executive yesterday

The AAG national executive resigned after holding a meeting with the agenda
to chart the future of the empowerment organisation after alleged unilateral
appointments by the founding president and chairman of the AAG’s founders’
council, Mr. Phillip Chiyangwa.
Differences emerged in the AAG after Chiyangwa allegedly co-opted two
individuals to the national executive, one of whom is former ZIFA CEO,
Henrietta Rushwaya, without the approval of the national executive.

Emerging from the extra-ordinary meeting of the national consultative
committee, former AAG executive director, Dr. Davison Gomo confirmed that
all the 8 committee members unanimously agreed to resign over the
individualisation and personalisation of the empowerment organisation.

Dr. Gomo said the AAG’s council is now free to elect a new executive to
replace the resigned group.
The former AAG executive had Supa Mandiwanzira as its president, three vice
presidents, namely Sam Ncube, Themba Mliswa and Advocate Farai Mtamangira.

Other members included secretary general Tafadzwa Musarara, Elifas Mashaba
treasurer general, national committee member Chamu Chiwanza and the
executive director Dr. Davison Gomo.

Chiyangwa said the AAG constitution grants him exclusive powers to appoint
the presidium by virtue of being the founder president and chairman.

The business mogul said the constitution of AAG granted him exclusive powers
to make presidential appointments and that no one had the power to reverse

Source: Byo24News

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Pilots seize Air Zimbabwe property, stand-off continues

05/04/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

STRIKING Air Zimbabwe pilots have seized vehicles and other movable property
from the stricken airline as their work boycott entered a third week on

Air Zimbabwe pilots, engineers and cabin staff began industrial action on
March 22 after the government failed to meet their financial demands.

The pilots say they are owed US$400,000 in unpaid salaries and allowances.
Further pay demands, say airline bosses, could push the pay bill up to US$9
million-a-year at the struggling state-owned company.

The pilots have seized 23 vehicles, 100 computers and five milling machines
from Air Zimbabwe after the company failed in a court bid to stop the
property from being auctioned.

The Deputy Sheriff began attaching the property last Friday, but the
cash-strapped government has so far shown no appetite to bail out the
airline which makes losses of up to US$3,5 million every month.

The pilots have so far refused to return to work, ignoring management
warnings that they are bleeding the company to death through the industrial
action which has disrupted travel arrangements of thousands of people.

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Chinese to Fund Upgrades of Water Systems in Zimbabwe Capital

Some of the Chines funds reportedly will be used to boost production in the
Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward water treatment plants and to upgrade the
Firle and Crowborough sewage plants

Patience Rusere | Washington DC  04 April 2011

The Zimbabwean government has secured US$144 million from China’s Import and
Export Bank to install pre-paid water meters in the capital in a bid to end
disputes between the Harare City Council and residents over water bills.

Water Resources and Development Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said the City
Council will launch a pilot project in June involving 1,000 households in
Harare’s Avenues district area to determine the viability of the approach.

The Harare Residents Trust and the Harare City Council are currently
embroiled in a court case in which residents are challenging the council’s
billing system, which is based on estimates rather than metered consumption.

According to the state-controlled Herald daily newspaper, some of the Chines
funds will be used to boost production in the Morton Jaffray and Prince
Edward water treatment plants and to upgrade the Firle and Crowborough
sewage plants.

Many Harare residents have refused to pay huge water bills leading the
council to shut off water to about 3,000 households, mostly in Kuwadzana
Extension. The City Council says most meters are old and hamper its efforts
to take accurate readings.

Nkomo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the pilot project will
be the first phase of a broader campaign across the country to address
billing problems.

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SA government not liable in Zim land grab cases

By Alex Bell
05 April 2011

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal has let the country’s government off
the financial hook, after ruling it is not liable in cases related to the
unlawful land grab in Zimbabwe.

The court on Monday ruled that a High Court decision ordering the government
to compensate a South African farmer for land invasions in Zimbabwe, was
wrong in law.

Farmer Crawford von Abo established a large and profitable farming
enterprise many years ago in Zimbabwe, but was left penniless when his 14
farms were destroyed by land invasions under Robert Mugabe’s land grab
scheme. Since 2008 Von Abo has tried to get the South African government to
take diplomatic steps to address the violation of his rights in Zimbabwe,
arguing that as a citizen, his government should have protected him.

In February 2010 the High Court found that the South African government had
a constitutional obligation to provide diplomatic protection and ordered
that it had 60 days to take all necessary steps to have Von Abo's violation
of rights by Zimbabwe remedied.

But the Supreme Court of Appeal has now said that although South Africa’s
response to Von Abo’s plight was ‘inappropriate’, the High Court made ‘vital
mistakes of law’ when it made its decision last year.

"Despite that conclusion it found that the breach of the duty to respond
appropriately to Mr Von Abo's request could not legally give rise to
liability for damages caused by the Zimbabwean government's violation of Mr
Von Abo's human rights,” the court said in a media briefing.

South African lawyer Willie Spies, who has represented other South African
farmers who are trying to fight the loss of their Zimbabwean farms, said the
ruling is a disappointment. He agreed that a legal precedent has now been
set that excludes the South African government from being liable in such

“But watch this space,” Spies said, explaining: “The Von Abo case happened
when there wasn’t a bilateral investment agreement (BIPPA) between South
African and Zimbabwe.”

“If a similar case arises when land invasions happened during the time that
a BIPPA has been signed, then the outcome in South Africa might be quite
different,” Spies said.

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South Africa to start finalising Zim permit applications

By Alex Bell
05 April 2011

South African authorities have started contacting thousands of Zimbabweans
who have applied for permits to stay in the country, as part of efforts to
finalise the ongoing documentation project.

The Department of Home Affairs announced on Sunday that it would contact
Zimbabwean applicants by SMS, asking them for more information to finalise
their applications. Home Affairs spokeswoman Manusha Pillai said in a
statement that of the 275,762 applications received, more than 116, 000 were
incomplete. The incomplete applications included more than 28, 000 which
were still waiting for Zimbabwean passports.

Officials in the Home Affairs Department have been busy processing the
applications, made last year by Zimbabweans trying to regularise their stay
in South Africa. The process is set to be completed sometime in July, with
the authorities announcing it will not start deporting undocumented
Zimbabweans until August.

But the process has been severely hampered by the Zimbabwe’s government
inability to meet the demand for passports, which are critical for the South
African permits to be issued. Those who are still waiting for the passports
in order to finalise their permit applications have expressed fears that
they will not get the documents before the August deportation deadline.

In February, the Zimbabwean authorities were granted more time by the South
African government to roll out passports to its citizens, after previously
pledging to have all the documents ready by December last year. This
deadline was then extended until June this year, but with the authorities
admitting that only 500 passports can be printed per day, the June deadline
has now been extended by another four weeks.

Zimbabwe’s co-Ministers of Home Affairs said in February that they are
aiming to produce about 60 000 passports before the end of July. Kembo
Mohadi added: “At the rate we are churning out passports in Zimbabwe, in
about 20 weeks (end of July) we would have issued all the outstanding

Meanwhile Theresa Makone told journalists that they should be able to “meet
the requirements without needing assistance … by using Saturdays and
Sundays, he (the Zimbabwean Registrar-General) will be able to produce 3,000
passports a week.”

“We shouldn't have any problems left by the end of July,” said Makone.
But Anthony Muteti from the refugee rights group PASSOP, told SW Radio
Africa this week that the Zimbabwean authorities are still “failing to meet
their side of the deal,” by not issuing enough passports. He explained that
so far, only about 4,000 passports have been issued to Zimbabwean residents
in Cape Town, and there is concern that not everyone who is waiting for the
documents will get them.

“People are worried because the South Africans want to start finalising the
permit applications, but so many people don’t have their passports,” Muteti

He added: “Also, the passports are only being issued in Johannesburg so
people in Cape Town have to somehow find the means to travel to Johannesburg
to get the documents, which have already cost a lot of money. It’s very

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Zimbabweans forced to fetch passports from JHB

Catherine Rice | 4 Hours Ago

The Zimbabwean consulate is insisting that Zimbabweans fetch their passports
from its offices in Johannesburg.

Zimbabweans applied for passports through the Department of Home Affairs’
special dispensation project late in 2010.

Now, those living in other parts of the country face a costly journey to get
them and many are furious.

Joseph Zibgowa heard through friends that his passport was ready for
collection in Johannesburg.

When he checked the Zimbabwean embassy website he realised the deadline is
just three days away.

Zibgowa works as a security guard in Somerset West in the Western Cape and
says any extra money he has is sent home to Zimbabwe, where his two sons
still live.

“It’s actually unreasonable for us all to travel to Johannesburg only to
pick up our passports, in terms of costs,” he said.

The Zimbabwean embassy does not have offices in Cape Town and the Home
Affairs Department says there is nothing it can do to help.

For people like Zibgowa time off work and a costly journey to Johannesburg
is their only option.

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Harare warned against rush to hold elections

By KITSEPILE NYATHI Nation Correspondent in Harare

Posted  Tuesday, April 5 2011 at 20:03

South Africa has warned Zimbabwe could end up like the war-torn Cote d’Ivoire
if it rushes into elections as it stepped up pressure on President Robert
Mugabe to respect a power-sharing deal signed in 2008.

The International Relations and Cooperation minister, Mrs Maite
Nkoane-Mashabane, issued the warning following the war of words between the
two countries over the outcome of a regional peace and security meeting.

Sadc’s organ on politics, peace and security last Thursday at a summit held
in Livingstone, Zambia, took an unusually tough stance on President Mugabe,
urging him to stop politically motivated violence and the arbitrary arrest
of opponents.

The Zimbabwean leader was also told to support a South African-led roadmap
to free and fair elections and avoid the 2008 violence that characterised
his controversial re-election.

Mrs Mashabane told her country’s state broadcaster, SABC, that Zimbabwe must
not rush to the polls without meeting all the essential elements of the
power-sharing agreement.

“One of the pre-conditions is that they should prepare a new constitution
and take it through the referendum before going to the polls,” she said.

“If we allow them to go to elections without advising them on what to
implement, we might end up with another Ivorian situation.”

Cote d’Ivoire slipped into civil war after incumbent Laurent Gbagbo,
defeated in last November’s presidential elections by long-time rival
Alassane Ouattara, refused to step down.

Meanwhile, negotiators to Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement (GPA) are
meeting in Harare to review the deal and craft a roadmap for fresh

The GPA was supposed to be reviewed annually after the formation of the
unity government in 2009 but this is the first time it is being assessed.

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Zim constitution in limbo

April 5th, 2011

It remains to be seen whether Zimbabwe is going to come up with a new constitution which will pave way for the holding of a democratic election.

At the look of what is happening in the parliament led body (COPAC) responsible for the crafting of the new law of the land surely nothing fruitful seems to be happening?

Only two weeks ago when one of the COPAC co-chairs from the MDC-T Douglas Mwonzora was in remand prison, his ZANU (PF) counterpart Paul Mangwana rushed the process by deliberately skipping the uploading of views which were collected from four key areas in the server.

The key areas which Paul Mangwana skipped when Douglas Mwonzora was in Remand prison are the view of the people from the diaspora, views gathered from Legislators, Children’s issues and those from the disabled.

In a statement soon after his release from remand prison MDC-T COPAC co-chair Douglas Mwonzora said

“I have refused to complete a report which my colleague Paul Mangwana wants us to sign stating that the data uploading stage was complete. We cannot write a constitution like that. This is a people driven constitution not a political party document. I am ready to be thrown back into remand over this because I am not going to accept that.”

This puts doubt over whether the country is going to meet the October referendum deadline.

The process has been disturbed by ZANU (PF), which is opposed to it, since its onset in 2009.

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The beginning of the end of Robert Mugabe has started

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri,  04/04/11

Like it or hate it, the truth is that the countdown to the end of Robert
Mugabe’s iron fist rule of Zimbabwe has just started, albeit unofficially.
Going by reports that Mugabe had difficulties in getting off a chartered Air
Zim flight to Livingstone and that he had to use a golf cart to move
accompanied by massive entourage of 60 plus, Zanu-pf needs to act with speed
and find a replacement sooner rather than later. In contrast to Mugabe’s
huge entourage other leaders had smaller delegations e.g. 12 for Jacob Zuma
and only 4 for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Ironically, the beginning of the end was signaled by Robert Mugabe himself
when he attacked his long time ally and SADC accusing them of interfering in
Zimbabwe’s internal affairs when he was addressing a meeting of his Zanu-pf
party in Harare on Friday 1st April 2011. Saying that he won’t brook
interference, Mugabe may not have known that he had lit a fire he would not
be able to put out.

Adding fuel to fire

To make matters worse like adding fuel to the fire, the Zanu-pf orientated
Sunday Mail was not going to watch it’s leader fighting a lone battle. In
statements attributed by news agencies to the Sunday Mail which has been
inaccessible online for several months except the Herald and the not
so-up-to-date Zimpapers frontpage, the paper accused President Zuma, the
SADC mediator on the Zimbabwe crisis of being a dishonest broker and of
betraying Africa by voting for a no-fly zone over Libya at the United
Nations Security Council.

‘Mr Zuma’s duplicity is astounding. With such leaders, Africa is in mortal
danger,” the paper is quoted as saying in its attack on the South African
leader (The Zimbabwe Mail, 03/04/11).

Words like that can never be exchanged between friendly countries even when
they may not have been officially communicated. In fact the way the
government controlled media communicated what amounts to the ‘party’s
response to the SADC Troika’s communique’ contributed to a major diplomatic
fiasco which had been started by the Supreme Leader.

Diplomatic tiff

By playing down the diplomatic tiff claiming relations between the two
countries remained ‘warm and cordial’, Jacob Zuma’s office risks playing
double speak on Mugabe and being seen as indeed weakness in dealing with a
dictator who is on his way out albeit reluctantly. As a sign that Zimbabwe’s
neighbour south of the Limpopo was far from amused by the undiplomatic
language from Harare, Zuma’s office reminded that governments have their own
channels of communication.

Considering the sacrifices South Africa has made for Zimbabwean refugees and
more specifically how Jacob Zuma has gone out of his way to try to rescue
Robert Mugabe from the mess that he is in, even an infant would never be
expected to misfire like Mugabe’s propagandists did with their overkill.

Lost credibility

Critics of Jacob Zuma feel that this could be the only opportunity left for
his administration to regain credibility lost  by withholding a report on
the role of Mugabe’s soldiers in election violence in Zimbabwe despite court
What incenses pro-democracy activists are ongoing efforts by the Zuma
government to appeal against South African Supreme Court rulings that the
report be released to the Mail and Guardian especially as there are fears of
further election violence in Zimbabwe.

There was also the case of the Chinese ship which tried to offload a
consignment of weapons and ammunition destined for Harare only to be forced
to return to China when progressive workers refused to off-load it and
friendly civil society organizations secured a court order barring the ship
from offloading its deadly cargo due to Mugabe’s bad human rights record.
One would have expected the South African government to take a firm stand
against the attempted import of weapons by the Zanu-pf regime.

The remaining question is: Why is Jacob Zuma so protective of Robert Mugabe
even at his own expense?

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst London,

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Whether he likes it or not Mugabe’s time is up

President Robert Mugabe’s time is up. Whether he likes it or not his game is
up. It is like when the presenter or host of a television or radio show
tells a guest that their time is up. The guest might still have a lot of
stuff to say or may still want to stress a point or may still have plenty to
share by way of the expertise that earned them the ticket to the show, but
once their time is up, it is up. Your fifteen minutes is up!

Good health or bad health, youth or age, popularity or none of it Mugabe is
going and it’s not about how irate he sounds or how much SADC, Zuma or the
AU irritate him. The man’s time is up and neither is this tied to the
fieriness of the rabid tongues of people like George Charamba or Jonathan
Moyo; this is about fate, the fate of the Zimbabwean people. The lives of
the people of our nation have been on hold for nearly thirty years while
Mugabe and his dozy inner circle have been busy perfecting their art of
thuggery, national plunder and manslaughter.

Mugabe was elected to office in 1980 by only a section of the Zimbabwean
population because there was also another section of our nation that did not
necessarily vote for him. But they gave him the benefit of the doubt anyway
with the hope that the man would deliver for everyone and for the good of
people. Bar a few honey-coated words in his inception speech that were
followed by one or two short-lived people oriented policies, Mugabe went on
to fail the whole nation dismally because his entire tenure of office has
been marred with political repression of the highest order and the economic
turmoil that has seen the productive capacity of Zimbabwe shrinking to
deplorable levels. Right from the beginning of his presidency up to this day
people are still dying of politically motivated violence

All of these predicaments are very directly tied around Mugabe’s style of
Mugabe chose to be a strongman, and in African politics a strongman is a
ruthless leader who brooks no criticism, constructive or otherwise. The only
people who can be found around the strong leader are either sheepish, inept
non-performers or man and women of docile intellect who can never engage
their leader in any meaningful and analytic discussion about the affairs of
the state. As for Jonathan Moyo, this is a man who has completed three
political metamorphoses because he started as a staunch Mugabe critic in the
late 1980’s to the early 1990’s, then he became an avid apologist during the
2000 constitutional reforms, and went again to become a ruthless dissector
of Mugabe’s run on empty just before and after the 2008 elections.

With Mugabe’s health becoming the clearest signal of his long overdue exit
from politics, it’s now just a matter of time before he throws in the towel
or is simply swept aside by the tide. The world is increasingly becoming
impatient with dictators let alone those of Mugabe’s ilk who would want to
be brought to cabinet meetings on stretchers or all sorts of wheeling
equipment. The international community is also increasingly becoming
extremely intolerant of those with fangs of clinging onto power and more and
more decisive action is now on the cards more than ever to help edge
dictators out of unwarranted limelight.

Events in Ivory Coast where the French government and the UN have teamed up
in support of the Ivorian people to pile the pressure hanger-on Gbagbo to
leave the helm are a clear indication of the winds of change blowing across
the African continent once again. Whether this can be dismissed in the same
manner as the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan revolutions were initially
dismissed will simply be naivety of dictators and their religious supporters
who never seem to learn any lessons from past events. It has always been the
case that dictators sound big, they want to act strong and they dismiss any
potential threat to their entrenchment in power as the futile works of the
“enemies of the state”. But in the end the dictators always perish with the
supposed enemies of the state prevailing.

It is the same context that the people of Zimbabwe shall prevail over Mugabe
and his clingers-on like Moyo and Charamba who have taken every opportunity
to abuse the people of our nation in defence of their puppet master. The
chameleonic politics of the Moyo is particularly saddening given that he was
once someone who was very highly regarded by many Zimbabweans as a champion
of forthrightness in government back in the 1990’s. But ever since Moyo met
his maker in 2000 and was appointed to the position of junior Information
Minister, he lost every facet of common sense.

The passion with which Moyo used to ridicule Mugabe is the same he uses to
defend the geriatric and it totally beggars belief that he expects the
people of Zimbabwe to continue to pay attention to his nonsense every time
he rambles. People like Moyo will pay the price of defending the
indefensible while their master will be long departed either from the world
of politics or the world of life altogether unlike what their ilk
hallucinate about, Mugabe is nowhere near being eternity. The fact that even
SADC and an increasing number of African presidents are visibly losing their
patience with Mugabe is a tale tell sign that all is not well in the state
of Mugabe’s court. The writing is on the wall and this is the time for the
Moyos and the Charambas of our world to read it to read it.

Silence Chihuri writes from Scotland and writes in his own right. He can be
contacted on

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Remarks at launch of report - When a State turns on its citizens by Lloyd M Sachikonye (1 April 2011)

Judge of the Supreme Court, Azhar Cachalia, Johannesburg.

Zimbabwe came to independence through a long and brutal war, but with
much promise.

Robert Mugabe, the leader of the dominant faction of the liberation
movement, portrayed as an ogre by the colonial regime of the time,
appeared to be anything but a monster. He was intelligent, educated,
reconciliatory, charming, obviously a democrat, and to the relief of
many, a good Catholic. Under his stewardship Zimbabwe would be safe
and prosperous.

As a student at Wits University some 30 years ago I too was seduced by
this promise. I organised a rally at the university to celebrate
Zimbabwe's independence and President Mugabe's victory at the polls.

Some of my colleagues thought this was not a good idea, not because
they harboured the same prejudices as Smith's Rhodesian Front, but
rather because ZANU was no ally of the ANC. But that is a discussion
for another day.

For the record the rally was a huge success. Regrettably that was the
last time I had cause to celebrate anything that Mugabe or ZANU PF has

What followed the ZANU victory was the political and ethnically
inspired violent campaign to destroy ZAPU, led by Joshua Nkomo,
through the Gukurahundi violence in 1983. The instrument used to
achieve this purpose was the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade.

The campaign claimed the lives of more than ten thousand people. It
was systematic, involving torture and rape, and it evoked memories of
the methods employed by the Rhodesian security forces against the
liberation movements and their sympathisers.

Ignored by the international media at the time, perhaps because the
victims were not white, the Gukurahundi shaped the character of the
post colonial Zimbabwe state.

The ruling party ensured that the state institutions such as the
police and the military would be firmly in control of the governing
party as would the state media. Party cadres would be 'deployed' in
these institutions, a term that we have become familiar with in this
country. And during elections after independence, particularly after
2000, these institutions were used to harass and intimidate opponents
with the state media ensuring that the sanitised version of what
happened was broadcast.

Until then the Zimbabwean judiciary remained a functioning institution
with a demonstrable reputation for independence and competence,

By 2000, ZANU PF was firmly in control of the state's coercive
machinery but its control of patronage did not extend beyond the party
and promises of land reform were not forthcoming.

And so it launched a land confiscation programme, which involved
seizing the land of white farmers violently and illegally and driving
farm workers off the land.

The instruments used for this purpose were the notorious war veterans,
some of whom had never participated in the war, and the youth militia.
The state's coercive machinery was deployed to ensure the campaign's

And when the judiciary, as it was obliged to, ruled against the
illegality the then Chief Justice and other judges were driven from
their chambers. Cynically, newly appointed judges were rewarded with
the very same land that was seized in this manner. Except for one
honourable exception, who refused to accept any land, most judges who
I might add have no history of farming are now farm owners. The
judiciary, like other state institutions has lost much of its
credibility and few turn to that institution with any hope of
receiving justice.

ZANU PF, as we know lost the elections in 2008, but as is not unusual
on this continent,  remains effectively in power, largely because of
the duplicitous role that SADC has played in that country. Instead of
demanding that he, Mugabe,  stand down, they have placated him.

The Global Political Agreement, which was supposed to have been a
roadmap towards democracy failed to touch on the key problem -
Mugabe's determination to cling to power through the use of state-
sponsored violence.

The damage to that country is obvious and is eloquently described in
Lloyd Sachikonye's monograph.

South Africans should not be complicit in this duplicity. We should
support the call for the perpetrators of violence to be held account
as a pre condition for a genuinely democratic transition in that

And we should do so not only because Zimbabwe is our neighbour and
many Zimbabweans play a productive role in our country, but what has
happened in that country has lessons beyond it, including our own

Mugabe not only has admirers in this country, there are some who think
that we should emulate his model. That path involves the dominance of
the post colonial state  by a single party in perpetuity, or as
someone once said, 'until Jesus returns.'

  And the result of that sort of thinking is that the state is seen as
an instrument of wealth acquisition through party deployment, as in

It is not conceived as one that provides services to its people on a
non partisan basis for which it is accountable to the people as our
Constitution envisages.

I recall having a conversation some time ago with one of my erstwhile
comrades who told me, without a hint of irony,  that the problem in
this country is that we appoint some comrades to independent
institutions and after a while they begin to think that they are

In similar vein I remember one of South Africa's most powerful present-
day politicians reminded his audience, of which I was a part of before
I became a judge,  that we must remember that the party created the
Constitution - the Constitution did not create the party. What he was
saying was that our primary loyalty must be to the party not the

More recently I was involved in a case where one of South Africa's
controversial judges is alleged to have told another judge that some
of his close friends, who are cabinet ministers, are concerned that
some of our judges do not understand our history. Decoded, this means
that they do not make rulings in favour of the governing party.

I do not suggest that these are the only views or even dominant views
of those who hold public office in our country, as they appear to be
in ZANU PF. But neither are they so isolated or sporadic that we can
safely ignore them.

Reading Lloyd Sachikonye's excellent analysis on Zimbabwe, I could not
help but reflect on the dangers that lurk in our country. I commend
his excellent research not only to those who wish to understand the
terrible impact that state violence has wreaked on Zimbabweans but
also to those in this country who need to understand why and how
liberators so easily 'turn on their citizens.'

Azhar Cachalia

1 April 2011.

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